Tuesday 20 March 2018

Sasha’s pups are now 24 days old and doing really well

Since my last blog the pups can now see and hear and are able to get around on their own four feet. I have removed the pig rails to create more room in the whelping box. In these early days they spend the majority of their time sleeping.

Here they are having a little burst of energy in between sleeps.

One of the pups Elsie in the black collar always ends up lying between mum’s front paws.

Eyke in the Silver collar did make an attempt to acquire that position but Elsie soon saw that attempt off.

Sasha spends lots of time in with her pups but her favourite spot is looking down from her sofa where she can relax and doesn’t get too overheated. This will become very important as their teeth and nails grow making feeding unpleasant allowing her to withdraw but still watch over them.

What I find remarkable that even at only 2 weeks old they already do their toileting on the paper and not on their bedding. This has been the case with all of our litters and clearly showing they have an inbuilt desire to be clean.

Sasha has been the most amazing mother to her pups providing round the clock care and a constant supply of rich nutritious milk. We feed her a top quality puppy dry food with raw minced beef and chicken wings 3 times a day.

Plus she insists on her Weetabix and goats milk at 9pm each night.

At around 21 days she started to reduce the number and length of her feeds preparing them for weaning. Weaning is the gradual reduction of a puppy’s dependency on his/her mother’s milk.

I start the process of getting the pups ready for solid food by feeding each pup a walnut sized piece of mince beef.

From here I give them small amounts of blended puppy food mixed with raw minced beef.
I insist on each pup having his/her own bowl to make sure they each get what they need and also it gets them used to handling and to realise that human hands around their food bowl is a good thing.
Elsie definitely enjoyed it.

They had been threatening to climb over the front boards since day 14 and here are Eyke (Silver ) and Eddie (Blue) attempting to join mum on her sofa.

Sasha wasn’t having any of that, Knocking them both back inside and then giving them all a feed.

Whilst I appreciate not all pups can be born and raised in a home environment there is no doubt it gives mum and pups the perfect start in life.

Here is a video of mum and pups in complete solitude away from prying eyes and noise. They are getting good quality rest which aids their wellbeing and development.

I weigh the pups every other day just to keep an eye on their development. There is no doubt having just 6 pups means there is plenty to go around for everyone and this has been shown by how even their weight gains have been.

Here is Eddie happily sat in the weighing box.

This weekend I opened up a bigger area for the pups and as their eyesight improves I will open it up further.

You can see from the video their eyesight is still very hazy and they are still very reliant on their nose to locate mum.

This weekend Sasha’s full time Carers Julie and Les who live near Bath came down to see her and her pups. You will see from the video she was very pleased to see them along with Julie’s sister Karon.

Before going to live with Julie and Les, Sasha lived with my family for over 2 years and had her D litter with us. Now that Julie and Les are her carers Sasha will live with Julie and Les for the rest of her life.

Sasha very proudly showed off her pups to Julie and Les.

Julie couldn’t resist lots of cuddles and helping out feeding them. Here she is feeding Eyke.

With snow on the way they had to leave to get back to their home in Bath. They will be popping back to see Sasha and her pups again. When the pups leave for their new homes at 8 weeks Sasha will return to Bath with Julie and Les.

We had a worrying day yesterday when Sasha was overloaded with milk and one udder was huge and obviously uncomfortable. Sasha wouldn’t feed the pups and was whining constantly which I interpreted that she wanted to feed but something was preventing her from doing so.

I checked all of her teats repeatedly but could find no signs of a problem and I decided a veterinary visit was in order. I heard her whining through the night but when I went to see her this morning she had obviously fed her pups and now seems back to normal.

As we now move into the weaning stage the real work starts as I start to take over feeding and cleaning from mum.

I have received my copy of the Fabulous Finn which I am really looking forward to reading.

However with 6am to 10pm days ahead for the next 4 to 5 weeks it is something to look forward to on our Hols in May.

Here are the pups last night having some playful banter before retiring for the night.

Today the pups are 3 weeks and 4 days old. I will be compiling another blog when they are 5 weeks old.

You can see daily updates on twitter. DC_POLICE DOGS @DC_POLICEDOGS


The Initial Police dog course is now in week 7 and all the dogs are doing really well. From left to right are Ollie, Tag  Eric and Oscar ( Now Roscoe)

Because of the recent weather I have had to cancel a number of training sessions. I managed to get some training in with Henry, Lola, Lulu and Ben.

Here is Henry practising his hold and leave with puppy walker Jill.

Like most Dutch herders and Malinois getting them to bite is never a problem and so ensuring that they always understand that they must leave on command is vitally important.

Control is therefore very important as demonstrated here by Jill working on Henry’s down stay.

His tracking is also progressing really nicely.

Henry would be a handful for anyone and Jill and Terry’s experience having puppy walked 11 pups is paying dividends.

Here is 3 month old Lola with Karol getting in some practise on the ramps in preparation for the forthcoming Devon county show.

Here she is again being assessed on different floor surfaces and various noises in the pavilion. She was very confident and not at all sensitive to sounds.

Here is Lola’s sister Lulu with puppy walker Margaret on the Agility ramps and also practising her down.

Here she is pictured in the pavilion doing a sit.

I collected Lulu and her sister Lola from the breeders in January. From the moment I arrived home I had my doubts about Lulu in terms of her lack of confidence. This was very apparent on her puppy assessment and has been consistent on the occasions I have seen her with her puppy walkers.

Because of this I have had conversations with Margaret about not getting too attached but Margaret fully understood and was happy to see how she got on.

Reluctantly I have decided to return Lola back to Ian the breeder at Lorokmor working dogs. She has many endearing qualities and it is rare that I would release a puppy quite so soon but I do not think she has the necessary confidence and strength of character to become a Police dog.

To date we have had 6 puppies from Lorokmor working dogs ie Merlin, Henry, Bill, Ben, Lola and Lulu. With the exception of Lulu I am very happy with the progress and development of the remaining pups.

Here is Ben taking everything in his stride on our last training day and showing a natural aptitude for tracking with his puppy walker Lyn.

Pictured here are Lola, Lulu and Ben on our last training day.

We have 2 15 week old puppies Star and Sidney arriving from Tiekerhook kennels in Holland in 2 weeks’ time to join our existing three January 2019 pups Bill, Ben and Lola.

I hope to do some training with Peppe, Merlin, Henry, Quest, Quini and Gunnar on Sunday and possibly out with the Initial course next week. None of this would be possible without my long suffering wife Diane who will be looking after the pups and Sasha while I'm out.

I will leave you with a picture of my young girl Ella out enjoying the snow.

See you next time

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Sacha and her new puppies and a day at the Farm


Sasha’s litter was expected on or around the 27 of February and we weren’t anticipating a big litter based on her scan which showed 2 pups and she didn’t look particularly large.

Worryingly Sasha started showing signs her pups could be arriving as early as Tuesday 21 February then late on Thursday night it was obvious to me that her whelping was very imminent.
I stayed with her during the night and just after 5am on Friday 23 of February her first puppy duly arrived. Within 3 hours she had 4 healthy puppies and I thought that was it.
Sadly about an hour later a very large male puppy partially emerged and it was pretty obvious that the puppy was stuck and despite efforts to help deliver and resuscitate the puppy we lost him.

As upsetting as this was it is fairly common for a puppy to be born dead and there was no time to grieve because shortly after that and much to my surprise she then delivered 2 more pups.
The first of these last two puppies also became stuck but between Sasha and I we managed to get him out and get him going.

Rightly or wrongly on the first day I do not tend to handle the pups or interfere unless I have to because I do not want to cause mum any more stress than is necessary. It was the following day  I confirmed that there were definitely 4 boys and 2 girls.
Once all of the pups were born and things had settled down I put in place the wooden pig rails which prevent mum inadvertently lying on one of her pups.
Sasha has her own Sofa next to the whelping box which allows her to take a break from the pups if she needs to. This is particularly useful after a couple of weeks when the pups become larger and more aggressive in their feeding.
The temperature outside the room was as low as -4 degrees and so I used a heat lamp to make sure the pups maintained a consistent temperature because puppies are unable to regulate their own body temperature for several weeks.
Mum is fed a high grade puppy food with mince beef and raw chicken wings to help her maintain her milk quality but she is always grateful for a bit of my lunch.
Sasha was a fantastic mum to her first litter the D litter which consisted of 9 pups but she is even more relaxed and chilled with this litter.
Whether this is because she only has 6 pups this time or because it is her second litter and she is much more confident I’m not sure. There is no doubt 6 is a perfect number because all the pups have easy access to a teat without the constant battle that takes place with a larger litter.
There is one pup we have named Elsie who is always sleeping between Mum’s front legs.
The smallest pup in the litter is a little boy we have named Eddie. I have been giving him individual feeds on mum because he was constantly getting knocked of mum’s teats by the others. It has paid off as he is now putting on good weight.
This picture 6 days in says it all really, a very contented mum and pups.
Because they are all so alike I placed collars on the pups at 7 days to help me monitor their behaviour and weights.
I have named the pups and allocated the collars as follows.
  1. Eddie – Blue collar
  2. Eyke – Silver collar
  3. Errol – Green Camouflage collar
  4. Echo – Black & White Camouflage collar
  5. Ernie – Blue Camouflage collar
  6. Elsie – Black with silver dots
I have included a few videos to show how relaxed and content both Sasha and the litter are.

I have also removed the pig rails because now the pups are 10 days old they are much larger and stronger they are now able to let mum know if she is lying on them by accident.

Sasha is back to getting her regular walks at Killerton and playing in the garden to keep her mind and body fit.
She started sitting by my dog van hoping to go on our adventures at Killerton as early as day 3 after the pups were born.  I am always careful where we go and I am well aware that we don’t want any diseases or infections being brought back to the pups.

I believe a female is not a machine to be bred from with little or no thought given to her needs. Those needs are a private environment where she is comfortable and with people she knows and trusts caring for her.
She should have the best food, regular exercise and toilet breaks, fresh water always on hand, a spotlessly clean environment and the freedom to come and go to her pups and certainly not being taken away from them as early as possible for convenience.

In the garden I have to keep my eye on Sasha because she likes nothing more than going up to a muddy den hidden in the bushes and returns with all of her under carriage completely dripping in mud requiring a complete bath.

Here are a few more photos of Sasha and the pups.

Today is day 10 and the pups are now opening their eyes and things start to become more interesting.

I will be doing a weekly blog showing their progress every week. Here is a video of Sasha and her pups taken this morning.

In my next blog I will tell you more about the father of the pups Xato.

As I finish the blog on my laptop Sasha is lying at my feet completely at ease with life but always ready to respond if her pups call her from the room next door.

See you next week


Due to Sasha’s pups being only 2 days old my wife Di had to look after them while I went to supervise one of my favourite training days the visit to Saundercroft farm near Broadclyst.

It was a day of mixed emotions because normally when we arrive we are greeted by German shepherd Holly who lives on the farm but sadly Holly had recently passed away.

Here is Holly pictured on the far right in happier times with her owner Jean who allows us to use her farm on our farm visit in April 2017.
The farm visit is very important for potential Police dogs because they will be required on occasions to search farm land for outstanding criminals or vulnerable missing persons. They need to be able to work amongst livestock.

Some of the dogs can be a bit reactive on first seeing some of the animals but we keep the dogs back until they get their confidence and eventually get bored. That is the time then to introduce them to the animals when they are no longer in a state of heightened excitement.

Here are a few of the dogs meeting the sheep.

Next it was time to meet the calves.

Next Andi and young Will were waiting to introduce the dogs to the bigger horses.

Last but not least were the chickens. The local fox had killed quite a few recently and naturally they were a bit nervous of the dogs.

It was a sad day for Terri and Mark who have been puppy walking Quini.  Terri is going back to work and so can no longer look after Quini and was handing her over to Mary at the conclusion of the visit.

We are grateful to Mark and Terri for puppy walking Quini.  I am also grateful to Mary for stepping in at short notice

So another excellent visit and thanks once again to Jean, Andi and young Will for their help and allowing us to visit.

From Ella, Sasha, and me bye for now.