Monday, June 14, 2010

Rock and Roll Puppies Eat Their First Real Meal

These puppies love their food! Dylan, Zappa, Hendrix, Grace and Jagger ate their first real meal today.

Their breeder caretaker softened puppy food in warm water and then blended it in a blender until it had the consistency of gruel. Diane put three plates of this puppy gruel in the whelping box and as soon as she placed the puppies in front of the food, they dove right in! Sometimes puppies aren't quite sure what they're supposed to do with this new food, since they've been used to nursing for all of their lives, but the Rock and Roll Stars knew exactly what to do.

You probably noticed that the puppies are wearing tiny purple harnesses. These are their service dog-in-training harnesses. When Diane first put the harnesses on the pups, they yelped for about an hour. They soon settled, though, and they don't seem to mind the harnesses now. We get the puppies used to wearing their harnesses early so that they don't develop harness sensitivity. When dogs are comfortable wearing their harness, we have more options for the type of service dog they can become. For example, a balance dog must wear a harness with a special handle so their partner can hold on to it for balance. If a dog doesn't like his harness, it's unlikely he could become a balance dog. (Although harness sensitivity does not prevent a dog from being placed with a partner. Some of the service dogs that are currently going through team training with their partners do not wear harnesses. Instead, we created special collars so show that they're working service dogs.)

Each week we add something new to the whelping box to give the puppies new experiences and lots of sensory exposure. Last week, we added new surfaces for them to walk on. This week we added new toys and a crate. Most of the puppies have no problem with the crate. They walk in there on their own and curl up for a nap. Jagger seems to prefer sleeping behind the crate, though, rather than in it. We also added a line of water bottles along one side of the whelping box. We got the idea from the breeder caretakers of Midge's mother, Stella. They had tied pine cones to the side of the box, and the pups loved them! They would rub against them like they were scratching. We didn't have pine cones, but the water bottles serve the same purpose. As soon as Diane tied them to the box, the puppies came over to investigate and play with them.

Keep watching the Puppy Cam to see what the Rock and Roll pups will do next!

Puppy Cam

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