It’s time for another post by my youngest, PetKid, who we homeschool. We had an amazing offer from the breeder of our dog, Reggie, for a weekly visit and lesson on the newest litter of puppies. Our dog’s breeder, the wonderful Culandubh Kennels run by Laurel Cook and Ross McLaughlin in Clayton, Ontario, raises purebred Labradors, and the latest litter are entirely chocolate labs. This post covers week four.
Look at this puppy war! It’s so cute and fluffy. This week you can see the puppies are much more hyperactive.
When I went to visit the puppies had moved downstairs to an area with a heat lamp and a separate area filled with shavings for toileting. They had three stuffies to play with, as well as me! I sat in a corner with them crawling all over me, chewing on my clothes and snuffling.
I tired them out so much two fell asleep on my lap. The rest fell asleep in other spots.
One of the puppies crashed out on a stuffed animal and another one couldn’t get to sleep and kept bothering the others. He finally went to sleep on top of one of his sisters.
They are so cute!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s time for another posting by my youngest, PetKid, who we homeschool. We had an amazing offer from the breeder of our dog, Regimbald (also known as Reggie!), for a weekly visit and lesson on the newest litter of puppies. Our dog’s breeder, the wonderful Culandubh Kennels run by Laurel Cook and Ross McLaughlin in Clayton, Ontario, raises purebred Labradors, and the latest litter are entirely chocolate labs. This post covers weeks two and three.
The puppies were cute, big and fluffy when we went to visit them in week two. They had doubled their weight in a week. They were starting to crawl and some of them were starting to open their eyes. Week two was also their last week of tactile stimulation exercises, so we did them again for the last time.
Laurel puts coloured dots on the puppies’ heads, bums and backs so that she knows who is who. For example, our dog Reggie was ‘Blue Butt’. In the chocolate lab litter, ‘Pink Head’ eats a ton, but she was very small at the start.
Here is a picture of me and Apa, the mama of the puppies.
Apa is eating 14 or 16 cups of food every day and drinking a ton of water so she can produce enough milk for eleven puppies. It’s a big job!
In week three, the puppies weren’t getting enough milk, so Laurel had to bottle-feed some of them. She was also starting to give all of them mush. Here’s a picture of Laurel bottle-feeding one of the pups.
The puppies are getting more agile. Their mama, Apa, sleeps beside their pen and at night some of them were climbing out to get to their mum. Laurel had to put up a cardboard wall to stop them from doing this.
This week the puppies will have moved downstairs to a bigger pen and playspace.
So, our new 11-week old black lab puppy Reggie came to our house for a full-day visit today, our first ‘home time’ together. It was a bit of trial run to see how we’d like each other, and it was a roaring success. When we dropped him back to the breeder’s this evening (where he’ll continue to undergo his core training for the next few weeks, with us taking part at regular intervals), he made it clear that he expected to return home with us. That was hard and wonderful. Once he knew he was staying at his first home, he was absolutely fine of course, but it felt good to know that he wants to be with us!
The first hour of our visit was turned over to Reggie exploring most of the house and settling in. He also made time for a yogurt container.
It’s amazing how enthralling a dog will find an empty yogurt pot. Reggie declined a regular portrait in favour of this position.
After his mid-morning nap, we headed down our hill for a circuit around our land.
The stream at the bottom of the hill was a great first stop to explore for Reggie. On his second walk of the day he chose to roll around in it!
This is the closest we got to a full-face shot and it really doesn’t do him justice. This is one placid, take-it-as-it-comes kind of dog, a very good fit for our family.
Having a puppy in the house is very reminiscent of having a new baby at home. Shorter periods of playing and nurturing are followed by long naptimes; as this was Reggie’s first day in our home, I stuck mostly to the kitchen when he was napping, making two batches of popsicles and chicken stock, baking some banana-oat-blackberry muffins, and tidying as my older son made mac’n'cheese with three cheeses for supper.
My youngest was a bit uncertain of how to spend his time while the dog slept, but found his stride dipping in and out of other activities. We even started a board game together while we had a late lunch/snack, but then Reggie woke a bit earlier than expected and it was ‘Reggie time’ again. The first blush of paying rapt attention to the dog’s every move while he’s awake will fade, but I think the foundations of a great friendship were started today.
No, I don’t have any gory animal-fight photos to show you! We went into this spring figuring it was the year of the chicken, especially when we knew we had an offer of two hens from our friends at our local farmers’ market, but we’ve got a little side-tracked (though my better half is insisting that we can probably manage chickens this year too; I’ve told him, “good luck with that” in the nicest way possible, though I am open to him being right).
We’ve talked about getting a dog ever since we planned our move out to the country, and that conversation has been ramping up steadily over the past year or so. My husband was really the hold-out, as he didn’t grow up with dogs like I did, and only had the example of the many unruly dogs that he has met over the years. A visit to a new client, a top breeder and trainer of labs based just a few minutes away from us, changed all of that for him when he saw the wonderfully behaved and well managed animals in their care. The eleven-week old puppies who (mostly) follow instruction beautifully, even as they wriggle with natural puppy energy, knocked him (and me) over. The impressively behaved, warm and friendly older dogs sealed the deal.
On the same visit we met Reggie, one of the eleven-week olds and the only one from his litter not already promised to someone on a waiting list. Reggie was darling and we took to him right away. We agreed that we’d talk about things more seriously and perhaps get the boys out to meet him and see if they were a good fit for each other.
They were! This weekend Reggie will visit our home for the day as we start the process of getting used to each other while he finishes his training (six to 16 weeks is the all-important window in training a puppy, which I certainly never knew). The people raising our dog are truly amazing and we know they will be a continuing resource for us as we settle in with the newest member of our family.
Now, all you farm and country-based folks like ourselves who are dying to share advice or hard-won learning on how to approach life with our black lab puppy, please do spill the beans. We’d love to hear all of your stories!
Promise I’ll post a photo soon; he’s pretty sweet.