Sunday, March 15, 2015

Totty and Calvin's Litter from 2-15-15 to 3-15-15

Four weeks old today! Magical numbers?
The biggest cause of premature deaths in Icelandics is accidents with vehicles. Herding dogs chase things; it's bred into them. It's what they are supposed to do. Normally they chase (herd) living things: horses, cattle, sheep, and maybe even ducks, geese, etc. They also chase motorcycles, trucks, and cars and they usually lose.

 A fenced area does not have to be large but especially when your dog is young, it needs to be in a fenced in area even if you are out with it. You should warn a young puppy when it gets close to a fence. That teaches it about boundaries. Just a "Be careful!" may be sufficient. The urge to chase is bred in the bone and can be deadly.

I teach my puppies very early what "Be careful!" means. When I'm finished with my coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, I hold the empty but still warm cup near their faces and say, "Be careful!" with that certain tone of voice. They learn that expression very quickly and it's a great one. I use it when there are unfamiliar dogs nearby, when I want them to avoid something sharp or rusty, when I want them to stay away from a fence, etc.

The puppies here are looking out from their whelping pen and into the weaning pen. They hesitatingly go back and forth across that little barrier. Soon they will go across willy nilly. The first one across is Bangsi almost always. He was also the first born and reluctant to enter the world. Mom needed help with him. The rest were easy and came into the world almost like clockwork every half hour.

Icelandics are a healthy breed. There are, however, two concerns about eye issues; distichia are extra eyelashes, and, while they are uncommon, a few dogs have them. Those extra eyelash hairs point towards the eyes instead of up and away from them. They tickle the cornea which makes the dogs that have them rub their eyes causing irritation. Removing the distichia removes the tickling sensation.

Juvenile cataracts (JCs) is a second and more serious issue caused by two recessive genes that result in a premature clouding of the lens. Dogs as young as six months may develop juvenile cataracts. The condition is treatable by removing and replacing the cloudy lens in one or both eyes.
Age onset cataracts affect a few dogs as they get older. Those kinds of cataracts are similar to human age onset cataracts. Like JCs, they are treatable by an operation in humans and in dogs. Icelandics tend to live a long time compared to some breeds and a few of our dogs develop age related cataracts as they get older.

Dogs, especially breeding and show dogs, are tested annually for JCs. It's a very simple test done by a veterinary ophthalmologist who dilates the eyes and look at the lens and other structures in the eyes. We do the tests in order to find dogs who have juvenile cataracts so that we don't breed them. There is as yet no gene test for dogs that carry a recessive hidden gene for juvenile cataracts.

I recently moved from Royal Oak near Detroit to up north near Forestville on Lake Huron in Michigan's Thumb. In the past I have shipped puppies all over the states from Alaska to Florida and from Washington state to Washington, D.C. and abroad to Europe - - but that was when I lived 20 minutes from Metro Airport (DTW) in Detroit, Wayne County.  I have imported several Icelandics for myself and have helped a few others who wanted to expand our gene pool.
I strongly urge all of my puppy buyers to switch to adult food very soon after the puppy arrives in their homes. AKC studies have shown that switching to adult food slows growth and improves overall hip health in adult dogs. The switch should be made slowly and not start until the puppy is used to his/her new home. Gradually replace the puppy kibble with adult kibble over a period of a week or ten days.

Betty, Kippa, Edgar, Lulu, Kitty
I'll bet you could pick them out by name by now.

Who's missing from that photo. Hint: - Read the above. I don't consider any puppy sold until I have the money or a non-refundable deposit.

As you know, dogs' ancestors are wolves. After weaning wolves feed their puppies on regurgitated food that all of the adults bring back from the kill to the pups. The puppies eat the same food as the adults. People used to feed puppies a higher protein diet because they thought that would be good for optimum growth. What we've found is that puppies fed on a high protein diet do grow faster. Specifically, their muscles and organs (soft tissues) grow fast but bones do not grow as fast. That puts added stress on bones during their formative months. Slowing growth by feeding puppies the same food as adults allows bones and soft tissues to grow at the same rate.
Some people mistakenly run or jog with their puppies. Puppies are born to please. They will do whatever their owners ask them to do even if it is not good for their long term health. Prolonged running is not good for immature animals. Even going for long walks with a puppy is counterproductive. Most young animals that run, play, cavort, jump, etc. do so for only short spurts and then stop. Young growing animals will play for a while and then crash which allows their bodies to build and repair tissues. Encouraging young animals (or humans) to go beyond their capacity, is not smart, in my opinion.

Kippa and Edgar are together here; the Icelandics they were named after are together in Washington state. Notice the tan on Kippa's legs which used to be solid black. She's a black & tan with white (tricolor) dog. Edgar is going to be extremely handsome, like the original Edgar. Look at his pose. He's confident and self assured already at four weeks old.
Please do not neuter (that's the correct term for both males and females) until your puppy has reached maturity. Some vets like to do it early. The production of adult hormones signals the body to stop growing. If you neuter early before those hormones are produced, then sometimes the body continues to grow a bit after neutering which might result in an overweight, or possibly, even larger adult dog. That means neutering should probably happen at about the age of ten or maybe eleven months, in my opinion.
I will supply a sample pedigree for any of my puppies. The registration numbers of the ancestors are on the pedigree: hip test results and eye test results are there also.

As of today, the pups have already received their individual AKC registration paper applications.. It's a two step process. Register the litter, then register each individual puppy. I pay for both sets of registrations.
 Bangsi alone, again, in the weaning box. His ears are up now but over the next few weeks they will be up and down and up - etc. Clicking on photos enlarges them. He's got charm and charisma and I think I know where he will live.

The pups will visit the vets for the first tine at the age of six weeks - that's two weeks from now. They will get a microchip and their first inoculations then. Most of my puppies go to pet homes. I want them to be in loving homes where they will be members of a family first and most importantly.  

Ego, what ego?
I encourage all of my new puppy owners to stay in touch with me and to ask me questions along our way together. I will do my best to answer those questions and give my opinions. (The only stupid question is the one you don't ask!) If you look back through my blog, you can find questions from previous adopters. I share my answers so that perhaps others with the same question or a similar question can benefit. Of course, OF COURSE, you do not have to follow my advice. Everyone gets to make up his/her own mind about what to do or not do. There is a lot of information out there on the internet. Read carefully and make up your own minds.

To contact me privately:

 The End!
(Guess who!)

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