This week saw eyes open and little legs strong enough to start toddling. We also assigned names to the pups. After much deliberation (and suggestions from the peanut gallery) we settled on a Nashville musical theme, Bluegrass specifically, because well, it’s one of my favorite styles. The girls are Fiddle, Mandolin (Mandy) and Ryman (for the auditorium that was the birthplace of Bluegrass). The boys are Dobro and Banjo. Once their eyes opened they became much more active and by the end of this week, they were actually toddling over to us and attempting to play with each other (albeit very clumsily!).
On September 1, just days after arriving at our new home, Queen graced us with 5 beautiful pups. When we travelled to NY to breed her, we did not know that we would be moving from our place in west TN to the Nashville area. Suffice it to say there were many plans laid (A, B and even C) to accommodate the birth at which ever house we ended up at. I decided to come out to the new place as soon as possible with her to ensure that once born, the pups would not have to endure a long car ride from one place to the other.
The big move was put off so we could do some improvements in a fairly empty house and Queen has been incredibly laid back with the change of environment and the workers that have come and gone. We have been careful to insulate her and her pups but she has been happy to greet visitors despite the fact she has newborns. It’s that kind of steady temperament that I love to see. Without further ado, here are first photos of the babies. More to come!
One day old.
Queen and I love the new whelping box!
The boys, a b/w and a tri who looks suspiciously seal in color.
It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog! But we have news to share. We recently took a trip to NY to breed our Queen to another Good Shepherd dog, a pup out of the last Ivy/Rudy litter. Jasper and Queen were born 3 days apart and grew up side by side. Jasper has matured into wonderful dog. He excels at agility and is a staunch guardian of his property. He keeps the deer and rabbits out of the gardens, maintains a watchful eye over his property and is the consummate companion to his people with his social and fun loving personality.
This breeding brings together in one pedigree almost all the ES I have owned and loved with our beloved Sawyer being represented on both sides (he is Queen’s father and Jasper’s grandfather). I am thrilled to have a chance to once again have a pup with a piece of each of these dogs. Pups are expected in early September and would be ready for homes in early November
Interested parties can visit the website to find out more about the dogs and find our questionnaire, contact info etc…
Well we’ve reached the finish line. Pups turn 8 weeks tomorrow.
Barracuda, Cobra and Charger and Chevelle leave for their new homes this weekend Nova will leave mid week and Mustang and Camaro will leave next weekend. What a great group of pups these were and what a great group of new owners they will have!
We spent the day soaking up puppy breath and taking final pics and video. My daughter Emma helped me create a movie as a little tribute/going away present (link below). We’re going to miss these guys!
Chillin’ in the air conditioning after a long romp n’ play in the yard.
Today was especially hot…Chevelle’s preferred place was under the porch!
Charger in typical model mode.
Nova listening intently to Mom.
Barracuda has a more skeptical look on his face LOL!
You’ve got a little grass on your chin there, Mustang.
Pups hit the 7 week mark yesterday and are one week away from being able to start heading out to their new homes. Traits continue to blossom and we’re enjoying being spectators to their transformation into confident, social pups who are ready to take on new adventures. This coming week they will visit the vet for a check up/puppy shot, we’ll introduce collars and leash, continue to work on comfort in a crate and do some more one on one time in the house including some beginning basic obedience.
This week’s photo shoot features some of the pups enjoying some windfall apples. It kind of reminded me of the game musical chairs. There were 7 pups but only 5 or so apples so the game was to get an apple and keep it!
Nova with her prize
A dirty pup is a happy pup. (Chevelle)
Camaro sporting the wet look. She really loves to play in the water.
Barracuda striking a big dog pose.
An apple a day…..keeps Charger sweet and handsome.
Cobra’s black mask is becoming more defined. It almost looks like he has blond “glasses” on.
Mustang gets cuter every week.
Charger and Cobra are still waiting for their perfect homes.
Both pups are social and people oriented, love kids and enjoy the big dogs.
This week was filled with fun new experiences. Pups all had an opportunity to ride in a small crate in the car (by twos). They visited previously unexplored territory around the farm and had much more playtime with the other adult dogs here. They were introduced to Emma’s bunny Loki (Loki being ensconced in a crate in the rabbit tractor out of harms way) and taken for wagon rides with the younger kids. They also discovered and loved the cool of the dirt under the front and back decks although the humans didn’t find it so fun trying to retrieve them!
This coming week, we’ll be working individually with each pup, giving them opportunities to spend time away from the security and influence of their litter mates. We’ll do some more car and kennel time as well and hopefully find a way to safely introduce them to the goats and chickens.
On the housebreaking front, pups are pretty well conditioned to going outside to do their business and their papers stay clean all day. They do well overnight as well. As long as I don’t wait too long in the morning to let them outside, the only mess on the papers in their indoor pen is pee. They are eating well and we’ve upped the amount of food we’re feeding them as they were cleaning up their bowl rather quickly. Maya still nurses them throughout the day. When she’s not in the mood, she lets them know She’s also playing with them more and through that play teaching them boundaries.
Queen and Alice regularly interact with them as well. Alice, having been a mother, is very concerned about the pups, where they are, what they are doing etc….Queen, at a year old, is mostly interested in playing with them and enjoys them immensely. She is so quick and agile and initially the pups were wary of her leaping and dashing around them but now they love her. The male dogs here are less involved in the nurturing of the pups. Daddy Sawyer is interested and pretty tolerant of them but uses his loud bark to tell them when they’ve crossed the etiquette line. Maya definitely doesn’t like anyone barking at her pups and has told Sawyer off in a big way so now he minds his P’s and Q’s around them!
Pups meeting Loki the bunny.
Auntie Queen playing with a couple of the pups.
Camaro enjoying the cool dirt under the porch.
Charger trying to get Queen to play.
Cobra (love the crossed paws)
Barracuda and Mustang
Barracuda playing peek-a-boo.
Mustang watching (there is a hand with a treat above his head).
This week the pups had the opportunity to widen their world a bit and do some exploring of the yard outside their pen and parts of the house they had previously not been. Watching their reactions as they navigate different environments can yield clues to their personality. I was pleased by their confidence and curiosity. In the next few weeks, we’ll give them opportunities to experience things singly (away from mom and litter mates) to see how they handle that. All the pups have their individual personalities but there really is a fair amount of uniformity in this group in terms of socialability. It’s interesting that all of us here pick up on different pups and their traits. Everyone seems to have a personal favorite. While I might notice something in one pup, one of my children will notice something in another. I value the additional insight! Our combined observations this week: Mustang and Camaro are super social and maybe a tad more energetic at this point. Barracuda, Cobra and Nova are social with a calm confidence (and probably on the upper end of the pack order). Charger is sweet and friendly with a bit more of a quiet, independent nature. Chevelle is outgoing and an attention seeker (she loves her belly rubs).
A whiffle ball tied to a string makes a great toy to chase! Mustang’s pretty pleased with himself for catching it!
Camaro intent on something and working on her stalk and pounce technique!
Barry proudly displaying his treasure.
Cobra looking thoughtful. This was after he had tuckered himself out playing and exploring.
Nova and her happy face!
Mr. Photogenic (aka Charger)
Chevelle coming to get some love.
Here are a couple of videos of the pups exploring a new part of the house and the yard.
Pups are a month old and in another month will be leaving to start their new lives. It’s going so fast! Milestones this week: moving out into their new accommodations which consists of a larger indoor pen in the garage with access to a grassy pen outside. They were struck by the newness and a little cautious at first but the grass and dirt soon proved too interesting and their little sniffers were busy cataloging all the new scents. We’ve been blessed with a respite from the heat so pups were comfortable exploring their new space. Only the occasional rain shower and the hotter parts of the day keep them in the garage.
One nice advantage to having the outdoor pen is that the pups can interact more easily with the others dogs and the cats. Jackson (our younger cat) seems by turns intrigued and insulted Hopefully he’ll see the value of the pups as playmates as the weeks go by. Our old cat, Serafina, has been through this puppy thing more times than she cares to count and generally stays clear of them. Alice loves the babies and is happy to babysit. They seem to like her too (especially Camaro). Queen is extremely interested in them but wants to play and we have to watch that she doesn’t get too rowdy. Sawyer shows mild, benevolent interest. Rudy steers clear. He has a thing about pups. They are pesky ankle biters in his opinion.
They have started eating a mush of soaked puppy food twice a day along with their nursing sessions. Toys have become more interesting and new ones have been added to mix things up. Just like children, they often make their own toys. Blankets are fun to tug across the pen, weeds and grass stems provide tug of war practice and of course who can resist a litter mate’s tail?
I’ve noticed this week that all the pups have their father’s propensity to slap with their paw (also something I saw in Sawyer’s last litter with Alice). In addition, most have their mother’s propensity for “flying frog legs” (laying with the hind legs splayed out behind them). Having had other litters, I can say that not all puppies do these things. I find it interesting that there may be a heritable component in these behaviors.
Camaro (Charger, Nova and Chevelle in the background)
One last “aw moment” photo. Although Mustang is featured it’s pretty indicative of all the pups and their sweet friendly personalities.
Pups turned 3 weeks today. They are getting around like a bunch of drunken sailors complete with mumblings and the occasional rowdy bark. We’re seeing the beginnings of play and it’s comedic to watch them attempt to size up each other and go in for the pounce only to misjudge the distance. It’s as if everything they do is in slow motion. They greet us when we come in the room and find our laps when we sit down with them. They readily explore with their mouths. Human fingers, toes, noses…all are fair game, as are their litter mates’ tails, ears and noses. We introduced some small toys into the pen but so far no one has “discovered” them. Their teeth are just beginning to pop through and this week we’ll try introducing a little puppy mush. (I might film that!) Although it’s early to make predictions on personality, my impressions this week are that the girls are more active than the boys. Camaro likes her voice and most of the time when you hear a bark it’s her. Nova likes to engage her litter mates in play tussles and Chevelle perfected her climbing technique and showed us the necessity of adding more height to the pen barrier. Barracuda (aka Barry) is so far the mellowest pup.
Nova (“I’m coming to get you!”)
Camaro looking demure. I love that half white muzzle.