BIRTH AND BEYOND
I feel it is important to have the Whelping Box a little away from your main kennel.
I like to have the pack experience the arrival of new members. But, the pen should be far enough away that the mother feels safe and secure.
My pen is between the kennel and right next to my chalet. I can see the pen from my window and hear all the action.
My pen consists of a whelping cabin with an attached wire (floor, sides, top and end)pen.
The cabin has an exit to the wired pen.
The whole pen/whelping cabin are raised on blocks from the ground.
I really like this type of setup as it keeps the puppies clean and helps prevent disease.
The mother can go out to do her business, which all falls through to the ground underneath.
The pen can easily be hosed down and everything is kept clean.
With this setup, I know when the mother is in labour and when the puppies are born.
I have found that the mother usually likes to come over to my open window and complain about her discomfort.
Cobalt was the worst for this and with each contraction we would have a little conversation with me comforting her. As I have said, I am very close to my canine family.
As soon as I hear a puppy's first cry, I go out, pick up the puppy, gently pet it, place it close to my mouth, blow in its face and then place it to its mothers breast.
This way, I am bonding with the puppy right at birth. This way the puppy feels secure with both the mother and me.
I learned this technique from Susan Butcher. She had a great rapport with her dogs.
From now on, I am out there several times a day playing, interacting and petting the puppies and also
giving the mother attention.
On the second or third day, I remove the Dew Claws.
To me this is very important to prevent irritation when wearing booties as an adult.
Of coarse in due time the puppies need to be wormed and vaccinated with Veterinarian supervision/consulting.
I feed the mother in the whelping cabin with her puppies so when they get older they learn to eat solids by sampling their mothers food.
This makes the job of weening the puppies much easier and less stressful.
By following the mothers example of going out in the pen to re-leave herself, the puppies also learn to go out there following her example.
It make house breaking puppies so much easier.
Usually, between six to eight weeks the puppies are weened and the mother is placed back in the kennel. This done slowly taking the mother away for short periods of time and then overnight.
It is important now to make sure the mother releases all of her milk over the next several days and drys up properly to prevent later complications.
Now you are the sole provider for your puppies.