Monday, August 31, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Dog Breeder

Most people think my days are filled with contented dams
and cute pups
I often get notes expressing jealousy over the wonderful life I am able to live breeding and raising dogs.  Those notes are sent with so much love and joy that I accept them graciously.  I know most people think my days are filled with contented dams and cute puppies.  Occasionally do I chuckle over those emails after I've just done Poop Patrol, made yet another run to my vet's or answered a late-night emergency call from a worried owner. But yesterday was a day that I think needs sharing because it's an experience every breeder has but few other folks know about.

Yesterday, we almost lost Mr Purple.  He has been our smallest puppy since birth and hasn't kept up with the other pups' weight gains.  And yesterday, four days into his life, he crashed.  We had been watching him vigilantly, 24/7, since his birth.  And when I say 24/7, I mean every minute of every day someone has been with the litter, monitoring him and ensuring no one got chilled or squished by a sleepy mom.  Needless to say, we are all a little tired...especially me :-).

Mr Purple had lost weight on Saturday night so the next morning I went to work checking his vitals-- temperature, blood sugar, urine pH and hydration.  The puppy room looked like a hospital ward.  He had a very low-grade fever and was slightly dehydrated so I gave him glucose solution, one drop at a time.  Puppies can't gag so it's easy for them to choke if you go too quickly.

The puppy room looked like a hospital ward
He rebounded enough for me to take a nap but when I awoke late yesterday afternoon, Puppy-sitter Extraordinaire Noelle told me she was worried about him.  She was right!  He was limp and weak so I started emergency measures.  I tube-fed him fluids, which entails sliding a narrow feeding tube down his throat into his stomach.  Yes, it's a scary thing to do but essential when puppies are too weak to nurse.  The other option is taking them to the vet for IV fluids but it was Sunday night so that wasn't easily done.  And like most breeders, I worry about taking a newborn puppy to a vet clinic where they may come in contact with bad bugs from sick dogs.

Despite my efforts, nothing was working!  His temperature climbed to 101.5 F (normal for a one-week old puppy is 96-97 F). He was so dehydrated that I couldn't get blood to test his blood sugar.  He was flacid and limp.  Bottom line, Mr Purple was dying.

I started sub-cutaneous fluids and called my vet for antibiotics.  What kept me going this whole time was how annoyed he was with everything I was doing to him.  He fought tubing and the sub-Q fluids so hard that he stabbed me with the needle.  Yay!  I was thrilled he still had enough strength to resist my efforts, even if they were well intentioned.  He had no way of knowing that and just knew I was making him uncomfortable.

Today, Mr Purple is robust and vigorous
My wonderful vet (shameless plug...Dr Jim Zgoda, Otterkill Animal Hospital, Campbell Hall, NY) called in a prescription for antibiotics, Noelle came back to puppy sit and at 10 PM last night I got home with the drugs. We ended the night with another tube feeding session, this time with formula since he still wasn't nursing enough.

Although I didn't sleep last night, apparently Mr Purple did...and he nursed!  Today, he is robust and vigorous.  He gained weight overnight and is nursing actively.  He is still very annoyed with me but I know he'll get over it if I can just keep him alive.

My breeder friends are probably reading this post, thinking, "So what?  We all do this."  I agree but I don't think other dog-lovers have any idea what goes into raising a litter of healthy, stable puppies. Yesterday was just one of many challenging days and thankfully, it ended well with Mr Purple rebounding.  So today, I am again lucky to be a dog breeder!

P.S. The Puppy Cam went down yesterday morning but I should have a new one here and installed sometime tomorrow.  

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Sixpack Plus! The Beer Litter Has Arrived

Newborn Beer Litter
The Arrival.  The Beer litter arrived earlier than expected on Wednesday, August 26.  Glee went into labor on Tuesday evening and at 3:44 Wednesday afternoon, gave birth to Mr Purple.  What followed was the second fastest whelping we've ever had!  Six more puppies--Mr Blue, Mr Black, Mr Green, Miss Raspberry, Mr Brown and Miss Yellow--all arrived by 5:25 PM.  We barely had time to weigh and name them before the next arrived.  For a first-time mom, Glee handled the whole experience beautifully, cleaning each pup, cutting its umbilical cord and starting it nursing without much help from us.

Her last pup was a stillborn, born just half an hour later.  Despite our efforts, we couldn't revive him.  Those are always difficult moments but once Glee had said goodbye to him, we focused on her seven healthy pups.

We are thrilled to have these beautiful Buster x Glee puppies!  For those who are interested, here is their pedigree.  

Beer Litter 3 Days Old
The First Three Days.  The pups are three days old today and are doing very well.  Their days are filled with nursing and sleeping. Oh, and getting cleaned by their mom.  A LOT!  They complain about it but she doesn't care, scrubbing them harder.  Clearly, cleanliness is next to doGliness!

They also get weighed and examined each day.  Everyone has gained weight, with Mr Green now at 1 pound, 4 ounces.  Mr Purple is the smallest so he gets lots of time with his mom.  We have a range of colors from very light to very red.  Tails started wagging yesterday and pigment came in today so they are really looking like little dogs.

Glee continues to amaze us with her mothering skills and patience.  She is very aware and careful of where the pups are which makes our lives easier.  We are still with her 24/7 but are confident that she will take good care of her babies.

Dreamer and Una are quite dejected since Glee does not want them in the puppy room yet but she has welcomed human guests.  The pups have met Noelle, Joe and Vicki with more visitors tomorrow.

Training Starts Tonight!  Really!  We start Early Neurologic Stimulation and Early Scent Introduction tonight and will continue until the pups are 16 days old.  I'm considering doing it live on Periscope one night so let me know if you would like to join me.  If there is some interest, I'll let you know which night.

24/7? I've had some questions about whether we are really with the litter and their mom 24/7.  We are for the first 7-9 days.  Until the pups' eyes open around the 9th day, they are vulnerable to two major threats--getting too far away from Glee and thus getting chilled, and being under her when she lies down.  Baby puppies cannot control their body temperature so need their mom or each other to keep themselves warm enough.  If you watch the Puppy Cam, you might see Glee reach her nose out to puppies that can't find her.  That's so the pups can find her using their ability to detect her smell and her heat.

Sadly, the loving moms themselves can also be a threat to pups this age.  Tired moms can easily lie on and accidentally squish their babies.  Lots of puppies diet that way so we stay very close to avoid this.  

Puppy Cam!  We've got our puppy cam running already so please enjoy Glee and her babies.  I'm trying to keep it live as much as possible.

FLASH!  And just like that, Una and Dreamer were allowed in with the puppies for a short visit.  It's so interesting to watch the dogs communicate.  Dreamer is over the moon about the litter but Glee would prefer if she were a little calmer.  Una isn't too interested but wants to be with me so hopefully she'll be allowed in for longer periods soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Off They Go!

We have had a wonderful 8 weeks with the Light litter but it's time for them to head to their new homes.  Four left yesterday and Miss Red heads out tomorrow.

Sending our pups home is a production.  First, everyone gets a bath, trim and blow dry.  Then we gather lots of goodies--collars, leashes, food and supplements, toys, chews and treats.  We put together our "Puppy Book," which is now 122 pages long.  Finally, we give lots of kisses and hugs to our babies since we may not see them again for many months.

When our new owners arrive, we go through the paperwork, registering the puppy and it's microchip. We've already gone over feeding and care instructions in the webinar we held a few weeks ago but we discuss any updates.  We go for a woods walk with the new owners and their pup, showing them how to hide from their pup should he get distracted.  After that, we show them the training we've done so they know how their puppy is doing on crate training, etc.  We snap some photos and send them on their way.

From what we have heard, the trips home, whether driving or flying, and the first night in their new homes went smoothly.  Yahoo!  All of the work is worth it when everything goes well.

Here are our newest Gaylan's family members:

Linda and Switch
Mike and Switch
Mr Brown headed to Ohio with Mike and Linda MacDonald.  He will be Gaylan's Lights On At Hy-Bar.

Lee, Dave and Ti
Miss Yellow is now Tioga or Ti for short.  She has joined Lee Clark, Dave Carpenter, Brew from our Magic litter and buddy Tripper.

Betsy and Casino
Mr Green is now Casino or Cas for short.  He stayed pretty close to home, moving to NJ with Betsy Scapicchio.
Kathy and Kindle
Mr Blue is now our second pup named Kindle. He flew out to Ohio with Kathy Sutliff and will be known as Gaylan's Light My Fire.

Miss Red or Aurora is still with us and will head to her home tomorrow!  Till then she's been supervising errands and chores.

Peach has headed back to her owners.  Our thanks to Al and Irene Lamphere for again loaning us this fabulous dog!  On top of her other talents, she is a great mother.

We are now looking forward to a few weeks' vacation before Glee's litter arrives.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Woods Walks!

If you've been following how we raise our puppies, either through this blog or Avidog, you know that woods walks are an integral part of their development.  We are blessed to have woods where we can safely walk our litters.  Had that not been the case they might have been called beach walks or field walks.   Regardless of where we walk them, the goal is always the same, to give our puppies the chance to solve problems, develop their proprioception, explore the world, be around adult dogs, practice recalls, and learn to follow.   This week the Light Litter had some wonderful adventures, swimming, climbing, walking through jungle-like cover (for a puppy), mud wrestling and racing to us on their recalls.   Here's a quick video of a few minutes of today's walk with the Light Litter.


Tomorrow we head to Otterkill Animal Hospital for their general physical, microchips and first vaccine.   I will report back on that tomorrow.

There are more photos and videos up in Smugmug.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 20, 2015

What A Week!

It's been such a busy few days, I am not sure where to begin.  

Jim enjoying his last time with the pups
My husband Jim had to say good-bye as Peach, the pups and I traveled up to Gayle's on Friday afternoon.   They were incredibly good on what turned into a four-hour drive.  A few whimpers for the first five minutes and after that not a peep!   There are a few tricks to how we get that success.   In our new business, Avidog, we put together Driving Home With Your Puppy, a free e-book that will help new puppy owners get that same success!

When they arrived they literally hit the ground running and have not looked back.   They checked out the chickens, met Una, Dreamer and Glee and settled into their new digs.  They have an indoor area with a potty box, beds and lots of toys.   Their outdoor area is like Puppy Disneyland!  I will post pictures of their play area tomorrow!
The Pups meet new friends!

Saturday we were invited to Connecticut to spend 
the day with our friends Richard and Margrit, who own one of our "Magic" pups, our friend Diane, who owns another "Magic" pup and four amazing women from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and the Penn Vet Working Dog Center!   What a day it was for us and for the puppies!  We all spent hours down by the pool watching the big dogs romp and swim, and the pups had their own baby pool to get their feet wet in, too.

After a few hours we went up to the house for lunch and they joined us in an ex-pen on the patio.  At the end of the afternoon we all took a walk with the adult dogs around this magnificent property and ended it with a photo op on "The Rock!"

Dr. Otto, Richard and Dr. Mason with Peach and Mighty!

The pups settle in for lunch
Keira, Una, Spell, Peach and Fantine

Once again, the pups did great in the car both to and from the party!   By the time they go home traveling will be old hat to them!  

Today I spent much of the day trying to get the webcam to work.  I am frustrated by my inability to get it working, but probably less so than those who have been watching it faithfully.   I will try something new tomorrow to see if I can get it going.

Today was also a day of fun with visitors - our friend Noelle and her niece stopped by for a few minutes and Lee and Dave drove in from PA.  It was incredibly hot, so we decided to take the pups down to the creek for their first woods walk.  They did a great job and all of them ended up going swimming.   I have posted this rather long video, but they were so wonderful I wanted to share the experience with you all.

I put some more photos and video up on SmugMug and will post more tomorrow.  In the meantime, enjoy the video!!

Monday, July 13, 2015


Their first solid food!
This weekend the gang was introduced to solid food  It is common for breeders to start feeding their pups at about 3.5 weeks.  We go a more natural route, letting the dam nurse them exclusively until somewhere between four and five weeks old.  So this weekend we started them with each one ounce of a raw food called mORIGINS, which is a grass-fed beef.  That first meal is the first step in the process of weaning.   They are now eating four times a day, including the supplements we hope they will get for life..   Should Peach choose to, the pups will nurse every day until they go to their new homes.  But that will be her choice.  The pups' teeth are quite sharp and many dams decide at some point the milk bar is closed.  In Peach's last litter she nursed them right up until the day they went home, teaching them along the way to use their mouths gently.   There is no better teacher for bite inhibition!!  

Once they finished eating on the first night we brought them right back to their pen where they quickly went into the potty box.   Things are really going well in that department.   

Sunday morning they had breakfast outside.  They ate with helicopters flying overhead, and ended up playing hard in the yard.  During the last meal of the day I fed them one by one, by hand, conditioning the clicker.  

They are also really enjoying the Adventure Box!  Here's a quick video of one of them playing with it!

Oh, and a lesson I learned tonight.  Even if you think they are asleep when you go into the pen to do nails, DO NOT go in with bare feet!!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! 

Lots of new photos are up and more will go up tomorrow. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

More Visitors!

It's been a busy few days.  The pups' area has changed again and their daily living area has been enlarged considerably.  They have been outside playing a lot, listening to all kinds of noises while they are inside (the one of all the kids screaming drives me from the room!) playing in the Adventure Box and visiting with lots and lots of people!   Dianne and Betsy came from PA and NJ on Thursday, and Sandy, her daughter Samantha and grandson Jake came by for a visit on Friday.

Miss Yellow posing for the camera!

Mr. Blue vying for the title of Top Dog!

Dianne playing with Mr. Green

Betsy having a chat with Mr. Brown

Today Jerry from Field Dog Imagery came by for more puppy breath and more photos!    Sue Carpenter gave herself a birthday present and came to visit the puppies today!   She is expecting her own litter next weekend, so is getting an early puppy fix.  We took them down front to check out the hill and the water.   Lots of fun to watch them negotiate going downhill.  By the end they were little pros.  They also were introduced to the water.  They played for over and hour and then crashed!  Here's a couple of minutes of video for you to enjoy.

Lots more photos are up on SmugMug for you to enjoy, too!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Holiday Weekend!

Happy 4th of July!
This weekend was the pups' first 4th of July, obviously.   Since they are not eating solid food yet the only ways we can reward them is with Peach and with us.  So as the fireworks went off, Peach went into the pen to let them nurse and we spent lots of time playing with them. So now they have experienced fireworks and thunderstorms, each of which resulted in wonderful things happening to them.

Lee asking Mr. Brown, "Are you the one?"

Visitors were another fun aspect of the weekend.   The visits started on Friday when Karen Lechner stopped by to say hello.    Then Saturday Sandy Washburn, Lee Clark and Dave Carpenter stopped by and took in a fair dose of puppy breath.   We had the pups outside for a little while, but they were heating up pretty quickly, so we brought them back in.   Just about that time our friend Carol Cassity arrived.   We are the last stop on Carol's summer trip which started in Oklahoma, then went to Wisconsin, upstate New York, then here to Long Island and later this week she heads back to Florida.   She says she's not a puppy person, but we have photos to the contrary!

Carol showing us how much she does not like puppies!

What flavor is this?

The pups met the Avidog Adventure Box and thought it was pretty cool when they noticed it. We introduce this novelty to them at this age because most pups are curious, not fearful, of novel things at this point.  When they bump into a paint ban that bangs on another paint can, they rarely startle, and if they do they come right back at it to see what it was.  

More photos are up on the SmugMug link - enjoy!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The great outdoors!

Today was a beautiful day here on Long Island.  The temps were in the high 70s with very little wind.  Dawn Spano, one of Avidog's A2Z students, stopped by so we decided to take the pups out for the first time.  We set out a blanket in the shade and were outside for about an hour.  All the pups hit the ground running.   They used their noses a lot checking out the grass, the blanket, the weeds, the dirt and everything else the outdoors has to offer.  I don't know who had a better time, Dawn or the puppies! 

There are loads of new photos up in SmugMug.

Here's just a few photos and an up-close video of them nursing outside.   I will get more outdoor video up tomorrow.

Dawn loving on one of the puppies

The first few minutes on the ground

Moving out

Wait for us!

Did someone say "handsome?"

Loving the outdoors!

A snack before we head insdie!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

New Digs!

Today we moved the pups to a new box so we could start potty training.  As you can see, 2/3 of the box is potty area and 1/3 is play area.   Of course, they play in the potty area, too. 
Our puppy buyers tell us how thrilled they are because their puppies are almost potty trained when they get home!  This litter should be no different...and this is where it all starts!

No new photos on SmugMug yet, but here's a video of their first few minutes in the new box.


Outside The Box!

Can you believe how big the pups are getting?  Mr. Brown is over 5# and Ms. Yellow is not far behind.  Did you also know that size in the litter is not at all determinative of adult size?   In one of our litters a buyer was very hesitant to take a certain puppy because he was the biggest pup in the litter.   At three years old he's right in the standard and as she says, the perfect size for her. 

 Friday was an exciting day for the pups - getting to investigate outside their whelping box.  When we clean the box we usually do one of two things: 1) put the puppies in a laundry basket  2) give them a feeding session with Peach on a fleece on the floor.  Last night I needed to change out the fleece in the box because they no longer need Peach to help them urinate, so the box was quite wet.  They were up and raring to go, so the laundry basket was not a good option.  So I put a fleece down on the floor and took some pictures while Lise cleaned the box.

They are walking quite well so Saturday they are being moved out of the whelping box into their first play area so we can start their potty training.   In the meantime, lots of new photos are up.  Enjoy!

Oh, yeah, you will notice another link in the sidebar to the Beer Litter - that's because Glee is in season and is being bred on Saturday!  We are all prepped for pictures to go up!  Please send fertile thoughts to Glee!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Today their ears are open!

We test ears starting around Day 16 with a clap of the hands and look for a startle reaction.  Yesterday we were 0 for we were 5 for 5!   They had their nails done again today and are quite cooperative about it.  Lots of general handling and kisses!

Peach is eating over 3# of food and enjoying every morsel.  She is enjoying her daily runs which keep her very happy and for those of you who have been to an Avidog seminar or taken Your Litter A to Z, you know how important the dam's enrichment is for both her and her puppies!  

New photos are up - remember videos are at the end of the pack.   I checked and there is no way for them to be kept in date order.  


They barely can fit anymore!

Planning an escape this weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Busy Day ...

... for Lise and me, but another day in the life of the pups.   Wednesday is a busy day around here with teaching schedules, so the pups had an early day being weighed, having temps taken and having their box cleaned.  During the day they were being handled a lot by friends and new toys are put into their box.

Tonight's scent was grass and they were really inhaling it.   I cannot wait to take them outside!!  Being out of the house all day, I have not taken a lot of pictures but here's a video for today's smiles!

Oh and that beeping noise you may be wondering about?   That is the thermometer/clock/timer that I put on the pigrail.  When you switch between modes it beeps.  They keep knocking it off the railing and moving it.   Just in case you were wondering.  

More tomorrow!

The Lights Are Coming On!

Such a great time in the lives of the puppies.  Eyes are open and the world is opening up to them.  In another day or so their ears will open.   Until then we don't have to worry about waking them up when we come into the room!

If, as they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words" ...

What's a video worth?


Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day Weekend!

This weekend the pups had more visitors.  On Friday our friends Cindy and Patti came out for the evening. Then on Saturday Lee and Dave were in from PA for a hunt test so  stopped by with our mutual friend Sandy.   Somehow I just knew that Sandy would pick up Mr. Blue first! 
I love to watch young puppies mesmerize their visitors, whether they are here for 20 minutes or 2 hours.   Peach is just amazing with everyone - keeping a close eye on the pups when they are being handled, but is not stressed about it. 

So what have the pups been up to?  The world is opening to them now that their eyes are open.  They are mouthing each other in their short moments of play.  If you were to watch them walk you would think someone spiked Peach's milk.   In a few days their ears will open.

After spending the day with my dad Lise and I came home to weigh the pups and do ESN and ESI.   Today's scent was lily - straight from the garden.  We are thrilled that all the pups are over 3 lbs!

Although I did not take any video, there's lot of new photos up today - enjoy!

Friday, June 19, 2015

We Have Eyes!

The puppies are 12 days old and right on schedule their eyes started to open two days ago and all are open now.   They are up on their legs and, though rocky, are walking.   ESN/ESI is going well and they have had eight visitors so far. 

Mr. Brown and Miss Yellow chillin'

Peach getting some love from Patti

Trying to find a comfy spot

I will have more photos and videos on SmugMug later tonight. 

More tomorrow ...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

They Are Growing Like Weeds!!

It's just over a week and each puppy in the Light Litter has met our goal of them more than doubling its weight!

Light Litter @ 3 Days
Light Litter @ 9 Days

Their eyes will start to open over the next couple of days, so we have covered the windows to dampen the bright lights on their young eyes.  We won't be using any flash photography over the next couple of days either.

We have added toys appropriate for their age, and they love to snuggle with them.

We started ENS and ESI on Day 3 and so far they have had five scents:  lemon, evergreen, cinnamon, tennis ball, rabbit skin and tonight we will introduce Anise, one of the nosework scents.   Here's a video of them from the other day.  

Stay tuned for more of the Adventure of the Gaylan's Light Litter.  Be sure to check out the photos section on the right for more photos.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Gaylan's Light Litter Has Arrived!!

Gaylan's Light Litter

For Peach's last breeding we chose Linda and Mike MacDonald's wonderful boy Sixpak.   Officially Peach is MACH4 Gaylan's Peaches 'n Cream XF MXS MJS T2B AD ADHF - and Sixpak is OTCH One Ash Stardust On Tap UDX27 AX NAJ OS OBHF CanCDX Superdog.   

As you can imagine, we were very excited about doing this breeding, not only because we are combining the genes of two wonderful dogs, but because it has been a year and a half since we've had puppies!!!   Well, on Sunday June 7th Peach presented us with five beautiful pups, who in birth order are Ms. Yellow, Mr. Green, Ms. Red, Mr. Blue and Mr. Brown.

Being an experienced dam, Peach knew what to do from the start.  Four of the pups arrived without incident.  Ms. Red, on the other hand, was trying to come into the world not only breech, but on her back instead of her belly.   We tried everything we knew, including a couple of phone calls to the vet.  Not wanting to do a C-section unless absolutely necessary, Gayle tried to get ahold of the pup's legs to help her over the pelvic crest.  The whole process took an hour and a half with the sack breaking early on in the process, so we were prepared for the worst, and hoping for the best.  Gayle was successful and when Ms. Red arrived not only was she alive, but screaming at the top of her lungs.  What a beautiful sound!!

The pups are being raised on Long Island by Marcy and Lise  for their first six weeks and then everyone will head up to Gayle's for another 2.5 weeks while we do all their evaluations and eventually place them into their new homes. 

We invite you to follow along as we raise the Gaylan's Light Litter.  I am having some difficulties getting the link to where photos and videos will be posted on the right-side so for now, use this link to get you there: