Archive for November 12th, 2020

Day 3! ENS Starts!

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

Three days old means we start satanic ritual abuse Early Neurological Stimulation! Which we do from day 3 through 16. This is one of those “can’t hurt/might help” things which, in conjunction with Puppy Culture, can really help puppies grow up with a good set of skills and resilience.

Everyone gained well, it’s a testament to just how much time Alice spends in with them that everyone has been gaining consistently since birth. Bravo had a tiny loss at the end of the first 24 hours but has more than made up for it (it’s typical for puppies to lose in the first 24 hours for a variety of reasons, including when you weighed them after they were born), but after that they should gain an average of 5-10% each day and should have roughly doubled their birth weight after about a week.

One thing I did differently this time is to put the heating pad under the bedding in the middle of the box instead of in a corner like I’ve done previously. You should only heat part of the box since puppies cannot regulate their body temperatures at this age so they need to be able to move towards or away from the heat source to stay comfortable and not get chilled or overheated (one of the many reasons not to use a heat lamp). In the middle that means Alice can lie to the outside and stay cool herself, and it keeps the puppies out of the corners where they can sometimes get stuck. So far this seems to be working well but we’ll see.

They are getting quite vocal, you can tell the difference between true distress (mum leaving the box, mum stepping on your foot accidentally, help I’m trapped in a corner), contented grunting and squeaking while they nurse, and grouching at someone trying to muscle in on their nipple etc. It’s especially interesting because they can’t hear yet. As Jim pointed out you can tell by how much noise they make that dogs are predators, because no prey animal baby would be that loud and risk calling attention to themselves.

Because I am terrible at math (but pretty good at Excel), I use a nerd spreadsheet that has a ton of useful information for me in order to track their growth and progress. I started with a spreadsheet someone else made years ago and have modified it somewhat with each litter as I learn more about what I like to keep track of.

It’s color coded by collar color (rainbow colors, not gendered, and in birth order). I weigh them twice a day for the first week, then once a day, and I also track changes week to week, average daily/weekly weights, early neurological stimulation, etc. Since I tend to be pretty sleep deprived in the first week or two, having this to update as I weigh, cuddle, and examine each puppy every day is really useful. (if any breeder friends would like to use it I’ll happily share it)

Don’t tell Alice but I have been bringing puppies over to meet Grandma Zhora and Great-Grandma Nina through the baby gate when Alice is outside. The puppies can’t see or hear yet, but they can smell and feel things, so we are handling and stroking them a lot, and letting them sniff different smells. The puppies’ family are very interested in them!

Here is an adorable picture of Charlie from last night:

Alice has the most coat of my dogs and her tail is truly magnificently plumed. This makes her beautiful, but it has also given me a healthy respect for my breeder friends who have long coated dogs. I know for next time that I’ll be wrapping Alice’s tail with Vetwrap when it’s whelping time. It’s normal for bitches to have lochia after whelping (just like people do after THEY whelp), and holy moly even though she’s a rock star at keeping herself clean (unlike her mother Zhora, who kept her puppies spotless but who felt it was my job to clean up after her), it still gets all over her tail. Baby wipes and tail baths help but…yowza. People with Shelties and other really coated breeds…how do you do it?