Category Archives: Breeding
The Goths are five weeks old already. FIVE WEEKS!! Which means that I only have them here with me for another three. *sniffle*
Since it’s Saturday, that most blessed day of the week, I packed up the babies and headed to the boardwalk over in Rockland. The sun didn’t want to come out and play with us, but at least we didn’t get wet. There were still plenty of people out and about, so the Goths got to meet a bunch of people, both young and old, and said hello (at a safe distance) to an elderly Beagle.
The boardwalk wraps around and has lots of benches for stopping and taking in the scenery.
But apparently fantastic ocean views are a little too boring for Rain’s tastes.
There’s a little park adjacent to the public landing, with a neat old bell.
After we spent around an hour and a half at the harbor, we came home and had some lunch, then went outside to play for a bit.
The have this hole in the back yard that is just about puppy-sized and is apparently fascinating to these babies. They are constantly in and out of it whenever we go out to the back yard.
Heathcliff and Tryst are kind of a little matched set. They apparently had quite the conversation.
*Sigh* I just want to play with puppies. All day, every day. Is that so much to ask?
Today has been a big day for the Goths. They got their first non-Mom meals today: ground kibble/cottage cheese/goats milk for breakfast; and ground beef/bone meal/yogurt/fruit-veggie mix/sweet potato/flax and chia seeds/goats milk for mid-day; and leftovers of one or both of those for an evening meal to come. Whiskey is unamused that I’m making her stay out of the pen. She went in once this morning to top the puppies off and to clean them up after their first meal, and I’ll send her in with warm glasses of milk for them at bedtime, but the weaning has begun.
The 3-week weigh-in showed the boys at a bit over three pounds; the girls are both close to three.
Another first: Outdoors!! It was a brief foray out into the tall grass, but the babies got their first smell and taste of the great outdoors. More outside fun as weather permits (and assuming we get enough dry days in a row to be able to mow the lawn!
And finally, I loosed the Goths to run amok in the kitchen with their Uncle Magnum. Whiskey was also unamused with this turn of events, but eventually a Mom has to start learning to let go. Saphira made an appearance with the babies as well. Elli was invited in, but really could not give the tiniest little fig about the puppies. They will be more interesting to her when they can do a full-fledged frap. Everyone is now completely zonked in the puppy pen.
Sorry no pupdates for a few days. My kennel club had their shows over Labor Day weekend in conjunction with another club, so it was four days of being crazy-busy.
The puppies were busy too: They opened their eyes, started walking around like actual puppies (mostly kinda sorta), and they moved out to their new, deluxe puppy pen that takes up a quarter of my kitchen.
With the shows in town, I had the opportunity to show the puppies to several experienced, long-time Cardi breeders, and received many nice compliments on the litter, which gives me the warm-n-fuzzies. It’s great to know that they are quality puppies, in addition to being just so cute and sweet and om-nom-nomable.
I would also like to take the opportunity to express thanks for another blessing. This has been an absolutely terrific dog show summer. At each cluster, the Cardi Clan has gotten together for good meals and great times together. It is a truly rare and special gift to be part of this group of wonderful people who support and cheer for one another, despite being competitors. I love and appreciate each and every one of you. This camaraderie is what makes our hobby the best.
Congratulations to Paula O’Donnell on finishing Capri and for Ciera’s (spelling?) win; to Penny Robichaud for finishing her Smooth Dachshund Jorgia with a Best of Breed win; to Cheryl Black for Jorgia’s championship (as Jorgia’s breeder) and for Dublin’s BOB on Sunday; to Nancy Cunliffe for Sullivan’s BOB; to Lorrie Blockler (honorary Cardi person) for picking up some more points on her Brittany boy Simon; to Pixie Lauer for Megan’s Selects and Lucy’s Reserve; and to Melanie Chiappone (the puppies’ other Grandma) for Calvin’s Selects over the weekend. Great work, everyone!!
I don’t often take time to stop and reflect on, let alone acknowledge, my blessings. But I’m going to do that right now.
I didn’t think that I would especially like being a breeder. I saw the work and the expense and the worrying. I heard the horror stories of nightmare whelpings and problems with puppy buyers. I thought about how much work the Narnians were when they were visiting, and I figured that it was all just a necessary evil on the way toward my goal of producing the dog I wanted to produce.
I certainly never expected to LOVE it.
And I do. I love watching those babies growing and developing and learning to think. I love Rain and her feisty, opinionated self. I love Edgar, with his funny faces and bright brindle points and surprising black coat. I love Heathcliff, with his fairy kiss and his swimming laps around the whelping box. I love Tryst, with her sweetness and her adorable yawns (and yes, her Buddha belly). And I love their mom, who is stellar with her babies. I don’t have to spend every waking moment at the office worrying about whether she is taking care of the puppies.
I love my puppy people; I am so looking forward to handing you this little dog-person I’ve helped to create, and to watching the joy you will bring to each other for years to come. You have no idea how grateful I am to have you come into my life.
I have been so blessed with this litter. As first breedings go, I could not have asked for a better experience. A free-whelp, healthy, thriving babies, and a great mom — these are the best things any breeder can hope for, and these are the things that count. A conformation/obedience/herding/agility star would merely be icing on the cake.
There are some people I want to thank, people without whom this entire experience would not have been possible:
- Thank you to Paula O’Donnell, for being an outstanding mentor in this breed, and for sending me such a lovely, lovely bitch to get my start with. A free-whelping bitch is a treasure, and one not to be taken for granted!
- Thank you to Kate Roberson, for showing me all I know about caring for newborn puppies; for talking me down off the ledge every time I freaked out; and for coming running at 4:30 a.m., when apparently the puppies were not going to be imminent for several more hours.
- Thank you to Melanie Chiappone, for being this litter’s other grandma; for being the cavalry and coming down on a lovely lake weekend to sit with me and deliver puppies and handle all of “the gross stuff;” and for being my show buddy and all-around great friend.
- Thank you to Cheryl Black, for all of the help and advice, and the willingness to answer endless (no doubt stupid) questions.
- Thank you to my mom, who is there to take my boys when the girls are in season, thereby preserving what little sanity I have left.
- And THANK YOU to my wonderful husband, who puts up with all of the craziness and very rarely bats an eye.
I am a dog breeder. And I love it.
Honestly, it’s getting a little embarrassing. I mean, I’m glad Whiskey is taking such good care of her babies, and it’s good to know that when/if she has a larger litter she’ll be able to feed all of them, but seriously:
I swear to doG, I am NOT supplementing these puppies in any way. Over the weekend, I started keeping Whiskey out of the puppy room for a few spells of 2-3 hours each in an effort to keep the babies from looking even more like Jabba the Hut than they already do. Despite the amount of work, I’m actually looking forward to getting them weaned in a couple of weeks so I can have a little more control over their intake.
Everyone got their toenails clipped over the weekend, and got to meet their aunts and uncles. Magnum LOVES the puppies. Saphira is very intrigued. Ian and Elli gave them each a cursory sniff and a polite “no thank you.” Lots of snuggle time and belly scritchins were had.
Scents over the weekend included dark chocolate (no tasting allowed), coconut oil, cider vinegar, and corn-on-the-cob.
Man, I am going to get NOTHING done for the next seven weeks. I could sit and stare at these puppies 24/7. I really had no idea that I would enjoy being a breeder this much. I enjoyed the Narnians when they were here, and I adored Koosh, but it really IS different when the babies are “your own.”
Everyone is getting some time in the living room with The Hubby and I in the evening (much to Whiskey’s dismay). It is clearly a very stressful time for them:
Next week, I’ll lay a blanket down on the living room floor and let them crawl around a bit, and make gentle introductions to their aunts and uncles. Magnum and Saphira are both fascinated with the babies. Elli is moderately curious. Ian could not care less.
Last night’s scent stimulation consisted of jasmine-scented puppy shampoo and peanut butter. No one cared much about the shampoo (which they will have closer experience with when they get a little older); everyone except Tryst was pretty interested in the peanut butter. Tryst was too sleepy after her visit to the milk bar to be bothered.
Meanwhile, The Princess is spending much time learning at the Queen’s knee:
Give her another couple of weeks and she’ll be ready to conquer the world.
Second attempt to get some pictures of puppy faces. Perhaps slightly less blurry than the birthday photos.
She hasn’t quite mastered the art of sneering elegantly down her nose, but she practices daily.
I adore his little fairy kiss. It receives an inordinate number of kisses from yours truly as well.
If her coloring stays the same as it is now, she’ll have a nice dark mask on her face, in contrast with the bright red brindle. I think she’s going to be a pretty girl.
I wasn’t able to capture his bright brindle points very well. He just would NOT keep his face turned toward the light. Opinionated little buggers!
Yesterday’s scents were coffee and lemon juice. Edgar and Rain both licked at the coffee, but were unimpressed with the lemon. Tryst wanted no part of either one. Heathcliff licked at them both, because of course he did. Oddly, he did not have as much of a weight gain as his siblings for the day, though he is certainly roly-poly enough. I think it’s because he is the most active one, doing laps around the whelping box under cover of the pig rail. Busy boy!
My only battle at this point is fleas. All of my adult dogs have been Frontlined and Capstarred, my house has been professionally treated by Modern Pest Control, I vacuum, and STILL I’m finding an errant flea here and there!!! I think at this point the damn things have become immune to all of man’s weaponry against them, and they are as we speak mounting an attack on the United Nations on their way to taking over the world. I’m keeping my flea comb at the ready, and I’m going over each puppy 5-6 times a day to make sure the pests are not making an easy meal of the babies. Their bedding is being changed twice a day and blankets are washed after each use. Short of burning down the house and starting over, I’m at a loss as to what to do. I mean, it’s not like a flea here and there is an infestation, but jeez!
Oh, the puppies did fine. That was me.
Seriously, I feel SO guilty. I know it’s the standard, I know they risk injury if they keep them, yada yada yada. But I also think there may be an argument for their removal weakening the pasterns, which are not an area of strength in a dwarf breed to begin with; and where Magnum still has his, I’ve seen how he does in fact use them. Still, I opted to remove the Goths’ dewclaws. And by “remove the Goths’ dewclaws,” I totally mean I asked Kate to come and do it, while I held the puppies and scrinched my eyes up and tried not to look at the butchering going on. They came through the ordeal just fine, and even Whiskey didn’t seem overly bothered when she came back from the walk I made The Hubby take her on while we did the deed.
Otherwise, the babies are all fat, sleek, sassy, and healthy, and Whiskey continues to be a great mom. Scent stimulation for the day was comprised of pickle juice and peppermint extract. The puppies were unimpressed with the pickles, but they were pretty excited about the peppermint. It is SO COOL to see the little gears in their brains start turning as they twitch their noses and try to figure out what is in front of their faces.
The little Goths are doing magnificently. They are a lively, feisty bunch, and they are growing like little weeds. Everyone was over a pound at the morning weigh-in today!
I started the early neural stimulation exercises on Sunday. These include placing the puppy in different positions, such as on their backs, head upright, and head facing downward for 4-5 second each, touching their feet, and exposing them to a cold sensation for a few seconds. Because puppies’ eyes and ears don’t open until they are around two weeks old, their senses are limited to touch, taste and smell, so by touching them a lot and changing their body positioning/orientation, I’m engaging their little developing brains.
Another idea that occurred to me when Kate had Koosh in the winter was to do some scent stimulation with the wee ones. Since smell is a dog’s strongest sense, it made “scents” to me to engage it at the outset. So, the puppies had their first scent stimulation exercise yesterday. The first scent was fingernail polish remover. The second was vanilla. I would have expected the polish remover to garner the stronger reaction, but all of the puppies merely showed curiosity at the smell. They reacting more strongly, and more adversely, to the vanilla. My assumption is that the alcohol in the vanilla is what put them off.
It is fascinating to me that, even at a day or two of age, there are little differences in personality already. Edgar does funny little things; Rain is a Princess-In-Training; Tryst is a sweetie, and Heathcliff is the foodie (though Edgar holds the heavyweight title again today). It is SO HARD to come to work with the baby doglets at home.
The Goths are here!!
First of all, I’ll apologize for the crappy quality of the photos. A cell-phone camera, combined with wiggly puppies, did not produce great art. Better photos when I can either get my camera to work in a satisfactory manner, or can whine until someone else comes and takes better pictures.
Introducing, in their order of appearance into the world:
Kaleidoscope Dark N Stormy Night “Rain” — Dark brindle girl. Rain came into the world screeching, and shows absolutely EVERY sign of being that Princess McBossypants I was talking about. She weighed in at 11 ounces even at birth.
Kaleidoscope Windy Moor “Heathcliff” — Red brindle boy. Heathcliff weighed in at 12.3 ounces, and immediately set about trying to gain some more weight. Food, food, and food are his three favorite things.
Kaleidoscope Illicit Affair “Tryst” — Red brindle girl. Tryst was 11.9 ounces at birth. Her favorite activities include trying to steal whichever nipple Heathcliff is on at the moment.
Kaleidoscope Tell-Tale Heart “Edgar” — Black (!!!) brindle-pointed boy. Whiskey saved the biggest, and most surprising, for last, with Edgar weighing in at 12.9 ounces. I figured that Calvin carried black, but I was a little surprised, after three brindle pups, to see a black one appear. Apparently Whiskey carries black too!! Good to know!!
No, you are not required to keep those names — either registered or call names — if you are getting one of these puppies. Those are just what they will be registered as if they happen to be my keeper, and what they’ll be called in lieu of “Puppy puppy” until they go to their new homes. The only required element in naming is my kennel prefix. But if you want to keep with the gothic theme, I’ll love you forever and ever, even more than I already do. 🙂
Whiskey was not exactly stoic about the whole delivery thing, but she did a great job, and is being a good mom to the little goths. More when I am not cross-eyed and exhausted.