Growing and sleeping puppies
Border Collie puppies don’t do much from 1-2 weeks of age. Except grow, constantly! They double their birth weight around days 8-9, which I find pretty impressive, especially when there are 6 of them!
Of course that weight comes from the milk provided by the mum, so you might think there is nothing for me to do, but actually, I work pretty hard caring for Busy. She gets fed a bigger meal than normal, up to six times per day! I feed her a good quality kibble, with some puppy milk and puppy food, I add in extra protein, such as tinned tuna, to keep her eating. Busy is not a particularly good eater- she is prone to being a bit fussy, so I have to tempt her a bit.
Gazing and cuddling
As always, I spend many hours every day gazing at my new puppies and enjoying the snuffly, squeaky noises they make. Well I enjoy them during the day, not so much at night! I keep them up in my bedroom for the at least the first week and usually nearly two weeks. I like them to be kept away from the bustle of the rest of the house and to have Busy where I can keep an eye on her.
Out and about
Busy sleeps in her whelping box for the first week or so, feeding the puppies for much of the time. By the second week she has started to come out of the box more and having some ‘time out’, to recover.
All my dogs go out for their normal, off lead, hour-long walk a couple of days after giving birth (see my thoughts on exercise). I think it’s really healthy for them to have time to run around with the other dogs and enjoy a bit of exercise and fresh air. There is little to no risk of carrying infection, because of course they are vaccinated against all common diseases.
When I decide I’ve had enough sleepless nights I move the pups downstairs, into another quiet room. This time I set up a small run, with a bit of cardboard instead of the whelping box, as it didn’t fit in the setup I wanted. This worked well for a bit, as it kept the pups sleeping in a draught-free corner.
Sorting out homes
I have been extremely fortunate to have had more of my lovely puppy owners come back to me for another one this time! Altogether I have had 9 people come back for more than one puppy, which makes me extremely proud as a breeder.
I have also been really lucky to keep in touch with the majority of my puppies, so I am able to track their progress, support their owners and monitor their health and temperaments. Quite a few of my puppies have gone to friends or family and many of my owners have become good friends. Of course these people get to meet the puppies very early on!
Some of the people waiting for this litter knew what they wanted (blue and white girl for example) and were lucky enough to get that! If you want a particular sex of puppy and I don’t have enough, you might miss out. And sometimes the plans change.
It’s really tough as a breeder, deciding which puppy goes where. Of course I want to take people’s choices into account. But I have to evaluate homes and decide if the puppy is going to be best placed there, or with someone else.
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