The Litter's Early Life, Week 2

Note: The following information, unless otherwise noted, is taken directly from the Web pages Cathy created for this litter. It is reprinted here with permission.

October 16, 2001

Week Two (Days 8-14)


  • Eyes should open around days 8-10
  • Ears should open around days 13-17
  • Temperatures should be around 97-99F

Neonatal Period, Birth to 2 weeks: Puppies are born with eyes and ears closed, Their experiences are thru touch and smell. They are able to sense heat, cold, and texture. They are totally dependent upon their mother for everything, even the stimulation of bowl and bladder function.

Transitional, 14 to 21 days: The puppy’s nervous system undergoes rapid development. The eyes and ears open, and baby teeth appear. He begins to stand up and by three weeks will try to explore his environment. He begins to interact with littermates and learns play behavior. By 21 days the puppies are able to lap food from a bowl, though they continue to nurse.

Personal notes:

The pups are starting to try to walk more. Very wobbly and unsteady, they teeter up and most of the time go rolling onto their backs. The fleece whelping pads offer good footing for the pups. Some breeders use newspaper in the box, since it doesn't have to be washed. The pups don't get good footing on the slick paper, and as a result often don't walk as quickly as they normally would.

One thing that needs to be watched for at this age is any Swimmer Puppies. The term swimmer is used to describe a puppy that paddles its legs much like a turtle but is unable to stand. A puppy should be standing and walking by three weeks of age. As a result of weak muscles in the rear limbs, swimmers are generally unable to stand at the normal age. Slippery floors may worsen or in some cases may even cause swimmer puppies. This is not always the case because swimmer puppies are also seen when a rough surface is used for raising puppies. In any event, an affected puppy should be placed on a rough rather than slippery surface.

October 17, 2001

Liver Boys Black Boys Liver Girls Black Girls
Still just sits there on the
cold cloth trying to nurse from it
Green Collar The most active of
the liver pups
Was same size as white girl,
now seems to be gaining on her.
Blue Collar Fastest boy to get off the cold cloth.
very relaxed when Supine
Still the most passive.
Now the largest in the litter.
By far the best nurser
Small and scrappy. loud nurser.
Still gets knocked off while nursing
by the bigger brutes
Red Collar
Tries the hardest to right herself while
in the Head pointed down exercise. Very vocal

All the pups are getting more active, and more vocal during the Bio Sensor exercises. Some still get very much relaxed while in the Supine position. Some are starting to crawl rather quickly off the cold moist towel. Others know they don't like it, but do not know what to do about it. (i.e., just holler!) The boys seem very equal in size and activity level. The boys also seem to hang together. Many times all 4 boys will either be sleeping in a pile in-between Gabby's front legs, or all four will be the only ones nursing.

Melissa interjects...

I've been at a seminar for the last several days. It was led by Sue Ailsby -- a delightful woman and incredible trainer. I was blown away and thoroughly entertained by the seminar. She has *soooo* much knowledge about so many aspects of training, behavior, conformation, competition, etc., and let's not *even* talk about how incredible her seminar (and service) dog, Scuba is.

The seminar was four days. Each day covered a completely different topic, and attendees were allowed to pick and choose which days to attend. Thanks to the generosity of my friend Kyle (who gave me a place to stay AND provided transportation AND covered food) I was lucky enough to attend all four days.

  • The first day, we covered clicker basics and household manners. My favorite takeaway: "No matter what else you train your dog to do, there's no higher calling for a dog than to be a pet."
  • The second day, competition obedience. I learned a terrific new way to teach competition heeling.
  • The third day was teaching clicker classes. All I can say is WOW!! I'm encouraging Sue to present a couple of topics from this day at the next APDT conference.
  • The final day was "attendee choice." We chose to spend the morning on structure and movement -- again, WOW! -- and the afternoon on a range of topics including dog-dog interaction, starting puppies, and agility.

The structure and movement stuff was incredible. I learned *so* much about how a dog is put together, how proper structure "works," and how various problems affect movement. Many attendees had dogs with them, so she spent quite a bit of time helping the class evaluate those dogs. Fabulous! She recommended a couple of videos -- "Dog Steps" and "A Key to Movement" -- to learn more. I'll add them to my Christmas wish list, which (thanks to this puppy) is getting longer and longer.

When I got home, I had the compilation of articles by Mike Lardy waiting for me. I've been scanning them this evening. They're very traditional, compulsion-based, but I am getting an idea of what behaviors I need to train in what order. Before I left for the seminar, I got into a discussion on a (traditional) hunting-retriever mailing list about early training for puppies. During the discussion, I made a list of all the behaviors I want to teach my pup by the time it is 16 weeks old. By the time my pup is 16 weeks, it should be socialized to a minimum of 100 different people and 100 different dogs, have experienced a variety of sights, sounds, textures, tastes, and smells, and know:

  • Sit
  • Down
  • Settle on a mat
  • How to stay quietly alone in its crate
  • Lie quietly for grooming
  • Let me or another person play with its feet, tail, ears, mouth, and private parts
  • "Go wild and freeze" -- to calm instantly when excited
  • How to focus in distractions (short-duration)
  • How to walk on a loose leash
  • Come
  • Sit to be petted (so I don't have to teach it "not to jump")
  • Chew only it own toys
  • Bite inhibition (not "no bite")
  • Use the bathroom outside
  • Stay out of the kitchen
  • Sit at doorways
  • Sit before meals
  • Touch a target with his nose
  • Touch a target with his paw
  • Follow a target stick
  • Leave it

Between conversations with Sue and the Mike Lardy articles, I'm adding a few behaviors to the list, including:

  • Play retreive
  • Pick up any object I indicate with a soft mouth
  • Hold
  • Give

I can't wait!

October 19, 2001

Eyes still not open. When Gabby stands up to leave the box, she usually has a few pups that hang on with suction power. Its amazing the hold they get, and are able to cling to her for a few seconds before falling off. The pups make a funny growling sound and scramble around looking for her. She spends a bit more time away from them. A few days ago I still had to put a leash on her to get her to go outside. Now she takes more time to explore the yard. If she hears even one squeak from inside the house, she rushes to the door to be let in. Gabby has commandeered some of the toys in my stash that were set aside for the pups. Im not sure the pups know what to think of these odd unmoving litter mates they have adopted. Wait till they find out what sounds they make!

October 20, 2001

We trimmed nails again today. They grow like weeds and are very sharp! You don't want a pup to scratch mom and make her reluctant to nurse. You can use small blunt nosed scissors to clip the nails, or even human nail clippers. Just like an adult nail, there is a quick or vein in the middle of the nail. If trimmed too short, you will make the nail bleed. Some people would rather file the nails. I prefer to clip them. When Im done I have a pile of 160 little nail ends. At the same time, the pups all get new collars. They are starting to outgrow the ones they have on again. Gabby isn't too thrilled with this whole procedure.... and I see her nails need trimming too! (maybe tomorrow for her!)

Puppy nails before and after trimming

October 21, 2001

At 5am potty break, two pups had eyes open. Red collar liver girl and blue collar black boy. As the day goes on, more pups are starting to get that wet eye look, and have partially opened eyes. It will be a few days before they will be able to see anything but shadows.

Black boy
First male to open eyes
Liver girl
First female to open eyes


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