Tami's 2019 Litter

I am down with a bad cold. I will add entries as soon as I am able.

Pregnancy

2, 4, 6 Jan 2019
Tami ("Shaksper Tamora Queen Of The Goths") was bred by side-by-side AI (artificial insemination) to Porter ("GCH Dreamweaver Up The Ante @ Coventry") owned by Dale Martins.

This is Tami's third breeding attempt. Her two previous attempts in 2017 and 2018 did not produce any puppies. Tami's 2018 breeding, also to Porter, resulted in pregnancy, but Tami absorbed the puppies. (Dogs absorb, rather than have miscarriages.)

25 Jan
Ultrasound today showed that Tami is pregnant with two, maybe three puppies ... and one absorption site. Given her breeding history, we plan to monitor this pregnancy very closely.
31 Jan
Another ultrasound and progesterone check. Again three puppies and one absorption site seen. Normal development of the puppies.
12 Feb
Tami had another ultrasound and progesterone check. All looks well. Here is a a good view of one of the puppies from the ultrasound monitor. And a view showing that there really are three puppies.
27 Feb
I had expected by now to have Tami in for another ultrasound and progesterone check. But events - a bad cold - intervened. My repro vets tell me not to worry, as everything looked good on Tami's last visit.

Pregnant dogs have a mucus plug, a temporarily lining to block the entrance of bacteria into the cervix, and thus protect puppies from bacteria and infections. Often approximately a week before whelping, as the cervix slowly starts to dialate, the mucus plug is slowly discharged. The discharge is shiny and translucent, with the consistency of the white part of an egg. Today when grooming Tami, I noticed that she has started discharging her mucus plug.

1 Mar
Tami is very wide carrying three puppies. Ultraound and progesterone test today shows that things are proceeding normally.
5 Mar
Tami was x-rayed today to verify the number of puppies and also to help make a decision whether to let her try to free-whelp or have a planned c-section. The x-ray showed three puppies, as expected. (Sometimes ultrasounds can be deceiving, and puppies get double counted.) From the x-ray, measurements were made of the puppies skulls and Tami's pelvic opening. You want the skulls to be able to pass through the pelvic opening. The measurements were close, which caused great discussion among the repro vets. Finally the decision was made to let Tami try to free whelp. Ultrasound showed all the puppies doing well, with normal heartbeats. So now it is just a matter of waiting until Tami comes into labor, which is expected in the next 48 hours or so.

Tami's sister, Portia, who had been bred was ultrasounded today to see if she is pregnant ... but sadly there are no puppies.

7 Mar
Today is Tami's due date ... but she has not shown any sign of coming into labor. To be on the safe side, I decided to put my whelping plan into action.

I loaded everyone - and everything that I thought I might need - into my car. Then I took my other dogs to my petsitter, where they will stay until things settle down. THen Tami and I moved into the guest bedroom of Jennifer and Keith, friends who live near NC State. Today is Jennifer's birthday, so we joined with others to sing her Happy Birthday and eat some birthday cake. Tami enjoyed all the people ... and still shows no sign of labor.

8 Mar
Tami spent an uneventful night. With Tami no showing any signs of labor and being now a day late, I made an appointment for 9 am at NC State for Tami to be checked out by my repro vets.

It seems that as soon as we arrived at NC State, Tami went into stage 1 labor. She peed multiple times, evacuated her bowls, and seemed very anxious. Ultrasound showed that all the puppys' heart rates were in the normal range. (A falling heart rate indicates a puppy in distress.) Some blood was drawn for pre-anesthesia blood work in case a c-section became necessary. Then Tami was put under observation to see what would happen, first in a crate; later we were moved to a spare exam room. Periodically, the vets would check on the puppies via ultrasound.

Around 1 pm, Tami squatted as if to pee, let out a gush of fluid, and then Tami started to lick it up (which I discouraged). I recognized this ... Tami's water had broken. (To be more technical, a puppy had moved into the birth canal, and the outer fluid-filled membrane of the sac surrounding the puppy had ruptured to lubricate the birth canal. At this point the puppy is still covered by an inner sac.) I noted the time, as I had been taught that if no puppy appears within an hour of the water breaking, head to the vets. (Of course, I was already at the vets!)

Tami seemed to have some small contractions, but then she just rested. We waited, but then I eventually checked and noticed that part of a puppy sack was bulging from Tami's vulva. But sadly Tami was not doing any more pushing. At this point the vets decided to ultrasound Tami again. I stepped out of the room for a moment, but when I returned I found a flurry of activity. Evidently the ultrasound showed one of the puppies in distress, a surgeon had become available, and they were taking Tami off for a c-section. I got to watch as a tech put a catheter in a vein of Tami's arm for the administration of anesthesia drugs. Then Tami was taken off to surgery.

Two things were different here than in my previous breeding experience. First, I only observed Tami in stage one labor for a couple of hours; not the 12 to 24 hours to which I am accustomed. Second, Tami seemed to stop having contractions; in my previous litters, my girls were strong pushers.

Week 1

8 Mar
While Tami was in surgery, I went out to get a quick lunch. When I was on my way back to NC State, I got a phone call that the c-section was finishing, Tami was well, all three puppies were well, and that all three were boys. Not long after I got back to NC State, I got my first look at the boys. All were vocally protesting this strange new world, and I was assured that everything was fine. Next, Tami was brought in; she was still very groggy from the anesthesia. Another look at the boys. I sat with Tami while she recovered. Eventually we had to wrestle Tami to her side so that the boys could nurse; as her maternal instincts had not kicked in, Tami did not know what was going on. But after some nursing the boys quieted down, and Tami gave them a few licks. It is important that puppies nurse in the first twelve hours or so after birth. During this window of time, their intestines will still allow large molecules to pass through. Consequently puppies can absorb maternal antibodies in that first milk (called "colostrum").

In talking with the senior vet, she estimated that given the size of the largest puppy's skull that a c-section would ultimately have been necessary.

Finally, around 4 pm I was allowed to take Tami and the boys. But instead of heading home, we returned to Jennifer and Keith's house. There I got everyone settled, fed Tami, and by holding Tami down, enabled the puppies to nurse again. I also weighed the puppies. Each puppy is identified by the color of the yarn tied around their neck. They weighed as follows: White - 192 grams, Green - 235 grams, and Blue - 174 grams.

When Jennifer and Keith returned home from an appointment, I said good-bye as I had to leave for a judging assignment this weekend. Jennifer and Keith have kindly volunteered to look after Tami and her puppies while I am away.

9 Mar
Jennifer kindly sent me this photo of the puppies nursing.

It is usual for puppies to lose weight during the first 24 hours or so after birth. Often the mother is not producing as much milk as she soon will be. Jennifer sent me their weights. White had lost weight, but by the end of the day was back up to his birth weight. Green, who was the heaviest at birth, had also lost weight but by the end of the day had regained all but 5 grams. Blue, the lightest at birth had also intially lost, but by the end of the day was 8 grams heavier than his birth weight.

10 Mar
More pictures from Jennifer: Jennifer reports that all the puppies gained weight today; all are now above their birth weight. The puppies get weighed twice a day. Any weight loss from this point on is a cause for concern.

11 Mar
I picked up Tami and the puppies today. My first look at the puppies since the weekend. I really have to thank Jennifer and Keith for taking care of Tami and her puppies while I was away judging.

Here are the puppies in their travel box. White in the foreground, then Green, and in the back Blue. Jennifer has taken the yarn off of Green and Blue, telling them apart by the darker fur of Green and the smaller size of Blue. Underneath the towel is a hot-water bottle to keep the puppies warm. The puppies fussed during the first-half of the trip home, but then settled down and slept for the second-half of the trip.

When we got home, I weighed the puppies and put them in their new whelping (really nursing) box next to my bed. Tami roughed up the pad; I will spend the next several weeks straightening out the pad as Tami will continue to rough it up. Here is Tami nursing the puppies.

12 Mar
I spent the puppys' first-night home getting little sleep. Every time there was a noise from the whelping box, I had to check on the puppies. Since Tami is cleaning the puppies, not much action is actually required on my part. At most I will move a puppy who has wandered away back towards Tami. Mostly my job is to worry.

The lungs of a puppy are not fully developed when they are born, and continue to develop after birth. Sometimes this development goes wrong and the puppy, unable to breathe, dies. When looked at under a microscope, the lungs of a puppy with puppy lung develeopment disease are markedly different than the lungs of a normal puppy. Scientists are quit excited about puppy lung development disease as it may provide them with an animal model for the corresponding problem in human babies. In two previous litters, I lost one puppy in each litter to puppy lung development disease. (Both bodies were sent to contribute to research on puppy lung development disease.) While no one completely understands puppy lung development disease, based upon my experience, I think these puppies are past the stage when I would see puppy lung development disease.

Another killer of young puppies is a herpes virus. I have been lucky enough not to see it, but I have had fellow breeders lose entire litters to this nasty virus.

Young puppies, until they are about three weeks old, can not regulate their body temperature (and thus can not fight viruses). Consequently upon the advice of my repro vets, I am keeping the room where the puppies are around 80 degrees. And the puppies have a heat lamp to keep them even warmer.

Fortunately all I am seeing so far are fat, quiet puppies who are nursing, and when not nursing are sleeping and twitching (an occasional jerk every minute or so). The twitching is believed to be related to the nervous system growing. Every time I check on the puppies, I look to make sure that each is twitching.

13 Mar
At this stage of their life, the puppies just eat and sleep. Watching the puppies nurse is fascinating. The puppy will push with their paws against Tami's tummy. Evidently this is to help the milk come down to the nipple. So you get this "head bob" - puppy pushes with paws, head goes back; then the puppy stops pushing, and the head moves forward.

Green continues to be the heaviest puppy. White and Blue are battling it out for second place. White was in second place from birth and for several days. Then Blue caught up yesterday morning, and took the lead at the evening weighting. This morning White took back the lead, but this evening Blue is back in second place behind Green.

14 Mar
I have to judge again this weekend. Judging assignments are agreed to often two years in advance. Unfortunately my girls never look at my calendar when deciding when to come into season and have puppies. Fortunately Jennifer and Keith have agreed to again look after everyone while I am away. So today I took Tami and the boys to Jennifer and Keith's house before flying out to Ohio.

Week 2

15 Mar
Today the puppies are one week old. Jennifer tells me that this morning they weighed as follows: White - 324 grams, Green - 375 grams, Blue - 330 grams.

Some picture from Jennifer:

Notice that the puppies eyes are not open yet. This will happen in a few more days.

16 Mar
Another picture from Jennifer and Keith - the three amigos.

17 Mar
More pictures from Jennifer and Keith: Jennifer and Keith report that at the evening weighing, both White and Blue have doubled their birth weight.

18 Mar
More pictures from Jennifer and Keith: My first view of the puppies when I picked them up in the evening. The fact that they are separated and not all in a clump, tells me that the room is warm enough.

I picked up all my dogs and we all went home. This was the first time that my other dogs had seen the puppies. Tami was firm about telling everyone to stay away from the whelping box. This was especially hard for four-month old Siri who wanted to meet her new cousins.

19 Mar
Jennifer had noticed right before I picked up the boys yesterday that Green had a slight discharge around his eyes. I was not too worried about this as I had seen it before in previous litters, and knew what to do. Take the puppies to the vet!

Here you can see the crust around Green's left eye and around his right eye. The vet used a swab to gently lift off a piece of the crust, which she looked at under a microscope. My vet reported that the crust had dried bacteria and dried white blood cells. So the prescription is warm compresses to remove any crust and an antibiotic liquid to put in the inner corner of Green's (unopened) eyes three times a day. Once Green's eyes open, this should all resolve. So while I am concerned, I am not terribly worried.

So far neither White nor Blue have any occular discharge.

Green has doubled his birth weight.

20 Mar
Green's eyes opened today. He has no more discharge. I will probably put the antibiotic drops in his eyes for another day, just to be on the safe side. Both White and Blue have started to open their eyes. Just slits at first, then more as the day went on, but not completely open yet. Even though eyes are opening, it still will be a few days before the puppies can focus. But the puppies can see well enough to notice when Tami gets into the whelping box. Then there is this mass movement towards Tami to get some milk.

Tami continues to be a good mom and nurse the puppies. To give you an idea of how much work Tami is doing, normally my adult dogs get three scoops of kibble a day. (A scoop being 1/8 of a cup.) Tami has been eating eight scoops a day ... of puppy kibble (which has more calories than normal kibble) ... plus two large scoops of cottage cheese a day (to keep her calcium levels up). It takes a lot of energy to produce milk for three growing puppies! Just as I weigh the puppies twice a day, Tami also gets weighed once a day. I want to make sure that Tami is not losing weight, nor gaining too much. Today I raised Tami to ten scoops a day, as the puppies will only be sucking even more nutrition from her as they get older.

Today, Green broke the 500 gram barrier with regards to his weight. White is close behind. Blue is bringing up the rear.

21 Mar
Both White and Blue now have their eyes open. Blue preferred to sleep rather than look at the camera, but you can see a bit of eye. Green looked at the camera when I was weighing him.

White broke the 500 gram weight barrier today.

Week 3

22 Mar
Today the puppies are two weeks old. This morning they weighed as follows: White - 530 grams, Green - 560 grams, and Blue - 500 grams. Blue finally cracked the 500 gram weight barrier.

Here is Green with his head lifted, using his front legs to drag himself across the whelping box. And another picture of Green. A moment earlier he had been trying to "taste" his brother. Like human babies, puppies also try to put everything in their mouth!

I finally was able to get a picture of Blue with his eyes open.

Finally, Green, Blue, and half-on-his-back White - three fat healthy puppies. I hope that it continues.

23 Mar
Green heading towards the blue invader. Notice that Green has a little white goatee on his chin. This is unusual; normally I only see white on a puppy's chest. After this picture Green bumped noses with the blue invader. But it took Blue to actually wrestle the invader to the ground.

Here is White being cleaned by Mommy. Young puppies need to be externally stimulated to urinate and defecate. Tami using her nose will flip a puppy over, and then roughly lick the puppy's belly. Besides helping the puppy, this keeps the whelping box clean (even though I change the pad every day) as she drinks any urine and eats any feces.

In the past after the puppies nursed, they fell asleep. Now they are staying awake for a moment or two and exploring before falling asleep. The amount of time that they are awake will slowly increase.

What I sometimes see when I look in the whelping box - only two puppies! This always makes my heart stop for a moment - especially when I am checking on the puppies in the middle of the night - until I realize that one of the puppies is underneath the pig rail. It is called a "pig rail", as in a pig's whelping area it is used to stop the sow from rolling over and crushing some of her pigletts. Norwich mothers always seem to know where their puppies are and never sit on them, so a "pig rail" seems unnecessary.

24 Mar
Today the puppies did not gain any weight between their morning and evening weighings; Blue even dropped 5 grams. This has me concerned.

I can think of several possible explanations. First, the times when I weigh the puppies are arbitrary and may not correspond to what is biologically happening with the puppies; where they are in the process of turning milk into a growing puppy. Second, the puppies may have reached some kind of plateau in their growth, and need some time to do some internal reorganization before they can grow some more. I have seen this before, but never all at once with all the puppies. Third, Tami may be putting the puppies on a schedule, as she seems to spend less time with the puppies during the day, and a lot of time a night in the whelping box. Fourth, on the advice of my repro vets, to stop the spread of parasites from the mother to the puppies, I have been worming Tami at certain times. She just finished three days of worming medication and may not be feeling well. (The puppies get their first worming in a week.) And finally, something else could be going on.

25 Mar
Big weight gains by everyone at this morning's weigh in. Both White and Blue gained 25 grams. Green gained 35 grams.

I trimmed the puppies nails for the first time today. Also I reduced the temperature slightly in my house. The puppies were all sleeping separately, indicating that they are warm enough ... and to be honest I just could no longer stand the heat. I have been in shorts, tee shirt, and sandles since bringing the puppies home!

The puppies were all moving around when I took this picture .. White stretching, Blue climbing over Green. Notice that Green has lifted his head to the level of the pig rail.

I am sure that Green is thinking "It sure was easier to get a drink at the milk bar when my brothers were not so big." Green sneaking a drink while Tami is standing up. White yawning. Puppies nursing.

26 Mar
Green yawning. Puppies sleeping. It is much easier to get a picture of the puppies when they are still; otherwise I just get a blurry picture. The puppies are trying to walk. They get their rear feet underneath them for one good push; afterwards their rear feet are not so coordinated. But before they fall asleep, they are energetic about trying to explore their environment. A puppy can now get across the whelping box in about five seconds.

It has been interesting how Tami has been protecting the puppies. I do not think my oldest dog has been in my bedroom since the puppies came home. Normally she sleeps at night on a dog bed at the foot of my bed. But one good growl from Tami and my oldest has been spending her nights in my living room. My four-month old is another story. She is very interested in the puppies, and Tami is constantly chasing her out of my bedroom.

After a nice weight gain during the day yesterday and again last night, again the puppies seem to have stopped. This evening White had lost 5 grams since this morning, Green had stayed the same, and Blue had lost 10 grams. A breeder-friend has reminded me that at this point, such loses are very small compared to the overall weight of a puppy, and that as long as everything else seems ok, that I should not worry. Of course, she admitted that she worries whenever she sees a weight loss.

27 Mar
White and Green both gained 25 grams last night. Blue gained 15 grams. Blue is consistently gaining less than the others, which has me worried. Hopefully when the puppies transition to solid food, he will make up the weight difference.

28 Mar
Some photos:

Week 4

29 Mar
The puppies are three weeks old today, and weigh as follows: White - 745 grams, Green - 800 grams, and Blue - 670 grams. Now that the puppies are three weeks old, I start to relax and become cautiously optimistic that the puppies will survive. Bad things can still happen, but is much less likely.

Today is also "Name Day". My registered names are always Shakespeare related, usually having to do with the most recent Shakespeare play or movie I have seen. Recently I have been reading "Macbeth" by Jo Nesbo. This is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series where they have asked current authors to retell the Shakespeare stories set in modern times. So this is going to be a "Scottish play" litter. (One never says the name of the play, it is bad luck!) For the past week I have been playing around with names. The puppies registered names (and call name in parenthesis) are ... (drum roll, please):

White = "Shaksper Thane of Lennox" (Lennox)
Green = "Shaksper Thane of Fife" (Duffy)
Blue = "Shaksper Thane of Ross" (Rocco)

In the play, Macduff is the Thane of Fife, hence the call name "Duffy". "Ross" is the obvious call name for Blue, but I like my call names to be two syllables. I first tried "Rosco" but that morphed into "Rocco". I also like "Rocky" instead of "Rocco". Of course, call names are easily changed. Puppies when they leave me often get new call names.

30 Mar
I have to say that the boys are noisy eaters. I can always tell - even if it is the middle of the night - when Tami is in the whelping box and the puppies are nursing ... there are a lot of slurping sounds.

31 Mar
I think I heard one of the puppies having a "puppy dream" last night ... a high pitched "yip" sound made while they are dreaming.
1 Apr
The puppies are starting to respond to sound. This means that their ear canals are starting to open. Hearing is the last sense that puppies get.

I again brought the puppies out to my living room play pen. But after a short while, I again put them back in their whelping box. The new space must be pretty overwhelming.

In the evening before bedtime, my four-month old, Siri, has been sneaking into the whelping box whenever Tami has been outside. Siri so wants to play with the puppies. I watched as one of the puppies yawned and Siri stuck her nose into the puppy's mouth. Siri got of whiff of "puppy breath" and thought that was wonderful. (It is!) However when Siri hears Tami come back inside, Siri jumps out of the whelping box as she knows she is not supposed to be there.

2 Apr
All the puppies are now up and walking. Duffy is still a bit unsteady; as Duffy is the largest, he has to fight gravity more.

The puppies are now getting tall enough that they are starting to peak over the pig rail; here is Lennox trying to look out. Duffy got his front paws up on the pig rail to inspect a piece of dirt.

Today again I brought the puppies out to my living room play pen. Again Tami felt obligated to put herself between the puppies and my four-month old, Siri. Siri keeps trying to sneak closer. I took Siri with me when I ran some errands today, leaving the puppies in the play pen, in the hope that without the stress of mommy chasing Siri away that the puppies would get used to the play pen. When I got home, the puppies were all contently sleeping in a pile in the pen. When they woke up, I saw them exploring the pen. I missed seeing who was the first "escapee" - it was either Duffy or Rocco - who had climbed over the wooden block that I put at the entrance to allow Mommy to come and go, but hopefully keep the puppies in. Later I watched Lennox climb out.

3 Apr
I am usually woken in the morning with the sounds of the puppies nursing. Tami seems to give the puppies a big meal at sun rise, after which the puppies sleep heavily, while Tami goes out to "hunt" - in other words, join with my other dogs to encourage me to get out of bed and make them breakfast. I have not figured out the rest of the "schedule" as to when Tami feeds the puppies. Any other time that Tami steps into the whelping box or play pen, there is a mad scramble by the puppies to get to mom. Tami usually lets one or two of the puppies nurse for a moment while she cleans a puppy. But after a moment Tami gets up and moves to clean another puppy, with any nursing puppy desperately trying to continue, but being dragged until falling off the nipple.

Rocco was the first to figure out that the open crate in the play pen is a good place to sleep. The other followed and spent most of the day sleeping in the crate. When awake, they explored the play pen and tried to escape. Here is Duffy following Rocco over the "wall".

4 Apr
Siri has been persistent enough that she now can play with the puppies while Tami look on. However when I felt that Siri was getting too rough, I locked her out.

Week 5

5 Apr
The puppies are four weeks old today, and weigh as follows: Lennox - 945 grams, Duffy - 1000 grams, and Rocco - 840 grams. Now that the puppies can hear and are exploring, my job is to provide them with an interesting environment. So new toys every day and music (mostly classical) and various noises. (I have a CD with city sounds - sirens, dump trucks, dogs barking, etc. I play this when I leave the house!)

Lennox checking out the orange crab and later grabbing and dragging a knotted flannel toy. Because puppies do not have thumbs and can not thumb wrestle, they mouth wrestle. Yes, Duffy has Lennox's snout in his mouth. The object of the game, like Sumo wrestling, seems to be to push the other puppy over. Rocco thinks it is all silly and goes off to explore. Of course the real reason for going over the wall is to get to Mommy and her milk; here is Rocco getting a quick snack. Rocco checking out my slipper and sitting next to Mommy.

6 Apr
All three of the puppies went for a "walk about" to the center of my living room. That is Tami next to the puppies, Siri on the right, and at the top, a very furry Mandy, who is Siri's mother. Rocco picked up the purple bear and carried it for a bit. I wish I had gotten a better picture. Rocco was the first puppy to find the box of toys (that Siri has scattered). I often think that they puppies are going to grow up with dislike of their older "sister" (Siri) as she is constantly bothering them and sometimes rough with them. But she can also be surprisingly gentle. Here she is laying down and letting Lennox crawl over her. And of course at the end of the day, I have tired sleeping puppies.

7 Apr
This morning after my shower I came out of the bathroom to find Siri playing with the puppies in the whelping box. Mom was sleeping nearby and evidently had given her consent.

Jennifer, Keith, their nephew, and the puppies' big brother, Boo, came to visit for the afternoon. When she was not holding a puppy or puppies, Jennifer took lots of pictures of the puppies:

One of the things that we noticed is that the puppies are now starting to get teeth.

We had a good time watching the puppies, taking a walk with all the dogs (except the puppies, of course), and practicing some agility. At the end of the day, I had sleeping puppies.

8 Apr
I have added some pictures Jennifer sent me to the 7 April entry. So if you have not read the 7 April entry recently, you should go back and reread it.

Duffy was the first one to find and "climb the mountain" - one of the dog pillows that I have around my house. He found that it was a good place for a nap. A displaced Siri is in the corner on the ground.

Siri had puppy class this evening. Since the puppies are now regularly climbing out of the play pen - and often climbing back in - I was curious where I would find them when we got home. Fortunately they were all in a pile sleeping in the play pen when we got home.

9 Apr
First, there was one, then two, and finally three. All three puppies have now "climbed the mountain" and think that it is a pretty nice place for a nap.

Here is Rocco showing off the latest head gear that a smart Norwich needs to protect its head from those nasty bumps. Another view. After a moment of letting Rocco wear the toy, I helped Rocco free his head.

So far the puppies have investigated the area around the play pen including the dog bed next to the pen, underneath my computer table, and the box of toys on the other side of me. Here is Lennox discovering the pile of toys. Today both Rocco and Duffy crossed the room to investigate several open dog crates. Lennox preferred to stay by me and lick my feet. (I was wearing sandles). He then proceed to taste (bite) my right big toe. Since his puppy teeth are not fully in, it was only a mild ouch but enough for me to say "Ow" and move my foot. Lennox then proceed to investigate my left foot, including tasting my left big toe!

10 Apr
Tami continues to be a good mommy, periodically checking on the puppies, rushing over if anyone is making a noise, or staying near, like on this trip outside.

I always find it interesting that younger dogs can displace older dogs from their favorite spots, without the older dogs objecting. Here are the puppies on the pillow next to me, with Siri on the floor.

Rocco was the first one to try out my baby dog walk; while Duffy checked out my baby tunnel.

I decided today to see if the puppies would eat some baby rice mixed with Esbilac (milk for puppies). They rushed right over to my feeding pan and did a very creditable job. Of course, Mommy cleaned up the left overs. Now that I know that the puppies are interested in eating, I will start feeding them. Of course, this also means that I have to start taking the puppies outside to potty. Once Mommy realizes that there is something else besides her milk coming through the puppys' digestive tracts, she will say "your job now to keep them clean"!

11 Apr
Duffy climbed out of the whelping box this morning. This means that I will now have to start locking the puppies in the whelping box at night ... and wake up and let Tami in when she wants to nurse the puppies. After Tami feeds the puppies, I will need to take them outside to potty. Hence this exercise pen ("x-pen") in my yard. At night I do not want the puppies to scatter in my (fenced) yard, so it is easier to just put them in the x-pen while they do their business.

Lennox going through my puppy tunnel.

As often as I think that Siri is being too rough when she plays with the puppies, at times she can be amazingly gentle. Here she is, letting Duffy bite her leg.

Week 6

12 Apr
The puppies are five weeks old today, and weigh as follows: Lennox - 1140 grams, Duffy 1225 grams, and Rocco 1030 grams. Rocco finally broke the one kilogram barrier this morning.

I had to be out of the house for a bit, and I came home to find Duffy had his head stuck in the toy. He did not seem to be upset.

I fed the puppies some (chicken)baby food out of those little baby jars. The puppies seemed to like it, but I think the rice is still their favorite.

On the advice of my repro vets, I feed Tami a quarter cup of cottage cheese twice a day while she is nursing. This is to keep her calcium levels up, as nursing puppies make a huge demand on a mother's calcium level and a low calcium level can be fatal. Rocco came over to investigate what Mommy was eating and starting eating some of the cottage cheese. (Mommy shares!) I had never thought to offer puppies cottage cheese. Now I will!

13 Apr
The puppies can now run about as fast as I can walk. They follow me as I cross a room, and I have to be careful when I turn around not to step on anyone.

Lennox (top) and Rocco (bottom) playing with the cardboard from a paper towel roll. Notice how Rocco's ears are up and Lennox's ears are down. Lennox's ears will eventually stand up.

14 Apr
Rocco, Duffy, "older sister" Siri, and Lenox playing outside. I worry that Siri is sometimes too rough with the puppies, but mommy Tami does not seem to mind and sometimes joins Siri in what I call "toughing up the puppy". I have observed this in previous litters, where the adult dogs play rough with a puppy. Duffy and Lenox seem to mostly attact Siri's attention, with Lennox for only coming in for some attention.

At dinner time, I decided to try a new dish, ground up puppy kibble soaked in Esbilac (milk for puppies). It was a big hit with Duffy licking the plate.

15 Apr
I am now feeding the puppies during the day, and Tami is feeding them at night. Since the puppies are locked in the whelping box (to stop them from wandering), Tami wakes me up and I let her into the whelping box. This happens around midnight and again around four am. Here is Tami nursing the puppies. Notice how big the puppies are compared to similar pictures in the past. There is hardly room for all three puppies to nurse at the same time. Often one is knocked off a nipple, causing a scramble to get onto another, which often results in another puppy getting knocked off.

For breakfast this morning, besides baby rice soaked in Esbilac, I tried plain ground puppy kibble (not soaked in anything). Rocco was the first to try it ... and he liked it. When Lennox and Duffy finished with the rice, they also gave the plain ground puppy kibble their approval.

Because "big sister" Siri is teething, I sometimes give her a carrot to chew on. Of course, one carrot will not do, as my other dogs also want such a treat. So I give out several. Duffy took a carrot and dragged the carrot onto one of my dog pillows. The other puppies joined him. However the puppies were not sure what to do with the carrot ... just that carrots were desirable as the big dogs wanted the carrots.

The puppies are finding favorite places to sleep. Here is Lennox sleeping in one of the open big dog crates. Possibly he likes the scent of mom who often uses that crate.

16 Apr
To my surprise, Tami did not wake me up at 4 am to feed the puppies. On the other hand, the puppies did wake me up! But no feeding by Mommy. I wonder ...

Messy eaters! Fortunately my other dogs are more than happy to clean up!

Sleeping together. Notice that Duffy has one leg over Rocco. Lennox is sleeping upside down, with his head lower than his rear end. (He is slowly sliding off the pillow.)

17 Apr
No nursing by Tami last night. I wonder if Tami is weaning the puppies with a sudden closing of the milk bar. Any time a puppy tried to get a quick snack today, Tami growled and moved away. Tami is still attentive to the puppies; she just is not allowing them to nurse. The puppies were certainly interested in breakfast! Besides other food, I gave the puppies some canned tripe. They thought this was great! However it may have been too rich for Duffy, as I noticed later that he had runny stool.

Rocco on my "tipping board". Another view.

Besides the small water dish in their play pen, the puppies have discovered the big dog's water dish. Here is Duffy after getting a drink.

For dinner I divided the baby chicken into three piles, however it seems to be more fun to try to all eat from the same pile at once. Afterwards, Duffy fell asleep, so Lennox started cleaning the dinning area by pulling up the "tablecloth", even though Rocco is still eating.

When Siri is not breaking it up, the puppies often wrestle. Here are Rocco and Lennox going at it: photo1, photo2, and photo3. It looks like fighting, with a puppy trying to rip the leg off of another puppy, chew on an ear, etc. But like professional wrestling, no one seems to get hurt.

18 Apr
Take the puppies out, bring the puppies in. As soon as I see one of the puppies wake up, I gather all of the them up and take them outside to potty. I let them have some time outside to play, and then I bring them inside again. This happens multiple times during the day. Of course, I have to know where the puppies are to gather them up. I frequently find myself having "lost" a puppy; a puppy has found some new place to take a nap. Here is Rocco sleeping in Mom's crate, with Tami also inside!

Rather than grind up the puppy kibble, I tried the experiment today of letting the puppies eat the kibble "whole". It did not slow them down, and they ate much more than I expected.

Here is Lennox biting at Siri's tail.

For dinner this evening, I cooked some ground turkey for the dogs. The puppies thought this was great. Afterwards, there was a turkey-induced coma.

Week 7

19 Apr
The puppies are six weeks old today, and weigh as follows: Lennox - 1330 grams, Duffy - 1435 grams, and Rocco - 1210 grams.

Breeder folklore is that a puppy at six weeks (and again at six months) looks like it will as an adult. At other times, different body parts grow at different rates (think gangly teenager). I will try to get good pictures of everyone.

The turkey last night may have been enjoyable ... but now it is coming out the other end, and unfortunately as diarrhea. So there will be no more food experiments until everyone has firm stools again. And while I was cleaning up the whelping box, I accidently stepped on Rocco's toe. Much wailing! It is a hard lesson to learn when young that the world is not always a happy place. Soon afterwards, Rocco was running around as if nothing had happened.

Once I had everything - and everyone - cleaned up, I noticed that Lennox was shivering. I held him close for a while. I had also notice that of the three, Lennox's diarhea was very watery - not a good sign. I took his temperature, which was normal. I came very close to calling my vet for an appointment, but after a nap, Lennox seemed fine. He is eating, drinking, and - other than the diarrhea - seems ok. But he is the cause of my worry today.

I think that Duffy may be a "fluffy". There is a gene (scientifically denoted FGF5) that controls coat length. There is a dominant allele that causes a short coat length, and a recessive allele that causes a long coat length. In some breeds, the allele is "fixed" (only one copy exists). In others, both alleles are accepted (smooth collies and rough collies, for example). And in other, both exist in the breed, but only one type is accepted (can be exhibited in the show ring). Norwich is one of the breeds where the "proper" coat is short; Norwich with two copies of the recessive long-coat allele eventually look like fluff balls and hence are called "fluffies".

The long-coat allele has nothing to do with health, so it is not something that I worry about when making breeding decisions. I knew (from DNA testing) that both parents - Tami and Porter - of the puppies are fluffy-carriers (have one recessive copy of the long-coat allele). This means that there is a theoretical 25 percent chance of any puppy from a Porter-Tami breeding being a fluffy. Right now Duffy is looking more hairy than his brothers, which makes me think that he might be a fluffy. We could DNA test Duffy to see if he is a fluffy ... or we can just wait to see how his coat developes.

From a practical viewpoint, a fluffy has advantages over a normal-coated Norwich. A normal-coated Norwich has to be "stripped" - something that not all groomers know how to do; whereas any groomer can clipper or scissor a fluffy. The downside to a fluffy is that their coat collects dirt and they have to be bathed on a regular basis; whereas a normal-coated Norwich rarely needs a bath.

20 Apr
When I woke up this morning, I found Rocco looking out of the whelping box. He had his hind legs on the pig rails and his front paws over the top edge of the whelping box. He must have jumped up somehow to achieve that position. This means that soon I will have to move the puppies to sleeping in crates.

Mommy and the puppies evidently have decided that my cooking is not the best, as Tami let the puppies nurse this morning. Tami again let the puppies nurse right before bedtime in the evening.

Lennon says "When going on a safari, it is a wise idea to camp near an oasis".

Jennifer, Keith, and big brother Boo came to visit for the afternoon. There was much playing, and holding of the puppies (especially by Jennifer). Keith sent me these pictures:

Afterwards, everyone was all tired out, so much so that Siri and Lenox took a nap together.

21 Apr
This morning Duffy was by the door and he acted like he wanted to go outside. So I let him out. He want across my porch to the grass and promptly pooped. I was so proud of him! While I am sure that there will be plenty of "accidents" in the future, it does show that my potty training efforts are having some effect.

Here are Duffy and Lennox reenacting a western gunfight. They stop and stare at each other, then all of a sudden, one or both will charge the other.

Lennox dragging a toy. Lennox seem normal today, although he still has some diarrhea. At this morning's weighing, his weight was down while the weight of his two brothers was up.

Duffy on my baby dog walk, which seems to be his favorite outside toy. I frequently find him sitting on the top of the baby dog walk, watching the world. Of course, as soon as I get my camera, he has moved on.

Keith sent me the following photos that Jennifer took yesterday:

Right now the puppies look like miniature versions of what they will look like as adults.

22 Apr
Lennox's weight was nicely up this morning. Duffy broke the 1500 gram level. Mommy is continuing to let the puppies nurse prior to breakfast and bed time.

Lennox fell asleep on my baby dog walk. The fur on the ground is because I was stripping Aunt Portia.

Norwich are not normally diggers, although my adults will dig if they think they can get to a small critter. (Several mole bodies have proudly been brought to me.) However every litter of puppies that I have had seems to enjoy digging near the foundation of my porch. Rather than fill in the holes, I just leave them for the next litter of puppies to enjoy.

23 Apr
Sometimes I think that "big sister" Siri is being too rough with a puppy. I will pick Siri up, only to have Tami step in and do the same to the puppy as Siri was doing. So I guess it really is just "toughening up the puppy". Rocco seems to get the most attention from Siri, Duffy some, and Lennox hardly at all. At other times, Siri is a great puppy-sitter. There are times when the puppies are outside and I need to go into the house to do something. I dislike leaving the puppies outside by themselves ... as I always worry about a hawk or owl or coyote getting one of the puppies. But often Siri will stay with the puppies, and I can spend more time inside with only occasional checks on the puppies. Here is Siri guarding the puppies while they slept.

Lennox was the first to climb my dog ramp that leads to my bed. He seems so proud of himself! Now I will have to put the ramp on the floor during the day, so that no puppy goes up and pees on my bed.

24 Apr
Tami watching over as "big sister" Siri "toughens up" Rocco.

The little darlings have learned the joy of dragging my toilet mat around. I will spend the next several weeks repeatedly putting it back.

In the evening, both Lennox and Duffy climbed the ramp up to my bed.

Lennox and Duffy sleeping in the whelping box. Notice how big they have become!

25 Apr
Lennox (looking at the camera) and Duffy on my baby dog walk.

I am not dogmatic about what I feed my dogs. I feed kibble, cooked food, table scraps, and raw food. (I do make sure that my dogs get a balenced though varied diet, and that they maintain a good weight and not get fat.) Tonight's menu was raw chicken wings. Since the puppyies' stools have been firming up, I decided that this would be a good time to let the puppies have the tip of a chicken wing. I like to do this as it gives me a good idea of the personalities of puppies. At first, as you might imagine, there was a three-way tug of war for this delicacy. Then there was a rotating change of possession of the chicken wing as one puppy would steal it from another. As I expected Duffy and Rocco mostly had possession. I later put another chicken wing in the play pen. At this stage the puppyies' teeth are not able to tear much meat from the chicken wing, although all the puppies made a determined effort. Lennox was the first to give up and go for the easier to eat puppy kibble. When I felt that the puppies had tried enough, I picked up the chicken wings and gave them to my older dogs. (All the puppies then ate some puppy kibble.) Interestingly, Tami tried to give her extra chicken wing back to the puppies. Clearly she felt it was appropriate food for them to eat.

Week 8

26 Apr
The puppies are seven weeks old today, and weigh as follows: Lennox - 1525 grams, Duffy - 1720 grams, and Rocco - 1445 grams. Lennox broke the 1500 gram mark today.

The puppies wanted to go potty around 5:30 this morning. After bringing them back inside, I went back to bed. Next thing that I knew, three puppies had climbed the ramp up onto my bed and were trying to taste my ear. After protecting my ear with my hand, the puppies settled down next to my head and fell asleep. And so did I! After a short but very restful (for me) nap, I got up, took everyone outside again, and then made breakfast for everyone.

The puppies do a lot of wrestling. Here Duffy has Lennox pinned down. Lennox says "Talk to the paw".

The puppies are such angels ... when they are sleeping.

I want to comment on each puppy.

Lennox is the sweetest of the three. He like to follow me around. I suspect that Lennox will take after his mother, who loves to cuddle.

Duffy is the biggest. While I expect all the puppies to be around 12 pounds when adults, given how Duffy likes to eat, I expect that as an adult Duffy will have to watch his weight. Temperament wise, Duffy is between Lennox and Rocco.

I still can not decide if Duffy is a fluffy. From pictures that I have, fluffies at the same age have more coat (fur). I may have to break down and do the DNA fluffy test on Duffy to know for certain. The dark hairs on Lennox and Rocco are "guard hairs" and will eventually fall out and they will be reds. For Duffy, I am just not sure.

Duffy has a slight snore when he sleeps.

Rocco is both the smallest of the the three and also the most feisty. All the puppies have a good terrier temperament ... stubbornness and independence ... Rocco just has more. I think his feistiness is the reason that big sister Siri and mommy Tami spend most of their time "toughening up" Rocco; thus showing him his place in the pack hierarchy. Rocco is the most adventurous (will do things first), closly followed by Duffy.

Ok, those are my comments on the temperament of each puppy. It will be interesting to hear what the puppy evaluator has to say when she comes next week.

27 Apr
Tami is still letting the puppies nurse at night. Because the puppies are so big now, only two can nurse at one time. So that Rocco has a chance, I take Duffy away for part of the time.

In the wrestling or chase games that the dogs play, the water dish is considered to be "neutral" or "safe" territory. When someone goes to the water dish, the game stops. Here are Lennox and Rocco at the water dish. Notice the Lennox's ears now stand up. Duffy's ears have also come up.

Not surprisingly, Duffy is the first one to come through my doggy door. He has to put his entire body weight against the door to push the door open. So far he has only come from the outside to the inside, and does not realize yet that the door will open in the other direction.

It is not always "big sister" Siri toughening up the puppy. Sometime the puppies are the instigators, and attempt to "beat up" on Siri. Here Lennox and Rocco jumped on Siri, with Lennox trying to tear off one of Siri's rear legs while Rocco goes for the throat.

All the puppies have nice firm stools, so it is time to get adventurous again with food. For dinner, the puppies had scrambled eggs, with some cooked ground chicken afterwards.

28 Apr
I have no idea how Duffy got himself wedged in between the crate and the x-pen ... or even why it is good place for a nap!

I still can not decide if Duffy is a fluffy or not ... and the not knowing finally got to me today. I swabbed Duffy's inside check with a cotton swab, which I will send off to a DNA lab tomorrow. So in a week or so, we will know what the DNA says.

29 Apr
I forgot yesterday to mention that Rocco broke the 1500 gram barrier. And this morning I was so tired that I forgot to weigh Tami and the puppies and started serving breakfast before I realized my mistake. To get comparable numbers, I normally weigh before breakfast.

I want the puppies to eat at least one meal a day of puppy kibble. The other meals I will introduce them to new foods, and feed them foods that they like. But to make sure that they are getting the proper nutrition that they should, I want them to eat one meal a day of puppy kibble. I do this at breakfast, as the puppies are normally very hungry. Even though I feed a high-quality kibble (Orijin), this morning the puppies staged a hunger strike and refused to eat their kibble. It did not help that Tami had let them nurse at 4 am. So I picked the kibble up. At lunch time, I put the kibble down again. The puppies all looked at me, and tried to convince me with their eyes that kibble was bad and that they deserved something better. I just waited them out. After a bit, hunger won over and they ate their daily kibble.

Rocco trying to make himself look older.

The puppies and big sister Siri were all playing "keep away" with a rawhide chew. By the time I grabbed my camera, only Siri and Lennox were still playing; both Rocco and Duffy had been distracted by something else and had moved away.

Duffy with his ears up. Lennox with his ears up.

Duffy has now figured out that my doggy door works both ways, and goes inside and out as he wishes. Fortunately big sister Siri often acts as puppy-sitter and stays with the puppies who are outside.

30 May
Besides Duffy, the other puppies are now going in and out my doggy door. At first, they were just following quickly when one of the older dogs went through. (When the door would shut on Rocco, his reaction was to bite the door!) But I have now seen Rocco push my doggy door open by himself. Lennox often prefers to wait until I open the entire door for him.

Empty boxes make great toys. Here is big sister Siri and Rocco pushing a box around and chewing it.

And here is mommy Tami and Duffy playing with and chewing on a hard plastic toy.

1 May
After I took the puppies out to potty around 1 am, mommy Tami let the puppies nurse. Usually Tami hops right out of the whelping box afterwards, but this time she didn't. As I watched, Tami regurgitated some of her dinner for the puppies to eat.

Today the puppy evaluator visited and tested the puppies. I find that it is a good idea to have someone knowledgeable about dogs give an independent assessment of puppies and their personalities. I have known Michele of Teamworks Dog Training for almost twenty years, and respect her knowledge of dogs and dog behavior. Often her evaluation of puppies and mine agree, but every time she has evaluated puppies for me, she has pointed out something about the puppies that I missed. This evaluation was no different.

Michele likes to do the evaluations in a room in which the puppies have never been before. So I set up an x-pen in my garage/barn. Part of the evaluation was Michele picking up each puppy, looking in each puppies' mouth, turning each puppy upside down to see how the puppy reacted (how long did they squirm before relaxing), and holding the puppy just off the floor (again how long till the puppy relaxed). In another part, Michele gave the puppies a bowl of food, let them eat for a moment, and they took the bowl away to see how the puppies reacted. Michele does a lot of work with rescued and problem dogs, so she was looking to see if any of the puppies reacted fearfully or was a resource (food) guarder. As Michele put it, none of the puppies showed any "red flags" that would make her worried about a dog.

Michele walked each puppy on a leash. (Their first time!) As I expected each puppy bite the leash, but went along with Michele. Michele had the puppies walk on a strange surface (a pan) to get some food. She played with a toy with the puppies to see how each puppy would react. Finally, and most interesting to me, she showed each puppy some food, then put the food under a measuring cup to see how each puppy would react. (How long would it take a puppy to get the food.)

Afterwards, Michele gave me her assessment of each puppy. I deliberately had not said anything about the puppies so as not to bias her opinion. Michele and I agreed that Lennox is the sweetest puppy of the litter, wants to be with people, and will make a good cuddle dog. That is not to say that Lennox is not a terrier, just that he is more people-oriented. We also agreed that both Duffy and Rocco are more feisty, with it being very close as to which puppy is more feisty. Duffy is very food motivated, Rocco less so. Duffy showed more interest in playing with a toy, again Rocco less so. Rocco is more independent than Duffy. Based upon what she saw, Michele thought that Duffy would make the best performance dog. This is what surprised me. With Rocco having been the first to do many things as a puppy, I would have given him the nod as the performance prospect. But upon reflection, Duffy has been doing things first recently.

Afterwards, Lennox relieved the stress of all that testing by relaxing and biting the tail of the orange elephant.

3 May
It is time for the puppies to tansition to sleeping in crates, so it is time to retire the whelping box (until the next litter).

I have to travel this weekend, so Tami and the puppies will be spending the weekend with my friends Jennifer and Keith and their Norwich, Little Boo. Here are all three puppies in a crate for our car ride to Jennifer and Keith's house. I was very proud of them ... no one got car sick during the ride. And here are the puppies meeting Boo. (From left to right, Duffy, Lennox, and Rocco.) Boo is formally "Shaksper Guiderius", and is an older half-brother to the puppies. (They have the same father.)

Week 9

3 May
The puppies are eight weeks old today. Jennifer reports that they weigh as follows: Lennox 1830 grams, Duffy 2030 grams, and Rocco 1640 grams. Duffy evidently has broken the 2 kilogram mark. An adult Norwich normally weighs around 5 kilograms.

I have spoken on the phone with Jennifer and all seems to be well with Tami and the puppies. Jennifer sent me the following photos:

4 May
More picture from Jennifer and Keith:

5 May
Two more pictures from Jennifer and Keith: I picked up the puppies in the evening on my way home. Being at Jennifer and Keith's was a great socialization experience for the puppies ... a totally new house ... children to play with (Jennifer's niece and nephews live next door) ... a totally different routine than mine. I really thank Jennifer and Keith for taking Tami and the puppies while I was away.

I should explain why I was travelling, as it is tangentially related to the puppies. The puppies' aunt Mandy, her daughter Siri, and I went to an agility trial, where Mandy competed. (Five-month old Siri came along for the socialization experience of being at an agility trial, and also had her first experience of staying in a hotel.) In spite of taking time off for breeding and raising Siri, Mandy is still in the running to be one of the top five agility Norwich that will be invited to compete in the national AKC Invitational agility competition in Orlando in December. Plus Mandy was close to earning a major milestone title. As I knew the puppies would be in good hands with Jennifer and Keith, I felt comfortable leaving them and taking Mandy off to trial. Mandy had a great weekend and earned her MACH3 agility title, which is a big thing. Here is the picture with the judge, taken after Mandy earned the title. The bar being held is the bar that was on the last jump that Mandy had to clear to earn the title. I get to keep the bar, which joins my collection of four other MACH bars: three now earned by Mandy, one earned by Mandy's mother, Olivia, and one earned by the first Norwich to earn the MACH title, my Kate (back in 2005).

6 May
The puppies all slept together when at Jennifer's house. Last night was their first night sleeping in individual crates. Everyone did well; only a little whimpering when I first put them in, then they settled down and went to sleep. Duffy usually gets the penthouse of my puppy condo; the twins (Jennifer's nickname for Lennox and Rocco) get the bottom floor units.

Of course, there are other good places to sleep, as Duffy demonstrates.

Rocco really likes my tippy board. If I hear it banging, it is usually Rocco on the board.

Jennifer reported that they did not observe Tami nursing the puppies. Nor did Tami nurse the puppies today. I wonder if Tami has finally finished nursing this litter?

7 May
The three amigos - Lennox, Duffy, and Rocco.

With the puppies going in and out of my doggy door at will, I can either go crazy trying to make sure they are safe (that I am with them) when they are outside, or I can just accept that there will be times when the puppies will be outside without me. I do check on the puppies - on average about every fifteen minutes! - to make sure that I know where they are. Fortunately when they are outside, usually one of the older dogs is with them. If I find a puppy alone outside, I bring him in.

In the evening, big sister Siri was zooming around my yard, stopping for a moment to look at the puppies, and then take off again. Duffy and Rocco gave chase every time Siri too off. (Lennox was inside asleep.) This went on for a good five minutes while I watched.

Duffy's fluffy DNA test result came back this weekend ... but the report only left me with a bigger mystery than before! The report says that Duffy is only a fluffy-carrier ... not a fluffy. Yet my eyes tell me that while Duffy is not a full fluffy, his coat is different from his brothers, like a fluffy ... only shorter. When I got home I checked the DNA results of his parent for two other genes related to coat - but both parents are homozygous for those genes, so those genes should affect all the puppies the same. I have been reading up about coat length since receiving the report. My best guess is that Duffy has a different mutation in the FGF5 gene (that controls hair length) than the one that is tested for by the long-coat DNA test. Now the scientist in me wants to know what it is!

8 May
The puppies always find interesting places to nap. Here is Lennox curled up in my printer stand.

Jennifer sent me this photo taken last weekend that explains why Rocco likes staying with Jennifer and Keith!

I was talking with another Norwich breeder about Duffy's coat. She looked at the pictures of Duffy. Her opinion is that Duffy will have a normal Norwich coat. Time will tell!

9 May
All the puppies are very interested in my refrigerator. Most likely it is because of the interesting smells that come from it whenever I open the refrigerator door. Lennox was particularly interested today, and spent several minutes trying to find a way inside.

Besides corners, puppies also like to sleep in places where they have something over their head. I found Lennox today using my practice earthdog liner - which doubles as a puppy tunnel - as a place for a nap.

Week 10

10 May
The puppies are nine weeks old today, and weigh as follows: Lennox - 2100 grams, Duffy - 2285 grams, and Rocco - 1935 grams.

Rocco and Lennox wrestling, made even more interesting by being on the tippy board.

Tami continues to pay attention to her puppies. She will groom (lick) their faces, ears, and private parts. Tami comes running if any puppy is crying. Here is Tami grooming Duffy, while Rocco (bottom of picture) and Lennox get a drink of water.

I noticed today that Duffy (the maybe fluffy) is starting to get hair growing in front of his eyes.

For years, Norwich have been known for making "funny sounds". We now suspect that this is because of Norwich Terrier Upper Airway Syndrome (NTUAS) - respiratory problems of the upper airway in Norwich terriers. Unfortunately NTUAS seems to be epidemic in Norwich; preliminary results from a not-yet completed NTUAS study say that 92 percent of Norwich have some form of NTUAS. (So not breeding Norwich with NTUAS will destroy the breed.) Most pet Norwich live normal lives with mild NTUAS; one just has to be careful not to take them for long walks in the heat of the day - something most dogs do not want to do anyway. In moderate cases of NTUAS, surgery can improve a dog's breathing; in severe cases, a dog can die from NTUAS.

Unfortunately there is not any good diagnostic for NTUAS. By putting a dog under anesthesia, one can look at the upper airway using a special scope ("scoping"). But different vets, depending on their interests and beliefs, have emphasized different parts of the upper airway as the problem. The Norwich Terrier Club of America - to its credit - has funded a major study of NTUAS in an attempt to get a better understanding of NTUAS and to get a consistent grading scheme of the upper airway for use by breeders. I have twice (2015 and 2017) taken my dogs to Michigan State University (MSU) to participate in the study. (And I plan to go again in August to particate in a follow-up longitudenial study.) The NTUAS study will be published soon, and the grades for all the dogs who participated in the study will be released.

Without a good diagnostic, breeders have relied on just listening to the sounds a dog makes when it breathes. However absence of sounds does not mean a dog is free of NTUAS. One of my dogs that I took to MSU never made a breathing sound in its life; yet when scoped, it turned out that its airway was partially blocked which required surgery to improve.

Of all my dogs, Tami is my best breather (as determined by scoping at MSU); all my other dogs except Tami have required airway surgery. The puppys' sire, Porter, has not been scoped. All I can do right now is listen to the puppys' airway sounds and wonder if - or more likely, how much - NTUAS they have. From what I am hearing, all should make good pets. None of them are making horrible sounds that would make me want to hold them back, wait until they are older, and then have them scoped and their airway surgically corrected. Of the three, Lennox does not seem to make any sounds (but remember that does not mean absence of NTUAS), Duffy snores some when asleep, and Rocco snores more than Duffy. But these are just impressions, and do not mean much with regards to NTUAS. We breeders really need for the NTUAS study to get published so we can start to breed away from this problem.

11 May
Big sister Siri playing tug-of-war with Lennox. A moment earlier it had been a three-way tug-of-war with Duffy. That is the top of mommy Tami's head, supervising. Notice Rocco in the upper right.

The puppies have become camera-hounds ... every time I grab my camera they all stop and look at the camera. This is good when I want to photograph their faces, but not so good when I am trying to catch them acting naturally. Here is Lennox looking up at me. A moment earlier, he had been stretched out on the floor in what I call the "superman position" - notice his rear legs.

During the day I take the puppies outside to potty after eating, after vigorous play, and at other random times. But I was happy today to twice observe the puppies playing inside, then one of them suddenly stop, go outside, and go potty. It shows that my efforts on house training are having an effect. Of course, the puppies are not fully house trained; and when they go to a new place, one must start house training all over again (but hopefully with a shorter learning curve).

12 May
At this morings weigh-in, Rocco finally broke the 2000 gram mark.

A friend has sent me pictures of one of her dogs - one as a puppy showing a similar coat as Duffy's, and one as an adult dog, showing the dog with a normal coat. So I guess that is how Duffy will turn out - with a normal coat. But I still wonder what caused Duffy to have such a different puppy coat than Lennox and Rocco. There is always something new to learn about breeding dogs!

Lennox and Rocco on one of my dog pillows.

For dinner tonight, the puppies had (human) rice mixed with sardines. They seemed to like it. I am still feeding the puppies four meals a day, but it is time to cut down to three meals a day.

13 May
A nice family photo - Tami and her three puppies: Duffy, Lennox, and Rocco.

Today the puppies got their first puppy shots. While in the waiting room, Rocco was the most vocal, followed by Duffy, while Lennox was quiet. I am not sure if Rocco and Duffy were overwhelmed by the strange surroundings ... or if they just wanted to greet and play with the other waiting dogs. I think the latter; when I took Rocco out and put him on my lap, he was straining to get to the other dogs. Rocco was also the one the technician had the most difficulty getting a weight; Rocco kept trying to climb off the scale. But after the tech finished taking Rocco's temperature and a fecal sample and she left, Rocco went exploring the strange scale, and then settled down to wait for the vet. The vet gave all the puppies a thorough exam. Here is Lennox getting his eyes checked and the vet listening to Duffy's breathing and heart. And of course, everyone got their first puppy (DHPP-C) shot. Here is Duffy getting his shot. None of the puppies complained about their shot. The vet said that all the puppies are normal and in good health.

It may seem that the puppies are getting their first puppy shots late, since most vets give first puppy shots at age six or eight weeks. But I had a good reason for waiting until the puppies are nine weeks old.

Puppies get a certain amount of antibodies from the milk that they drink from their mother in the first 24 hours or so of life. These antibodies slowly wear off. But until they do, the antibodies interfere with the puppy vaccination shots. This is why puppies normally get three puppy shots spaced about three weeks apart. The idea is to hit the window just when the maternal antibodies are wearing off, so that a puppy is always protected. (Distemper and Parvo are terrible life-threatening diseases.)

Right before Tami was bred, I had some of her blood drawn and spun down for serum. I mailed this serum to the University of Wisconsin where a lab analyzed it for the amount of maternal antibodies Tami had. From this, they were able to more accurately predict when the puppies should get their puppy shots. This titter (formally called a "nomograph") said that the puppies should get their puppy shots at 9 weeks, 13 weeks, and 16 weeks. This is the reason why the puppies are getting their first puppy shots at age nine weeks.

To complicate things, when the puppies were born by c-section at NC State University, NC State gave them some serum from a donor dog ... just in case Tami was unable to nurse the puppies. So the puppies got extra antibodies from the donor dog. This totally screwed up the nomograph predictions and probably means that this first shot is too early ... all the antibodies in the puppies will block the shot. (In the future, I will get a sample of the donor serum for nomograph analysis.) It also means that the puppies will need a fourth puppy shot probably around 18 weeks of age.

14 May
Duffy and his big sister Siri sleeping together. Duffy's stomach looks huge because he is sleeping on a hill, while Siri is sleeping in the depression in the middle of the pillow.

I do my best to socialize my puppies. Since I live in the country, I frequently play for the puppies a CD of "city sounds". I am a big fan of socialization checklists, and recently ran across a nice one. (Thanks to Leema Kennels.) While I probably will not get to check off everything on this list, it has given me some ideas for things that I normally do not do when socializing puppies.

Since the puppies have had their first puppy shots, I now feel comfortable taking them out in the world. Today aunt Mandy and big sister Siri had an agility lesson, so I brought the puppies along. A big reason was so that they could play with the instructor's children.

15 May
Today was a travel day, as aunt Mandy and I will be competing at an agility trial in South Carolina Thursday through Sunday. Big sister Siri will be coming along for moral support. The puppies will be staying with Jennifer and Keith and big brother Boo. My other dogs will be with my petsitter.

Since big brother Boo (and Jennifer and Keith) were off to a photo shoot for a commercial (Boo has been taking acting lessons and this was his first professional gig), I took the puppies to a friend's house. Their granddaughter "melted into a puddle" when she saw the puppies. Jennifer and Keith later picked up the puppies on their way home.