So we have been undertaking puppy preparations here, in anticipation for Clover’s upcoming litter. We have many basic things, as we have had litters before – thermometers, heat lamp, whelping box, and so forth. So, really, the only stuff we had to get is the fun stuff!
Leave with Work
I put in leave with work, as I pretty much don’t work when I have puppies. I need to be here for the whelping, and I need to be here to clean, socialise, and just generally care take puppies. At a young age, they are not too strenuous. As they get older, the elimination increases, and so does the work load!
Setting Up Whelping Box
We try to get Clover used to sleeping in a whelping box well before she has to. From a few weeks before her due date, we set up her whelping box in our bedroom. She often sleeps on the bed, so we remove this privilege so she doesn’t expect to have and raise puppies on the bed! Part of setting up our bedroom for the puppies was also moving Myrtle from our room, where she normally sleeps.
Moving Cat Inside
Benjamin, our cat, lives in a room that’s detached from the house. However, we wanted him to have access to the puppies as a socialisation experience for them. So, we set up a room in the house for Benjamin, and he will get to expose the puppies to a cat when the time comes.
By far the most fun part has been to buy toys! Again, we do have a lot of toys from previous litters, but we also lose a lot of toys as the adult dogs steal and chew them up. We have purchased ping pong balls, which are nice and light for puppies to move. Also, pictured above, we purchased 20 of the Gorrrrilla toys, which are food dispensing toys. This is in heed of Dunbar’s thoughts on Kongs.
Bookmarking Potential Socialisation Dates
I keep a pretty mean calendar, and puppy raising has set dates, as well. Looking in local papers, I have bookmarked in my calendar potential dates for socialisation – such as upcoming fairs, markets, and so forth. This time of year we are lucky in there is lots of Christmas carol stuff happening too. Anything that may be of use has been put into my calendar, and we will aim to attend as many as possible.
Lots of my breeder friends swear by vet bed for raising puppies on, but I gawked at the price. I was content to raise my puppies on towels and light blankets, but then one of my dogs won vet bed at a show! So, now I have a fresh chunk of vet bed to experiment with, which cost me nothing! Perfect!
Using good ol’ YouTube, I sat down and found a bunch of novel sound effects to play to the puppies. You can access the habituation noise playlist, if you so please. There are a number of CDs available for the same purpose (habituating dogs to noises), but they cost money… And you may have noticed a reoccuring theme in that I like things that cost nothing!
I was once told that for service dogs, such as guide dogs and assistance dogs, when they are being raised, they attempt to give the dogs a novel experience every day. Even if it’s not true, it didn’t seem like a bad idea, so I thought I’d try to collect novel experiences for my puppies. In the past I have used things like remote controlled cars, but I couldn’t go past the incredibly strange dog-vacuum cleaner child’s toy that I found in an op shop. If this doesn’t prepare my puppies for anything, I don’t know what will!
Puppy Resources List
I have been compiling a list for my puppy buyers with videos and resources they can access for raising and training their puppy. I am now in the process of reducing the list, because we all know that when we’re overwhelmed we just read nothing! I also purchased the book Perfect Puppy in 7 Days by Sophia Yin, as it looked really good, but I’m hesitant to recommend anything before I’ve read it. (I will review the book in a future post but, in short, I recommend it!)
I have written many sale contracts with past litters, but now is the time to dig them out and customise to our upcoming litter and their people.
Phew! So that’s what I’ve been busy doing in order to prepare for puppies. Luckily, when they arrive, being blobs for a couple of weeks, I still have plenty of time to get things sorted.