Chocolate Clan Labradors

To know one is to love one

For the Love of the Chocolate Clan.

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Week 5

Posted by Pat on September 28, 2019 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Wow the time is flying with this litter.  It has been an exciting week. We started with some lovely weather so the pups got introduced to the great outdoors. They have been out three times so far. Yesterday it was 1C so was quite a shock for them, but they still enjoyed it. But the time outside was only 20 minutes before they were getting cold and it was time to bring them back inside (we were getting cold too).

Two important milestones this week. The pups began drinking water. So now we can decrease the amount in their food (gruel), and get them onto dry kibble. The second milestone was they began to play with one another. Well perhaps it could be called fighting, but really it is recognizing each other and interacting.

As Maggie cuts back on the times she is in the nursery, and feeding them, the pups are eating all the food we are putting out. We have decided to transition them onto Purina Pro-Plan Large Breed Puppy food. We have always had good success with it, and it should be easily available at all pet stores. We will keep Maggie and Hope on the Canadian Naturals Lamb and Rice, as Maggie has that food allergy to chicken (a very common allergy in older dogs due to the presence of chicken in most dog foods). Once she is no longer lactating (has the litter weaned), we will be able to change the diet to an adult large breed formula that does not contain chicken.


Week 4

Posted by Pat on September 21, 2019 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Love to see the puppies grow, but it seems so fast.  They were just beans two weeks ago, and now they walk, and talk, and do the two p's all on their own. Maggie is still nursing, but she doesn't spend much time in the nursery. The pups have teeth now!

So with all this growth, we had to move the pups out of the whelping pool and into our "temporary" nursery.  As we only have a litter every two or three years, we have not yet set up a full time nursery area.  But this is the third litter that has been born and housed in the upstairs master. We set up a paper area where we hope the pups will do their business, an open Nesting area where they can eat (Maggie can feed them), and then the kennels.  These pups have taken naturally to the kennels and we often find them hunkered down in one of them having a nap.  The kennels generally stay clean, but these guys love to pee on the Nesting area.  The paper is well used too, so they are getting it, just not consistently.

Friday was our second deworming day. So each pup got a dose of Strongid (a liquid). It is easy to administer. Worms are a chronic issue with pups, as they get them from their dam in the womb. So despite our monthly treatments of our girls, they still pick up worms from those delicious things they find to eat on our walks. As they grow, a monthly dewormer may be recommended by your vet. As well, at least on the Prairies, in the summer months a tick medication will probably be recommended. 

Week 3

Posted by Pat on September 14, 2019 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The pups are continuing on their rapid journey of growth. Eyes are all open. They are walking and sitting. And we have been able to introduce "solid" food. Well the food is actually mushed up puppy food with a lot of water and some puppy formula. They tend to walk in it, get it all over themselves, and sometimes actually eat some. But it is the time when the little ones that might not be able to compete on the teat can actually start to catch up to those big brothers and sisters. Because birth weight is a function of both potential adult weight and placement of the attachment point of the placenta in the uterus. Some really small pups at birth end up being as big as, or bigger than, some of the bigger pups at birth.  This is especially true for our girls. As well the pups are starting to climb, and get big, so we have had to take the hot bottles from inside the pool to the outside. Now that Maggie only goes in to feed them and clean up there is less risk that she might crush one.  She is a very careful Momma. The pups need to be a little warmer still, as they do not fully control their body temperature until 4 weeks.  So still lots to happen.

Week 2

Posted by Pat on September 7, 2019 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

How the puppies have grown. They were little beans at the start of the week needing Momma for food, and to clean them to stimulate peeing and pooing.  It was an easy week for me in the cleaning department as Maggie did most of the work.

However, by the end of the week, as expected the pups started to walk and their eyes are now open. So walking means they have started peeing and pooing everywhere.  Maggie goes in and cleans as best she can, but with only her tongue, it leaves some stains behind.  As well the little guys don't mind peeing and pooing on each other.  Sometimes it just happens!

The pups got their first round of de-wormer.  It is a liquid formulation of Strongid. That has not helped the pooing situation.  However, we have lots of blankets and a washing machine so we are good for awhile. We did get them some collars, so hopefully that will make it easier to follow different pups, although with all the glow it may be hard to see the colors. They will only have them on under supervision as the pups are still a little small for them.

The next week is going to be exciting as we will start introducing puppy food (as a gruel mixed with formula). And depending on how fast they grow, perhaps some new expanded digs will happen too.

Week 1

Posted by Pat on August 30, 2019 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Wow, hard to believe this time last week we were in the midst of welcoming our litter into the world.  The week has whizzed by. Our number one concern for the past week is to ensure the health of our mother and litter. Maggie is once again proving to be a super mom.  We occassionally have to tell her it is okay to leave her pups to eat or go outside.  She is always ready to go for "walks" although tires easily and gets anxious quickly.

So I have been keeping track of each pup by painting a pup and weighing them daily. Then I have been putting the littlest ones on Maggie first for feeding, at least once a day. This is so by the time the litter is ready to go home, they are all about the same size.  However, I think that orange boy (Harley comes to mind) is going to be the big one no matter what we do. And it looks like Mauve girl might just stay little.  But with our girls it is hard to say as we usually have one or two bigger ones and one or two littler ones (when we have over one female pup). While the little ones eat, the other pups stay comfy and warm in the ready box (ready to go if we need to travel quickly).


Posted by Pat on August 17, 2019 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Alot of time and care goes into planning a breeding. We have to make sure our dam is healthy and still able to have a litter. We have to select a male that is healthy and has his health clearances. Once we have done that we also are looking for basic Labrador Retriever traits like ability to work and hunt. The sire for our 2019 litter, Born to Hunt Gator Man, met all our criteria. So on Monday we had an x-ray, and it looks like this time next week there might be 10 new chocolate clan members.:D (I can only see 9, Sarah saw 11, and the vet says 10!)  

For me the next week will be one of waiting anxiously to see that Maggie stays healthy and each of the pups has a chance at survival. Nothing is guaranteed, but I have the vet on speed dial in case we need some help!

Celebrating 15 years

Posted by Pat on August 3, 2019 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

There comes a time when we have to say "Goodbye". All the love, medications, massages, therapies, no longer do any good. I would like to think it is a time to celebrate all the wonderful years, but somehow my eyes swell up and my heart grows heavy. So here are some pictures to celebrate some wonderful years. 

By far the most iconic picture we have, is when Dave took Kassey out pheasant hunting in 2006. The location was prime and looked like a movie set.

Kassey in 2012, still beautiful, but starting to slow down.

Kassey in 2007, so beautiful and full of energy.

Puppy Number 8. We were tired Koko and I, and here was the sixth girl in a litter of 10. But at six weeks we knew Kassey was the most beautiful girl in the litter.

Happy 15th Birthday Kassey

Posted by Pat on July 15, 2019 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

In June, Kassey turned 15. :D It took us a lot to keep her going, as peeing and pooing in the house seems to be the norm.  Not too many people would put up with it, but we seem to be an exception.  She is doing great otherwise, except a little hard of hearing and cannot see too well. And she is on soft food now, and gets lot of different supplements and pills.  But what 90+ year old human doesn't do the same? She can still walk a mile with us, slowly, and sometimes she looses track of us and we have to go back and rescue her. But she is still eager to go.  She loves when we do ball toss at the lake, but seems to know that all she can do is splash at the edge now. If she started swimming I am not sure where she would end up...and probably take Hope with her wondering where they were off to.

Kassey got a bow to wear on her birthday.  Looking very lovely in it.

2018 Year in review

Posted by Pat on December 8, 2018 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

A litter of puppies is always years of planning, nine weeks of waiting, and eight weeks of intensity with whelping, growing pups, and finding forever homes. Then there is the aftermath. All of a sudden there is quiet.

Except for 2018. This year we had HOPE!

Hope was one of the littler, quieter pups from our 2017 litter.  It was one of the reasons we chose her. Were we wrong. To start with we baby-gated her in the kitchen. That way we got to sleep through the night for a couple of weeks....until the cats knocked Kassey's Gabapentin off the shelf and there was that emergency trip to the Animal Hospital. So after Christmas, Hope got banned from the kitchen, and began to sleep with her Grandma.  All fine except she woke us up two or three times a night to go outside.  So after Christmas we got out a kennel and tried to crate train her at night.  Afterall that was what we recommended to all our puppy families. Hah! Now Hope started developing her lungs and barked all the solution was to move her out to the garage in her crate for the night. That worked for us, as we could no longer hear her barking.

As a reward for a good job, Maggie got started on scent training in 2018. We got through the first scent, wintergreen, and got Maggie's certificate from the Sporting Detection Dogs Association. Love that scent as it reminds me of livesavers. Anyway it was a lot of fun, and Maggie was great at it. Also enjoyed participating as a volunteer at some trials. Maggie and I were just not quite ready for them.  We continued training over the summer, but this fall, I just never got organized enough to get us back into it. Maybe after Christmas.

Hope passed her level One for training at Waggles Academy for Dogs. We were not able to continue training there as they no longer let non-spayed or non-neutered canines over the age of six months attend :(. Love Waggles but that meant Hope got sent to boarding school over the summer. Kelsey Boettcher at Alberta K9 accepted the challenge of trying to make Hope into a bird dog.  After three months, Hope got sent home with the proviso, that perhaps next year, she will have matured enough to be steady enough to continue training. So Hope does at least retrieve her rubber duck and is quite good at finding it. Alas the snow came early and that curtailed duck training. So we are back to household obedience.  Somehow have come full circle, as this week Hope was back at the vet receiving charcoal for getting her Grandma's Gabapentin off the shelf and chewing up the bottle. (Hope has learned how to get out of her kennel....we don't know how....but she is back to being crated in the garage in the old metal kennel when no-one is around especially because of her second breakout. Keep on reading.)

We had some scares this past week. Grace has two large lumps in her chest, that we were afraid might be something scary. But Dr. Cindy did her magic needle aspirations, and they are both fatty lumps. Grace also got attacked a week ago by another dog. She got some bites on her muzzle, but did not need stiches. They are still healing up. But just goes to show you, that even the nicest dog can be the victim of an attack. The other scare was with Hope. Two days after the Gabapentin incident, Hope decided to get into my vitamin D. Until that moment, I had no idea that vitamin D could be toxic to dogs. So Dr. Cindy was a little more concerned about this ingestion, and blood and urine work was also done. But because we got Hope in quickly for the usual (induced vomitting and charcoal), there should be no long-term effects.  Except that the counter has now been cleared off, except for the dog bisquits:D.

Next year, we hope to go back to having a litter. Will be a lot less stressful. Ha Ha Ha.

Wrapping of the Litter

Posted by Pat on February 14, 2018 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

So the "official" Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) registrations have arrived. These are the documents that not only ensure that your dog is purebred. These are the documents that mean you can claim your dog is a Labrador Retriever. As funny as it may seem, without these papers, it is a violation of Canadian Law to call your dog purebred or any specific breed. Before we got our first dog Koko, I had no idea that it mattered. But 19 years later I know it does. It matters because it ensures that the breed maintains standards. It matters because the CKC is a group of volunteers and paid administrative staff that have a passion for dogs. It matters because it is a way to ensure that we are improving breeds and canine health. 

It is a way to track parentage and if a canine health issue is found, a way to contact owners of these dogs so that they are aware of it. For instance, there was a litter in western Canada where the males were dying from narcolepsy. They determined that this trait was sex linked on the X chromosome and all the males got their X chromosome from their Mom.  The females from the litter got an X chromosome from each parent, and the one from their father masked the disease. Only some of the girls were carriers, but for those girls, it was recommended not to breed them, as the same issue would arise in their off-spring. That's why we tested Maggie for this disease and she is not a carrier.

Registration is also a time to pick a really neat name for your Dog. We tend to name all our dogs: Mom's name, Chocolate Clan, call name. This time we thought we could try to be a bit more creative, in part because we had a second Stanley out of Maggie, so he is Chocolate Clan Lab's Stanley.  Aren't we daring.  But we also have a couple where we used our "official" CKC Kennel Name Mekokama (Me for Meg's Chocolate Clan Koko, Ko for Koko's Chocolate Clan Kassey, Ka for Kassey's Chocolate Clan Maggie, and Ma for Maggie.......but wait we named Hope Mekokoma's Bustin' with Hope). Also Rusty's name is Mekokoma's Gun Dog Rusty.

So we draw our 2017 litter to a close, knowing we will all continue to enjoy these new family members, we hope for many years to come!