Apr 302012

The puppies are into their 3rd week of life and I started them on food today and they took right to it. The first week, I use a mix of the puppy food I like (Diamond Natural Puppy for Small Breeds) mixed with Puppy Gold which is a milk like product for puppies and a little hot water to make a gruel. They were all about it. I could tell from their fussing they weren’t getting satisfied so I’ll offer them food 3 or 4 times a day and let Izzy clean up the leftovers.

The puppies are moving about a lot in the last couple of days. I changed out the big Perla whelping bed for a crate that is big enough for them and Izzy and they’ve learned to come in and out on their own. By the end of the week, I’ll change it out again for a small crate since Izzy won’t be with them for very long at a time. She’s about finished except for letting them nurse 3 or so times a day.

The puppies are starting to come out to potty so I put a pee pad just outside their crate door for them. Their instinct tells them to leave their den for business, which is the first step in potty training. Once they start to be rambunctious, the paper one will be traded for the washable kind.

The progression is interesting for the mama dog with puppies.  It goes from constant watchfulness and fierce protection, to the “let me out to rest” phase, to ” please keep them away” at about 5 weeks. Once weaned at 6-7 weeks, the mama will go back to them to play and train them, a very important time I think which is why I like  keep them until 8 weeks old.

 Posted by at 1:53 am

Detergent for Dummies (Not Pet Related)

 Detergent Recipe, Perla Dog Bed  Comments Off on Detergent for Dummies (Not Pet Related)
Dec 172011

Fancy is digging around in her Perla bed and sherpa fabric pieces that I keep for my dogs and I decided I’d straighten it and make sure everything is clean.  Those fabric pieces are awesome for before whelping for nesting, for after whelping because they absorb the “stuff”,  are easy to wash and sanitize , and are soft and lumpy for the puppies to crawl over and under which reminds me to visit the fabric store and pick up some more yardage to cut up and hem.

When I went to do laundry in my newly renovated laundry room in my basement, I found out I was out of detergent which leads me to this post.  My adult daughter who has a toddler and baby in diapers and is environmentally conscious and tries to use cloth diapers as much as she can uses lots of detergent.  Have you noticed that detergent, particularly name brands which are advertised nationally, are very expensive? She put me onto this mixture and for the last few months, I’ve tried it out and found it cleans clothes just as well for only pennies a load.  Since I’m a child of the 70’s, it takes me back to the days when “natural” was in vogue.

The recipe is to mix 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda with 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha bar soap or Zote, grated.  Each load takes 1-3 T.  I use a couple T for most all loads except whites and dirty jeans.  The trick is to put the detergent in first, run a little hot water for it to dissolve well,  and then add clothes.  Only with really stained whites do I add some bleach. All of the items for the mixture are available at your local grocery or Walmart except the Zote bars.  Reviews indicate  Zote is best and this will be my first batch using it so I’ll report back.  Zote is available in areas with a larger Hispanic population because it is a Mexican laundry bar soap. Report: Zote is MUCH better!

I multiply the recipe x 3, mix in a large bowl and store in an old empty laundry detergent box to keep it dry. Since you use so little, it lasts a LONG time unless you are washing diapers daily.

 Posted by at 7:52 pm

On the Countdown for Mini or Toy Aussie Puppies

 Alangus Aussies, Mini Aussie Puppies, Perla Dog Bed  Comments Off on On the Countdown for Mini or Toy Aussie Puppies
Dec 072011

I’m on the countdown for Miniature or Toy Australian Shepherd puppies at our house.  Woohooooo!  Fancy is doing well, eating well, sleeping well and still happy even though her tum is almost dragging the ground.  She’s a little trooper!

Since the 63 days actually starts counting on the day the bitch ovulates and the eggs live for 4-5 days, it is possible that she can whelp as early as December 12.  On the other hand, the sperm lives 3-4 days as well and if she ovulated after breeding, she can whelp as late as December 21.  I didn’t do any vet testing for ovulation, so we’ll just have to be ready!  I’ll start taking her temperature on the weekend. When her temperature is down around 98-99, I’ll know it’ll be within 24 hours til there are puppies.

My basement is undergoing a renovation from 1980’s carpet and paneling to nice drywall and laminate flooring and I so want it to be done before she whelps so she’ll have a quiet place away from my other dogs and I’ll have more space to move around to watch and help.  I told the carpenters to “get with it”!

I’m getting the items gathered for the whelping area.  The Perla bed is sanitized and filled with her nesting material.  I have my whelping kit ready (I hope).  Now just waiting.

 Posted by at 12:44 am
Jul 172011

Puppy PlaypenThe two toy/mini Aussie puppies that are growing at my house are doing really well in the pen set up that I have for them.  I’ve taken hints from other breeders and put them together into what has worked for me.

Since I don’t have a “kennel” and my dogs are home raised, once the puppies were moving around, I set up the play yard in some extra space at the side of my dining room.  I have hardwood floors, so the first thing I did was go to Lowes and buy an inexpensive pre-cut roll of vinyl flooring that looks like wood and unrolled it over my hardwood.  To the casual observer coming into my home, you don’t really notice that I have laid down vinyl and it is easily mopped without doing damage to my wood.

I divided the play area loosely into 3 areas.  In one corner, I have an appropriately sized crate with the door open and sherpa fabric inside that is easy to change out and wash.  The puppies like to “den” in their crate.  Originally, when they were smaller I used the Perla bed, but found they would hunker behind it to sleep so the crate works better at this stage.

In the opposite corner, I use an Out plastic holder for their peepee pads.  I really like that product and the puppies caught on almost immediately and transitioned form the peepee pad on the floor to the holder.  I’m trying to do the math, but when I can put people bed pads on sale and cut them in half, I think it is more cost effective than the puppy pads at the pet store.  It will take a little more computation to figure out if that is actually true.  On the up side, the bed pads are thicker and more absorbant which I do like and a large one cut in half will make 2 perfect size ones for the holder.  I’m finding that about 80% of the time, the puppies are going to the holder which is a terrific percentage for their 6 1/2 weeks old.  Very surprising.

In the other corner, I have their water and puppy food dish which leaves all the middle for their toys and play time.  This set up is very practical, easy to clean and keeping the puppies exercised and happy.

The picture shows the pen in it’s original octagon shape when the puppies were younger and as they have gotten more active, I added 2 additional sections to the pen and made it a large square with more play room.

 Posted by at 2:30 pm
Jul 072011

Traveling with adult dogs is one thing, but traveling with a momma dog and her month old puppies takes a little planning!

My first quandary was where they would ride so I opted for using a normal plastic dog crate that would fit mom plus puppies. With our slide in on the motorhome for travel, floor space was limited.

Since I had previously gotten the puppies used to climbing out of their Perla bed onto peepee pads, when their little feet hit that surface they were ready to do their business. Again space was an issue when we were rolling, so I opted to put a pad in the bathtub and every hour or so set the pups on their pad. Amazingly, they cooperated and there were very few accidents.

Once we got to the campground, I used a soft sided puppy playpen that I bought online. I actually bought two, but opted to use the “Best” brand that I found on Amazon. It was one piece, lightweight and had a zipper screen on the top to keep insects out. It was plenty big for a small bed, pee pad and food dish.  Plus, it was very easy to wash out and dried quickly. I don’t think this particular pen would contain larger, more rambunctious pups, but worked perfectly for this outing. I used it both inside the motorhome and outside under the awning.

I’m really happy we took the puppies along because I got to watch them grow plus they got a ton of socialization since our two grandchildren were with us. They were bombarded with the noises of life in close quarters and will be better pets for it 🙂


 Posted by at 7:54 pm

Puppy Birth

 Mini Aussie Puppies, Perla Dog Bed, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Puppy Birth
Jun 142011

When I was preparing for the birth of my litter of Mini/Toy Aussie puppies, I read books, read blogs and watched videos.  However, I still was not quite prepared for the event and thought I would share a few items that were very helpful along with those OMG moments.  My last dog that I bred was in the late 80’s and she was an easy whelper and required absolutely no assistance.

First, I learned some very good information about preparing the whelping area from a seasoned breeder that is now my friend.  She suggested buying a couple of Perla beds, one to use and one to have clean at all times.  I bought mine online and searched for quite awhile to find reasonable shipping from www.thatpetplace.com.  I ended up getting the large size, but truthfully, the medium would have probably been the correct size for my toy Aussie.  However, since whelping, it has served as a nice containment area until the pups get up and moving around more because the sides are quite high.  Again, I was told to keep the open side toward a wall or toward the pen so when mom gets out while the pups are nursing, she doesn’t drag them out with her.  Good advice.

Of course, I lined the Perla bed with newspapers and then used sherpa fabric cut in pieces about 24″ x 24″ or so.  I bought it at JoAnn Fabrics and cut and zigzagged the pieces before I washed them.  Another terrific idea because the mom and puppies love snuggling with and under the pieces.  I made enough that I can take them out and have several more to replenish until I have a full load to wash. They soak up the “stuff” and are soft and fluffy after they are washed almost like a stuffed toy.  I often find the pups hidden underneath, but the fabric is lightweight enough so it’s not dangerous.

Under the Perla, I have used Drymate Whelping Box Liner I bought online on Amazon.  It is lightweight and since it has a rubber backing, catches any liquid before it soaks through to my hardwood floors.  Again, I bought 4 different ones so I can double up to fill out the entire space of my fenced area and have backup to wash.  The liner washes beautifully and I hang outside to dry.  I found that drying in the dryer didn’t work so well, but it dries overnight when hung up.

I used a small Lectro Kennel Heath Pad under one end of the Perla bed to maintain the temperature about 85-90 degrees to keep the puppies from getting chilled.  Again, this worked perfectly with the addition of a Zoo Med Remote Sensor Thermostat for Reptiles to keep the temperature stable.  At first I tried the temperature control that can be ordered to use with the Lectro Kennel Pad, but when my husband charted the temperatures over a 24 hour period, it was too random and I thought the temps got too hot. The Zoo Med kept the temp very stable and

Izzy’s whelping was quite eventful and luckily my husband was home to help and my breeder friend was on the phone.  All Izzy’s puppies were born posterior first and they were fat little chumps.  In all 3 cases, we had to give assistance by pulling on their little back feet as Izzy contracted to get them out and although it didn’t really take that long, it seemed forever for the heads to finally be out.  The midsection seemed to be the part that “stuck” and try as Izzy tried, she couldn’t have done it on her own.  The last delivery was an extremely large puppy, and it just took too long and we to exert too much pressure for it to survive.  That was when we got very nervous for our momma and thought we might have to rush her to the vet.  At the end of about 7 hours, we had two very fat and healthy Miniature or Toy Australian females puppies that will be for sale in a few weeks.

My hopes are that if I breed another of my dogs, the birthing process will be more normal.  I don’t think it is common that all the pups of a litter come out backwards, but I haven’t really done the research on it.

Another hint I got from a veteran breeder opposes everything I thought I knew, plus everything the vets told me.  I feed my dogs high quality 5 star food and continued to do so once my female was bred.  About mid-way through, I changed her over to high quality puppy food.  My breeder friend said I actually “overfed” her with nutrients which made the puppies very large and fat, making for a more difficult birth.  It does make sense, and although I definitely don’t want to jeopardize the health of my female, I will rethink the feeding regimen next time to try to hit a mid-point.

With the puppies at 14 days old today, I will give their first worm medicine and also grind their little nails a bit because they are like needles.  Chime, the black tri, is just starting to open her eyes and Babybell’s are open wide today and definitely bright blue.

 Posted by at 11:25 pm