It all begins with mom! Around five weeks into the pregnancy, her belly starts to grow at a noticeable pace. She's been taking prenatal vitamins, getting belly rubs, regular exercise and listening to soothing music.
The last two weeks and mom is gearing up for the big day. Not sure she always likes me following her around taking pictures! It's an exciting time as we watch her belly grow big with puppies!
Before mom is due to deliver, I construct a whelping box and bring all the essentials that will be needed for delivering the pups. Our parlor, turns into a nursery!
The day before her due date, mom heads to the whelping bed and gets very quiet. We soon see the contractions and anxiously anticipate the arrival of her puppies. It's a very calm, peaceful day as mom's little miracles are ready to come into this world.
With fingers crossed and some prayers answered, mom comes through and starts delivering her puppies! We're there every step pf the way. Mom knows we have her back throughout this amazing journey.
Mom delivers the most beautiful puppies! She adores them and cares for them on a 24-7 basis. We check weights, cuddle, administer neurological stimulations and talk with them during this time.
After the first week, mom will start to venture out of the whelping area while the pups rest. We will spend more time with the pups letting them hear our voice, feel our touch and smell the odor of their human family. Watching these precious animals as they grow and thrive is priceless!
Around the second week the pups eyes will begin to open and the world will soon be changing for them. This is the start of a long and joyful socialization project. The pups will start experiencing new sounds, smells, textures and human events from here on out!
Starting on day four, and lasting throughout their first eight weeks, the pups receive constant enrichment, even to their nose! This pup is taking in the novel odor of clove! Early odor stimulation benefits the pups, especially those who will be involved in scent work as they grow up.
We spend more time with the pups and will soon notice they start wagging their tails when they hear our voice. We keep up with their daily health checks and spend more time interacting with them one on one. The room stays full of new sounds, smells, sights and people interaction.
The pups will learn that having their mouths checked, coats brushed and nails clipped can be a good thing. Making these early exposures as pleasant as possible goes a long way into adulthood. The pups stay on a deworming and grooming schedule to keep them healthy and happy!
At three weeks they will be ready to move to a new place. A new 12 feet by 12 feet puppy arena will be constructed. This location allows for the pups to have plenty of space and be exposed to all the new sights, sounds and smells that a rapidly expanding world has to offer. The pups also start learning how to use the litterbox full of wood chips.
In addition to the new home, new foods start getting introduced. The pups will get exposed to chicken, beef, lamb, fish and an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Early exposure to different foods may help prevent any food allergies down the road.
Their new dwelling continues to be filled with toys, objects, obstacles and surfaces. Numerous noises, music and people contact helps make sure the pups get a good start on adjusting and thriving in any environment. The socialization window closes soon, we give the pups everything we can to prepare them for a joy filled life with their new families.
Around four weeks more visitors come to add to the human socialization. Puppy hugs and kisses are exchanged for handling, talking, cradling and bonding. These early sessions will have a long-term, beneficial effect on the puppies.
The puppies are growing fast! Their lives continue to be filled with exposures to new and different events to further enlighten their little, but quickly developing brains. Nothing like listening to puppies learning to play the drums! Their socialization window closes around 12 weeks. Until then, it's one big enrichment adventure!
Mom still cleans and feeds them, but spends more time watching TV and resting outside the nursery. She has a new bed near the bigger nursery and sometimes rest away from the pups, but always close enough so she can see, smell and hear what’s happening.
The pups begin to adventure and explore the outdoors. They enjoy the playtime, especially with their two-legged friends! Fresh air, birds singing, sun shining, wind blowing, running and playing make for a healthy heart and mind!
At seven weeks I get to do one of my favorite and most important things, I read the puppies the story of K-9 Cisco! It’s the least I can do to honor a four-legged partner who shared twelve years of his life with me.
Around eight weeks the pups start getting picked up by their new families. My heart hurts watching them go, but I know they will be loved and cared for. Im lucky that the families keep me updated with text and pictures. Those kind gestures always put a smile on my face!