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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Club Barbet Canada First National Specialty

This coming weekend marks the First National Specialty for the Barbet in North America.  It is a historical event and I want to take a moment to wish all of the competitors and spectators alike my very best wishes for an amazing weekend filled with camaraderie and joy.  What a weekend - people and dogs brought together from all over North America for the love of the breed.  Vive le Barbet!  More information about the specialty can be found on the specialty website

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pupdate: The End of the Neo-Natal Period (1-14 days)

Well a lot has happened here over the last 14 days.  Coco and Dougy's puppies are growing by leaps and bounds.  By the end of the day yesterday they were all weighing in at 2 pounds or more.  When they were first born there was very little they could do other than eat and sleep.  They were able to crawl around moving towards their mum or away from or towards the heat source.  They not only needed Coco as their food source but they also needed her to help them eliminate.  They spend so much time with their mother and even at this very early age she is teaching them the behavior they will need as adult dogs.  Research has shown that "the position used by the puppy when licked by its mother when she is cleaning it and activating the elimination reflex will actually become a ritualized submission position used to stop agonistic behavior as a grown up dog." (Pat Hastings, Another Piece of the Puzzle: Puppy Development p.20)

Mr. Brown getting a little help from Coco

Now the puppies are toddling about and all but 2 of them have opened their eyes. I imagine it won't be long before Mr. White and Mr. Brown show us their peepers...

Here are a few more photos taken in the last few days...

Puppy Pile Up - Day 12

Puppies hang out in the laundry basket for safe keeping while I clean the whelping box.

Miss. Orange manged to find her way into my bed on day 13.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pupdate: Northrock A-Litter - Day 8

weigh-in on day 6
Our Northrock A-litter puppies are now 8 days old.  They are strong pups and getting quite quick at moving around in the whelping box.  They have grown so much since they were born.  All but two have already doubled their birth weights and I image by the end of the day today Miss. Red and Miss. Tan will also have doubled their weight as they are not far off the mark.

Miss. Orange - Day 8

Mr. Blue - Day 8
Mr. White - Day 8
Although the puppies cannot see and hear yet they can feel, taste and smell.  As soon as Coco enters the box it’s amazing how fast they can motor over to her and latch on to a nipple.   My daughter had some friends over this weekend and the girls had the opportunity to sit and cuddle with puppies.  The time is going by so quickly and I am enjoying every minute of it.

Miss. Red snuggles up after a long feeding.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Milky Way

Eleven puppies require a lot of milk!  The good thing is that when it comes to breast milk, the more you nurse the more your milk supply builds up to meet the demand. 

Cold fresh service style
Coco is being such a good mother to her puppies.  We are making sure that she gets lots of rest and plenty to drink.  We are providing her with lots of water and also a milk mixture consisting of goats milk, raw egg, oil and a bit of honey.  She is eating good wholesome meals spread out in smaller portions several times a day.  Mother care is of prime importance.  Stress and fatigue can interfere with milk production so we are not having visitors right now and the other dogs are kept downstairs so that Coco can focus on looking after her babies. 

Nursing puppies requires an increased intake of fluids.  When I was nursing my children I always made sure I had a glass of water with me.  Because she spends so much time in the whelping box, I will often bring Coco her water directly to her.  She prefers it to be cold and fresh - every time.  Yes Ma'am!  Whatever it takes to make sure you are drinking enough :0) 

All of Coco and Dougy's puppies are doing well. Here they are in the whelping box on day 4.
I am so thankful that Coco and her babies are doing well and we are doing our best to keep things going as smoothly as possible.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Northrock's A-Team has arrived!

Pre-labour...waiting for puppies in the whelping pool.
Northrock's A litter has arrived safe and sound.  Yesterday, August 4th, 2012 we welcomed Coco and Dougy's puppies to the world.  Active labour began around 2:15pm with Coco having a few small contractions which combined with squinty eyes and heavy panting gave me a pretty good feeling I would be seeing a puppy soon.   At 2:25 Coco delivered her first pup.  Mr. Blue arrived head first and weighed 10 1/4 oz.  At 6:10pm puppy # 9, Miss. Maroon was born.  Coco seemed to be finished and I cleaned up and moved the gang out of the pool and into the whelping box.  I thank God for the ease of this whelping as all pups were born strong and healthy and are doing great.

Coco with her 9 babes...thought we were done LOL
Well apparently Coco wasn't quite done having pups.  At 7:40 pm she whelped Mr. Gray followed shortly thereafter by his sister Miss. Tan.  At last, the A-Team had arrived!  Here are the 6 boys and 5 girls (all black) listed in birth order:

Mr. Blue, born at 2:25pm - 10 1/4 oz
Mr. Green, born at 3:23 pm - 11 1/2 oz
Mr. Yellow, born at 4:12 pm - 12 1/4 oz
Miss. Purple, born at 4:38pm - 11 1/2 oz
Mr. White, born at 4:51 pm - 10 3/4 oz
Miss. Red, born at 5:10 pm - 11 1/2 oz
Mr. Brown, born at 5:25 pm - 9 1/4 oz
Miss. Orange, born at 6:00pm - 10 1/4 oz
Miss. Maroon, born at 6:10pm - 10 1/2 oz
Mr. Gray, born at 7:40pm - 10 7/8 oz
Miss. Tan, born at 8:05pm - 12 3/4 oz

Northrock's A Litter - Born August 4, 2012

Thanks to everyone who has helped make this blessed event possible; Pam, Michel, Bobby & Sylvie, Julie and Kevin, Michelle and Chris...and everyone else who's support and encouragement means the world to me.  Thank you all!

Happy Coco with her rainbow of pups.