Dusty Road Labradors

December 8, 2017


For those of you unfamiliar with the blogs I write, I add entries ‘above’ not below.  To read the entire blog, one must scroll to the bottom.  Hope everyone reading this blog enjoys watching these puppies from before birth to 8 weeks of age.

Monday, Jan 22 – Today’s blog is dedicated to Prim and her puppies.  I’ll start back at the beginning of labor.  Prim labored for several hours only to show no progression.  Off to Urgent Pat Care where we were advised that sadly a puppy was not passing thru the birth canal.  We had 7 puppies as the x-ray showed and, yes, they were all yellow.  There are 4 boys and 3 girls.  

Prim came home about 8:30 am on Sunday morning.  When the c-section was completed, all of the puppies nursed and we took them home which was at 5:00 am.

We received a courtesy call to see how Prim was doing.  Prim was not eating and her energy level was very low.  Off we go to have them check Prim’s vitals.  They kept Prim overnight with plans of going home this morning.  They asked us if they could keep her until tonight to monitor her.

Due to Prim not being strong enough to nurse her puppies, we called upon Emma.  Emma was nursing her puppies a couple of times a day and they are 4 1/2 weeks old so we decided to see if Emma would accept Prim’s puppies.  When Emma came back to the basement, she could hear the puppies crying and immediately started cleaning the puppies and laid down and nursed all 7 puppies.

We hope to have Prim home later tonight but she may stay there since the weather is pretty nasty.

Saturday, Jan 20 – Emma and puppies are enjoying their larger, resort-like accommodations at the dog barn.  There are two windows for sunshine, a heat lamp for extra warmth, and water available all day.  Wow, the life of a dog!!  

The puppies are eating gruel three times a day as Emma is still nursing them. As you all know, labs have a tendency to gain weight so we don’t want to start overeating habits now.  As the puppies eat more, Emma will nurse them less so we are reducing Emma’s food to decease her milk production.

Eating from a puppy bowl

dog pile in corner

Prim is in labor as I’m writing this.  Hoping for puppies by end of the day…yes I mean midnight.  I’m so thankful we bought a monitor so I can do other things upstairs and watch Prim on the monitor.  Will post information and pictures as soon as we can.


Wednesday, Jan 17 – Emma and puppies are officially residing in the nursery.  We were so thankful for the warm weather which assured us if we put them in a covered tote, walked fast, didn’t trip or fall, that they would not be cold after the trip from the house to the dog barn.

We have been watching the monitor before we moved Emma and noticed she didn’t go in with the puppies at all.  Ok, I’ll make up some gruel and see what happens.  Normally, the puppies refuse to get their little lips covered with that goo let alone eat it willingly.  Well, all 5 of the puppies ate like they were starving.  Emma is weaning her puppies.  I did check for teeth and they are coming in thus weaning by Emma.

The puppies were very inquisitive about their new surroundings.  After their gruel, Emma popped in to tease the puppies.  She stood while they reached and nursed standing on their hind legs.  We stayed about an hour watching and Emma did lay down and they all nursed.

We will start feeding gruel 4 times a day.  This is puppy food soaked in water.  I smash it with a fork and then add puppy formula.  Right now it is the consistency of gravy but they will be on dry (or almost dry) food by the time they go to their new homes.

The nursery is kept at about 72 degrees with a heat lamp area of about 78 degrees.  They puppies can go under the heat lamp should they be chilled.  The pen they are in is about 6’x8′ and is raised off the concrete floor with insulation so the floor is not cold like concrete.  The pen is made of all washable products which makes clean up easy and simple.

Let’s Talk About Cleaners – We use a product called OdorBan.  We buy it at Sam’s by the gallon.  If you have a favorite cleaner and you are unsure if it is puppy safe, talk to your vet.  Some cleaners are alright for adult dogs but puppies are more sensitive.

We also use the Swifter Mop which has the container of cleaner already made up and ready to spray.  Because we love our OdorBan, we use the spray that comes with the Swifter around the house and refill with OdorBan.

Prim is officially in the whelping room downstairs.  She has gotten quite big but it isn’t slowing her down.  Tonight I shaved the hair off her belly so the puppies can find her nipples easier.  Her temp is slowly declining.  It was 101.0 after lunch and 100.8 tonight at bedtime.  She is still eating so I’m not sleeping with her tonight!!

Tuesday, Jan 16 – I am having computer issues with adding a separate blog for Prim’s litter.  I will add Prim’s info and italicize hers so you can tell between the two litters of puppies.

Prim is getting close and we are taking her temperature 2-3 times a day.  Her temp yesterday and also this afternoon was 101.6.  This is totally in the normal range.  We are waiting for the temp to drop to around 98 degrees —  then we have puppies coming within 24 hours.  Prim’s official due date(s) is January 17-21.  We also watch for her to stop eating — another sign that she is in the beginning stages of labor.  Although these changes are the norm, we have had dogs who didn’t stop eating nor did we catch the temp dropping.  The reproduction system of the dog is very challenging and most breeders do everything possible not to miss a heat cycle and a possible litter of puppies.

Here is Prim’s xray.  There are at least 7 puppies.  If you enlarge and enhance, you can see the skulls and spines of the puppies.  If you count more than 7 puppies, please let us know!!!

Prim’s x-ray


Sunday, Jan 14 – Hope everyone is staying warm.  The dogs are not wanting to stay outside more than just a few minutes.  

Emma and puppies will move to the dog barn tomorrow.  Prim will be moving down to the house as she is due for her puppies the end of the week.

I know some of the pictures haven’t been the best.  It is hard to take pictures of the black puppies on a black whelping pad.  When the puppies move to the nursery, it is much brighter and the flooring is light in color.

The puppies are beginning to get teeth.  The teeth could cause Emma to stop nursing so I’m getting ready to take over.

The puppies are still getting weighed once a day.  Two are over 4 pounds and the other two are just about to 4 pounds.  They have had their nails trimmed one more time.  Every day they are handled and talked to every time we feed Emma which is 4 times a day.  Emma is eating 7 cups of food.  Normally she eats 3 cups a day.  And she is not gaining weight!!!

Let’s talk about toys and treats:  I’m going you to encourage you to buy only USA made treats and toys.  My favorite website to purchase toys and treats is dog supplies.com.  They have free shipping with a $49 order and lots of specials.  We buy lots of Nylabone and Kong toys.  They have several ‘puppy’ toys which are great for chewing and boredom.  We also rotate toys.  

Another thing we buy from this website is treats.  We buy Natural Balance L.I.T. Treats.  They come in several different flavors and our dogs like all of them.  We give lots of treats and these are just the right size.  


Thursday, Jan 11 – The puppies are 3 weeks old today!!  They were all wormed again today.  We worm at 2, 3, 5, and 7 weeks of age.  

As we take care of the puppies, we are amazed at how entertaining they are.  Two are sleeping on one side of the whelping box while two others are wrestling on the other side.  Today we had one puppy get out of the whelping box.  I was watching Emma on the camera and there was Brown Boy nursing Emma on the outside mat.  Went down stairs and put the puppy back in.  Later tonight Mark added a board that will keep the puppies in the whelping box for a few more days.  Can’t put too many boards or Emma won’t be able to get in to nurse.

For those of you who weren’t able to get yellow puppies from this litter and were moved to PrimXConrad’s list, we are expecting 7 puppies.  I will be starting Prim’s blog soon as she is due between Jan 17 and 21.

All of these puppies are going home with AKC registration papers.  All the paperwork has been completed by us and Keeper’s owner Dori.  We will be working on their go-home packets so everything is ready around Valentine’s Day.

Brown Boy

Lt Blue Girl

Hot Pink girl

Orange girl

Yellow girl

Monday, Jan 8 – The puppies are getting really cute to watch.  They are making noises which I assume are ‘puppy barks’.  Emma is spending more time outside the whelping box so they have lots of area to scoot around in.  

I was enjoying just watching them today.  They were weighed this morning and all are 3#.  They all have their eyes open.  They are starting to respond to my voice.  When I walk in the room, I always say ‘hi babies’.  Today they all raised their heads and turned towards me.  I took some pictures as they were moving around the whelping box.

dog pile


Sunday, Jan 7 – A bit behind on adding new pictures so I’m adding a bunch.  The puppies are up on all four legs and even taking a few steps.  Hard to get all four legs moving in the same direction but they will have it mastered in just a few more days.  

You may catch a glimpse of an open eye or a partial open eye.  Again, this will take a few more days to have both eyes open.

I’m short pictures of Blue Female and Hot Pink Female.  Will get them and add to pictures below.  Enjoy!

Let’s talk about training. You can start training your puppy as soon as it comes home. Honestly, everything you do with your puppy is training.

Your puppy has been imprinted. This is a process of desensitizing by touch. We feel this prepares a puppy for the stimulation he will encounter in the next few months of his life. I wish I could say imprinting skips the puppy stages of chewing, nipping, pottying whenever and wherever, etc., but it doesn’t. Your puppy will be a puppy!

For instance, your puppy has had a ‘collar’ on since he was just days old. This has prepared him to wear other collars. Your puppies’ feet have been desensitized which makes nail trims less scary for him.

We suggest you attend a puppy obedience class after ALL vaccinations have been received. This is usually about 16 weeks of age. But, in the meantime, there is lots you can do in your own living room. Now is the time to introduce your puppy to leash training, the command ‘come’, the command ‘sit’, and the word NO. During your training sessions, you will identify what makes your dog tick. It may be treats, it may be verbal praise, or it may be touch praise.

The more time you spend with your puppy in the first few weeks will pay off when the puppy is going thru it’s ‘terrible two’s’ or ‘teenage years’. The bond you build now will last forever.

We suggest you read or even get a copy of Puppy Kindergarten (A well-mannered dog) – March, 2001 by Miriam Fields-Babineau. It is available on Amazon for around $5.00. This book has lots of practical training information and is well written for the dog owner.

Training sessions should be no more than 5 minutes in length as puppies cannot concentrate longer than 5 minutes. You can train your puppy several times a day if you wish. Remember — your puppy will thrive with love, patience, and praise!


basket of puppies

Thursday, Jan 4 – The puppies are 2 weeks old today.  I’ve seen these puppies go from 10-14 ounce helpless puppies to thriving puppies weighing almost 3 pounds in 2 short weeks.  

When puppies were born, they immediately find a nipple to nurse.  They aren’t even dry but find mom.  As they nurse, you can see changes taking place in front of your eyes.  They become stronger and begin filling out.  They are very thin when they are born.  

When these puppies were born last week, they all nursed and received colostrum.  When we got home, I placed all the puppies close to Emma.  They nursed off and on for the next 2 hours while I slept on a foam pad with one eye half open watching them.  Their mom was very sick but they kept on nursing only knowing she was providing milk and warmth for them.  

There are litters that are uneventful but most of ours have stories to tell.  This litter beat the odds and are growing and doing things at appropriate times.

I noticed today that their eyes are opening.  Their ears are open so they are hearing the world around them.  They are able to regulate their body temperature so they don’t need the room to be 80 degrees.  I still see them under the heat lamp but there is no ‘dog piling’ anymore.

Emma and puppies were de-wormed yesterday.  This is something we do as ALL puppies have worms.  We de-worm the moms’ at the same time as the puppies.

Something we haven’t talked about is that mom stimulates the puppies to pee and poop.  If you look at the whelping mat, there is nothing on the surface to clean up because mom takes care of this.

Right now Emma does most of the work…she feeds the puppies and cleans them.  Once the puppies start getting puppy food, the moms changed their mind…if you feed them, you clean up after them.  We start feeding the puppies at about 4 weeks of age and mom decides to ‘walk away’ at this time.

Mark and my work is pretty minimal but wait 2 weeks and things will definitely change — anyone want to come spend the day with us???

Seriously, this is a true labor of love.  We love taking care of the mom and puppies.

Tuesday, Jan 2 – Hope you are all staying warm.  These temperatures are life threatening so be careful when outside.  The dogs don’t like this cold weather either.  Everyone is going outside, doing their business, and going right back in.  The dogs at the barn are listening to music and watching Super Man on the TV.  Not sure they can follow the plot but they sure enjoy the bright colors!!

Emma goes to the vet tomorrow to have her stitches out.  Won’t need to take puppies with us.  They are fine without Emma for an hour or two.

Choosing a Vet:  Many of you have established relationships with a local vet.  Years ago one would be just a number on an invoice but vets now want to be involved with your pets thus establishing a relationship.  

If you don’t have a vet, ask your friends who they go to.  One can look on line to get vets in the area.  Once you have a couple vets picked out, call their office and ask to stop by to meet the office staff and vet/s.  Have a list of questions you might want answered.  For example, how long is the average wait to see the vet once I’m in the office?, are you open any evenings or Saturday?, are there more than one vet in the office?, etc.

Connecting with an office that has more than one vet has it’s benefits.  The office is always manned and you should be able to see any of the vets.

Other things to consider:  is the staff friendly and greet you and your pet promptly, is the office clean, does the office smell good…think of things that are important to you.  If you find ‘red flags’, keep shopping!!!

Another telephone picture

Yellow and orange girls

Hot pink girl

Lt Blue girl

Monday, Jan 1 – Happy New Year to everybody!!!  We wish all your resolutions will be long lasting!

The puppies continue to thrive.  They are all 2 pounds with Orange girl quickly heading towards the 3 pound mark.

Today was ‘personal grooming’ day for the puppies.  After each puppy was weighed, they had their toe nails trimmed.  No cries or blood….whew.  Each puppy has been imprinted.  This is desensitizing the puppies to having their ears or feet or tail messed with.  Hopefully, the imprinting will help with cleaning ears or trimming their nails.  

Now that their ears are opening and they can hear, we will start playing puppy learning CD’s and nursery rhymes.  I will also talk to the puppies and sing along with the CD’s.  They will also listen to Country music just because I do!!!

Other noises we will introduce are the vacuum, hair dryer, and anything else we think of.  We mix up what and when we do things so it doesn’t get boring.

We have a camera monitor that we watch to see what is going on.  We will see a puppy scoot from one side of the whelping box to find momma to nurse.  Won’t be long until they are up on all fours and quickly moving around the whelping box.

For those of you that would like to follow what is happening week by week, here is a website for you to go to:  https://www.thelabradorsite.com/puppy-development/.

Emma nursing puppies

All 5 puppies. Look for sliver of the ribbon on the far left puppy


Saturday, Dec 30 – I felt a little sick yesterday morning and Mark took over care of Emma and puppies.  If it had been the flu or strep throat, it wouldn’t be good for the puppies.    Today I am fine and took over Emma and puppies for supper feeding.  I think they have grown since yesterday morning!  

Do you see the pigment coming into Brown Boy’s nose?  In a few days, his nose and paw pads will be jet black.  The ‘eye liner’ will be the last black pigment to come.

A yellow lab without black pigment is called a Dudley.  There is no black pigment at all.  Some people breed for them but they are a fault/disqualifier in the lab show world.

Another oddity in labs is ‘mismarks’.  This is when a puppy has black or yellow spots.  Our Katie had our first mismarked puppy last spring.  We saw this faint circle of light grey but we thought it was newspaper ink from the potty papers.  Dr. Kaliff assured us it was black hair and showed us.  The puppy named Echo is a purebred lab with spots.  I’ll post a picture of Echo.

Emma is being such a good mom.  She finished her antibiotic and her whelping is a faint memory.  The puppies are all doing great also.  If you notice the legs stretched out behind the puppy, this is a sign of good hips. We love to see them lay this way.

Black female #2 will be joining the Elizabeth B. family.  Thank you for entrusting Mark and I with raising YOUR puppy.

Something to think about — your puppy is just about 2 weeks old.  In another 6 weeks they will be ready to go to their new homes.  I will write about ‘taking puppy home’, ‘puppy-proofing your home’, ‘the ride home’, ‘dog food’, ‘choosing a vet’, ‘easy reading’, plus a few more.

Enjoy the pictures!!!

Mismarks on Echo

Brown Male

puppies lay this way often

Thursday, Dec 28 – The puppies are being weighed twice a day.  Here is the weight they started at and the weight they are this morning.  Brown male:  13 ounces – 1 pound 8 ounces – which is an increase of 11 ounces.  Lt. Blue female:  10 ounces – 1 pound 6 1/2 ounces – which is an increase of 12.5 ounces.  Yellow female:  12 ounces – 1 pound 10 ounces – which is an increase of 14 ounces; Orange female:  14.5 ounces – 2 pounds – which is an increase of 17.5 ounces.  Last but not least Hot Pink female – 13 ounces – 1 pound 13 ounces – which is an increase of 16 ounces.  You can tell by the pictures that all the puppies are chubby.  

The rule of thumb is that puppies should double their birthweight by 10 days of age.

I laid my cell phone by the puppies so you can see how big they are.

Weights on 12-28, puppies are 7 days old

Tuesday, Dec 26 – I’ve always said our labs are ‘on the go’ kind of labs.  We seem to be grooming these puppies to be ‘on the go’ also.  Since their birth, they have traveled over 150 miles to and from the vet.  They say to have the puppies meet 100 people by the time they are 6 months old.  These little guys have met about 25 people just going to the vet!  

We went to Dr. Kaliff’s office this morning for a quick peak at Emma.  I thought Emma was getting mastitis but Dr. Kaliff said everything was ok.  We had the dewclaws removed from the puppies.  Dr. Kaliff looked at each puppy and was pleased.

Dr. Kaliff can’t believe how things turned around for Emma.  We thought we were going to lose her last Thursday morning and today she is producing enough milk to feed more puppies.  I thank God for the healing of Emma and her puppies.  Mark and I are so thankful that we aren’t supplementing puppies every 3 hours!!

The nose and paws of all yellow puppies are white when they are born.  The black pigment starts coming in when the puppies are a few days old and the areas are completely filled in within a couple of weeks of age.

The black puppies have their pigment at birth.

Are you wondering how Emma, a black lab, could have yellow and black puppies in the same litter?  Emma’s dad is yellow (Conrad) so she carries yellow.  A black carrying yellow will have black and yellow puppies when bred to a yellow stud.  Here is a website that gives examples of color inheritance:  www.blueknightlabs.com/color/coatcolor.html

Hot Pink Female – note she is standing on her legs

Orange Female – largest of the puppies

Lt Blue Female – petite

Brown Male – our only boy – note his nose and paws are not black yet

Yellow Female


I write the blog for a couple of reasons.  I want to share how we are raising YOUR puppy.  I want to keep YOU in the information loop so you truly know YOUR puppy.  Questions are welcome.

Monday, Dec 25 – Merry Christmas to you and yours.  The puppies’ official birthday is December 22.  It’s sad to tell everyone that we lost the little yellow female.  The remaining 4 black females and 1 yellow male are thriving!  We are no longer supplementing the puppies.  We are weighing them twice a day.  Should we see a puppy needing a little extra, we will be right on it.

Emma is being a terrific mom…nursing and cleaning the babies all the time.  She will go for bloodwork today just as a precautionary measure that we have her on the correct antibiotics.

We have started offering puppies.

–  Yellow male will be going to Jon G. and family.

– A black female will join Barbara and Dennis R. family.  They currently have another black lab named Baron.  Baron is a SeraXConrad puppy.

I will continue to offer puppies.

I’m having issues with pictures I’ve taken.  They are importing upside down.  I will continue to work on this!!




Saturday, Dec 23 – Emma and puppies are doing very well.  They spent yesterday at the vet so Dr. Kaliff could check blood work again.  With a 3-day weekend, she wanted to check everything, get her on antibiotics, and make sure we would be on the mend.  She has determined this was a result of significant blood loss.

The puppies have been weighed and given colored ribbons for identification.  Yellow male is brown, yellow female is pink, black female #1 is orange, black female #2 is light blue, black female #3 is orange, and black female #4 is hot pink.  Their weights range from 9 ounces to 16 ounces.  All are nursing and sleeping most of the day.  Emma is doing a great job cleaning them and stimulating them for pottying and pooing.  

Right now, we are supplementing the puppies every 3 hours to help Emma.  We are weighing the puppies twice a day to monitor gains and losses.

This is looking into the box the puppies went to the vet in oyster.  Note the yellow female climbing right up behind the black girls





Wednesday, Dec 20 – Today started out with no puppies.  We were thinking we would have puppies by morning.  I had an eye appointment at 9:30 am and Mark said he could handle things because I wouldn’t be gone long.  About 9:45 am I get a text.  Of course I expect him to be telling me we had a puppy.  No puppies but ‘bring lunch home’!  Remember it is 9:45 am and no where near lunch time.  

Our first puppy arrived about 6:00 pm, almost 24 hours from the onset of labor.  The next three puppies arrived 30 minutes apart.  Then Emma’s contractions got stronger but no puppy was born.  At 10:45 pm we were headed to Urgent Pet Care for evaluation.  An x-ray showed a puppy stuck in the birth canal in breech position.  The x-ray also showed there were 4 puppies waiting to be born.  The only remedy was a c-section to remove the stuck pup and deliver the remaining three puppies.

After what seemed like forever, the c-section was completed.  We lost two puppies that were in the birth canal but saved the other two puppies.  Now we have six live puppies – four black females, one yellow male, and one yellow female.

We arrived home about 4:30 am with Emma asleep in the van and the puppies on my lap with a warming bottle.  We carry Emma into the house and put her in the whelping box to nurse her puppies.  By now it is almost 5:30 am so I worked with the puppies to nurse and Mark went to bed for a couple of hours.

I contacted Dr. Kaliff that Emma wasn’t awake as the Urgent Pet Care vet said she would be.  Dr. Kaliff was concerned as well as Mark and me.  Emma was in shock, her blood pressure was low, her heart was racing, and she was dehydrated.   She and the puppies spent the day at our vet’s office.  We picked Emma and the puppies up about 7:00 pm and she was up walking but still very tired.  They will go back to Dr. Kaliff’s this morning for more blood work on Emma.  The puppies are doing great so they are just along for the ride!

Today is a new day and we are very hopeful that Emma will make a complete recovery and the puppies will continue to grow like weeds.  While Emma was under anesthesia, we asked that she be spayed.

All 6 puppies wearing white colors, 24 hours old

Tuesday, Dec 19 – Emma and I have been playing ‘let the dog out, let the dog in’ 5 times today, she has eaten 4 times and I’ve eaten 3 times today, and I’ve taken her temperature 4 times, no times for me.  She is continuing to eat and her temperature is starting to drop.

We bought a baby monitor today.  Those of you who know me, know I’m not the most graceful person and going up and down steps checking on Emma may lead to something unfortunate like a sprained ankle.  So we now have a monitor that I can carry around to watch Emma.  This will allow Emma to rest without all the interruptions to check her.

Emma started showing signs of labor about 8:00 tonight.  This is stage one and could last up to 24 hours…poor Emma.  As I am watching her on the monitor, she is asleep in the whelping box completely stretched out on her side.  She instinctively knows to get some rest before labor gets intense.

Stop back in the morning to see if we have puppies yet!!!

Monday, Dec 18 – Emma is one of our favorite girls here at Dusty Road Labradors.  Her Mom Claire was an exceptional girl also and her Dad is Conrad.  Emma got a double dose of ‘niceness and gentleness’ and passes her wonderful qualities to her puppies.  

Emma was bred to Keeper of Blue Heaven Labs for a repeat breeding.  She was a great Mom and her puppies were very nice.  In fact, our Shelby is from the spring Emma X Keeper litter.

Emma’s due date is December 21.  My daughter Lisa is concerned that I won’t be able to make Christmas Eve brunch if Emma is late.  Be on time Emma!!!

Emma came to the house today.  We turned my basement sewing room to our delivery/whelping room.  The whelping box is 4’x4′ and the waiting room is about 6’x4′.  The waiting room is where I will be sleeping for a couple nights waiting for the puppies to arrive.  We have several heating apparatus while the puppies are in the whelping box.  The whelping box will be kept at about 80 degrees for the first 10 days.  We don’t want the puppies to get cold.

I’m posting the x-ray taken of Emma last week.  We are expecting 7 or 8 puppies (or more!!!).  There is a picture taken of Emma about 2 weeks ago and pictures taken in just the last few days.

Just a reminder to those on Emma’s list….I will send an e-mail telling you how many, colors, and sexes plus a few pictures.  We will not be notifying anyone if they get a puppy until AFTER 72 hours.  The first 72 hours are when puppies are sometimes lost.  Plus, I’m totally concentrating on the puppies.

Emma day 46 of 64

Resting comfortably

Whelping box with heat lamp

Emma’s x-ray…do you see the skulls and skeletons?

Posted in: EMMA'S BLOG