Friday, December 09, 2011

Dew Claws, Puppy Exercises and Helping Isabelle

Isabelle's hyper-vigilance is starting to calm down a little.  And I think she's second-guessing her refusal of nanny help from anyone else because cleaning up after 7 puppies is a lot of work!  So I've been stepping in and helping with the eliminatory duties to take some of the burden off of her.  I'm gearing up for an early weaning with this group, although as with everything else, we take things one day at a time and re-evaluate as appropriate.

The pups are like one big lump of squiggly fur.  They are the least spread-out group I've seen.  Usually I have one or two that constantly seem to wander off or get caught in folds of blankets, or are where they shouldn't be.  But this group just seems happy and content to be where Momma puts them!  Little Mohawk sure does stand out in the crowd, though.  What a cutie patootie.  He is growing faster than the others, and his fur is so.... so something, maybe plush is the word I'm looking for.  He just looks like a little ewok and his facial expressions are so funny!

And in continuing with their development, their dew claws have been removed.  The general guideline is that they should be removed between days 2-5.  Prior to two days old, some believe that the blood will not coagulate properly (although I have met breeders who remove dew claws on delivery day without a bleeding issue), and before 5 days old when their nervous system is more fully developed, and therefore feel more pain.  We used to have the vet do the dew claws, but it's funny how life leads you in different directions.  A combination of events happened - the vet tech who wrote me down for dew claws and tail docking and I had to save the tails in the nick of time, then the vet tripling his prices and on the same litter, half the dew claws grew back.  So I started researching how to do it myself.  This BOOK was instrumental with it's instructional video, and networking with other breeders has really been very beneficial.  And through the process, I've learned a lot of tolerance.  I remember  how mad I was at the vet when half the dew claws grew back.  Well, now that I've done many litters myself, I have found that toy dogs are very difficult.  Everything is so small and it's sometimes difficult to know that you've gotten the whole thing.  So I understand that when you're rushed, and dealing with tiny bones, that it's not as easy as you'd think!  But doing them at home still has huge advantagse!  First of all, they aren't exposed to potential illnesses at the vet's office.  Secondly, instead of being handed a bag of screaming puppies and having to deal with a very upset mother dog, each puppy can be handled one at a time and at their own pace.  When I did their dew claws, they were held, cuddled, relaxed, dew claws removed, then snuggled again and given reiki until they were totally relaxed and ready to go back into the whelping pen.  One at a time, no rush, as much love and care as possible, and even though it took 1.5 hours instead of 15 min at the vet, it was worth it.  Isabelle didn't even get upset!

For those of you wondering why remove the dew claws, I will freely admit that if I didn't think it was necessary, there was no way I'd do it.  It's one of the most difficult things to do and I really have to work up  my nerve for the process.  There are several situations where I feel that dew claw removal is necessary/acceptable, but the main reason for pugs is their eyes.  The brachycephalics, with their facial structure and protruding eyes, are very susceptible to eye damage and scratches.  A pug simply trying to wipe something off its face could scratch their eye with a dew claw.  So the removal of one more environmental hazard to their eyes is very important. 


To give the pups every advantage and to help give them the best start in life, all litters go through their puppy development exercises.  The first phase is the Military Super Dog Exercises which have the benefits of:
  1. Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
  2. Stronger heart beats
  3. Stronger adrenal glands
  4. More tolerance to stress and
  5. Greater resistance to disease.
These exercises last from day 3 through 16, which usually is right about when their eyes open.  I have to laugh at the name of the exercises in conjuction with pugs.  It's not like they're going to be military super dogs.  But if I know of something that will strengthen their bodies and make them stronger and more resistant to disease, how can I say no?  And if they happen to get commissioned to the military because they are the coolest pugs ever, well, I won't stand in their way :)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Mine little one surely flunked that phase.