Well maybe not clearly….but they do have their eyes open It’s amazing how those little faces come to life once they are able to look at you. They respond more quickly to our voices and presence and they are working on standing and taking tentative steps. Cobra is still ahead of the pack in that regard and actually will toddle over to us with a fair amount of coordination for his age. They are also discovering their voices. Camaro was the first one to issue a real puppy bark and now the others are too. The cuteness factor just keeps growing!
Camaro whispering secrets to Chevelle
All 3 girls (Nova, Chevelle, Camaro)
Mustang (“Are we done with pictures yet? This is boring!”)
A better shot of Barracuda with his bros
All the boys (Barracuda, Cobra, Mustang, Charger)
Pups haven’t really changed that much from the last update except for size. They are growing well! Cobra and Barracuda are still the stoutest pups with Mustang and Chevelle on the opposite end of the spectrum. Their eyes are not yet open but they are more active and scramble around when they sense mom is near. Cobra has been managing to get up and stand on all fours while the others still crawl “GI Joe style”. I’ve also noticed that Cobra will throw his nose into the air as if air scenting which is something I’ve not observed in a pup this young. It will be interesting to watch him and see if he indeed possesses more of a nose than his litter mates. We handle all pups daily, picking them up, holding them in various positions for a few seconds, letting them smell and taste us. This kind of mild stress actually promotes neurological development and I believe starts the bonding process off to a good start. Camaro seems to be the most wiggly resistant pup at this point, occasionally voicing an objection. Perhaps she is more sensitive to the stimulation or perhaps she just likes to complain! Here they are in order: Mustang, Cobra, Barracuda, Charger, Nova, Chevelle, Camaro.
So the theme for this litter is “Classic Cars” (you can tell Jesse had a hand in naming these guys!). Pups are 2 days old in these photos. We made a mistake in our initial sexing of pups and the actual count is 4 males and 3 females. They are all doing really well. They range in size from just under 10 oz (Mustang) to a little over 15 oz. (Barracuda). Maya is a calm, confident mother and is taking very good care of them.
MUSTANG – sable/white MALE
COBRA – dark sable/white MALE
CHARGER – sable MALE
BARRACUDA – tri-color MALE
NOVA – sable/white FEMALE
CHEVELLE – black/tan FEMALE
CAMARO – tri-color FEMALE
Maya had her pups today. She was 5 days early with pretty subtle labor signs and as a result, she whelped unassisted overnight while we slept. She went to the spot we prepared for her and gave birth to 10 pups. Upon discovery this morning, 3 were dead Whether this was something that could have been prevented if I was there helping is unclear. The pups appeared normal and good sized, were cleaned and umbilicals severed. Another pup was born dead when we took Maya out for a potty break. So the final count was 11 pups with 7 living. Of those, 3 are females and 4 are males. Four are dark sables (some with white, some without). Three look to be black and tan or tri. We’ll have to wait to see if that is in fact their coloring or if they are just really dark shaded sables. Mom is now clean, settled and comfortable and pups are nursing well.
It’s been about a year since I last updated this blog. Shortly after our puppy raising adventures last year, Mike was offered a job opportunity in west TN. He accepted and we began the long process of cleaning up, weeding through and packing. We arrived at our new home in Nov. We are slowly acclimating to life here. There are many many things to get used to: the weather, soil and growing condition, the culture. We are learning to understand and appreciate the differences in lifestyle and attitude and have met some nice folks. The dogs have adjusted just fine. Their life is much the same as it was in IL…acreage to run on, chores to help with, kids to watch over.
Here is a particularly relevant story in that regard. We’d been here two months. I posted it on our Facebook page but it’s worth copying here:
Today Aidan came in after walking in the woods with a story about finding a gate, and how they weren’t sure where they were so they turned around and went home. The “we” he was referring to was Sawyer and him. Anyway, he wanted to show me the gate so we went for a hike. He proceeded to lead me down the steep side of the ravine behind our house and back up the other side then over to another steep ravine. I questioned whether he had gone that far by himself. He said yes but then they turned around because he thought they were off our property. I am thankful for a dog like Sawyer who true to ES character watched over his boy. I now know my little guy is far more adventurous than I thought so we’ll be setting some boundaries!
You can see how steep the ravines are.
Sawyer won the award for hero dog that day
These dogs pay you back in a thousand ways every day!
When we moved here, I decided we wouldn’t consider raising another litter until we were settled and prepared. My son was interested in breeding Maya eventually so we got her hips checked (she came back with great scores!). By the time she came into heat we were feeling good about going ahead with a breeding. Our new house is uniquely set up with a potential whelping/puppy raising area that has direct access outside. We’ll need to do a little fencing to provide a safe place for pups to play outside but otherwise we’ve got a pretty good set up, much better in fact than our old house.
Maya was bred to Sawyer on April 18 so we are expecting pups around June 20th.
Well we’re done…..Duchess left this weekend to start her new job of farm manager and companion. She is really well suited for it. In her last weeks we had her we watched her come along wonderfully with her responsiveness. It’s amazing what some time and a few hot dogs will do! Seriously, it’s been an education in evaluating pups. I think sometimes the effect of litter competition can play out in ways you don’t expect. Once we had her more one on one, we saw a different pup. She still maintained enough independence to entertain herself but also learned to come when called and enjoyed hanging with us – a great balance for a farm dog in my opinion. I think Queen will miss her playmate and sparring partner! Alice is quick to step into the role of playmate though so she’ll have a dog to rough and tumble with and I’m looking forward to pouring more time and attention into Queen.
We’ve had a fun week with the pups. The last of Ivy’s pups left for her new home on Tuesday and Tweedle Dum heads to his on Sunday so that just leaves Duchess. I’m glad we still have her as it is giving me the opportunity to peg her personality a little better. I’m still seeing some independence and assertiveness but she is learning to look to us more, like a good ES should. She is a bold, confident pup and fearlessly tries new things. She now scales the kids playset stairs and climbing wall with ease and I can see the wheels working when she looks down the slide from the platform.
We’ve been bringing these last pups into the house more to work on housebreaking and manners and taking them on errands and outings to continue their socialization. We’ve visited the park (Duchess wanted to go meet EVERYONE and chase the blackbirds; T.Dum was content to flop by us in the grass and kill dandelions), and the local $$ store where we got new collars and some bones. They’ve also come along to deliver lunch to Mike who has been helping a friend with field work.
The day Garnet left, the kids and I spent the morning constructing a homemade puppy agility course (it’s a little safer than the kids playset). It started off with me noticing a large PVC tube tucked in the corner of the shed. I thought the pups might like to crawl through it so we brought it out and braced it with some 1/2 rounds of firewood. We took a board and added a dog walk and my kids contributed the orange cones for weave poles. Pieces of steak were nice enticements to try the obstacles and before we knew it they were tackling everything with gusto. The tunnel/tube was by far the favorite. One would get in and claim it as theirs while the others would try to plow through.
Duchess checking out the tube
"Come on, you have to share!"
Tweed getting the hang of it.
Our girl Queen. Aren't those ears a hoot?
Trying the dog walk.
Lots of fun and exercise for pups....I think it tired out Aidan too (that's him in the background taking a snooze).
There are just two pups that have yet to find their homes. Duchess and Tweedle Dum are both Alice/Sawyer pups. Duchess is a confident, assertive girl with a bit of an independent spirit. She is responsive and outgoing but is also very into her surroundings and wants to check everything out. She is a dog that will benefit from some work to do and should have an owner that understands good leadership and will work to establish a strong bond with her. I can see her doing well in a working farm environment where she could oversee the routines of the farm and be a partner to her human.
Tweedle Dum is a very responsive pup with a great outgoing, affectionate personality. He is bold and adventurous but always comes running when you call. His seal coloring grows more apparent every day and I think he is quite striking. He would make a nice training prospect for obedience, agility or pet therapy. He has also shown some interest in the ducks.
Here you can see the seal color clearly. It's most apparent on his ears, around his eyes and on his sides and skirt.
That's corn on his nose. He was cleaning up spilled grain.
Here is a video of Queen, T.Dum and Duchess having fun climbing and sliding:
Alice/Sawyer pups playing
Well the exodus of pups has begun. To date, 10 of Ivy’s and 3 of Alice’s pups have left for their new homes. We’ll get to enjoy some of the rest of them for a little while yet as the last pup isn’t scheduled to leave until late next week and we still have one or two pups to place. The notes I receive from their new owners are so rewarding. Truly it’s one of the best parts of breeding…..seeing the joy and excitement these pups bring to their new families.
My decision to keep a pup has remained but I’ve decided that it will be Queen. She showed me some things in this last week that cemented that small tugging feeling I’ve had about her almost from day one. I’ve realized that sometimes it takes time to “see” a pup and that my powers of observation can always be honed. I’m excited. Queen has the bright attentiveness of her mother with the confidence and exhuberance of her father; a great representation of this breeding.
"This laundry is MINE!"
It was hard to get pictures on everyone this week. We had some rainy weather plus they are *always* moving! If anyone knows the trick of how to get those shots of the whole litter on a bench or in a wagon looking directly at the camera, you could probably make a good buck selling advice to people like me! The time is going by so fast. Confidence is growing. Now when we let them out to play, they go in all directions, squirming through the livestock fence to investigate the goats, crawling under the horse trailer, exploring the outbuildings….one pup even made it to the top of the swingset’s slide platform – yikes! I don’t know if it takes a village to raise a child but it definitely takes one to raise a litter. Good thing I have plenty of puppy wranglers here. This litter will be tested on Tuesday. We hope to be able to confirm the placements we’ve made and give each owner the results of the test which might let them know where their pup’s natural tendencies lie.
Duchess, Hatter, Cheshire, T.Dee, Gryphon & Queen
Tweedle Dee ready to play baseball
Tweedle Dum & Hatter on the climbing wall
Treacle (the pups are looking at Duchess who had just absconded with the remnants of a turkey wing buried in the dirt).
Queen exploring under the rabbit cage