23 March, 2009

Care & Feeding of Too Many Dogs - Pt 2

The first month of Puppydom is a relative slice of mudcake when compared to the second. Before that miraculous 4th week they are nearly 100% reliant on mom for all their wants and needs. After that? It's us they need! What is sometimes a daunting task for someone dealing with only one or two dogs, was cubed for our tribe of nine. Eleven, if you count the humans. Here is how the second month unfolded:

Week 4: Foooood, glorious food! If you think one dog eats a lot, try feeding eight newly toothy puppy mouths and one ravenous weaning mama-dog. Laney was so hungry she began eating whole carrots! At this stage, the pups had tiny little razor teeth and were happy to crunch away on high-protein puppy kibble. We didn't bother with any milk substitutes or supplements. Nor did we wet their food, as they seemed to have no problem chomping and digesting the hard kibble. We let Laney wean as she liked, and her weight dropped rapidly around this time which told us to feed her more, and told her to feed them less! It was also between weeks 3 and 4 that the pups and mom were all given a store-bought worming treatment.

Week 5: Time to be a party animal. We'd been socializing the puppies since birth, really. Neighbors and children, family and friends all dropped by over the weeks to pet and gawk. But by this age, it was very important to make certain they were used to all varieties and sizes of people. Now that all the dogs were eating real food, Laney stopped cleaning up their waste and that left a lovely nightly task of room cleaning and puppy washing for my hard working hubby. The damage bill also skyrocketed around week 5. Hubby remade the guest room with scrap vinyl used to cover the saddened carpet, and fenced the pups in the best he could with old doors, plywood, etc. Their old whelping box was converted into a potty-box and some training was begun! Sometimes they'd still manage to get ahold of the wrong thing and...destruction!

Week 6: Laney had pretty much cut off the mommy buffet at this point. She still allowed the occasional comfort nursing (in fact, she still allows an occasional minute or two) but her milk began drying up and we increased the puppies food to about 4 cups of dry food per day and 500g of "dog roll". For those not in Oz, this is just pressed wet food, sold in the meat section. Canned food would suffice. As for potty training, it's nigh on impossible with eight pups. But we attempted, belatedly, the Misty Method, and it worked to some degree. If we had less pups or had begun earlier we might've had better luck. We also began giving each puppy solo-time with the humans. One or two per night would join us in the living room for individual attention.

Week 7: Advertise, advertise, advertise! Finding good homes for eight dogs is no simple task. Though these pups were so cute that they made it a little bit easier. We placed ads on free boards, pet sites, etc but got nearly all our pups adopted via a paid classified (online only, no print ad). Life pretty much continued as normal, though we increased their exercise with occasional outdoor adventures after their 2nd worming, and lots of tug-of-war using old towels and plenty chasing of tennis balls. Clean-up became all consuming of our time with hubby washing and tidying and me cleaning at least a load of towels per day.

Week 8: This is when the pups began to filter out to their new homes. Jimmy and Junior were the first to go, adopted by hubby's aunt and uncle. By far the most popular, Isca is now living contentedly by the sea, on the York Peninsula. Next went Batman and Robin to a lovely couple wanting exercise buddies. Soon after, Spot became the light of a teen girl's life. Speck was our last adoptee and she is now warming the hearts of a kind couple who lost their longtime doggy-friend, last month. We, of course, kept the best of them all! Born "Pisca" and renamed Emmy, our little gem will begin intensive training once the house is free of other doggy distractions.

The Aftermath: We had exactly eight hours between Speck's departure and Jimmy & Junior's return. Aunt and Uncle had pre-puppy travel plans and we've been playing puppysitters for the last several days. They've been re-dubbed Floyd and Ellie and are far more rambunctious than our runty little Em'. But she has held her own! We get a week-long reprieve before our second round of puppysitting and it will be nice to begin finding a flow with just our two dogs. Emmy will be getting her first shots, another worming, and lots of time outside the puppy dungeon. It will be a whole new adventure for us all!


Margo said...

OMG. I'm getting 'clucky' for another puppy. They are just too cute for words. Love the pic of them all sitting in the middle of destruction in their room as if to say "Wasn't me..nuh..uh..not me ..musta been that other puppy"

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Awww, if only you'd "clucked" sooner. I would've loved one of our pups to spend the years prancing around your gardens! (But hopefully not over the veggies!)

And yep! The scene of the crime was pretty much exactly that. All innocents, no criminals!

Margo said...

Alas with 72kg of dog of our own, our sofa couldn't handle a 3rd. It's pretty darn challenging getting all 4 of us on there at the same time !!!!!!!!!!!

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Understandable! I'm still trying to figure out how to stay sane with a grown dog and her pup in the house. The mania is non-stop!