Thankfulness Litter- 7 Weeks Old

We are in a very busy season of puppyhood these days! Very busy and very adorable. πŸ™‚ The puppies are now fully weaned, and they are enjoying their delicious Life’s Abundance Puppy Food. Since coming off momma’s milk, they have also started on NuVet Plus Immune System Supplement. This helps bolster their young immune systems which go through a very vulnerable stage after the effects of momma’s milk and colostrum wear off. As always, they are doing very well on their new diet! Lots of energy and no tummy or digestive upsets, which means all is well on the inside. They have bright eyes and beautiful coats, which means all is well on the outside, too!

They puppies have had their health exams, got their first vaccinations, and got to experience their first baths and ear cleanings! (They were less than enthusiastic about that last one.) It has definitely been an exciting few weeks.

The puppies are reaching the point where they have SO MUCH energy! Running, jumping, sniffing, and chewing are some of the most important things for these little guys. Watching them explore and experience new things is so much fun! I love to introduce my puppies to as many things as possible during the two months that they live here. The more they see, hear, and experience now will help them adjust more easily to new homes. They have gotten to hear normal household sounds- vacuum cleaner, children, doors, banging kettles, and music. They have gotten to see and hear normal outside things, as well- lawn mower, traffic, other dogs, chickens, etc. I’ll continue to broaden their small horizons as much as I can in this last week that they are here.

I briefly mentioned chewing… Puppies love to chew. Just like teething babies love something to gnaw on, chewing feels amazing to little puppies. This litter has been burning through my supply of Porky Puffs and Buffalo Bully Sticks. They absolutely LOVE them. (It’s either the treats or my toes. I’ve opted for the treats.) Doxa, as the biggest puppy, usually manages to get control of a Porky Puff by shoving her smaller siblings out of the way and then running away with it so she can chew it all by herself. (In these pictures, though, it’s Saba who got her own Porky Puff!)

When you bring home a new puppy or if you have an adult dog who still loves to chew, you will thank yourself for keeping good, healthy chews on hand! It keeps them occupied and busy, it keeps them from chewing or destroying things they shouldn’t, and it’s very good for their dental health. Chewing helps puppies to lose their baby teeth and work in the adult ones, and chewing is an excellent (and easy) way to keep adult teeth clean.

But I always give this suggestion with a word of warning. Not all dog chews are healthy- or safe! If you have an aggressive chewer, plastic or rubber chew toys can be questionable. (My Golden Retriever hasn’t yet found a toy she can’t rip apart and eat.) And not all “edible” chews are healthy. Many of them, especially raw hides, are very hard on the digestive system. Buy with caution. I suggest edible chews with healthy ingredients and no preservatives or artificial colors or flavors. My favorite Life’s Abundance products, hand-down, are their chewing treats- Porky Puffs, Buffalo Bully Sticks, and Buffalo Lungs. Safe, healthy, and AMAZING. The Buffalo Lungs are in a big bag (great value for the price!), but they are a slightly softer chew. The Porky Puffs and Bully Sticks are harder treats that will keep a puppy busy for a few days. You can see all the different treats and chews here.

Crate training is also a big deal at this age. I crate the puppies for short periods to help them get used to the idea of a crate and establish the habit of not going potty in the crate. Usually when I first put them in the crate, one of two of them will cry and whine piteously for a while. But a good dose of tough love wins out. Within half an hour or so, all of them give up and snuggle together to sleep. Relaxation and rest is what I like to see for crate time. The crate is supposed to be a place of peace and quiet, where a puppy (and older dog) can go to rest and take a break. In my opinion, crate training is the best way to work at house training a puppy.

Although, this is undoubtedly a very busy stage with puppies, it is probably my favorite. There is so much to teach and practice, and they are simply a lot of fun!

I hope you are all having a wonderful week! I’m going to head outside and enjoy some enthusiastic puppy kisses before the afternoon is spent!

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. πŸ™‚ Yay! More details will be posted about the upcoming litter in the next month or so!

I hope you all have a great Monday!

The Thankfulness Litter- Almost 4 Weeks Old

It’s been one month with this litter already! And they are all doing fantastic! Doxa still leads the pack in weight. She’s over five pounds, while her three siblings are about four and a quarter to four and a half pounds.

Now is the time that the fun really begins. In the past week, the puppies have really begun changing and becoming aware of the world around them. They have gone from sleeping nearly all the time, to exploring their whelping box and playing with each other. They still sleep a lot, but they are certainly reaching a new and more active stage of puppyhood.

We have been spending some time working on potty training now that the puppies are able to get around. I gave them access to a small area outside their nest filled with shredded newspaper. This gives them a place to do their business away from the sleeping area, which is a natural instinct puppies have. I try to harness this natural desire to leave the nest to pee and poop and teach them the habit of going in a particular place. By doing this, I give them some foundational crate training skills, and it helps to keep their sleeping area much cleaner. In another week or so, I will give the puppies access to a large play area. I will wait until I feel like they have a good grasp of the potty area, so that they will continue to use the designated potty area and keep the new play area clean, as well. It’s always a work in progress; but the more they learn now, the easier crate training and house training will be for their new families!

Here you can see the puppies exploring the whole pen. I labeled each section of the pen, if you can read my chicken scratch. Also note the wet newspaper in the potty area- that’s a mark of success!

Next week begins a very fun part of raising puppies- weaning! The puppies will be ready to begin eating solid food. As always, my puppies get nothing but the best food. Nutrition plays a HUGE role in puppies’ health! My adults and my puppies very rarely get sick, and I attribute that to excellent nutrition and healthy activity levels.

These cute little guys will be starting on Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy food.

A few of the things I love the most about this particular kind of food (and I have tried several brands in my years as a breeder) are:

*It contains only high quality proteins. Protein is essential for all bodily functions (brain, heart, muscles, skin, coat, bones, etc), and not all protein is created equally. Life’s Abundance has quality controlled protein sources of chicken meal (which is more nutrient dense than whole chicken) and eggs.

*It is enriched with DHA and contains guarantee probiotics, prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, and a complete array of essential vitamins and minerals.

*It hasn’t been sitting on a store shelf for months! Life’s Abundance makes their food in small, weekly batches. This means when I order food, I know it is as fresh as possible, and fresh food is more nutrient rich.

*It has all of the good stuff and none of the bad! No artificial flavors or colors. No corn or wheat or corn/wheat glutens. None. Ever. Corn and wheat are very difficult for dogs to digest, meaning they can irritate the digestive system and provide very little nutritional benefit.

This isn’t just “puppy food.” This is a top-of-the-line, nutritious diet. I have seen the positive effects of good nutrition, and I simply cannot overstate the importance.

The other fun part of this age is that my daughter finally gets to play with the puppies. She has been able to hold them briefly, but now the puppies are able to interact a little bit. This also means, I hear her pleading, toddler voice ask me about a million times every day, “Mommy, let’s go play with the puppies!” And thus begins the puppies’ socialization with children. πŸ™‚ The rough little hands, unpredictably loud and shrill voices, and the fast movements of children are excellent experiences for puppies! Not only do they learn to tolerate it, but they grow to love it, too! Eventually, my job changes from protecting the puppies’ from my daughter’s excited play to protecting my daughter from the puppies’ excited play. πŸ™‚

I hope you all have a good weekend, and remember to be thankful for each new day!

The Thankfulness Litter- 1 Week Old

On Monday, Duchess’s litter turned one week old! The first two weeks with a new litter of puppies is either the easiest period or the hardest. If the puppies are healthy and growing, and momma is taking good care of them, then there is very little that I need to do. But if mom or babies are struggling, then I have round the clock care to give.

And this litter is certainly falling into the EASY category. All four of the puppies are strong, healthy, and growing very well. This is Duchess’s fourth litter, so she is a veteran mom. That leaves me with a low-key job. πŸ™‚ Right now, the puppies only eat, sleep, and grow. My job consists mainly of monitoring the puppies’ growth and keeping their bedding clean.

Every day, when I weigh each puppy, I am also doing an Early Neurological Stimulation program with them. I briefly hold them in various positions (nose up, nose down, and on their back), touch between their toes, and place them on a cool surface. This gives them several different stimuli from position, pressure, and temperature. It’s all very brief and gentle, and it gets them used to be handled. During the first two weeks of life, a puppy’s brain is learning and growing at the fastest rate that it ever will. Receiving this early handling helps cultivate a calmer and more confident temperament, so that the puppies are less likely to be fearful, anxious, or reactive as they get older. (Of course, this program does not guarantee a good temperament, but it is one of many building blocks that goes into the foundation of a well-mannered dog.)

I am calling this my “thankfulness litter,” because of the names that I chose for them. These pups will be ready for their new homes the week of Thanksgiving, so I tried to pick names that reflected thankfulness. Each of the names comes from a biblical Greek or Hebrew word. (*Disclaimer* I did take a little bit of creative liberty in the spelling and pronunciation of some of the names.)

I have Jirah, Saba, Hiko, and Doxa.

Jirah comes from the phraseΒ Jehovah Jireh,Β which means the Lord will provide. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the harvest and give thanks for many blessings we have, and I chose the name Jirah to acknowledge that it is the Lord who provides each and every blessing in our lives. And not only has He provided many good things, but He can be counted on to continue to provide for all of our needs.

Saba means abundance. Not only does the Lord provide for our needs, but He provides abundantly! Jesus said in the book of John, “I am come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Hiko comes from a word meaning sufficient. In all honestly, sometimes life doesn’t feel “abundant.” But the Lord promises, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is make perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).” “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed (2 Corinthians 9:8).”

Doxa means praise. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to our Creator! It’s about praising Him not only for what He has done but for who He is- a loving Father who cares for us.

Here they are, my thankfulness litter, from left to right- Jirah (pink), Doxa (blue), Hiko (brown), and Saba (red). They are four beautiful blessings!

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Surprise Announcement!

We have a brand new litter of Irish Setters! I had not announced that this litter was on its way for a couple of reason. Number one- for the first time in several years, I do not have any reservations on my Irish Setter Waiting List. And second- I’ve been keeping a low profile on my Kristen’s Happy Tails social media accounts this summer. My sweet baby boy was born in April, and I am still learning the fine art of raising two kiddos, four dogs, and my precious puppies. With all those sweet beings looking for my care and love every day, I allowed my social media presence to take a back seat for a few months.

So, here we are! We are praising God for a healthy new litter! Timber and Duchess have blessed us with four new little ones- three girls and one boy. It was a fairly uneventful pregnancy and delivery (those are my favorite kind!). Mom and babies are doing well, and I am again in love with the freshness and “newness” of newborn puppies. They are so delicate and precious, and I just can’t get enough of them!

Like I said, there are no reservations for this litter, so if you have been thinking about getting an Irish Setter, now is your chance! These puppies will be ready for new homes at the end of November- just in time for the holidays! I’ll be posting individual pictures and more litter information later this week.

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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Homemade Puppy Formula

As promised, here is the homemade puppy formula recipe that I use for my puppies. It has served me very well in the times that I have had to use it, and I highly recommend it to anyone finding themselves needing to bottle feed a puppy! The recipe is not original with me, but I want to pass it along as a help others!

Homemade Puppy Formula

10 oz fresh raw goat milk
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 raw egg yolk
1/4 tsp corn syrup

Whisk together and store in refrigerator up to a week. Feed 1 ml per ounce of body weight every three hours. (Helpful conversion: 5 ml = 1 tsp) Ex. A puppy weighing 10 oz should receive 10 ml (which is 2 tsp) every three hours. This recipe can also be fed to the mother, as it is good for her milk supply.

While you can certainly feed puppies straight raw goat milk, I love adding these ingredients. Interestingly, dog milk has approximately twice the fat and protein per ounce that cow or goat milk does. (Cow milk should not be given to puppies, as they cannot digest it well!) So to make sure puppies are getting the proper amount of fat and protein at each feeding, it’s important to add the yogurt and egg yolk. These ingredients help give the formula a similar fat and protein content in each serving as they would get from their mom.

I get my goat milk from Russell Homestead (https://www.russellhomestead.com/). Not only do I use goat milk in formula, but I also use it to help wean my puppies by softening their kibble in it. It’s a very enticing flavor to get the puppies started drinking and eating from a bowl. It’s also a way to make sure the puppies that are slower to pick up the chewing and eating are still getting good calories and staying hydrated.

That’s all for today! Check back next week for an update on the puppies, and have a wonderful weekend!

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!

The Golden Irish

I am SO EXCITED! Finally, on our third try, our beautiful Jade is expecting puppies! It is not the Mini Goldendoodle puppies we had originally planned, but it is Golden Irish puppies from our very own Timber! We are so excited to be pursuing this new avenue, but let me explain how we got here.

Our original plan for Jade was to breed her with a Miniature Poodle. Then we would have F1 Mini Goldendoodles from her and F1b Mini Goldendoodles from Mia. However, we tried twice for Mini Goldendoodle puppies, but Jade did not get pregnant either time. We were very disappointed! Sometimes it can be difficult to get a successful litter from the pairing of a large female and a very small male.

After two failed attempts, we decided that we need to try something else. For the best chance, we decided to do a natural breeding (instead of the artificial that is often needed for Mini Goldendoodles) with a male dog close to Jade’s size. We also noticed that Jade tends to get stressed when she is boarded away from home, and stress can also negatively effect breeding. So we knew we didn’t want to have to board her at another breeder.

We had heard of the Golden Irish cross before, but we hadn’t really considered doing it because we really like Mini Goldendoodles. However, considering Jade’s history, we gave the idea a second look. By using our own male dog we had the most flexibility with the timing of the breeding, which is very important! It also eliminated the stress on Jade of going to another breeder. And the more we looked into the Golden Irish cross, the more we liked what we saw!

Before breeding, we did some testing to make sure there weren’t any other issues interfering with fertility. All of the tests came back clear, and our vet also helped us determine Jade’s peak breeding days by tracking her progesterone levels. And after that we had to wait four long weeks before doing an ultrasound to see if we were successful.

And I am so happy to report that Jade and Timber have some babies on the way! While Golden Irish puppies weren’t in our original plans, we are excited about this litter. The Golden Irish is a beautiful dog, combining the traits of the gentle Golden Retriever and the exuberantly friendly Irish Setter. They have long silky fur with can be varying shades of golden and red. Their temperaments are very friendly, intelligent, and easy to train. We are expecting the size to be around 55 pounds, although it really could be anywhere from 45-65.

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We are expecting the puppies to be born during the last week of May, and we are accepting deposits for the upcoming puppies! So keep watch in the next months for pictures of Jade’s first puppies. πŸ™‚

Big News!

It’s been a busy season at our home the past few weeks. πŸ™‚ So here is a brief update on all that’s been happening!

The most exciting is the birth of our son Reagan on April 11! He has been doing very well, and we are enjoying snuggling our newest family member. His big sister enjoys holding him, and Mia has assumed the roll of baby’s guard dog.

And Penny and Phoenix are now six weeks old and growing like weeds! They are both so playful and affectionate! They are almost fully weaned onto unsoftened kibble. I’m still soaking their food for a few minutes to make it easier to chew, but I will stop that within the next week. This week the puppies are also starting on NuVet Plus, which is an immune system supplement. As puppies wean off of their mom’s milk, their young immune systems become more susceptible to illnesses. A good supplement can help protect them from viruses and bacteria, and it can also help them give a better immune system response to their puppy vaccines.

We will soon be starting crate training, and the puppies are slowly being introduced to more and more new sights and sounds. The more variety of things they get to experience here at my home, the more easily they will adjust to their new homes.

And here are some pictures! These sweet pups have been enjoying the beautiful spring weather. It’s so much fun to watch them run and explore their big new world!

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Phoenix

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Penny

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Sibling rough housing

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They love chasing after Reese!

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Penny

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Have a wonderful rest of your week!