The first of the development stages is The Neonatal Period. This period starts at day one and goes to day 14. At this stage the most important and main influence in the puppies life is their dam. Her health, milk supply, attitude towards the pups and people who come see them influence the behavior development of the litter.
Puppies First Week: I am so thankful for such a good brood bitch. Tikka is the best mom I have ever had the pleasure of owning. Her maternal instincts are exceptional. Once the pups were cleaned, cords done, and all the pups had their first meal, Tikka settled in with cleaning and caring for them. She spent the first night with them allowing them to drink, cuddle and stay close to her. Pups weighed in from 1 pound to the largest being 1 pound 4 ounces. Most were around 1 pound 3 ounces. All the pups are very dark pigmented but you can see the red on their feet, a wee bit on the cheeks, and a few have a little patch of red on their chest. There is no runt in the litter. All are pretty uniform and seem to have very nice heads.
As I have watched them daily for this first week, I am again amazed at how quickly they grow! Most pups tend to loose a bit of weight the first day or two, but these guys all gained several ounces by the third day. Some gained as much as 4 ounces! They are all very active and have no problem finding a nipple or taking one from a sibling! By the end of this first week, they are over twice their size/weight. I am also amazed at how several of the puppies are already starting to put weight on their legs to stand and even trying to take a few steps. Usually you don’t see this until the second week.
In this neonatal period the pups of course spend 90% of their time sleeping. It is amazing at how much time one can spend just watching them! They are fast crawlers and have no problem righting themselves when they turn over. The pups are generally quiet/content and Tikka keeps a close eye on them. She loves to clean them and spends time stimulating them so that they can defecate. At this point, the pups use their nose and head (bobbing back and forth) to find mom and the milk supply. They seem to have good noses as they have no problem finding those nipples quickly!!
I am amazed (and thankful!) that Tikka is very careful around them. If they are spread out a bit in the whelping box, then she will find a spot and curl herself up tight as to not disturb/lay on any. Once they start coming to her for milk she starts to stretch out. If she cannot find a spot then she will actually sit and wait until some pups move around and empty up a spot for her to lay down in. She will even nudge a few to get them moving if she needs to! She still spends most of the night in the box but will come out and lay beside it for short periods during the day. If she hears any groaning or whining she is quick to investigate and usually starts to lick them to see if she can make them more comfortable by getting them to defecate. Tikka loves to cuddle with the puppies and will not stay away from the whelping room for long. Usually it is for a quick pee/poop and then back to babies.
We have had a few visitors (close friends/family). Again, I am thankful that Tikka is such a good mom and such a social dog. She greets everyone with a wag/kiss and shows off her babies. I do not allow anyone to touch the pups at this point, as I don’t want Tikka to get nervous and want to move them. Visitors come in one at a time and Tikka has no problem with this. She will watch you but she is not nervous or protective. I love this quality about her. For the most part I have tried to give Tikka lots of alone time with her puppies in a nice quiet room away from the other dogs and the business of the house.
Dark green collar boy is the largest pup at this point. Looks like a lot of bone and nice head. He also seems to be the darkest pigmented. Purple collar boy is the smallest of the boys (although he is not small by any means!). He is a go getter and also has a nice stop on his head. Yellow collar boy is between purple collar and green collar in size.
Orange collar girl and no collar girl are very close in size to each other and the largest females. Red collar girl is close behind them and then lime green collar girl being the smallest. They all have nice heads, are very dark, with orange collar girl showing the most ‘color’ at this point (most red markings).
I started the Neurological Stimulation with the puppies on day 3.
10 Days Old
Second Week: Tikka and the puppies are doing great. The puppies do seem to be a bit ahead in their development! Lots of movement and starting to use those little legs! Oh wow…just looked over at the pups and dark green color boy just took 5-6 steps on his legs!!! I also noticed today (day 10) that the pups eyes are just starting to open. They are responding a bit to me (by smell ) as I come close to see/cuddle them. These puppies seem to be very strong and healthy!! Nice shiny coats!! Tikka has a great milk supply so they are getting well fed! Starting to hear little growls …..so cute.
Dark green color boy is still the largest male. Orange and no collar girl are still the largest females, although red collar girl is VERY close to their size. If I did not have collars on these pups, I don’t think I would know or be able to distinguish many of the pups from each other! Their pigment is still very dark.
14 Days / 2 Weeks Old
2 Weeks: Pups turned 2 weeks old on Wednesday, April 19. All are doing very well. They are certainly well fed!!! The smallest weighed in at 2 lbs. 12 ounces and the largest at 3 lbs. 12 ounces. I thought the small pup was small until I compared them to Tikka's last litter and found he is bigger than 8 of the 9 pups from the last litter! Guess these other ones are just BIG!!!
Their eyes are now open and responding to me when I come close to them. They are also starting to hear as Tikka barked the other day and I saw the pups sit up and 'look'. They are also starting to walk more and use those little legs! They are all still pretty dark pigmented with a few having a big more 'red' coloring on the cheeks/chest/feet. Dark green collar boy (the largest) is quite adament when he wakes up that he wants his food NOW. It is interesting to watch Tikka with them. The pups are at a size where they do not fit as comfortably lined up on her nipples, so she will stretch out more for them. As well, they will go through the nipples quickly trying to find the one with the most milk!! Tikka is so patient and kind to them. Never complains, always grooming them and keeping them clean.
Manual Slide Show of Photos, Neonatal Period up to 14 Days
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