Tuesday 28 February 2017

Bloody Thing

Indi's puppies are starting to wee on newspaper and walk around like Gila monsters. It's when watching them at this stage that you tend to notice that seven is really quite a lot of them! A friend came to meet them on Sunday, and hopefully later today they will also meet an electrician, because the heater in the study (which is the subject of the post title) has unfortunately broken down again following a power failure early Monday morning. I have switched the electric pup-warming mat back on to give the pups a bit more warmth if they should need it.

I am going to be unable to update this blog or fulfil any more leatherwork orders until the middle of next week. I should still be contactable by email should anyone need to get in touch.

Saturday 25 February 2017


Indi's puppies are 2 weeks old today, so they all need to be wormed. Before this, the puppies have never eaten anything other than milk, so having a drop of sticky medicine on their tongues is a new experience. Naturally they don't manage to keep it entirely in their mouths, and have beslobbered each other and their fresh bedding!

Friday 24 February 2017


Today's smell is aniseed oil. I think this smells quite nice, but the pups seem to be ambivalent about it.

Thursday 23 February 2017


Today's smell is 'sweet birch', a medicinal-smelling oil that is used in scentwork. Some of the pups, particularly Ginger, Beetle, and Cherry, seemed to find this smell quite interesting.

In the video below, Lilac is the puppy sticking her tongue out!

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Bay Leaf

Today the pups get to smell a bay leaf from the garden. I tried taking them out individually and showing it to them, but this way they seem to be more interested in smelling me. I think putting the smelly object in the box with them while Indi is having her lunch works quite well, because then they get to experience the new odour without any distractions.

It happens at this stage when you're watching them going about their business in their own little world of smelling and feeling, and then you go into the room and suddenly one is craning its neck up at you and squinting. Cherry is the first puppy of this litter to start to open her eyes.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Indi's puppies and the Strange Smell

I have added some newspaper to the whelping box now. The pups don't tend to piddle on it at this stage (in fact mine never seem to wee much at all until they are older, and I don't find the box gets damp) but they are moving around a lot more now, and having different textures gives them a new experience.

Conventional wisdom says puppies should be left to their own devices at this age and most formal socialisation plans only start introducing objects to hang up for puppies to 'look at' at three weeks or so after their eyes have opened. Some more recent ideas for exposing puppies at this age to new sensory experiences have started to become popular, including ideas for handling them in particular ways (I've never bothered with these as I always handle the puppies anyway). A friend from working trials and scentwork asked me if I had heard of the idea of exposing young puppies to odours, which I think is an interesting idea, as smell and touch are the main senses puppies live by at this age and the olfactory cortex is developing.

So, in this video, I put a drop of clove bud oil (a target smell in scentwork) on an object after I had changed the pups' bedding. There doesn't seem to be a lot of information available on how people use this, or what the pups are supposed to do. Hopefully audible in the video are the big sniffs the pups are doing. Puppies normally only do this when the bitch returns to the box, particularly if she has been away for a while and the puppies are hungry. I am going to try the other two odours used in scentwork on other days.

Monday 20 February 2017

Adhara and Hobsey outdoors

We are making the most of it feeling like spring before 'it' realises it's not spring yet.

Indi's pups are doing well and Hobsey and Adhara have each other to get up to no good together and get taken out for runs and training. While I was busy with Indi and the pups, however, Adhara decided to eat her own ears (I mean she ate the coat off them, not she ate her actual ear leathers) which is disappointing as now they have had to be cut short and it spoils the look of her coat. Hobsey decided to eat the sofa. Probably a combination of lack of supervision in the house and jealousy -- Hobsey keeps trying to see the pups because she remembers having her own, and Adhara I think would just really love a puppy of her very own but does not really understand where pups come from or how it works. The puppies are still too little for the other adult dogs to be allowed to interact with them and Indi does not like the other dogs loitering outside the door to the study where the pups are.

Saturday 18 February 2017

Indi's pups 1 week old

Indi's pups are one week old!

Ginger 700 g
Cherry 700 g
Fuchsia 725 g
Lilac 700 g
Dylan 650 g
Curly 700 g
Beetle 650 g

Also a leatherworking picture, because I haven't posted any for a while:


Thursday 16 February 2017

Spring is in the air/ Indi puppies day 6

Indi managed to tear herself away from the pups long enough to go for a short run outside. She is looking after the pups well, but needs to exercise more to help her recover from pregnancy.

Nest-cleaning time

It's not possible to tell much about the personalities of the pups at the moment. One of the girls, Cherry, makes me laugh because she seems to be out of sync with the others and tends to be asleep on the pup-warmer while all the others are feeding. She wakes up hungry and starts screaming blue murder until she finds Indi and the others, and then usually continues screaming until she finds a place at the feeding station. Beetle and Lilac have a knack for loosening their ID collars and I keep finding them wearing them as belts or with one foot through. Ginger and Fuchsia were two of the largest at birth and are the most vigorous, and the two boys Dylan and Curly are quite similar, and were a little smaller and less capable at birth but are catching up. Curly I think was the puppy who would have been in the uterine horn next to the two undeveloped dead pups, and did seem a bit disoriented at first and needed help latching on, but has fully overcome this now, so there is no reason why he should not continue to do well.

Boy puppies: (clockwise from top right) Ginger, Dylan, Curly, Beetle

Girl puppies: (Clockwise from right) Cherry, Fuchsia, Lilac

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Indi pups day 5

Indi's pups have been weighed and had their toenails trimmed so they don't scratch Indi, which is also good for the pups as it's their first experience of being restrained (dogs' toenails need to be trimmed throughout their lives and of course poodles need to learn to calmly accept brushing and clipping etc.) and means I can examine each of them.

Most young mammals' weight stays constant for the first few days, as the neonate's physiology adjusts to life outside, and then starts to increase. The pups have all started to gain weight and are all a similar weight and feel muscular and lithe when they are awake (they feel soft and relaxed and lovely when they are asleep).

Jasper/Ginger 500 g
Cherry 500 g
Fuchsia 525 g
Lilac 500 g
Dylan 500 g
Curly/Red 500 g
Beetle 475 g

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Indi pups day 4

Indi and her pups today.

Adhara and Hobsey got to do some training with a visiting friend, which was nice for them as I don't want them to feel left out. :-)

Monday 13 February 2017

Indi pups day 3

Indi and the puppies are all doing well. It's a strange fact of life that if you have a group of animals and one is a different colour, people are always 100% more interested in that one than the others! Indi's apricot boy, AKA Ginger Ninja, AKA Jasper Carrott, seems to incite such interest! No doubt had it been the other way around, and all the litter but one been apricot, everyone would be clamouring for pictures of the lone black pup!

For her evening meal, Indi will be eating mince, tripe, and alpaca placenta. The placenta is an organ in mammals that transfers nutrients from the mother's bloodstream to the developing foetus. At birth, the vast majority of mammals eat their placentas. Studies suggest that the placenta is highly nutritious and contains substances that when eaten, stimulate milk production and uterine contractions to help 'clear out' the body of pregnancy residues (presumably they also stimulate bowel contractions, which tends to result in less well-formed stools in many postpartum bitches). Alpacas are one of very few mammals who do not eat their placentas, as their rather odd dental anatomy doesn't cope well with tearing it up. Last summer when the alpacas gave birth, I decided to collect the placentas and freeze them for this reason. I don't know if it will make any difference, but it seemed better than just throwing away the placentas and letting them be wasted. I have cut the placenta into four pieces that Indi will eat over the next few days.

Sunday 12 February 2017

Saturday 11 February 2017


Jasper Carrott (boy) 400 g
Cherry (girl) 400 g
Fuchsia (girl) 450 g
Lilac (girl) 375 g
Dylan (boy) 350 g
Red (boy) 350 g
Beetle (boy) 400 g

Indi's litter

Indi has seven healthy puppies, 3 black girls, 3 black boys, and an apricot boy. I think she has finished now as I can't find any heartbeats in her. Sadly there was also an underdeveloped stillborn pup that looked like it passed away some time ago, so I will take her to the vet tomorrow to get her examined and make sure there's nothing hanging around inside her from a reabsorption. Seven is a nice size litter for her to manage and me to clean up after at any rate!

At the current point I believe the waiting list for Indi's litter to be full, although this may change.


Indi is showing signs of early stage labour. Updates will be posted on the facebook page.

Thursday 9 February 2017

Indi's pregnancy @ 8 weeks

Indi has just under a week left until her pups are due.

I think there are quite a lot of pups in her. I expect we will find out soon.

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Trident the Paca goes for a walk, and woods in winter

Trident went for a walk in the woods. 

Trebuchet is still too small and underweight to be going on long treks, so I just take him for short walks near the house to train him. Hopefully once spring is here he will start to put some weight on. He enjoyed sitting in the sun while we were away.

Both these cria will be for sale eventually, but they don't need to leave until the summer after they've been shorn. They will be BAS registered and microchipped (which I've done) and have a lab analysis of their first fleece (which I still need to get round to).