In the world of puppy raising I love the scale. I love to use it everyday, sometimes a several times a day. I even cheer when there is a good weight gain. Seriously – it’s like Bizarro Wendy using Bizarro Scale.
I should start by saying I have never been a scale watcher, I have gauged my weight and overall feeling by the feeling of my clothes. Don’t get me wrong I am not some svelte hottie, in fact I have quite a bit of weight to loose to be healthy. I am just saying I am a realist and don’t have clothes in my closet that don’t fit, and can’t tell you what I weighed in 8th grade, when I went to Sr. Prom or on my wedding day. I can tell you I was a svelte hottie back then and now just not so svelte.
While I have never been a slave to the scale it wasn’t like I had the urge to jump on one when ever I saw one either. That all changes when you are a breeder caretaker. The scale is your oracle – it tells you if it is a good day, an okay day, or if it is a I am sitting up all night making sure this puppy spends every waking moment eating sort of night. We weigh the pups pretty much as soon as they are born and then every 12 hours for the next week. The week after that you only weigh them once a day, then three times a week until turn-in.
I never thought I would stand before a scale and cheer for a gain. The hope is that a pup will gain 5-10% of their body weight each day. The fact is that healthy puppies, while gaining a bit each day, spike and plateau, and have growth and gain spurts; all affecting their weight. This means that when you are weighing them you should keep this in mind. Sometimes I forget. The plateaus have me low and their highs send me over the moon!
The other thing to remember is that you can’t really compare all the pups in this way either. Sometimes the puppies at birth that were small come on like gang busters, the middle ones may never leave the middle of the pack, and if they were big at birth (especially males) they may just start off and never look back. We have a healthy range in this litter, but because we have a 4 pound behemoth, it is easy to look at the smaller puppies every once in a while and freak out just a tiny bit. (Okay, I freak out and Dave reminds me that I am freaking out.)
The best part is that no matter what the number is, the scale is telling me that everyone is gaining and getting bigger everyday. In a few short weeks all of this scale worship will pass and my new obsession will be poop. Bet you can’t wait for that right?