Video: Friday Fun: Dr. Gayle Watkins #2 – Breeders Guide to the Neonatal Period for Puppies


Gayle Watkins returns for her second of four episodes:

Neonatal: Potatoes to Puppies

The importance of Mothering

Mothers not only provide milk and heat, but the act of mothering – licking, cleaning, poking, touching – develops the puppies.

Stress Management:

Ability to handle stress effectively as adults depend on:

  1. Genetics
  2. Good mothering in the first 2 weeks
  3. Us letting mom do her job.

Ambient Room Temperature

Breeding books might say 80-90 degrees, for our mom that is hell on earth. Lactation raises the dams temperature.

Instead monitor room temperature so that it pushes mom and pups together so she curls and lies with them, gives good contact, and improves milk production.

Coated breeds may 70-72 degrees. Toys or hairless breeds may need higher.

No heating pad or lamp in box.

Temperature is right when pups are against mom and pups are quiet.

Touch, Taste, and Smell Development

ENS – Early Neurologic Stimulation

Positions and touches, help to develop stress management.

Step 1: Securely hold puppy – rotate through the positions – upright, upside down, and on the back.

Step 2: Place the puppy on a cold surface such as a tile or plate.

Step 3: Tickle with Q-tip on each paw.

Total time for each: Only a few seconds.

ESI – Early Scent Introduction

Succeed at scenting accomplishments higher, sooner, and more complex

Day 3-16 – (13 days for a few seconds a day)

Natural items – grass, pine, rosemary, herbs, leather, fowl, feather, fruit, wool, wood – no meat,cheese or unnatural items, no metal

Hold puppy gently upright, let puppy smell 1/2 inch from nose –

  • Neutral – no reaction.
  • Dislike – whip head away, vocalize or snort.
  • Positive reaction – paw, sniff, taste.


Hip Dysplasia and Traction in the whelping box

  • No newspapers or towels – if you see the bottom of pads, they do not have traction.
  • Puppies can be up on feet standing within hours of birth
  • Joints in puppies are not connected at birth, gaps close over time
  • Steri-lon or fleece


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