Four Weeks Old

Happy Friday! We had a busy, but very good week, and I hope you all are looking forward to your weekend!

One month old unofficially marks the end of the “newborn puppy” stage and the beginning of the “little puppy” stage. The puppies are fully mobile, their eyes are open, and they are ready to begin learning new things and drift away from their dependence on their mom. Here are the things we have been working on this past week.

1- As the puppies gain their mobility, it’s time to begin potty training. In the puppies’ pen, I have a removable and washable liner. This get changed and washed daily to keep it smelling clean. This is done, obviously, for general cleanliness and sanitation. However, it serves another purpose. By keeping the nest area clean, it works in favor of a dog’s natural instinct not to soil the area where they sleep. As puppies begin to walk, they naturally seek a different area in which to do their business. When I see this happening, I add a “potty area” to their pen. I usually use newspaper in the potty area, and I add a clean layer on top several times a day. This keeps the potty area sanitary, with clean and dry paper on top, but it maintains a faint smell, teaching the puppies where they are supposed to do their business.

At this age, I do not expect full success. I would say, 70% of the time, the puppies make an effort to go to the right spot, even though only half of the time they actually get there. But, it gets better every week! And soon, the puppies will be big enough to begin pottying outside. Once this happens, they really start to catch on. Usually, by eight weeks old, the puppies are pottying outside successfully 99% of the time! (They certainly are not house trained at 8 weeks old, but they have a foundational knowledge that usually makes the house training process easier in their new homes.)

2- This week began the very exciting weaning process! This starts very slowly with only one small meal a day of Life’s Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food. I soak the food in water or goat’s milk for the first week or two. I do this until the puppies’ teeth are fully grown in. The soft food is easier to chew, and it also provides a source of liquid to prevent dehydration for the puppies that may be slower to learn to eat and drink from bowls. Over the next two to three weeks, I will gradually increase the amount of solid food they get and decrease how much time mom spends nursing them. I will also begin to limit mom’s calorie intake, so that her body is encouraged to slow its milk production. That helps keep her comfortable during the weaning process.

Excellent quality nutrition is the number one thing that keeps puppies healthy at this age. As they begin to wean from the protective antibodies in mom’s milk, puppies can become more vulnerable to illness, digestive upsets, infections, etc. Their young immune systems and digestive systems don’t fully mature until 18-24 months old. To keep puppies healthy and allow their growing bodies to develop properly, it is very important to provide them with excellent quality nutrition.

Not all dog foods are created equally. For example, while all dog foods contain protein, the kind and quality of proteins vary significantly. Foods like Purina Dog Chow, rely heavily on corn to add protein. But dogs don’t digest corn, and therefore, all the protein in there is useless. Life’s Abundance food uses chicken meal (a highly concentrated protein source) and eggs (a source of not only protein, but also essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats). All the ingredients in this food are of excellent quality and high nutritional value for dogs, and they work to keep puppies healthy and growing well from the inside out!

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The puppies have been very excited by getting to eat solid food this week, and they have needed no encouragement! I place the plate of food in the pen, and it is usually devoured and licked clean in less than a minute.

3- Probably the most fun part of this stage is the socialization training! Basically, this means daily interacting with the puppies and gently exposing them to new sights and sounds. I personally think children provide some of the best socialization. The puppies become very accustomed to children’s loud and shrill voices, sudden and unpredictable movements, and over-bearing love in the form of rough hands and tight cuddles. I also bring the puppies into a small pen in my kitchen to help them get used to normal household sounds, like pots and pans, vacuum cleaners, ect. I also play music and other sounds for the puppies most of the day. This gets them used to a variety of sounds. Right now, I am mostly doing just music. Soon, I will start sounds like thunderstorms, traffic, fireworks, etc. This helps give them calm and positive experiences with these sometimes scary sounds, which sets them up for success later in life when they hear these noises for real.

This socialization will continue daily until the puppies leave for their new homes! Each week, they will get to experience a few new things, and I do my best to give them a good foundation for their new families to continue to build on.

And that is what four weeks old looks like at our house! It is full of soaking puppy food, washing bedding, and snuggling puppies. I am excited for the next weeks, since the weather is turning warmer. The puppies will be able to spend more time outside, which is always fun for them and for us!

Hello 2021!

Hello friends! The last blog post I shared was from the beginning of December, when we had two litters of puppies getting ready to head to their new homes. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and I hope the beginning of 2021 has been treating you well!

This year has been just rolling along quickly for me. I can hardly believe March (and then spring!) is just around the corner! Since winter is not my favorite time of the year, I am more than happy to see the end of February drawing near.

Having a litter of puppies in February certainly does brighten the time and help pass these winter days. I’d like you to meet Jade’s newest babies!

She blessed us with seven beautiful puppies- four females and three males. They were born last week, and this first week has gone exceptionally well. Jade is a very fussy, attentive mother. She can hardly be convinced to leave her babies, even for a few moments, but she takes excellent care of them.

During the first week, my main concern is taking care of Jade. I make sure she is eating and drinking plenty. She is also on the NuVet Plus supplement, since nursing and caring for puppies is a time when mommas have very high nutritional needs. It also supports mom’s immune system, which works extra hard during this time, as well.

For the puppies themselves, I have had to do very little so far. I keep the bedding clean in their pen, and I make sure the room is warm. Other than that, I simply observe them to make sure each of them is growing and gaining weight. When I walk into their pen, I like to see all the puppies either vigorously nursing or snuggled together on a pile. They pile on each other naturally for warmth. (A puppy that doesn’t seek out the warmth of its siblings is likely weak or sick.) When I pick them up, I like to feel full, round bellies. And these guys have all been doing very well. While there is a range of weights, they are all very close in size, none of them significantly larger or smaller than the others.

It’s looking like there will not be any available puppies from this litter. When we had our first litter of Golden Irish in 2018, I never imagined they would become as popular as they are! I am blown away by all of the support and interest we have had for these puppies. So thank you to all the families who have purchased one of our puppies in the past and recommended us to your friends and neighbors. I am very grateful for the connections and friends we have made, and I am very excited to get to know the new families that will be blessed with one of these sweet puppies!

Check back next week for some more pictures!

Mia’s Puppies- 1 Week Old

It’s been a full last couple of weeks! This is the first time I have had puppies from two litters overlap. Let’s just say, busy busy busy! So here is a very quick update on the little pups around our place.

Mia’s puppies are one week old today, and the last two of Jade’s puppies are eleven weeks old. Beau and Rose are soon heading off, though, and they get to go together to their new home! These two sweet pups are getting so big, and I think they will do very well together. Rose is a bit more mellow and calm. Beau is a social butterfly who thrives on action. They will for sure be a fun pair! Double the trouble, and double the fun!

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And in a quiet corner of the house, Mia’s puppies are eating, sleeping, and growing. Mia, as always, is a spectacular mom, and her puppies are thriving.

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This litter has such a beautiful variety of colors and coat types! I’m looking forward to watching them grow.

Thanks to all of you who offered name suggestions for this litter on social media last week! There were lots of good ideas, and you will likely see them in some of my next litters! I decided to use a coffee theme for these pups- Caramel, Mocha, Hazelnut, Vanilla, Brewer, Maxwell, and Espresso.

 

 

 

Six (Almost Seven) Weeks Old

It’s turning out to be a beautiful spring week! In February… I’m secretly wishing for one big snowstorm, but you certainly won’t find me complaining about this warm weather in the bleak mid-winter.

And there aren’t any complaints from these guys either!

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The cutest stage of puppyhood has arrived! We now have nine bouncing, barking little pups! They aren’t as easy to tire out, and they just LOVE to interact! This stage of puppyhood is when we are building the foundation for the rest of their lives, and there are so many important aspects of a healthy, happy, and well-adjusted puppy. There’s nutrition, which directly affects immediate and life-long health. There’s socialization, which determines how a dog reacts and interacts to the things and people around it. There’s training, which affects how a dog behaves in response to its owner. I do my best to give my puppies a solid foundation upon which their new families must continue to build. With a good foundation and the proper continuation of that nutrition, socialization, and training, puppies can grow into happy, healthy, well-behaved members of the family.

In the last couple of weeks, the puppies have gone from fully dependent on Jade to almost fully weaned. It’s a time of big transitions for the little guys. Because the temperatures have been unseasonably warm, the puppies have been able to transition to the outdoor pen. For them, this means twice as much space, outside pottying, fresh air, and more interaction with our other dogs.

The puppies are now eating three meals a day of Life’s Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food, and they are doing so well on it! The high quality and multi-sourced proteins are so very good for young puppies. The large breed puppy food contains chicken meal (much higher protein concentration than whole chicken) and eggs as the two main protein sources. Healthy fats and antioxidants are also very important for growing puppies, as well as DHA, probiotics, prebiotics, and everything else that will help these puppies grow and develop properly.

I cannot overstate how important proper nutrition is for young puppies. All of their bodily systems (immune, musculoskeletal, digestive, neurological, etc.) are immature and still growing. Giving on-point nutrition during this developmental stage is so important! If a puppy is not well-nourished, its body cannot develop properly.

One of the most obvious vulnerabilities of puppies is their immune systems. After weaning from the protective immunities found in mom’s milk, puppies become very vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Most times, the immune system is fully developed and honestly quite hardy by 18-24 months old. However, during that in between time, I find it best to supplement puppies’ immune systems.

Now that the puppies are weaning from mom’s milk, they are starting on NuVet Plus Immune System Supplement. They each get one wafer every day to help bolster their young immune systems, especially as they get ready to head to new homes. The stress of a new home can often make puppies much more susceptible to infections, which is why supplementation can be so beneficial during this time.

As for socializing and training, the puppies are soaring through things with flying colors. Now that they are transitioned to an outdoor pen and have outdoor access for the potty business, we have been 100% accident free for the last half week! (Yay for my laundry!) We are still practicing crate training, but the puppies have been doing well so far. They do cry some, but that’s still to be expected at this age.

They have also gotten to experience some new things, such as seeing and hearing traffic, hearing a fire siren, seeing and hearing normal household sounds, etc. They haven’t been phased by anything yet. They are a very confident and happy-natured litter!

In the next week, the puppies will get a vet check, vaccinations, another round of dewormer, and then… it’s already time for them to head to new homes! There are two super sweet gentlemen available yet, so if you or a friend need a little Golden Irish love for Valentine’s Day, give me a call!

And for your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures of the puppies and my kiddos enjoying the 60 degree afternoons we have had this week!

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This puppy was so proud of finding this big stick!

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Believe it or not, this was completely unstaged! This pup crawled up into the back pocket of my stroller to hide from (and then pounce on) siblings.

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Enjoy the rest of your week!

 

Four Weeks Old

Happy Saturday!

This week, Jade’s puppies had their one month birthday! We have left the newborn puppy stage behind, and we are diving into the teething and tail wagging stage of puppyhood. Today, I took updated individual pictures of the puppies. This guy here was being a real gem for his picture! You can see the rest of the puppies on the Available Puppies page. I will note, though, that the pictures are a bit deceiving! The puppies of this litter are all very close in color, but the lighting in the pictures makes some of them (like this guy) look deceptively lighter than they really are.

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Here are a few of the highlights from the puppies’ daily routine.

Potty training

The puppies started with the Misty Method of potty training about a week and half ago. I gave them access to a corner of the pen with newspaper, and I am working on teaching them to ONLY potty on the paper. In the last two or three days, they have really started to get the idea. There are still a lot of accidents, but I am happy with the progress I’ve seen! I’ve tried a variety of different materials for the potty area in the past, but I always come back to using newspaper, especially for the training period. When the puppies potty on the paper, I lay a clean sheet of newspaper on top. This keeps the area clean, so the puppies aren’t stepping in any messes. However, it keeps the smell. Being able to smell it helps establish in the puppies’ minds where the potty area is! The flip side of this is that I have to keep the play and bed areas smelling clean to remind the puppies NOT to potty there. This means I am changing bedding several times a day, and I usually do one or two loads of puppy laundry every day. Potty training is a lot of work, but it’s worth it when they get it!

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Weaning

Four weeks marks the time that I usually begin weaning. This week the puppies got their first taste of solid food, and they didn’t need any encouragement. As soon as their little noses found the food, they all dove right in! The puppies are getting Life’s Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food. As you all know, I LOVE feeding my dogs Life’s Abundance. It contains high-quality proteins, antioxidants, probiotics, prebiotic fibers, vitamins, minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids, and DHA. Of course, it has all of that, but NONE of the unhealthy things like artificial flavors or colors. You won’t find any corn or wheat. Instead of those hard to digest grains, Life’s Abundance uses other nutritious grains like brown rice and oat groats that are better for a dog’s body. Healthy puppies are happy puppies. 🙂

Play time

Now that the puppies are fully mobile, play time is one of the most important aspects of their training. A few times a day, I let the puppies out into the large section of their pen. (They will gradually get more and more time out here as they get better with potty training.) They spend time playing with each other and playing with myself and my children. They have been briefly introduced to my other dogs, but I’ll wait until they are a few weeks older yet before they are allowed to play with the other dogs.

Socializing

The puppies get to spend some time every day upstairs in the kitchen. This gives them time to get used to normal household noises, and this is also when I work on their crate training. The puppies did very well in their first time in the crate. There was one accident but very little whining! I also practice noise desensitizing with them by playing music, sounds of fireworks, thunder, traffic, etc. at a low, background level. This helps get them used to some of those potentially frightening noises. Of course, they get plenty of socialization with people (especially the little kind) every day. 🙂

I hope you all have a great weekend!

 

 

A New Year, a Family Update, and New Furry Feet!

Reflecting on this past year and thinking of the things to come in 2020 brings me a mix of feelings. The word that comes to mind when I think of 2019 is “change.” Some of the changes were expected and others weren’t. I realized again through the course of this year how much I tend to resist change, especially those unexpected ones. Some changes are good- like the birth of our second child. (Honestly, the transition to two kids went much better than I expected! It wasn’t without its hiccups, but it has been an awesome thing to have two little people around.) But some other significant life changes were much harder for me to accept. But by God’s grace, we are continuing on, and I am repeatedly reminding myself to rest in the fact that God is in control and to release my control over to His sovereign guidance. Change is a part of life, and this stubborn little woman has a lot of learning left to do on how to gracefully manage those curves in the road. 🙂

But in spite of some difficult changes, life is still so good! I’m praying 2020 will be a year that brings refreshment and at least a few periods of quietness and rest. (I am sure any periods of “quietness” will be short-lived in this household, but one can always hope!)

My daughter will soon be three years old. She’s full of spunk, and she loves to learn. I started doing a simple preschool program with her, and she LOVES it! She loves to read books, paint, play with trains, and dote on her baby brother.

My little boy is growing much too quickly. He’s a little chunk, and he always is ready to snuggle. His two main loves are momma and food, and he’s learning how to let his sister know when she upsets him.

As for my husband and me, we’re just getting older. 🙂

And our dogs are just as lively as they have always been!

Twenty nineteen was a busy year for us with puppies- the busiest we have ever had, in fact! This coming year looks like it will be a little slower, and I can’t say that I’ll mind the change of pace. Our tentative breeding schedule looks like this:

Golden Irish- ARRIVED! (Introduction below!)

F1b Mini Goldendoodles- March

And then we likely won’t have any litters until the fall or winter.

And that brings me to a fun introduction! Jade gave us another healthy litter of nine Golden Irish puppies!

We have six boys and three girls, and they are all doing very well. Jade is once again being a great momma. I’ll be posting individual pictures soon, as well as pictures of our new whelping/puppy room!

And that’s what our home looks like starting off 2020! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and may you experience God’s grace and blessing in this new year!

Golden Irish Wrap Up Post

I feel like I dropped the ball with my blogging a bit this summer. (I guess having a newborn baby will do that kind of thing to you!) Jade’s first litter was born in May, and our whole family had an amazing time raising those puppies! However, looking back, I realize I did very little blogging about them, especially the latter weeks. So I decided it would be good to share some pictures and give a quick wrap up to our first litter of Golden Irish puppies.

This litter is one of those life experiences I chalk up entirely as a “God thing.” The Golden/Irish mix wasn’t really in our plans. We love our Goldendoodles and our Irish Setters, and we were planning to stick with those two breeds. However, we tried twice to have Jade bred with a Miniature Poodle, and it failed both times. It was very discouraging. For some reason I didn’t understand at the time, God was closing a door for us. After over a year of trying for Mini Goldendoodles, we decided to give Jade one more chance at motherhood by using our own proven male. Breeding her at our home would eliminate the stress of being boarded at an unfamiliar kennel, and it would give me the most flexibility for the timing of the breeding.

And God blessed us with a large and healthy litter! I love all the litters that come through our home, but this was definitely one of my favorites! We loved everything about these puppies. The temperament was a combination of our favorite traits of the Goldens and the Setters, and it also was a beautiful combination of looks. The two breeds blend very well, and we fell in love with the Golden Irish breed. We were so pleased with the outcome of the breeding, that we are planning to add the Golden Irish into our breeding program! It wasn’t something we had originally planned, but our circumstances led us here. If God hadn’t allowed Jade to have two failed breedings, we never would have tried for the Golden Irish cross. Looking back, I am thankful that she didn’t conceive on our prior attempts, because I am so excited to begin working with this breed!

Here are some pictures of the puppies from this summer. Aren’t they just gorgeous?!

This beautiful lady here (picture above) is training to be a service dog for a military veteran. I was so honored that one of my pups gets to have such an important job. When her family first contacted me, my husband and I both agreed that a Golden Irish has incredible service potential. Golden Retrievers are known for their eager to please disposition. Irish Setters are confident and social, not easily frightened or overwhelmed. Irish Setters have a drive to work and are very intelligent. Setters are, however, prone to be hyper and excitable, but the calm and mellow Golden Retriever nature balances that perfectly. I am very excited to hear more from her in the future as she works in a very important role in her family!

And this handsome guy is one of the puppies at 5(ish) months old. These dogs are STUNNING.

Aaaannnd… our next litter is in the works! We’re potentially looking at a litter early in the new year. 🙂 Yay! More details will be posted about the upcoming litter in the next month or so!

I hope you all have a great Monday!

Puppy Update: 5 Weeks Old!

If I have learned anything in the past few weeks it has been that everyone needs a Golden Irish. Seriously, these puppies are ADORABLE! I see so many of the great attributes of both parent breeds all mixed together in a litter of floppy-eared puppy sweetness.

The puppies have the playful and confident Irish Setter nature, but it’s toned down just a bit by the affectionate and gentle Golden Retriever personality. All these puppies want to do is play and love on whoever is close by. When I bring food to the puppies in the morning, I am greeting with happy barks and wagging tails, and my feet are swarmed by a mob of fluffy, wiggly puppies. (Not a bad start to the day. I highly recommend it!)

And I’m certainly not the only one enjoying the puppies! At least a dozen times a day, my daughter asks to go play with them. This is definitely one of the biggest benefits of family-raised puppies. Every day the puppies are loved on (and carted around by) a toddler. Although my daughter does very well with the puppies, she’s still a toddler. Gentleness is a tough concept to grasp. The puppies become very accustomed to being picked up and squeezed by little arms. They aren’t frightened by her loud squeals and giggles. In fact, they learn to LOVE it!

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Besides playing and enjoying all the sweetness, there is a lot of work going on with the puppies, as well! At five weeks old, the puppies are well on their way to being weaned. I begin weaning at four weeks old, and I transition them slowly off of mama’s milk with the goal of having them fully weaned between six and seven weeks old.

Right now, the puppies are eating Life’s Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food mixed with raw goat milk. For the first while, the food needs to be softened. Once the puppies are used to chewing and using those needle-sharp teeth, I stop adding the goat milk. I like using goat milk over just water, because goat milk adds nutrients, protein, and healthy fat. This is beneficial for the puppies who are slower to wean.

Once the puppies are weaned off of their mother’s milk, their immunity is weakened. Because of this, each of the puppies will be started on NuVet Plus Immune System Supplements. These supplements help build and protect the young immune systems. Because of the antioxidants in the supplement, it’s also beneficial for the puppies to be receiving them during while getting their puppy shots. Some studies have shown that puppies who have received antioxidant supplements are able to give a better immune system response to their puppy vaccines.

In addition to the weaning process, the puppies are continuing their early training and socializing. They are getting to interact with our other dogs, and they are getting to experience new sights and sounds like lawn mowers, thunder, and vacuum cleaners. Next week, I will also begin crate training! I’m very pleased with how the puppies are doing with their potty training so far; and I’m sure that by eight weeks old, they will have a solid foundation to begin the house breaking process at their new homes.

This litter has been a lot of fun so far, and Jade has done a wonderful job as a first time momma! I am looking forward to the weeks ahead with these sweet little pups!

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Way to Go, Jade!

In a few short weeks, this house will be bursting with little puppy energy. My sweet Jade is a mommy to ten beautiful Golden Irish puppies. She actually had thirteen (gasp!), but we sadly lost three during delivery. It’s a shockingly large litter from the dog I wasn’t sure would ever have a litter.

I was very eager to see what Timber and Jade’s puppies would look like. There is a variety of shades, but most of the puppies are a medium golden/red, with one or two that are noticeably more golden. We also have exactly five boys and five girls!

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From left to right: Azure (female), Axel (male), Ajax (male), Autumn (female), Ariel (female), Almond (female), Achilles (male), Ava (female), Apollo (male), Archie (male)

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The first days have been mostly good, but I did make the decision to begin supplementing the puppies with homemade formula. Jade is being an excellent mother, but ten puppies is a lot to handle for an inexperienced first time mother. As can sometimes happen with first time mommas, I don’t think her milk is coming in fully yet. Her puppies are nursing well, but their weight gain has been lagging. They are remaining hydrated, which tells me they are getting something, but the milk supply hasn’t caught up to the demand yet. So to keep them from losing too much weight and becoming too weak, I am supplementing the ones who are struggling to gain. Currently, I am weighing each puppy morning and evening. After each weigh-in, I give a bottle to the puppies who have not gained much or any weight.

(For those who may have need of it, I will post the homemade puppy formula recipe next week. I highly recommend it, as my puppies have always done very well on it.)

We worked very hard to get this litter of puppies, and I am grateful to have ten gorgeous puppies! It’s going to be an exciting two months as we watch these Golden Irish boys and girls grow and see their dispositions develop.

As with our other puppies, these guys will have a two-year genetic guarantee, contingent on the puppies receiving our recommended diet. Jade and Timber are both registered with AKC; but because the puppies are a designer breed, they will be registered with ICA. Deposits are available, so if you are looking for an active, affectionate, and healthy companion, one of these sweeties may be just the one for you!