The Art of James Mellick: Tales From the Nursery
Tales From The Nursery by James Mellick
Holly, A Great Mother
It is most fascinating to watch the relationship with their mother as the pups develop from whelping to weaning. Most noticeable is the time during weaning when mother becomes more of a play partner and teaches them behavior and socialization. One of the ways that she tells them to "cool it" and who is still boss, is the open soft bite to their neck at which time the pups will submit on their backs. She is also adept at corralling the pups with her front paws. During the summer time of Holly's first litter when the pups were being weaned in their 7th week, Holly would run back into the kennel and bring out their favorite toys. She would take balls to the top of a small incline and let the balls roll down the hill until the puppy got the idea of play. During the Winter time of inside play, she picks up certain toys and allows the puppies to take them from her and then they run around in circles chasing each other. Holly's ears go square and her eyes take on a sense of pleasure as she begins games with the remaining puppies.
Observing this is most rewarding. If you have ever raised pups, the following is a glossary of terms observed in the nursery:
Whelping Box Twister
When mommy turns and twists to find an open spot on the whelping box floor where she can lay down to present herself for nursing. A smart mom like Holly alternates her sides to present the fuller teats to her pups. Sometimes she will turn on her back for an easier reach by all. When walking through the pups on the floor of the box, all four of her feet gingerly find an open, pup- free space.
When a pup wakes up late to dinner and finds his brothers and sisters already feeding. To find a choice nipple he dives and surfs horizontally through his feeding brothers and sisters hoping to knock one of them off a choice teat. This happens before his eyes are open (14th day). The choice milk producing teats are the final (rear) four.
While the pup is still locked on to a teat with the force of a small Hoover, mother senses that the pup needs to eliminate wastes and she will flip the pups rear end up in the air and lick to relieve the pup of urine and feces. The pup will make a whimpering sound until the relief takes place. Somehow the pup manages to hold on.
When daddy dog comes into the kennel and the puppies think that anything that hangs is a nipple. Just another part of learning. The puppies love him but he doesn't want anything to do with them especially when six are chasing him. They love to lick his jaws, maybe hoping that he will regurgitate some food.
In about the 7th week during the weaning process, mom will keep visiting the kennel even though her milk is drying up. It is as much to relieve her separation as the pups. The pups have become too large to nurse prone so she just goes in and spreads her legs and braces herself like a saw horse. The pups are now large enough to latch on from a sitting position. Sometimes the suction causes such weight that she finds it difficult to leave.
When the care giver is scraping poop out of the litter box or off the floor, the playful pup will stand in the end of the dust pan and then releases the pan sending poop flying into the air.
Roughing the Passer
A young pup is most vulnerable when pooping in the litter box. The offending pup takes a bead on the pup in "mid-loaf" and attacks, knocking him into his business.
There is something about Weimaraners and the use of their paws. The very first intra-puppy interaction is the front paw reach in exploring a sibling. If you have ever seen an adult Weim hog a kong in his front paws you know if Weimaraners had opposing thumbs, they would use them. That is why my stud dog Hamlet can climb a ladder or a leaning tree but he has trouble getting down.
When two pups lay on their backs, nose to nose, paw at each other and raise a ruckus just for the pure joy of their noise.