Some nuts and bolts about fostering mamas and puppies:
– I usually offer mama a bed outside of the puppy pool so that she has a nice comfy place to escape when she needs it. As the puppies get older and need to nurse less, the moms accept the alternate bed. But with this mama, I have tried every bedding option I have and moved them from the puppy room to the garage. Yet she prefers the cold concrete floor. And whatever she wants, she gets
– My puppy raising protocol calls for Early Neurological Stimulation from 3 days old to 16 days old, if the pups are not stressed in any other way. Since they’ve been fighting a virus, we have skipped this step.
– We’ve been handing them gently, and following mom’s lead on how much to do.
– We’ve weighed them twice (avoiding the extra stress that daily weight checks could bring). We don’t really care how much they weigh, but we care that each puppy is gaining weight. With this litter, that requires us to find some way to tell them apart. The first weight check was fast because Natasha needed to get used to us putting them on the scale. We tried to record some distinguishing features. With the 2nd weight check, we spent more time with each puppy, while mama supervised. We were sort of able to deduce that every puppy gained weight, and at a rate of about 8 oz over the 2 day period. We then compared the rate of gain to our previous litters’ rate gain – right on track with our larger breeds! That is great news.
– The puppies are toddling around and opening their eyes. They are deciding to get out of the nest area, and pee somewhere else. That’s why I make sure to line the pool with the reusable pee pads (thank you wonderful donors!!), but I also include a nice soft blanket for the nest area. At first the nest was damp, but in the last 24 hours, it’s much dryer. That’s how I know they are differentiating nest from pee spot.
– At this point, I need to start to introduce one new thing or experience each day. My spreadsheet is ready; pups are healthy; time for the fun!