Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pupdate: The End of the Transitional Period (14 - 21 days)

Well the puppies are 21 days old today and we are through the Transitional Period (14 – 21 days).  Lots of growth has happened with the gang this past week.  All of the puppies finished opening their eyes and they are able to hear sounds now too.  Their co-ordination has skyrocketed and they are much more nimble on their feet.  They climb over one another with ease and are even able to move backwards.  What is really fun to watch is the beginnings of play as they grab at each other and Coco’s ears.  We’ve seen their little tails wag and they can make a whole symphony of sounds though my daughter still says they sound like a bunch of monkeys more than anything else!

They are all gaining well and it’s something to see them jostling one another at the milk bar as they push and shove to get the nipples they want.  I can’t help but feel that there are so many benefits to this sibling rivalry that goes on in the whelping box.  Couple the pushing and shoving and tunneling over and under littermates with Coco’s enthusiastic washing of her babies and it is quite a scene. Not only are the puppies working their muscles they are experiencing some mild stresses in the process which will help to strengthen their neurological systems.  I am ever watchful of the “feeding frenzy” and after the first frantic moments they do settle in to nurse contentedly.   Because I have been weighing the puppies every day I am constantly aware of who is gaining the most and who may need a little more nursing time and help out accordingly.

We wrapped up the Bio-Sensor exercises on day 16.  The U.S. Military implemented this program with their puppies and their findings  demonstrated  that various stimulation exercises had many lasting benefits for the pups.  Although there is some doubt as to the effectiveness of  early neurological stimulation I felt that that it certainly couldn’t hurt and since it may help our puppies I was all for it.   Studies have shown that puppies who received early neurological stimulation were stronger physiologically and were more self-confident. To learn more about the Bio-Sensor techniques that we implemented please feel free to visit Dr. Carmen Battaglia’s website and look under the Articles tab for his article: Early Neurological Stimulation (Revised).
The puppies also had lots of individual cuddle time and I can’t forget more nail trimming, which when you’re talking about 198 nails it is a lot of clipping.  The puppies were showing an interest in Coco’s food and we introduced them to ground chicken and goats milk which was well received.  Some were a little more enthusiastic than others.  There were a couple of puppies who tentatively lapped at the mix and headed back to the milk bar while others literally and figuratively dove right in!  Eagerly lapping and smacking back the meal.  Thankfully Coco helps clean everyone up afterwards because it gets downright messy at mealtime.

The week ended with the A-Team moving downstairs into our dining room which is adjacent to the kitchen and living room.  They are now in the “heart of the home” and privy to all the hustle and bustle and noises that go hand in hand with their new location.   Their new set up still has a whelping box in it but they also have more play space and a potty area.  There are toys and a snuggly bed and the other dogs can go right up to them although I haven’t allowed them to get in the pen with the puppies.  Quincy is rather indifferent to the whole pile of pups and looks at me with an expression on his aging face that says quite plainly “seriously?????”.   Cousin Sophie on the other hand is in “in love”,  she play bows at the puppies and wags her tail and is practically glued to the other side of the pen watching their every move. 
I am missing Club Barbet Canada’s First National Specialty which takes place today in Long Sault, Ontario and my thoughts are with all the competitors and spectators alike and I wish everyone a marvelous time.  As sad as I am that I can’t be there to join in the celebration, the reason I’m not able to attend is a good one. .. I am enjoying Coco and her 11 babies tremendously and they put a smile on my face every time I walk past their pen or hold a puppy next to my heart.

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