Puppies first lesson

The pups are 3 weeks, 5 days old. They eat from a dish twice a day now and feast on their mom besides. All of them eat til they look as if they’ll burst. I’m able to feel just the hint of their milk teeth beginning to peek through, so soon the food will be less liquid and more for chewing. They’re growing round and strong, which is good… but they’re also learning their first lesson. One that will serve them well through their entire lives and help to keep them safe.
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They’ve learned to associate the sound of my voice with food, so are now coming when I call them. I call them out of their house, across the porch, and a few feet into the lawn. I want to teach them that coming when called is a GOOD thing; it brings rewards and positive interaction. Little do they know it’s setting the tone for their first lesson as pets. I try to move around a bit and vary the spot they’re fed at so that they’re learning to come to me rather than to a specific spot. They have to listen for my voice and come to where I am if they want their reward. Later, when they go to their long term homes, they’ll be ready to respond eagerly when called because they’re learning it now. This is puppy kindergarten where they’re mastering their first lesson.

I’m a Labradoodle breeder

When I tell people I’m a labradoodle breeder I usually get one of 3 reactions.

1. They have no clue what a “Labradoode” is.
2. They know and have a friend, family member or acquaintance who has or wants one.
3. They tell me I’m corrupting purebreds by crossing 2 recognized breeds and have no business in the business.

The first group is fun, because it gives me the chance to share my excitement of these great dogs with people who have no preconcieved notion about them. Some are fascinated, some could care less, but all go away knowing more than they knew.

The second group is generally enthusiastic and tell me stories about how smart, funny, cute and well trained the dog is. I smile and nod my head, enjoying seeing others as enthusiastic about these little treasures as I am.

The third group isn’t a lot of fun, but they’re entitled to their opinion, so I let them state their position, then come home and play with my doodle dozen.

Sure I could have bred my adult dogs to purebreds, and been raising AKC pups for the same cost as I’m doing Labradoodles. But I’d also have concerns about the genetic weaknesses, inbreeding, and glut on the market that’s taken the thrill out of that possibility for me. My heart just sinks when I see how many Lab breeders are advertising in the local classifieds! I know they’re the number 1 dog in new pup registries with AKC each year, but how many get good loving life long homes? And as wonderful as standard poodles are, they have trouble finding acceptance among men because they’re concieved as “fru-fru dogs” which is not the case at all! They’ll keep up with a lab in retrieving ducks, don’t stink your truck up on the ride home and won’t shed laying in front of the fire to dry off!

So whatever your reaction, I’m proud to say “I’m a labradoodle breeder.”

Puppies first food

With a litter of 12 to feed, Canada has had a challenge to keep everyone well fed and herself healthy in the process. I’ve been top-dressing her food with Puppy formula, she gets raw liver and eggs. There is ALWAYS food in her dish, even though she’s eating over 30 lbs a week right now. She’s managed to stay a bit on the chubby side, but her coat is starting to show the stress of feeding so many. So yesterday we found this:

Puppy in Mamas food

Which was a pretty strong hint that the pups are becoming interested in Mamas food. At 19 days of age, it’s a few days earlier than expected, but hey they’re showing me what they want, so who am I to say they’re not ready?
Tonight I found one licking her food even though he has no teeth to chew with yet.

So I decided to mix up some puppy forumla and thicken it with a bit of soft white bread crumbs. I figured they’d at least get a taste for what’s to come. Nothing had prepared me for the frenzy that followed! The first pup I put at the bowl dived in like he hadn’t eaten all day. So we brought out another… who did the same. They were sucking the mix down like they were old pros.

So I ran in, mixed up more, and filled a second pan. We brought out all 12 pups, and let the frenzy begin. Now anyone who hasn’t seen puppies sharing their first few meals has missed some serious cuteness. They climb INTO the food, over each other, and rut around like little pigs. It’s comical and charming at the same time. By the end of the meal they’re a sloppy mess… which I just can’t resist sharing.

ENJOY!
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Canada seemed to enjoy watching them eat. I’m sure she enjoyed cleaning them up after too! Between the 12 of them they ate 4 cups of formula with 4 slices worth of bread crumbs. We checked them all carefully before putting them back in for the night and not one looked like it could have swallowed another drop.

So feeding time has taken a sudden turn, and from now on they’ll be getting puppy formula with crushed puppy chow softened in it a couple times each day. Once their teeth come in, there will be less liquid and more puppy chow until they’re ready to eat like big puppies do. They’re growing up so fast!