30 Days Old – More Visitors!

October 21st, 2017


Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who’s been coming to visit, we’re averaging at least one new visitor per day just now and this is exactly what we want!

Today the puppies met 6 year old Abigail (they already know her mum Caroline), and her grandma Sharon, who kindly brought her cane and wheelchair so they got to see those too!

Mum Zhora came in to provide refreshments

30 Days Old – Collars!

October 21st, 2017

Usually with Vallhund litters there’s enough variation in markings, tails (not in this litter obviously), etc. that you really don’t need to put unique markers on the puppies at birth. And I’m paranoid about collar safety. However, they do need to wear collars eventually so today they took them out for a test drive! These are breakaway puppy collars but still, they will only be wearing them while we’re in the same room just in case.

As with the last litter, I’ve purposely tried to avoid anything other than relatively neutral colors to avoid influencing my opinion (or your opinion) about the puppy. Just like in Reservoir Dogs, everybody wants to be Mr. Black.

Collar colors:

Ruffles – red

Orson – orange

Chex – yellow

Frito – green

Popcorn – blue

LOVE this quote

October 20th, 2017

“Breeding is an important by-product of the wider interest in ones breed and some kind of dog hobby/work, not the main aim.” (from “Brainless” on the Champdogs.co.uk forum. “Brainless”….ain’t)

29 Days Old – THE BIG HOUSE

October 20th, 2017

Here is the Ruffly Speaking post I referenced in an earlier blog post. I love this post.

After Orson’s escape yesterday, Jim set to work building the 6 x 8 Big House. Jim put a lot of thought into the building of the Big House this time around. In the past, when puppies were ready to move into bigger digs, we just put an x-pen around the wooden box a friend kindly made for me years ago. The problem was that the puppies didn’t have quite enough square footage, and much more importantly, they could get to the x-pen. Now I don’t know how it is in other breeds, but standard x-pen wire spacing is precisely the right size for a Vallhund puppy to get their muzzle through (as they all do), and then get stuck. It happened with both our previous litters and once a puppy got REALLY stuck and we had to work as a team to unstick him. This was traumatic for all concerned (the puppy was fine, we were freaked out).

Jim solved this problem ingeniously this time around. This time the x-pen is inside a wooden frame and there are clear acrylic sheets attached to the inside of the x-pen. The puppies can see out, but they can’t get to the x-pen.

The Big House is in our living room (taking up approximately half the space, we’re a bit cramped in here!). We have a sheet of linoleum on the carpet, on top of that are two large indoor-outdoor rugs (for grip), on top of THAT are various different surfaces for them to walk on – hospital pads, towels, upturned bath mats, plush VetBed. There’s a comfy bed and various toys will be rotated through. There’s a large Wee Wee Patch with a pee pad with an attractant in it under the turf. They’re right next to the sliding glass doors onto the deck, so they can see OUTSIDE, and they’ll be right in the heart of the house, with all the noise and comings and goings.

Fully renovated with ensuite potty turf and floor to ceiling windows looking onto the living room and back garden.

They spent their visit with Nicole today taking the grand tour of their new home, they got the zoomies (AKA the staggers), and they tuckered themselves out.

Brand new comfy bed!

They’ll still be sleeping in the Dura Whelp box in the guest room at nights for now, since Zhora needs to be able to get in and out to feed them regularly. But they’ll spend more and more time in the Big House.

They’re real puppies now, they play and invite each other to play. They bite and wrestle and argue. They complain if someone bites them too hard. They run (sort of) and jump (kinda). They ate some baby cereal and goats milk today (thanks Michelle).

Today’s enrichment (other than exploring the new digs and all the new surfaces in there) was a GIANT ropey toy AND the Enormous Purple Octopus toy. There are a couple of Very Special Toys they will get when they truly graduate to living in the Big House full time. And our awesome and much-loved friend Zap built us a frame for an Adventure Box – we need suggestions for things to hang from it! Send em in!

I have most definitely noticed that these guys are very, very curious. They startle like any puppies will, but then their first reaction after startling is to go and find out about what startled them. This is EXACTLY what we hope to see!











The Fab Five minus Orson, who was schmoozing with Nicole


October 19th, 2017

Since a certain puppy whose name rhymes with “schmorson” ESCAPED today (there’s always one who’s the first over the wall, this time it was Orson on their four week birthday!), we are in the process of hustling to build them their new digs in the living room. If all goes according to plan, they’ll have a 6 x 8 pen with a window view through the sliding doors into the yard! This will also make visiting easier. Since Zhora is still feeding them regularly (although I am getting the feeling that the bitey teeth are making that less appealing to her, more on that later), they’ll go back into the Dura Whelp box in the guest room overnight, and into the big pen during the day. At least for a few nights.

Today’s new enrichment item was a piece of tinfoil that made new sounds and was weird to grab and move around. The BAD thing about all this enrichment is that they think that EVERYTHING is there to be played with (which is what you want, of course, that’s a big part of the whole point of the Puppy Culture thing) – and now the cord for the heating pad seemed interesting to Ruffles all of a sudden, so we’ll have to address that for safety!

And they got to eat some MEAT! They all tasted some ground beef and three of them were pretty good eaters! Orson lay on his back and let me feed him tiny meatballs as if they were grapes. Ruffles happily ate tiny meatballs from my fingers (also important for learning how to take food from hands, which you don’t really think of as a skill they need to learn, but they do!), and Frito had to be convinced by having some put in his mouth, but once he tasted it he ate with enthusiasm. Popcorn and Chex ate some but then the sandman came for them and they needed to snooze. Everyone got a dose of BeneBac again this morning, since I knew I was going to start really insisting that they eat solid food and I wanted everyone’s digestive systems to be happy.

The last two litters took to eating solid food like, well, proper Vallhunds should take to food! I started offering food at three weeks and they ate it. This litter seem to be holdouts. I’ve been offering them various things over the last week, getting them to lick off our fingers, using various different bowls and plates. They just haven’t seemed to want to eat much that wasn’t ZhoraMilk. However, a bit of chatting to other breeders and research on the good old internet gave me a couple of ideas for today, and they seemed to help. First, I added some Karo syrup to their goat’s milk, and the sweeter taste seemed to make it more appealing, they all at least lapped some up. And they all seemed to like raw ground beef (90/10 if you’re interested). So I feel a bit better that they all at least ate SOME solid food, since Zhora isn’t going to be able to keep up with providing them with 100% of their calories for very long! Plus…the teeth. Owwy.

You can see their shapes changing, they’re less roly-poly and starting to look more streamlined. They’re all walking fairly well and they’re using the litterbox as best they can (they will have a turf patch in the big house which will make the potty area larger and easier for them to use, plus it should help a LOT with housetraining).

25 Days Old – BABY FOOD

October 16th, 2017

So the puppies had visitors over the weekend, and spent some time in a pen in the living room. They met a PUMPKIN thanks to Nicole.

Melanie and Rick came to visit (note the Tish photobomb in the background)

They haven’t been all that interested in non-Zhora-milk food. But tonight I think I found the magic potion – beef baby food. They all ate quite a bit of it off my finger.

Grandma Nina loves her grandpuppies.

Did you see how cute these things are?

Nina and Tish are allowed into the puppy room for supervised visits. Nina tries to nurse them and Tish wants to zoom with them (but is actually being quite gentle and respectful, for Tish). Zhora doesn’t mind at all.

Also they took turns coming out to watch Star Trek tonight and Ruffles actually played with Grandma Nina while on my lap:

23 Days Old

October 14th, 2017

Lots of playing with each other and with us!

Eating little bits of Royal Canin Puppy Mousse.

They have a startle reflex now (but no fear associated with it yet), so we’ve suddenly become very clumsy and are dropping things and slamming doors and generally being obnoxious. You want to exercise their startle/recovery reflex a lot before they start to associate the startle with fear (which happens later in their development).

Frito trying to snooze on Ruffles, who is playing bitey face with Chex

They all have teeth in varying stages of eruption, some almost all the way in, some just poking through. Poor poor Zhora. I have been putting lanolin on her teats to try and keep her as comfortable as possible.

Ruffles and Chex

They are ridiculously cute. They are all at least trying to use the litter pan, some closer than others, but all at least trying.

Unpopped Popcorn!

Orson in the “off” position

Jim being attacked by Popcorn:

Videos of bitey face:


Something HUGE Just Happened!

October 13th, 2017

Orson just actually PLAYED with me! He raised his little paw up and then kinda-sorta POUNCED on my hand! They are very interactive with us now, tails wagging, growling, coming over to sniff and lick our faces!

I was woken up by a crying puppy this morning, he was having a difficult time pooping. They’re a little constipated (which isn’t unusual, adult dogs almost never get truly constipated, but baby puppies sure can, especially while nursing, and it can be quite serious if left untreated). So I gave everyone a dose of milk of magnesia, and will keep doing that every 4 hours or so until they have a touch of diarrhea, that’s how you know you’re done according to  the puppy experts.

We are offering them food three times a day. They’re interested to varying degrees (Popcorn, Orson and Ruffles the most), but they’re all eating at least a little bit.


October 12th, 2017

How did this happen so fast?!

You will notice on the puppycam that their bedding has changed a few times over the last week. The littles were up and walking well but the biggers are heavy enough that they were having trouble getting enough traction to get their legs fully under them. After a few different attempts (rolled up towels underneath), I had a brainstorm in the middle of the night and just turned their Dura Whelp pad upside down so they’re on the rubber backing and voila! Five walking puppies!

They will get their first taste of real food in the next day or so…video will be made!

20 Days Old! TEETH!

October 11th, 2017

Today I added a litter tray (it’s an old cookie sheet with a wee wee pad taped over it, for absorption and also it has an attractant odor, Popcorn and Frito were the first to use it!).

Litter pan at bottom right.

I’m also adding an egg crate foam pad underneath to give them yet more stuff to climb on.

And I noticed when I was doing their nails this afternoon that they have TEETH coming in! Poor, poor Zhora….but they will start to get some actual food this weekend!

On the puppycam you can see Jim gave them some toys to start interacting with.

Now that their eyes are open and they’re starting to be able to hear, they are really starting to interact with each other a lot – playing bitey-face, biting each others’ tails and legs, and nursing on each other. Popcorn and Frito (the little ones are further along in their walking skills, since they started earlier) can actually RUN a few steps at a time now.

They don’t have their startle reflex yet, but that should appear any day now, at which point we will trigger a startle/recovery several times a day – per Puppy Culture, triggering a startle/recovery regularly is important.