Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Mornings with Puppies

Ahhh... at 6:00 a.m. when it's still dark outside and I haven't yet had time to wash the sleepies out of my eyes and I'm shuffling into the kitchen in my droopy-socked feet, there's nothing quite like the sweet aroma of fresh-brewed, strong-enough-to-wake-you-up...

puppy poo piles!

LOL... I'll bet you thought I was going to say coffee. ;o)

Yup... that's the reality of life with a litter of puppies. You get up and clean the pen before anything else happens, and when the pen is located in your kitchen, well, coffee must wait.

Priorities, you know. ;o)

I'll spare you photos of puppy-pen-clean up (the hurry to clean up is that we don't want waking pups to start rambling in and romping through their nightly deposits). And by the time we're done cleaning up, they are more than ready for breakfast, so there really isn't time for photos then either. So I'll spare you the first round of puppy feeding, too (via flying saucer disc and ever-thickening puppy food) and the accompanying mad rush to poo and pee again post-eating (think warm beverages on human intestines, then multiply by nine).

So... after cleaning up the pen and the pups enjoying their first yum-yums and potty, the following captures our early morning puppy routine (some video, some still shots).

Of course the pups have to release all that energy they've stored overnight, so we have early morning playing and rough housing (notice some pups are still cleaning up the pan in the background -- Don removes the pan about half-way through the clip):

All things considered, this morning's first romp was quite tame and brief, probably because we interrupted it with Elsie nursing. First she enters the pen and the pups scramble to get in on the action, then, as the following video captures, they play musical teats:

The pups are down to nursing twice a day after they eat puppy food. And their sessions are quite short. Between puppy teeth and puppy nails (though I try to keep them trimmed), nursing is uncomfortable for the Sweet Elsie Girl. And the pups are suckling with great intensity:

When she's done or thinks they've had enough, Elsie walks away:

And the pups follow:

So then we just remove her from the pen (or she'll push them gently away).

Poor Elsie is still being a sport about nursing, but we'll make sure the pups are completely weaned by Tuesday or Wednesday.

For the first time, the pups are actually showing interest in just playing with Elsie (before, she was just the All-Wonderful, Great and Powerful, Milk Machine in the Sky). You can really see how small they still are compared to her (this is Mr. Black with Elsie):

On the other hand, they're so big, some of them can lie down to nurse while Elsie stands (guess who?):

After nursing it's back to play-time with the added joy of humans in the puppy pen! Now the puppies clamor to climb all over us - Labs really are people dogs.

One easy way to begin teaching pups not to jump up is to only pick up the ones in the litter who are sitting and waiting nicely. We do this consistently when we handle them. They catch on quick: sitting down means Momma Joan will hold me! We encourage the new owners to do the same when they start coming to visit. It's much like the human-child-rearing principle of "catch them when they're doing something good."

In any case, the pups love to play with toys, each other, and their people, too!

Here's Mr. White (look at those eyelashes!) climbing up my leg...

and then yomping on my camera strap:

The rest are just various shots from the next ten minutes of the morning (in no particular order - and this is Mr. Black in the first pic... the rest you can identify):

Next we have the all-important (and bring sanity back to Momma-Joan) post-play nap time. In this case, we have seven pups in the whelping box spread out under its rails, and two outside on the kitchen floor, as follows:

Clockwise from left below: Mr. Black, Mr. Green, Miss Pink (in corner), and Miss Sky:

Then, continuing below around the box clockwise from top left corner: Mr. Red, Mr. White, and Mr. Yellow:

And out on the kitchen floor, we have Mr. Blue up by the water jug, and Mr. Lime in the foreground (check out Mr. Blue's feet -- he likes to cross his back legs underneath him):

Here's a shot of Mr. Lime from the other side:

So now they're sleeping, and I'm blogging, and in about 30 minutes, we'll do it all again. :o)

Have a great Saturday (DH is hunting, so I'm on puppy duty again)!

'Til next time,


Anonymous said...

So, since they're almost weaned, can't we take them home early????
Cindy Del Vecchio

Theresa said...

Oh Sweetie - The puppy poo piles at 4:30 here! Thanks goodness for automatic coffee makers to help mask some of the smell and I can steal a sip between pickups! Hugs and butt rubs to you all!

JuliaR said...

I am running out of words for "adorable". I'll have to go get a thesaurus.