Today the puppies are really starting to become more active-they are working hard at getting all four legs underneath them to get around quicker and they are starting be able to get over the tubes (“snakes”) that are in the whelping pen to help them build muscles and hopefully to develop cognitive and simple problem solving skills.
Their personalities continue to develop, and I love seeing them gain what appears to be confidence in their surroundings. I am continually amazed at their swiftness in discerning when Sugar is close by. They are just starting now to stir when she even comes in the room CLOSE to their whelping pen and as soon as she steps in, these little balls of fur go into action trying to get to her as fast as they can! It becomes frenetic for a moment until they all get situated (which isn’t always an easy task for 7 pups to get a prime nursing spot!). They grunt, groan and struggle for positioning with some squeals and trilling; and then the moment happens where they stop and drink, at their most content, and their tails tell the rest of the story! A moment of pure bliss for me to watch, no matter how many times a day I get the opportunity to be a bystander of the process.
I still spend a LARGE amount of time in the whelping pen or just outside of it watching them. The Bio-sensor training is coming along nicely, and I’m noticing that they are getting much more comfortable with the handling as each day passes, falling asleep during the exercises or becoming like putty into a relaxed state, even when being held upside down! I take a moment to wonder what’s going on in their brains while these exercises are happening. They say that handling the puppy by the main caretaker is good stimulation at this point for the puppies, with one reference stating the following:
“A puppy that receives gentle human handling tends to have improved cardiovascular performance and disease resistance. He also matures faster, develops better problem-solving skills and is better able to tolerate stress as an adult”
I’m curious about this information and of course it causes me to read on the internet about studies and research that has been done with regards to this. To me, it’s pretty amazing to think that my activities during these first two weeks as well as the process over the next 6 weeks could have a lasting effect on their cardiovascular performance, reducing disease and helps to make a more resilient adult dog. I realize why it’s so great for visitors to come when they are older to give them the skills and interaction to help them on their path. While people are always thrilled to come visit the puppies when they get old enough, they probably didn’t realize that it’s not a one way street-they are contributing to the potential success within each of the dogs by their interaction!
As much as my husband tries to be the “watch from a distance” kind of person when it comes to this whelping process, he loves these puppies! I will be coming back into the area after doing something, and there he will be in the room-talking to the puppies, filming them on his go pro, or holding them and calling them sweetheart 🙂 It’s very tender and heartwarming, and I love that he can enjoy this process as well. He may not be as “all in” because his days are filled with going to work and picking up some of my responsibilities so I can take care of the puppies and Sugar, but none-the-less it’s an experience for him to enjoy as well along the way!
I don’t take anything I do while working with these puppies for granted; knowing that all of these puzzle pieces fit together for the benefit of the puppies to become the best dogs possible, regardless of whether that means they make it through the whole program and become assistance dogs or it makes them a career changed pet for someone due to extenuating circumstance. A great dog is the only thing I’m working to attain when I invest my time and energy in these little bundles (although a great ASSISTANCE dog is the jackpot of wishes!) and hopefully what I do while they are in my home gives them enough building blocks to create a future full of promise!