TESS and MICK

proudly present their puppies born September 29, 2017
STARRING:
Pink Girl, Purple Girl, Yellow Boy, Green Boy, Blue Boy, Red Boy
for full credits, see details on the "Puppies" page

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November 1, 2017 The puppies are right on track with their development. They are interacting and playing with each other, have started to notice and play with toys, and are noticing and moving towards us when we approach their area. When we sit down near them, they approach us and climb on our laps, and they are seeking our touch. These puppies are sweet and gentle and have superior eye contact with us when handled. They still spend the majority of their day sleeping, but are spending longer times alert and active between their naps. The puppies are lapping milk and their teeth are starting to erupt, which means mama dog will begin the weaning process soon. They are moving more often to their potty area at the back of their pen to relieve themselves. Mama Tess is still cleaning up after them much of the time, but as we introduce more food to them, she will gradually stop doing that task. 


October 19, 2017 Tess's puppies continue to rapidly grow and have reached several developmental milestones in the last couple days. 


     - A few days ago they started walking with more confidence and control.

     - Upon waking from their naps, the puppies have started moving away from where they were sleeping to go to a different area to potty.

     - Yesterday the puppies started actively exploring and challenging the borders of their whelping box.

     - Yesterday the puppies started licking one another's faces.

     - Today they are startling at loud noises.


Mama Tess is spending less time in the nest and room with her puppies, only coming in to feed and clean them. The puppies are starting to "travel" in their area, exploring and smelling each other and everything new. We will start adding new items to their area every day for them to smell and explore. Yesterday we removed the whelping box, expanded their area and gave them beds for sleeping.


We placed potty pads at the back of their area for the beginning of potty training. Right now the puppies potty away from their sleeping area, but aren't particular about what part of the box they go potty--their natural instinct is to keep their sleeping area clean and potty in a place away from their nest. We're helping to define that potty area by adding sleeping beds, changing the bedding in the main area of their pen a couple times a day and leaving the soiled pads in the potty area. The puppies will gradually begin to follow the smell to the specific potty area, and in a matter of weeks they will regularly go to the potty area to eliminate.


The first "startle/recovery" response was noted today when a nearby door closed. This indicates their ears have opened, so we will start purposefully making loud sounds, such as slamming a door, dropping a pan or book, clapping hands, etc. At this age puppies do not experience fear, so the startle is not fear driven. In this few weeks before they begin experiencing fear, we will mildly stress them with noises to build their recovery response. We are carefully watching the intensity of the startle and the speed of recovery--our goal is to elicit a very mild startle followed by a rapid recovery. By repeating the noise several times in a row, the startle response will diminish and go away and the recovery will become immediate. As they become adept at the startle/recovery response, we will gradually increase the intensity of the noises we make. This will help the puppies to be stable to new sounds and experiences as they grow into adult dogs.


October 15, 2017 ​The puppies eyes all opened in the last couple days, and they are starting to take their first wobbly steps. Mama Tess is spending less time in the nest with them--she stays nearby but spends much of her time lying outside the box just watching her puppies. The puppies are beginning to regulate their own body temperature, so they don't need to rely on Tess's body heat to keep them stable. Ears will open sometime in the next week. When we notice the puppies startle at a loud noise, we'll know they are hearing and will start doing startle/recovery work with them.


October 6, 2017 The puppies are one week old now and have more than doubled their birth weights. We changed collars today since they had outgrown their newborn collars and took photos. Their eyelashes are getting longer and their eyelids are beginning to become more defined and separate. In the next few days we'll see their eyes open, starting in the inner corner and working to the outer corner of the eyes. Their ears won't open for a couple more weeks.


October 4, 2017 In case you are wondering about the white rail around the perimeter of the whelping box--it's called a "pig rail" and is for the safety of the puppies. (These rails originated on farms to protect piglets--hence the name pig rail--but I think it should be called a "puppy rail!") Puppies often gravitate to the outer edges of the box and wedge themselves down in a corner. Since mama is spending most of her time in the box with her babies all around her, she often leans back against the walls and falls deeply asleep as she recovers from her labor and delivery. The rail stops her from crushing or smothering a baby that has burrowed in along the edge. We'll remove the rails when the puppies are two to three weeks old and are strong enough to raise a ruckus if they get trapped.


The puppies had their first toenail trim today and all survived! They weren't very happy about the process, and mama Tess welcomed each puppy back with a thorough washing. The puppies have all gained at least four ounces since birth and, as expected, are on track to double their birth weight at one week old. I think Tess is feeding them cream!


September 30, 2017 Tess is a stellar mama! The puppies have all gained weight in their first few hours, and Tess is taking meticulous care of her babies. For the first few days after birth, we practically have to drag mama away from her babies to get her to go out to potty. She won't leave them to eat or drink, so we offer her food and water while she is nursing puppies. After the first few days, mama begins to leave the puppies for brief periods of time--usually she lies just outside the box on the cool floor--she needs an occasional break from the higher temperature that is so necessary for her babies. Since puppies don't regulate their own body temperature well for several weeks, you'll see them moving in and out of puppy piles as they share their body warmth or want to cool down. We also have a heating pad area they can choose to move to if they need more warmth when mama is away. Puppies are little heat seeking missiles--they have heat sensors on the sides of their noses. When you see them swinging their heads side to side as they "swim" around their area, they are in fact searching for a heat source. This heat seeking instinct guides them to mama to nurse, to each other to puppy pile and to warm areas in their nest.

The twitching, jerking  and popping you see the puppies doing in their sleep is called "activated sleep." It is nature's way of building muscle, since the puppies will begin trying to walk in the next week or so. Their nervous systems are undergoing dramatic changes as they rapidly grow and develop. On days three through sixteen we perform Early Neural Stimulation (ENS) exercises to add very slight neural stress. These exercises are designed to gently stimulate specific functions of the nervous system to benefit puppy for life by increasing puppy's tolerance to stress, resistance to disease, creating a stronger heart rate and heart beat and creating a more responsive adrenal system. We also add one additional step by presenting the puppies with a new scent stimulation daily. This series of brief, specific exercises we perform are in addition to our normal daily handling of the puppies as we weigh them, trim toenails, move them to clean their area, etc. To see more information about ENS, please follow this link for a summary of ENS or this link to read Dr. Carmen Battaglia's full article.

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