Friday, October 31, 2008

We're Six Weeks Old Today!

Hi, everybody! This is the pups speaking. We just had to commandeer (pretty big word for puppies, eh?) Momma Joan's computer so we could tell ya some stuff about ourselves.

First, we're six weeks old today!!!! Momma Joan tells us that to celebrate we get to go to "the vet's" office later today and we get to go in crates and ride in a red wagon and go in a car and get shots and chips (is that food?). We don't know what any of that means, but we'll try anything once. ;o)

Here we are sitting on the hammock outside yesterday (well, only five of us, the other four were under the hammock). We're learning that if we sit, people will pick us up or pet us or pay attention to us. Aren't we growing up!



Second, we only eat real puppy food now (yup, we're 100% weaned)! Momma Joan and Daddy Don still mix our dry puppy food with a little warm water to soften it, but we're learning to chew it up pretty well now that we have most of our teeth. And we've graduated to using two food bowls, so half of us eat from one and the other half eat from the other. This week Momma Joan says we'll move to eating from five bowls (two pups per bowl, and one gets one all to himself!), and then to our own bowls (one per pup). She says that's to help us get ready for our new homes (whatever that means).

Next, we can run quite well now and not trip over our feet so much. In this video we were trying to follow the big dogs who were outside the pen:

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We sure love the big dogs. Pinot and Kenya even came into our pen yesterday to play with us (one at a time so they wouldn't overwhelm us):

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As much as we love the big dogs, we love people even more.

Aunt Jeanie (Momma Joan's twin sister) and Aunt Sarah and Uncle Chris (some of Momma Joan's grown-up human kids) all came to play with us last night, and boy did we have fun.

Aunt Jeanie looks just like Momma Joan, but she smells and sounds different (we can tell them apart), and Aunt Sarah and Uncle Chris came all the way from Maine just to see us (well, somebody said something about a funeral, too, but we don't know what that is)! They brought a really gigunda black dog with them (biggest one we've ever seen, even bigger than Kenya) whose name is Baxter. All the other big dogs knew him and acted like he's one of us, so we think he used to be part of the pack here. Baxter gets to stay here this weekend, but then he goes back to Maine.

Baxter was fine to meet... but we really liked our people more:


And while we were playing with everyone else, Momma Elsie got to snuggle with Uncle Dan (Momma Joan's DFS):


And she even romped with one of our toys, the stuffless rabbit:


That's okay, we don't mind sharing. But, geez, ever since she stopped feeding us she acts just like a big puppy! We don't ever forget she's mom, though. ;o)

That's all for now. Momma Joan wants to take us outside again (we really like it outside). And she really wants to play with us one at a time outside in the grass today, too (for assess.... something.... we can't remember the word... but I think she's trying to see how we do alone and with following a ball and following noises over our heads and stuff like that). It's supposed to be warmer, so we'll get to be outside longer today. Yay!

Momma Joan will be back tonight with an update on our trip to the vet's office. We're not sure how we feel about that, but she'll let you know.

Have a puppy-fun day! We sure will.

Here are a few puppy kisses to get you started: [slurp, slurp] :o)

Bye for now,

The Puppies (Red, Pink, Yellow, Blue, Sky, Green, Lime, White, and Black!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Puppies Plus! What Our Buyers Receive with Their New Pups

Warning: this is another boring informational post.

But, since some of the pups' new buyers are preparing for their new puppies already (shopping ahead of time, wise buyers that they are), I thought I'd post the list of what we supply with the pups so they won't unnecessarily duplicate what we provide. This list is also available at our Stoney Ridge Labs web site (on the puppies/future litters page), but I thought I'd post it here in case anyone else is interested.

And yes, we do this for all our buyers. Again, the more we can do to help with the pups' transitions and to equip the new puppy-owners for life with a Lab puppy, the better it is for all concerned, and the more likely it is that pups will have found they're forever homes. :o)

So here's the list of what our buyers receive with their pups (we call it "Puppies Plus" on the web site):
  • the pup's microchip registration papers and information (the pups will already have been microchipped for permanent ID)
  • the pup's AKC litter registration certificate
  • the pup's AKC registration papers (you will need to complete these and send these in to register the pup with the AKC in your name)
  • the dam's and sire's (Elsie's and Ridge's) pedigrees and health certs
  • the pup's health history/vet record to date
  • a six-pound bag of ProPlan for Large Breed Puppies puppy food (the food we start our puppies out on and the same brand we use for our adult dogs)
  • a small baggie filled with Missing Link (the granular supplement we've started them on, and that we give to all our dogs) and brochure about Missing Link, just fyi.
  • a ProPlan puppy starter kit
  • the AKC puppy folder kit
  • a real puppy collar (not rickrack, but matching your pup's rickrack color) the pup can wear and grow into for several weeks
  • a puppy slip-lead or leash for the trip home
  • a small square of bedding material with the dam's scent on it
  • a new soft toy for the trip home (something stuffed)
  • a new hard toy for the trip home (nylabone or kong)
  • one or two of the used puppy toys from the puppy pen (with their littermates scents on them)
  • canine nail clippers
  • a Heartguard puppy starter kit (for heartworm prevention)
  • a Frontline puppy starter kit (for flea and tick prevention)
  • a copy of the book How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With by Clarice Rutherford and David Neil
  • a copy of the book Labrador Retrievers for Dummies by Joel Walton and Eve Adamson
  • an article from The Humane Society on crate training
  • an article from The Humane Society on the importance of puppy toys and how to select them
  • an article from The Humane Society on separation anxiety in puppies
  • the Labrador Retriever AKC Information Sheet
  • information about the AKC's Complimentary 60-Trial Healthcare Plan for Newly Registered Puppies
  • the AKC's Emergency Care Tips for Your Pet
  • a sales contract detailing our and the buyer's responsibilities as well as our guarantees
  • folders in which to keep all relevant papers
  • a canvas bag into which all of the above will be placed
This way, the only things the new buyers really have to buy to start is a crate (we recommend and use the MidWest 1 Lifestages Folding Double-Door crate, size XL), food and water bowls (we recommend no-tip stainless steel or ceramic), and a few more toys.

Everything else is optional. :o)

'Til next time,
Joan

From Pile to Pack (Video): Poor Pull-My-Leg Horse Meets the Litter

I took this video earlier this week (I think it was early Tuesday morning, two days ago). It was when we first introduced the Pull-My-Leg horse to the puppy pen. You will recall that the horse replaced the Pull-My-Leg sheep that De-Stuffer King Ridge shredded on Monday after retrieving the sheep from the washing machine (I left the washer's lid open and hadn't started it yet, and Ridge's incredible nose -- and he does have an incredible nose -- found it in a heartbeat).

So here's the pack on the horse (yes, the horse really is under there). The whining you hear in the background is first, Mr. Black (I think) doing the typical pre-pooing whimper (they all do this before they poo). Then later, it's either Mr. Black or Mr. Yellow at my feet wanting me to pick him up. The rest are oblivious to me and focused on the horse (until Daddy Don bangs some pans in his clean up behind me):

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Here are a few still shots of said horse:





And here he is this morning, having gone from feasted-upon-item to part of the puppy pile:




And he seems to have survived the thrashing quite well. Go figure. :O)

'Til next time,
Joan

Warmth in Numbers: Lessons from the Puppy Pile

Okay, so I let the fire go out yesterday. It was partly forgetfulness (I can't imagine what else I could've been thinking about!). And it was, in part, deliberate. The one time I thought to throw wood on the fire, it was mid-afternoon, and the sun was just starting to peek through the clouds. I thought (mistakenly) that it was going to warm up outside (note to self: wrongo, moosebreath), so I figured I'd let the wood stove cool down, and if it got cold later we'd just restart the fire.

I forgot that DH had a dinner function at work last night. That means me flying solo until 9-ish p.m.: that is, me getting 9 pups, 5 cabin-fevered Labs, and 24 yo son through dinner on my own. That was followed by puppy clean-up, pen clean-up, and (oh, too bad) puppy socialization and 1:1 pup work on my own (grin!). Factor in phone calls and the World Series (yay Phillies!) and a new episode of Criminal Minds (one of my favorite TV shows), and well...so much for getting the fire restarted.

This morning, it was downright cold downstairs when we came down (not to worry, we leave the puppy heat lamp on all the time in case the pups need more warmth). It should be cold in here; it's 31 degrees (F) outside. The thermostat says it's about 65 degrees in the house, but it sure feels chillier than that.

Well, yesterday I posted how the pups were spreading out sometimes to sleep on their own. Hehe. I think that's more a factor of temperature now than anything else. Yesterday, when they spread out, we had the wood stove going, which makes the entire downstairs really warm (sometime too warm for me). Instead of downright cold, it was downright hot. They're smart pups; nobody wants to snuggle when it's hot (canine or human).

This morning was, however, an entirely different climate. :o)

Here's how they were sleeping earlier when I first came downstairs and it was chilly in here (yup, that's all nine pups, and I'm not even going to attempt to identify who's who):


Here are a few closeups of the same shot:



Me thinketh they were perhapseth coldeth last nighteth. No worries, though... they're just fine (and they had the heat lamp and sheep skins if they wanted them).

But it made me think again about the warmth we find in others. I suspect, just like pups through a chilly night, we need the warmth of others to get through life's chilly spells.

We need our own puppy piles. :o)

And sometimes, when life is really cold, we need them just to survive.

My puppy pile consists of DH, my DTS, my BFF Kath, my human kidlets, my ministry team at church, and yes, even my Labs. They keep me warm when circumstances chill me to the bone. And today I'm remembering to be thankful for them. Today I'm remembering to tell them so, too (thanks, puppy pile folks -- you know who you are -- for keeping me warm and alive).

Who's in your puppy pile? Maybe take a moment today to say "thanks" to them even if for no other reason than they're there for you when life grow cold.

And life does get cold sometimes.

'Til next time,
Joan

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NON-Wordless Wednesday :o) (Puppy Update)

The pups are all hitting more milestones this week. I thought you might like to see what they're up to as they approach the all-too-important six-week-old mark, which occurs in two days (just where have these weeks gone??? Hmmmmm... let me see..... hehe.....I wonder)!

The pups are now tracking pretty well with their eyes following slow movement over short distances. They can, as a herd in fact, follow Elsie (combination of scent and sight) when she passes the pen:


Their back legs are strengthening and catching up to their front (remember, their front legs at birth are much stronger and more developed). The pups are especially good at standing up to reach Elsie:


The pups, however, are also learning that standing on their hind legs is NOT the way to get attention from people (precursor to teaching them not to jump). We continue to affirm that in order to be picked up, petted, or given attention, they must sit down first (most have gotten the idea already!). Oh, and fyi, we use only 100% positive reinforcement for this (no correction yet; with how people-oriented and motivated they are, there's no need).

From left to right below, Mr. Blue, Mr. White, Miss Sky, and Mr. Green wait for me to pet them or pick them up:


And counterclockwise below starting bottom left, Mr. Yellow, Mr. Green, Mr. Blue, Mr. Black, Mr. White (above Black), and Miss Pink (standing at top) wait again:


But Miss Pink waits nicely, too, (she actually sat first when I took these pictures, before the rest, but then got bored waiting):


As they hone their motor skills, the puppies are all becoming more accomplished at the stealth-walk-then-pounce technique of wrassling with their litter mates (here Mr. Red begins his crouch walk):


And they are, of course, growing longer (this is Mr. Yellow):


They're also rounding out, as six-week-olds do, which makes them even cuter than they already were (this is Miss Sky):


And, though growing more confident and independent, they still need each other and still enjoy the puppy pile:



Although they do occasionally (and with greater frequency now) like sleeping spread out...


or alone (here's Mr. White with the Pull-My-Leg horse).


We're also doing more 1:1 work with them, separating them out from the litter for play-teaching from us (very preliminary). And we're starting some of their personality and retrieving assessments (although it's still early there, too). We'll report on more of that tomorrow and Friday. :)

Friday evening is the the puppies' six-week check-up at the vet's during which he'll check them all over well (hopefully clearing them all on the health front), give them their immunizations, do a routine deworming, and then (ooooohhhhh, fear and trembling) give them the BIG needle (insert their microchips -- a permanent, traceable, individual ID).

Then we'll give the pups a day to recover and will make our final decisions about which pups go with whom (Saturday), and then.... the pups can start meeting their new owners who can start visiting them Sunday and over the next two weeks until the pups are ready to go to their forever homes on Nov 15th at eight-weeks old!

Wow... busy time. And fun.

The pups are moving into that adorable, playful, demonstrating-intelligence phase of puppyhood, and what fun it is!

We're even enjoying cabin fever (sorry about my whine yesterday... I just really want the pups to get more exposure to the outdoors, and I'm not ready for slush in October, and I really wanted the Phillies just to take the World Series Monday night!).

And so it goes...

'Til next time,
Joan

Wordless Wednesday: Tuc's First Snow (and Pinot Advises)









Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rainy (Snowy?) Days and Tuesdays... Puppy Version!

What weather (whine)!

Nope, couldn't get the pups outside yesterday. It never got out of the 40s and it started to drizzle mid-afternoon. Bummers. That's means they've only been out once (this past Sunday).

And they won't be going outside again today (it's been about two hours since I shot this morning's first picture of snow, and it's still doing the wet-snow-mixed-with-rain-thing out there as I write this). It's a whopping 33 degrees. According to the Weather Guys, it won't be nice enough to get the pups outside until Friday or Saturday.

Okay, so you hearty souls who live in the north-lands are thinking I'm a wuss. But you expect snow this time of year. We, who live in four-moderate-seasons-per-year-Pennsylvania never expect snow quite this soon.

And it makes fall puppy-rearing a little more challenging for wee folks like us. We're just a tiny one-to-two-litters-per-year outfit, house-raising our pups, so that means we don't have gigunda outdoor heated barns or kennels. We don't even have a heated garage (we don't even have a garage period, let alone a heated one!).

I'm not really complaining. Not really. It's more like a momentary tantrum. I actually love fall weather. I'm just not a big fan of 24/7 indoor puppy pee and poo. ;o)

Ahhh... but raising puppies is a labor of love, and love requires sacrifice. ;o) It is what it is, and we'll do what we have to do. And we'll even do it cheerfully!

In that vein, here's a sample of what we do with the pups when we're trapped indoors:

1. We'll continue with lots of people socialization. Here's DFS Dan with them last night (the pups love his facial hair...oh boy... something different to groom!):


And here they are with DH Don (again last night):


2. The pups will play and play and play with each other (Misters Blue and Yellow in the following two pictures below):



3. The pups will also play and play and play with their toys (yes, we broke out a few new ones to keep their interest):

Here, Mr. Black and Mr. Lime wrassle the Pull My Leg horse (Ridge disemboweled the Pull My Leg sheep we had before--he snatched it right out of the washing machine before I did the wash!):


Mr. Green gets his turn, too:


Here's Mr. Blue with a soft chew-toy:


4. The pups will observe their surroundings and watch the world go by:

Mr. Lime watches the stuffing-free skunk:


Mr. Green keeps an eye on the other pups (Come on, guys...knock it off...I want to sleep!):


And Miss Pink does the same (This is my bed... don't you even think about it...):


5. The pups will try to keep us in the puppy pen with them (that's Mr. Yellow snagging DH's shoe, with Miss Sky on left and Mr. Blue with his back toward us):



Here Miss Sky, Mr. Red, and Mr. White tug DH's heartstrings (Stay in here with us, woncha, Dad? Please?):

6. Of course we'll nuzzle the pups and walk with the pups and do what we have to do to help them feel loved and secure:

Miss Sky is a snuggle bug (well all the pups are, but she is especially)


Mr. Black loves to be held this way (boy, does this remind me of walking with babies in the night!). It seems to comfort him.


7. The pups, however, also learn to comfort and entertain themselves:

Here's Mr. Black chewing on his own paw:


7. And, of course, they'll sleep (in addition to other necessities of life like eating, peeing, and pooing):

This is Miss Pink on left, Mr. Yellow center, and Miss Sky on right:

Mr. Green and Mr. Black:


Mr. Lime (left) and Mr. Yellow (right):


Mr. White:

Mr. Red:

And Mr. Blue with Mr. Lime:


I have a romping video or two from this morning, which I'll post in a little while. For now, just know the pups are happy, content, warm, dry, clean, well-fed, well-loved, well-socialized, well-stimulated, well-entertained, and trapped indoors giving Momma Joan cabin fever!

'Til next time,
Joan