Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We are Growing!

Andy and I were both anxious last night but everyone came through with flying colors, if a bit sleep deprived. The pups are all consistently gaining weight and everyone is over 1 pound as of this morning. For me, that's a big hurdle for golden retriever pups. I want them to be 1 pound before the end of the first week and then growing steadily after that till they go home at 12-15 (yikes!) pounds.

It's so interesting to see the changes in the pups and Dreamer over the past few days. Initially, we couldn't drag Dreamer away from the pups...literally. It was like having a mule on the end of the leash. Yesterday, she started spending a minute or two outside the box (hence yesterday's sadness) and even came downstairs when dinner was being made. She couldn't concentrate enough to eat it down there but she could leave the pups for a short, three-minute trip.

This morning, she voluntarily went for a trip outside with Una and Corey and again supervised breakfast preparation. She had to eat it upstairs with the pups but was probably away from the box for at least five minutes. However, when she came back to the nursery, she ended up in the laundry basket not the whelping box :-).

She's also just started nursing sitting up. I've found this to be an important developmental opportunity that dam's give their pups as (and so that) the babies get stronger. Many folks force their bitches to lie down to nurse for weeks and I would too if the pups weren't gaining weight. However, if they are, I think the challenge that nursing sitting presents to the pups is fabulous. Without fuss or muss, without expensive or complicated equipment, without extensive scientific studies or publications*, mama dogs help their pups gain in strength, coordination, and problem solving. When you are only 2 inches high and blind, exactly how do you get to that nipple 6 inches off the ground? I'm not going to give away the puppies' secret but they do and in doing so, they learn to be persistent, to fight for what they want, to balance, to use all those wonderful muscles God gave them, and I'm sure much more.

Photos and videos are being uploaded now so check them out.


* For those that don't know me well, I'll share that aside from observing dogs, I base many of my dog rearing methods on science so I'm proud that I can also learn from my dogs and not be a total geek :-).

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