My first litter of sheltie pups was in 1992. This leads people think I am "experienced" in breeding and raising litters. The truth is that everytime I raise a litter I learn something new. Also, because I don't breed often, it is actually a matter of trying to remember what to do! Thank goodness I keep records and have photos and videos to look back on. Even with all my records I like to get new ideas from others to try. Each litter is not the same and my knowledge increases (hopefully!) over time so that I can try new and different things.
For my next litter I will definitely go away again and have someone else watch them between 6.5 and 7 weeks. LOL
I was very lucky to have Johanna offer to come and watch the pups when I learned I could be on the British World Agility Team with Zaz. It would have been difficult to leave otherwise or Dennis would have had to stay home. Not only did it allow me to go the the World Champs, it also was great for the pups! They learned to interact with a new person, learned new tricks and went on many car trips.
After their first short car ride to pick Johanna up at the train station the pups got car sick. It was only a 5 minute ride but they were drooling already. I generally have trouble with all my pups with car sickness; so I just expected it.
Johanna had some good ideas to work with them eating some meals in the car with the car off and then with the car running. While I have taken all my pups on car rides I never thought to do this with the whole litter. Sometimes is it just the logistics of getting all the pups into the car without losing one!
So during the time I was away the pups took many short car rides as well as being fed in the car. It will be interesting to see if they are less car sick than previous litters or if they are the same.
The pups even took a trip to the beach!
I play many following/chasing me games with all my litters. Johanna used this foundation to get the pups used to following her out of the puppy pen into the garden or dog run. This was great to help improve their housebreaking as she could get all 4 pups out quickly instead of having to carry them out one or two at a time. Then she used the idea of "crate games" to get them used to following her back in and get them to put themselves back into the puppy pen. I have been amazed at how clean these pups have been in their puppy pen from an early age.
Zen is a great teacher at this age. She will now play with the pups and she really encourages them to play with toys. They often get overwhelmed as she likes to shove the toys into their faces.
I think Johanna was exhausted by the time she left. It is a full time job to take care of pups when you don't just leave them in a puppy pen all day. Luckily when the new owners appreciate the effort and can enjoy their well-adjusted pups it makes the long days all worth while.
Johanna was so busy training the pups that she missed their 7 week photos. So here they are at 7.5 weeks.