Monday, August 31, 2009

The Puppy Walk

Boy did we have fun but we also R-A-N! I think this was the fastest puppy walk ever. This litter ran to the front of the crowd and took off. What game puppy walkers we had, dashing through the woods, over rock walls, across streams to keep tabs on their puppies. The pups had a great time. We sweated! They swam at the end. We hoofed up a very steep hill. But it was worth every second watching those babies have such a wonderful time.

As we paused at the stream, three pups broke away to head back down the path. Thankfully, they came when called and we headed back up the long hill to a photo, the air conditioning and lunch. After that it was hours of playing with the pups, throwing the ball for the big dogs in the pool and on the hill, and just enjoying the company of other dog lovers.

It was a wonderful day! Of course, the pups think there should be a party every day at this point :-). As Andy says, they are ready to go home :-).

Off to put notebooks together for the Thursday pick up!


Friday, August 28, 2009

So Much To Tell

I have wanted to post many times this week but to be frank, I was too tired every night to do anything but roll into bed. What has happened since I last wrote? In a word, lots!

Eye Exams. Tuesday the pups, Amanda and I went to the see Dr Chuck Stuhr in Wilton, CT. This experience gave the pups a longer ride in the van (an hour each way), the chance to hang out in the x-pen near a very busy road so they got to hear traffic sounds, having eye drops put into their eyes to dilate them, playing in the exam room and then having an eye exam. If you've never seen a dog eye exam, it is an unusual experience for them, even the adults. The room is dark, the vet has lights on his headgear and he shines different lights into the dogs eyes. The pups had to hold very still while they were examined and they all did very well. And best of all, they all received a passing CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) exam!

Many people ask us why we take the trouble to take our pups to eye and heart doctors, rather than just our general practitioner. We do it for a number of reasons, most importantly to ensure that we know as much as we can about the health of the pups we sell. Goldens face a number of genetic problems, some of which can be found in puppyhood. Eye problems such as retinal folds, retinal dysplasia, dystichia, entropion and the primary heart problem that goldens face, SAS, can be seen at this age. These early exams are not foolproof since problems can also develop as the pup matures but they are the best we can do with such young animals. There are also a number of congential problems that can happen during fetal development that we like to track. We don't see many of them but they are worth noting.

Temperament and Bird Tests. Wednesday was temperament test day. Naturally, since it is the Summer of '09, it was over 90 degrees. We tested in the upstairs of the guest house, somewhere the pups had never been before AND a place we could air condition. Hot pups just can't show us who they are so the latter was critical.

Marcy Burke did the temperament test. She has been our primary tester for some time now and has terrific timing and rapport with the pups. The pups hadn't met Marcy before and they hadn't been in the guest house so they were meeting a stranger in a strange place by themselves for the first time in their short lives. I am always fascinated to see how pups can change when you take them away from their littermates. Courage definitely comes with numbers in the case of pups. This is one of the reasons that we continue to rely heavily on temperament testing; over the years we have seen significant but persistent changes in some pups when they are on their own. They are confident and bold in the puppy pen and/or with their littermates but become very different by themselves. Since we are looking to produce pups that can stand on their own two feet and be confident workers as individuals, we find this testing extremely important.

We also use a somewhat different temperament test. Rather than the shorter Puppy Aptitude Test, we have adapted Sheila Booth's Positive Puppy Preview. The PPP is a long test, averaging 30 minutes per puppy. This gives us an idea of each pup's stamina and whether or not they accumulate stress over time. We test three drives: food, retrieve and play/tug. We also assess energy level as well as a number of characteristics: environmental/people focus, forgiveness, dominance/submission, pain tolerance, sound and sight sensitivity, courage and persistence, and more. We stress the puppies in a number of ways to see how they handle stress and if playing helps them release it. And, of course, we have fun watching their antics as they leap, pounce, gambol and cuddle their way through the test.

This litter all did well but showed some interesting similarities across all puppies. None of the pups accumulated stress during the test. They were actually more relaxed at the end of the test than they were when they walked in the room. That is rare in our experience. They also all had great noses so their scent work should be very good. And, no surprise, they all turned on to the pheasant wing, easily bounding over obstacles to get to it.

After the temperament test, we brought the pigeons out for some bird testing. We use live shackled pigeons, gradually unshackling them as the pups gain confidence. (I want to emphasize that the pigeons are not harmed during this testing. They are alive and well, if a little pissed off, in our coop.) All of the pups showed good birdiness, snatching and carrying the shackled bird. Most were equally enthusiastic about the unshackled pigeons but a few were bold enough to chase but not carry the flapping prize. However, all showed strong birdiness that will easily develop into good field work with training.

Thursday. That brings us to Thursday and what a day it was. I woke up early intending to pack for the trip to the Structural exam in CT but it was such a beautiful morning, that I had to take the pups for a walk. Four of the adults, the pups and I headed out into the woods with Lise Pratt, who had helped with the temperament test. There is a video posted showing the start to our walk. There is definitely no video showing the end though.

All went well until we were about 10 minutes out. Lise and I realized that we were missing three pups and the adults had all come back so the pups weren't out with them. Crud! We head down to the swimming hole, since the pups will often follow the dogs there and then stay to play on the bank. We get pups. I decide to call back to Andy, who tells us the pups had come home a few minutes prior. Good puppies!

As we are standing there, both Lise and I see Una aways off, clearly hunting something. Suddenly she bolts toward us, shaking her head. We thought she had stirred up a bee's nest until she got close enough for us to smell her. Skunk! Yuck! The pups took one sniff of her and gave her wide berth.

We head home because I realize I have to bathe Una before we leave for CT. We keep the big dogs close so the pups would stay with us. We are about 5 minutes from the house and we let the big dogs run, since they usually head straight home to the pool at this point in the walk. However, when we get to the house, we are short another three pups and their ever-hunting mother, Risk. Argh! Risk dashes in a few minutes later with no pups in tow.

Ten years we've walked pups in these woods and we've never lost one...until this day. I put Una in an ex-pen outside so she couldn't stink up the house, called Corey and headed back into the woods. I suspected that Risk had headed up the ridge and the pups couldn't keep up so I hung a right and started climbing, swearing at Risk under my breath. Corey and I walked the top of the first ridge line, me calling and her sniffing for pups. Of course, I am also thinking of the darn bear that was around last week. I decided that if I was going to meet a bear, this was the morning to do it because I was pumped enough to take him on. Thankfully, I didn't have to test my cockiness.

Ten minutes of walking and there they were, scrambling up the ridge to my calls. Raz, Purple and Red--very happy to see Corey and I. I slid down the ridge to them and then the rest of the way to the path. From there, they knew their way home. As I trailed them in, I decided that Risk was fired from puppy walking!

A quick de-skunking made Una tolerable so we loaded up the pups and Risk and headed for Dr Debbie Gross Saunders' facility in Colchester, CT. She was to evaluate the pups' structure for performance. This was their longest van ride yet--2 1/2 hours each way but they did wonderfully. In addition to being evaluated, the pups met "Pig," the Saunders' pot-belly pig, the burros, ponies and cow. They hung out in Deb's treatment room next to dogs in the underwater treadmill and the kennel. They met kids, grown ups and more. It was truly an adventure! Photos and videos are posted.

During the week, we also took some 7 1/2 week stacked and head shots. Those are or will be up shortly.

Whew, I know that was long but I think you are up to speed on what we've been doing. Final placement decisions will be made today and tomorrow then the serious work of getting the pups ready to go home must be done.

All of that means that I have to get back to work!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Going-Home Preparations

Although the pups have another ten days or two weeks with us, we are starting all the steps to sending them home. Today, they got their first vaccine and their health certificates. They were terrific at Dr Jim's--confident and playful until we picked them up. Then they sat very calmly while Dr Jim weighed them, checked them out and gave them their vaccine. Not a cry out of any of them.

We decided to vaccinate them today based on Risk's antibody levels to distemper and parvo. We checked her levels two weeks before the pups were born and those results told us what antibodies the pups got from her milk in the first few days after birth. From there, we calculated approximately when their maternal protection against each disease would run out. Since her distemper titer was toward the low end, we needed to vaccinate the pups now to be sure they are safe when we walk them in the woods. However, her parvovirus titer was pretty high so it will be a few more weeks before their body can respond to that vaccine.

The pups traveled to and from the vet's very well. This was their second long car ride but there will be many more in the next week or so. It's a 35-minute ride to my vet's which is a stretch for such little guys. They cried a bit at the beginning and the very end, but otherwise, they slept and played with each other. The crying at the end was my fault because I forgot to potty them before crating them to come home. They had been sleeping while Dr Jim, Lauran Mancuso and I chatted so I should have realized they'd need to visit the litter box before I put them in the car. They let me know of my error about 10 minutes from home but they all held it. I was practicing the story I was going to tell a cop in case I got stopped for going a little over the speed limit. Thankfully, I didn't need it.

Tomorrow we are off to the veterinary ophthalmologist for their eye exams. We can't see all of the eye problems that goldens face this early in their lives but we can see enough to make that trip worthwhile. Keep your fingers crossed that all goes smoothly.

We added a big dog to the pack today. Skye, Gaylan's Winning Colors MH WCX joined us in preparation for her breeding to Brass, Brassfire's Seattle on a Lark MH WCX later this week. The girls all recognized each other immediately so Skye just fell right into step. I know Charlie and Lauran Mancuso miss her but it sure is wonderful to have her here with us, if only briefly. She'll go back home after the breeding until just prior to her whelping, which we think will be right around Halloween. Now there is a litter theme for you.

I'll post photos tomorrow.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Storm

The pups and I had an interesting socialization opportunity yesterday. Our county got hit by a very serious thunder storm in the late afternoon. The pups had weathered regular storms without missing a beat but this was a big one and it passed right over our house, complete with thunder, lightening, torrential rain and very strong winds. The EZ-Up that provides shade and shelter in the puppy yard got picked up and tossed about 30 feet onto our patio. Trash cans and lids were thrown about and leaves were dumped into our swimming pool but thankfully we had no serious damage.

The pups were a little unsure when I came running over from the office. The noise was loud and the lightening bright. The electricity in the air was so bad that the hairs on my necks and arms were standing up. The pups were debating whether to hide but our adult dogs are calm in storms so the pups were reluctantly taking their cues from them.

We focus pretty heavily on ensuring our pups and dogs are not afraid of thunder but we usually do that by playing tapes and CDs. Alas, this was no CD. So, I started playing games with the pups. I let them loose in the porch, dumped the bag of toys on the ground and threw kibble whenever the thunder or wind shook the house. Treats rained from the sky at every scary moment and soon the pups were scrambling around to get the treats even when the noise was at its loudest. We played tug, fetch and "climb all over Gayle" (a traditional favorite). The pups played keep away and WWF wrestling with each other. They ended up trashing the screen porch but having a great time in the process and forgetting about the storm. To be honest, I'm pretty afraid of lightening so it did me good, too.

The only repercussion from the storm that I can see is that the pups are using the litter boxes more than before. I suspect it is because they are somewhat reluctant to go outside to pee and poop. Any that were outside when the EZ-Up took off may take a little bit of time to get over that event. We'll spend lots of time out there over the next few days, when it isn't raining that is. The EZ-Up goes back in the yard tomorrow and we'll have a party with our sister-in-law, niece and anyone else that comes to visit.

One last story before I go. As I'm sure you have noticed, we teach our pups to climb for many reasons. They learn they have a rear end when they have to go up or down things, thus developing the nerves that fire their back legs. They learn they can fall off of things so they should be careful around edges. They learn to problem solve, how to get up and how to get back down. And, its very entertaining to hear the stories from their new owners when they find their pup climbing on every surface in sight--picnic tables, agility tables, etc.

Yesterday after the storm, the pups were having a great time playing on the small goose decoy in the inside pen. They were balancing on it, lying on it, chewing on its beak. As I was watching, I saw Miss Yellow starting to ponder something. She climbed on the goose, stood on her hind legs and reached for the chair that holds the x-pen in place. Sure enough, she hauled herself onto the chair and started exploring the window and sill. She contemplated trying to get over the x-pen but decided that wasn't going to work. She had a grand time before hopping down. I enjoyed watching her but decided to move the goose out of the pen for a while :-). You can see a photo above of her on her perch and more in the Week 7 listings.

Still hot and sweaty in NY,


Friday, August 21, 2009

Sometimes It's Just Not Fun

In most of my recent posts, I've told you about the fun we have been having with the puppies. However, it's not all fun and games and puppy kisses. There is a massive amount of work that goes into raising pups the way we do. It's work we love but it is still work.

For the last week, we've been doing that work in record heat and humidity. Personally, I am not a summer fan and I hate the three Hs--hazy, hot and humid. Andy wants to move south and to me that means Philly not Atlanta. At some point last night, I was tired of sweat running into my eyes, matted hair and everything being slimy and damp.

This morning was the worst--Amanda called in sick, I couldn't walk the dogs/pups until after 9 due to another appointment, and it was 80 degrees with 89% humidity when we started out. We all trooped into the woods but the pups were struggling from the start. The big dogs had a good run since they know where the stream is and can swim anytime they want to cool off. The little ones and I were not so lucky.

I had planned to head up the mountain today to introduce them to a new path. However, a bear went through our neighborhood night before last so I decided that adenture could wait until I had another person with a cell phone. We don't often have bears but the thought of four adult goldens, nine puppies, me and a bear is more than I can process early in the morning.

So, we did a relativly easy walk but we were all panting and tired after 30 minutes. Once back, the pups passed out on the cool slate floor in front of the fan, the big dogs went in the air conditioning and I got to clean the pens. Two guesses who has the better life around here.

Thankfully, the pups have become well housetrained in the past week. They poop outside or in the pans 99.9% of the time and pee there about 90% of the time. They do love to play in their water bowls though :-).

There are some new photos and videos up under the 7th week. Most of them are swimming shots due to the heat but I've also got some shots of the pups playing in the puppy yard and even doing the slide. Down at the water, you will hear them whining in the videos--the process of being left on the bank is stressful for them. I try to monitor their stress; I don't want it to be too much (I've made that mistake in the past) but I want to teach them to feel stess and handle it. Every puppy swam that day except Mr Brown. However, he swam the next day. They each develop at their own pace.

The slide is a favorite developmental activity for our pups. The process of doing the slide is complicated for a puppy--they have to find the up ramp, cross the crate and part of the wire grate, then climb up on the slide and, with courage, go down it. We make a big deal out of them going down so soon they want to do it over and over. They try climbing back up the slide but they can't do that. They try climbing onto the grate but they can't do that either. It takes some teaching over Week 7 and 8 but soon they have put the whole sequence together. Most love it--Dreamer will still do it today if you ask her and she can barely fit her butt on the slide anymore.

Well, it appears I talked myself out of whining. Have a good day! I'm off to take another shower!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer Fun

I decided that it is just too darn hot to do anything serious today. Now, I know you are thinking "What serious things could puppies possibly do?" Well, we have lots on our list this week. Things like bird introductions and evaluations but the birds are too hot and so are the rest of us. The pups hunkered down on the cool slate floor after their walk and breakfast. They woke up briefly for lunch but with temps still in the low 90s, they went back to their siesta until 5 PM.

At 5, I decided it was time for fun for everyone so we all headed back down to the creek. I like puppies to see adult dogs swimming a lot since I think it affects how they see the world so I figured even if they didn't swim, the pups would cool off and watch the other dogs swim. In addition, they could have some summer fun--playing in the shady grass, wading or swimming in Clove Brook, mucking around in the mud, chewing on sticks and, the best fun in the world, digging.

Well, they did all of this and more. There are photos and videos posted. WARNING! You won't see clean, fluffy pups in the pictures. Instead, you'll see wet, muddy, grassy, happy puppies. I'll try to remember to take a picture later tonight because they will be dry *and clean* by 8 PM. They have my favorite kind of coats--truly wash and wear!

Once we were all cooled off but before the mosquitoes ate us alive, I decided we needed to do edge and stair training. I believe that given the opportunity, puppies at this age can learn to discern the danger of edges and can make reasonably good decisions regarding getting off of things. That is one of the reasons that we have the crate jungle gym in the puppy pen. On it, they learn they can fall off of things, in addition to assessing differences in height and see-through footings. This must be innate in dogs if we get them off of flat surfaces and give them the chance to learn.

Today it was time to take the lesson out of the pen to our rock walls and stairs. I'm sure these multi-level patios were built for other reasons but they are also great for teaching pups about these concepts. It is particularly important here because our woods have many extremely high cliffs, stream banks and walls that can be a danger to naive puppies. You can see the pups tackling the stairs and walls in the videos. Like all pups, they learned that going up is much easier than going down so you'll see the pups going down are like salmon swimming against the tide of their littermates.

I think that's about it for today. Signing off from hot and humid Cold Spring.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Whew, it is H-O-T!

It took summer a long time to get here this year but it has arrived with a vengeance. We are having another 90+ degree day and the pups are hot! Looks like the next few days will be the same so we are settling into a South American routine. Get up early. Do all we can till it gets hot. Snooze until evening. Then rock and roll till quite late.

This morning, we walked the pups down to the stream, Clove Brook. It was their first introduction to swimming water. They all waded and three boys--Green, Blue and Red--went for a real swim. We then walked through the marsh and the pups got to play in the mud. That is such a favorite for all of our litters that we always do it, even if it means clean up afterwards. When we got back, we decided to snap their 6-week photos even though they were wet and dirty. Most importantly, they were tired so we could stack them easily :-). Stacked photos and swimming videos are up under 7 Weeks.

The pups have had quite a few visitors this week. Most fun was our neighbor Laura and her friends Ann and Raven. Laura is sponsoring Raven for a few weeks through the Fresh Air Fund. When Raven walked in the door, she was afraid of big dogs. When she walked out, she had played with all the pups, teaching Mr Green to "swim" in the pups' pool and giving Miss Sienna belly rubs. It was a pleasure to meet such a lovely young lady and introduce her to our dogs.

The pups had to say goodbye to my mom this morning. She has been a huge help with the pups since before the Reunion. I had a very demanding work week this past week and she carried on through that, giving me lots of comfort that the pups were being cared for when I was off working.

Lots of photos and videos are posted. Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Did you miss me?

I can't believe I haven't posted in 9 or 10 days. I'm sorry if you have missed me and the pups. The Gaylan's Field Reunion was amazing, awesome. I missed the pups but it was a wonderful experience watching 37 goldens, from 5 months to 8 years, working in the field. But, I digress. Back to the pups.

My mother and Amanda held down the fort while I was away at the Reunion and this week while I had to work pretty heavy hours. They did a great job keeping the pups' schedule going. We moved the pups to the big puppy pen with the outdoor yard before I left. Mom and Amanda started taking them out into the various parts of our property while we are away--they went to the patio and into the agility field.

Despite the heat, we took the pups on their first woods walk today. They did a wonderful job, following their mom and Corey for a 20-minute walk through the woods. They all followed well and boldly. They started solving their first problems with logs and rocks. They had a great time smelling the new smells, carrying leaves and getting aquainted with the woods. Risk wasn't too thrilled to meander through the woods but she'll survive--she'd had two other runs in the woods earlier today so she isn't suffering.

Most of the pups are now 8 pounds so they are growing like weeds. They are good eaters, scarfing down chicken, turkey, lamb and beef. We'll start on the exotic protein sources next week.

Oh, the pups also went on their first car ride last week when they had to go to my vet's for microchipping and blood draws for the PRA DNA test. Poor babies cried during the procedures but did a great job on the trips and hanging out at Dr Jim's. No one was car sick and aside from singing along with the music :-), they were a pleasure to travel with.

Come visit if you are able. They are at a terrific age although I'd recommend you wear slip on shoes without shoe laces :-). New photos and videos are posted. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Surprise and Farewell!

I woke up this morning thinking that all I had to do today was to organize everything for my mom to stay with the pups and Risk, pack the car, and wrap up work for the week. I am leaving tomorrow morning for the Gaylan's Field Seminar and Reunion in MD and will be gone for 5 days. It's not often that I leave puppies at this age but it was a matter of scheduling. I had to book the property for reunion before Risk came in season so I guessed when the pups would be born. My big fear was that the pups would be 7-9 weeks old during the reunion; at that age I simply cannot leave a litter. From 4 1/2 to 5 weeks, they are still pretty easy to handle so when Risk came in season and I calculated the whelping date, I asked my mom if she'd be willing to hold the fort down while I went away. Brave soul that she is, she said "Yes!"

Over the past few days, we've gone over the schedule and all was under control...until this morning. Risk finished her breakfast, climbed into the puppy pen and regurgitated for the pups. They dove in and enthusiastically cleaned up her breakfast in minutes. So much for all of my plans which did NOT include Mom feeding the pups solid food.

We decide when to introduce solid food based on three criteria: the dam's condition, the pups' growth ,and whether their dam is regurgitating for them. Two of these criteria pushed me to feed the pups earlier than normal. Typically we wait until the pups are 5 1/2 weeks old but Risk is struggling to maintain her weight, even on 6 pounds of food per day. The pups' weights are fine but I'm a great believer that dams know a lot, both about how their pups are thriving but also how their own body is doing. This morning, Risk made the feeding decision for me by giving the pups her breakfast.

We fed the pups Bravo ground chicken blend tonight and they dove in, eating 1.5 pounds of food in a few minutes. Tomorrow they will take on 4.5 pounds, 10 percent of the litter's combined weight. I'll bet they finish it all! Risk will continue to nurse the pups until she decides she is done; if she is like her dam and granddam, she will nurse the pups until they go home, which we think is very healthy for the pups.

I won't be blogging for the next five days but Mom has said she'll give it a try so stay tuned for her observations and insights on the pups. Photos and video will be going up, too. In fact, there are some posted from today. Enjoy and I'll see you when I get back.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Holy Cow!

I've been remarking to visitors how good the 4th of July litter has been--quiet and sweet. Hah! They were just faking me out. They turned into little hellions this morning. Howling, hanging onto the x-pen begging to get out, screaming when their mom walked by. Whew! I was exhausted by 8 AM!

Naturally, they did this the first morning my mother was here. Mom is here to take care of the pups while the other dogs and I are at the Gaylan's Reunion and Field Seminar in MD this weekend. Before she arrived, I'd told her not to worry, the pups were easy. I should never have said that!

There is good news. The pups are terrific at using the litter box, probably hitting it 90% of the time when they are in the puppy pen. They aren't so good when they are out loose but that will come. They are taking all of the new experiences we offer in stride. Although we've done things like vacuum around them since they were born but as their senses become more developed, these experiences are new again and again. They are inquisitive about everything and bravely find their way in and out of every spot in the dining room and kitchen. (Check out the photo of Miss Sienna in the toy/dog bed stack. She got herself in and back out again.)

Send energetic thoughts are way as we start into the active phase of these pups' time with us. I think we are going to need it!

More photos and video are uploaded. Let us know which is your favorite--"Like this."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Squirrels, Stacking and 'Sploring!

Over the years, our dams have regularly hunted for their pups. Both Abbi and Lily caught rabbits for their babies. In the Gamebird litter photo archives is a wonderful photo that Lise got of Bizzy standing at the door with a dead squirrel in her mouth. She was determined to get that squirrel in to her pups. We had a repeat of that very same experience yesterday. I was working on the pool when Risk ran by at the head of a golden parade. In her mouth was a squirrel and hot on her heels were Una, Dreamer and Corey.

Unlike Lise, I didn't think to get a photo as I got control over the gang and avoided Risk who was trying to give me that squirrel. Yuck! When we got to the house she was became quite determined to take it in to the pups. Normally very obedient, she initially would not give me the squirrel. Nothing like standing there for what seemed like five minutes holding onto a dead squirrel waiting for your dog to release it. (Not to worry, I put my work gloves on before attempting this.) Risk finally regained her senses and gave me her prize. I love owning hunting dogs but there are days that they try me.

Amanda and I stacked the pups on the table for the first time this morning. It's always interesting to see how pups handle this event. Some litters hit the deck of the table and won't stand for a few sessions. Not this crew! I put them down and they stood immediately. They really liked the vanilla yogurt we used to guide them into a stand. Some did it well, just like little show dogs, some not so well but all had a great first session. Enjoy their photos under the 5-week photo page.

All of the pups are running now and we've had our first puppy tiffs so they are growing up. The tiffs are typical sibling squabbles where they struggle for the best sleeping areas and favorite toys. However, this is the beginning of learning how to inhibit their bite. I can promise you, they are now armed and dangerous with those puppy teeth. Whew! We'll go through three weeks of progressively stronger bites until at 8 weeks, they finally learn to control their mouths. If you come to visit in the meantime, wear long pants and sleeves :-).

When we first turned the pups loose in the dining room a week ago, they would toddle only eight or so feet from the pen. Now they have taken over the dining room and kitchen and, if we didn't close doors, they'd be all over the first floor. Tomorrow they get to explore the screen porch, their future home, for the first time. There are a few new videos of their romps under 5-week videos.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

So Much to Tell

It has been a busy day for the pups so I have lots to tell you. The most exciting thing is that the pups are now recognizing and responding to people. For the first time, when I came down this morning, they came running over to me. I've been greeting them from the back of the pen so they have to get into the litter box to get to me. That has only been moderately successful even as recently as last night. But today they can see, hear and locate people and, equally exciting, they want to! Eight of the nine of them ran over to me and pottied in the litter this morning. Big YAY! (The last pup just couldn't hold it so ran over after her business :-). )

Today was also their first trip outside. It was a sunny, warm day with low humidity so I knew they would be comfortable. The grass was still wet from yesterday's rain but they would only get a little damp so I decided to get them out. My new puppy assistant, Amanda helped me haul the litter outside to the yard onto the grass. They played for about 7 or 8 minutes before crashing all over the yard. When puppies need to sleep, they sleep no matter where they are. We got lots of photos and some video so check out Week 5.

My puppy development plan also requires changing the footing in the box today to introduce the pups to another novel experience. I didn't exactly use a novel item but it sure was fun watching them explore this new part of their environment. Those photo and video are also in Week 5.

I also added some final pictures and video to the Week 4 folder. You can get an idea of how big the pups have become. Go back to the Week 1 video and photo folders to remind yourself how very small the pups were when we started this adventure only one month ago.