4 weeks….

Things are moving along nicely.

I actually saw a puppy move off the rug and go into the little potty box area to pee today!

Progress!

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This is the whelping box setup now.

As you can see half of the box are rugs and the other are papers.

The science behind this is dogs are naturally clean and don’t like to soil where they sleep.

It’s the same basis behind crate training.

I usually set up the whelping box this way at about 3 weeks when the puppies are mobile and can actually walk over to the papers to do their business.

Once I move them to the pen next weekend, I will introduce the actual potty box that contains some cat litter for absorption.

With just two of them, they are a tiny bit slower in doing things.  Less competition to learn from.

I find this with eating.   With the two of them, they tend to eat slower.  Nobody else is going to swoop in and eat all the food, like they do with a larger litter.

Fred and Wilma are doing pretty well with their eating and I’ve moved them up to twice a day feeding.

Keeping Bran out of the box so they’re hungry before getting their gruel is a feat!

I swear she’ll be nursing as the pups are heading out the door.

Bran is such a good momma.

I’m starting to cut back her food a bit in anticipation of weaning.   She’s not going to like that.  She’s a Labrador.

When I weighed the puppies at 4 weeks, Wilma was 6½ pounds and Fred was a whopping 7 pounds, 5 ounces.  My goodness they are porkers.

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This is Fred at 4 weeks.

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This is Wilma.

As you can see, they’re not missing many meals.

They’re finally getting to the age that Claire, my 2½ year old yellow Lab, is starting to interact with them.

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It takes a village.

It’s time…..

No, not for weaning.

For introducing them to the potty box.

At 3½ weeks, they’re getting around well enough to wander away from where they were sleeping to find a place to potty.

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Being so big, they’re not moving as much as a normal puppy in a large litter, but they are both walking and trying to potty away from their bed area.

That’s telling me they are ready for a potty box.

A potty box is an area where they can go and potty.  Duh, right?

In my instance, I put a small PVC border around the back of the whelping box.  I take out one of the rugs and use this area instead.  Within a day or so, they generally figure it out and use the area to potty.

I change the papers on the regular basis so they’re not laying in pee and poop, though it usually happens anyway.

Labs like it cool, so they tend to get it backwards at first.  Lay on the papers and potty on the rugs.

Even if they get it backwards, it helps the whole “we don’t potty in our sleeping area” which helps with crate training and potty training later on.

I use the rugs and the papers, so the puppies can feel the difference.

I tried using just a smaller pad and the papers, but the puppies never grasped the fact it felt different so they just pottied wherever they felt like it.

So tomorrow, I put in the little potty area and my job really begins.

I put in a little bit of Yesterdays News cat litter, which absorbs the urine and will be in the large potty box once they move to their puppy pen.

I don’t want Bran cleaning the potty area with the cat litter in it, so I need to be up and about to keep the area as clean as possible.

I’ve already started feeding them a meal or two per day.

I can’t say they’re happy about it, but I’ll be starting the weaning process soon so they need to figure that out too.

Things are changing for the babies.

Soon they’ll be in their puppy pen, weaned and then ready for their new homes.

Time does fly sometimes.

Three weeks!

Gosh, time sure does fly.

Fred and Wilma are three weeks old today.

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This is Fred

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This is Wilma.

As you can see their eyes are now open.

I’m not sure how much they can actually see, but I think they can at least see shapes.

They can also hear, so Bran and I won’t be able to sneak up on them anymore.  They’ll soon learn to hear her open the gate on the puppy room and realize that they’re about to be fed.

They’re also starting to walk.

Since they’re huge puppies, I wouldn’t say their walk is all that graceful, but they’re definitely up on their feet for the most part.   Wilma is a better walker than Fred at this point.

I’m just happy they’re up on their feet now and while still resembling seals, they’re walking like puppies.

Kinda sorta!

Now that they are three weeks, I will introduce food to them tomorrow.

I would have done it a bit today, but Bran has been in with them most of the day.

You need the puppies somewhat hungry when you introduce the food.

Otherwise, all they’ll do is sit there and scream in protest.

Well, they’re going to do that anyway.

If they’re hungry, they might actually try and lick the food when you put it in there.

Before they walk in it, write their names with the food on the side of the box, and generally smear it everywhere.

Three to five weeks is my favorite puppy age.

They start to interact with everything and try to play with each other.

At six weeks they become heathen demon spawns.

So I have three weeks to enjoy them before that happens.

Pups, almost 2 weeks old….

For the past couple of days I have found the puppies burrowing underneath the fleece bedding to sleep.

This could be dangerous because Bran might not see them and lay down on them, smothering them beneath her.

So, I took the fleece bedding out.

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I put in a couple of bath mats and turned them upside down so the rubber part is facing up.  This is supposed to give them a bit more traction.  More traction is suppose to help these lard asses get up on their feet.

Lord knows they are growing so fast and putting on way too much weight.

Elephant seals!

So since there is no way to slow their weight down without keeping Bran out of the box, we’ll try this.

I noticed the night before last that they were scattering in the nighttime box, which also is a sign of them being too warm.

I normally use a 100 watt bulb in a photographer reflection light to give them a bit of warmth during the night.

I hate heat lamps!!

They scare me!

I know a couple of breeders who lost their homes and their dogs from leaving heat lamps on.

They get so hot, they overheat and start fires.

One breeder I know lost 15 dogs and two litters of puppies from a heat lamp overheating and catching fire.

Fire is my nightmare.

So I just use a normal 100 watt bulb in the winter and only at night and only when I’m home.

I will never leave a light on like that if I have to leave the house.

That’s why I have those heating discs that look like giant chocolate chip cookies in the whelping box.  They will keep the pups warm for hours if I have to leave or can’t watch them.

The puppies will crawl to them and lay near or on top of them if they need the added warmth.

Last night I changed out the 100 w bulb for a 60 w one.

They seemed happier though they were burrowing under the fleece during the night too.

So both fleece beddings will be gone and bath mats put in over the liner.

Bran’s last litter was just on the liner, but they were born in May so they didn’t need the fleece.

I have tubs of stuff in the basement for the puppies.

If this doesn’t work, then that might.

They outgrow this, so I’ll put in that.

Whatever the little piglets want, I’ll try and do for them.

They’ll be two weeks tomorrow, so next week their eyes should open.

Then the fun begins!

 

9 days old….

The pups have hit 9 days.

My goodness they are little porkers.

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Bran is being an excellent momma.

Maybe too good.

Though she’s not in there all the time, she does spend a lot of time in with the little piggies.

Consequently, they are starting to grow out of control.

The little male, the one with the string around his neck, gained 5 ounces (!!!) yesterday.

I should change his name from Fred to Bacon at this rate.

Anyway, as I wrote previously I have to worry about them becoming so big they can’t walk.

I was thinking about it yesterday and came up with an idea.

I took a pool noodle, cut it in half, then cut it in various lengths and put them in the bottom of the whelping box.

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This is the best picture I could do since Bran and the puppies were in the box at the time of the photo.

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The pool noodles create little hills and valleys the pups have to go over, building up their rears, hopefully strengthening their muscles which should help them walk.

You can see the little hills and valleys under the fleece bedding.

The pups don’t seem to have an issue getting over these bumps in their beds and Bran could care less.

Hopefully this does the trick.

One week…..

It’s been one week since Bran had her babies.  Wow, that week went fast.

This is Fred

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He looks like he is laughing.

This is Wilma

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As you can see their pigment is coming in.

It will be interesting to see what color it ends up.

I suspect it will be black, but it might not be black-black.

I remember a friend, who was one of the first to breed fox reds in the US, had said the pigment comes in kinda the color of a paper bag at first.

It definitely is not the black-black I am used to seeing on my yellows.

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This is a yellow puppy from Bran’s last litter at one week of age.  As you can see, the pigment is came in black-black, unlike these red puppies.

With only two of them, they are gaining weight, about 3 ounces a day, pretty rapidly.

Now comes the fun of not letting them end up as elephant seals.

I cut up a pool noodle and stuck the pieces under the fleece so the puppies have to use their rear ends to get over them as they move around the box.

If that doesn’t work, I will put bath mats turned upside down so the rubber backing is facing out, in the box to give the puppies a bit more traction.

Thankfully Bran doesn’t spend all day in the box.  She’s gotten to the point where she goes in and nurses, then comes out and interacts with the other dogs.

Hopefully this will keep them from the elephant seal stage.

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Time will tell.

All in all the little suckers are doing very well as is Bran.

What a couple of days….

It’s been a rocky couple of days since Fred and Wilma were born.

Part of the problem with a bitch having a c-section, it can take a few days before she recognizes that those “aliens” in the box with her are her puppies.

Think about it, she goes to sleep and wakes up with these noisy, demanding things.

“Feed me! Clean me! Cuddle me!”

All she wants to do is sleep off the anesthesia and these THINGS are wanting something.

So guess who all this falls to?

Yep, me!

I keep them clean; making sure they pee and poop.

I make sure Bran goes in to feed them; sometimes almost sitting on her head to make her stay in there long enough.

I make sure they’re warm enough.

Bran sleeps.  I don’t.

I fret when they lose a half-ounce because Bran’s milk hasn’t come in yet.

Bran sleeps.

I’m happy to say Bran is doing well and her incision looks great after the c-section.  Temperature is normal and she’s eating very well.

It’s been about 48 hours and Bran actually sniffed their butts and actually looked like she thought about cleaning them today. *happy dance*

She actually laid in the box, semi-sleeping with them for about an hour today.  The pups nursed, fell asleep and then nursed again.

I bet when I weigh them later it will show they gained back that half ounce they lost.  Or at least something.

Maybe my blood pressure can go back to normal.   LOL

Being a breeder can be sooooooo FUN!  Yeah right!

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These little guys make it all worth it, especially when mom’s instincts start to kick in and she starts doing some of the work.

So I’m hopeful that Bran will start being a bit more involved after this.

She just gave me the stink eye, so it looks like she’s back to normal now.