Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Five Weeks Old Today for the Fab Five

It's been a truly delightful week with the Fab Five.  Watching Sophie playing with her puppies brings joy to my heart.  It's so sweet to watch her play bow and try to engage them in a game.  The puppies swat at, grab and pull on her coat and ears and tail and she has infinite patience with them.  I have logged endless hours just watching the puppies play with each other and interact with the various items in their pen.  They are growing so quickly that changes truly are apparent from one day to the next.

Socialization is really important and so the pups have had visitors on almost a daily basis.  Both the big dogs and the puppies are enjoying all of the extra attention.

Mealtimes are enjoyed by the Fab Five with great gusto as they tuck into their slurries of ground meat and bones with goats milk.  Their teeth have erupted and they also have been given the opportunity to rip and tear into larger meaty bones.

Their jaw strength is increasing by leaps and bounds and soon it will be quite dangerous to wade amongst the pupsters with bare toes and stocking feet exposed.

This past week the pups explored the great outdoors.  You could just see their little nostrils opening wide to let in all the wondrous smells of the grass and earth beneath their paws.  The coming weeks are going to be lots of fun with these guys.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Fab Five Are Four Weeks Old

The Chmurnik and Sophie puppies turned four weeks old today.  A few big changes have happened for these fabulous puppies.   This past week the pups made the big move from the guest bedroom downstairs into the dining room.  They have begun eating solid foods and visits with guests have commenced.

The puppies now enjoy a larger space.  The whelping box also made the move downstairs but we have introduced potty boxes and given the pups an additional play space.  They have plenty of toys to play with and they interact with them more and more every day.  Being in the heart of the home they are exposed to all the sounds that go along with the space.  Kids playing, radio, t.v., a multitude of kitchen sounds, doorbells and vacuuming.  They are taking it all in stride.   At this age they do not yet know what fear is so they notice the loud noises but just take them as par for the course. 
As an added benefit we have had several thunderstorms in the last few days.  As well as the fact that, this past Monday was Victoria Day which is a national holiday in Canada and celebrated with the release of countless fireworks in parks across the country.  Our house backs onto a park so each evening, all weekend long the pups heard plenty of fireworks too.  Our dogs are not bothered by loud noises so as Sophie calmly lay in the whelping box, the pups happily nursed or played while the cacophony of sounds went on around them.
The pups still continue to nurse regularly from Sophie.  She spends lots of time in the puppy pen with her kids and is very patient with their increasingly silly antics.  We have now introduced the puppies to solid foods and they were eager to sample their first meals of ground turkey and bone mixed with goats milk.  They are growing steadily and from one day to the next their coordination increases exponentially.  They are hopping in and out of the potty boxes with ease and navigating over and under the stuffed animals, batting at the hanging toys and climbing onto the stool.
Visitors have begun to come and socialize with the puppies.   These puppies will have lots of exposure to new people.  Men, women, young and old will be welcomed into our home to help give the puppies lots of positive experiences with unfamiliar people.  The Fab Five are entering another stage of development that is immensely entertaining and I am so thankful to be a part of their young lives.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Fab Five Hit the Three Week Mark

Mr. Green - Day 18

The Sophie and Chmurnik puppies are now over three weeks old.  Their first two weeks were what is called the Neo-Natal Period.  They spent the majority of this period sleeping and nursing and snuggling with their Momma.  They’ve grown so quickly starting off weighing under a pound and at the end of their first two weeks they were all weighing over two pounds.  It is fascinating to me how much they develop in such a short time. 

The whelping box - Day 15.  New toys and surfaces added.

Mr. Blue - Day 10
Born with their eyes and ears closed, Miss. Purple was the first one to open her eyes on day 10 followed by Blue, Red, Green and finishing with Miss. Orange who opened her peepers on day 14.  Although they were unable to see or hear much during their first couple weeks, they still had their sense of smell which helped guide them to their dam and her milk bar for feedings.  We took advantage of this sense by applying Early Scent Stimulations and introducing the puppies to a variety of different smells from day 3 to day 16.

The puppies also were able to feel and I could sit in the whelping box watching them jostle and climb, wriggle and shove to get to their preferred nipples.  The mild stressors that occur during the daily routine of life in the whelping box help to build important neural pathways in the brain.  We also built upon this benefit of small early stresses by applying Early Neurological Stimulation which we finished up as well on day 16.  Studies have shown that puppies who received early neurological stimulation were stronger physiologically and were more self-confident. [You can read more about the Early Scent Stimulation and the Early Neurological Stimulation by reading my blog post from May 2nd]
From approximately 14 to 21 days the puppies were in the Transitional Period.  What an exciting time as the pups were much more mobile and it was vastly entertaining watching them walking about the box.  They are getting up and moving away from their resting place to eliminate which bodes well for the introduction to the potty box in the near future.  They have become very much aware of their littermates and are using them as chew toys.  They will grab on to one another’s tails and ears and bat at each other with their paws in the air.  These rudimentary attempts at play are truly delightful to observe.  They have stopped sounding like “squeaky doors” and now sound so much more like little baby dogs as they experiments with yips and barks and little growls. 

Miss. Orange - Day 18

Miss. Purple - Day 15

This weekend is the big move out of the guest bedroom and into the dining room where the pups will be introduced to the potty box and all the sights and sounds that go along with living in the centre of the home.  Fun times ahead for the Fab Five as they make the transition into the next phase of development; the Awareness or Identification Period.   

Miss. Red - Day 20

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Fab Five Are 1 Week Old!

The Chmurnik x Sophie puppies have reached the end of their first week.  I am so impressed with Sophie’s great mothering.  The whelping box is virtually spotless and her babies are happy and quiet.  She has not had any difficulty supplying their dietary needs because these puppies are fat little sausages with excellent growth thus far. They have more than doubled their birth weights and are now very quick to motor across the box to get back to their mum when she returns after a potty break.
We are in full swing with doing Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS aka Bio Sensor techniques). This is a program that was originally implemented by the U.S. Military and it is comprised of a few gentle stimulating exercises that are said to have lasting benefits for the puppies.  These exercises are carried out once a day from three days of age to sixteen days of age.  The pups are held briefly (3 – 5 seconds) for 5 different exercises.  One of their toes are tickled with a Q-tip, they are held in head up, head down, in a supine position and lastly, they are briefly placed on a cold surface (we use a gel pack from the freezer with a towel on top of it).  The entire process only takes a few minutes and although there is some doubt as to the effectiveness of these exercises, when done gently and briefly they certainly do no harm.  What cannot be argued is that neonate puppies do benefit from gentle handling.  These puppies are lovingly cuddled and kissed regularly!  They are weighed twice a day and toenails are trimmed regularly.  

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) 
In addition to the ENS exercises we are also doing Early Scent Stimulation (ESS) with these puppies.  We recently learnt about the benefits of exposing young puppies to a variety of scents when we attended an Avidog seminar this past March. These early scenting experiences are performed concurrently with the ENS exercises and we will conclude the ESS on day 16 as well.  All we are doing is offering the puppies the opportunity to smell a novel scent for a few brief seconds each day.  Puppies are born with the ability to taste and the ability to smell begins to come on board around day three.  It is very apparent when doing these exercises that the puppies are definitely using their noses and some scents are certainly more attractive to the puppies than others.  Breeders have noted that ESS increases an interest in scenting, detection of scents and the ability to follow scents.  I feel strongly that those heightened abilities are of tremendous value to dogs that will be hunting, tracking or doing any type of nose work activities.  Even if it is just playing rainy day games of find it with their families.

On the whole it's been a delightful week.  The Fab Five are doing very very well and we are enjoying this litter tremendously.  The days are quickly passing and it feels as though the puppies are growing right before our very eyes.  I am enjoying each day as it unfolds and I look forward with anticipation to what the weeks ahead will bring.