Thursday, October 27, 2005

Puppy Observations and Bathing

Jack and Jill will get their first baths today. In breeders terms, a jack and jill litter is a litter of two, one boy and one girl. This is a small litter for Keeshonden which normally have litters of six, but it is nice to have a boy and a girl.

In small litters, like this one, you can observe more about the individual puppies and their behavior. One observation I made in this litter occured before the puppies opened their eyes. As they were sliding around the pool like baby seals they would sometimes get off the terry cloth and onto the slippery surface of the platic wading pool. I noticed that even at this very young age they could discimnate the surface texture and adapt accordingly. They would grip and walk only when on the terry cloth with their front legs. Their rear legs just dragged immobile until they were on the non-slipperty terry cloth. Once on a surface with traction they would move their rear legs and toddle forward.

Their gait also changed from the sideways head bobbing of a puppy with it's eyes closed, much like a blind person uses a cane - to the straightforward - I know where I am going walk of a confident puppy who can see the world.

As they are Keeshond puppies and they are, of course, adorable. They will dislike their baths but will submit willingly to our demented desire to see them clean and not smelly for their first show on Saturday.

Their personalities have already emerged. Jack when on lead for the first time zipped along like he had been waiting for this moment since birth. Jill stiffened her legs to posts screwed firmly in the ground as if to say, "When you get this gear off me then I will consider taking a step." Interestingly, Jill is the leader. Jack looks to her for her first reaction to something new. If she is bold and curious he will take a step forward, but behind her. If she is intimidated, he will run to the farthest corner. As in many litters his personality changes when she is not around. Alone he becomes much more self confident. This could have something to do with Jill smacking him in the face with her paw whenever she feels like it!

The steps for their first bath are as follows:

1. Place puppy in utility tub.
2. Run warm water and wet puppy. (Hopefully you have on a waterproof apron, if not that old scuba gear in the basement might come in handy here)
3. Shampoo with baby shampoo, careful not to get water in ears, pinch each ear closed
4. Rinse puppy with warm water
5. Place puppy in large warm towel.
6. Sit down with puppy on lap and dry with hair dryer on low setting, brushing as you go.
Tip; many puppies will be intimidated by this process and sit quietly, sometimes a puppy will become agressive and may attack the dryer of the brush - speak quietly and reassuringly - keep brushing and oh - good luck with this one - perhaps early puppy school enrollment would be a good idea)
7. Place puppy in clean pen with papers.
8. Repeat with next puppy.
9. Remove all wet clothing on bather - (usually all clothing including underwear)
10. Put on dry clothing - Check puppies and clean up before you have to start all over.


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non said...

Hi Debbie

I really like your page, and I enjoy your vcoments of Jack and Jills personality, SO KESSIE :o)