On Friday 14th February, between 17.30 and 19.30, Ounce gave birth to 5 beautiful puppies! The dad is Goytre Frozen Memories (Jasper), who is a beautiful boy with a sweet nature.
There were many possibilities for different colours, as Ounce is a lilac and white and Jasper is a black and white tricolour. Happily, they have produced four black and whites and one red and white, all with ‘classic’ markings. Very smart!
The red and white is a boy and two of the black and whites are boys. There are two black and white girls.
I have decided to call this the ‘Lovely Litter’ since they were born on Valentine’s Day. Their Kennel Club names will all have the word ‘love’ or ‘lovely’ in them. More on that later…
At birth, the puppies weigh 200-300g. They gained 10% of their birth weight within 24 hours. I weigh them every day to start with, to check they are all feeding well. Once they are well established I don’t tend to worry too much.
All have homes
I do have homes for ALL of these puppies, subject to confirmation. I look for a loving homes, suitable for a Border Collie. Read more about the breed if you are interested. Or read about what it is like to own one.
If you have known me a while, you will know that I like to have lots of visitors to see my puppies! I invite close friends and family (no children) for the first three weeks. After that, I like to see a wide variety of people I know, including children. So please do get in touch to book a visit?
The last couple of weeks are often quite busy, so don’t leave it too late. They will be gone by Easter! NB: Visits are by appointment only. There is someone here at all times.
Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs? And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think. If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME? Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.
Border Collies are one of the most popular breeds of dog in the UK. Yet they are often misunderstood and can have a bad reputation. People think that Border Collies are nervous, obsessive and snappy – that’s not a myth, they can be like that! But there is more to the breed than this. Hopefully, the ‘farm collie’ that you had as a child is NOT the same as the responsibly bred Border Collie you buy from an KC Assured Breeder.
Let’s look in more detail at a few of the biggest myths around the breed:
1. Border Collies are black and white
Let’s start with the physical attributes – do we think all Border Collies look like Bonnie (above)? According to the Kennel Club’s breed standard, there are quite a few variables. For example, “the nose should be black, except in brown or chocolate colour when it may be brown. In blues the nose should be slate colour.” And the eyes should be “brown in colour, except in merles, where one or both or part of one or both may be blue.” It goes on to describe variability in size, in the set of the ears, in the length of coat and so on.
As for colours, what a choice we have! I have written about this in more detail elsewhere, but Border Collies come in all sorts of colours!
2. Easy to train
I have to talk about this one next. Everyone knows that Border Collies are extremely intelligent, right? So that must mean they are easy to train, right? Wrong. Well, actually it is true, but they don’t train themselves! Oh no wait, that’s not true either, they DO train themselves, and that’s why you have to watch them carefully. They will also train YOU!
Pictured here we can see Aura, making me throw the ball for her. She does love her ball! Aura will demand that I throw it, again and again – she’s relentless! However, it is Sunny who has always been able to persuade anyone and everyone to throw a ball for her.
Border Collies want to learn, to do, to keep busy. Many people struggle to get them to stop and settle and if they are poorly managed they can become neurotic and obsessive. They need owners who can keep them focused and doing what is required. And no more.
3. Need lots of exercise
Border Collies are designed to work. They should ‘normally’ be out on the hills, with the shepherd, moving the sheep from one place to another. This might take a long time and involve being on the go for hours on end. But they don’t do this all day every day. I often think the breed is one of the closest to wild dogs (if you get a Heinz 57 dog it will often look a bit like a collie). This means they are built for stamina and speed, stealth and strength.
However, the shepherd also needs them to be able to cope with doing nothing much, for long periods as well. Fortunately for us, because not many people these days require a dog to be on the go all day long.
So yes, Border Collies, can exercise all day. Do they need to? No. I always tell my puppy owners “You can exercise your Border Collie for 3 hours a day or more. All you will get is a fit dog! The more you do with them, the more they will need you to do. You will NOT succeed in tiring them out.” Be warned!
4. Good with children
A well-bred, well raised Border Collie should be a super family pet. But they are certainly not the ‘obvious’ breed when it comes to spending time with children. Their tendency to herd can make them nippy. Our collies used to try desperately to round us up if we were out on a walk, or running around a field. They would nip at our heels as we went to leave the house.
My second Border Collie, Buzz, loved being part of our family. But he tended to guard and was a bit ‘sharp’ if things got a bit too exciting. I feel that Border Collies can easily become anxious if children are noisy, or lively. They do not like being chased, or grabbed. Other breeds, particularly Labradors, are far more tolerant, although all dogs should be managed sensibly around children.
5. Make great pets
Yes they do. If they are well-bred, well-trained and well cared for, they make absolutely fantastic pets. Find a responsible breeder, go to training classes, practise and praise. Then enjoy!
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It is very fashionable these days to have a ‘rescue’ dog, isn’t it? Celebrities do it, so it must be the right thing to do, mustn’t it? Rescuing sounds heroic – we are taking a dog that’s had a terrible time and giving it a much better life, aren’t we great!
It’s not quite that simple. I’ve already talked about whether you should get a dog from a rescue or a breeder and covered a number of points. Now I want to focus specifically on the difference between going to a rescue centre vs finding a dog the ‘old-fashioned’ way, through word of mouth. In other words, taking on a dog straight from the unsuitable home it has been in.
Why re-home a dog?
There are lots of reasons why a dog might not be suitable for the home it is in. Circumstances change. Many people take on a dog believing that they are in a position to cope with it, only to find that their job changes, or they have to move house, or their relationship status changes.
Often though, people simply don’t appreciate how challenging it can be to have a dog in your home. What looks cute and fluffy as a puppy turns out to be a weeing, pooing, chewing nightmare! Parents often decide they simply don’t have time to cope with a dog as well as their children.
Where to start rehoming a dog?
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your dog, please start by talking about it to a few people? You might be surprised that other people have similar problems with their dog. Sometimes talking it through can help you see things differently and keep things in perspective.
If people agree that for whatever reason, your dog is not in the best place, it is worth asking around to see if someone can offer a better home. This has happened to people I know a few times. I have been able to ask my contacts in the dog world, who have passed the message on.
Of course you still want to ‘vet’ anyone who offers to re-home your dog. I remember the first time I did this, I was quite anxious about meeting the person who was interested in the dog. I didn’t need to worry, they were one of the nicest people I’ve ever met! They took the dog and gave him an AMAZING home! It was everything I wanted for him. They were young enough to take him for long walks, had other dogs to keep him company and were experienced enough to cope with his quirks.
A better home makes a better dog
More recently, I helped move on a super dog with no faults, who just didn’t really fit into the home he was in. Once again, through contacts and messages, a more suitable home was found. When I asked how things were going, I received this response:
“He’s doing really well. They’re so proud of him, meeting grandchildren, family members, other dogs etc. They can’t believe how well he walks on lead. They adore him, which makes me so happy.”
Isn’t that lovely? As much as the dog was previously loved, the owner knew it wasn’t the best fit for him. He’s happy now.
Rescue centres – pros and cons
A few months ago there was a super series, called ‘The Dog House‘ about Wood Green Animal Rescue. It really clearly showed all the ins and outs of rehoming: the trauma of bringing the dog in and leaving it (including the dog being upset). Then the people coming in being vetted and helped to realise that what they thought they wanted might not be the best fit for them. You saw the dogs having to make a good first impression and how challenging that was for some of them.
What was most upsetting about the series, was how many of the dogs shown were taken home by the people, only to be returned, sometimes after as long as a month. Heartbreakingly, many dogs who end up in a rescue go backwards and forwards into a number of homes. How much better to go straight from one home to another, forever?
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Auf Wiedersehn, au revoir. Off they go, to their homes, ready for new adventures. I’ve just realised I have no videos for this post – no footage of them trampolining off the raised dog beds in the kitchen, chasing each other round the kitchen island or trotting along with a bone in their mouth. Hilarious. That’s the main job of a puppy after all, to entertain.
You’ll just have to make do with the photos of them all going off to their families. It’s been lovely getting to know the new families over the past 8 weeks, although of course I had already had contact with them before that.
Is it enough?
I was fretting the other day about whether I had done enough – they aren’t fully house trained; they get up at 5.30am; they haven’t spent all day every day indoors. However, with each day that has passed we have covered more ground and I have realised that in the life of a puppy, every day is a new opportunity to learn and experience. I use the Kennel Club’s Puppy Socialisation Plan to help provide ideas for what to cover.
Making a difference
In the end though, they will be fine. I was told today by one of the owners that I do ‘go the extra mile’ with my puppies. I’m not sure how true this is, as I do know plenty of dog breeders who breed with love and passion for their dogs. People who breed with care and consideration, paying attention to their dogs’ health and welfare and ensuring that they give their puppies a great start in life. If you want help finding such a breeder, contact me?
Perhaps it makes a difference that my puppies have met many different people (around 100), as well as seeing lots of people on several occasions. This definitely helps them to cope with new situations and to being handled and interacted with. As my mum said when she arrived to see them on Thursday “It’s a shame they are so timid, so reluctant to come and see you, unsure around people. NOT!”
Having lots of visitors is such a pleasure for me, as I love to spend my time chatting (and eating cake). But it does take planning and management, as well as the ability to be present. I am fortunate that I do not have to go out to work every day, that I am able to set aside enough time to invest in my dogs.
I guess I am also pretty ‘businesslike’ in the way I manage the admin side of things, which also helps. I think I put together a pretty good ‘puppy pack’ though I say so myself.
Last words of advice
Some of the pups went on Friday and are already settled into their new homes. Apparently they have not all woken at the crack of dawn and are being quite well-behaved – so far! Long may it last, but in any case the ‘puppy stage’ doesn’t last.
My advice to my owners: enjoy them as babies, as toddlers, as teenagers. In a year they will be adult dogs and in two they will be fully mature. In just 13 years (on average), they’ll be gone.
Enjoy the life they give you, because they give it totally, with their whole heart. The more you give them, the more they’ll love you back. Nothing on earth is as rewarding, or as loving, as a healthy, well-bred dog.
One more thing..
Just to let you know, JB is staying close by. In fact he belongs to me (and Chris) as well as Stella and Luke. I hope he will be a super stud dog, one day…
Thanks for reading the pupdates. Won’t be long before we’re doing it all again… So remember, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a pupdate, please follow the website? CONTACT ME for more information?
So much to do, so little time. There can’t be many jobs that are so intense, for such a short period, then finish. Of course I could have another dog and another litter, but I choose to breed with my whole heart, which takes time and commitment.
What have the puppies been up to in the past week? They are becoming more independent, coping with the ever increasing world in which they live. Each puppy is happy to potter about on their own. The other day Hector wouldn’t settle in the crates/bed area, as he had obviously already had a sleep, thank you. I put him back outside for a bit – he was absolutely fine.
Four of these puppies will be living on their own with their families, as the only dog. That’s absolutely great for them, as they will have their owners’ undivided attention! It should mean that they are extremely well-trained, because it is much easier focusing on one dog than seven (or twelve, as I currently have!)
Kennel Club Registration
We are now all officially registered with the Kennel Club. This matters to me, because I want my dogs to be acknowledged as having been bred deliberately and with care and attention. Dentbros Dogs are bred for better temperament and health and I am an Assured Breeder. I believe that the KC Assured Breeder Scheme will help us all to produce better dogs, which are ‘fit for purpose’. In other words, able to live the lives we give them.
Who we are
As you know, this is the Sweetie Litter. The official names of this litter are therefore, in age order, with pet names in brackets:
Dentbros Sherbet Pip** (Hector)
Dentbros Dolly Mixture** (Bronte)
Dentbros Mint Humbug** (Dash)
Dentbros Jelly Bean** (JB)
Dentbros Liquorice Comfit** (Cassie)
Dentbros Barley Sugar** (Mowgli)
Dentbros Lemon Bon Bon** (Bonnie)
Yummy! I am completely thrilled with how this litter have been so far and am excited to hear about their adventures in the future. Many of my puppies from other litters have gone on to achieve great things!
Not much longer now till they go… I won’t be sad, but I think Ounce might be – she has been so sweet with them.
Last chance to see
I am having a Norwex in-house event and sale on Thursday 11th July, so if you’d like to come along, get in touch? NB: only one or two spaces left. And remember, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a pupdate, please follow the website? CONTACT ME for more information?
During the last week, the puppies have left the house twice! Their first visit was to Heronsgate Junior School, where they met LOTS of people, both children and adults. I am lucky enough to volunteer each week, supported by the lovely charity Canine Concern. I take Busy and Luna into school to work with the children, building confidence and developing good learning skills. I had been into assembly to announce the puppies’ arrival, so of course they had to visit! It was huge success and they were very well behaved.
Then today they went to the vet’s for the first time. They were cuddled (again) by ALL the staff and then checked over by one of the vets, before having their microchips inserted. This painless procedure is a legal requirement for all dogs, since the Microchipping Law came into force in 2016. All breedersmust have their puppies microchipped before they are 8 weeks of age. The microchips must be registered with the breeder, before being transferred to the new owner.
So if you buy a puppy without a microchip, it has been bred illegally and the breeder should be reported. Sadly, the vet I saw today said that she is still seeing lots of puppies that are not yet chipped. Please do not condone this, by buying an unchipped puppy?
Much more lively
This last week has seen a real ‘step up’ in the level of activities of the puppies. They are much more energetic in their play and the periods of time that they are awake last much longer. They are also starting to be more destructive.
I was talking to the breeder of the stud dog today, who said that like me, she is very happy to wave goodbye to her puppies by the time they are 8 weeks old. They need lots of stimulation and engagement at this age. Of course they play with each other, and they do spend time with the older dogs, but this needs monitoring. A puppy on its own is much more of a challenge, as it cannot be left unsupervised except for short periods.
Normal Family Life
At this age, it is really important that the puppies spend time in the house. They have obviously received plenty of attention and millions of cuddles (100+ visitors and counting), but they also need to be part of ‘normal family life’.
This means bringing them into the kitchen, with the other 5 dogs, and just ‘hanging out’, while we watch TV. The other dogs (apart from Busy and Ounce) get pretty stressed by being hassled by the puppies. It is essential that the dogs are allowed to tell the puppies off when they are being annoying – this teaches them good dog manners, which will really help them when they are out on walks.
Mind you, it is a challenge to have 12 dogs in the kitchen – sooner or later someone will wee! And once one goes, they all go! I’ve found it really interesting this time that given free access to outside, the puppies will always choose to poo on the grass and will very rarely wee in their bed. However, they are not old enough to wait to toilet and when they need to go, they just go!
Six week old puppies come when you call them. I do this with them every time I go into their run with food. But I also call them to me, using their names. I reward them simply with attention, but this engagement means that they will come to their owners, from day one. New puppies should be let off the lead on their FIRST EVER WALK. That way, they will definitely come back.
Not much longer..
They’ll be gone in two weeks (hurray)! I am having a Norwex in-house event and sale on Thursday 11th July, so if you’d like to come along, get in touch? NB: places are limited. And remember, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a pupdate, please follow the website? CONTACT ME for more information?
The puppies continue to grow and change, but they are now very obviously mini versions of the dogs they will become. You can start to see what their coats will be like, as some are fluffier than others. Border Collies have widely varying coats, from a really long, thick coat to a short one. Some are quite curly, others are completely straight. Luna’s coat is incredibly soft and fine, while the others are slightly more wiry.
All Border Collies have a ‘double coat’, meaning that they have a soft, thick undercoat to keep them warm in winter, with a silky, longer top coat that lets the air filter through, keeping them cool in summer and allowing dirt to just drop straight off! That’s why adult Border Collies always look so clean and white. (And why Border Collies don’t need much grooming.)
Playing with each other
The puppies now spend a great deal of time interacting with each other, sometimes aggressively. There will be lots of tumbling about and some fierce growling and biting. That’s fine, it’s all part of their normal learning process. They need to establish what is acceptable with other dogs and of course in the wild they would be learning to hunt. Mind you, it’s pretty exhausting!
Playing with toys
At this age, puppies should be interacting with their environment far more. This includes a spot of gardening (handily removing ALL the weeds that dare to grow in their run). They will chew anything chewable, as their teeth get bigger and stronger (they will try chewing the concrete if they can).
It’s useful to try and provide a variety of toys and objects for them to interact with and explore. Going through things, up and down small steps, and trying a bit of tuggy play whenever they can. Playing with toys is a great way of engaging with a puppy, offering something to chew or tug instead of eating your foot, or chewing your nose! Mind you, it’s pretty tiring..
And they’re still eating.. and eating..
Booking a visit
We’re pretty busy this week and next, but if you want to visit (friends and family only, sorry), please get in touch? Only three weeks until they are gone! And remember, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a pupdate, please follow the website? CONTACT ME for more information?
The time flies by – I cannot believe I have had these darling babies with me for four weeks already and in another four weeks they will be gone! Well more or less… a couple of them are coming straight back for holidays – no rest for the wicked eh?
For the first few weeks, when they are just eating and sleeping, caring for puppies is pretty straightforward. Just feed the mum a bit more food and a bit more often (up to 6 times a day for Busy!) That is true, although I find myself getting up in the night to see to Busy, check the pups and often embark on a round of feeding and clearing up after them.
By 4 weeks of age, the puppies are starting to get up to all sorts! They are running (well it’s more of a scamper really) and are much more aware of their surroundings. They are able to go outside and immediately prefer to toilet on the grass, both artificial and real. Once they have access to the garden, they rarely poo in the run.
I remember a couple with a young baby telling Chris and I that they had got into a ‘good routine’ with him. We laughed (to ourselves). When babies and puppies are growing, the routine changes almost every day.
I am trying to make sure that the pups have access to solid (mushy) food around 5 or 6 times a day, but equally, I want Busy to continue feeding them for as much as she feels able to do. So I let her in, put food down, clean the run, put them outside, feed her and watch them play. But not necessarily in that order! How much food? As much as they can eat of course!
‘Hobby’ vs ‘commercial’ breeder
I have been really struck this time by how much care and attention I pay to my puppies. As I’ve said, they are easy, in lots of ways. I can see why people might think it’s a ‘nice little earner’ to have sheds in the garden with litters of puppies, left to their own devices.
That’s not me. In four weeks, I have changed the ‘set-up’ of their bed and run four times, making it bigger and more interesting each time. They have a variety of toys to play with. They are picked up and checked over by me every single day. The puppies know my voice and run over to me when I go into their run.
If you want to know more about how to identify a commercial breeder, or puppy farmer, read this blog post.
Visitors – dogs and people
Most importantly of all, my puppies get to meet all sorts of people and they learn to interact with other dogs! I managed to capture on video how magical this can be – Ounce and Cassie, playing for the first time. This is really, really important, because it teaches the puppies about the wider dog community. Not all dogs are mum, not all are milk machines and not all are patient and tolerant. Learning this takes time, but will make a huge difference to their ability to go out into the world.
If you want to visit (friends and family only, sorry), please get in touch? I could do with a few more children… And remember, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a pupdate, please follow the website? CONTACT ME for more information?
It’s been quite a week here in the Puppy Palace. The Sweetie litter have transformed from guinea pigs into tiny dogs. When their eyes open their faces change shape and they start to interact more with their environment. As you can see from the video, they have already started to play!
Once their eyes are open, I start to gradually introduce them to puppy food, alongside Busy feeding them. It’s a messy process! They tuck in straight away, but it takes a few days to really get the hang of it – this morning they scoffed it double quick.
Up on their feet
The puppies are much bigger than a week ago and even sturdier. They are up on their feet, walking more purposefully and without quite as many tumbles. Running is not quite on the agenda yet though…
I have moved them into a bigger run again, so that they have a clear space for eating and toileting. There is also a crate in the run. This is partly so that Busy can climb in and out once the gate is shut – she needs to be able to get in to feed them, but also to get out and escape! It is also so that they puppies learn that crates are fun places to go and sleep. Busy loves to go in there for a quick nap. Go to Cages and Crates for more information.
There has been much speculation about the eye colours of these puppies. In particular, will any of them have ‘Heterochromia iridum‘? Sunny produced three puppies with this condition and Busy’s son Lenny also has it. It is pretty common in Border Collies and although not desirable for the show ring, it is a popular characteristic, as people love its distinctiveness. However, it appears at this stage that we are unlikely to have any blue eyes. The blue and white girl’s eyes are lighter, but I feel they will be green or amber eventually.
Which brings me to an update on the coat colours of this litter. I was told to expect tricolours and I believed that is what I had. Although the tan points are not visible at birth, you are supposed to be able to identify them by lighter hair under their tails. Three of the Sweetie litter have lighter hair here, so I merrily informed everyone that is what they were. Not so! It appears I was misinformed; the experts have said that since no other markings are appearing, these are now more likely to be black and whites and red and whites. That’s fine with me.
Meet the families
Luckily, it was fine with all their owners as well. We all had a VERY busy weekend, getting to know everyone. As I’ve said, almost half of these homes have been waiting ages for their puppies and they were not disappointed. Phew!
So now we know who is having which puppy. We have names for them all, after a bit of juggling – both proposed pedigree names and their pet names. I will therefore shortly be registering them with the Kennel Club.
If you want to visit (friends and family only, sorry), please get in touch? And if you want to know how I keep my home clean quickly and easily with 12 dogs, look at my Norwex page to see the great products that can help you clean with fewer chemicals.
Remember, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a pupdate, please follow the website? CONTACT ME for more information?
Puppies are just like guinea pigs for the first couple of weeks. They are smooth and about the right size. They squeak and snuffle and whistle. It’s quite funny to watch. Not for long! They change while you watch, getting up onto their feet, moving around more, interacting with each other and their mum. And all before they can see and hear!
I wanted to get this video last week, but it’s better now. Can you see how Busy pops into the bed, nowhere near them and almost immediately they wake up and rush to her, to start feeding. Their eyes are not open and they can’t hear, but they sure can smell her! I find this magical.
Getting ready to see
Puppies’ eyes open at two weeks, so within the next couple of days I expect to be able to properly ‘meet’ them all. However, they are also getting used to my smell and are perfectly happy for me to pick them up and give them a cuddle. They are not so keen on my cutting their nails! I try to do this regularly so that they don’t scratch Busy too much.
Used to cuddles
I have already been fortunate enough to have had a series of visitors, who are gradually and politely starting to be allowed to handle the pups. Again, this means they are being exposed to new smells and experiences. I’ve found this really does make a difference to how ‘people orientated’ they are – all my puppies LOVE people.
I don’t normally allow children in to see the pups for the first couple of weeks, but these two girls know my dogs extremely well and have a special relationship with them.
Moving to a new bedroom
All my puppies are born in my bedroom and spend the first week at least upstairs, where it is quiet and calm. However, as soon as I know they are sturdy enough to wriggle out of the way if Busy lies on them, I can safely move them downstairs. I’ve got them in a different room from the adult dogs, but the girls are free to come and go as much as they like.
Today I have put up a pen around their bed to allow them to move off the bed to toilet, which they have (incredibly) already started to do. They are on a non-slip mat and the run keeps them safe – they can travel quite a distance if you don’t keep an eye on them.
If you want to visit, please get in touch? And if you want to know how I keep my home clean quickly and easily with 12 dogs, look at my Norwex page to see the great products that can help you clean with fewer chemicals.