Poppy’s second litter

23 March

Last days. We had little Kenzi and Harley for a few more days, which was lovely, but all have now gone to their new homes. Each puppy went home with a folder that included their ID collars, information on their pedigree name, details of their parents including their health clearances, their own pedigree certificates, notes on feeding, a health guarantee, vaccination cards and Central Animal Records registration (with microchip details).

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Poppy checking that the folders are all ready.

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Pippa with Harley and Ivy with Evie spend their last evening together.

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After breakfast, last play with mum

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Learning stick etiquette

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Kenzi and Harley had a few more days together

18 March

Well our puppies are 8 weeks old and now 7 of them are with their new families. I will miss them all but I know they will bring a lot of pleasure in their new homes. We had a great photo shoot with them on next door’s trampoline, although trying to get 9 puppies in the shot was quite a challenge! Not a total success but some quite sweet pics.

I will gradually add our photos from the last days, but here is a trampoline shot which includes all the pups.

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L-R: Griffin (black male), Ivy (black female), Evie (choc female), (at back) Toby (choc male), Kenzi (black female), (sitting, centre) Moe (choc male), (behind) Storm (black male), Pippa (yellow female) and Harley (yellow male).

Photo shoot shenanigans!

15 March

Apologies for being a little slack in doing updates, but it has been a busy week in puppy land. The puppies are really exploring and playing a lot. A new exciting area was a big pile of mulch behind the container and Poppy’s toys are also proving to be high value prizes. The luggage scales are a great way to weigh, although being in kilos doesn’t quite have the precision of the scales which showed grams. Puppies range in weight from a little under 5 kg to over 6 kg, which is a great weight for 7 and a half weeks.

I’m unable to upload video here (which is really the only way to capture the action) but here are some snaps of the last few days, including this morning.

Exploring the mulch pile after breakfast

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Griff and Moe

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Pippa having a scratch

Griff the poser (L: ‘Blue Steel’ R: ‘Magnum’ – for fans of Zoolander)

We love our mummy’s pig!

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Weed patrol

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We love mummy’s carrot pencil case too!

Pig has acquired some very interesting smells that we can’t resist!

12 March

Puppies are now over 7 weeks old and every day they seem bigger and more like little dogs. Usual routine of 4 meals, and at the last kibble meal served at around 7pm, I did not leave the kibble to soak, just added warm water and gave it to them immediately. This meant they needed to crunch and chew. They have a nice routine of eat, toilet and then around 30-40 minutes free play (they are free range puppies!) before starting to settle down to sleep. Either I sit in the puppy tent with them as they snuggle down to rest, or I watch for the first sleepy puppy and then just put all back into their enclosure and leave them to settle down.

Tuesday (today) has seen a little rain and a lot of wind. It has also been a lot cooler, but not too cold for the little labradors with their nice thick coats. One surprise addition to their meatball lunch were some carrots cut in half for puppies to chew, carry around or have a tug of war with. Quite a lot of them were even eaten! Here they are trying this new food experience.

Puppies were all weighed using a newly acquired luggage weighing scale and now 7 of the 9 pups are well over 5kg – some closer to 6kg – and just a couple in the high 4 kg range. They are already showing weights achieved by the previous litter at 8 weeks of age.

10 March

The puppies have had a lovely weekend. Saturday was quite warm which made them a little sleepy but they enjoyed playing around the big gum tree and apple tree. Tug-of-war with some long lengths of hessian is another favourite activity and on Sunday afternoon, big sister Luna came to visit and had a lovely play with them.

The 4-legs meatballs are now a regular meal choice, which they seem to enjoy and it also encourages them to chew. During this week the kibble will be served a little drier, although I will still add some water to the dish. Poppy’s milk is finally starting to dry up, although puppies will still seize every opportunity to get a feed if she’ll let them. She is also shedding a LOT of hair. This happened with her first litter, so to be expected. She is still eating puppy kibble herself which has a high protein and fat content.

Here are some images from the weekend.

Saturday:

Playing by the big tree

Bed time

Sunday:

‘Helping’ in the garden and tug-of-war

Playing with big sister Luna

8 March

Exciting day today. I collected the puppies’ pedigree certificates and puppy packs from Dogs Victoria (after carefully checking the spelling was correct on their pedigree names!). They are looking and behaving more and more like little dogs these days and they are enjoying exploring the wider garden, rather than playing in their little puppy enclosure. Today’s game was centred around a little piece of cloth they found in my pile of ‘things to take to the tip’. Another favourite toy is a length of hessian, also destined for the tip – great for a tug-of-war!.

7 March

A new food was introduced today – 4-legs meatballs which the puppies enjoyed chewing. It’s a complete food with meat and veggies and can be served instantly, unlike the kibble which I need to soak for 30 minutes or so. By next week, I won’t soak the kibble for so long so that they learn to crunch their food. I am starting to put together information that will go in the puppy packs, which will include some notes on feeding. There are many strongly held views on what is best for growing pups, so I like to read the latest evidence based research. I have included a little variety of tastes and textures, and not going to try chicken necks this time with some of the risks associated with raw chicken (this article highlights a potential link to a kind of paralysis). However, I may see how they take to carrots (Poppy’s favourite) and broccoli stalks just as a treat. If raw vegetables are going to be a regular part of a dog’s diet, they need to be crushed or pulverised so they can digest it better. I will also given them a little raw egg, which is great for shiny coats. See this list from the American Kennel Club of ‘human foods’ that dogs can and can’t eat.

I know I have been a bit remiss in the photo department but here are some photos from yesterday (including the vet visit) and today.

Here we have Harley and Mo sharing the little raised dog bed taken after a meatball lunch today.

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6 March

All puppies were exceptionally well behaved today during their vet visit. They barely noticed the giant microchip needle, with the exception of Storm (Porites) who let out a blood curdling scream. Very glad to report that my weight measurements seem to be in line with the vet scales. I didn’t take any pictures myself as I rather had my hands full, but the staff at Peninsula Vet Care lent a hand and took some photos which I will post when I get them.

The gazebo has been moved again to a more protected spot, as this afternoon’s wind was a bit strong. The little tent is weighted down and gazebo legs shortened which makes it nice and cosy. Not great for humans though. Fortunately I am not tall!

5 March

Puppies are getting very dirty! With my garden approaching dustbowl conditions, and digging under the cubby being a favourite activity, they are becoming quite filthy so may need a bath very soon! Their beautiful developing labrador coats certainly seem to shrug off the dirt but the yellow pair are starting to take on a slightly grey appearance! With rain forecast I’m not sure it will be much better since most of the grass is dead and I am forecasting mud bath conditions. Probably ideal conditions for a lab! Again few pics today but we will record tomorrow’s vet visit.

4 March – 6 weeks old!

A slight change to the puppies’ routine was that I decided not to begin the day by weighing them but to feed them first as they seemed ravenous. As today was also worming day, I did the weigh-in just before worming them which was before the afternoon feed. As such, weight gains were impressive, because they had had two meals. The little newborn scales are almost at the limit of their usefulness. I may investigate some luggage scales and weigh the puppies in a cloth bag. They will all be weighed anyway at their vet visit on Wednesday when they are microchipped and vaccinated. The pups are getting more adventurous in the garden to the detriment of my plants! Here they are up to mischief!

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A fairly quiet day and pleasantly cooler. I didn’t take many pics but a little video which I’m unable to share on this site. However I will share it with our puppy families. They are growing before our eyes and developing into true labradors – meal consumed in around 10 seconds and great recalls. All I need to do is call “Puppies!” and they will come running as fast as their little legs will carry them.

3 March

Another hot day, so the morning began with some time under the lilly pilly after breakfast in the garden. By the afternoon, once again the preferred location was under the cubby and digging in the soft earth the preferred activity. All families have now had the opportunity to meet their new additions and we know they will offer wonderful homes to our pups. We are looking forward to many catch ups in the future and plans already underway for a six month meet.

Here are some pics from this afternoon starting with lunch on the lawn and a bit of play and digging before settling down to a group sleep.

2 March

With this extremely hot weather, the morning sun is proving to be just as bad as the afternoon sun, so we have had to come up with a morning solution and an afternoon solution for the puppies. In the morning the coolest part of the garden is around Poppy’s favourite bush (actually 3 lilly pillies closely planted), so we have just surrounded this area with the fencing. After midday the new location of the gazebo is nice and shady, although with most of the grass dead, the puppies have had enormous fun digging holes and so tend to get covered in mud.

I think it’s time to increase the portions with most pups well past the 3 kg mark, and judging by the time it took them to devour their breakfast (probably around 10 seconds) this means bigger portions today. They are now on 4 meals per day – 2 of puppy mousse (I managed to source some of the Royal Canin which they find more palatable than the Advance puppy food) and 2 of kibble. If Poppy is around or indeed anywhere near them, they will still rush her for a feed. Her milk is decreasing but she will still stand for them and allow them to suckle. This happened during this morning’s weigh in, which is no longer a leisurely activity and involves grabbing the puppy I need to weigh and hoping they will be still for a nano second while I attempt to read the scale! Here they are snoozing in their morning quarters, with the gazebo in the background. Will add more pics later in the day.

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Well the weather was still much too hot for the puppies even around 4, so after their afternoon meal I filled all their dishes with water as well as the clam pool which doubled as a wading pool and drinking bowl. A couple of pups decided that the water bowl was the best place to sleep!

Some of the pups found a (relatively) cool spot to sleep

while others enjoyed playing and hiding in some of the holes dug by their mother and big sister Luna.

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Hello Evie (Pectinia)!

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Pippa (Astrea) preparing to attack my shorts!

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After a reviving nap focus then turned to the clam pool.

1 March

Another hot, hot day! At 5pm it was still 38C. Water and shade the priorities for the pups, and the clam pool proved popular again.

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Please, mum, let us out!

February 28

Weather still very warm, so keeping puppies hydrated a priority. They are understandably less interested in food, and am bringing some in to the cool laundry if they seem lethargic, where they very quickly perk up.

Puppy camp had a move today to a position that gets a little more shade on the other side of the cubby. We also put a little water in the shell pool and several of the pups waded through it. Poppy has severely had her food intake cut back to pre-pregnancy levels and she is not best pleased! This is to help her dry up her milk. She has some cuts and rashes caused by the puppies, so now we are keeping her separate from them until they heal. Here are a few pics of a bit of late afternoon fun.

February 27

Puppies are very eager to climb up on the couch, but not quite big enough!

Some puppies were off their food and sleeping a lot perhaps because of the hot day. I gave some of them Lectade for rehydration individually and also added it to their drinking water. Griff (Monti) and Kenzi (Aggy) needed a little one on one time with mum and by the humans’ bedtime had perked up again. Kenzi, especially enjoys TV.

Griff ready to play

Kenzi woke from a long sleep and while Griff slept, enjoyed a little late night TV.

February 26

All went according to plan in the new sleeping quarters except the soft crate I set up as a secondary sleeping nook, proved to be more appealing as a toilet! Pups either slept in their mother’s bed (the one that does duty in the play tent outside) or under the laundry cupboards. Meanwhile I enjoyed a good 5 hours sleep in my own bed before Poppy decided that 5am was a good time for breakfast. I made her wait until dawn and of course, once disturbed,  the puppies were up and ready for action.

I added the fourth meal to the puppies’ feeding regime, but they still managed to hijack Poppy when she came outside to visit them. I need to take steps to help her dry up her milk, really for her own good and the puppies are getting all they need from their food anyway.

Puppies all bedded down for the night again, and the puppy cam now set up to monitor them in their new location. Perhaps I should try and get an early night. Yawn! I promise to take some pictures tomorrow.

February 25

Very wakeful night! Plus a lot of poo to clean. Need to change the inside set up now. Might need to relocate to the laundry and set up distinct sleeping and toileting areas. Galaxea seems very smart in this department, and immediately following her morning escape from the box (she does this every morning!) she went straight to the toilet pad placed by the box and did her business there.

Puppies very playful (and thirsty) today. I always make sure they have plenty of water available, and although they sometimes walk through it, it does keep them hydrated in this hot weather.

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Pippa (Astrea) enjoying a cool drink of water

Photographing puppies is never easy (for me!) as they are always on the go, but I managed to get a few nice pics.

Toby (Helio) with his eyes turning green, and snuggling with his sister Evie (Pectinia)

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Galaxea the curious one. 

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Kenzi (Agaricia) with Moe (Madricis) – I think! Although it does appear to be a yellow collar, it is our pink collared girl as I sent her new mum a picture at the time.

Griff (Monti) being fierce and cute at the same time

Feeding procedure was a little different today. I split the meal on to 3 plates and brought out three pups at a time to make sure everyone got a fair share.

This evening was another momentous event for the puppies – new sleeping quarters in the laundry. I know it will be a disaster area in the morning but I am relying on the fact that they will not soil their beds, as when they are in their outside area, they tend to go to the perimeter fence to relieve themselves. We will see!

Exploring their new sleeping quarters and re-arranging the training pads.

February 24

Steady gains this morning. All toenails clipped and pups given a wipe down. I put on the TV to watch Insiders this morning, which immediately attracted the interest of the puppies. Obviously very intelligent!

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Lovely sunny day and lots of outside play. We released them for a run around before bringing them inside and they headed straight for my little succulents and proceeded to mangle them! Portrait photos were taken and we attempted a couch photo of the whole group without much success. Will try again tomorrow.

Here are the portraits:

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Portraits in order: Madracis, Helioseris, Galaxea, Pectinia, Favites, Agaricia, Astrea, Porites and Montipora.

February 23

Big gains this morning – likely due to yesterday’s 3 solid meals. Poppy slept in her own bed again with no visits during the night. She also declined giving them a morning feed on waking. I think she doesn’t much like getting into the whelping box where they spend the night, but she does visit them in their outside play area, where they never miss the opportunity to latch on to her. Breakfast (kibble soup) is prepared which will be given to them outside.

Apologies for the absence of a photo update today. Puppies had three solid meals again and spent most of the day in their outdoor area. They are getting more confident every day, and respond when called. However, if Poppy turns up they rush to the ‘milk bar’!

February 22

So you might have noticed a change to the format of this page which I hope you find makes this page easier to navigate. One of my clever children pointed out the folly of scrolling to find new content (something I was becoming increasingly aware of as I added each entry) and that “blogs are supposed to have the newest updates at the top anyway”! Thank you for pointing that out! 😉

Morning group snuggles.

I also thought I would share my morning ritual when I move all the puppies to two plastic tubs, change the bedding and then return them one by one to the box after weighing. Sometimes Poppy hops in and feeds them in the clean box. You will see that one escapee – Pippa (Astrea) – managed to climb from the tub to the whelping box and leave her mark before I had put the new vet bed down. After they were weighed and before settling down to sleep again, a posse of puppies decided to pull the vet bed back from the corner and investigate the exciting training pads underneath!

Breakfast and dinner today was kibble soup (puppy kibble soaked for a few hours).

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What are you thinking about, Moe?

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Kenzi (Agaricia) is cute as a button. Thanks, Janelle, for the photo.

February 21

Well the planned kibble meal didn’t happen yesterday, but my mission to source some tinned puppy food was successful, so after a morning milk meal, they had an afternoon meal of tinned food which was demolished without hesitation – true labradors! Expecting Favites (our biggest) to dive in first, it was little Griff (Monti) who lay across the dish eating as fast as he could, while Favites hardly got a look in. Afterwards they decided to attack me and the couch.

Feeding frenzy! Favites retires early to watch his greedy siblings.

Porites

Toby (Helio)

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Attack!

Big sister Luna came to visit but was a bit perturbed when the puppies thought she might have some milk! She ran off to play with her favourite ‘teeth’ ball.

Meanwhile, my weaning plan is progressing well. After the puppies were moved inside, Poppy gave them a last feed and then she was put to bed in the laundry while the puppies slept in the whelping box. All slept through until 6am when Poppy had breakfast, gave the pups a morning feed and they settled back to snooze again. Today I will repeat the morning milk meal, an afternoon meat meal and add an evening milk formula meal. This will allow Poppy’s milk to gradually dry up.

Actually one pup did not settle right away after breakfast. Griff (Monti) played with the elephant toy on his own, and then tried to wake his brother Favites. Eventually he gave up and settled down to sleep.

The puppies gave the finished puppy gym a good work out!

February 20

A little cooler this morning but plan to take pups out earlier than yesterday, with no rain overnight. I also intend on introducing a little solid food in the form of soaked kibble (with no sign of the Royal Canin with all suppliers out of stock). At this age, they are still having many short feeds of their mother’s milk, but I am aiming to move them to 4 main meals per day by 5 weeks (next Monday). While I don’t really want to deny Poppy access to the pups, I may separate her after the last feed and let them all try to sleep through the night. This will be a big plus for the humans too!

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Good morning Galaxea!

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Puppies’ favourite toys have been washed (again)! 

February 19

Puppy run is ready! Yesterday (Monday Feb 18) was a glorious day and started with not one, but 3 pups getting some morning individual attention.

Astrea

Evie (Pectinia)

Kenzi (Agaricia)

Puppies had a tug of war with a training pad!

and Moe (Madracis) noticed me taking a picture.

As all were getting a little too active, it was time to go outside where the pups explored their new outdoor premises. Some pictures suggest that it’s on a slope, but rest assured it’s flat – just bad camera work! Puppy couch, table and chairs are for the convenience of humans, but later I will add a ramp up to the couch so the puppies can use it. At the moment it’s a little high off the ground for them. One of the tunnels is connected to the play tent, and a few have explored it. Inside the tent is Poppy’s dog bed requisitioned for the pups. She will get a new one later.

The odd looking frame is our home made puppy gym! I saw a similar one online for an outrageous price, so we decided to make our own. Just two toys attached, but more items will be added in due course. First to inspect the gym was Porites (green collar black boy) who really enjoyed the outdoor area. The last two pictures show him checking it out.

After leaving them to settle, I found that instead of using the prepared bed, all decided to sleep under the couch, perhaps where they felt safest.

This morning, we found it had rained overnight, so was in no rush to move the pups outside, at least until it had dried out a little. The gazebo effectively kept the rain off the couch and tent, so now tested as being shower proof still (the repairs to the roof held). At the time of writing (12.15pm) puppies are still inside, but I will prepare their milk meal shortly and they can have it outside.

Today’s special puppy was Griff (Monti)

After moving pups outside, they had some fun with the toys.

Griff (Monti) tried to challenge Kenzi (Agaricia) for the squeaky elephant, but she wasn’t going to give it up. 

Astrea liked the little tennis balls which she managed to carry around.

February 17

Checked the puppy cam at 2.42am (Poppy’s early early breakfast time) on my phone as I didn’t want to turn on a light and was interested to see that it’s possible to distinguish the chocs from the black pups.

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Our Helio (new name Toby) had special mummy cuddles after weighing and this morning’s first feed. Actually I think he was just after a little adventure and wanted to see the world beyond the box.

We are now working on creating the puppy run and outside play area, but meanwhile pups are still enjoying their daily dish of milk on the grass. Will post a few outside pics in the coming days.

February 16

Puppies are so alert now and their hearing is very sharp. The slightest sound will rouse them and have them sitting upright like little meerkats! Weight gains this morning were bigger than ever and so decided to keep going with the single milk meal outside in the late afternoon. Once the puppy mousse arrives, we will introduce that to them. Having mostly mother’s milk until at least 4 weeks will give them the best possible start in life. Getting very bitey now. Will try to get some pictures of their teeth tomorrow.

Meanwhile sleepy puppies are settling down for the night.

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February 15

Apologies for not being on the blog for a couple of days, but we have been busy! I have many pictures to sort through but will make a selection as soon as possible.

Puppies’ teeth are coming through well and biting each other seems like a fun thing for them to do. I have a couple of small rubbery toys in the box which some of the pups are enjoying biting and some mini tennis balls are proving entertaining too.

Yesterday (Valentine’s Day) marked a major step in development. The puppies were given a shallow dish of dog milk formula to lap from instead of suckling from their mum. I needn’t have worried that they might not know what to do. Within seconds they were all eagerly lapping from the dish. We did this outside on the grass – another big experience.

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I fenced the puppies in, mainly to keep their mother from coming and finishing off the milk herself! After this first ‘meal’, there was a bit of crying and fussing, but before long, all settled in a heap under my chair and across my feet while I enjoyed a late afternoon cup of tea! Poppy seemed to spend less time with the pups overnight, but the morning weigh in continued to show solid gains. I am in no rush to wean pups too early, but having an extra dish of milk will start to take the pressure off their mum.

Today there was a repeat of the outside dish of milk in the late afternoon when there was a bit of dappled shade about, and this time I also provided a dish of cooled boiled water. This was far less enticing for the puppies, most of whom chose to walk across the dish! Once returned to their box, they had a bit of rough and tumble before settling down to sleep.

The next step in the weaning process will be to introduce a little Royal Canin puppy mousse. This is designed to suit young pups and has a smooth consistency. Imagine my surprise, however, to find two major pet superstores were out of stock and didn’t know when the next delivery would come! Apparently it is supplied from France, where there have been some transport strikes. I jumped online and managed to order three trays of it from a breeder supplier, so hopefully it will arrive in the next few days (must be stockpiling it in Cockatoo!). Here are some pictures from the last couple of days:

Valentine’s Day fun and games

This morning’s play after weigh in and breakfast.

When you want to chew your sister’s ear and she bites you back!

February 13

Biggest gainer this morning was Porites who almost equalled Helio’s record. He gained a whopping 133g, followed by Galaxea who put on 113g. The others had average gains and are all looking plump. After a feed they remind me of beached seals, sleeping in piles! Poppy has been very good with the late night and early morning feeds, so it would make sense to start a milk formula feed around lunch time.

While ‘waiting’ in the tub to be weighed, Agaricia almost climbed out 3 times!

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February 12

No spectacular gains this morning, with the exception of Madracis who put on 122g! Hind toenails clipped (just did the front ones yesterday) with no screaming from the pups. However the box I pop them in while changing bedding and weighing is getting a bit cramped – might need to start using two!

Our temporary ‘wall’ is no longer effective. We put a large shelf in position, but it was a bit high for Poppy to hop into the box, so now replaced with cardboard taped to the box. The addition of some toys has interested some of the puppies, although they are still more interested in each other.

February 11

Three weeks old today. With babies, every day is a bit of a milestone, but this marks a new, more independent phase of the puppies’ lives. Weight gains were better, so not yet planning to introduce formula. Indeed Helio gained a whopping 136g – the biggest gain of any pup for any day! Puppies all had their toe nails clipped (which always makes me nervous) and Aggy screamed before I had even clipped her! This is important to do to prevent them scratching their mother (and each other).

Puppies are still contained within the box, unless Poppy is standing just outside temptingly and they surge towards ‘the wall’! I have been dreaming of waking up to find puppies everywhere so must do something to prevent it becoming a reality!

Puppies starting to play with each other.

Meanwhile Mum has a swim.

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In the evening, we brought them into the sitting room to experience a few home sounds – cooking, TV, Fred drilling something. Poppy was a bit perturbed but soon settled down. She wouldn’t lie down in the fenced area but stood to feed them.

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I have three sets of this fencing, which will be used to surround their gazebo and play area in the garden. Last litter, it contained them until they left for their homes.

February 10

Puppies have reached a new milestone today. All now weigh more than 1.5 kg. Tomorrow they will be 3 weeks old – another milestone – when weaning can begin. At this stage Poppy is supplying everything they need and not showing any reluctance to go to them so I will be guided by her behaviour.

Quite small weight gains this morning, despite the weight milestone. Could be a sign to introduce some dog milk formula. Will see what the next 24 hours brings. Once weaning is in earnest, the mess and chaos begins!

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It’s a break out!

February 9

Puppies are spending more time awake but will always settle for a snooze after a feed. Today was quite a bit cooler so put the heater on again for them. The vet bed (pink and grey carpet) has been excellent keeping them dry and clean with puppy training pads placed underneath. Loosened collars for Monti, Madracis and Porites. Nails getting scratchy again so will trim them all in the morning.

February 8

The puppies are growing more alert by the day, and much steadier on their legs. Poppy is not spending much time each visit, but they are clearly getting enough, judging by their consistent weight gain. She has been an excellent mother, and never needs to be encouraged to go and feed them, although when not feeding, prefers to be with her human family. Approaching three weeks of age, the puppies will be placing maximum demands on milk supply, so instead of her usual 2 meals per day, Poppy is now having 7-8. Annoyingly, 3 of those meals are through the night when she seems the most ravenous.

The puppies are still contained within the whelping box (for now!) but it will be necessary to create an inside play area beyond the box within the next few days as well as an outside area. They are developing very fast now, and make all kinds of squeaks and growls and are starting to interact with each other.

February 7 – First litter’s birthday!

Happy Birthday to our first litter – Charlie, Pepsi, Lottie, Mocha, Dalí, Ollie, Astrid, Kirby, Pixar, Abby & Luna! Now two years old. Before long, your little brothers and sisters will be able to join our meet-ups!

The little pups are getting more active each day and doing circuits of the box. By next week they will be able to escape so time to puppy-proof the rest of the room. From 3-4 weeks their outside area will be set up, with couch, tent and play tunnels under a gazebo and fenced in on the grass.

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Top: Doing circuits of the box                        Bottom: Now sitting to feed the pups

February 6

More interesting sleeping positions!

February 5

Puppies getting very active being up on their legs and walking around the box. Eyes are open and they seem to be becoming aware of each other. Preferred mode of sleeping (for some) seems to be resting their heads on the rails in the box. These rails are designed to prevent their mum from crushing them in the early newborn days but they seem to have adapted them for unique methods of sleeping!

February 4

Puppies are now 2 weeks old! Poppy’s feeding regime is getting ridiculous! Feeding a labrador on demand sounds unwise, but it’s really the best way to ensure the puppies have the nutrition they need without putting a huge strain on their mother. Last night she had a midnight feed, 3am, 5am and 7am! Each meal is actually 50% more than her usual meal when not pregnant (she usually has 2 meals per day). A raw egg was added to her third breakfast which she enjoyed.

Big gains at today’s weigh-in – most close to 100g or more. Weather a little cooler this morning so puppies all snuggled together after being weighed. Agaricia escaped the box, so time now to add a barrier to the front of the whelping box – high enough to prevent escape, but low enough to allow Poppy to step in.

All snuggled together, except Porites (green collar) who was our biggest gainer and decided to walk to the far corner and test his strength on the bars!

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All snoozing together

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The wall – DT would approve!

Puppies were all wormed with a liquid worming medicine that by their expressions they found to be utterly disgusting.

February 3

Several pups can be seen almost walking around the box and continue to get stronger and plumper each day. All pups are now sporting their new longer collars which will last until they go to their new homes.

February 2

The puppies are now well past the 1 kilo mark and continue to grow well. Our smaller pups have closed the gap and joined the rest of the pack. Thursday (January 31) saw nail clipping all around, and I even gave Astrea (lilac collar, yellow girl) an extra trim the next day. Letting their claws get too long is not an option as they can scratch and hurt their mother while feeding. This might discourage her from spending enough time in the whelping box. Poppy prefers now to sleep outside the whelping box and wants to be with her humans more. She has been an excellent mother though, and does return regularly to the box to feed her babies.

More of the puppies seem to be getting up on their legs to move around and the two yellows are almost peeping with their eyes. This is only because it’s easier to see their eyes in the pale fur. It’s much harder to see what is happening with the black and chocolate pups. Here are a few more photos from the last couple of days.

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Late night feed

and this is from today’s breakfast:

Well after expecting to see the yellows with eyes open first, the two black girls proved me wrong! Their eyes are open and although their vision is still very rudimentary, their eyes can be seen clearly.

I am now starting to change the collars to the bigger size, as the newborn collars are at their limit.

January 30

All puppies now officially doubled their birth weight, and our two smallest – Pectinia (her new name will be Evie) and Monti are catching up with their litter mates while Favites is pulling away!

This afternoon, Evie (Pectinia) seemed almost to walk across the whelping box. Meanwhile Galaxea seemed to prefer a swimming action propelling herself forward with her strong arms!

January 29

Most puppies now have doubled their birth weight, some a little more and a few just under. This is one of the first milestones and is a good indicator that they are all on track.

They are all getting very vocal. Little Helio demonstrated how loud a little pup can be and managed to get some special attention from his mother. It was a hot day and at one point all puppies were calling loudly, sounding more like a flock of birds than a litter of puppies! Once the room was cooled a little, all snuggled down for a nap.

January 28 – 1 week old!

At one week the puppies have reached their first milestone of the neo-natal period, which is generally thought to cover the first two to four weeks (Evans, 2005). By the end of this time their eyes and ears will be open and they will start to explore their environment. Their prime objective at this stage of life is to drink their mother’s milk and to sleep. They are now getting close to doubling their birthweight, which is normally achieved by Day 8. From smallest at birth (Pectinia) to largest (Favites), all are gaining more than 10% of their bodyweight each day, although our lovely big yellow boy is quite a bit bigger than his siblings. All are slightly bigger than those in Poppy’s first litter, which was a larger litter (of 11 pups!). Due to the growing demands of her family, Poppy’s appetite is almost insatiable. Having introduced the late night supper as a fourth meal in order to stave off being woken at 3am for food, she is now on five meals – 5am, 8-9am, 1pm, 5pm and 11pm! As any Lord of the Rings aficionado would know, a second breakfast is a most important meal for hobbits (and nursing canine mothers)! Here is a selection of pictures taken since Friday.

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Breakfast time for puppies!

Day 6

Day 7

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Our beautiful big boy, Favites, alone in the box where I put them while changing their bedding. He was the last I returned to the whelping box and their mother and seemed perfectly comfortable enjoying some alone time!

January 25 – Day 5

At their morning weigh-in, all puppies are now more than half a kilo, even little Pectinia and Monti, who are 524g and 536g respectively. Big yellow boy, Favites is now 751g! Others range from 640g – 670g. Weights will be recorded every morning until they are 8 weeks old to monitor their weight gain and ensure all are thriving. Today was the hottest day (over 40C) so we needed to turn on the air conditioner. Favites was even seen to be panting. We think we can almost see his eyes peeping and starting to open – and he is only 4 days old.

Puppies are becoming quite mobile in the whelping box and have developed all kinds of ways to move around to locate their milk supply. Agaricia seems to propel herself with her hind legs at quite a speed! They make all kinds of squealing and grunting noises and twitch while sleeping. Poppy has been very attentive keeping them clean and sleeping in the box with them. She has also regained her appetite and is now on 4 meals per day – a puppy formula with high protein and fat content. Breakfast is generally around 6am, lunch at midday, dinner at 5pm and a late night supper around 11pm.

Puppies are monitored around the clock via our puppy cam that family members can log into via an app, and I am sleeping in the puppy room. Below is a screen shot of the growing family, taken this evening.

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We also have a thermal camera set up that automatically takes images every 20 seconds or so. Here are some of the images from their first days.

23 January – Day 3

Puppies are all nursing well, and some are developing real characters! Their names were posted on the pregnancy post but here they are again.

  1.  Black girl – pink collar – 3.20am – 481g – Agaricia (Aggy)
  2. Black girl – yellow collar – 5.38am – 473g – Galaxea
  3. Chocolate boy – blue collar – 5.43am – 452g – Helioseris (Helio)
  4. Chocolate boy – red collar – 7.06am – 447g – Madracis (Madras)
  5. Yellow girl – lilac- 7.29am – 454g – Astrea
  6. Black boy – green – 8.55am – 484g – Porites
  7. Chocolate girl – light blue – 9.06am – 375g – Pectinia
  8. Yellow boy – dark purple – 10.42am – 492g – Favites
  9. Black boy – orange – 12.48pm – 382g – Montipora (Monti)

and here are some pictures of their first few days.

Day 3 portraits

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21 January 2019 – Day 1

We have 9 beautiful pups! At the vet visit all were deemed to be healthy and completely perfect (as we knew they would be)!

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Reference

Evans, J. M. (2005). Breeding a litter: A complete guide to mating, whelping and puppy rearing. Dorking, UK: Ringpress Books.

Poppy’s second pregnancy

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Poppy’s ultrasound on 19 December 2018. Her appointment was at 9.30am and Dr Bob Cavey of Ultimate Vet Clinic in Narre Warren confirmed her pregnancy. The small marble-like shapes in the centre are puppies! (Note: ignore the dates/times on the image)

19 December 2018 – Day 30

Poppy is now expecting! Bob Cavey counted 5 pups on one side and 4 on the other. There could be more tucked in behind her ribs but it won’t be possible to get a more accurate count until an X-ray at 8 weeks of pregnancy. Based on her progesterone tests in November and likely timing of ovulation, he estimates the due date to be 21 January 2019.

The father of the puppies is Dougie (Kelindebar Power of Magic) again so the pups will be full siblings of her first litter. Dougie is an Australian Grand Champion and was Dogzonline Show Dog of the Year (Victoria) in 2015 and 2017. Thanks to Linda Adams for allowing us to use his services.

The Royal Canin website has a handy guide to the milestones of canine pregnancy. Puppies are still embryos, but by Day 35 they will be foetuses.

24 December – Day 35

Puppies are now foetuses! Poppy seems to be slowing down and is very snuggly and follows me everywhere. She seems less interested in chasing the ball and swimming but was very interested in my Christmas shopping at Pet Barn when I came home with a bag of dog toys!

Merry Christmas to all Papoulab pups and their families!

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Poppy looking decidedly pregnant on Christmas Eve (Day 35)

25  & 26 December 2018 – Days 36 & 37

A new crunchy Christmas ball gave Poppy a bit of excitement, but by Boxing day she preferred to snooze on her recently rediscovered toy, Dachsy.

4 January 2019 – Day 46

Now more than 6 weeks pregnant (equivalent to months in a human pregnancy), Poppy has greatly slowed down and is more sedate on her daily walks. Today was the hottest day for 5 years (around the time Poppy came to us as an 8 week old puppy), with a maximum of 43C!

We took her with daughter Luna to Hawker Beach in Mt Martha at 8.30am where she enjoyed cooling her feet, while Luna dashed around with all the other dogs in and out of the water. For the rest of the day she lay on the cool kitchen tiles in the air conditioning and once the cool change came in we went to recover the whelping box, which has spent the past two years safe and dry in the cubby.

8 January 2019 – Day 50

Puppy supplies arrived today! Still to purchase – disposable gloves, sanitising gel, new towels and calcium supplement once Poppy is nursing. She is already on puppy food with a higher protein and fat content.

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9 January – Day 51

I swear Poppy is bigger this time! Compared with some pictures (see Poppy’s first pregnancy below) from Day 57 last time, she seems larger. Tomorrow is her appointment at the vet for a puppy count X-ray.

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10 January – Day 52

How many puppies can you see? 8? 9? 10?

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12 January – Day 54

Driving to the park now instead of walking there to let Poppy have a sniff and stretch her legs. It’s hard for her to get comfortable and her tummy seems to be growing by the minute!

13 January – Day 55

The puppy room is ready! There was a last minute change when I decided to commandeer our daughter’s room (who is away at university in Queensland) which was the most suitable with an en suite, proximity to the laundry and not too big to heat (yes – we must heat the puppy room even in this weather!). Web cam now set up, a fresh set of towels and hand sanitiser ready to go. The countdown for the last week has begun.

Top L-R: Poppy checking out the whelping box; whelping box in place; hand sanitiser and disposable gloves ready; puppy supplies, including collars, heat pillows, weighing scales and emergency feeding bottles. Below: Poppy stretched out on the bed, which she has claimed as hers; snapshot from the webcam.

16 January – Day 58

The heat has taken it out of Poppy, but she has been staying in the nice cool air conditioning. She is now sleeping in our room on her own mattress but very restless, and wanted breakfast at 5.45am! Today is not so hot (yet!) so she was out sunning herself on the deck earlier. Now snoring inside on my feet.

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Waiting …..

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18 January – Day 60

With slightly cooler weather, Poppy has settled again after a couple of days of panting and general discomfort. She has not lost her insatiable appetite though and thinks 4am is a good time for breakfast! Interestingly, she isn’t really displaying the nesting behaviour (digging holes) as last time but spend a lot of time cleaning herself and is already producing a little milk. When she lies on her back, the puppies are clearly seen moving around.

20 January – Day 62

Where are those puppies?! We all felt that Poppy would go early (as she did last time on Day 61) especially due to her bigger size this time around. Naturally enough she spends her time snoozing, or sometimes visits her favourite lily pilly bushes for a nice back scratch!

Evening resting spot – not interested in the tennis!

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Morning lie-in after a night of visits to the garden and early breakfast

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Lily pillies are great for a back scratch! This was also the previous litter’s favourite play area.

At around 3pm on Day 62, there were signs that Poppy was entering the first stage of labour, including digging behaviour, and heavy panting. We moved her to the whelping room where we were kindly provided with a TV to watch the tennis!

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Puppies did not arrive during the evening but held off until after midnight so it was Day 63 – their due date of 21 January!

21 January – Day 63 Whelping Day!

Although I settled Poppy down to sleep, by 1.45am she was up and had to make several trips to the garden. Had to follow her closely in case puppy number 1 arrived outside! Once inside it was evident contractions were getting stronger and a pup was about to be born. Instead of the whelping box, Poppy decided her old bed in the laundry was a better place to be, which is where the first pup started to appear. She returned to the whelping box and at last at 3.20am a black girl was born. Her name is Agaricia.

L-R: In the whelping box; More comfortable in her old bed; Back in the whelping box with Agaricia.

The puppies have all arrived now, and after being vet checked they have settled into a life of eating and sleeping. Their pedigree names are names of coral genera as suggested by our daughter, a marine biologist.

Welcome to the world! Details of our babies are below, including collar colour, time of birth, weight and pedigree names.

  1.  Black girl – pink collar – 3.20am – 481g – Agaricia (Aggy)
  2. Black girl – yellow collar – 5.38am – 473g – Galaxea
  3. Chocolate boy – blue collar – 5.43am – 452g – Helioseris (Helio)
  4. Chocolate boy – red collar – 7.06am – 447g – Madracis (Madras)
  5. Yellow girl – light purple- 7.29am – 454g – Astrea
  6. Black boy – green – 8.55am – 484g – Porites
  7. Chocolate girl – light blue – 9.06am – 375g – Pectinia
  8. Yellow boy – dark purple – 10.42am – 492g – Favites
  9. Black boy – orange – 12.48pm – 382g – Montipora (Monti)

Poppy’s first pregnancy

Poppy is our three year old black girl. She has excellent health clearances and has a close to perfect hip score of 1:1 and 0:0 for elbows. The breed average for show quality dogs is a total of 12 for both hips, with the lower the score, the better.

The stud dog who sired Poppy’s pups is Dougie (Kelindebar Power of Magic), an Australian champion. We are expecting the puppies around 10 February. It will be Poppy’s first litter.

Day 28: On 5 January at her ultrasound appointment, Poppy’s pregnancy was confirmed. At least five puppies were counted on one side, with likely more on the other. Weight 28.8 kg (slightly heavier than her usual 27kg). Embryos measured at 2.5cm – 2.8cm in length.

Day 33: 10 January. Poppy is noticeably less energetic but not lost her interest in food. I need to be careful not to increase the amount just yet, but wait at least another week, when I will introduce food with a higher energy (calorie) value, more protein and minerals. Puppies are still embryos but nearly at the foetal stage. See the Royal Canin website for a week by week description of the milestones of canine pregnancy.

Day 38: 15 January. It is 3 years since Poppy came to us as an 8 week old puppy and she is certainly starting to look pregnant now. Her usual slim waist has all but disappeared and she is sleeping a lot. She did have a swim today but is not running around much.

Day 44: 21 January. Poppy’s girth is getting bigger by the day. She has started nesting behaviour and has been getting under the deck and digging a tunnel, evidenced by a muddy nose and mud on her paws! She is still enjoying her walks, but much more sedate these days and not interested in fetching a ball. She had a play date with her friend Mickey on Wednesday (18 January) but other than that excitement is less interested in other dogs on her walks.

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Poppy and Mickey on their walk 18 January 2017.

Getting in whelping supplies. Ordered vet bed, puppy scales and newborn puppy ID collars. Pick up a whelping box next week. Less than three weeks to go!

Day 49: Looking much larger and finding it a struggle to jump on to the bed. Vet bed (carpet-like material for the whelping box that keeps puppies cosy and dry) arrived and collected the whelping box yesterday. Poppy has checked it out but not yet sleeping in it as the room we will use for whelping is not yet set up. This will be the focus of the next few days. A swim at the beach and meeting new friends was enough exercise for one day.

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Poppy in her new whelping box, sitting on the pink ‘vet bed’. She also has a grey mat which we’ll alternate. Substitute puppy aka chick-worm also trying it out.

Day 50: At the vet today Poppy weighed in at a portly 34.6kg! We went to discuss worming and availability of after hours vet services once she goes into labour. We were also there to get an X-ray to do a puppy count. Results were difficult to be certain but various opinions estimated 9-10+. It is possible to see both skulls and spines on the X-ray below. How many do  you think?

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Two X-rays taken at the vet from both sides.

Day 53: 30 January. A warm day but not as hot as predicted. However Poppy is feeling the heat with her growing belly. She had a couple of swims which seemed to give her a little relief. Check the Papoulab instagram account to see Poppy swimming (filmed on Day 52). Today we set up some temporary fencing to stop her from visiting the nest she has been digging under the house, in case she decides this is where she wants to have her puppies. Her babies can be felt quite clearly now, moving around.

Day 57: Finding it difficult to get comfortable. The grass is nice and cool on Poppy’s tummy.

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Day 58: The whelping room is now set up and supplies all ready, including the puppy cam!

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Poppy at Day 58. Not long now!

Day 59: 5 February. Poppy is not pleased that I have restricted her access under the deck (& house!) where she had been digging a nice whelping nest, so is digging a new one in the laundry yard! A restless night again so we will take it in turns to sleep with her as we humans need sleep too! Favourite sleeping spot these days is on the nice cool tiles of the kitchen.

Day 60: After a very restless night, with panting, trips to the garden and eventually settling after an early breakfast, Poppy seemed back to her old self by the morning. We think her babies are especially restless at night which isn’t letting her settle. As she seemed keen to take a walk we went to Overport Park for some ‘come’, ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ practice. Check Instagram for some videos.

Poppy seems off her food this evening and spends a lot of time cleaning herself. The wait continues ….

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Day 61: Whelping day! After 12 hours of panting and pacing (8pm Monday night to 8am Tuesday morning) there were signs that the puppies were on their way. Poppy took to her old bed rather than the whelping box where puppy number one arrived at 12.44, just as we were about to leave for the vet for a check up. I had spoken to the vet earlier as I was concerned about how long labour seemed to be lasting with so many puppies in there. We managed to get both pup and mum into the whelping box where another came 15 minutes later. Still going strong at 4.45pm. All puppies are doing really well as is Poppy. Check out Poppy’s first litter for updates on the little ones’ progress!