Well - the puppies had a long day of not much outside time due to appointments and errands that had to be run, and I paid the price tonight. I was trying to be efficient and put all my gadgets - laptop, iPad, good camera with nice lens, glass of wine, etc. on the patio while I cleaned up the inside pen (since the puppies once again peeled back the grass mat and shredded the training pads underneath.) Bad judgement! Came out to sit down to enjoy the puppies to find my good camera with the good lens on the patio. The lens is shattered. Oh well. My bad. Hope it can be replaced. We've had the camera for 10+ years. This will give Dave something else to do tomorrow!
On a happier note, Valerie and Riley visited the puppies late this afternoon. They are great puppy socializers and race me to pick up after the puppies. I guess they are practicing for when they take one of these cuties home with them in less than two weeks! They got to see the puppies practicing their teeter skills and enjoying the ball pit (which has fewer and fewer balls on a daily basis!). Before they left, we worked with the puppies on "sit". Maxwell figured it out right away and became almost statuesque waiting for the next treat! All of the puppies eventually figured out that if they sit, they get a treat. It was so cute. Now to practice that with them everyday so it becomes engrained behavior. If only they would stand on the grooming table as easily!
Tomorrow will be a long day for the puppies. Morning will be normal if a little rushed, but we will leave about 10:30AM to head to Columbia for their BAER hearing tests at MIZZOU. Hoping for no surprise results! We won't get back home till about 5PM. I'm going to take along a little food, but not sure it's a great idea to feed them before heading back. Will play that one by ear. But, either way, they will be hungry and wound tight by the time we get home!
When we return, my brother from Ohio will probably be here. I love my brother! And so do puppies. Just look at the swarm on him from our last litter! All my dogs love Tom! We call him Uncle Treat! And his daughter, my niece, Tonya, is also coming from Tulsa. We call her Aunt Sneak! Zac and Nikki, who live here, will join us too! It's going to be a fun weekend!
We have a few photos and videos from today. The first will give you an idea of their odd eating behavior. Then we have discovery of the new giraffe in the pen today. Finally some teeter and ball pit fun. Enjoy!
Until next time....
What happened today?
Dave and Margot visited this afternoon and allowed the puppies to chew their shoes and shoe strings without abandon! They brought the puppies 3 new cute little toys with different sounds and textures for which the puppies all gave four paws up!
Rhani still lets them savage her but she is beginning to more frequently tell them no and to play with them a little. The puppies initiate a lot of this. It's cute to watch. Sorry I haven't managed to video or photo any of that. I will try to do better!
There were multiple rounds of Puppy WWF. Some videos follow.
Late this afternoon, I took each puppy individually to the front yard/porch to introduce them to a new environment and walking with a leash. That went pretty well for everyone but Maxwell. He was not fond of the leash at all! They got to experience stamped concrete, mulch and asphalt as well as the garage floor and all the smells associated with a garage. Everyone wanted to eat mulch! Fortunately my pocket was full of Zuke's Mini's so we were able to make a trade. I ran up and down the side walk with the puppy in my arms. Yes - just another weird experience for them! They didn't mind it. I broke off one of the way past prime hydrangea branches for them to "follow". Most of them thought that was pretty interesting.
They have decided that flat lying items - like their sleeping mat in the outside pen, rugs, and their grass potty mat - are there for them to pull up at the corners and proceed to try to destroy. Lots of messes were cleaned up by me today. Many gentle corrections and offers of distractions were made. Some were more successful than others. Let's just leave it at that!
The ball pit is still a favorite pastime, but there are significantly fewer balls in it than when it was introduced a week ago. Balls are for chomping! Photos illustrate my point!
I continue to receive new applications from people wanting one of the puppies. I assume they find me through the AKC Marketplace ad. I wish we had more puppies as I have a lot of applications from homes that sound really good. We may have one available, and I am now beginning to think about who will go where. This is one of the most challenging parts of breeding - trying to decide who will get puppies, and then matching a puppy's personality to the owners' and their goals. We have BAER hearing tests on Thursday this week at MIZZOU and then, hopefully, two independent structural evaluations next week by two different people whom I respect a lot. Once those are done, it is decision time!
But in the meantime, we play, we introduce as much new stuff and people as we can, and we watch and observe. (That goes for the puppies as well as me! They don't miss much!)
Enjoy the videos and photos.
Until next time....
It's ok though! Life is short, and puppies are fun!
Monday is nail day. Jo Jo was not at all happy about having his nails done today. We managed to finish the job, but, oh my, he was upset. Everyone else was only moderately annoyed by the experience.
The rest of the day was a puppy party to make up for it! First, they had lunch in the laundry room followed by some play in the kitchen. Two new venues for them and a new surface to play on. They thought that was great fun! Lizzy discovered the puppy food stash bin! They were especially intrigued with trying to squeeze through the slat on the gates between the kitchen and living room. Only Rita could actually fit, but everyone gave it their best effort! Imagine that!
Joanne came to visit. She has a 7 month old puppy of her own. It was great fun to catch up with her. Then Donna and Rich visited again with their 4 year old granddaughter, Violet! Donna was kind enough to show me some tricks for getting puppies to stand on the grooming table. We took some photos that I could share with Carola and Carrie. Thanks, Donna! Not posting here. They are not ready for prime time!
I spent some time this evening comparing label information on the Purina Pro Plan Focus Chicken and Rice Puppy food the puppies are currently eating and the Pro Plan Sport Turkey and Barley All Life Stages. The Turkey and Barley is what I normally feed my adult (not senior) Dals. After attending a Pat Hastings seminar prior to my last litter, I decided to transition puppies from puppy food to normal food by the time they went to their new homes. Earlier today I asked Carola and Rhani's co-breeder how long they leave puppies on puppy food. One said 4-5 months and the other said a full year. That's what prompted me to review the labels! Anyway, it was interesting. The differences are minimal. Puppy food has 28% protein and 18% fat while the all life stages has 27% and 17% (considered better - particularly for Dalmatians). As far as the actual ingredients they are nearly identical except for use of different meals (corn vs. oat) and vegetables. For minerals, the same are included, but the Turkey version uses proteinate versions while the puppy uses sulfate versions. So, of course, I had to look that up! Turns out that proteinate versions are more easily absorbed/utilized by canine systems than sulfates. That leads me to think the Turkey version might actually be better! The only ingredient not in Turkey and Barley that is in Puppy food is L-Lysine monohydrochloride. I looked that up and could only find one reference that said it aids muscle development. (This is one of the reasons Pat Hastings recommends taking puppies off puppy food. Muscle/soft tissue growth can be artificially enhanced but bone growth cannot. If the muscles grow too much beyond the normal bone development, deformities can be introduced - especially in large breed dogs.) Beyond these differences, Turkey and Barley has quite a bit more Vitamin E and Glucosamine. Based on this, I decided to transition the puppies to All Life Stages Turkey and Barley! This will be easier on new owners as they won't have to figure out when to switch the puppies and go through the transitioning period, the puppies will hopefully start on the food I think works well for Dalmatians, and it definitely makes it easier on me because I don't have to keep three separate bins of dog food! I will start mixing it in on Saturday, gradually increasing the amount each day until they are on it 100%.
Speaking of eating - they are becoming somewhat better eaters. They still piddle at the process but they usually clean up most of the food I put down. That means they are probably consuming about 8 cups a day (accounting for what they don't clean up!) or a little more than 1 1/2 cups per puppy.
The puppies have now met 47 different people, eaten out of 8 different types of containers in 5 different locations, and played on 8 different surfaces. They continue to get new items to play with every day in their inside and outside pens. It's getting crowded! I may have to retire some less popular items to make way for new ones!
Just a few photos and one video (from the patio after dark tonight). Enjoy!
Until next time....
The puppies had lunch on the screened porch again today followed by playtime there. They love it up there! Imagine that!
It was a busy, busy day for the puppies! Our great nephew Zac and his girlfriend Nikki came for brunch. They met the puppies when they were tiny and could not believe how much they've changed! Then our neighbor Margot, her daughter-in-law and two granddaughters stopped by. And my good friend and whelper helper, Linda came by to see them! They have now met 45 people since they turned 3 weeks old!
Using treats, several others attempted the teeter today and Lizzy walked it! She's a sleeper in this litter!
The puppies were exhausted after all that, but they ate all their dinner tonight and came out to the patio after dark full of themselves. Lots of WWF in the ball pit, chewing on the "new" wood box (for climbing) that I added today, octopus tugging, watching the TV, and barking and carrying on! (Sorry neighbors!)
There wasn't time for much else today! But we have a couple videos and some photos for you all mostly courteous of our visitors! Enjoy!
Until next time...
Our day began as usual with Baili breakfast, Rhani Breakfast, puppy breakfast, clean up puppies, clean up puppy pen, walk Rhani, Rhani lunch, Puppy lunch...But the puppies are looking a mess from food stains and tear stains, so I decided to attempt baths in the shower. Such desperation ensued! I hate that I didn't get a video or photo of all 5 of them in the shower stall looking so very pitiful! They all survived and smelled slightly better afterwards!
Then Baili got a walk and the puppies and Rhani rested up for the Marino's visit later in the afternoon. (I even got a shower!)
I've been feeling guilty because I have not been meeting my goals for puppy development. Ideally I would spend at least 30 minutes every day one on one with each puppy introducing them to new things. I've done it with past litters, but this time there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. I've decided it's due to a combination of 3 things.
Deep sigh - that's my litany of excuses! But today, we drafted the Marino's for puppy school and they did a great job!
Mike took Maxwell to the backyard/pool area. Valerie took Lizzy to the kitchen. Riley had Rita in the patio pen. Campbell had Sadie in the front yard/front porch, and Amelia took Jo Jo to the screened porch. Their assignments were to expose the puppies to an orange(smell, taste, play with different texture), wave a bath towel in front of them (visual) and then cover them with it and wait for the puppies to "escape" (problem solving challenge), play thunderstorm sound effects from their phones (auditory), and get the puppies to follow them (basic human interaction!). All the puppies got a good half hour of me time with their partners and everybody had fun. NO ONE took photos or videos - including me - who misplaced my phone and camera throughout the entire event! (I am a terrible visual journalist!) Reports were that none of the puppies liked the orange, all of them calmly escaped the towel and most were calm about the thunder storm sounds. The puppies were good followers but also good leaders venturing off to explore! The funniest thing I saw as I tried to move around to watch was Rita wriggling out from under the towel and then promptly grabbing it and dragging it all over the pen! Imagine that!
I will make sure all the puppies who didn't today, go to the kitchen, front yard and screened porch. I want to get them to at least two other areas to play also before they turn 7 weeks old. Just have to figure out where. We have brand new carpet and I really don't want to sacrifice it to these knuckleheads!
The puppies were exhausted after all that! I was hoping to get some photos or videos tonight during late night patio time, but they came out for about 10 minutes of play and then all went back inside to sleep! The video below is from this morning, and the photos are compliments of the Marino's! Thanks for sharing them with me for the blog, Mike and Valerie!
Until next time...
Now that the puppies are older, we usually just weigh them on their week birthdays on Saturdays, but this is worming week (ICK) so we weighed in today so the vet could give me the proper doses. Sadie is no longer the biggest for the first time since they were 2 days old! Oh my! The boys have passed her, but she AND Lizzy and both boys now weigh more than 8 lbs! Little Lovely Rita is at a petite 6 lbs 5.75 oz. Imagine that! (She is such a spitfire though!) Max now weighs the most.
The puppies had another repeat visitor today, but she counts as an add because she first saw them when they were under 3 weeks old. Linda couldn't get over the difference! They quickly pulled a drawstring out of her top, gnawed her shoes relentlessly, and entertained her with their antics - especially in the ball pit. Even Jo Jo now likes the ball pit. What he most loves is batting the balls about that he gets out of the pit. They have all figured out that they can chomp the balls, so I probably retired more than a dozen of them today.
I collected some fresh pine cones for the puppies to play with during my walk with Baili today. My hands were covered in pine sap by the time we got home. I ran the the pine cones under hot water to try to get off the bulk of it. They smelled so good! Anyway, the puppies found them immediately in the outside play area, gave them a thorough sniffing, batted them around a bit and chewed on them for awhile. I decided to take them away after not too much time though because I didn't want pine sap all over the puppies. That would be hard to remove!
The puppies also got exposed to lawn equipment today. I made sure they were all outside when the lawn service came this afternoon - mowers and blowers and trimmers - lots of loud new sounds. Puppies cocked their little heads and then went about their business of destroying ball pit balls!
This was the third consecutive day I put the puppies on the grooming table in front of the mirror so I could look at them. Today, I used a cheese stick to "bait" them. Well, we found something that motivates them! Sadly, it did not motivate them to stand still! LOL! But boy were they after that cheese!
We went for another car ride today. This one lasted about an hour. There was NOT A PEEP! The puppies were awake for awhile just quietly looking around completely at ease. Then they went to sleep, and I had to wake them up to get them out of the crate and back to their pen when we got home. Paws crossed this means they will all be good travelers. We will keep up the car rides as often as we can before they go to their new homes.
I got several funny ball pit videos today. The first stars Jo Jo, the second is Rita and Jo Jo, and the last is a WWW event with Rita and Sadie - notice who wins possession of the pit! Enjoy!
Until next time....
People ask which puppy I'm keeping. Which is my favorite? I honestly say, I don't know! I like them all! Today Lizzy got to go to the pool and master the stairs from the pool area to the patio. For that, and by accident, all of today's photos and videos (except one) are of her. She's a cutie for sure! She's the one who likes the ball pit. She's pretty unflappable. She doesn't start the arguments with other puppies, but she will certainly finish them. Last night, I failed to mention that she walked the entire length of the teeter! Imagine that! When I put her on the table to look at her in the mirror, she's pretty easy to get into a nice show stack. Is she my keeper? WHO KNOWS? I've got my eyes on all of them! I really want a boy because I miss my Raj so much, and both Baili and Rhani loved him so much and miss him too. But in the end, I could live with any of these puppies and will keep the one who has what my more experienced puppy evaluators will help me decide is the best one for showing and breeding down the road.
Before the photos and videos, just a couple little tidbits of information regarding puppy development...
Until next time....
Today, the puppies met a new family - the Dodson's! I met Michael at his grandmother Elaine's memorial service two years ago. Elaine was a long-time member of our local Dalmatian club and of DCA. She was a breeder under the kennel name Gemini, and actively competed with her Dalmatians in tracking, road trial and many other sporting events. She was also a really sweet lady! Michael told me that he would really like to get a Dalmatian for his family that came down from Elaine's lines. Well, these puppies do! Their great great grandma and great great great grandpa were of Elaine's breeding. Plus they share a birthday with Michael and Ina's one year old son, Ezra! Michael heads up the canine unit for Homeland Security/TSA at Lambert St. Louis Airport. He also served in Iraq with Athos, his Belgian Malinois, an off leash explosive detection and combat tracking dog. The puppies entertained the family including daughters Makayla and Sienna. We all think it's a good fit even though one of the hoodlums nibbled a bit too vigorously on poor little Ezra's ear making him cry! He soon recovered and the puppies have now heard a baby cry.
I have been suggesting to Cindy and Steven that they should come join us on the patio in the evening for wine and puppies, so tonight they took me up on the offer! They hadn't seen the puppies for more than a week and were sort of amazed at how much they had changed in terms of their activity level. I agree! In fact, when I went down a little before 9 to get the puppies out on the patio for their visit, I found a HUGE mess in the inside area. Someone - I am betting Lizzy - decided that the grass carpet would be a great item to pull up and drag around. Of course, under the carpet are puppy pee pads, which someone or someones decided would be excellent for shredding. EYEYIYIYIYI! What a mess! Plus there were a number of piles that puppies had tromped through. I scooted them all out the door and started clean up! When I saw Cindy and Steven coming down the stairs, I waved them in through the window and told them to enjoy the urchins while I cleaned up their mess! Wine definitely followed! Steven and Cindy did their usual excellent job of socializing/conditioning puppies. And it was a fun visit!
The puppies again spent a lot of time outside today. I did airplane zooms with each puppy today - probably inspired by the low flying plane that buzzed the house this morning while they were all outside. They looked at me like I was a nut after the zoomies! Yesterday's nutty thing I did to them was to jump up and down 10 times while holding them. More WTH? looks from them for that!
Today's meals were served up in ceramic dog bowls. Their weird pokey eating behaviors continue and they have not advanced to greater amounts of food. I'm going to stick with 2 cups for each of three meals until they are clean platters consistently.
I attempted the ball pit wading pool with the puppies again today. All but one now think it's ok, and Lizzy even played in it for awhile. I bet by tomorrow they will all think it is fun!
I did not get Lizzy, Maxwell or Sadie to the pool today as I'd planned. Imagine that! Tomorrow!
They are more and more active and interactive daily. It's so fun to watch their personalities emerge. I continue to think they are all independent, curious, and people-oriented in their own ways. It's very interesting to watch them trying to figure out their internal pecking order though. You can see bits of that behavior in the videos below.
Finally, I did put them all on the grooming table today opposite a big mirror so I can really look at them. It went pretty well for a first attempt. No photos. I will save that "joyful" experience to the end at 8 weeks! But we'll practice daily between now and then and continue to take photos of them just doing what they do naturally.
Here are a couple photos and video clips of today's cuteness! The girls didn't get the memo that the noodles are for them to climb over, and the longer video is just typical of what the puppies do when they wake up from a nap. Enjoy!
Until next time....
We had visitors today! Ann and Kara came by late this morning and had a good visit with the puppies including nail jobs! Kara is a professional groomer! She whipped out 3 puppies in less time than it takes me to do one! Thank you, Kara!
The puppies experienced a couple new sounds today. First a low flying plane to which they all paid attention but didn't seem too fussed about. Next was the tornado warning siren test that happens every Monday at 11AM. Again - response but no fuss. They were less happy about the sound of me dumping balls into a plastic wading pool to make them a ball pit. They were not thrilled about the pit either! We will try it again in a few days to see if they have fun with it. I've noticed several of them sniffing around it tonight, so they are warming up to the idea!
Later in the day, I had time to take two puppies back to the real pool with some individual wandering around time after. Rita had a great time running around the pool and was very aware of the edge. Jo Jo, not so much. He was less worried about his swim today than on Saturday, but he was completely clueless about the edge and walked right into the pool! That was quite a surprise for him, but I was nearby and grabbed him out. He then decided to head the other direction, and went to the yard (right through the fence!). He won't fit through that much longer! He loves to run around in the grass. Rhani was out and she play bowed to him. She has missed playing with Raj so much. :( Looking forward to her having a new playmate! Both Rita and Jo Jo climbed the stairs from the pool area to the patio with no assistance! Good puppies! Hopefully, I can get the other three out to the pool and to master the steps tomorrow! I dislike that the days are getting shorter!
I only take them out of their pen one at a time because our backyard is pretty large, there are places in the fence that these little guys could easily get under, and there are a pair of hawks hanging around! Besides it is good for the puppies to have individual time away from their litter mates to develop more independence. (Not all of them need help with that...AKA - Rita!)
They cleaned up all of their food today for breakfast and lunch, so I decided to add an additional cup of food tonight. They ate most of that too! We are up to 7 or 8 cups a day (collectively - not per puppy)! I've cut Rhani's food in half to help her dry up her milk. She's not very happy about that, and she's also not happy that the puppies are leaving few leftovers for her! So far the puppies have eaten kibble from 6 different kinds of containers. Today's were melmac cereal bowls. They still have the same, very atypical Dalmatian, eating behavior where they eat, then play, then eat some more, then do their business, then eat some more, then play some more....It takes at least a half hour for them to clean up a meal I put down for them! Just imagine that! WEIRD!
For the third day in a row, I found one of the indoor suspended toys no longer suspended! I was using these little colorful plastic link chains mainly sold for bird cages. Today, they actually dismantled the chain and I found three different sections of it in different parts of the pen. Time for those to go! I don't need zipper surgery on any of these little guys for swallowing a plastic link! Back to Zip Ties. Not so pretty, but safer and more secure!
We have a TV on the patio, and for the past couple days I've noticed the puppies watching it. Very funny to see them fixated on what's on the screen!
And visitors, beware! Shoe strings - especially leather ones are irresistible!
The videos shows why I call the puppies "savages" when it comes to topping off their kibble meals with mama meals! There are also some random photos for your amusement. Enjoy!
Until next time....
I like to keep a diary of the puppies as much for myself as for prospective puppy buyers and interested friends. Sadly my blogs for Lucy's and Baili's litters are no longer available due to legacy systems, but I saved them off as pdf's and was reviewing them last night. It was a good refresher on all kinds of things and brought back lots of good memories. Looking forward to Imagine memories too!