Thursday 18 July 2019


Since my last blog all of the puppies are doing really well. They definitely seem more advanced than previous litters in terms of their mobility and behaviour but I didn’t expect them to climb over the front board out of their weaning box until the end of the 3rd week.

It was a bit of a shock coming into the room at 6am when they were only 2 weeks and 2 days to find florescent green collar out of the box lying next to Ella on her bed.

I have no idea how long she had been there but she seemed quite happy and so did mum. At first I thought maybe she had been feeding on one of mums teats in the whelping box with the others when mum got up and left the box with Florescent green collar still attached.

It was the next day while watching them in the box that I watched her showing a lot of interest over the top of the board.

 Then to my amazement she promptly climbed out of the box in front of me.

I had 2 options either put up another board which makes it more difficult for mum getting in and out or remove the front board and extend the box out into a small enclosed exercise area. I went for the second option.

It was quite amusing watching them working out that the board had gone and very tentatively making their way down the ramp for the first time.

Unfortunately I didn’t film the first two down the ramp which were silver collar and florescent green.

They went down very quickly and confidently.

The two pups who you always see together are two of the girls yellow collar and florescent green.

Out of the boys the only who really sticks out is purple collar and that is because he spends most of his time asleep.

The day after the front board was removed any caution that any of them had shown certainly didn’t last for long.

There is no doubt that mum Ella was much happier with the new arrangement of the extra room to manoeuvre and being able to get in and out at two locations.

As we approached the end of week 3 it became apparent that Ella was finding it much harder feeding all 9 pups because they were much larger and aggressive and so she tended to feed for much shorter periods.

When they were smaller she would feed for an hour at a time and so the most determined 5 or 6 had their fill then dropped off and fell asleep then the others would get to feed and everyone was happy.

As they grew larger going into week 3 Ella was feeding for shorter periods because it was uncomfortable for her. This became a problem because the less determined were not getting enough feed and she would leave the box before everyone got their share.

So to counter that we conducted a separate feed for the ones who missed out which was usually Red collar and Florescent green collar.

I also decided to start the weaning process to help mum out by getting them on solid food. I start this by getting them to nibble on a small ball of fresh mince beef which they find easy to digest

I do this for 2 days then I make up some blended puppy food with some mince beef scattered on top.

I do feed each pup individually during this process which I know most breeders feel is unnecessary. I do this so that from a very early age they see human hands in and around their food as a positive thing and I can establish who the slower eaters are.

Also I know they are all getting exactly what they need.

I have seen lots of litters being born but I still find it magical the way that mum instinctively knows what to do when the pups arrive and how to look after them.

Equally fascinating is watching 2 week old pups who can barely see going onto the newspaper to do their toileting to keep their bed clean.

With the excellent warm weather we took the pups outside when they were exactly 3 weeks old with mum.

This litter do seem very calm and relaxed and were quite happy being carried in a plastic box and placed in an outside exercise run for the first time.

Ella can come and go as she pleases while the pups are out in the run and she likes to run around outside the pen with her toy just keeping an eye on proceedings.

The pups enjoyed a feed with mum in the exercise pen but you can see Ella has started blocking their feeding because the sharp teeth and claws are now very unpleasant for her. Also you can see how much bigger they are now to what they were 2 weeks ago.

They are 4 weeks old this Friday and we have noticed this week that she has dropped off feeding and is reluctant to go into the pups other than to clean them. She is clearly finding it uncomfortable.

She still keeps checking on them and cleaning up after them but because she wasn’t feeding them the pups were getting very restless and vocal.

We haven’t yet got the pups to eat enough solid food to stop them having to rely on mum. So to make things more comfortable for her we have reduced feeds with just 3 pups at a time on her own bed.

She is much happier with this and is now feeding them in comfort. We are getting Ella to do 3 feeds a day with three pups at each  feed and in addition we are giving them small  amounts of solid food which seems to be working well.

They are just starting to drink water from the water bowl without banging into it or misjudging where the water level is and accidently submerging their head completely.

They seem oblivious to the hoover next door to their living quarters and that is just as well because that will now be a daily feature along with me clumsily and accidently kicking the side of the metal walls as I climb in and out.

I am really pleased with these lovely pups and I am so proud of Ella for the amazing job she has done. It’s now down to my wife and I to take over the feeding and cleaning and to allow Ella some well-earned down time to rebuild all of her reserves.

She will still have continual access to her pups until they leave us and will no doubt still provide the occasional feed and be around to maintain discipline and order. Here they are relaxing after a feed.

This week I have been doing some training with the January 2020 pups which included a boldness test with the infamous spooky man jumping out of a bush routine.

All the pups dealt with it very well and I will report on that in my next blog.

From Ella and I see bye for now.

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