Dusty Road Labradors

Shelby’s Blog – December 2020

Today we are starting Shelby and Ole’s December 3 litter blog. If you have read one of my blogs, you know I write ‘on top’ instead ‘under’ the last entry. When you open this page, the most recent information will be ready to read.

We have made a separate page for Blu and Quincy’s puppies. I will move the Blu info from here to the new page shortly.

January 13, 2021 –

Shelby’s puppies will be 6-weeks old tomorrow. Can’t believe they will be going to their new homes in about 2 weeks.

Tomorrow they are going to Dr. Kaliff for their 6-week vaccinations and exam. Unfortunately we cannot go into the vet with the puppies but we know they are in good hands.

The area has been opened up to allow the puppies more play area. They are doing well potting on the papers. They are so fun to watch as they run around.

The puppies were wormed for the 3rd time yesterday. They will have one more worming just before they are picked up. Just a reminder – they turn 8 weeks on January 28. They can be picked up after that. If you have a time in mind to pick up, please let us know

Blankets and Pads:  It is so easy to go on a shopping spree as you prepare for your puppy.  From my experience, save your money to buy special things such as pads and blankets when your puppy is older.  Some puppies never stop chewing but some just aren’t chewers.

I use old towels or small sections of blanket to keep our puppies in kennels warm and comfortable.  If they chew, the blanket or pad gets taken out.  One doesn’t want to have strips of the fabric caught in their intestines.  This can cause a major blockage requiring surgery to remove.  And it never happens during your vet’s regular hours!!

Conrad with his head resting on Shelby

January 7, 2021 –

The BIG move was today. Shelby’s 7 puppies went to the nursery. When we finish one litter, we always clean everything so we are ready for the next litter of puppies. Mark gives everything a once over with clorox wipes. I’ve attached pictures of the pristine area and what the puppies did to it in the first 10 minutes they were in it!! They now have a place to potty. Hard to believe but we have had lots of potty and poop in the right area.

The puppies go in this crate while we are cleaning
4 puppies and 10 minutes!!
7 puppies and 30 minutes!!
Just let me take a nap!!
Yes, we have LOTS of newspapers – we’ll need them…

January 6, 2021 –

Happy New Year to all! We pray 2021 will be better for all of us!!

This litter is growing and personalities are starting to emerge from these 5 to 6 pound puppies. They are now attaching my ankles catching their teeth in my socks. Oh, they also like shoe laces. Eventually I will wear rubber boots to avoid sock damage and ankle bites!!

The puppies are responding to my voice. Every time they see me they think it is time to eat…just like human babies. They love to have a couple of seconds with a pat on the head and a ‘hi baby’.

The puppies are becoming fun now but the work is increasing. They are being fed 3 times a day and they are messy eaters. An occasional paw slides thru the gruel which is later licked off my Shelby.

Their food consists of puppy formula, a little pumpkin, a probiotic, and dry puppy food. This is made up and sits until the next meal. This allows the dry puppy food to soften. A quick blending and the gruel is ready to eat. I put a little pumpkin and a probiotic in the gruel to help solid up their stools. They just had a 3-day worming and this will help get the good bacteria back in their systems.

And my wash has increased. When the puppies are new borns, Mom stimulates them to go to the bathroom. The whelping pad needs changed every couple of days. Now they poop and pee wherever they want and 7 puppies do a lot of pooping and peeing! The larger pen has 2 puppy pads which are changed at least 2 times a day. I’m thankful that I’m able to wash and dry them in my washer and dryer. In the summer, I hang them on the clothes line. They are washed one at a time. Counting the 2 puppy pads that Blu uses, I wash 6 pads a day.

They puppies are moving to the nursery in the dog barn sometime this week. Mark has turned on the heater to get the room nice and warm. They will start learning to go to the bathroom on papers.

The puppies are listening to nursery rhymes, sounds for hounds, and the radio.

I never explained why the step in the pen is so important. First this is a different surface for them to experience. They all have mastered climbing onto the step. This will prepare them for stairs.

Shelby is weaning the puppies. She nurses about 3 times a day and they puppies drain her in just a few minutes. I forgot to mention they have teeth now!!!

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 ribbon collar on since he was just hours 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 the 2nd vaccination has been received. This is usually about 12 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.

Red with gruel on his head
Purple almost on step
The step works as a pillow for this puppy
Puppies after eating; note puppy toys (sorry it’s fuzzy)
Eat gruel – sit in dish
Puppies nursing, sleeping, and crawling on Shelby

December 31, 2020 –

2020 has been hard on all of us. Some have had Covid, some have lost jobs, some are working from home, some kids are virtually learning, and some of us are staying at home in hopes of not getting Covid. Wherever 2020 has taken your life, here’s hoping 2021 will get kids back in the school, all of us being vaccinated, jobs will return, and HUGS will be back!! Stay safe and keep positive that we will reach herd immunity.

Today is New Year’s Eve. We ran to get a few cards from the store and got the idea to have a Pizza King pizza for supper. We called about 5:45 and the wait was 1 1/2 hours. Another tempting drive thru supper!!

Today was a big day for Shelby’s puppies. They all got new collars as they had outgrown the present collars, their nails were trimmed, they were weighed, and wormed.

We turned the mud room into a large pen for the puppies. The whelping box is gone. In fact, the whelping box has seen it’s last litter of puppies. Mark made the whelping box about 10 years ago. It is soooo heavy that the decision to retire it was unanimous!!

I have started playing CD’s for the puppies. I play nursery rhymes, sounds for hounds, thunder and rain, subliminal noises. They have a step in the pen and it was funny watching them conquer getting on and off of the step. They had toys today for a bit while Shelby was in the kitchen. Shelby will take the toys and chew on them so she is banned from the puppy toys.

I am feeding the puppies three times a day. They do enjoy their meals which is evidenced by the amount on their face and legs!!

Navy Blue Male or Purple Female
Poor poor Shelby


Let’s talk about dog food! Talking dog food amongst ‘dog people’ is like talking religion or politics. Some times it’s just best to keep your opinions to yourself.
We are feeding the puppies Purina Pro Plan Focus Large Breed Puppy Food Chicken and Rice. It is available at Pet Smart, Pet Co, TSC, Bomgaars, etc. Please pick up a bag of this food before getting your puppy. If you chose to switch to another food, make a gradual switch. If you would like to see how your dog food rates, there is a website that rates dog food from 1 star to 5 star. This is www.dogfoodadvisor. I know there are other sources out there that are helpful.
When you are looking at the label of any dog food, watch for the following words: “By-Products” This is basically anything on the floor that is left over…chicken feet, beaks, etc. …AVOID “Corn and Wheat” This is a filler but can cause allergies to some dogs…AVOID
Last, don’t let those companies that do thousands of dollars in advertising sway you. Choose the dog food that meets your dog’s needs and your budget. Make sure the dog food can be found in a couple of different stores just in case they are out what you need.

December 28, 2020 –

Shelby’s puppies are changing everyday. They are up on all fours. They play fight. They are trying to get out of the whelping box even with the board Mark put to keep them in. They are responding to voices. They are sleeping a bit less.

Shelby is spending less time in the whelping box. She likes to lay outside the whelping box. Shelby spent sometime in the ‘crows nest’ watching the yard. Mark had quite a time getting her inside.

While weighing the puppies yesterday, we took individual pictures. You will see that puppies at this age are not very photogenic nor do they want to be. No amount of clucking or asking them to turn this way works.

The puppies are eating 2 times a day. I will be increasing the meals to 4 times a day to prepare them for Shelby weaning them.

Lime Green female
Pink female
Navy Blue male
Purple female
Yellow male
Turquois male
Red male

Choosing a vet for your puppy. Many of you are first time puppy owners. You will need to find a good vet now. We encourage you to take your puppy to your vet for an exam and you will need to take your puppy to the vet at 10 weeks for their second vaccinations.
How do you find a vet? The best way is to ask your friends who they use and why they would recommend them. If they sound like someone you would like to build a relationship with, give them a call. Many vets will spend a few minutes with you if you call and explain that you would like to meet them and see their office before you get your puppy.
Visit with the staff. Ask them about wait time when you arrive. Ask them how quickly they can get you in when your puppy needs seen right away.
Is the office calm or a ‘hot mess’? I like an office that is calm and welcoming. Professionalism is important to me as well as organization. These things tell me this is a good vet clinic.
Look at the office. Is it clean? Does it smell good? Is the waiting room big enough that you aren’t right beside another dog or cat? Is it a modern
facility or does it need upgrading of it’s x-ray machines?
Ask about their fees. We have found that most vets charge about the same for vaccinations. The office visit fee will vary greatly so make sure you know that. Hopefully, you will only need to see the vet for the second and third set of vaccinations, fecal exams, Rabies shot, and spaying or neutering. Non-routine visits will cost you more.

December 25, 2020 –

We hope you have all had a Merry Christmas! Mark and I spent a quiet day watching movies and taking care of puppies. Daughter Lisa and son-in-law Gene brought us our Christmas dinner. Just don’t feel up to cooking a big meal today after sinus surgery.

The puppies are lapping up puppy formula. This is the first step towards Shelby weaning the puppies. In just a couple of weeks, they will be weaned from Shelby and eating all on their own. At this time, they will move from the house to the Nursery in the dog building.

December 23, 2020 –

Sinus surgery day has finally arrived. So glad to get this over with. But…Mark will be taking care of all the dogs at the barn and those at the house.

Shelby’s puppies are getting so big! Pink, Purple, and Navy Blue weigh 4.5#. The biggest is Turquois at 4.7#. Yellow is 4.2#. Red is 4.1#. And Lime Green is 3.14#. They are walking around and making all kinds of puppy barking noises. They still have the occasional ‘scream’ that brings us running. This is usually being caught behind Shelby and not being able to get to the front to nurse.

The puppies have had their nails trimmed two times. This is so important as they will need their nails trimmed throughout their life. The puppies have their eyes open and are able to hear. I talk to the puppies and they look my way and some make their way to me.

The puppies are starting to lap up puppy milk. This will help them when Shelby weans them. In a week or so, we will make a gruel of puppy food and milk and change it to puppy food and water. As the puppies are just getting their teeth, the gruel will be kinda like Cream of Wheat…easy to lap up.

Shelby’s puppies were dewormed at 2 weeks of age. Next deworming will be at 4 weeks of age.

Shelby cleaning puppies
Purple learning to lap puppy milk
Do they make larger clothes baskets?
Thinking about what’s on the other side
Up on all fours!

We wish each of you and your families Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May 2021 be a better year than 2020.

December 18, 2020 –

Shelby’s puppies turned 2 weeks old yesterday. Weights were Pink-3.7#; Purple-3.9#; Navy Blue-3.9#; Lime Green-3.1#; Red-3.4#; Yellow-3.6#; Turquoise-3.7#.

Their eyes are starting to open. Just a little slit today. They had their first worming yesterday as well as Mom, Blu, Gabby, and Conrad. Blu’s puppies were not wormed as they are too young.

The puppies are starting to walk around when they are awake. They also have found their voices!!! They are yapping up a storm!

All of Shelby’s puppies have been offered until we decide if we are keeping a puppy. We will know for sure if we are keeping a puppy when they are 7 weeks old.

Now that Shelby can’t move the puppies, she has become a very good momma.

Some nursing, some sleeping
Black males – Yellow, Red, and Turquois
Shelby wishes she was longer

Blu’s puppies are growing and gaining weight. Their weights are Red-2.6#; Pink-2.4#; Black-2.2#; and Yellow 1.15#.

We have observed that Black will have a brown nose and Yellow has a small dark yellow dot on the top of her head.

The puppies had their dew claws removed and received great exams. Blu enjoyed her outing. We placed the puppies in a clear tote with lots of blankets. They cried but it didn’t bother Blu at all. She layed beside the tote and slept all the way to the vet and back home. Is this a seasoned mom?

You can see the ‘dot’ on Yellow
Red hugging the pig rail

On a personal note, I have sinus surgery scheduled for December 23. Was December 24 but someone thought that was a crazy day for surgery! The surgery is relatively simple but getting there has been a nightmare. I was scheduled around Thanksgiving but surgery was postponed in case they needed a bed for Covid patients. Ok but I was ready with the exception of a Covid test. Monday I have my 2nd H&P since it has been over 30 days since the first H&P and a Covid test. People tell me how bad the ‘swab up the nose’ test is. I’m so used to things being stuck up my nose that it probably be like going to my ENT!!

December 14, 2020 –

We have started offering puppies. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the number of puppies we hoped for. We are sorry that we cannot provide everyone on our list a puppy.

Shelby’s puppies are now almost 3 pounds. They are chubby puppies. They are getting stuck under the pig rail and Mark or I have to rescue them. I trimmed nails yesterday. Moms get really torn up by the sharp puppy nails.

We are waiting for eyes to open up. About the time that their eyes open up, they are able to hear.

Their legs are getting stronger everyday. They are standing on all four legs for just a second. This will strengthen their legs and allow them to start walking.

Shelby is eating about 10 cups of food a day and seems hungry all the time.

I’m holding Pink female
Mark holding squirming Lime Green
Look how big Shelby’s puppies are!

Blu is doing well after her c-section. She was drowsy the day of surgery but back to normal the following morning. Her puppies are very light. They are Red, Pink, Black, and Yellow — all females. They were big puppies weighing 1 pound and over. They continue to gain but look small compared to Shelby’s puppies.

Blu and the puppies go to the vet this afternoon. The puppies will have their dewclaws removed and a puppy exam. Blu will have an exam also. The staff is always excited when the moms and puppies come to see them. Lots of loving on the puppies!!

Puppies 2 days old

The day the puppies came home

Puppies nursing after getting home

December 11, 2020 –

Today is Blu’s official due date. When we got up on Wednesday morning, Blu was in labor much to our surprise. Because Blu had problems delivering her last litter, I called Dr. Kaliff to let her know what was going on. At 7:45 in the morning things were going well. Sadly no puppies were being born. A quick call to Dr. Kaliff and we were on our way to her office for an emergency c-section. Within an hour, all four puppies were born – four yellow female puppies. Blu and puppies came home early evening and settled right in her whelping box.

Packed up and ready to go home!

Back to Shelby – we couldn’t believe how big Shelby’s puppies were until we brought the new born puppies home. Pink, Purple, Navy Blue, Yellow, and Turquoise weigh between 2.2# to 2.5#. Red is almost there with 2.1#; Lime Green is weighing in at 1.11#. Lime Green came into this world a bit smaller than her sisters and brothers and will always be a smaller lab like her mom Shelby.

With the puppies weight increasing, it’s harder for Shelby to carry the puppies to her secret place. Now when I check on her, she is enjoying her secret place without puppies.

Taking a nap with Mom
Puppy at the front and one at the back
Asleep in a row

December 7, 2020 –

First, I want to let everyone know that NO puppies have been offered at this time. Mark and I are trying to make a decision on keeping a puppy. This is holding up offering puppies.

We know Blu is having only 4 puppies. We had hoped for more puppies to give everyone the puppy of their dreams.

Our trip to the vet was fantastic! Dr. Kaliff removed the dew claws and gave each puppy an exam. Dr. Kaliff looked at my weight chart to see how the puppies were gaining. Shelby received an exam and Dr. Kaliff thought she looked great.

We had an experience that we’ve never had before. We loaded up the puppies in a large tote with hot water bottles to keep them warm. We loaded Shelby in a kennel with the puppies near. The puppies wouldn’t quit crying. Usually they fall asleep but not this time. When we got to Dr. Kaliff’s office, we brought Shelby to the puppies and they nursed for about 20 minutes in the car before their appointment.

Shelby has been naughty moving her puppies to the cold tile floor. These puppies are getting held/moved several times a day, especially at night. I think she is hoping we don’t see where the puppies are in the 8’x10′ mud room.

We have started doing Early Neurological Stimulation exercises on the puppies. We are learning something new that will benefit our puppies as they grow into adults.

Here are some new pictures:

Puppies in basket while I’m cleaning whelping box
After getting ribbons
Yellow puppies are born with no paw or nose pigment. You can see the black coming in.
Couldn’t resist putting another picture with the orange ball.
Puppy resting on Shelby’s front leg during one of her moves.
Unique nursing positions!
Nursing in the van in the vet’s parking lot.

December 5, 2020 –

It’s been a busy morning! The puppies have been weighed and weights logged onto a spreadsheet. We will weigh the puppies twice daily to insure they are gaining weight. We also placed ribbons on the puppies. We do not name our puppies so they are called by their ribbon color. I received a suggestion to use bright colors to help you know which puppy you are looking at. Please let me know if there is something I can do to make things better.

The puppies are as follows: Black female with white spot on chest – lime green; Black female – pink; Yellow male – navy blue; Black male – turquoise; Yellow female – purple; Black male – red; and Black male – yellow. Everyone got a ribbon except orange ball!!

I was having trouble uploading pictures. These pictures are up-to-date.

Shelby in puppy box
Whelping Box without pig rail
Shelby cleaning first puppy
Family picture after last puppy was born (note pig rail is in whelping box)
Next morning picture
Puppies nursing and orange ball!
the orange ball again

December 4, 2020 –

We welcomed 7 puppies into the world yesterday. Shelby’s first puppy arrived at 4:00 pm and the last arrived at 11:00 pm. There is lots of work that goes with helping a dog whelp. We have been on ‘alert’ for 3 days watching for Shelby to go into labor. We had the whelping box ready with a cover to keep the warmth inside for the puppies to stay warm. We set up a heater that will keep the area warm for the puppies. We set up a box with heater to keep puppies in while mom is having more puppies. As we were completing the setup, we noticed Shelby was sitting in the puppy box.

Here is info on the puppies: 3 females-1 yellow and 2 black; 4 males-1 yellow and 3 blacks. 6 of the puppies weigh a pound or over; 1 puppy weighed 14 ounces.

Shelby is being a great mom. When Shelby had her March litter, she ‘befriended’ an orange ball. She took it in the whelping box before she whelped and kept it with the puppies until they moved on. Today, Shelby found the orange ball and took it to the new puppies.

Shelby and the puppies go to Dr. Kaliff, Animal Clinic Suburban, on Monday. The puppies will have their dewclaws removed and have their first examination. Shelby will have an examination also.

Shelby as a puppy all tuckered out shopping
Shelby as a puppy all tuckered out visiting friends
Daddy Ole
Great Grandpa Conrad with our Granddaughter Cheyenne. Conrad is a retired therapy dog.
Orange ball with March puppy
Shelby was a fun puppy!

December 2, 2020 –

We are patiently waiting for Shelby and Ole’s puppies. We went to Dr. Kaliff on Friday, November 27, for an x-ray to see how many puppies are in her swollen puppy. The x-ray showed 7 puppies.

Dr. Kaliff examined Shelby and thought everything looked good to go. In fact, she thought we would have puppies by Shelby’s December 3rd due date. We got the whelping box in the house and all the other things we will need – scale, rags, puppy warmer, scissors, and lots more. We don’t notice how many things we bring into the house but sure notice when we pack things up!

We have begun taking Shelby’s temperature. Her temp will drop to less than 99 degrees as she prepares for whelping. Her temp is bouncing between 100 and 99.2 degrees.

Shelby has the entire mudroom to herself. When Conrad and Gabby are outside, she gets to come into the kitchen. She moves from rug to rug to bare floor always looking for dropped crumbs. No, her appetite has not decreased. She is eating 6 cups of food a day instead of 3 cups of food.

Although we have had lots of litters of puppies, there is such excitement waiting for the whelping. Last night I was up every 2 hours checking on Shelby. There was no alarm set to get me up. We will be with Shelby thru the birth of the first puppy to the birth of the last puppy.