Some Things to Think About While We Wait For the Puppies to Grow!

13 Apr

Puppies need a lot of sleep, and when they’re not sleeping, they’re eating, so our big job right now is feeding Sadie lots of good, healthy food and making sure she has plenty of fresh water, and keeping the house warm and quiet. We still have to help her get the puppies hooked up to the teats sometimes, but she is becoming very adept at doing this herself, and also seems to know which one has not nursed for a while and therefore needs to go next. (They let her know, too, with their soft squeals!) At first we were dividing them up for her and letting four at a time sleep while the other four nursed. They were all weighed again yesterday evening, and weight gains of at least an ounce each were noted, just in the first 36 hours since birth! Good job, Sadie! We will weigh them every day at the same time, and keep track of their growth in this space. Their appearances won’t change much until the 12th or 13th day after birth, when their eyes will open, so I wanted to give you some things to think about while we wait for that big event. Someone asked this morning if we might recommend a trainer, and we realized that we don’t have first-hand knowledge of any center city trainers. This is partly because Sadie herself was so easy to train that we didn’t need one, and Bob was home with her full-time when she first came home, so, with the help of our very bossy Border Collie, quickly trained her himself. We had always used Mary Remer when we lived in Radnor; she was right around the corner from us, at the Montgomery Scott estate on Newtown Road. She has since opened up a wonderful new facility in Frazer that you might want to check out:  http://whatagooddoginc.com/  She still does training in Villanova, and offers expanded services at the Frazer site. I love that she calls her company “What a Good Dog” – that pretty much sums up her philosophy, which is praise, praise, praise, coupled with consistency. She insisted on coming to our home and talking to the whole family together before she began training our Border Collie, who subsequently became a wonderful suburban family dog, which if you know anything about Border Collies, is quite an accomplishment!

Another thing I wanted to talk about is leashes and collars. We have been dismayed by the number of people we see dragging their poor doggies around by the neck, with a leash attached directly to their collar! This is very bad for their rather fragile necks and can cause airway problems as well. If you have a headstrong, untrained dog on a leash which is attached to a collar around its neck, you are eventually going to have a dog with brain damage due to lack of oxygen to its brain, or at the very least, a dog with throat and/or airway problems. There is a characteristic cough we’ve noticed in dogs we’ve met, and I don’t hesitate to tell people that they should be using a harness. (After all, their doggie can’t speak for itself!) It is uncomfortable and cruel to the dog as well as more difficult for the owner. Take your dog to a good dog shop, with trained personnel, and have it fitted with a harness, or better yet, find or order the Weiss Walkie. We had Buddy Belts for Sadie when she was growing up, but then we discovered this and have used nothing else since:  http://www.weisswalkie.com/  It was designed by an animal behavior specialist, is super-easy to use, and is practically indestructible. It is also made from special glow-in-the-dark material, which brings me to another thing I wanted to share:

When you walk your dog, especially at night, put something on you and your dog to make you both as visible as possible. The brightest colors are best and a flashing light such as a bicycle light that flashes are worth their weight in gold.
Consider an illuminated flashing collar –  it is the best defense you have against getting hit by a vehicle at night. I’ve heard too many stories of people and their pets being hit and either seriously injured or killed because they didn’t make themselves visible. Even in daylight, one should make oneself as visible as possible. Cars, no matter what the color, become almost impossible to see in the distance and it is exactly the same for animals. It is fine to spend money on toys (more about those later!) but your first priority must be the safety, comfort and health of your new companion.

This is a tip shared with us by our favorite dog walkers, Monster Minders whom we recommend without reservation when you need a walker in the City. We have found them to be super-reliable, scrupulously honest, hard-working, and they truly seem to love what they’re doing! You can find them at:  http://themonsterminders.com/Site/Home.html  Carrie, and her husband Lindsay (who is from New Zealand), started their business about five years ago – we were some of their very first customers – and it has grown by leaps and bounds, based primarily on customer satisfaction!

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