It's been a long time coming, but we finally decided that something had to be done. Miss S is now a member of GMA. No, not Good Morning America... Goat Milkaholics Anonymous. Her habit started out innocent enough. A little bit of goat milk when she had diarrhea to keep her hydrated when she was only 4 weeks old. Then it progressed and she started having warm goat milk to help her sleep. A little just wasn't enough after a while and she started doing devious things to get her fix- like stealing her brother's goat milk. Finally, Mr. C just could take it anymore. He called for an intervention.
The puppies decided that it would be best to put her on a twelve step program to ween her off of the "G-Juice," as it is called on the streets. Miss S resisted at first. She didn't want to stop the G-Juice. Mom and Dad enticed her to try something more vegan instead- like apple juice.
In the end, it was the peanut butter cookies that saved the day.
Fall is definitely starting to make its way down to us, bringing temperatures in the 80's instead of the upper 90's, which means that the puppies are getting more outside play time. The little ones are still a litte unsure of the big yard and don't venture too far from us. Miss B and Mr. C are very familiar with the yard and make use of just about all of it. They are extremely fast and it always amazes us how they can chase each other around the yard, between flower pots and around trees at top speed without hitting anything. They are very agile puppies and change direction without losing much of their speed. I can see why pitbulls do so well in dog athletic competitions. They are naturals at obstacle courses. The littles can't quite keep up with them yet, but they are getting faster. The four of them often play together, pulling sticks and chasing each other to get the sticks back, but eventually, the two older dogs play together to get some real exercise in while the two smaller ones do the same.
The four puppies have really gotten comfortable with each other. There is a little bit of jealousy and the fear that one might be getting more than the others, but Mr. C and Miss B were already that way with each other before the littles came along. So that is just business as usual. What it means for us is that if we are going to give out a treat, we have to have four of them ready to go before we start. We also try to give the big puppies slightly bigger treats just because the littles don't need as much food as they do (even though Miss S would beg to differ on that point).
The hardest part about playing in the yard with the puppies and trying to get good pictures at the same time is that they move all the time. When you are busy trying to get the cameral focused on all of them, they sometimes end up in positions you weren't really trying to capture. The picture below for example, started out as a nice group shot with everyone looking at the camera. Then they all turned, and we got a picture of three behinds, and one pooping puppy instead.
Exhibit B: This was supposed to be a cute shot showing how little Miss S and Mr. M are compared to Dad's chair- mostly so we can see how much they've grown a few months from now. The littles turned and started moving away just as I took the shot, and we noticed later that in the background out of focus is a large pooping Mr. C. There seems to be a theme here...
I am not sure how it is that they grow so fast! The littles are already big enough to follow us outside. They have been learning all kinds of things by watching the bigger puppies. The other day I told Miss B to sit before opening the door to go outside. When I did, Miss S sat right down and looked up at me. So cute!!
The littles were too small to potty train when we brought them home, so we have been using newspaper instead. They seek out the newspaper now to use the potty anytime they find it. Sometimes, they don't realize that they are not all the way on the paper just because they have their front feet on it and end up pottying on the floor instead, but they are trying. They out grew the carrier that they have been sleeping in at nights, and are now sleeping for most of the night in the bathroom- with newspaper on a tile floor so that it is easier to clean up.
It is amazing to me that they can grow so fast in such a short period of time.
The girls here are playing with the same stick. Notice how much bigger Miss S is next to Miss B!
Here, all four of the puppies are playing with one stick. Miss B is about to take it from Mr. C as the littles look on, trying to figure out how to get the stick from the big ones.
"You can't get me. I'm by Dad." Miss S heard a noise and ran for cover beside Dad. Notice the very serious look.
Miss B and Mr. C in a brief time out. Being still is sooo hard for a puppy!
Before getting Miss B and Mr. C spayed and neutered respectively, we did quite a bit of reading on Google to find out what we could expect during their recovery. The internet told us all kinds of horror stories about how they were going to be groggy and probably have no control over their bladders for a couple of days. Nothing we read about on Google really applied. They were not really groggy when we brought them home- only a little tired. They are normally high energy, and the evening after the surgery they were more like normal (non high) energy dogs. The next morning though, they were pretty much back to normal. There were no losses of bladder function or anything like that.
What Google did not prepare us for was how hard it is to keep the cones of shame on and how determined our dogs would be to mess with their incisions- especially Mr. C. The vet gave us a heads up that we would have to watch him closely because boy dogs have more of a tendency to lick their nether regions, and he was right.
As is turns out, both of our big puppies are escape artists when they want to be. We tried the Kong inflatable collars first. Those lasted about a day and a half. Next we went to the cones of shame. By the end of the week, Miss B's was mostly duck tape and was only being held in place by one set of clasps instead of two. Mom went to the Petco near her office on her way home the first day to find a better solution for Mr. C, and the cashier recommended using toddler diapers with tape on the sides. He didn't like it too much, but it was better than the cone. So for the next few days, he alternated between the diapers in the evening and at night, and the cone during the day.
A note about the cones of shame: they are a pain in the behind. I think we hated them as much as the dogs did. The cones are wider than they are and they bumped into everything! Legs, window blinds, little puppies, each other, the door of the crate... everything. I know they serve a purpose, and it is better than going back to the vet with stitches that have been torn open, but I can honestly say that we almost threw a party when it was time for the cones to come off.
One thing we have noticed since their attitude adjustment is that they are both a little more mellow. Miss B has been playing with the littles more, but in a more relaxed and natural play mood- not the jealous, dominant way they were doing before. Mr. C is still trying to be dominant, but he is also playing a little more and is more relaxed with them sometimes- except when he goes into hyper puppy mode.
When it was time to take the cones off, everybody was happy and Dad got kisses from all of the dogs. At the same time.
This weekend, Miss B and Mr. C got their attitude adjustments. While they were busy at the vet, we visited Grandma and Grandpa's house. Miss S and Mr. M enjoyed the visit and got to meet all kinds of people. Miss S discovered that she could fit under the coffee table.
After the vet visit, Miss B and Mr. C needed time to recuperate, so we finally had an excuse not to go anywhere for the weekend and just chilled out at home. This is mostly a picture post.
There is much wisdom to be learned from the ways of the puppy. Miss S and Mr. M demonstrate some of these lessons, while appropriately sporting a Buddha belly. Here are a few examples.
I'm not really sure what Buddha sounded like- I'm very sure that it wasn't in English- so for now, the puppy wisdom will sound more like Yoda.
You're guess is as good as ours as to what Miss B is doing here. Pawsana Yoga? Maybe she's letting Miss S practice her Jiu-Jitsu throwing techniques? My guess is that the four of them are secretly planning to release a low budget film and they are rehearsing for it. I saw the beginnings of a script laying in the bottom of the little's crate. It was titled "PuppyNado," and had a scribbled note to call Tara Ried.
I'm convinced that puppies have a 7th sense- the ability to detect toys. We came back from the store yesterday evening with several new water dishes and toys for all of the puppies. I rested the bags down on the floor and sat down with some scissors to take the tags off. Before I had even opened the bag with this colorful monkey in it, Mr. M ran straight to the bag and pulled the monkey out and across the floor so he could play with it. They are getting good at running, and Mr. M added a little bounce to the run so that every second or third step was a little hop.
They also have the ability to make toys out of just about anything. Here are the two littles playing with an empty toilet paper roll. There were originally two rolls, but just like with Mr. C and Miss B, no matter how many toys there are, the coolest one is the one your brother or sister has. I think it is part of the puppy code.
I have a new found respect for people who have twins. Miss S and Mr. M are only four legged babies, so I can only imagine how much work it is having two legged twin babies in the house. When we brought Miss B and Mr. C home, they were already around 8 weeks old. So they could follow us to the door to go outside- even though we carried them at first to avoid accidents on the way to the door. These two are much too small to follow us to the door even if we wanted them to. Until we have the all-clear from the vet on the worms, we don't want them taking care of business in the yard anyway to avoid passing worms back and forth among the four of them. It is easier to contain if we just let them go on newspaper and then throw the newspaper away and clean the rubbermaid container that we are using as a potty box with Windex or Clorox wipes.
So far, they are really good about going on the newspaper if you put them in the box or on newspaper on the floor. If you don't put them on the paper often enough, they just go wherever they are standing. Usually they give a little clue that they are about to go by smelling around or standing still for a few seconds.
They are learning to run and are playing more and more with Miss B and Mr. C. Yesterday, Mr. C was eating his wet food, and I put Miss S on the ground after she finished her own food. As soon as she heard the sound of him eating, she made a mad dash toward his bowl, pushed her way right in and started eating. He let out a little half wimper- half growl as if to say, "Hey wait a minute, that's mine." Then he just backed up a little, sat down and watched her with a very worried and sad look on his face. Normally he is the one who takes Miss B's food, but now his food was being taken instead. He didn't really know what to do. As soon as I realized she was actually eating his food, I pulled her away so that he could finish eating. He was very thankful for that.
This morning, Miss B had already finished her dry food by the time I brought the littes in to eat, but Mr. C was still working on his. I didn't think there was any need to worry about them messing with his food since it was the dry stuff and not the yummy wet food, so I put them both on the ground while I put their food into their bowls. They heard Mr. C eating and sprinted toward him, grunting all the way. I just watched in amusement at first but was shocked when they started gobbling down his dry food! Again he just watched them with his forehead all wrinkled up. He went around to the other side of the dish to see if he could fit his nose in there too, but these two were serious. He wimpered and sat down. I quickly pulled them away again and he went back to eating. We gave him lots of praise and told him what a good boy he was. I was very proud of how he handled that.
Since the first day we brought them home, I have messed with Miss B and Mr. C while they were eating. I would play with their ears, pet them, put my hand in their dish, take the dish away and then give it back. I would even get right up next to their faces and start giving them kisses while they were trying to eat. My theory is that at some point we hope to have kids, and kids are bad about messing with dogs when they are trying to eat. We had a black lab when I was a kid who nipped a toddler in the face when he walked up on her while she was eating. So I wanted our dogs to be completely used to being messed with while they eat. That way if our kids walk up to them while they are eating, they will be less likely to get upset. It seems to be working because he didn't even act like he was agitated at all- other than being a little worried- when the littles started taking his food. He didn't try to snap at them or push them away with a heavy paw. He just watched them.
I have to say that after watching Miss B and Mr. C with different people, kids and the puppies, I don't think I would ever go back to wanting a lab to be around my kids. I can totally see why pitbulls used to be called nanny dogs.
Here are a couple of pictures of the littles. They have gotten noticeably bigger since we brought them home almost a week ago.
Mr. M discovered Wilbur from the Knotty Cat (www.knottycattales.blogspot.com ) and has decided that he wants to be a sailor puppy one day too. Here he is practicing Wilbur's pitbullfrog pose.
Mr. C often practices his pitbullfrog pose when he thinks nobody is looking. He's getting to be a teenager now, and teenager's aren't supposed to care about those sorts of things because they are way too cool to care.
Miss B prefers a more dignified and lady-like pose.
It's amazing how fast puppies' health can deteriorate if there is a problem and how fast they bounce back when you catch it in time. They are so fragile when they are small that you have to really make quick decisions on whether or not what you are seeing is worthy of a vet visit. On Saturday, Miss S started having diarrhea- the extremely liquid, fire hose shooting style. Many things can cause this in a puppy including change of diet and moving them to a new home. Usually though, these clear up fairly quickly. If you start seeing blood in it, you need to consider getting to a vet as soon as you can. She had the watery poop for 6 or 7 bowel movements during the night. We were very worried that she would get dehydrated and tried giving her water, which she was not interested in at all. In the middle of the night, she woke up and needed to use the restroom, but her back legs were too weak for her to stand up well. We had a can of goat's milk in the back of our cabinet, and decided to try mixing it with water to see if we could get some liquid in her. They both went nuts over the goat's milk and drank quite a bit. Within a few minutes, she was walking like a champ looking for more goat milk.
The next morning, we decided to go ahead and take them to the Petsmart vet to have them checked out and were glad that we did. They had a really bad case of several worms- very similar to Popcorn. In fact, they were prescribed some of the same things. In addition to the medicines, the vet prescribed a special gentle food for them to eat for a week until their tummies were calmed back down. By the afternoon, they were bouncing around all over the place, growling at and playing with Miss B and Mr. C and pouncing on each other.
By Monday, you wouldn't even know they were ever sick.
So, what have we learned from dealing with 4 week old puppies, you ask? The difference between full out running, jumping playtime and a solid nap is about 2 seconds flat.
First time pitbull owners who found two pitbull puppies abandoned on the side of the road and decided to adopt them...And then loved them so much, they decided to get two wonderful mastiffs.