The last three puppies went to their new homes today. Having them has been great, we’ll miss them, and we hope to fix Disa up with a stud in Washington State in two years. Lisa will hopefully talk about the way we raised them, I’ll talk about something we made for them.
We built Disa a whelping box. Basically it’s a playpen for the puppies. We based it on this design. Ours was four feet square, which sounded a bit large until Disa had seven pups. We did put a plywood bottom in it, and built it out of our own lumber. We lined it with worn out towels and bathrobes and did a lot of laundry.
The half level opening in the side is a good idea. For the first few days, mom really isn’t very spry yet, and the puppies aren’t going anywhere. After a week or so, Disa could jump the full height of the side, and it kept the puppies in for a few more days.
About that same time, we put a drop in doggy door into the slider to the balcony, and cut a hole in the side of the whelping box. I had to get a little fancier to deal with some built-in bookcases, but that’s the basic idea. That was a brilliant idea on Lisa’s part. The puppies had their eyes open, and were starting to go off to the corners of the box to do their business. Lisa started chucking them out the door instead. It took them a while to get the idea, but a couple weeks of mealtime, out the door, in for a nap, out the door got the idea across. Again, it’s really Lisa’s story, but the three that left today at 9.5 weeks old haven’t had a poop accident in weeks. I dealt with Disa and Bjarki when they were puppies. What a massive deal getting potty trained puppies is.
We also learned some things to do differently: These are Icelandic critters. Boundaries are a moral affront. They go where they want, dammit. Once they could pull themselves up to see over the side, they immediately set about getting out. If it took an hour (two for Purple Girl), so be it. They wanted out. (Note to the EU and IMF: Think very carefully about who you’re dealing with, even though there are only 320,000 of them.) We eventually figured out how to wedge the skirting table and the compost sifter to keep the puppies in. Next time there will be a latchable screened lid.
So there’s the summary. Whelping box good. Whelping box connected to pet door to protected outdoor area, brilliant. Icie whelping box must have tight lid. Mommy will not approve of being locked in (she’s an Icie, too), but unless you can give them a room with a pet door, that’s the only way to go.