The puppies have gained amazingly. We like to see them double their birth weight at ten days – they’re pushing triple. Everyone’s fat and shiny and quite precocious. They’re showing huge will to get up on their legs and walk, and a few of them are pooping on their own. We’ve now got five generations of Madcap Bull Terriers under our roof – more about that, later.
On the topic of supplementing a litter, as with almost everything else in dogs, there's no one right answer, it depends on a number of variables, and it varies tremendously from breed to breed. I have learned my lesson that just because a bitch CAN feed a large litter, does not mean that she SHOULD. Pippi’s mother, Daphne stayed in the box 24/7 with her second litter and they nursed in shifts just about continually. She was dripping milk and easily fed all 8 puppies - and she also wound up with eclampsia, which I hope none of you ever have to experience because it's scary as all get out.
We’re past first 72 hours (also known as the “Thank You For Not Dying” stage) and we’re beginning to enjoy the puppies more, rather than hovering over them watchfully. A friend of mine commented that she has no memory of any of her litters before 3 days old and I have to agree - there’s something about the first 72 hours that generates manic feelings of instinctive protectiveness rather than actual bonding. Now they’re more like “real” puppies instead of half-baked embryos that we have to protect, and we can start relating to them as individuals. We’ve even given some of them names. It happens that this change in our emotion toward the puppies corresponds with the time that the bitch’s real milk (as opposed to colostrum, which is lower in calories) normally comes in.
Let's Put This To Bed
It's an old discussion that has been going on for as long as I can remember and I don't understand why it won’t die. Allowing/teaching your dog to sit will not ruin his show stack. The whole "sit" vs "stack" thing is a red herring. It's just not an issue, and I'm going to show you why.
We show all of our dogs in conformation, agility and rally at the same time with excellent results in all three venues. What it boils down to is this. There are two ways to prepare a dog for the show ring:
A Typical Morning Conversation In A Dog Breeder's House:
"Mark, did you give Augie his Denosyl this morning?"
"Yes, but Nora still needs her morning pills. No, wait, I think I did give Nora her morning pills but she still needs the mid-day pill. What about Daphne?"
"I gave Daphne hers when I put in Ruby's eye drops. Are you sure about Nora? I saw you give Phoebe a pill when you put them out this morning but not Nora. Are you sure you gave Nora her meds?"
"OK, I'll count the pills left in the bottles. What's the date today?"
"So, if the bottle is dated June 16 and there were 30 in the bottle and she's supposed to get 3 pills a day, how many pills should be left?"
"Did she get any on the first day we got the meds?"
"I don't think so. Well, hang on, I think maybe one dose."
"Just give her the pills. It's been 7 hours, it won't kill her."
We've tried keeping track with white boards, chalk boards, medication drawers, medication bowls, medication closets, checklists - nothing helped. We finally started taking pills out and leaving little piles on the counter, which is great if a dog only gets meds one time a day, but useless if they get multiple doses. Then we thought of this, and it works great:
It's an 18 egg carton with the lid cut off. Each dog gets their own "morning-noon-night" row. We currently have 7 dogs so we glued on a caboose - if you have fewer dogs you could cut it down.
Whoever gets up first in the morning can lay out the day's pills, and there's never any confusion about whether or not someone got their meds. For things like eye or ear drops that come in a bottle of liquid rather than a pill, you just move the bottle forward into the next dose slot after you administer it.
We have a very wide counter in our kitchen so we don't worry about the pills getting knocked off or spilled, but if you have a regular counter (or a counter-surfer) you might want to put the pills in a closet or drawer.
I 'd wanted to get a pretty ceramic one like this
and I still probably will someday but I decided to test the system with a cheap model, first. So far so good, no pills counted since we instituted the system!
The Puppy Culture program is all about teaching puppies Emotional Resilience and Enrichment Seeking - things that you might think of as “scary” just fuel the enthusiasm of Puppy Culture puppies.
Case in point: when a major storm blew through the fairgrounds last weekend while our Rosie (Ch. Madcap Victory Garden) was showing in group, I have to admit I was worried she would have a come apart. Rosie can be sensitive, and this was pretty extreme. Frankly, I was close to having a come apart, myself - I didn’t feel much like an enrichment seeker at that point and would much preferred a dryer place with less stuff blowing around.
To our amazement and delight, the storm just got Rosie’s blood flowing. She showed better than ever, and even gave us a major “Hurricane Hucklebutt” to celebrate her win! It was a hugely emotional moment for all of us - all of “Rosie’s People” who have been there with her and for her from birth were there, and I can easily say it was one of the most spontaneously joyful moments of our lives. God bless my husband for taking this video in the middle of that horrible storm - it was a great moment that we will treasure forever :o).
Thanks to Peggy Beisel McIlweine for the Group 2, Thanks to Gayle Denman for the BOV that sent Rosie to Group, thanks to Victoria Corse for loving her since she was born and piloting her to her wins, and, more than anything else, thanks to Ed, Ellen, and Erin Griffin for being the best home and co-owners in the world!
Puppy Culture ROCKS!
Rosie has her own Facebook page so you can continue to follow her story and see how spoiled...I mean, loved she is. She gets a marshmallow every night and a piece of toast cut into exactly nine squares each morning and she deserves every bit of it.
Jane Messineo Lindquist (Killion) is the director of "Puppy Culture: The Powerful First Twelve Weeks That Can Shape Your Puppies' Future" as well as the author of "When Pigs Fly: Training Success With Impossible Dogs."