Bob & Robyn Scola me us for a puppy shoot
My friend Nellie came to see the puppies and I promptly put her to work grooming. She’s experienced with toy poodles and told me that these giant puppies were a piece of cake. She not only has the technical expertise but has the most wonderful gentle handling. The puppies were putty in her hands. What would have taken me days was done in two afternoons.
Carol and Lindy were willing to drop what they were doing to help me bring the puppies for a swim. To be honest we didn’t expect the puppies to get in the water since the bank was a shear drop-off. I’m not sure the puppies knew what they were doing, that they saw the water and decided they wanted to get in but as soon as they were on the bank they started jumping in like Lemmings. Plop plop plop they went! Red puppy jumped in and she disappeared under water, surfaced and swam to shore. Orange puppy jumped in then Blue. It was chaos!
After an hour of running through cat tails and grasses the puppies finally slowed down to enjoy the view.
I have to admit that it was fairly quiet here in Seattle during the 4th of July weekend. So quiet, in fact, that I had to open all the doors and windows to get any firework sounds at all. I’m still happy to report that puppies were oblivious to the event.
Claudia researched a new puppy raising program called The Puppy Culture and excitedly told me about one of the puppy tools it incorporates using plastic balls and a kiddie pool. I think the purpose of the exercise is to provide auditory and physical stimulation to the puppies while they play. I thought it was a pretty silly idea and reluctantly went along with the idea. You can judge for yourself if it was a success.
It was the perfect place to introduce the puppies to a world outside their yard because there is ample space to safely run and explore. The biggest hazard of letting puppies loose in a public place is the risk of someone coming over to visit. It’s not the visit itself that’s difficult but the fact that 6 puppies would be trying to follow the person as they walked away. Been there done that.
I have tried to get them into the car with each errand I run and they are starting to settle down. I have to admit they’ve been a bit boisterous in the car.
2x to Issaquah property
1x to lake in Northbend
2x to Lake Washington
1x to pond in Carnation
They have touched their toes to the water but none are going in on their own. I’ve had litters swimming as early as 6 weeks but this has no baring on ‘love of water’ as an adult. As a matter of fact Ally was first introduced at age 8 weeks and was full-on jumping in at 11 weeks.
A poodle party is one of the best ways to socialize puppies and bombard them with a lot of stimulation. They are in a familiar environment with enough space to take a break and, most importantly, access to their whelping box area so they can put themselves to bed. Puppies are able to come and go as the Adults partake in food and beverage.
People are frequently asking me if I use the new and popular puppy rearing protocol called “The Puppy Culture.” I have to admit that, no, I don’t. Before Ally was even bred Claudia asked me if I knew anything about this program and/or if I’d like to use it for the litter. Since I’m always eager to learn new things about dog training, behavior and breeding I said that I’d love to check it out. It was an eye opener and as I watched the the step by step program, I was able to say… “I do that, I do that… I do that.” I learned about some exciting new ways to interact with my puppies and, although a number of things were similar to what I do, they were a bit too contrived for my taste. Many exercises were very orchestrated with fairly ridged training sessions. I prefer to let puppies learn on their own. Let them climb and fall and explore and experience without my intervention.
Well it is. Since puppies at this age can be aggressive in their consumption of raw meat, tapping into their wild ancestor protection of resources, I like to be hands on while they partake. I hold the food while they eat and if they’re particularly assertive I will hold them in my lap. I always have enough for each puppy to have its own morsel and at times I will scatter an abundance of food among the puppies so there’s no doubt that the harvest is plentiful. This helps them learn that there’s no reason to hoard and if a human hand is a part of the picture it’s to assist not steal.
By now puppies have had their nails clipped 3 times. I clip nails this frequently partly to help accustom puppies to having their feet handled but mostly I do it because it protects mom from the very aggressive grabbing and kneading by 60 sharp puppy nails. Well, puppies are due for another clipping but their foot hair has grown too long for the nail clippers so it’s time to shave feet. Once I get the clippers out it’s hard to hold back and I can’t resist doing their faces. It’s always a surprise to see the little faces behind all that hair!
We continue to challenge the puppies with new surfaces, sounds and experiences. The great thing about doing this casually is that the puppies have no idea that their brains and bodies are being pushed.
Ally is starting to nurse standing up. The puppies are getting a great workout balancing and stretching. Orange is trying to figure out the best way to approach this.
No wonder the puppies all came down with a bout of diarrhea. It looks like a good percentage of their teeth decided to come in all at once. Luckily everything is back to normal but now Ally has a whole new challenge ahead of her. She needs to teach the puppies ‘bite inhibition’ and with these hungry little piglets it wont be easy.
Puppies got their first solid meal today. It took exactly a half a second for them to figure out what was going on. They were surprisingly tidy about the whole affair. After their feast they collapsed into food comas, which was good because later today they’re going back outside so they need a good rest.
Grand Mom Nickel earned her last leg toward her UKC Nosework title. It was a perfect way to celebrate her 11th Birthday!! Happy Birthday Nickel!
A beautiful day outside. Puppies had no problem transitioning to the big wide world. They didn’t wander far but took advantage of the dog beds and soft landing spots (when the fell off the dog beds). Although there’s a crate in the whelping box now it is helpful to use a crate as a ‘safe haven’ when ever the puppies are exposed to a new place. They not only feel more secure but they learn that the crate is a really fabulous place to be.
After about 20 minutes of exploring the puppies gathered in the crate and I carefully closed it. They slept for a good hour. It was really great because of all the new sounds they took in during their sleep. Traffic, air planes, construction, dogs barking, people talking.
During the next few weeks we will begin to see puppies interacting more and more. Although they’re beginning to explore the world around them, their main focus is on one another.
They’re also in a stage of intense separation vocalization so if they wander too far from the pack they will let us know! Their eye sight is also improving and they are beginning to see at a greater distance. This brings about a new fear period too. The puppies are more aware of movement overhead and objects that are tossed into the whelping box. This can be a delicate time for introducing them to the world outside their whelping box but if done correctly it’s also a great time to desensitize them to more environmental stimulus.
Since this is probably a bigger deal to Ally than it is to the puppies I decided not to travel far with them so I put a dog bed just outside the back door and it’s the perfect spot.
1. It’s under cover. The puppies have never seen the open sky except the few times I carried them outside and it can be very intimidating or even down right scary.
2. It’s noisy. There’s some construction next door and there’s a variety of loud sounds emanating over the fence.
3. It’s comfortable. There’s a nice light breeze, a relief on this hot day.
In order to carry out proper desensitization of sounds it’s important to give the puppies a startle. There can be a fine line between a startle and a scare and we really just want to de-condition them to environmental stimulus not increase their stress or fear. I like to see a small reaction and then a ‘bounce back’ to their original behavior. The sounds from the neighbors proved to be riding that line. In the end the puppies appeared quite content.
Can you believe this was just 10 days ago?
You might think that they all can be used for grooming. Well, you’re right and I start introducing these to the puppies so they’re used to all the physical sensations they’ll eventually experience during grooming. Face it, poodles face a life time of baths, clips and cleanings and if your puppy is freaky deaky about the equipment both of you will have a tougher time getting through regular maintenance.
Although I don’t use the tools above on the puppies until they are a bit older, the one thing I do start early are nails. This isn’t just for the puppy’s well being but for mom’s as well because those sharp nails can do a lot of damage to mom’s belly. I start off clipping nails as early as 2-3 days but I only do the front feet. I leave the back nails alone because long sharp rear nails are great for helping a puppy brace while nursing. The front nails gotta go. Since the puppies are getting stronger and more coordinated, today I could finally clip off those back nails.
Pups are being exposed to all kinds of outside influences as they grow. Their eyes and ears are closed but that doesn’t mean that they are closed off from the outside world. I like to introduce all kinds of sounds, touches and smells during this time period because it makes introduction easier later.
Just because they can’t hear doesn’t mean they can’t hear. There is a lot more to sound than what we pick up with our ear drums. Many sounds that are later in life scary to dogs are in the form of vibration. Fireworks, thunder, pressure washers, etc… can be ‘heard’ by our canine friends well before we hear them. Some of this is due to their more acute ability to hear different sound frequencies but it’s also because they can feel the sound. How many of you have heard that animals know when earthquake or tornadoes will hit? Vibrations.
Warning… turn down your volume for this one…
So I like to get obnoxious tools that can produce sound and vibration. Some of these include: sander, hair drier, dremel, vacuum, electric tooth brush, clipper and of course the internet. All of these provide a plethora of sounds. Usually the softer less intense sounds/vibrations are introduced first.
Introducing essential odors is primarily done to match scents used in Nose-Work with a positive experience. I begin almost immediately pairing odors to nursing. There’s no proof that this does anything to advance a puppies potential at nose-work but it certainly doesn’t hurt. I have also produced a few puppies with some exceptional nose work abilities.
Easy peasy way to get puppies used to all kinds of surfaces before they’re even walking. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Puppy Rule of 12: Introduce your puppy to 12 different surfaces by the time it’s 12 weeks old. Well, these puppies have already been on at least 12 different surfaces before they’re walking and they do it all on their own without any artificial interaction. How? Easy, put all kinds of obstacle in the whelping box for the puppies to crawl over, under and through on their way to lunch. The only No-No would be any slippery surfaces.
HOW MANY DIFFERENT SURFACES CAN YOU COUNT HERE?
4/30/2003 – 4/19/2017
Mother to the Magic Litter June 13, 2006
Nickel, Dancer, Joey, Belle’, Ico, Jack & Guy
Mother to the Royale Litter August 4, 2010
Mica, Rhodi, Blue, Boomer and Dele’
Mother to the Absolut Litter May 11, 2011
Ally, Taura, Kozmo, Scarlet, Rush, Lacey, Hazel, Clooney and Mac
Mother to the TNT Litter April 20, 2012
Epic, Chelley, Sarg, Bou, Fiona and Banjo
Mother to the Super Litter October 13, 2016
Nobel, Sodium, Juniper, Hopper and Salish
Mother to the Wunderbar Litter May 7. 2017
Blue, Purple, Red, Green, Orange and Yellow
Names to be determined 🙂
The reason why the whelping box looks like it’s been hit by a tornado is because it has. Tornado Ally. She’s what you’d call a ‘nester’ and she’s constantly undoing my whelping pad organization with her diligent excavating.
I have the whelping box set up with layers of a variety of pads and these layers facilitate cleaning while providing a comfortable bed for mom and puppies. The bottom layer is heavy fleece padding and the middle layer is a thinner fleece light enough to throw in the washer. On top of all of these are reusable ‘pee pads.’ They are really handy: easily washed, durable, super absorbent and soft.
Very time I tidy things up Ally gets to work deconstructing
I’m happy with Ally redoing her landscape because it’s actually a great thing for the puppies. If you notice in many of the pictures the puppies are draped over mom’s legs, piled on top of each other, hanging head down on a bump or trying to lay on a fold. It’s good for puppies to do this and it also gives them obstacles and challenges to maneuver across which starts muscle and nerve development.
The puppies are still taking in colostrum and will for another couple of days although the effectiveness of the antibodies wane after the first 24 hours. Through the colostrum they are getting a potent supply of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals from it but most importantly they are acquiring mom’s antibodies. These antibodies will set a foundation for future immunity by encouraging the development of memory cells. Some researchers are starting to believe that memory cells remain for life eliminating the necessity for booster shots. For the most part, however, most vets still encourage us to measure the amount of antibodies via a yearly titre. There is lots to learn.
Fresh Frozen Plasma.
FFP is a source of antibodies and other protiens which give a new puppy a little jump-start. Since for the first 24 hours after birth the puppies are able to absorb nutrients directly through the stomach lining it’s possible to easily administer. After 24 hours it would be digested just like everything else and the plasma would have to be injected. Why would I give FFP in the first place?
This FFP is from antibody rich blood and is just another way to boost the new puppies immune systems without causing any stress. The research has shown that puppies given FFP were more resilient and more active than puppies not given the dose.
The FFP is shipped overnight from the blood bank and can remain there until delivery. The instructions are to give 1 ml per puppy by mouth but I don’t feel comfortable putting liquid into the mouth of such a young puppy (hours old). There’s too much of a risk for pneumonia if it gets into their lungs. So, instead I rigged up a system with a cut down feeding tube and syringe. As the puppies nurse I slowly bath the nipple with the FFP and the baby sucks it up. It’s labor intensive but a lot more safe.
I purchase plasma from Dr Jean Dodd’s canine blood bank. http://www.hemopet.org/
For the first time, Ally trotted out to the yard. She was pretty exhausted after her rapid fire delivery but she felt good enough this afternoon to play a little.
It must feel really good for her to stretch her legs.
It’s never too early to get things rocking and rolling. Actually there is but in our case the timing was just right. Ally is getting her energy back and the puppies are settling in. Mom was taking a nap and the puppsters were nursing so I decided it was time for some background noise. The more they can be environmental stimulated in the next 16 weeks the better and I always start with NOISE. It doesn’t necessarily prepare them for specific sounds (running the vacuum isn’t to get them accustomed to a vacuum) but its great to lightly stress their neurological development and stimulate mild startle responses. I love to introduce them to new sound, scent, touch and visual while they’re nursing because at this time they are taking in powerful endorphins and they associate the startle with something very pleasant.
I’ll continue to be a day behind in my posts since it takes time to edit pictures and write my posts. It’s always more work than I remember to take care of mom and babies the first few days. Ally has taken to motherhood with gusto but she is still recuperating from delivery and not wanting to eat a lot. Needless to say, it takes a lot of energy to nurse babies so I’ve been kept busy encouraging her to eat enough.
Ally is getting a calcium supplement with cottage cheese and goat’s milk, and if she’s really lucky, vanilla ice cream.
Puppies make a lot of weird sounds and it’s always hard in the beginning to know if it’s a cry of pain, hunger, anger, frustration, need to eliminate or a case of Puppy Tourettes.
It didn’t take Ally long to figure out the difference and after a while even I can tell the deference between a puppy with gas and a puppy having a temper tantrum because it can’t get to a nipple.
They are all resting soundly and I’m looking forward to sharing pictures tomorrow.
Good night everyone!!!
In the last few days your bitch may:
1. Become restless.
2. Exhibit occasional panting.
3. Build a nest.
4. Hide away under a house or some other private place.
5. Make milk.
All these are signs, but none give an accurate means of predicting whelping time.
• Two methods can be used to predict the time within 24 hours.
1. Twice daily rectal temperature readings.
2. Blood progesterone levels.
Blood progesterone levels are used when there is no other available information. They are very accurate, but take us 24 hours to get an answer.
You will need to plot your bitch’s temperature on a chart.
Normal temperature is 37.5 – 38.5 centigrade.
12 – 24 hours prior to whelping this drops significantly, usually to 37.1 or lower. In small breeds this can be as low as 36.4
If you have a 12 hourly chart of morning and evening temperatures for the past 5 – 7 days it is very clear when this drop occurs.
Signs of Impending Parturition (24 hours before whelping)
a. rectal temperature decreases by about 1 degree Celsius.
c. nesting behaviour:
Nesting may occur before this but will intensify in the 24 hours immediately preceding parturition.
d. mammary development and abdominal swelling are NOT good indicators of impending parturition, they vary considerably between bitches and with parity.
a. 6 – 12 hours duration.
b. cervical dilation occurs and uterine contractions begin but are not visible externally.
c. panting, restlessness, nervousness, anorexia, shivering, occasionally vomiting.
d. contractions are regular and of decreasing interval.
a. 3 – 12 hours duration (huge variation).
b. onset of straining, passage of pups and placental membranes.
c. the presence of pups stimulating nerves in the cervix and vagina causes abdominal contraction and the release of oxytocin.
d. 1st pup usually is born in 1 hour.
e. pup should be born every 2 hours or less.
f. bitch has ability to stop stage 2, especially if disturbed, and may resume after rest.
g. usually delivery alternates between uterine horns and the fullest horn goes first.
h. usually get pup, followed by placenta, followed by pup but this is not always the case.
i. 40% of pups are born in posterior presentation, which is NORMAL.
j. expect the bitch to clean the pup and eat the placenta immediately – this is normal although it is not necessary for the bitch to eat the placenta.
a. in other species stage 3 refers to the passage of the placentae, but in the bitch this is accomplished during stage 2.
We began taking Ally’s temperature two days ago. This gives us a base line and lets us see a trend in her changes. Typically the temperature will spike 48 hours before and then drop 24 hours before delivery. If you can catch these fluctuation it’s possible to know approximately when labor will begin. There are plenty of physical signs that let us know that mom is going into labor but it’s always nice to know ahead of time. That said, nature always has the last word.
Pre-labor (24 hours pre-labor) mom might…
Stage 1 labor
Stage 2 labor
TEMP HAS DROPPED TO 98.8 from 100.4 F
Ally was in great spirits and had just enough energy to make a small loop through the woods.
Over the last few days Ally has been more and more uncomfortable. She hasn’t seemed comfortable laying down, only eating small portions at a time and making heavy signs while relaxing. Puppies have obviously been pushing on her lungs and stomach.
Today there was a sudden turn around in her comfort level. She gobbled up her food, played with Nobel and even spent some time on the front steps watching the world go by.
I suspect that the puppies have shifted. The puppies will be putting on weight and growing in size during this last week. They will also be starting to turn around so they are head-first in the birth canal. Right now (as you can see by the Xray) they are situated Easty and Westy. It’s not unusual for a puppy or two to be breach but it’s always nice if we see head first.
Bones are held together by flexible tendons. In pregnancy, these joints become even more mobile. Relaxin, one of the hormones associated with increased cardiac output, increased renal blood flow, and increased arterial compliance is also primarily responsible for relaxing the pelvic ligaments.
Soon after Ally’s insemination I explained to Claudia, Ally’s owner, that we could do a Relaxin Test to confirm pregnancy: Increased Relaxin = Pregnant. A few weeks later she told me that her agility instructor commented on how ‘Loosey Goosey” Ally looked. She was literally waddling… Relaxin was ‘doing its thing.’
It all makes sense, the puppies have to pass through a mobile pelvis and the hormone Relaxin helps make the pelvis a dynamic and flexible passageway to allow a puppy’s head to pass.
After everything was dry (including Noble’s nose) we moved it inside to start assembly.
We put down linoleum to protect Claudia’s wood floors, moved out the furniture and started putting up the sides.
The futon you see next to the box is where I’ll sleep for the first few nights.
During this phase the puppies are nearly finished developing organs, bones and limbs They finally look like little dogs. Their biggest job now is to grow grow and grow. They will gain the last 25% of their birth weight in only 3 weeks. Lots of brain and nerve development is taking place and by the last week or so puppies are mature enough to be delivered; of course we prefer that they continue development and maturity within the womb. Because of this rapid growth Mom’s calorie requirement can be up to 60% of normal (depending on litter size) and the growing puppies will begin to feel quite uncomfortable. This is a tough time for mom since she is less inclined to eat, due to pressure on her stomach, but needs a significantly increased nutritional intake.
Good-bye my beautiful girls. No words can express the pain and sadness in me. We have had an amazing life together. We’ve raised a family. We’ve traveled the continent. You have expanded my world, you’ve been the conduit to lifelong friendships, you’ve helped me learn more about myself and others then I could have ever imagined.
and Ally proved that she can still put her grove on. Puppy, Noble tried his best to out perform her but he came up short. Mama, Nickel, wasn’t a contender either.
Nobel sasses his great Auntie, Nickel…
Ally teases Noble….
Claudia the treat lady…
Above is Nickel 6 years ago when she was pregnant with Ally. Nickel was 5 years old at the time and had 9 puppies
Ally’s belly at day 38
Daughter and Mom Barn Hunters
Mom and Daughter Dock Divers
Mom and Daughter taking it easy
click above to see the ultrasound
28 days ago Ally and I (and my new puppy Noble) took a road trip to Oregon for Ally’s insemination. First step was to the Canine Semen Bank to pick up the Little Swimmers who had been cryogenically frozen in Germany and then we headed to the hotel for the night.
March 8, 2017
Next morning we went to the vet, Little Frozen Phoenixes in tow, for Ally’s insemination.
I decided to do a trans-cervical insemination instead of a surgical one since the vet insured me that the procedure was as equally successful as the more invasive surgical one. I liked the idea because instead of Ally going through the risks of anesthesia and surgery, the nausea of post op recovery, antibiotics, and days of bed rest she’d only need a 15 minute procedure followed by 2 hours of rest. On top of that I could do two breedings which increased our chances. Done deal.
Here’s a diagram of the procedure. In a natural breeding the semen is deposited on the left side of the cervix while with the scope it is deposited further up. The maturing eggs, in the mean time, are traveling down from the ovary toward the uterus.
After ovulation it takes 2-3 days for the eggs to mature and then they only live about 24 hours. Frozen sperm only lives 7 hours (opposed to 7 days for naturally deposited semen) so you can see that an extra breeding is a nice convenience.
The insemination only took about 15 minutes and then Ally stood for 2 minutes to let the boys begin their journey. The green frog on her back wasn’t just superstitious voodoo but there to remind Ally to stay still and I suppose to simulate her paramour. After this, we headed back to the hotel for the night to relax and wait for a repeat breeding the next day.
Almost one year to date I flew to Germany to visit a talented and sweet boy poodle named Phoenix.
I’d read about Phoenix on Facebook and it really was love at first sight. This boy had the best structure I’d seen in a very long time. In some ways he reminded me of the pictures of some of the poodle ancestors of the 50’s. He didn’t have the extra long legs seen on many show dogs here in the United States, his shoulders and hind leg angles were lovely, he had a beautiful long neck and the head of a working retriever. In addition to the impressive Champion Show pictures were videos and pictures of Phoenix doing Schutzhund work.
As my plane touched down in Frankfurt I began to get some heart palpitations. It wasn’t that I was worried that I had missed my connection from Frankfurt to Nuremberg and had to figure out how to take a train to my hostel, about the recent Paris airport bombings or that I didn’t speak a word of German. My anxiety was, ‘what if I’d just flown 2000 miles to meet a dog for breeding and I didn’t like him! What if he was a jerk? aggressive? Dull? No off switch!!! I drowned my worries at a local tavern and prepared myself to meet the in-laws.
Bianca had graciously offered to invited me to her house. You would have thought I was on a blind date, I was so nervous. I knocked on the door and heard a deep and loud woof woof!!! My heart skipped a beat and I wondered if he was going to be aggressive. What if I”d come all this way, laid all my hopes into this breeding and Phoenix ended up being a ‘bad’ dog? Bianca opened the door and the next thing I knew, Phoenix was up on his hind legs, paws on my chest and licking my face. His tail was wagging nonstop. He dropped down and danced like the most silly boy poodle you’ve ever seen. Bianca, wide grin, asked me in. I spent a week. I was invited to see Bianca and Phoenix and Wespar (her female Mal puppy) during several Schutzhund club training practices. I can’t tell you how impressed I was. Not only by Bianca’s obvious talent as a trainer but at how calm and confident was Phoenix. He has his poodle moments on the field, loosing focus here and there but his tail never stopped wagging, he took to his jumps, retrieves and finds like a pro and with classic poodle joie de vivre.
I was also invited to visit Pheonix’s first litter that was just 2 weeks old. I felt privileged to be invited into the owner’s home. Her new poodle mom was wonderful and was very accepting of my presence. Here’s Bianca with one of the gorgeous puppies.
I couldn’t have been more grateful for the hospitality that Bianca and her husband showed me during my visit. It means a lot to not only meet the ‘father to be’ but have a special connection with his owners. They made it a very special trip.