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

July 25th-July 31st

Week Six (Days 36-42)

+ Growth and development continue

Puppy Toddlers (3 - 6 Weeks) During the Toddler period, puppies emerge on their own from the litter. They venture into the surrounding environment. This emergence from the litter is a gradual and continual learning experience. During this stage of development puppies learn basic behavioral patterns specific to dogs. While playing, they practice different body postures, learning what the postures mean and how they affect their mother and litter mates. They learn what it is like to bite and be bitten, what barking and other vocalizations mean and how to make and use them to establish social relationships with other dogs. Such learning and activity tempers their own biting and vocalizing. From the age of five weeks, the mother teaches her puppies basic manners. They learn to be submissive to her leadership and what behaviors are acceptable. If necessary, she growls, snarls, or snaps at them as a form of discipline. When weaning the litter, for instance, the mother will discipline her puppies so that they will leave her alone. Because the mother disciplines them in a way that they clearly understand, after a few repetitions, the puppies will respond to a mere glare from her. If a pup has not learned to accept leadership (and discipline) in its early interactions with dogs, its training will be more difficult. Puppies that are removed from the nest too early tend to be nervous, more prone to barking and biting, and less responsive to discipline. Often they are aggressive with other dogs. Generally speaking, a puppy taken away from it's mother and litter mates before seven weeks of age, may not realize its full potential as a dog and companion. To maximize the mental and psychological development of puppies, they must remain in the nest with their mother and litter mates until seven weeks of age.


Play room

. . . . .
Some puppies seem very bright......Some not so much!


Youtube of little blue boy digging in his dish



Torrie nurses them standing up at times. They just mob her when she walks by!

I wanted to share with you an article that appeared in the AKC Gazette's Curly Breed column, written by Ann Shinkle.

Educating a Curly pup

Your Curly-Coated Retriever puppy starts learning as soon as it is born. It's up to you to do the very best job possible in order to have a well adjusted, happy adult.

I have been raising a puppy bitch over the past few months, which has brought many important thoughts concerning puppies to mind. I shall now share some of them with you.

When you decide to acquire a Curly pup, be award that you need to prepare well before its arrival. On the whole, our breed needs quite a bit more socializing than some other retriever breeds. A once a week trip to puppy kindergarten is not enough. In the case of some of the more retiring, less confident pups, you should take the puppy on a daily trip outside the home to different places, once your veterinarian says it's safe to do so.

Good locations for these socialization and education encounters include parks and shopping malls, especially the parking areas where the puppy can experience the clatter of shopping carts, the roar of motorcycles, and the sight of people emerging from stores carrying strange packages. (Of course, you and your puppy should never enter any premises without having first obtained the management's permission.) My most recent Curly puppy has gone into shops, visited friends, attended obedience classes and matches as an observer and fun matches as a participant, and has been to puppy classes of various levels. this particular puppy needs a great deal of socialization because she is slightly less confident than other Curly puppies tend to be at this age.

When a stranger comes up to you and your puppy on one of these outings, ask them them to pet your pup and to offer it one of the treats you should carry in your pocket.

It's especially important that your puppy become used to being around children at this early age. First, ask the parent's permission , then have the children -one at a time with a puppy!-gently pet your puppy.

Remember, all these activities are learning experiences and should leave your puppy with positive memories. If your puppy shows fear of any object, walk up to that object and hold out a treat for the puppy to gently coax it to approach the object. If your puppy continues to show any fear or backs up and pulls away, do not praise it. Just ignore this behavior and try again. If the pup is still very much afraid, calmly walk away and have the puppy perform something it knows, such as sitting in front of you, then give it a treat. If you sympathize with the puppy as it demonstrates nervousness or fear, you will reinforce the behavior. It's better to ignore the fear and frightened behavior, and get on with something else.

While on the subject of socializing your puppy and taking it places in the care, please be sure that you've first done some crate training with the puppy. I think its extremely important to have a safe spot in your vehicle for the puppy, whether it's a car safety harness or a crate. In case of an accident, animals of people can be seriously injured as a result of a dog being tossed about. (your puppy's breeder should provide Crate-training information Readers who need this information may also contact me.)

Another important fact to keep in mind is that home is very different from that big world outside. Your puppy may seem very happy, outgoing and well adjusted at home, but take it to a strange, noisy place, and most Curly puppies will show some fear at first. This is why I stress a great deal of socialization in those crucial early months.

The Reverse can also occur. Many years ago I met a Curly who had been kenneled for the first few years of his life. He had never been inside a house. After he was placed in another home, it took three months of coaxing and living with his new family before he would set foot inside their home.

Let both situations be a lesson to all of us: The more varied the experiences a puppy has during its first year, the better off it will be for the rest of its life.

Originally printed in the AKC Gazette, April 1998 written by Ann Shinkle.

By the time the pups are ready to go to new homes, they will be eating Eukanuba Puppy food. I also give yogurt and a vitamin C tablet to the pup with the meals.

You can feed whatever you want, but I don't recommend keeping a pup on a regular puppy food for a long time. The large breed puppy foods are similar to the adult foods. The regular puppy foods tend to make the bones grow too quick. There is no perfect food. (there are however real cheap foods that you do want to stay away from!) Some dogs do great on Purina. Some do great on Iams. Some people like to feed a raw diet. I judge the food with how the dog looks, how it acts, how the coat looks, and how the ears are. (bad foods, and food allergies tend to make the ears gunky) And of course, look at the dogs stools.


Youtube video

The pups are really using their teeth now, and playing with each other.

More toys and different surfaces are introduced all the time

A low wall so Torrie can come and go as she pleases

Breakfast in the Shark cage while I clean the puppy room

Little blue boy still gets to have some of his meals by himself. He always digs in the food-as you can see half of his breakfast he has flung behind him.
If he eats with everyone else, the food is gone before he decides he has dug deep enough in the dish to start eating!

Blue boy flinging food on youtube

Back to the puppy room after breakfast

Testing the water


Almost all the puppies crammed in a cardboard box after eating

Mark had to pull them out and dump the box!

Storming the puppy room


Well, I just took a bunch of pictures of the pups outside on the lawn, and can not upload a single one!

So here are a few I took later of them in the puppy pen

Little blue boy usually gets pushed out of the way, but I have him with just three of his siblings for lunch

He found if he just sits in the dish, he gets his fair share!

The rest of the hogs eating lunch!


Iv'e Got your camera!

More pictures--the pups get a gang of kids to see them!

Little Blue Boy-- we have been calling him Spanky

Spanky with a buddy

How cute is this!

They aren't as hidden as they think!

On to week 7! (August 1st, 2011)

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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