SoftMaple's 2011 Spring litter
Puppies born June 20th!

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13 puppies. 4 Black boys, 4 liver boys, 2 liver girls and 3 black girls

Well, now that everyone is dry.... the girl I had the ? mark next to as Black, is really a dark liver!

So....make that 4 Black boys, 4 liver boys, 3 liver girls and 2 black girls

CH SoftMaple's Yankee Pudel CHIC and CH Softmaple's Stand and Be Liver to Flyway CHIC

June 20th-June 26th

From 2011-06-20

Since Torrie had such a big litter, I will have to supplement them to make sure they get enough and that Torrie doesn't get run down

From 2011-06-20

Week One
(Days 1-7)
+ 90% of time spent sleeping
+ 10% eating
+ Susceptible to heat/cold
+ Instinctive reflexes: crawl, seek warmth, nurse
+ They can right themselves if placed upside down
+ Needs stimulation for urination/defecation
+ Rapid development of central nervous system
+ Need constant care from bitch
+ Rectal temperatures 94-97 degrees Farenheit
+ Pups may lose 10% of weight after birth, but should start gaining again
+ Weight should double by end of week

June 21st

From 2011-06-21

From 2011-06-21

Torrie likes her share!

If you have called or emailed, you may have noticed my lack of response….

I do not start letting people know if they have a pup or not for the first week.

I had a friend in CCR’s who had a litter of 13 pups. Through a tragic turn of events, only 8 of them made it past a few weeks. I think only 6 made it to 8 weeks. You just never know what is going to happen.

On one litter, I had the perfect number of males and females for my prospective new families. I was so excited, I called them all up the first day, and let them know they had a new little curly bundle born. As sometimes happens with puppies, one of them passed over the rainbow bridge after a few days. I had to call someone up and tell them they didn’t have a puppy. To them it was more than they were not # (X) on the list to get a pup… they for a few days had a pup. Dreamed of the pup, named the pup, bought the pup toys. To them, they had to bury a pup. They knew that their puppy died.

This was from Moxi's first litter... the litter Emmet came from.....

At 6:45 am, Moxie was crying. I figured she had to go out. When I looked in the whelping box, one of the liver girls wasn't moving. Even the most careful of moms can accidentally sit on a pup, or a pup may crawl behind her. The pig rails help, but are not 100% in all cases. I buried liver girl out front by the big rocks next to her aunt from 2001.

I will lend to you for awhile a puppy,
For you to love him while he lives
and to mourn for him when he is gone.
Maybe for twelve or fourteen years,
Or maybe for a day or two or three.
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for me?

Should his stay be brief
you'll always have his memories
as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise that he will stay,
since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught below
I want this pup to learn.

But should I call him back
much sooner than you've planned
Please brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.

This also happened with Moxie's mother Gabby

Some breeders do not even tell how many they have in a litter for the first few days. I know of breeders that don’t even let anyone know they had a litter for a few days. It is hard on a breeder to loose a pup. But also hard on a prospective owner to loose a pup they have not even met.

13 is a lot of puppies. I don’t make the call to tell anyone they have a pup, because I don’t want to make the call to tell anyone that their puppy is the one that didn’t make it. So just hang in there!

Also, on a side note, I do get people contacting me all through the year about puppies. When the time comes around, I find out some people have moved, and this is not the best time for a pup. Some people have changed their minds on the sex and color, or finally decided personality trumps looks, and they altered what they wanted in a pup. And some people have actually gotten divorced in the time they sent in their puppy application… I had one couple who had the actual application for a puppy brought up in divorce court! Who has rights to the application and potential puppy!!!! Yikes! Is it coming down to the times where someone may make a prenuptial puppy application contract!!

So it won’t hurt to email me a fresh perspective on what you think of the pups, what you are looking for. I know when I filled out my first application; I was thinking….what does the breeder want to hear?
That was different than what I actually wanted. And I did not realize that until much later! This isn't about pleasing me... it is about pleasing your family for the next dozen years. :-) hopefully!


From 2010-10-15

From 2010-10-15


From 2011-06-23

This evening Mark takes his turn at feeding the kids!


June 25th 2011

From 2011-06-25

Torrie keeps taking the collars off the pups. So trying again!

These pups are all pretty much the same weight. You really need to keep track of the pups from birth to make sure everyone is gaining. With Torrie taking off the collars, it makes it hard to track an individual pup to see if he/she is gaining.

Today we removed the dewclaws. The dew claw is the rudimentary first toe or first digit on a dog, and, unlike digits 2,3,4 and 5, are not used for walking. They are located a short distance up the leg on the inside surface. At this age, the bones that make up the toes are tiny and soft so that snipping them off is easy. If the dewclaws are not removed at 2-5 days of age one should wait until the pup is old enough to anesthetize safely.

Removing dewclaws from an adult animal is much more difficult than snipping them off of a days old puppy. Recovery time is also longer and many adult animals will bother the incision excessively because it is so easy to reach. This usually necessitates the placement of an Elizabethan collar, a funnel shaped plastic device that surrounds the animal's head, so that it cannot lick or chew its sutures out. Dewclaws serve no purpose to the dog. They are easily snagged on things and often traumatized.

I have known several people who have had an adult dog tear a dewclaw part way off, and after seeing that, they were definitely in favor of removal at 3-4 days old. If done at the proper age there should be very little if any pain and bleeding. (most pups just give a little squeak) I apply some "Kwik Stop" styptic powder to stop any bleeding.

The CCR standard states “dewclaws are generally removed”

Gathering the things I will need to remove the dewclaws.

Here you see a paw with dewclaw, just removed, Kwik Stop applied, and paw without dewclaw.
this is a picture from a prior litter... That way I can get this done quickly and they go back to Mom!

We also start doing the Bio-Sensor exercises.


Methods of Stimulation

The U.S. Military in their canine program developed a method that still serves as a guide to what works. In an effort to improve the performance of dogs used for military purposes, a program called "Bio Sensor" was developed. Later, it became known to the public as the "Super Dog" Program. Based on years of research, the military learned that early neurological stimulation exercises could have important and lasting effects. Their studies confirmed that there are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has optimum results. The first period involves a window of time that begins at the third day of life and lasts until the sixteenth day. It is believed that because this interval of time is a period of rapid neurological growth and development, and therefore is of great importance to the individual.

The "Bio Sensor" program was also concerned with early neurological stimulation in order to give the dog a superior advantage. Its development utilized six exercises, which were designed to stimulate the neurological system. Each workout involved handling puppies once each day. The workouts required handling them one at a time while performing a series of five exercises. Listed in nor order of preference the handler starts with one put and stimulates it using each of the five exercises. The handler completes the series from beginning to end before starting with the next pup. The handling of each pup once per day involves the following exercises:

1. Tactile stimulation - holding the pup in one hand, the handler gently stimulates (tickles) the pup between the toes on any one foot using a Q-tip. It is not necessary to see that the pup is feeling the tickle. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds.

2. Head held erect - using both hands, the pup is held perpendicular to the ground, (straight up), so that its head is directly above its tail. This is an upwards position. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds

3. Head pointed down - holding the pup firmly with both hands the head is reversed and is pointed downward so that it is pointing towards the ground. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds

4. Supine position - hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling. The pup while on its back is allowed to sleep struggle. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.

5. Thermal stimulation - use a damp towel that has been cooled in a refrigerator for at least five minutes. Place the pup on the towel, feet down. Do not restrain it from moving. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.

Tactile stimulation

Head held erect

Head pointed down

Supine position

Thermal stimulation

These five exercises will produce neurological stimulations, none of which naturally occur during this early period of life. Experience shows that sometimes pups will resist these exercises, others will appear unconcerned. In either case a caution is offered to those who plan to use them. Do not repeat them more than once per day and do not extend the time beyond that recommended for each exercise. Over stimulation of the neurological system can have adverse and detrimental results.

These exercises impact the neurological system by kicking it into action earlier than would be normally expected. The result being an increased capacity that later will help to make the difference in its performance. Those who play with their pups and routinely handle them should continue to do so because the neurological exercises are not substitutions for routine handling, play socialization or bonding.

Five benefits have been observed in canines that were exposed to the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises:

    1. Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
    2. Stronger heart beats,
    3. Stronger adrenal glands,
    4. More tolerance to stress
    5. Greater resistance to disease

In tests of learning, stimulated pups were found to be more active and were more exploratory than their non- stimulated littermates over which they were dominant in competitive situations.

Last day of our first week!

YouTube of the pups

I am also putting short clips on the SoftMaple Facebook page

You can see where the dewclaw was removed

On to week 2! (June 27th, 2011)

Breeding: What We're Taught

There are many platitudes in the dog world, such as "A fast maturing puppy will fade" and "Only breed when you'll keep one for yourself." This last maxim is even used to chastise breeders who do not keep a puppy from every litter. The idea is that in every litter there will be a star puppy who should be grown out by the breeder.

The fact is that not all litters produce show puppies. Keeping even the best puppy from a mediocre litter will not achieve the breeder's objectives. It would be best to place these puppies in permanent companion homes and try something different the next time around, but this is not often done in our breed. Instead, the breeder keeps the best in a particular litter, grows out the pick puppy, and takes her to dog shows. Dog shows are unforgiving and soon identify mediocrity. A determined person will put many shows on an average dog in an attempt to "prove" her breeding program. It would be better to make a more critical evaluation of puppies at 8 weeks and come to more realistic conclusions about their future prospects.

Another example of conventional wisdom involves litter frequency. This is carried to extremes when people start judging breeders by numbers: "Did you know she had (three, four) litters last year?" As if this were something shameful. In our breed, which has fallen from 36th in AKC registrations to 100th in a decade, this so-called wisdom is hardly wise. We need dedicated people who are willing to study, spend the time, and do the work necessary to breed dogs. Having one litter every few years does not make one a breeder, nor does it provide a person with the experience required to whelp and raise puppies or to develop a consistent line of dogs.

When you have questions and problems with a litter, who do you call? I call someone who has been breeding dogs for 50 years and, at one time that I remember, had three litters at once. He is in another breed, and has never been criticized for the excellent job he did with his puppies. Spring always found him whelping at least one litter for himself, and perhaps a few more for other people. We need these master breeders desperately: They have a wealth of knowledge to share about breeding dogs and raising puppies. We also need more ways to record their knowledge, share it with others and preserve it for the future.

We need dedicated people in our breed and, in fact, in every breed to continue the lines and to work to breed the best dogs possible. As baby boomers retire from breeding dogs over the next two decades, we will have to recruit new breeders to carry on. Holding people back with worn-out phrases will not work.

There is room for everyone, for those who can breed only occasionally and for those who will become the master breeders of the future. We need to encourage and learn from those who have the time, resources, and dedication to spend shaping the future of our breeds.

Reprinted from the June 2006 AKC Gazette breed Keeshonden breed column. Written by Deborah A. Lynch. Deborah A. Lynch is the Executive Vice-President of the AKC Canine Health Foundation. She has been a breeder and exhibitor of Keeshonden since 1971 under the Foxfair prefix. She is a member of the Keeshond Club of America and is past President of the Buckeye Keeshond Club. Deborah has also been a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and has judged her breed both in the USA and England.

SoftMaple Curly Coated Retrievers
Mark and Cathy Lewandowski
8282 Soft Maple Road
Croghan New York 13327

For information email me at:

Back to the Pedigree

Click on book above, or mail a check to:
$19.95 ($5.50 Shipping and Handling)
Cathy Lewandowski
8282 Soft Maple Road
Croghan NY 13327

About the Book

Follow a litter of puppies from birthday until they go to their new homes. The diary contains lots of pictures, tips on puppy rearing, some breed specific information, and lots of information on the care of any breed of dog.

I started doing an on-line puppy diary since many of the people that would be getting one of my pups would not be able to travel here to see the pups. I did not want to put a bunch of cute puppy pictures online, and encourage anyone to have a litter just because they wanted to see cute puppies! Breeding dogs, if done the right way, is a lot of work. Lost sleep and sometimes heartache. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to raise a litter of puppies. Once I started doing The Puppy Diary, I realized I had a captive audience. These people logged on every day to see the pictures, and read what was happening. I used this opportunity to cram as much education into each day as I could. Health, Coat issues, grooming, feeding, socializing, vet care, puppy evaluations, shipping puppies.... you name it! I tried to put it in The Diary. It was suggested that I make it into a book. Well here it is! There are 560 pictures and over 300 pages of living with and watching one litter grow up.

I am sure may conscientious, caring breeders raise litters similar to the way I do. Its is a good look into the time, money, commitment it takes to bring up a litter of pups. Some of the things that go on behind the scenes, that the eventual puppies owners (family), never realize go into the litter. Enjoy my litter as I see them. Day to day


Chapter One (Week One) ... Page 1

Seger comes into season
Happy Birthday!
Removing the Dewclaws
Start of the Bio Sensor program

Chapter Two (Week Two) ... Page 48
Coat issues.
Tail Gland Hyperplasia
Do Curlies Shed?

Chapter Three (Week Three) ... Page 94
End of Bio Sensor Exercises
Worming The puppies
Eyes are open
First pup escapes from the box

Chapter Four (Week Four) ... Page 130
Weaning. The great food fight!
Introduction to the puppy play room
Shark Cage

Chapter Five (Week Five) ... Page 156
Field dog? Show Dog? CPE?
Happy Mothers Day!
First Stacked pictures

Chapter Six (Week Six) ... Page 195
Toys! Toys! Toys!
What’s In A Name?
Kids and Dogs
Introduction to Wings

Chapter Seven (Week Seven) ... Page 236
About Puppies and Retrieving
Socialize your puppy
First Shots & Vet Visit
Splish Splash, first bath!

Chapter Eight (Week Eight) ... Page 286
Shape up or ship out!
Requirements to ship puppies
See all the pups!

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