Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Pics

Willow and 5-day old pups

Row sleeping

Pink sleeping on Willow's tail

Pink sleeping on Willow's foot

Five Days Old

The pups are growing rapidly. They are starting to wag their little tails, move around more, and their vocal range is expanding. The pups have outgrown their newborn hairband elastic "collars" and are currently being identified with dabs of nontoxic paint on their rumps. All pups weigh at least 1 lb and have gained approximately 50% of their birthweight. The small puppy pool is already getting a bit crowded and the Labby family will be upgrading to the large puppy pool in the next couple of days. BioSensor early neurological stimulation exercises started last Sunday and will continue daily until the pups are 16 days old. More info at http://www.angelfire.com/ca/curlycr/2001pups2a.html Early impressions while doing the BioSensor exercises are that these pups are a placid, tolerant bunch.

Someone asked why there were not more pics of the black pups. Baby black puppies who still have their eyes closed tend to photograph as little black blobs. Once their eyes open and they "get faces", there will be plenty of black puppy pics. Eyes typically open between 12 and 16 days of age.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Puppy pics


Orange boy sleeping

Turquoise girl and Orange boy

Red boy sleeping

Red boy up close and personal with Willow

Orange boy on Blue boy

Black boy nose to nose with Willow

Three days old

The pups are doing well, most have gained 3-4 oz since birth and many weigh at least 1 lb. Their little umbilical cords fell off yesterday. Willow can barely keep up with the milk production and it seems like the pups are constantly nursing. But they are stronger and less fussy than on Friday and Saturday. Willow is funny girl, preferring to rest tucked up. The "Roll" command [assistance dog cue for the dog to lie still on its side or back, typically used for grooming] is coming in handy to get Willow to stretch out and give the pups a shot at the milk bar.

Below is listing of the pups by birth order.

Collar color
Pup coat color
Birth weight
Current weight

Blue (Big Blue)
15.5 oz
1 lb 5 oz

Light yellow (cream)
10 oz
1 lb

11 oz
15.75 oz

Yellow collar
Black pup
12.75 oz
15.75 oz

Yellow (gold)
12 oz
1 lb 1 oz

Green (born on the lawn)
10 oz
12.75 oz

Black collar
Yellow (gold) pup
10 oz
1 lb

Yellow (gold)
12 oz
1 lb 2 oz

Yellow (gold)
13 oz
15.25 oz

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Two days old

Willow and the pups in the small puppy pool

Orange collar boy

Willow and the pups are doing well. Willow is a very relaxed new mom, attentive, but not obsessed with her pups. I have the pups in a small plastic wading pool in my bedroom, which is the warmest room in the house. And I have a tent of blankets wrapped around the ex-pen surrounding the puppy pool to form a warm little den. It is a fine balance of keeping it warm enough for the pups, but not too warm for Willow. The pups are often comfortable sleeping a bit away from Willow, which is a good sign that it is warm enough for the pupsters. I will gradually decrease the temperature as they get older, but at this age, they have little ability to regulate their body temperature. The wading pool is small enough that the pups can't get too lost, and if a pup goes wandering, it will typically go in a circle and end up back with its littermates. At this age, baby pups don't do much more than eat and sleep, being both blind and deaf, and only able to scooch around. I am frequently doing head counts, making sure no one is trapped behind or under Willow. She is not the most careful of mama dogs, a bit of a klutzy Lab. Willow's milk is still coming in, so the pups are a bit fussy, but gaining weight. They are currently being weighed every morning and I am providing the smaller pups with private nursing sessions. Willow is getting 3 meals a day for a total of 6 cups of high-calorie dog kibble, plus hard boiled egg, chicken, and organ meat for extra protein.

Friday, December 25, 2009

New Arrivals

First morning, Willow and pups

Keeping close watch of her brood

Tub full of less than 1-day old pups

I was guessing that Willow would whelp the evening of 12/24 or maybe the evening of 12/23 (since puppies always seem to come at night). Well. . . Willow had other plans.

Willow had a very normal pregnancy and true to her Labby heritage, she never missed a meal. On Tuesday morning, no signs of an early whelp, so I figured we were at least 48 hours away. Wednesay morning, Willows ligaments were starting to loosen and the pups were “dropping”, plus there was a little milk in her glands - getting closer. But she ate breakfast and otherwise looked great, so I went to work like normal. Wednesday evening, Willow started displaying nesting behaviors, going in the plastic dog crate and rooting around, rearranging the bedding I had put in there for her. She continued to be restless and nesting during the night, but looked good Thursday morning. She even wanted to eat breakfast. I only gave her a small breakfast, which she ate, but promptly vomited back up, another sign that she was soon to go into labor.

Shortly after breakfast, Willow started doing a little panting, so I figured she had started into Stage I labor right on schedule and it looked like we should have puppies Christmas Eve. I stayed home from work, was looking forward to getting a bunch of chores caught up and then spending a quiet afternoon reading and napping while I kept an eye on Willow. In the morning, I was running around getting stuff done and I noticed that Willow was getting quite anxious, wanting to go outside a lot, and it looked like she may even be having some decent contractions already. I scrambled and got the whelping pool (large plastic wading pool) set up in the living room which I had just finished cleaning, and got the whelping supplies laid out. I inhaled a bit of lunch, grabbed a book, and figured I would get Willow settled in the pool and then read on the couch as I watched her. I no sooner got Willow in the pool and she started having some serious contractions, and out popped puppy #1 at 12:09 pm on 12/24. This black boy was the biggest pup in the litter weighing in at 15.5 oz and Willow struggled a bit to get him out. Ten more much smaller pups followed in rapid succession and were very easy whelps, with the last pup being born at 5:30 pm. One pup was even delivered outside in the front yard, when I had taken Willow out to toilet. Willow squatted as if to poop, and out popped a female black pup who was given a green collar since she was born on the lawn. The last pup was stillborn, not unexpected being the last pup in a huge litter, but still disappointing. And there is one little black male who is not very vigorous and is not expected to survive. I am currently tube feeding him. These are the unfortunate realities of raising puppies, not all the pups survive. But still a very good sized Lab litter. Of the healthy pups, four blacks, five yellows, 4 girls, 5 boys ranging in weight from 10 to 15.5 oz.

Willow has checked in

A very pregnant Willow

Poor Willow

A very proud Jammer

Willow officially checked in at my house on December 18, looking very rotund. Willow is a yellow Labrador retriever. The sire is Jammer, a black Lab. This is Willow's first litter and Jammer's third. Willow's due date is 12/25/09, although I expect her to whelp a bit early since she looks to be carrying a big litter.