Watercubs & Kivisilmän

working show-quality newfoundlands

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Feeding the dam

The course of the delivery

Equipment and preparation for the birth of the puppies


Kivisilmän N-litter's picture gallery


The development of the puppies

After the birth:

In the picture Kasper, Navy, Akseli, Scout, Pipari, Mona, Cooper, Oslo  with Vera at 1 day old.

0-2 days

nursing every 30 mins for 1h30

After the birth, Vera was completely exhausted and the puppy room was too warm for her to properly relax. We took Vera to the cooler place under the stairs, where she slept for the half an hour between each nursing. The bitch's body temperature will stay elevated for a few days after giving birth, which is why the cooler room is essential for a breed with such a thick coat.

Often the bitch will not want to leave the puppies, but you need to make sure she walks and her intestines start working normally as soon as possible. Take many short walks rather than just one long one. Fortunately Vera trusted us and gladly left the puppies in our care when she went on her walks around the block. She felt much lighter and ran with her tail held high :-)!

When she came back, it was time to start nursing again. If the dam does not relax during the nursing, you need to teach it as otherwise the nursings are very stressful for you and your dog. Vera learnt very quickly that during the nursing, she had to lie still and let the little ones pull on her teats, even if it felt a bit uncomfortable at times. Already the day after the delivery, Vera started snoring blissfully while the pups ate their tummies full. She woke up to clean each puppy before we placed them in the puppy baskets but fell asleep again right after.

The puppies were weight many times a day, as the first 36h after birth are the most critical. The puppies weights should not drop even if the dam's milk production has not yet started properly and there is not enough milk to fill all the pups' stomachs. You need to make sure that each puppy gets enough milk and that their weight increases.

Puppy weight table:

Date and time (NB in 24:00 format) Puppy 1 Puppy 2 Puppy 3 Puppy 4 Puppy 5 Puppy 6 Puppy 7
00:00 weight (g) ...          
03:00 ...            

We took the “passport photos” of each puppy and the official names have been thought (we had to think of a few extra names as the ultrasound only showed plus minus 5 puppies!). The names are all in Finnish, the theme being cars and the letter N.

Nostokurki [=a crane] (black male) "Oslo"            Nopeusrajoitus [=speed limit] (black male) "Kasper"

Nollatoleranssi [=zero tolerance] (brown female) "Pipari"                      Nokkakolari [=head on collision] (brown female) "Mona"

Nestekaasu [=liquid gas i.e. LPG] (black female) "Cooper"                  Neliveto [=four wheel drive] (brown female) "Navy"        

Navigaattori [=navigator i.e. GPS] (black female) "Scout"                Nastarenkaat [=studded tires] (black male) "Akseli"




2-5 days
nursing every 2h for 1h

The puppies ate way too much for the first time when they were 4 days old when Vera started to have a Lot of milk! Do try and prevent this, as overfed puppies result in many sleepless nights and the puppies will be uncomfortable. Try how “hard” the puppies tummies feel. When they are the size of small balloons and feel tight, take the pup away from the dam's teat. Make sure the puppy pees and poos, and rub the tummy before letting the puppy go to sleep. Try and get the puppy to burp. When it has calmed down, weigh the puppy and place it in the puppy basket.

The puppies stood up for the first time and started yawning at the age of 4 days.

We started the Battaglia puppy handling techniques during the nursings: supine position (puppy on its back), head up, head down, temperature changed and tactile stimulation (rubbing the paws). The puppy handling should be slightly stressful for the puppy, but done in such a safe environment that the puppy feels completely safe. Short periods of stress (once a day for short periods of time) are good for the puppy as they prepare it for the everyday stress they experience when they are older and in the real world. They will be able to stand stressful situations much better when they are adults.

In the picture Akseli. Could a puppy be any more relaxed ?!?


If you have friends coming over during the first few weeks (or later), make sure that the dam does not feel stressed. Our dogs don't mind the people coming over, all of them are just happy when they see new people and old friends. The guests have to ALWAYS take off their shoes, and wash and disinfect their hands before meeting the puppies. As an extra precaution against germs, during the first weeks we require the people to change into clean clothes, which have come straight from the washing machine.

You can ask the guests to come during the nursing times: the puppies are calmer after they have just eaten and the guests are able to cuddle and pet them. Be careful that the dam does not get up in the middle of the nursing to greet the guests. Always let the dam meet them first and only then start feeding the puppies. Also make sure that the visitors greet the dam first and only then the puppies.

Do not ask the whole town to come and visit during the first few weeks: the puppies are extremely susceptible to strange bacteria. So far only Scout's and Navy's (co-owned) new owners and a “puppy watcher” have come to see our puppies. We want the new owners of the co-owned dogs to visit weekly to see what breeding entails and so they can already start mentally preparing themselves for the possible future litter from their own bitch. The other puppy owners can visit after we have moved the puppies upstairs when they are 2,5-3wks old. At this time, more people will come and visit us. When the puppies are five weeks, during the main socialization period, we will invite “the whole town” so that the puppies meet as many different kinds of people and get used to everybody. By the time the puppies are 12 weeks they should have met and seen almost everything they will see during their lifetime, so even if the puppies are well socialized at our place, the new owners have to continue the socialization when they take the puppy home. The pups will meet the rest of our dogs when they come upstairs into our living room.


5-10 days

nursing every 2,5h for 1h (includes defecation + weighings)

We cut the puppies' nails for the first time when they were five days old. When the puppies were 10 weeks, we cut the nails the second time. The hind paw nails are easy to cut when the pups are at Vera's teats eating, the front paw nails are easy to cut when the pup relaxes in our laps after nursing.

The puppies were moved from the small baskets into a larger walking area when they were five days old. The baskets were very handy during the first few days, but as the puppies start to pull themselves forward and start practising walking, they need a bigger puppy pen. The larger puppy area allows them to practise their motor coordination and balance. The new area is 1m x 1m, and ideal for eight puppies. It is big enough that the puppies can practise walking, but small enough that they don't get lost from their siblings. Underneath the puppy pen we placed a thick fur mat and WC-mats for grip.

The puppies were in the baskets for the first few days                    The puppies in their new walking area               

The floor heating is still off, so that Vera has the energy to nurse and can stay and nap in the puppy room near the puppies. The thick fur mat prevents the puppies from getting cold, as the WC-mat is not thick enough to keep the puppies warm. The heater (400w) is still placed on top of the puppy pen. The walls of the pen are built with compost frames, which have been pulled together tightly with cable ties. Make sure the edges are very tightly pulled together, so that there is no chance that any of the puppies have any chance of getting stuck. The bottom half of the walls have been reinforced with plywood, to really be sure that the puppies' won't hurt themselves and to make the structure even more sturdy. All the edges have been taped with duct tape, so that the puppies won't try and get through the plywood. The puppy area is very easy to make bigger just by adding new compost frames (+1m/frame). It is also very easy to fold and put into storage until the next litter.

After we moved the puppies into the new area, they started to move more and try their balance on four legs. At ten days they were already walking a few wobbly steps at a time. Everyone pushes their front up when they move forward. We have noticed that the lightest puppies walk the easiest and the most. Even though there is not much difference in the puppies' weights (about 100g), there is sometimes difference in how much they walk. But they should wait a bit for their eyes to open, before they start running!

We weigh the puppies at least twice a day, even though the puppies weights won't fluctuate as much as in the beginning and the critical time has passed. The puppies have doubled their birth weight and at ten days weigh about a kilo each. The weighing is more for giving us information about who has lost some weight (gets to eat first the next time) and who has gained a bit too much weigh (need to watch that it doesn't overfeed). It is important for you to keep an eye on the puppies when they feed, as they may not be able to regulate the amount they eat and overfed puppies result in sleepless nights for you and the puppies will feel very uncomfortable.

                            Vera nursing two 8 day old puppies                                                           .. while the others are fast asleep with their tummies full

The puppies eat about every 2,5h, but every once in a while after they fall asleep they can be without food up to 4h (after 10 days). We do not keep the nursing intervals that long, as the pups have a tendency to overeat after long intervals. The nursing + defecation takes about an hour. The puppies do not yet pee or poo without stimulation. After the seventh day it is a good idea to change the Kleenex to kitchen paper towels as the puppies pee A LOT. Tear the paper towel roll into small pieces so it is quick and easy for you to take one when you see a puppy pee. At this time we started rubbing the puppies' tummies over the trash bin so if and when the paper towel did not absorb all the pee, the floor would not get wet.

                  Vera licking the puppies' pee                                        .. she lets us clean the poo                        

Skype is a brilliant invention, and our first “video conferences” with future puppy owners have been had. The people who live far away cannot travel to see the puppies each weekend, but this way they can be a part of the puppy's growing up process. The puppies change weekly and it is wonderful to see each new phase of their development! Their coat has already changed. When the puppies were born, it was smooth and silky, now it is thicker, softer and they look more like a true Newfs.

A friend of ours gave us the great idea to take weekly pictures of the puppies with a stuffed toy, so that we can follow the puppies' growth better. We chose to take the pictures with a friendly cow.


                   Navigaattori (black female) "Scout"                                        Nollatoleranssi (brown female) "Pipari"         

         Neliveto (brown female) "Navy"                                             
  Nokkakolari (brown female) "Mona"

Nestekaasu (black female) "Cooper"                                       
Nostokurki (black male) "Oslo"  

Nastarenkaat (black male) "Akseli"                                  Nopeusrajoitus (black male) "Kasper"

Neste” has changed her name to “Cooper” according to a hockey theme. The new family's dad is a hockey fan, and all the previous dogs have been named after hockey terms: Bauer and Titan.

Vera has started to sleep upstairs with the other dogs. She is much more relaxed when she is upstairs (compared to how she previously was when she wanted to go and check on the puppies every five minutes). She has even started to beg food from our dinner table :-). Vera loves to run around the block and would go on longer walks if we let her. However, it is not a good idea to make a recently whelped bitch walk too much or strain herself. It is better to have many short walks rather than just one long one. We walk with Vera once every four hours, and always very short distances. Vera's intestines work very well. The poo has been solid for a long time now, except for the first few days.

Kivisilmän N-litter at 9
days old

11-15 days

When the puppies were 11 days old, the first ones opened their eyes slightly. They were moving very fast and everyone could stand up very easily.

Kivisilmän N-litter at 11 days old                                                                                            N-puppy being cuddled               


The heater was turned off when the puppies were 11 days old. They sleep much better now that they are not as hot. The door to the puppy room is still kept closed, as otherwise there is a slight cold draft coming from the garage. During the night, the heater is sometimes switched on, depending how cold the night is.

Puppies at 13 days: Most of the puppies have completely opened their eyes, only a few have their eyes only very slightly open. We took new “passport photos” of the puppies.

Nostokurki "Oslo"            Nopeusrajoitus "Kasper"

Nollatoleranssi  "Pipari"                      Nokkakolari  "Mona"

Nestekaasu  "Cooper"                  Neliveto  "Navy"   

Navigaattori  "Scout"                Nastarenkaat  "Akseli"

We noticed that Pipari and Akseli peed in the puppy area all by themselves when they were 13 days old. Soon Vera does not need to lick the puppies to stimulate peeing/pooing. So far we have used about 2-3 boxes of babywipes per day.

The puppies have also started to play with each other! So far it has been mostly just pushing and bumping into each other, but you can clearly see the beginnings of real play moves. They turn their heads, yawn, walk really well and make very loud noises. Their whine changed into small barks when they were about 11 days old: vauvauvauaarrrraufraufrauf..!

We moved the puppies upstairs into our living room on Friday when they were 15 days old. The puppies walk so well that they really did need a bigger play area. They still look a bit drunk when they walk right after eating when they are getting sleepy :-). Everyone has opened their eyes and their play is quite rough. When they were 15 days old, we could hear growling, barking, puffing and huffing and all kinds of weird noises when the puppies play.

The new "play area" has a big plastic under the whole pen, which has been attached to the side walls with duct tape and cable ties. The idea is that if the puppies pee right next to the side, the pee will not get on to the other side of the puppy area and onto the tile floor (and into the cracks). On top of the plastic, we placed a thick layer of newspapers and chronic diapers to really make sure that all the pee will be sucked into them and not form small puddles. Once the puppies decide which corner is going to be their designated "pee area" we can just change the diapers in that area. On top of everything, we placed a layer of bathroom mats, which make sure the puppies have enough grip to practice their motor skills and balance, but still lets the pee through to the newspapers and the diapers. The bathroom mats are washed in the washing machine and so far none have been damaged by the machines cycles. The mats have lines, not squares and are approximately 1,5cm thick. The newspapers and diapers are changed very often to make sure the play area stays hygienic and clean. The sides are the same kind of compost frame-plywood as the smaller one downstairs had, the difference is that upstairs there are a lot more pieces.

                                               The play area downstairs was 1mx1m.                                                                        The upstairs one is a lot bigger,                                            
                                                    The puppies at 16 days old.                                                                          and you can easily increase its size even more.                             

The upstairs puppy area is much bigger than the downstairs one was. In the above picture, the play area is not yet finished. We added a few more pieces and thus made it even bigger. We also added the bathroom mat layer to the bottom of the area. The puppies were of course taken out of the baskets as soon as the play area was finished. We only use the baskets occasionally when we need to separate the puppies e.g. at feeding time if there is chaos at the teats.

The move to upstairs went without a hitch: everyone seemed to feel relieved that they had more space and distributed themselves in such a way that there was no puppy-to-puppy contact :-D. Everyone relaxed on their fluffy quilts and the first nursings went as normal. We placed some Christmas toys in the new puppy area for activity purposes and just for festive decoration. The puppies do not play with the toys yet, but they sniff and like to sleep on them.

Ruuti sniffing the puppies for the first time

The puppies met each of our dogs one at a time. Letting all three in the puppy area at the same time when everything was still so new would have been too hectic. Ruuti is very observant and careful, following every move and noise the puppies make from safely behind the fence (her decision :-D). Capri was in her "mom-mode" and licked the puppies clean and was all ready to start nursing, so surely and with ease she settled down in the nursing area. Too bad, there was no milk :-). Data the pug was completely shocked and couldn't understand what was going on. Whenever the puppies started to make any noise or when they started moving a lot, she would start her warning-bark letting us know that 'there is something odd moving in the livingroom!'. Now she is more used to them, occasionally lets out the warning if she think they are being too rambunctious, but mainly she is now interested in playing with them.

           Markus and Data; "the puppy watchers" on duty                                                                            "Oslo" completely relaxed with Markus                 

Vera lets everyone come and go as they want. The only time she doesn't want the other dogs in the puppy area is when she is about to lie down to start nursing. After she has settled down and the puppies are happily eating, she lets the others come into the puppy area. She still nurses every 2,5h. After this week, the puppies will start eating additional foods.

The puppies pee and poo on their own now, so we do not have to rub their tummies after feeding, which makes looking after them that much easier. Vera eats normally, just a lot more and more fattening food. She still drinks a lot of water.

Kivisilmän N-puppies after feeding




16-28 days

We placed small collars we found at the Brussels dog show on each puppy mainly for identification purpose, but it is also very good for them to get used to wearing collars. To figure out which puppy is which in the pictures,here is the list of the collars and the puppies.

Oslo - Green
Navy - Purple
Mona – Yellow
Pipari – Pink
Akseli – Light Blue
Kasper – Brown
Scout -  Red
Cooper – Dark Blue

The puppies are growing very rapidly. We need to adjust the collars almost daily to keep up with their growth. At 20 days they already weighed about 2 kg each. We still weigh them daily, but now it is mainly to satisfy our need for facts and figures so we that can draw graphs later on and compare their growth patterns to the other litters. This is what you get when scientists breed dogs :P

The puppies around 18 days old

The puppies started drinking water and splashing in it when they were 18 days old. We had given Vera some water to drink while nursing and Navy stumbled into the bowl and started drinking it. From that point on, we have kept one or two bowls of fresh water for the pups to drink (and play in). We clearly have Newfoundland puppies as no-one seems to mind walking straight through the water bowl and getting their paws wet.

The puppies are already squatting down when peeing and crouching their backs while pooing. Very cleverly they also now have a ‘poo corner’ in which most of the poo can now be found. It is much easier for us since now we can keep changing that one corner more often than the rest of the play area.

The puppies defecate by themselves now, so Vera does not need to lick them as much anymore. Of course now we have Ruuti whose mother-instincts have recently awoken. She has been interested in the puppies this whole time, but lately she has become the unofficial “puppy-cleaner”. When Vera is nursing the pups, Ruuti lies down next to her and starts very enthusiastically licking the puppies clean. Vera doesn’t mind, she just keeps on snoring. We have a feeling that if we decide to breed from Ruuti, she would be the same type of overprotective, very careful and attentive mother that Capri was. Capri still keeps checking Vera’s puppies every now and again to make sure they are all alright. She just Has to go into the play a few times a day, sniff each puppy, lick them and only then can she continue her naps.

Ruuti taking care of the puppies

The pups’ nails have been cut again at 27 days. They were cut after feeding when the puppies were relaxed from the Battaglia handling which we still do at least once a day. The handling is routine for the puppies now. They know that after getting their tummies full, they will be expected to stay still and relaxed while we turn them upside down, head up and on their backs while tickling their feet. Of course everything is followed by a kiss on the cheek. From us, of course. Most fall asleep in the middle of the handling and only wake up when we place them back in the play area with the other pups.

The puppies are completely relaxed living in our living room. They sleep through loud movies (puppy area is next to the TV which we often leave purposely on), noisy conversations, the other dogs’ barking and loud playing and all the noises associated with everyday living. They all love being cuddled and picked up, and they eagerly climb into our laps when we sit down in the puppy area to watch TV.

The puppies relaxing in front of the TV at 18 days - Akseli trying to get Vera to play with him (18 days)

The puppies follow us whenever we go near the play area or when they hear our voices. They follow us with their eyes and run up to us when we step inside their play area. The puppies react to noises and we can get all puppies to come to us by just clapping our hands. When they hear it, there is a mad rush of running puppies all trying to get to us the fastest. This makes the nursing sessions much easier, as Vera prefers to nurse outside the puppy area on the cold tile floors, and as the puppies come to us we do not need to try and balance ourselves while trying to reach sleeping pups.

When we go in the play area, it feels like all the puppies flip their ON switch. They start running, tugging, growling, barking and playing. They love to climb into our laps and give us tickling “kisses”. When we had Navy’s new owners come and see the puppies this week, one of the pups very enthusiastically cleaned the family’s baby’s ears.

The puppies also climb on the step we placed in the puppy area and they have started to play with the Christmas toys. On Saturday when the puppies were 23 days old, they started playing with their toys. It all started with Oslo sucking Santa’s hat, and the others realizing ‘Hey, I can eat that too…’. They now drag the toy around by pulling on the tip of the Santa-hat. 

It is a good thing they have started playing with the toys, as Ruuti and Data have had an ulterior motive for visiting the puppies’ play area for quite some time now. The amazing toys! They have stolen one already. It was a very hush-hush operation. Data distracted us by waking up all the puppies (resulting in lots of walking, squeking, growling, barking, pushing and tugging by the puppies) while Ruuti sneaked in and stole the Snowman toy. While we were helping Vera with the puppies, we saw the Duo running outside and playing with the Christmas toy :-).

The Operation "Steal-Snowman" culprits, Data and Ruuti

The puppies always play before and after eating. After eating, they often try and entice Vera to play with them as well. They go up to her, lick her nose, tap her with their small paws and wag their tails. Vera just responds by giving them a small bath by licking them from head to toe.

When the puppies play, they use their paws a lot in true Newf-fashion. Their play is quite rough now and when they growl, it is Loud! They also bark a lot more than whine, and truly sound like small version of a Newf. One of the puppies also went into the ‘butt up - come play with me” position when they were 26 days old.

The puppies run very fast now with their tail held high for balance. When we change the newspapers etc. we have to place the puppies in a separate area, as otherwise they run up to us and start playing with our toes, each other, the papers and nothing gets done.

The puppies’ teeth can now really be felt as more than dull pinpricks. The puppies have now started gnawing on our fingers whenever they get the chance and they have had their first “real”  BARF meals. Their first meal which they got on Friday when they were 22 days old, consisted of heated veggie mash mixed with minced meat, and for dessert a big meaty bone.  Just before they were ready to go to sleep, they drank some of Vera’s milk.  The puppies do not yet get “real” food at every meal, but almost every third meal. Just before we started giving the additional food the nursing intervals had shortened to 2 hours. The intervals are now easily about 3-4 hours.

The puppies eating their first meal at 22 days



We took new photos of each one with the resident friendly cow. The puppies really have grown!

Scout (Navigaattori):

Pipari (Nollatoleranssi):

Oslo (Nostokurki):
Oslo is still looking for a permanent home

Navy (Neliveto):

Mona (Nokkakolari):

Kasper (Nopeusrajoitus):

Cooper (Nestekaasu):

Akseli (Nastarenkaat):
Akseli is still looking for a permanent home


It has snowed in Brussels! It is unbelievable, but everything is white and there is actually snow still on the ground after three days. It has not turned into slosh. We had planned on taking the puppies out this weekend, but it is too cold for their first outing. We will wait until the snow has melted. Knowing Brussels weather, the snow will last at the most a week and then it should be “warm” enough to let the puppies run outside. The other Newfs Love the weather and Vera has been sleeping outside as much as she can. We do not let her sleep outside the whole day, as the cold affects her milk production and we do not want her teats to freeze. Enviously she watches the others have fun in the freezing snow, while she is cruelly kept inside in the warmth. Data is happily inside and just watches the others frolic in the snow.

So far we have had a lot of people come by and pet the puppies. Often we have fed the pups about an hour before the people come, so that they are full enough not to want to eat straight away, but not so full that they just sleep throughout the visit. So far it has worked, as the puppies get the maximum benefit of the people as they actually stay awake. The puppies need a Lot of sleep and their playtime is quite short as they get tired easily, which makes organizing their sleep-feed-play schedules to fit the visits all the more challenging. So far the puppies have met adults, teenagers, young kids and a small baby.

The baby getting to know their new puppy "Navy"

This week we already started the brushing and combing sessions. We will continue them next week on the trimming table. The first explorations of our kitchen will be done alone without the other siblings, first steps outside (if the snow melts) and of course meeting lots and lots of interesting people. The puppies are dewormed for the first time when they are 4 weeks old and they have already had their microchips given at 27 days. The veterinarian also checked their eyes, general condition and heart sounds. Everything was very good :-). We also took the genetests for the black puppies to determine if they have the recessive b-gene. The results should come in the next few weeks. The registration papers were mailed today to the Finnish Kennel Club.

28-36 days

The puppies started eating chicken wings on the 26th December when they were 30 days old. The catalyst was Scout. She started gnawing on the wings and realized that it was Food! She ate the meat off at least three wings (all the time whining as the food was not coming off quick enough for her), eating so much that in the end she resembled a little black balloon. The others followed what she was doing with great interest and after a while started mimicking her. Mona was the second one to try the wings, soon followed by Pipari.  It was like a domino effect and by the end of the day, all the puppies had eaten at least a bit of the chicken wings.

Cooper eating a meat piece                                                            Mona sleeping in the food bowl

Currently they all eat meat pieces, chicken wings (not yet bones), vegetable mash and tripe. They still drink some of Vera’s milk at least twice each day for the calcium. We will have them almost completely weaned when they are five weeks old and start eating the bones, so very very soon. 

We weigh them almost daily now, and all weigh about 3-3,5 kg, some are close to 4 kg. They are almost Data’s size now! The puppies are already bigger than she was, when we got her home the first time.  We took new pictures with the friendly cow, now called “Moo-Cow”. The puppies are now almost a head taller than the cow. Kasper has now changed his name to Orka. Navy changed her name to Joki (means "river" in Finnish).

 Scout                                                                                                         Cooper

Oslo                                                                                               Akseli

Oslo and Akseli are looking for good homes.

Mona                                                                                              Orka

Joki                                                                                     Pïpari


We bought the puppies more toys: balls, a cat tunnel and a horn which plays a tune when you press it (or walk over it in the puppies’ case). The puppies loved the tunnel as it made a crunchy noise when they walked over it. The second we put it in, they started sniffing, pawing and running through it. It was very adorable as they queued up to go in one after the other. Cooper especially loved it. She fell asleep in the tunnel and only came out when one of the other puppies wanted to go in too and started biting her ears so she would move. So far Cooper has been the only one to come out the ‘side-arm’ of the tunnel. When the puppies cannot fit through anymore, Data will get an agility tunnel : -).  We also placed some additional Christmas toys in the play area, which we got from a Newfie forum’s Secret Santa.

Cooper in the cat tunnel                                                                  Cooper and Akseli playing

We have taken the puppies out of the play area many times to run around in the rest of the living room and explore new areas with new smells (supervised of course). They Love it. The first time they got to do their first explorations, they were 28 days old.

           Mona and Pipari eating some toes                                                                          Cooper found a fantastic tennis ball from under the cupboard

We are not sure if it is just our imagination, but these puppies seem very sure of themselves. Vera’s puppies did not hesitate at all, they started running, sniffing and exploring the second their feet touched the ground. Orka, who was in the first group to explore the living room, went from object to object, tail held high and wagging. Cooper started playing with a ball she found under one of the cupboards. These puppies play with the toys a Lot more than the others. When we let them explore, they were completely relaxed and ‘at home’ even in the new place. After they were sure they had seen and smelled everything there was to see or smell, everyone fell asleep exhausted on the cold, tile floor. We let them sleep for a bit, then picked them up and placed back in the puppy area. Very few woke up, most continued sleeping getting ready for the next time. When the puppies were 36 days old, we let them explore the garden. We had planned to do it much earlier, but because of the non-stop rain and snow, it was not possible. 

The puppies discovering the outside world

The Battaglia handling which we have done daily with this litter really has seemed to have had an effect on the maturity level of the puppies and their ability to adapt to new situations. We only came across the handling techniques last year, and this is the first litter with which we have done all the researched exercises. To our surprise when we read more about the Battaglia handling, we realized that we had inadvertently done most of the exercises with the other litters. The only thing we added with the N-litter was the toe-tickling (tactile stimulation) and the complete head-down position for 5 seconds. Such a small thing but such a big difference.

The cute fluffy pups are now little terrors as they have started playing with the mats on the play area floor, eat and shred the newspapers and try and rip the tapes off which are holding the sides of the puppy area together. When we took them to explore, they started eating the wires, chair legs, cupboard legs, our legs…They also ran under the cupboards and tried to fit in between the couches. As there are eight of them, it sometimes feels like we need to have eyes on the back of our heads just to keep an eye on everybody. Luckily they all come running when we clap our hands. If it feels like we are missing a pup, we clap and count again : -).

The puppies are now learning some rules when they play with the other puppies. They have started crying loudly when someone bites too hard, scratches, or when the play gets too rough. This is good news for us, as they learn not to bite us too hard : -). The best teachers are always the litter mates!

The puppies have had their first brushing sessions with a slicker brush. They weren’t phased at all, just happy to be in our laps again. Their coat is quite dirty and oily now because of their messy eating habits, so we are going to wash them very soon. Probably in the next few days.

They Really are Newfoundland puppies as we cannot seem to keep fresh water in the area for long. We have two big water bowls which we keep filling all the time, as either a puppy has knocked it over, dragged it and tilted it in the process, pushed another puppy in, bathed in it or somehow managed to make it dirty. We have many great little stories about puppy-life, most to do with the water bowl and the puppies’ everlasting fascination with it.

Mona's absolute favourite sleeping place-- the waterbowl. And people wonder why we need to keep changing the water all the time :-).

For Christmas we made a gingerbread house, just like we do every year. And just like every year, the actual construction was done a few days after baking the pieces. During this time, we had carelessly left the kitchen door open, and Vera with great hunger had stolen two walls, the chimney and the Christmas tree.. The house looked a bit lopsided with only two walls, so we broke the roof piece in half and made a triangular ‘dog house’. We made marzipan Newfies (12) and one pug and decorated with cookies and candy. It was exhausting making the dogs, as we had to make So many. The end result, even though different from what it was supposed to be : -), was better than we expected.  We also baked gingerbread cookies and wrote all the dogs names’ on them.

The gingerbread cookies with all the dogs' names

Our gingerbread doghouse with marzipan versions of All the dogs.

We have a Lot of dogs in the house now. We realized this when we went to the pharmacy to buy medicine for the routine dewormings which we always do when the puppies are 4 weeks old. We decided to deworm the adults as well, so we needed medicine for a bit over 180 kg. When we got up to the counter and told the pharmacist that we needed six packets of deworming medicine, he started walking towards the storage room… stopped, turned around and asked disbelievingly  “you said you needed six packets..?!?” to which we replied that “yes, many dogs, big ones”. He just blinked. A woman in the queue snorted and when we turned around, almost everyone was grinning.




Everything has been going very well with all the puppies. Life is a bit hectic, which is why written updates are a bit rare nowadays:-). By the time we have walked the pups and the adults, played with each pup individually and have cleaned the house after the pups (mud everywhere !) and have written updates to the puppy owners, the only thing we have the energy for is sleeping. We love and adore the pups, but they are a Lot of work, especially now that they require so much individual attention and care. The puppyblog is horribly behind, and I will try and get you caught up a bit :-).

We have taken almost weekly moo-cow pictures of the ones that are still with us. Here are the newest ones:

Pipari                                                                                      Joki

Mona                                                                            Kasper

Akseli                                                                                 Oslo

We have also taken many many pictures ( gallery: http://watercubs.kuvat.fi/kuvat/Kivisilman%20N/ ) of the puppies as they change almost daily and we love following their growth. Akseli and Oslo are pretty much identical now. The only thing that helps us distinguish which one is which, is the slightly more flooffy head of Oslo :-). But once we wash Akseli again, I don't think we will be able to separate them :-). Thankfully they all still have coloured collars..

Oslo and Akseli

The puppies are growing like weeds and we try and give them as many experiences as possible each week. We also make sure that each puppy gets special attention and 'alone-time' with us, so that they are not completely reliant on the littermates. We walk them outside by themselves and we have special play/grooming sessions for each darling.

We have also trained the puppies to stand on our trimming table. This is good practice for patience, which the puppies have in very short supply :-).  Their nails are cut weekly. It is Very easy to cut their nails: when they fall asleep for the night, we go around each puppy and flip them on their backs and clip the nails. The pups don't mind it at all, even though the noise of teh clippers is pretty loud. Some wake up to greet us, but soon settle down to wait for the belly-rubs which follow the nail clipping. We have been touching their paws a lot while they are relaxed, so that nail cutting is easy for the new owners.

The weather places some restrictions on our outings (pups' coars are not yet water-proof, so when it is raining cats and dogs, we stay inside). Our back yard has been a mudfield because of all the rain, and we are desperately trying to keep pur floors clean(ish) by mopping them many many times a day. The pups have been brushed quite a lot now to try and get them less muddy :-). 

Muddy and wet puppies

We have been taking the pups separately to see the world as often as we can. The puppies Love the outings. We usually try to take 4-5 pups out individually per day, (2-3 for a metro-tram ride and 2-3 for a walk to the nearby boulangerie and back). Our usual metro-tram trip takes around an hour (an hour and a half) : we first walk to the metro 10-20 minutes, then wait for metros and travel for about 30 minutes, change into a tram (one of those old ones that have flickering lights and very bumpy ride!) for about 30 minutes, and then race home which takes about 5-10 minutes.

Fig: Joki's first trip on the metro-tram circuit

Everyone always falls asleep half way on the metro/tram ride. So definitely all are well used to odd noises :-). Some of the pups have also walked with us already to the post office and the pet shop too, they just fell asleep in the queue at the post office, so definitely well socialized ;-).

Last week we made the puppypen smaller, so we could start crate-training the pups better. Their flights are fast approaching and they need to be completely at ease in the crates even for longer periods of time. The puppies now sleep in the crates during the day (routine: wake up, 2h play outside followed by 2h nap in the crates followed by 2h play outside etc.. plus of course most of time the puppies are free in the house trying to play with Data or Vera :-) ). It works well!

The first time we put the puppies in the crates, the pups made noises for maybe 2 minutes, but after that they all fell asleep and slept for the next 1,5 hours. Then we went to open the crate doors, but none of the puppies wanted to come out :-D. So they slept another 30 minutes with the crate door open ;-). (before putting them in, the pups had been in the garden playing for over two hours, so they were tired!). This is very good training for them, they like to go in there, and they stay inside even when the door is open. The only "problem" we've had is with the waterbowl, because they play with it and tip it over constantly!! So we're getting those bowls that attach to the cage door with bolts. Hopefully they'll stay full for a little longer ;-). We feed the puppies in the crates so they associate it with food and fun. When the pups roam around the house, they keep checking the empty crates for more snacks and delicious pieces of meat :-).

We tried putting the pups in the crate at night, which would have minimized the accidents in the house. But we kept waking up to every scratch, bang or noise we heard from the crates. The main “problem” with it was that the pups didn't wake up at the same time, so one moment one was whining to go out, but everyone else was sleeping, then a few moments later the sleeper woke up to go outside.. By morning, we were so exhausted that it was hard to function normally. So no crates for the pups during the nights! They sleep in the puppy pen from about 11pm - 8 am.

We have also started contact training with all the puppies. So basically giving cheese treats and lots and lots of praise when the puppies look at us in the eyes of their own accord and when we call them by name (during their individual training and walks outside). The idea is that they learn to follow us and learn to listen to our instructions. They are all taking contact very well and wag their tails a lot when they get the attention (and the cheese :-)! They are hungry for attention and eager to learn more new tricks every time :-)! They also know that when we whistle, it is time to come inside and there is a mad stampede of puppies all running to the crates to check for food.

Pipari and Kasper taking eyecontact

Scout, Cooper and Joki are also doing very well in their new homes :-). They are almost potty trained, have learned to come when called and know how to sit by command. They are also starting to learn to wait for food and do down by command :-).

Oslo and Pipari will be flying out with Bettina to the USA on 22 February through New York (JFK) where Pipari will meet her new owner (She will then travel to Pennsylvania) and then fly to Portland Oregon where Oslo will meet his new family. Betti is looking forward to the flight and getting to meet the owners face-to-face and spend some time with them :-)! She has already made appointments to see a few Newf breeders and the famous Judi Adler!

Vera seems to be a happy mother to the puppies. She likes playing and running around with them. She has also started smiling more and more each day :-)





(c) Salmelin