The First Eight Weeks

What follows is a "diary" of the first eight weeks in the lives of a litter of five pups born to our dog Lola on January 10, 2009.

 

Dam and Puppy Diets
The dam was determined to be pregnant 5 weeks after breeding.  She was switched to high protein, high fat, no grain dog food at this time. Her normal feeding of 1 cup of dog food each morning and night was increased to 2 cups morning, midday and night. In addition she received 400 mcg of folic acid once each day and one tablespoon of Dog Bloom VM 250 a vitamin-mineral supplement with each feeding. After whelping, the dam's diet was additionally supplemented with 2 ounces of K9 Puppy Gold mixed with her water three times a day.

How did I get up here?

The pups were fed and cared for fully by the dam for the first 3 1/2 weeks.  At that time the dam's milk was supplemented with a "mush" of the same dog food the dam received mixed with the K9 Puppy Gold and water.  They received these feedings 4 to 5 times each day.  The "mush" was ground up less and less until at week 6 the pups were introduced to regular dry puppy food with supplemental water.  Currently, the pups are fed 1 cup of puppy food three times each day.  (This amount of food should be maintained until 6 months of age when it can be reduced to two feedings per day.

Socialization of the Pups
During the first three weeks the pups the rule was quietness, as little stimulation as possible, and warmth.  The pups were handled each day, since there is some evidence that this "mild stress" is helpful in the development of the pup's ability to handle emotional challenge.  They were also weighed each day to monitor proper feeding.

Grrrrrrr.....

After two weeks all pups' eyes were open and they begin to learn to walk.  At this stage, the newspaper in the whelping box was covered with two large, soft sheepskin pads to give the pups a surface that allowed for greater traction in their efforts to move around.  During the last part of the third week we added additional handling experiences.  The pups were held securely at their underbelly and raised in the air until they began to squirm.  They were then gently held close to the body and received petting. The pups were also placed on a soft surface and rolled on their backs and rubbed and grooming began: nails were clipped and ears were cleaned.

Starting in the fourth week real socialization began.  First, the pups began their own play, and then they wanted a larger world than the whelping box.  We let the pups have time together outside the whelping box to explore their room.  They were never left alone outside the box during these exploration times.  It was important during this time to keep the room as clean as the dam was keeping the whelping box.  It was also at this time that the dam spent more time out of the room and away from the pups.  We spent more time "grooming" the pups: playing with their ears, rolling them on their backs, putting our fingers in their mouths, manipulating their feed.  These grooming times became a regular sessions after each supplemental feeding.  Also during week four, other adults were let in to handle the pups for brief periods of time.

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Two can play this game.

Week five brought about the biggest change. The dam would only stay in the room for brief feeding sessions. The pups became less and less comfortable in the whelping box. We removed the whelping box entirely, made a sleeping area, a play area and another area as their"poop and pee" area. The area for paper training was covered with the same pads that were used in the whelping box. The pups had no problem recognizing where they were to go for "poop and pee," but had trouble seeing a differentiation between sleep and play areas. These areas seemed to be one to them. Toys were introduced: paper towel tubes, unbleached rope toys and small "Kong" toys for chewing.  A great deal of human contact began - adults, small children ages 2 to 5, teenagers, and dogs other than the dam.



I'm such a good boy.

Week six brought the pups an even greater world. By this time the dam fed the pups only once a day, their "mush mix" became more and more coarse, each of our two other dogs were allowed in the room, but the pups began finding that they did not get enough stimulation from their room. After each period of eating and eliminating, the pups were allowed into the kitchen and living room areas of the house.  While in the open space, they were allowed to play together and with the older dogs and allowed to roam at will.  They each received their usual individual time with us for their always more complicated touch experiences. In addition, plain dry kibble was spread on the floor for the pups to eat.  By the end of week six the dam did no feeding of the pups, Delilah taught the dam how to play with her pups and Abigail watched closely and growled at each pup if they approached her and the pups would just sit in front of her and barked back.

I'm quite a handful.

Week seven and eight At the start of their last week with us, the pups still sleep and eliminate in their room, have time out of the room at least 4 times each day, seem quite self-assured and curious and pay very close attention to their masters and follow us around like a herd of sheep in hopes of getting more food.  They all respond to whistles and handclaps, and they understand "kiss," "no biting," "supper," "water," and, thank heavens, "time for a rest."

 

PUPPY UPDATE

We are expecting a litter from Elizabeth and Dunkin around the first week of February, 2018, ready for new homes in early April.

 

If you wish to be placed on our list of prospective buyers, please email info@dogwood-labradors.com, or call Tom or Howard at 518-325-5260.

 


For photos and info on Lizzie's and Angie's sire, Dunkin, please 

CLICK HERE

 

For Angie's pedigree,

CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

TESTIMONIALS

 

"Darbie is doing WONDERFUL!!!  We are all in love.  We couldn't be happier....she is sweet, curious, fun, and just everything we were missing....  thank you so very much."  Mandy M.

 

 

“[Our vet]...was so impressed by your breeding and believes we will have such wonderful years ahead. We all thank you and Tom for your special gifts in raising such a beautiful puppy.” Pat P.

 

 

"Thank you for doing such a great job with him, he really is the best. We are so lucky!" Angela V.

 

"Tucker is doing very well. He is very good with his crate and sleeps all night. Amazing for such a young dog. Thank you so much for such a great pup." Todd B.