Puppies have arrived! (12-22-12)
The puppies have arrived! 5 males and 4 females. The first one arrived at about 10:30 AM and the last one came at 11:15 PM. It was a long day! The girls are wearing red, pink, purple and orange collars. The boys are wearing blue, green, black, yellow and white collars. They all weighed about 1 lb. They were big, healthy puppies! We use the colors for identification because we weigh them on a daily basis to ensure weight gain.
Garage Renovation Complete (12-19-12)
We finally finished the garage renovation. I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. It is like our own little labor and delivery room. We have an AC/heater to keep the room the right temperature for the puppies. We have a weighing station since we weigh them every day for the first week and weekly thereafter. We have a TV for entertaining and so the puppies get used to all sorts of noises. Plus, there is a lot of open space for our air mattress and eventually plenty of room for the puppies to play. My husband, father-in-law and our contractor friend did an amazing job!
Aggie Update (11-21-12)
We have decided not to do an ultrasound on Aggie. Her behavior, weight gain and swollen teats are all indications that she is pregnant. So all signs are favorable! Here is a photo I took with my iPhone on 11/20/12. As you can see she has quite the belly! She weighed in at 78 lbs today at the vet.
Now we just keep our fingers crossed and hope that she delivers the puppies without any problems. We will be doing x-rays on Thursday, December 20th to count the number of puppies. It is important for us to know how many we should be expecting during the whelping process. Her due date is around the 23rd-25th of December.
Garage Renovation (11-5-12)
Last year, we had our puppies in our master bedroom for the first four weeks. Needless to say, we did not get much sleep even with ear plugs. This time around, we are renovating our garage into a whelping room. We will have a baby video monitor so we can keep an eye on them when we aren’t in the garage. We are insulating all of the walls and the garage door. We are installing an AC/heater, extra lights, extra electrical outlets and even wiring it for cable TV! I know it sounds crazy, but we like to turn on the TV for the puppies to get them used to all sorts of different noises. We don’t want them to be scared of thunder storms or fire crackers! The project is not complete yet, but we will be finished before Thanksgiving. I am grateful that my husband, father-in-law and our good friend/general contractor Dick Hermes are helping me with this project. The things we do for our dogs!
Insulated the garage door
Insulated the walls of our garage – now we just need dry wall!
Aggie Update (11-4-12)
It hasn’t even been two weeks since we bred Aggie, so it is too early to tell if she is pregnant. She is sleeping a lot and seems more hungry than usual, but you never know. As we wait, we are just trying to keep her in good shape. We take her for walks and even short, slow bike rides. It is important that she does not become overweight as labor requires the dam to be physically fit. Last year Aggie went into labor at midnight and delivered her last puppy at 10 AM – talk about endurance!
We will be taking Aggie to Dr. Beverly Brimacomb at Highland Pet Hospital on November 21, 2012. They will do an ultrasound to see if they can hear any heartbeats. If there are heartbeats, they will try to count them. However, it is very difficult to accurately determine the number of puppies through an ultrasound. Last year Dr. B counted 8 heatbeats on the ultrasound and Aggie delivered 7 in December 2011.
We are keeping our fingers (and toes) crossed!
Pictures of Aggie (11-3-12)
Photographing dogs is not an easy task. It is very difficult to get a good photo of a dog with its mouth closed (without the tongue hanging out), eyes and head looking the right direction, standing the correct way, with its tail held perfectly (not wagging), with its ears perked, not salivating over the treats, the dog in good coat and good shape, with good weather, with correct lighting, with the grass not too high, etc. It is near impossible to get a “perfect” picture especially since I pretty much only take photos with my iPhone! Luckily I have an amazing neighbor, Michelle Gross, to help us photograph Aggie. Michelle lays down on the ground in our backyard and shoots while I bribe Aggie with treats. It really is quite a funny process! She shoots for about 15 minutes until we get too hot in the Florida heat or until Aggie becomes disinterested. Here are some photos we took of our beautiful girl, Aggie.
Wagging her tail
Standing pretty, but the grass is too deep!
CNM Test Results (11-2-12)
A few weeks ago we did three cheek swabs on Aggie and sent them away to VetGen for DNA testing for the disease called cetronuclear myopathy (CNM). We received Aggie’s CNM test results from VetGen today. She is CLEAR, meaning that she will not produce any puppies affected by CNM. Axle is also CNM clear, so their puppies will be CNM clear. Here is the link for more information on CNM in case you are interested: http://www.labradorcnm.com/pages/site/0-frame_site.html
Breeding Aggie Again (10-24-12 & 10-25-12)
Aggie’s body is like clockwork! She came into heat the same day as last year. We did three progesterone tests to identify the optimal time for breeding and now she is ready to be bred this week.
We are doing a repeat breeding to Axle, an incredibly handsome chocolate Lab in Washington. Axle is an AKC champion and he excels in hunting. Check out his web page for more information. http://www.tynderlabs.com/axle.htm
Aggie and Axle had seven puppies on 12/21/11. Our young girl, Memphis, is from that first breeding. If all goes well, we should have puppies right before Christmas. Keeping our fingers crossed for a large and healthy litter!
IABCA Show (5-5-2012)
First Vet Appointment (2-18-12)
I picked up the puppies from the dog show in Lakeland this morning and took them to Dr. Brimacomb’s office for their 8 week vet visit. Luckily Dr. Brimacomb’s office is only 20 minutes away from the show grounds. The puppies all got their Bordetella vaccines and their health certificates. The vet checked for umbilical hernias and they were all fine. Their hearts sounded good and their fecal tests came back negative. They also weighed them and then dewormed them all. The puppies behaved very well!
The staff was most impressed that I was able to identify them even though they all look alike. Sandy removed the rickrack collars from their necks when they were micrchipped. I picked up a puppy, said “this is pink female” and they checked the microchip to see if I was right. I got 100% on the test!
Goodbye Puppies! (2-18-12)
Now that the puppies all have their health certificates, they are ready to go to their new homes. Yellow female is being placed with Brynn McDowell and Brian Dawsy. Her new name is Chambray’s Blue Suede Shoes, “Memphis”. She got to spend the afternoon with Aggie before heading to her new home. Aggie was so excited to see her!
Puppy Placement Process (2-12-12)
Now that we have done the puppy evaluations, Sandy will spend the rest of the weekend and week working out the details on the puppy placement process. In other words, he will decide which puppy goes to which home.
For more information on the puppy placement process, please click on the link below.
Puppy Evaluations (2-11-12)
The Puppy Evaluation Process
By the seventh week of age, we are now ready for the all-important puppy evaluations. The evaluations for temperament and conformation are performed when each litter is approximately 7.5 – 8 weeks old; so the final puppy placements are not known until after the evaluations. After the evaluations have been conducted, we will decide where each puppy will be placed. You have a choice of either accepting the puppy being made available to you, waiting for the next litter, or canceling the deposit.
To me the evaluation is the most crucial part of the puppy process because “the shape of a puppy at 8 weeks is the shape it will grow back into as an adult”. The goal is to only produce puppies that are genetically, temperamentally, and structurally sound. We use a method very similar to what you find in Pat Hastings’ books, videos and seminars. The evaluation serves three purposes:
1.to determine whether there are structural problems in the litter so they can be avoided in future breedings;
2.to decide which puppy to keep as a potential addition to the breeding program; and
3.to determine the best type of home for each puppy in the litter.
First, the whole litter is observed in a natural setting. We are looking to see which puppy stands out and which is most structurally balanced. Then we move on to the “table work”! Each puppy will now be scrutinized by touch, and photos will be taken of every section of the puppy. Using all the photos taken of this litter, I then sit in front of my computer and analyze every single photo of each puppy. I compare each and every aspect as to how it compares to the written breed standard for Labradors.
The puppies are evaluated in the following areas :
- Temperament– this is key in placing the puppy with in the right home
- Overall Type– this is a look at the dog from the side view, looking at the whole dog and how all the parts fit together according to the breed standard.
- Head– the head structure is a hallmark of the breed, correct bite, eyes, etc.
- Fronts– both as seen from a front view and also the front assembly as seen from the side
- Rears– once again, rear view and side view of the rear assembly, and also includes the tail set.
- Movement– movement is a function of front and rear assemblies
Below are some examples from a puppy evaluation we did in February 2012.
7 Weeks Old (2-8-12)
The puppies are 7 weeks old today. I don’t have any photos to share because they are in Miami at Chambray Acres with Sandy. He says they are all doing great. The first thing Sandy did on Sunday was microchip them. Now we won’t have to worry about not being able to tell them apart if they lose their collars made out of rickrack or the nail polish wearing off.
Today they all get their first shot. It is the Duramune 5 shot with Distemper, Adenovirus #2, Parainfluenza, Parvo. (They will get their Bordetella shot at 8 weeks of age.)
I am so happy that the puppies are able to spend some time at Sandy’s farm. They will get exposed to a completely different environment, which is great for their socialization. Click the link below for some information on how Sandy raises his puppies with a “free range training” approach.
First Car Ride (2-5-12)
The puppies left our house today. I am going to miss them, but I know they are going to have fun at Chambray Acres in Miami until they go to their new homes.
As soon as we started driving, they all fell asleep. Nothing like the hum of a running vehicle to put puppies to sleep!
The puppies were so good! They are all pretty much crate trained already. They didn’t potty in the crate on the way to Orlando. Sandy says only one of them pooped in the crate on the way from Orlando to Miami. These are going to be easy dogs to house train!
Weaning the Puppies (2-1-12)
Today we weaned the puppies off Aggie. We dropped Aggie off with a friend until the puppies leave on Sunday. Hopefully Aggie’s milk will dry up quickly!