Monday, February 27, 2012

Ginna is now 5 weeks post breeding and is proudly showing off her "baby bump".  She is normally a very slender girl and this is really a change to her tummy!  She is quite happy to roll over and have a good tummy rub.  Sadly I cannot upload the ultrasound images from 4 weeks.  We could see the little forms of the pups and see the heart beats.  When we counted 5 we stopped, as an ultrasound is not really that accurate for counting.  I shaved her tummy for the ultrasound, but will shave off more as the time draws near.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I have reserved uterine contraction monitoring and doppler equipment from Whelpwise.

I have used this service in my last two litters and wished I had had it for Adrina's first litter when the first puppy was stillborn.  I am certain it would have been saved if we had better information about fetal stress.

Since we now live out in the country and 20 minutes away from my vet, it is comforting to know that I have a good picture of what is going on with contractions and I have a doppler to time heartbeats of each puppy.  The Whelpwise experts are right there on the phone monitoring transmission from their equipment and ready to make frequent assessments of the progress.  My own vet is put on alert and I am equipped with measured amounts of drugs to administer if recommended.  Since this will be Ginevra's first litter, this service gives me a measure of extra confidence.

Monday, February 20, 2012

We just did an ultrasound on Ginevra and confirmed that she is going to have puppies.  Due date is end of March.  We are very excited!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

We just got word that our Ginevra has a permanent OFA hip score of EXCELLENT.  As of now, this is one of 4 permanent scores of Excellent on dogs living in the United States.  We are so excited.  Here is a copy of the film:

Monday, February 6, 2012

 Teaching "FIND" a good thinking game for your dog.  Dog must use nose instead of eyes to retrieve.  This can be a fun game for children to play "hide and seek" with the dog, or it can be a lesson on how to hunt or search for a hidden item.  I used a bag of rice and White Italian Truffle Oil.  Adrina will "find" a particular toy or find one of our dogs if it has run off.

I start indoors by teasing the dog with the object and getting her interested in it.  I give the object a name, in this case "truffle".  Adrina already loves to retrieve and bring objects back to us, so it was very easy to teach her this game.  I close her behind a door and then place the object where she can see it.  I let her out and go with her saying "find truffle".  As soon as she locates the object, I praise and treat her with a high-value treat.
Once she is competent at finding a partially hidden object, I move on to the next step, hiding the object under something in an easy to locate place.   In this case, I used the same rug but hid the object further out of sight.  Once she was 100% at finding the object in different places out of sight, we went on to the next step.  If she ever made a mistake and couldn't find it, we backed up to an easier step.  You always want to finish the game with a successful find.

Once Adrina was successful at finding the object in increasingly more difficult hidden places, we started training out of doors.  I repeated the indoor activity by just placing the object on top of the ground and walking with her near to the location.  Once she was finding the object outdoors with good result, I started by digging a small depression and setting the object in it.

I then made it more difficult by putting some dirt over the object and then with each success, covered it a bit more.  This photo shows where the object was completely covered and she is about to unearth it.  Each level of difficulty was rewarded with a very yummy treat.

This game can be taught with children where someone holds the dog and the other person goes away and hides partly behind something, partially visible.  The person hiding makes calling sounds to the dog while the person holding says "find Jennie or James".  When the dog goes to the hidden person, have lots of fun and treats.  Again, continue to make this game more and more difficult as the dog understands the word "find".

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hopefully we will be having a litter from Ginevra and Vando at end of March.  I am very excited by this pairing.  This will be the first time Vando has been used for my own bitches. One of the girls from his mating to Ava at Jamboree resulted in a girl that has done well in her show career as well as one of her daughters.  He brings a fabulous temperament, correct proportions, gorgeous coat, and great head and expression.  He is son of the FCI world and multi-champion VID.  Ginna brings lovely proportions, great coat and color, and correct size at the smaller end of the breed standard.  She has an impish temperament and was such a great auntie to Adrina's litters, that we know she will make a great mom.

We are hoping to keep a girl out of this litter for our first home bred Lagotto.  You can see photos of these dogs at my website: