Our Heaven Scent Litter of Belgian Tervuen. UKC Champion Matti Deabei ''Matti'' x Basquelaine Winning Colors ''Mimi'' aka ''Marie''
'Wow' is how I can best describe this past ten days with the puppers. On day 16 or so they just came to life and literally transformed from neonates to toddlers. Once they could see AND hear they began to play vigorously - wrestle - howl - growl and combat with each other. They are much more interested in toys and much more observant with their environment. They are also thrilled and delighted to interact more with people.
We introduced the scent tubes while indoors. When I switch out the scents they notice and initially check them out. Right now am using things like coffee beans tea bags perfume oils both pleasant and aversive scents. Soon will introduce HRD as a scent and see what happens. This is primarily for the SAR prospects who might be candidates for cadaver work. I swap out the scents periodically to introduce new things. This should also provide a good early learning experience for those who wish to track or do nosework.
Puppies can see a little further now maybe a few to several feet in front of them clearly. They are also starting to look up at things. For example if I'm standing in front of them and squeak a toy they'll eventually look up at me to find where the noise is coming from. They're figuring out their field of vision is on more than one plane directly in front of them. This of course makes them more interested in exploring their new bigger world.
I thought for sure Yellow or Green boys would be the first out of the whelping box but nope it was purple girl first then red girl. Found them both waiting at the whelping room door [with mom] on consecutive mornings at wake up time. Purple didn't surprise me so much but Red surely did. She is a bit more independent than the other pups and often plays quietly with toys by herself. She just seems to have her own private agenda some of the time but she can easily be encouraged to join in on group activity or interact with humans. She's probably most interested in toys at this point of the entire bunch. She had not really shown an inclination to search for greener pastures prior but rather settled in to her existing environment - that's why I was surprised she was out of the box before all but purple. It's possible they both took a ride on mom's teet to get the 12 feet from box to room door. No matter within a couple of days they were all climbing out of the whelping box and back in at will -- it's about an 8-10 inch climb from box floor onto wood pigrail board and over. Remember they are still itty bitty things -- pictures are deceiving and I think make them look much bigger than they actually are -- 4-6 inches tall lol. Because of the mass breakout I expanded their area by surrounding whelping box with expens and introduced a few new toys and surfaces. No matter that purple and red did it first -- within 3-4 days they were all out so just a slight difference in developmental rate comparatively lol. But I'll make a note and see if any patterns emerge. Certainly the girls are ahead of the boys -- this tends to hold true in my experience with puppies just as it does with human kids.
One of the neurosensory exercises I've been doing with them involves holding them under front legs letting them hang/dangle down for about 30 seconds. While doing this I gauge their reactions and body language. I'm holding them at my face level 12 inches in front of me. I note eye contact -- so far they all look me right in the eye while I'm doing this none look away or avert their gaze. I note tension or relaxation in their bodies. For those who start out more tense I note how long it takes them to relax or if instead mount more of a struggle. Some start out totally relaxed then begin to react and struggle. I also observe their respiration changes and can feel any changes in their heart rate with the inner edge of my palms as rested on their rib cages. I also note position of their tails both initially and changes over the 30 seconds -- ie is it relaxed hanging straight down, is it tucked to any degree, or is it out behind them to any degree and is it wagging. I note if they drop their legs letting them hang down loose of if the try to draw their legs up which is typically the beginning of mounting a struggle to escape my restraint.
I have done this exercise quietly without me speaking to them and also with me baby-talking them to see how it makes them react differently. Part two of this exercise after the 30 seconds is I flip them upside down and hold them hanging down by their hindquarters for about 15 seconds and note same things - tension or not - how much they struggle - tail position - if they'll stretch their heads back to make eye contact with me when I sing-song their name. Have done this both with their heads towards me and away from me as well as quietly and with verbal reward. I see some different reactions and will observe this over time and consider it in conjunction with other things I observe. Will share when pups are a little older and feeling like I see predictable patterns so the information is useful for each pup and their proposed best fits for owners. I don't want anyone, myself included lol, to subconsciously rule out any puppies at such an early age, nor should you latch on to any one puppy at such an early age. Much is subject to change.
Each pup always gets verbal and/or food reward when all done -- not to mention lots of hugs and smooches as it is a slightly stressful exercise for some pups even though they are no worse for the wear when that 45 seconds is done. It also helps teach them how to cope with restraint stress - handling - and being in different positions and most importantly that they can trust me. So what am I learning in the process? I'm getting a rough idea for the present what each pup's stress threshold is and what their response to stress is. It gives me a better idea of how best to interact with each pup to help them learn how to easily cope with stress in a manner most suitable for each individual. Afterall each one is unique and just as each will benefit and blossom to reach their potential later with their new owners/handlers [custom fit to best suit the dog-handler team] it will give them a headstart, putting them ahead on the learning curve if I do the very same thing now. That is, teaching/training/interacting with each pup in a manner best suited to their characters and in an effort to solicit and promote the most positive outcomes and experiences for the puppies.
Been playing various types of music in the babies room as well as talk radio - and they get quiet time as well. So far only different reaction I notice with types of music is classical seems to put them to sleep lol. They tolerate country, rock, pop, bluegrass and everything in between without seemingly noticing music is on. Just trying to broaden their auditory input so they've heard it all and aren't reactive to different noises that are novel to them. We'll begin to work on more loud and sudden noises to desensitize later but can tell you they have zero reaction to thunder at this point.
Introduced solid meal of ground turkey, eggs, cottage cheese and canned dog food and they all took to it without hesitation. Pink even tried to sample kibble out of mom's bowl while mom was out of room. Mom continues to nurse though less frequently and more often standing up or sitting as opposed to laying down. This behavior in the dam is a natural progression towards weaning. The big boys continue to be piggies at meal times whether nursing or solid food lol.
Weights and gain after one week from prior week [these weights at 21 days of age]
Aqua male- 40 oz +10 oz
Yellow male - 37 oz +9 oz
Blue male - 38 oz +10 oz
Pink female - 28 oz +8 oz
Red female - 46 oz +10 oz
Purple female - 35 oz +7 oz
Green male - 44 oz +6 oz
Motor skills continue to develop rapidly. Not only are they using all four legs to traverse things they sometimes do so rapidly. They're also squeezing into tight places and climbing on things more. They're negotiating obstacles in their way better and they're more determined to overcome any obstacles with persistence lol.
Did another couple shorts trips outside and did photos plus videotape. The heat and humidity have been awful so the sessions must be short, early in the morning and in partial or full shade. Some of the puppies really don't like the heat whereas others don't seem to mind. I don't like the heat either but have learned it does no good to complain about it lol. They're just babies so they don't have that capacity yet =p.
Colors are virtually the same as with last report. I go back and forth as to whether purple, pink, and red are some shade of gray or if they're a fawn shade of red. I'm inclined to think Purple is gray. I sort of think pink is some shade of gray/sable. I don't know what I think about red as she is so dark it's hard to tell what her underlying base shade is. She does have a bit of brown on top of her head but the base color I can barely see on her back, chest, ribs, legs looks more grayish. Surely more time will tell by 9-10 weeks. By then the puppy duskiness should be mostly gone. In my experience puppy duskiness is not the least bit predictive of adult overlay which generally doesn't come in prior to 18 mos to 2 yrs of age with my lines. I look to the pedigree expecting most influence in blackening/overlay from mom and dad, both of whom have what I would define as light-moderate overlay. Paternal and maternal grandsires are heavily blackened adults whereas paternal and maternal granddams are only lightly overlaid. The vast majority of offspring down from these
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