Three & Four Weeks

Time continues ticking by, and all the puppies continue growing. Here’s a quick update on both litters!

Duchess’s Irish Setter puppies are now three weeks old. At this point, Duchess still fully cares for them, but I will be introducing solid foods in the next couple days. All five girls are doing well. There is one that is a bit smaller than the others, so I’m supplementing her to help her pack on a little more weight. She’s feisty and active, though, and otherwise has no trouble keeping up with her big sisters.

Duchess healed very well from her c-section. Her staples were removed last week, and her incision healed very well. She is now back to normal activity, and she was cleared by her surgeon to have a future litter. We are grateful for her quick and easy recovery!

Mia’s Mini Goldendoodle puppies are becoming much more fun and interactive. They have begun to show interest in a few toys that I added to their pen, and I hear all sorts of yips, whines, and play growls throughout the day. Mia is being a wonderful and attentive mother, and I couldn’t be happier with how they are all doing.

Remember the little male puppy I shared about previously? He was born very weak, and I supplemented him for several days to keep him alive. That extra love and effort has paid off! He is fully thriving, and he is now the biggest of the litter. Seeing him growing and thriving makes my momma’s heart happy!

In the last week, Mia’s puppies got to start two very fun things- solid food and potty training.

They got to start solid food last week, and the weaning process will continue slowly until about 7 weeks old. Right now they get two meals a day of softened Life’s Abundance Small/Medium Breed Puppy Food. The food that puppies (and adult dogs) eat has a HUGE impact on their health. Puppies have young digestive and immune systems that are just beginning to develop. The immune system, in particular, doesn’t fully mature in dogs until 18-24 months old. It’s very important for puppies to have a food that is gentle on their digestive system and full of essential nutrients. It’s also important that the nutrients come in forms that the puppies’ immature digestive system can absorb. Many cheap and low quality dog foods contain corn. While corn does have nutrients in it that fill in the boxes for the nutrition label, dogs can NOT digest corn. Whatever nutrients are there come straight out in their poop, completely useless to them. Low quality foods are harsh on the digestive system, leading to more bouts of diarrhea and a weaker immune system.

This is why I feed my puppies Life’s Abundance. Here’s a quick summary of the good things that are in the food and the bad things that you will never find in Life’s Abundance products.

• A proprietary blend of vitamins & minerals
High-quality, multi-source proteins for growing muscles & healthy development
• An antioxidant system with vitamins C & E
Prebiotic fiber & guaranteed probiotics
Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin & a shiny coat
• Enriched with DHA
Dietary fiber to help maintain a healthy digestive tract
NO artificial flavors
NO artificial colors
NO corn or corn glutens
NO wheat or wheat gluten

Life's Abundance Small/Medium Breed Puppy Food

Around the time I introduced food, I also started potty training. This is a later start than usual for potty training, but this litter is doing exceptionally well, despite the late start. I start the puppies on paper training, which teaches them the basic skill of recognizing a “potty area.” This foundational knowledge helps so much for later crate training and house training. What I teach them is that there is a specific place to do their business. They usually are quick to catch on to this concept, because dogs and even young puppies instinctively want to keep their sleeping area clean. In the next couple weeks once the puppies outgrow the indoor pen, they will get to move to our outdoor pen. Then they get to transfer this knowledge and learn to do all their pottying outside. I do all of this potty training work for two reasons. First, it’s so much easier for me to keep the puppies and their pen clean, neat, and sanitary. Second, it’s training I provide as a service to help puppies adjust more quickly once they head to their new homes. With this foundational knowledge, most families find that crate training and house training go much easier.

And that’s about it! Our weeks have been full of puppies and all sorts of other summertime things like picking strawberries, splashing in the sprinkler, and enjoying cookouts with our friends and families. Enjoy your upcoming week, and check back later this week for updated pictures of the Mini Goldendoodles!

Puppies, puppies!

Good afternoon, everyone! It’s time for an update on all the babies that have been showing up around here!

Many of you saw on social media that Mia had a litter of seven puppies on May 7th. They are now a week and a half old, and they are all doing so well! I’ve been having some trouble getting pictures on my website, but I hope to have a new computer set up by this weekend. So hang in there, and you’ll get to see the puppies soon!

Mia has a litter of six girls and one boy, and there is a beautiful variety of colors. There are several dark red puppies, a couple medium red/golden, and one or two apricot. The male puppy is the lightest and curliest of the litter, and for the first few days he struggled a bit. In the first hours after birth, he was dehydrated and sluggish.

After puppies are born and are cleaned off, they should do a fair bit of squirming and squeaking. They are constantly seeking the warmth and comfort of their mom. If she moves away, they start squeaking and moving around, searching for her. However, the male puppy did not do this. While all his siblings were moving about and making noise, he lay on his side and was quiet. If I helped him latch on, he would nurse. Then he would soon get pushed away by another puppy, and he was too weak to push his way back in. For the first few days, I supplemented him with 2-3 bottle feeds a day of fresh goat’s milk. This helped him stay hydrated, and he quickly got stronger and more vigorous. Now, his weight has passed up some of his sisters’ weights, and he is fully back to nursing from mom. Success!

Mia has been taking excellent care of her babies. I have been checking her temperature daily to watch for any signs of infection, and I’m on the lookout for other things like mastitis, etc. Mia is my oldest girl (she just turned seven in April), and with age, comes a higher chance of complications. Also, I’ve definitely been feeling more anxious just because what happened to Jade is on my mind. So I feel like I’m on double vigilance right now! But Mia has been easy on me, and she is doing very well.

I am really trying to soak in the joy of these puppies, since this is Mia’s last litter. She will be entering into a well-deserved retirement after this. If anyone is hoping to get one of my Mini Goldendoodles, definitely get in touch with me soon! There are some available puppies from her litter, and it will be a few years before we have any more Mini Goldendoodles.

While Mia is doing her best to go easy on me, Duchess is keeping me on my toes! I am beginning to think she enjoys doing that. 🙂 I had guessed that she would have a litter at the end of the summer, but she surprised me by coming into heat a week after Mia did. We knew this would mean having two litters at the same time, but we did it once before, so we decided we could do it again.

So here we are! I’d like to introduce you to our Summer 2021 Irish Setters!

Not only was Duchess ready to have puppies several months earlier than I expected, her delivery brought some challenges, as well. Her labor started Thursday morning, and she very quickly had three puppies born. Then there was a fourth puppy born that didn’t breathe and was unable to be revived. (This is always sad and unfortunate, but it’s simply something that happens at times. Nature isn’t always kind!)

At this point, when I felt Duchess’s belly, I could still feel some puppies. So I waited, fully expecting them to be born within an hour or so. But several hours passed with no more puppies being born. During this time, I was giving Duchess oral calcium paste, which is something that gives energy and helps the uterus to have strong, efficient contractions. Sometimes, low calcium levels can lead to slow, difficult labors because the uterus muscle is tired and weak. After four hours of waiting, what appeared to be a retained placenta was passed. (Usually a placenta is born with or right after a puppy. On occasion, it can be retained in the uterus, which is not a good scenario.)

I thought perhaps the retained placenta had been the reason for the stalled labor. At first I was encouraged, because I began to see more contractions. I was very hopeful that this meant the remaining puppies were finally on the way. I don’t usually get too worried about my dogs during labor. I’m always watchful, but the vast majority of the time, dogs can deliver puppies naturally on their own. They are truly amazing creatures. Even when complications arise, some quick intervention at home can often avoid the need for emergency veterinary care. Often, but not always.

Two more hours passed, and there were still no more puppies. I was able to feel at least two more puppies, and I decided I had tried everything I could and I had given nature as much time as I could. Now it was time to get to the vet and get those babies out. I was still hoping that Duchess simply needed a shot of oxytocin (a drug that starts contractions- very similar to pitocin that’s sometimes given to women in labor). When labor is stalled due to the uterus tiring out, oxytocin can help finish labor naturally.

Once at the vet, they did an x-ray to assess how many puppies were left and where they were positioned. The thing with oxytocin is, you can NOT give it if there is a stuck puppy. The x-ray showed three puppies. There were the two that I had felt at home, and there was a third one, hopelessly stuck (the vet describe it as “folded in half”) at the top of the birth canal. This meant the only option was a c-section. There was no way that this puppy could be born naturally. I made the guess that this puppy was likely already dead, but I hoped that the c-section would save the other two puppies.

I left Duchess at the vet and went home to wait. After a few hours, the vet called. Duchess had done great through surgery, and they were able to save two of the puppies. The stuck puppy was indeed dead already. I’m not sure if the puppy was dead because it got stuck or if it got stuck because it was dead. Sometimes, for unknown reasons, a puppy dies in utero. Those dead puppies are notorious for causing problems in labor, and they often get stuck. I don’t know if this was the case, but it’s very possible. It’s also possible that the puppy somehow entered the birth canal sideways and died as a result of being stuck for several hours.

Whatever the case, I was very grateful to be able to bring home a tired, but otherwise healthy mom and five sweet puppies. Losing two puppies is sad, and c-sections are no fun. But, like I said, nature isn’t always kind. All things considered, everything turned out as well as it could have.

On a rather funny note, Duchess’s puppies are all girls! So I have a litter of 6 girls and 1 boy from Mia, and 5 girls from Duchess. I’m not sure what’s in our water, but we are bursting at the seams with girls!

Thank you all for hanging in there and reading all of that! It has certainly been a busy and unpredictable week over here, but a week full of many of God’s blessings. I’m hoping my next week is a lot less eventful than this one, but we shall see!

Also there are puppies available from both litters. If you are interested, please get in touch with me!

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!

Large Breed Puppy Food

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!

Six & Seven Weeks Old

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. No matter how your holiday was spent, I hope you experienced joy and thankfulness for God’s many blessings, large and small.

For me, and probably many of you, as well, the holidays are a time of family. Of anything in my life, I am most thankful for the gift of my family- for my immediate family and for the heritage and blessing of extended family.

It’s humbling to look at my family and see the amazing blessings God has given me, especially knowing I don’t deserve them. I haven’t done anything worthy of God’s grace and goodness, yet His grace and goodness are evident every day. And while I am certainly very thankful for the “good things,” God’s goodness is also evident in the bad days, too. His blessings aren’t limited to peaceful, prosperous times. His blessings abound in all times and circumstances. And knowing God is present at all times is truly the greatest blessing of all.

And I’m also thankful for these ten bouncing balls of fur! Can you count all ten?

You guys, these puppies are adorable. Every one of them. They are each so different and so much fun. And it’s great knowing that there are going to be so many homes enjoying a new puppy this Christmas. I’m so excited to share these sweet pups with you!

Here’s what we have been up to! I don’t feel like there is too much to report. We’ve been practicing a lot of the same things as last week, but the puppies certainly have been learning and maturing.

Potty training: Woohoo! Potty training is going so well! I haven’t cleaned up any poop accidents in an entire week! You don’t realize how exciting that is until you have raised a litter of puppies. But when all the poop ends up in the proper place, wow, it’s AMAZING.

Crate training: Mia’s puppies are doing well in the crate. Duchess’s puppies still cry quite a bit, but this is very normal at this age. None of the puppies have had accidents in the crate, but not all of them enjoy being crated… yet. Some puppies immediately love the crate. It’s safe, secure, and quiet. But not all puppies like it at first. However, I think all puppies can be crate trained. And crate training is hands-down the BEST way to begin house training. If you don’t have a crate for your puppy yet- get one. It is absolutely worth it.

Weaning: Both litters are now eating unsoftened kibble. Mia’s puppies, now fully weaned, are also enjoying the NuVet Immune System Supplement. I start this after the puppies wean from momma’s milk, because their young immune systems take a dip. Having good immune system support goes a long way in keeping a puppy and young dog healthy. NuVet is made with human grade ingredients in an FDA registered facility, and it’s specifically formulated to boost the immune system. I use it for my puppies, young dogs (under 2 years), and my pregnant and nursing mommas.

Play: One of the most important things I can do with the puppies during these last couple of weeks is play with them. They love to interact, and getting lots of attention, love, and play is so good for them. So the children and I are doing our best to soak up the last days with these two litters! Having such mild weather recently has been great, as the puppies just love to play outside. I have a large play yard set up with lots of toys inside so that they can all play together on the nice afternoons.

Vets, vaccines, & deworming: The puppies get a vet check and their first puppy shot at 7 weeks old, and they also get one last round of dewormer. Once that is done, they are all set to go to their new homes! Mia’s puppies went to the vet this week, and Duchess’s will go next week. The time is really winding down fast.

Have a great weekend!

Five & Six Weeks

Oops, I told you weekly updates. You may have noticed the lack of an update last week. What can I say? 🙂 But here we are today. Better late than never, right?

Duchess’s Irish Setter puppies are now five weeks old, and Mia’s Mini Goldendoodle puppies are six weeks old. They are both fully interactive and playful, and we are having so much fun! Now that they have reached this age, they are almost developmentally the same. Mia’s puppies are just a bit closer to being fully weaned.

On the warmer days, the kids and I spend time outside in the yard playing with the puppies. Puppies just love romping in the grass! They are really enjoying some of the new toys in the play pen, and they never get tired of being snuggled. They have gotten to hear and see some new things- like a fire siren, traffic, my husband’s old tractor, etc. I’ve been focusing on outdoor noises this past week. Next week, I’m going to give them more experience with indoor sounds like vacuuming, TV, music, and other household noises. The more they hear and see now from the safety of a familiar place, the better they will handle frightening things in the future!

The two big things that we have been working on are weaning and potty training.

For the first weeks, momma’s milk gives puppies all the nutrients they need. After that, they begin a slow transition off milk onto solid foods. As puppies come off of momma’s milk, they are no longer receiving her antibodies. They still have some of her immunity, but it fades quickly in the coming weeks, making it much easier for them to pick up parasites, bacteria, viruses, etc. That’s why a quality diet is so important. It makes all the difference in a puppy’s immediate health and ability to ward off illnesses, and it makes a long term difference, because good nutrition helps their bodies to grow and develop well. (Of course, good nutrition does not prevent every disease. But there are a lot of health problems, some major and some minor that really can be prevented by good nutrition and exercise. No different than humans, really!)

I’ll post links to the food and supplements I use at the end of the post!

I feed our dogs and puppies Life’s Abundance dog food. High quality ingredients, especially the proteins, and no questionable ingredients. Dog foods made with lower quality ingredients are very telling in a dog’s health- dull fur, more poop (since the lower quality ingredients aren’t as easily absorbed), more cases of vomiting, diarrhea, and food allergies. Excellent quality dog food may be more expensive, but it prevents so many other things, that’s it’s fully worth the cost!

I also give the puppies NuVet Plus, which is an immune system supplement. I like to begin this once the puppies have been weaned from mom’s milk, because of that loss of immunities. I use supplements as they are needed for my dogs. I use it when they are young ( I recommend from weaning until 2 years old), and during pregnancy and nursing. Those are the times when a dog has the highest nutritional, immune system support needs.

The puppies are LOVING their food, especially the Irish Setters. It’s funny watching them eat. The Mini Goldendoodles carefully chew their food and it takes them several minutes to finish a meal. Meanwhile, the Irish Setters devour their food in blink. I’m sure they barely chew!

Along with weaning, comes deworming, which is done at 3, 5, and 7 weeks old. Both litters have been dewormed twice, and they will receive one more round prior to going home. Keeping on top of parasite control in puppies is so important! Their young immune systems aren’t ready to ward off parasites, so they need regular dewormings for the first few months of their lives.

And for the not so fun part of raising puppies… potty training! I’ll be honest, puppies are messy sometimes! But that’s why I work so hard to get these guys started on potty training and crate training. The better I can get them trained, the less messy poo clean-up I have to do! The Mini Goldendoodles are doing very well. They certainly aren’t perfect, but they have been keeping their bed very clean, and the majority of their pottying has been going outside where it belongs. (Yay!) The Irish Setters are coming along nicely, but they need some more practice. (This is one area where I can see the age difference. In another week, the Irish Setters will have learned a lot more in the potty training arena.)

Next up for the puppies will be vet checks and vaccinations. I’ll do my best to keep my promise of a weekly update for next week. 🙂

Here are the links to the food and supplements that I give the puppies.

Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food: https://lifesabundance.com/Category/DogFood.aspx?realname=20552921&cat=0&hdr=&Ath=False&crt=0

NuVet Plus: https://www.nuvetlabs.com/order_new2/nuvet-plus-wafers.asp

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Three & Four Weeks

Good afternoon!

All of the puppies continue to grow, and they are all doing very well. Here’s what we are up to this week!

Mia’s puppies are now four weeks old. The one month mark means that we begin the weaning process! This is probably one of the periods of puppy raising that takes the most work. I begin by soaking small amounts of food and giving the puppies one meal a day. Then, I gradually increase to three meals, and then I begin feeding them larger amounts at each meal.

During that time, I also begin allowing momma to be away from her puppies for longer periods of time. Up to this point, momma has been allowed to eat as much as she wants, but I will soon begin to measure and limit her calorie intake. This will encourage her body to slow its milk production. Over-production of milk during weaning can lead to mastitis, so I take a proactive approach in helping mom’s milk supply to dry up in a slow and comfortable way.

The puppies, of course, will be eating Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food. The quality ingredients and excellent nutrition works to keep them healthy from the inside out! I have been feeding my dogs and puppies Life’s Abundance for about four years, and I love it! My puppies and adults have always done so well on it, and I was so impressed with the changes I saw in my dogs when we switched to feeding Life’s Abundance several years ago. Seriously, it’s one of the best dog foods you will find.

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, Omega-3 fatty acids, 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. A healthy momma and healthy puppies begin with a good nutrition. Their bodies’ simply cannot grow and function well if they are not given the high quality nutrients they need.

Here is a picture of Mia’s puppies enjoying one of their first Life’s Abundance meals. Getting them to eat took no encouragement! It was warm and sunny this afternoon, so the puppies got to spend time out in the yard.

Ollie after his snack

And now for Duchess’s puppies! They are three weeks old, and they are quite the lively bunch. I had to move Duchess’s food bowl up on a stool, because her puppies were eating it! They don’t have teeth yet, but they were getting into her bowl and gumming her hard kibble.

The puppies are now getting fairly steady on their feet, and I am beginning to see some tail wagging and hear some little yips and barks. They still sleep a lot, but they are definitely interested in the big world around them!

Today, Duchess and her puppies moved to our outdoor pen. It was time for them to have some more space. The small temporary pen off my kitchen wasn’t cutting it anymore.

Most times, my puppies spend their first 3-5 weeks inside where I can keep a close eye on them. Then, I often move them outside where they have much more space. Our outdoor pen gives them inside and outside access at all times, which greatly helps with potty training! It’s warmly heated in the winter, and cool and ventilated in the summer. (And just for my peace of mine, we have a camera on them all the time, so I can peek in on them during the night or when we are away from home.)

The puppies will still be spending a good bit of time in our house, though, to continue their training. I bring them inside to practice crate training, and to continue their exposure to sounds like vacuum cleaners, children, TV, etc.

Next week, Duchess’s puppies will begin weaning, and Mia’s puppies will be old enough for the waiting families to begin choosing their puppies. Check back then for another update!

Two & Three Weeks

Hello, all! Today Mia’s puppies turn three weeks old, and Duchess’s puppies turn two weeks old. The past weeks have been full of newborn puppy squeaks, puppy naps, snuggles, and lots of growing.

Since this is the first time I have had to balance caring for two litters at the same time, I decided I need to have a schedule for posting pictures and updates. Here’s what I have decided to do:

I will do a weekly blog post with updates about the puppies on Tuesday or Wednesday. When the update is posted, you can also look for updated pictures! However, since taking individual puppy pictures is surprisingly time consuming, I decided to alternate which litter gets updated pictures each week. This will help balance my workload a little better. 🙂 This week, Mia’s puppies get new pictures; and next week, Duchess’s puppies will, and so on. So you can look for a blog post and new pictures on Tuesday or Wednesday each week until the puppies head off to their new homes!

You can see the puppy pictures on the Available Puppies page.

So here we go!

Mia’s puppies have had their eyes open for almost a week now, and they are beginning to test out their unsteady little legs. Their lives have so far been very uneventful- mostly sleeping and eating- but they are spending more time awake and are slowly becoming aware of the sights and sounds around them. I have started playing music near their pen for a couple hours each day. This background noise helps get them acquainted with a variety of different sounds. For now, it’s gentle, quiet music. When they are older, we will practice with some more intense sounds like thunder and fireworks. By exposing the puppies to these potentially frightening sounds at a low volume when the puppies are very young, it gets them more comfortable with the sounds. This will help give them more confidence and less fear when they encounter the sounds in real life.

In the next week, we will begin potty training and weaning, so the busy work will be starting soon! Thus far, I have been changing the bedding, weighing the puppies, and taking care of momma. And, momma, of course, has been fantastic. Mia really is the best mom to her babies!

My children were very excited when the puppies’ eyes finally opened, because that meant they could finally hold them! My daughter does very well with holding them gently, but my little guy needs quite a bit of guidance! But his enthusiasm is bursting at the seams!

Duchess’s puppies have been doing excellent! All six Irish Setter puppies are growing well, and they look beautiful! Their eyes have just peeked open in the last couple of days. It’s interesting to compare the two litters. Although Mia’s puppies are older and have had their eyes open longer, Duchess’s puppies are more active. Even though they are a week younger, they are already walking/crawling/moving as much as the Mini Goldendoodle puppies. This is very normal, since larger breed puppies tend to grow and mature faster, but it’s so interesting to observe side by side.

Since Mia’s puppies are in the specially built whelping box in the basement, Duchess and her puppies are living in a temporary set up right outside my kitchen. It’s been working well, and they are already used to hearing the normal clanging and banging that happens in home with two young children!

And that’s a wrap for this week’s update. Check back next week for new pictures of the Irish Setters and an explanation of the weaning and potty training processes!

Mia’s Puppies- 4 Weeks Old

One month! It’s great milestone for puppies, and I view it as leaving the newborn puppy stage and entering the puppyhood stage. (See updated puppy pictures here!)

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This past week has seen more potty training, puppy teeth beginning to pop out, yips and barks from the puppies’ pen, sound training, and, the most exciting part, weaning!

Weaning

The puppies will begin eating a little bit of softened Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food. They start with one small meal a day, and I gradually work them up to three meals a day. I like to wean slowly, over the course of 2.5 weeks, so that it’s gentler on the sensitive puppy tummies. Because of this and the fact that they are on such a great food, I very rarely see any puppy diarrhea or vomiting. The quality ingredients and excellent nutrition works to keep them healthy from the inside out!

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, Omega-3 fatty acids, 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.

Socializing & Sound Training

In the next weeks, the puppies will get to hear, see, smell, and experience a wide variety of different things both inside our home and outside. This wide base of experiences provides them with a solid base of socializing. Obviously, new families will have to continue this socializing process, but the earlier it’s started, the better! It helps puppies to develop temperaments that are less reactive or fearful and more calm and confident.

So far, they have heard normal household noises while they hang out in my kitchen, and they have also heard a video soundtrack played very quietly of animals, traffic, and household noises. Playing these sounds quietly for them off my phone or computer gives them non-frightening exposure to some noises that may be loud and startling in real life.

And, of course, they puppies get the wonderful experience of being handled by a child. My daughter is old enough to play very well with the puppies. It is so good for puppies to get used to the unpredictable and sometimes rough movements of children, as well as their shrill voices. My son is also very interested in the puppies, but he only gets to touch them briefly with his mama’s help. He is still in the “grasp and pinch” stage of babyhood. So his puppy interactions are closely monitored!

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I hope you are all doing very well and staying healthy!

Mia’s Puppies- Three Weeks Old

In the past, I have very intentionally kept my blog entirely free of politics, current events, etc. However, I am finding it hard to even sit down and begin writing a blog post about my puppies during the COVID-19 situation. I am struggling to find the motivation to write about my dogs when there are so many people being negatively affected by this global crisis. My blogging seems shallow and weak.

However, here I am. I am here because I believe we will get through this. Life must go on. Life WILL go on. I am here, because maybe seeing this post will be a pleasant break from the news. I am here, because maybe you need to be encouraged to live today in FAITH and not FEAR.

So before I dive into my normal blogging, I want to encourage each of you today to have a spirit of faith and remember that even though things seem wildly out of control, God is still in control. He isn’t surprised by anything, and “though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for You are with us.” (Psalm 23:4) Also, I encourage everyone to be responsible and respectful. Please respond kindly; and think of others, not just yourselves. Protect those who are high-risk by implementing the recommended social distancing. We will get through this!

And with that, I guess I’ll begin. Like I said, I barely have the heart to blog about something as light and carefree as puppies, but I will do my best.

To start off, here is a picture of Caramel. I hope she brightens your day! Also note those beautiful yellow flowers peeking out in the background. Forsythia are my favorite kind of flower, because they are bright yellow in March or April, a sign of hope that spring is really here! I cut some today off my bushes that have started blooming beautifully this week. (You can see the rest of the litter here.)

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Things have been pretty quiet and peaceful here. Mia’s puppies are three weeks old, and they are doing very well. They are growing, and Mia has been doing a fantastic job. Mocha is the smallest puppy weighing almost 2 pounds, and the rest of the puppies are around 2.5 pounds. Hazelnut is the biggest, weighing in at almost 3 pounds.

Here’s a brief summary of a few of the things I have been doing with the Mia and the puppies.

For Mia:

During the first couple of weeks, care for the momma is exceptionally important. Mia has access to food and fresh water at all times. She also receives a daily supplement. Top-notch, dense nutrition is of the utmost importance for a pregnant and nursing mom. Without the proper nutrients, her milk supply will lack in quality and quantity. If I want healthy, growing puppies, I must be giving momma the very best.

Mia receives Life’s Abundance All Stages Food. This mix provides high-quality ingredients and robust nutrition. It’s made in small batches and tightly quality controlled and tested for safety, so I know each scoop I am giving her is fresh, full of nutrition, and free of unhealthy additives and fillers.

Mia also receives one NuVet Plus wafer each day. This supplement is to help support her immune system and provide an extra boost during a time when her body is working hard to care for puppies. Good quality ingredients is something I really care about. NuVet uses human-grade ingredients made in an FDA-registered facility. Quality ingredients provide better quality nutrition. This supplement is not available in stores and can only be purchased through veterinarians and breeders. (You can purchase it here using my order code 47834.)

For the puppies:

Mia has been giving the puppies 100% of the care they need during these first weeks. I have simply been handling them a little bit each day, and I have been providing clean bedding.

The puppies’ eyes have opened, and that means I have begun potty training. I expanded their pen a little bit to provide them with a space to potty away from where they sleep. Obviously, this will take a few weeks for them to master; but even now, they are beginning to seek out and use this area. Dogs have a natural instinct not to soil the area where they sleep. By providing them with a “potty area,” I am utilizing this natural instinct and building a good foundation for crate and house training.

In the coming weeks, the puppies will begin to be more active and alert, and they will begin exploring their small world. I’m very excited for the warmer weather, because the puppies always enjoy spending time outside. This is one of the reasons I enjoy spring, summer, and fall litters!

Come back next week for another puppy update!

In the meantime, please stay safe. Pray for each other. Remember that God’s grace is sufficient and that He is the master of all. As a closing, here is a line from a song I listened to the other day that spoke to my heart. “Bigger than all my problems. Bigger than all my fears. God is bigger than any mountain that I can or can not see. Bigger than all my questions. Bigger than anything. God is bigger than any mountain that I can or can not see.”

We can rest in God’s hands, and we can be assured of His love and care for us.

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