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P Litter Homegoings

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The puppies have all gone home and Ruth and I miss them.  I am planning a litter for next spring, but I’m not looking to go gangbusters on taking interest right now since I have my daughter’s high school graduation in a few weeks.  So feel free to drop a note to bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you are thinking about a pup in 2020, but I won’t be ready to start doing interviews and taking deposits until mid-June.

I’m just going in the order that they went home:

Austin and his wife drove up from Waco, Texas and returned home to their one year old child with their first hunting puppy.

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Philip went home to TX with Austin and his wife.

Alex drove over from Ohio to pick up his retirement hunting dog.

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Pamela was on her way to Ohio with Alex

Sherry and Bert live just across town in Bellevue and also have a retirement hunting pup.

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Phila Mae and Sherry headed just down the road a few miles.

Marty and his wife run a vineyard in Wisconsin and they have a new mascot who will also chase birds.

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Paul was already in love with his new owners and ready for Wisconsin.

Vicky and her family are getting their second Bluestem pup and will be just across the city in Omaha.

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Vicky and her daughter with Patience

Rob and his family are also on their second Bluestem pup and are from Omaha!

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Penelope is still a Husker too!

Derek and his family have been looking for a Griff puppy for quite awhile and were excited for my surprise litter.  She’ll get to chase birds down in Kansas.

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Derek took Peter down south to Kansas

Peggy flew out to Dan in California.  This was my last air cargo shipment due to the increasing restrictions related to the weather in every city that they depart/layover/arrive.  We have no control over the weather and I’m not going to have pups bumped off of flights because of it.  She made it safely to California with only a slight delay in Minneapolis.

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Peggy checked into air cargo

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Peggy leaving the airport

Zoro’s Natural Ability Test

We learned a lot from Zoro’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test.  Charles has handled four NA dogs (three prize ones all 112 and one prize two) prior to this and two UT III dogs.  Two other co-owned dogs we’ve watched go to NA I 112.  So I think that we were a little overconfident.  I was tired from sending puppies home the days prior, so I didn’t go.

From what Charles tells me he had a few good points in the field and did great in the water, but instead of following the track during the tracking portion of the test, he did a search and flaked.  No pass.

So now we get to work on the UPT for either a late summer or early fall test.  We’ve been a bit lax on our last few dogs and have just put Natural Ability prizes on them and just wild bird hunted from there.  This will dial us back in to higher level training and we learned a big lesson about waiting until the age cutoff in the spring to Natural Ability Test.  Best to get it over with in the fall while they are young and be done with it.

Zoro has no idea that he didn’t pass and is still as happy-go-lucky as ever.  Charles laid a track the next day and he followed it and found the bird with no problem.  It’s just one day and one test.

Here are some shots from when we were working on getting ready:

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Coming Soon

I finally have a camcorder again (I’ve been using the video function on my DSLR for the puppy videos and it is just not as good), so I’ll be recording a new grooming video soon, since that seems to be the most commonly searched for topic on my blog right now.  I’m sure I’ll get a chance to take some training videos over the summer too, so keep an eye out for that.  Good luck to everyone else out there with puppies and testing this spring.

P Litter at Seven Weeks

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We’re down to the final week of having the “P” Litter with us and it is always bittersweet.  The puppies are lovely and fun to be around, but we are only one family and they are a pack of dogs!  Luckily they are good and come when I clang the dinner bell (hitting a Christmas tin lid with a spoon), because they have no fear of the woods.  I have learned to let go a bit and allow them down the hill to dig holes and run around in the wild, but they wish that they could do it all day instead of just for a couple of hours.

Next up is the last round of de-worming, trips to the vet for exams, shots and microchips (I am splitting them up and doing it over a couple of days to make it easier), then lots and lots of paperwork for me.  Oh and I need to squeeze in some crate conditioning in there, but luckily I have enough crates where I can get it done in a day in a couple of shifts.  Then the fun of meeting the new owners and getting to play Santa Claus in the spring.

Bird Introduction

How I do bird introduction as a breeder: I like to do it at 6.5 – 7 weeks. I have a chicken hutch inside of a woven wire dog kennel, this go-around we happened to have quail. I carry the pup to the kennel, place a lead on the collar, open the door to the kennel and just let them check out the birds. I step back a few paces and fire off a kid’s cap gun a few shots. Once the pup acknowledges the birds, I collect it and give it lots of praise.

About 15 paces away I have a run that I set up using two ex-pens connected together, with a dead quail (from previous training sessions with the big dogs) tied to a stick off to the side. I take a few steps away from the live birds, place the pup on the ground and encourage the puppy to follow me while on the lead to the ex-pen setup. I place the pup inside of the ex-pen and get the pup’s attention with the dead bird by dragging it around and popping it in the air. I then lay the bird down on the ground close to the pup and they just seem to know what to do! Once they pick up the bird, I give the pup lots of praise and encourage them to run to me. I tell the pup to “give”, gently take the bird out of its mouth, then pick the pup up and love the heck out of it.

Here are everyone’s individual pics from the bird introduction session.  Please don’t take their poses to analyze their individual potential, it just happened to be one exposure session at a very early age and where I caught that particular puppy with my camera.:

Paul

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Peter

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Philip

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Phila Mae

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Peggy

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Penelope

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Patience

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Pamela

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And last but not least, a quick video of them jumping on me in the kennel: https://youtu.be/BM85e3txbqU

New owners: we’ve set up our dates and times for you to get your pup, please let me know if anything changes.  I’ll also be reaching out before you come over to see if you have any last minute questions.  Between vet visits and kid events my schedule is sort of random the next week, so if I don’t catch you, feel free to call back or email.

Next up on the blog will be these babies going to their new owners and Zoro’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test results, so keep an eye out for that sometime the week of May 5th.  Good luck to everyone else out there testing dogs and having litters this spring.

P Litter Six Weeks Old

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The puppies are really getting rambunctious and difficult to keep track of these days!  They are always slipping into the woods or under a bush.  Luckily Ruth helps me track them down if needed, but they are getting obedient enough to come when called quite a bit.  After this morning’s run and kennel cleaning, all eight ran back into the kennel when I rang the breakfast bell, with zero stragglers.

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P litter puppies in the ex-pen while I clean out their kennel

They’ve found the bird pen on their own and take great interest in it.  They would love to explore the woods, but I can’t risk having them wander too far with a large pack of coyotes close.  The neighbor says that the coyotes used to come up into our yard before we lived here, which is one of the reasons why we elected not to have a kennel outside.  Zoro does a good job of doing laps around the house barking and peeing on things to let them know to stay away.  I did see one a couple of weeks ago about a block away acting very disoriented, which in addition to the flood would make sense if my dog pack has displaced them from their normal trail.

But back to the puppies.  They love to play and bite and chew.  Everyone is healthy and fun.  I wish that I had more time to go through and label each of these photos individually, but I think that I got at least one of everyone.  They are all equally cute.

Shopping list for new owners: Puppy food (I feed Diamond, but can give you some to mix with whatever you pick), food and water dishes, Medium puppy collar (they are growing out of these already) and puppy leash, either a small crate (no smaller than 22 in. tall) or a larger crate with a wire insert, and puppy toys (I like small rope bones and hard rubber balls).  For those of you traveling a long distance by car, bring some old bath towels in case you want to hold the puppy on your lap and paper towels to clean up any messes.  Bottled water is also a good idea both for them to drink and to use with clean-up help.

Very important: purchase liquid de-wormer (available at any pet or farm store) and a children’s medicine syringe that you can get from a pharmacy.  Two or three days after taking the puppy home, you need to de-worm them again.  Being in the bird poop under the bushes, even though I will de-worm them again right before they go home, they will need it again.  And if you spend a lot of time outdoors and they have their mouths on things outside, once a month from then on out.

I have two videos this week, one indoors and one outdoors.  I am going to mess with individual crate and dead/live bird time this week.  Since I’m a one-man band, it will be tough to get good footage, so bear with me if it isn’t great or non-existant, plus with the holiday and having family in town, I won’t have time for everyone before next Wednesday.  I also have a brand new cap gun around here somewhere that I’ll pop off while they are messing with birds, so I’ll have to track that down.

Indoor video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx-4QvX41S8

Outdoor video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEdVOla8YDA

 

P Litter at 5 Weeks Old

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I apologize that I haven’t had a chance to yet respond to everyone who has emailed asking if these pups are all spoken for, but yes, they all have homes at this time!  Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to be placed on the contact list in the event someone backs out at the last minute.  We won’t be breeding again until Spring 2020 (more on that at another time).

The puppies have been getting many new experiences: including transitioning to kibble, learning about the crate, coming in the house and playing with toys.  I did get their kennel set up so that they can move in and out of the box with steps, so now they are able to go out of the box to go potty.  I do let them outside every few hours so many of them are holding it until then and doing it outdoors.

Here is the video for the week, the first time they were outdoors: https://youtu.be/2aXOT2APiMw

I have been so focused on getting individual photos of the pups that I haven’t had time to really do too many candids.  Here are a few.

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Crate time

Puppy Attack

Have I told you that Caleb likes puppies?

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Oh the life of a mom…

Now for some individual photos.  Most of the posed photos are terrible, but I need them for my record keeping, showing the owners the pups as best I can, and for the veterinarian when we do microchipping.  With only three boys and having them all being very different and going to totally different parts of the country, it was easy to decide who goes where and that has already been done.

I have to tell you that aside from coats, the girls are all totally the same to me.  They are all outgoing and mischievious, the way puppies should be.  It is going to be tough to decide who goes where over the next week and a half or so.  But I have to decide by the time they get their microchips.  Sometimes it works out where all of the new owners just happen to have different favorites, maybe that is how it will work this time.

Males

Paul – outdoor candid

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Paul face

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Paul side

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Paul back

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Peter – outdoor candid

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Peter face

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Peter side

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Peter back

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Philip – outdoor candid

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Philip face

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Philip side

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Philip back

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Females

Phila Mae – outdoor candid (purple collar)

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Phila Mae face

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Phila Mae side

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Phila Mae back

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Peggy – outdoor candid (Orange collar)

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Peggy face

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Peggy side

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Peggy back

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Penelope – outdoor candid (Teal collar)

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Penelope face

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Penelope side

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Penelope back

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Patience – outdoor candid (Pink collar)

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Patience face

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Patience side

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Patience back

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Pamela – outdoor candid (Hot pink collar)

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Pamela face

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Pamela side

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Pamela back

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I also have photos of Zoro training for his Natural Ability test, but I need to cut it short today.  The sale of our previous home closes tomorrow and there always seems to be loose ends to tie up.  I am working through contacting the new owners of these pups and starting to get things finalized, so  if you are getting one of these pups and have not heard from me individually yet, expect to hear from me in the next week or so.

P Litter at Four Weeks Old

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These puppies are definitely up and moving these days and the time has come to make some modifications to their housing.  At our old house, now would be the time where I would move them into the outdoor kennel with insulated dog house, but we’ve decided against having any outdoor runs or kennels here.  I think that what I’ll end up doing is taking the railings out of the box and building steps in and out of the door, so that they can have run of the whole kennel.  Then a couple of times a day, I can just herd them out the back door to play outside since the kennel door and the back door are right next to each other.

Since it is still cool out, I’ve been bringing them in the house to play and sometimes we just sit in the box with them too.

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Caleb always enjoys his puppy time

We are in the final throes of getting the old house ready for the next owner, today should be the last day that I have to go over there and work.  We close a week from Friday.  It will be nice to have more time for the puppies and getting ready for Zoro’s NAVHDA Natural Ability test.

I will make sure to get individual photos for next week, the puppies will be big enough for Caleb to pose them for me.  And it will be time to start talking to the new owners about who we think should go where so we can have it all decided in time for them to go home.  They turn 8 weeks on Monday, April 29th, which is the first day that they can leave my house according to the USDA.  It will be between then and Sunday the 5th that they go to their new homes.  For those new owners who are planning on picking up on Saturday, May 4th: can we do it early (like between 7-9 AM) so that I can go watch Zoro run his NAVHDA Natural Ability test?  I will also put that in an email here soon.

Right now the pups are chowing down the soft canned food twice a day.  A whole can each feeding.  So that tells me that they are ready to start having kibble mixed in, so that I can transition to kibble-only in a week or so.

I am so thankful that my friend Drenda down by Lincoln had some live quail to part with for dog training.  We’ll use those to get Zoro ready for his test and let the pups see one.  I also have a good amount of dead birds stored in the freezer that they can practice carrying around towards the end.

Here’s a photo of our cute little suburban training quail holding pen.  It is a chicken hutch with a dog kennel around it.  I am just excited that it is on the ground where I can get to it, our old holding pen was on the top of our garage where Charles would have to climb a ladder to get birds out (I don’t do ladders generally):

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Of course, last but not least, this week’s YouTube video: https://youtu.be/T9klEWj6yqg

Now it is time for me to go and feed those pups, then I have to head over to the old house and take a sledgehammer to our old bird holding pen.  It was completely over-engineered by Charles; even though it is like twelve years-old, it was not coming apart with a crowbar and regular hammer last night.  Then we dropped it off of the garage roof hoping that it would come busting apart…nope.  So I need to go and put the hurt on it.

Have a good week and talk at you again soon.

 

P Litter at Three Weeks Old

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The pups are all getting big, have their eyes wide open and are waddling around.  They just started on canned puppy food yesterday.  Another week or so and they’ll want to start spending time outside, right now they stay in their box with the garage door open for sunshine, fresh air and outside sounds and smells.

Here is this week’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV4g9fQYaco

I’ve also started banging tins when I’m around to get them used to loud noises, which is part of how I start my process of gun exposure.  The pups will be too young to finish the whole process, the rest is left up to the owners.  I wrote an article about my puppy bird and gun exposure process a few years back and titled it “Early Exposure for the Gun Dog Puppy” and it is reprinted here: https://bluestemkennels.com/2016/08/08/early-exposure-for-the-gun-dog-puppy/

They will be up and moving next week, as well as eating lots of soft food, so come back and check them out then.  I hope everyone is enjoying the spring sunshine as much as we are.

P Litter Two Weeks Old

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It has been quite a week for the residents of Bellevue, Nebraska and the entire state of Nebraska for that matter.  By now you’ve seen it on the news I’m sure. The most shocking for us is that the neighborhood that we moved out of 16 years ago is under water.  Even today, the mobile homes are up to their windows with water.  The great thing is that we’ve all rallied together to take care of those impacted by the flood.  I wish that I had more to give for the relief effort, but 15% of the deposit money from this litter of pups went to food for those impacted by the flood here in Bellevue (the rest is needed for dog food and vet bills to keep these guys going).  So many people are coming together volunteering their time and making donations.  The Bellevue church community is running its own shelter and supply distribution center, ran entirely by local donations.  The American Red Cross is also operating a shelter and supply distribution center.  If you wish to donate to flood relief efforts in our area, please give to the American Red Cross https://www.redcross.org/local/nebraska/about-us/news-and-events/news/nebraska-flooding.html

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Bluestem Kennels Flood Relief Food Donations to the Bellevue Christian Center

All of the new owners have been anxiously awaiting new phots and video now that the puppies have their eyes open and are much more mobile.  At this point, I like to put them in a new environment for 5 minutes or so every day or every other day to get them used to the idea of there being a world outside of their box.  But their favorite place is still in their box and it will be for another couple of weeks yet.  I will start spoonfeeding them mush over the next week so that we can transition to the pan

Here are the photos of the individual puppies.  They are for my record keeping and identification going forward as much as they are for anything else.  These are just names that I use as placeholders to post photos online.  I do not actually call them by these names.  In this case, I had enough “P” female names in my family to give the whole litter names.  Usually it is family and friends’ names or characters from literature.  Due to time constraints, I only do individual photos a few times.

Here is this weeks video, from their adventure on the living room floor to back in their box. https://youtu.be/I1NJSQSJOGc

Females

Phila Mae Face

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Phila Mae Back

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Peggy Face

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Peggy Back

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Penelope Face

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Penelope Back

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Patience Face

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Patience Back

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Pamela Face

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Pamela Back

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Males

Paul Face

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Paul Back

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Peter Face

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Peter Back

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Philip Face

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Philip Back

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I hope you all enjoyed those sweet faces, I know that I did!  Take care until next week and keep Nebraska in your thoughts and prayers.

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