Category Archives: Life Preparedness Programme
What do the pups do all day? Play and sleep and eat and sleep. They have discovered that they have siblings. It is great fun to head butt each other and then roll over and wrestle. Sometimes they chase each other’s tails or bite each other’s ears. In the process they are learning to control their biting (bit inhibitor) – learning not to bite hard but to “play nice” with each other. Of course, in the process the “bed” gets all upset and the underlining of newspaper below the blankets becomes a target for play… pulling, shredding and messing it all up. What fun!
Its time! Poor Molly is struggling to keep up with demand. She has the monopoly on the Puppy Milk market, but demand is simply too great. Enter Mother-and-Baby puppy starter food. The little ones took to it like they have been eating it all their lives. It always amazes me that they know immediately that it is edible and they start eating it without a thought!
Molly came in a did a great job cleaning up afterwards.
It is that time of year when the lawn needs to get scarified. This was a lovely opportunity to show the pups what a lawnmower looks like. Foster gently ‘drove’ it through their yard. It created some interest as it clunked along the cement paving. Foster did not start it up in the yard, but made the noise on the lawn, which was a ‘safe’ distance away. So the pups got used to the sound of a lawnmower in the near distance.
The pups are fully weaned now and they watched me tip a new bag of their food into a barrel. I then gave them the bag to see what they would do. They loved its crunchy sound and enjoyed jumping on it and pulling it. No-one managed to find their way into the bag. Once they had played enough, I took the bag away so that it was not potentially dangerous.
Today was the first day the pups got to go in a car. They were piled into the van and taken to the vet for their check up, inoculation and micro-chip. As expected some of them got sick in the car, but we were prepared for that. It took a while to fill in all the Identipet forms and prepare the vaccination certificates. Each pup got weighed, temperature taken and heart checked before getting their inoculation and microchip. We were careful to mark each pup with a little snip of hair from different parts of the body – front right shoulder, left back hip, etc. This ensured that we were able to match the certificates with the correct pup at a later stage. We made sure that each micro chip functioned once in the puppy. As each pup was completed, he/she was returned to the van so that nobody got done twice by mistake. Everyone is healthy and passed their vet checks.
Jade enjoys playing with her babies. She lies down and allows them to climb over her. She then gently grabs their legs with her mouth. Sometimes she plays tug with them – taking one side of the knotted rope and letting a pup pull on the other end. She allows the pups to pull her ears and her tail. When she has enough, she simply gets up and walks of out of their range.
Today we took an empty food barrel and tipped it onto its side for the pups to play in. We put a bit of food inside to entice them to go in. Of course, as soon as they went in, the barrel started to rock a bit. Some pups were not fussed by this, but others did not like the moving floor and got out. This exercise is good for two reasons. It is good for them to go into a ‘dead end’ – this helps prevent claustrophobic tendencies. It is also good for them to get used to a moving floor, as this is a good foundation for the see-saw (teeter-totter) if they ever do agility.
Safe toys are an important part of a puppy’s life. Be careful when choosing toys for your puppy. There are many cheap toys available, but I would suggest rather invest in toys made by recognised companies who have taken safety into consideration. Sure they are more expensive, but think how much is your Puppy worth to you. If unsure of the safety of a toy – don’t buy it.
Check for things like:
1) What is the toy made of? You don’t want the toy to be made of any toxic substances and the cheaper toys often have unknown substances in them. We don’t want to poison Puppy through his toys.
2) What does the toy contain? Some soft toys are stuffed with harmful substances. If Puppy chews the toy open – what will he be exposed to? For example, avoid anything with polystyrene balls. Aweful stuff to eat, but Puppy may decided to try eat it. Not good.
Squeeky toys are fun, but some dogs (like mine, who are gundogs) will try to kill the squeek! This means the toy is likely to be thoroughly destroyed in the effort to get to the squeek. Once the squeek is dead, then the toy is no longer fun. But in the meantime, its stuffing has been ripped out and spread all over the place.
3) Is the toy too ‘fluffy’? Some soft childrens toys are too fluffy for Puppy and the fluff comes off and may get stuck in Puppy’s throat. Puppies should get puppy toys, not human toys.
4) Size of the toy: – avoid toys that are too small. Keep things like Lego and Mecano (anything that has small components) away from Puppy. Toys should be big enough to NOT fit whole into Puppy’s mouth where it can get stuck and block the airway. This is especially important when it comes to balls. No table-tennis balls for example. Rather be safe than sorry. A tennis ball is a good size ball, even if it seems too big for Puppy at first.
5) Are there any parts of the toy that come off? Sometimes the cute toys with attached eyes and noses are not a good idea if Puppy can chew they eyes or nose off. Again, these pieces tend to be small and can get stuck in the throat or intestines and cause problems. Hard toys with ‘spikes’ can also be a problem, even if the spiks are soft. Again Puppy is like to swallow the spikes, even if they are small. These could cause a problem when getting eliminated, especially when Puppy is still small himself. Bigger dogs are unlike to have a problem passing chewed bits of toy, but the little guys have little intestines.
6) Will the toy unravel or fray? Be careful of toys that may unravel or fray – like a ski rope. Rather choose a knotted rope toy made specially for dogs – they are generally a good buy and not too costly either. The fibres are thick and unlikely to fray into small pieces. These are good and safe for cleaning teeth. The knotted rope is also a good starting toy for teaching “retrieve” as it has the same shape as a dumbell.
7) Raw hide bones and hoofs: – there are many varied opinions on these. Personally, I like to stick to natural rather than processed. Dried oesophagus and dried pigs ears are expensive, but tastier and healthier for Puppy. Hoofs are better if ‘uncleaned’, but boy can they stink?!!
8) Which bones are safe? Avoid any small bones that can get swallowed whole – bones should be chewed so that they can be digested, not swallowed whole. Also avoid any bones with sharp edges eg lamb bones. These have potential for perforating the intestines – nasty! I often go to the butcher and get a thigh bone of a cow, which I then ask the butcher to cut both vertically and horizontally to make four pieces. This opens the bone to expose the marrow. This is a HUGE favourite with all my dogs, young and old alike as they can safely get to the marrow and it keeps them busy for a long time. And don’t get a fright when you find Puppy’s poop is white the next day – its the chewed bones coming out.
9) Are chicken bones safe? Again this is a debatable issue. Many people claim that chickens today which are bred in chicken houses have very soft bones as they do not get to run outside in the sunshine where they would build strong bones. We give our dogs chicken bones, but make sure to take off that sharp little bone on the drumstick. Chicken gravy / fat is a lovely treat to pour over their kibble on occassion.
If in doubt, think like a puppy. What can I chew? What can I destroy? What can I swallow?
You have invested a lot of money in buying your Puppy – look after your little investment!
The puppy ‘doll house’ came out today and caused much interest from the pups. Some of the puppies will be flying to their new ‘forever homes’ and we find it helpful to get them used to the crate before they get put in it to fly. We use the standard airline wooden crate and simply place it in their play area. The more adventurous pups will sniff it, walk around it and maybe even venture inside. After it has been there a while and interest has waned, we entice the less-adventurous pups to go inside it with food or a toy, so that everyone gets a chance to go experience being in the crate. Eventually they are so used to it that when time comes for them to get in for their flight, there are no issues at all.