...ready for action !

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Introducing Mac's KeepaSecret..

Secret is my 3rd agility dog. She is a 16month old black and white border collie, kindly bred for me by a good friend, Sam Weaver. Her mother is Ivanhoe Sally, a finely built tri colour border collie from 3 sheep working lines and her father is farm bred Mick. Mick is the full brother to the fastest agility dog in Australia, Domino.
When I was ready for another puppy I hadn't decided where I wanted to go. Despite the way Terra has turned out I don't like her structure (being very straight in the shoulders and too tall for her build) so I didn't want to go back to her breeder and I was not interested in a show border collie. I (along with everyone else in WA!) have always admired Domino- he is truly in a class of his own with his speed and drive to do agility- so when a friend said she knew where Domino's full brother was living I was more than interested!
I always liked a bitch of Sam's called Sally for her structure being very light and finely built. Personality wise she is also out-going and very people oriented so I was thrilled when Sam said I could use her for this litter. The farmer who owns Mick very kindly said we could use him so the mating was set to go ahead!
Karen and I drove down to pick Mick up..he hadn't been off the farm before and we took him straight to Karen's to give him a bath..poor dog, he coped very well. Then it was down to Sam's sheep farm in Kojanup to wait for Sally to come into season, and also to see how he would do on sheep.
2 months later we are still waiting..starting to get a bit anxious as Micks owner needed him back on the farm and Sally STILL hadn't come in season! Eventually right at the last moment she finally came in and the mating went ahead successfully. Mick went back home and we settled down to wait. A couple of days before Sally was due to give birth Sam's roof collapsed and flooded part of her house! Not ideal with a bitch due shortly to give birth to (we hoped) a large litter of puppies. I offered to have Sal up here for the birth and we made arrangements to bring her up to Perth.
The night of the 3rd of August 2007 Sal started acting very restlessly..pacing and looking for somewhere to nest. I took her temperature, found it to be low as expected and tried to convince her the spot I had chosen (a large crate covered with newspaper and lined with towels) would be a good place to give birth. She seemed to agree, because not long after midnight the first puppy was born, a little black and white girl. I had decided I definitely wanted another bitch for my next agility dog as I prefer their attitude and business like nature so I was very pleased that the first one out was a girl, for at least my puppy was born! This little girl was moving moments after birth, due to that primeval force that was driving her towards the food source and the vital source of nutrients she needed to survive, milk.
Sal however wasn't having a bar of it as after chewing off her umbilical cord (much to my relief this wasn't her first litter although it was mine!) and then delivered at approximately 1 hour intervals 5 other puppies, leaving 3 girls and 3 boys.
We had decided that on this litter we were going to try Early Neurological Stimulation or ENS. This is a method of carefully stimulating the puppies sensory systems that is supposed to help with improved cardiovascular system, stronger heart beats and adrenal glands, more tolerance to stress and greater resistance to disease (Battaglia 2001). Very hard to prove in studies but there have been papers written about this system (the so called Bio Sensor or 'SuperDog' system) and it was very much in vogue in the US and UK amongst performance people so we decided to give it a go. Since Sam's house was still undergoing repairs the puppies stayed with me for the first 3 weeks and I performed the exercises. These involved tickling the puppies feet, turning them upside down and tail down, lying them on their backs and placing on a cold towel, all very briefly, for approximately 3 seconds. These are performed from day 3 to day 16. Initially the puppies all tolerated the exercises well but later on started to struggle, especially the first born girl!
After the 3 weeks was up I said goodbye to the pups as they went back to the farm. All seemed to be doing well except one, the 3rd born girl with the white head, who didn't appear to be putting on as much weight as the others. Sam had very kindly agreed to raise the pups in that critical 3-8 week period.
Updates were frequent by email and also on a blog that she started to give us progress reports on the pups, and hopefully to help us to choose which one to keep! I had the first choice from the litter, and I knew it was going to be a bitch. Karen had the next choice and agreed that she would pick a dog, to leave unsterilized if possible in case we wanted to breed on.
The puppies soon developed puppy nick names. The first born bitch was always the pushiest and the most dominant pup so hers was 'Chunky Monkey' (also being the biggest- obviously very good at getting food!) The others included 'Intermediate Girl' 'Shoulder Spot Boy' 'Big Boy' 'Little Man' and 'Midget'.
During this time I was frequently asking Sam what she thought..which pup showed the most initiative, outgoingness, which one liked people and which one liked to tug. They were a very even litter and it wasn't an easy call to make but frequently Chunky Monkey was mentioned at being the first to do this that and the other..

The whole litter