Monday, March 29, 2010

Why We Stay on Puppy Watch 24/7 for the First Week

So... you've heard how careful Kenya is with her pups.  And she has been. Very careful.  I've only had to make a couple "rescues" over these last four days.

I thought I'd try to capture just how careful Kenya is in a video for you. 

HA!  Best laid plans....

Don't you know it... just when I think I'm getting a good clip, Kenya changes her modus operandi, and you guessed it, she lays back squarely on the puppy pile (first time she's done this), catching most of their heads beneath her back.

If you have your sound turned up, you can hear me gasp when she does so (end of video as I immediately put the camera down to go pull pups out from under her). It actually doesn't look so bad on the clip; I stop the camera before she rolls all the way back, but trust me, she does.

So... this is why we're still watching her and the pups 24/7. 

No, not all breeders do this. Many very responsible breeders can't watch their litters 24/7 (larger breeders with kennels in particular). They understandably consider smothered pups a part of natural selection and chalk it up to normal loss in breeding (it's what occurs in the wild, too). Even the most careful of breeders, large or small, will lose a pup either to smothering or to getting stepped on by their dams.

We, however, only do one litter per year, so we do all we can to ensure that otherwise healthy pups survive. We're not perfect, and we do lose pups, but staying on puppy alert increases our odds of getting these pups through their first week of life.

So we're still in 24/7 mode, and will be until later this week. I do the late night shift (roughly 10 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.) while DH sleeps and the day shift (7 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) while DH is at work. DH covers early mornings and evenings so I can nap. I sleep about 2.5 hours after dinner, and 2.5 hours before breakfast. But it's only for a week or so.

By the time the pups are a week old, they're pretty much strong enough to wiggle themselves out from underneath their dam should she lie down on them.

Anyway... Careful Kenya is careful most of the time. And if she happens to catch a puppy beneath her now and then... well... that's what we humans are here for, eh?

'Til next time,


JuliaR said...

I gasped just as you did! But since I knew how it ended, I laughed as well. Whew. Good on you.

Kathy said...

Ditto JuliaR! GASP! How they've grown since dew claw day!!!