Yes! A special edition post! I couldn't help it. . . I typically take photos and video all week long. . . and when I downloaded the latest, I decided to post it right away! :) Here's a peek at both litters the past few days. . . first - Coco's litter. . .
These Coco pups are almost ready to have their pen completely opened up! There's actual floor surfaces now, and soon they'll see what the puppy door is all about! We've been working in the main living space now, and pups are learning about moving chairs, dancing toys, and vacuums!
and next, Fabi's litter. . .
These Fabi puppies are getting used to using a potty box, and more movement for those little legs! They've started gruel, and are working their way to investigating a whole new life!
Stay tuned for more action . . . :D
Coco puppies are 4 weeks old TOMORROW! What did Week 3 look like for these babes? Oh my goodness. . . big changes!! Out with the soft pads, and in with a potty box, den, and new toys and sensory objects. Puppies spent week 3 growing up! and are now nearly 95% potty trained - Good puppies!
The space is kept smaller at first, so that puppies can designate their sleep space from their potty space. I find this helps ensure the puppies do what their instincts are telling them (to keep their sleep space clean) It's really quite remarkable to watch nature take over. . . . :)
This video (below) at 3 weeks of age. . . we are MUCH larger now (than we were at 3 weeks)!
First Day of Gruel (below) is now many days later, and puppies are beginning to eat softened kibble in their gruel. Mamma Coco's job of nursing these babes will soon lessen over the next several weeks, fully weaning by the seventh week.
And a second enlargement to the play/sleep space. . . . remember. . .this is a WORKING space. . . we are using all sorts of pads, towels, rugs, bowls, hard things, soft things, smelly things, loud things, rattling things. . . this morning's "toys" were cardboard boxes and plastic water bottles. Whatever we can change/add to their environment daily is expanding on what these puppies investigate and understand in the early days of development. Can't wait to see what they'll learn next week!
Here's a look at the early 3-week olds during light play after lunch (just before their food-coma hit) . . . . we are thrilled with the strength and movement of the hips and limbs with these pups, given we updated our 0-3 week (pup) program to include a different early surface for traction and comfort. Taking our cues from nature, this gave us some insight on how to improve on what we do. I honestly think that's what sets breeding programs apart . . . there are those who are constantly looking to improve what they do for the sake of their puppy/teen/adult development, health, and skills. We're really excited about that process and lean on the ol' adage. . . "the more you know, the more you realize you don't know!" We've been doing this for some time, and yet we love learning at Snitker Goldens. And are passionate about seeing how that learning impacts our program. :)
This video (below) taken just today. . . the way these pups move over any surface, bumping into just about anything. Coming when called, tails up and happy - GREAT! This group is really solid on sounds already, too. Just enlarged their pen yet again today. . . and they are tootling around, enjoying the extra space (while yet keeping their floor area free from potty - woohoo!)
During weeks 4-5, we'll be opening up the area to its largest size - and weather permitting, puppies will be introduced to the dog door to go outside. We'll see what Ol' Man Winter has in store for NE Iowa in the coming week!
And it won't be long and we'll be in the training room! Time is flying!
Learing about the smell of fresh pine today. . . . hmmmmmm. . think they like it!
Just wait and see what we're doing next week. . . . . . stay tuned!
These young Fabi pups are TWO weeks old! Eyes are open, ears are hearin', and we're doin' lots of new things! First dips in bath water were this week. . . .
There are all kinds of handling when it comes to puppies. . . and below, I'm demonstrating some of the massage techniques I use with our young pups. Protecting their necks is a natural thing to do - it's instinct. But what we're trying to do is to use gentle massage and handling to encourage the puppies to relax in some of their most vulnerable positions. It's all part of building the trust between pups and humans. And these little babes are well on their way. :)
And lots of little handlers are busy working. . . . .
you can see we're "makin' pancakes" with this litter already. . . . and we'll continue to add sights, sounds, textures, and smells in the coming days. Stay tuned!
Hello, World! [wave] Here's a look at these little personalities I met late last week. . . .eyes and ears are open! and sights and sounds are a wonder for these Coco puppies. Development is happening at lightening speed now. Even just this morning, pups are moving all over, wagging tails, "talkin", and checkin' out the new toys and bowls in their pen. But first. . . .let's look at the past week. . .
Still with eyes closed, pups were finishing up their ENS exercises and beginning to use their voices.
Early walking, a little wobbly at first, but getting stronger daily . . . . we've improved our surfaces the past two seasons and we're seeing better muscle development at an earlier age. . . supporting good leg and hip position for those developing joints. We're really encouraged about what we're seeing, and are looking forward to charting the progress in these litters with these changes. Here's a look at only a little over a week old. . . .
And first puppy baths, lotsa little hands a dryin' and holdin'. . . . and time for growin' up as we removed the heat lamp as pups develop their shiver reflex to keep warm on their own. Well, this usually means a pack-o'-puppies in a pile!
And only days later from our first video, (about 11 days old) . . . . Legs are stronger and puppies are well off their tummies and moving more fluidly. They can get where they want to go!
But there's much more to come!! You should have seen these pups motate this morning! (sorry, but I didn't have my IPhone to record then! I'll catch that footage for you next time!) :D
So for now, happy puppy dreaming to our Coco Families! These pups are wonderful kids!
Four little babes. . . . three girls and only one brother. While Mamma Fabi is nestling in with her new packages, pups are growing, growing, growing.
And today, we had two little helpers to hold puppies. G and Bug were great help. Tender little hands and gentle touches. . . . these puppies were soakin' it up.
You'll notice there are five babes in this photo. This is an Oakley baby added to the Fabi Four.
This is a difficult thing for a breeder. . . . you see, it's not just days of squirming, soft, and lovable puppies. . . . .
Oakley went into labor and after many hours of what seemed like progress, only found us in the vet clinic for an emergency cesarean section. And what seemed like a routine surgery, ended with just one. little. girl. I have been heartbroken since.
After much prayer and thoughtfulness, I placed this little girl with Fabi's litter, making a new family of five kids. While I am pleased to share that Fabi accepted this wee one and called it her own, my heart was breaking to reveal to Oakley that her new baby would be raised by another. For those of you who wonder if dogs feel depression, I can tell you that they do. I am lost along with my Oakley. But this one puppy will thrive with siblings and develop as she should by living daily with them. Sometimes in life we make decisions we don't like to make, but we need to make. And so as I write this post, I am keeping my girlie company, assuring her it's going to be okay.
Life happens. With all species. In all circumstances.
I'm glad that I have a Father in heaven who watches over it all.
Five little heartbeats. Mini Miracles in Life. That's what I was thinking as I stood over the whelping area, arms resting over the top of the pen and just. watching. in. wonder. How much this process of life still amazes me, even after all these years since our very first litter. I see God's handiwork in it all. These tiny little lives that are born without sight and the ability to hear, rely on their basic instincts and touch and smell to find their mamma, to suckle, and rest in close for warmth. To be so vulnerable, and yet so trusting in the environment around them. And the mammas, who in just a few moments' time, learn to become the nurturing presence that they need to be. Life is truly a miracle to behold.
This being Coco's first litter with us, I wasn't quite sure what we would unwrap in this pairing . . and after a long labor, three little boys and two little girls were making tiny puppy sounds and wiggling in for nourishment and security. With years of our Silas progeny on the ground, this is our first Thevenet girl to bear Silas offspring. And what offspring they are! A beautiful array of color, exquisitely-formed heads, and hearty little movers and eaters.
As Mamma settles into her brand new role, she's a bit tired, of course, but oh, so loving with these new little ones. We're thankful for their safe delivery and now are resting up for the weeks ahead. What a joy it will be to watch them grow!
This is Griff. And he's waiting . . . . He's not sleeping tonight, because he's up at 1 am, watching a video of his new baby brother. And his new brother, Pup, arrives on Saturday! But Griff is not the only one excited. . . .his mom and dad will be coming to pick up Pup soon!
Sweet Dreams, Griff! :)
Here they are! Reaching new milestones and striving for others. . . . This litter of six is now on dry food, almost weaned, and going through the puppy door outside. They talk and play, chew and tug. . . . these pups are well on their way. Vet Ryan gave them each an initial exam, and they are closing in on six weeks old. That means lots of new experiences ahead!
I began this post with a beautiful video of sleeping and "getting-comfortable" puppies so that you all could see what I see pretty regularly in the puppy barn. This group is at such a fun stage. . . .growing up, learning, trusting, being sweet, and yes, some "fussing". They're learning more about relationships and interacting with us. I love this part because this is what our program is about. A puppy can always learn to do tricks, sit when asked, come when called. . . . but the foundation of a good relationship is the platform that their future skills and behaviors will be built upon.
Here's a look at the past weeks. . . (in no particular chronological order). . .
And a look at one of the pups' first times in the living space. Lots of new things. . . and yet we had a few frumpy-mood puppies sitting in the chip pan! (Don't worry, I shooed them out and they joined the group!)
And a quick look at our roommates. . . . these litters are side-by-side. . . see what two weeks' puppy-age looks like? wow!
somebody (or somebodies) figured out I returned for a few photos just as I finished morning puppy chores. . . . lol. :)
I hope you enjoyed your update! Until next time. . . . !
These pups are movin'! We've graduated to dry food, weaning, crate training, playing outside, and working daily in the puppy barn living space. We've seen moving things, loud things, blowing things, rustling things, pokey things, puzzling things, soft things. . . you name it! The pups will be visiting the training room this week for the first time, eating individually, and heading to the great (white!) outdoors in small group and then individually. There is SO much to do yet in these next two weeks. They've had their first vet visit (thanks Vet Ryan!) and first shots. . . . and in no time at all, they'll be having a second (and final) vet visit and getting ready to go home. It won't be long now!
Here's a look at last week . . .
These are images from the pups' very FIRST time outside on the turf! (last week) They are now used to dog door and going outside when temperatures allow. This past week's ventures include real grass and the big, frozen backyard! Stay tuned!
A quick trip to D.C., and lots of white hair. . . . . These past four days I was able to travel to Washington, D.C. and meet a few of our dogs at work. What an opportunity to see the other end of handing a puppy over to a service organization. While we have enjoyed working with VMF in VA these past four years, we are beginning a new partnership in 2018 with a more local organization in the Midwest. We'll have more about that soon! But for now, here's Vincent and me. . . . Vincent was raised primarily by Stephanie while I was burning the midnight oil in graduate school. Though I'm not Stephanie, Vincent was still happy to have a belly rub and play. :)