The Singleton Puppy

Posted on 02/03/11 78 Comments

I am writing this blog post today not from a position of a great depth of knowledge but reporting from two singular  experiences. I am hoping anyone reading this that has gone through a similar situation will offer their perspective.

I suppose for many of you this post will hold little of interest so I will try to spice it up with racy photos to keep you all interested.

Here is racy photo number one:

This is my now past amazing Jack Russell girl “Twister” with her singleton puppy “Wink.” The reason for her singleton puppy was that she had parvo as a puppy and it left her reproductive organs pretty scarred and non functioning. As it turns out it was a miracle she ever got pregnant.

Okay so maybe that pictures wasn’t racy enough. Here is one a little more racy; Twister doing what she loved best racing.

 

 

Weighing only 8 1/2 pounds and 11” tall  Twister easily bounced the 10′ distances in flyball to help set dozens of world records. She was pretty darn spectacular in her day.

Twister’s pregnancy and delivery was not at all the norm for a singleton. Apparently more than 50% of all singleton puppies die (source: the internet so take it for what it is worth:)).

Many of these puppies die because they grow too big in uteral and the bitch has difficulty with whelping (many taken by C-section).

Not so with Twister. Where my other two JRT litters had an average birth weight of 6 oz, Wink was 3.5 oz. Twister’s whelping was no more than 12 minutes long; she hoped into my laundry basket, cocked her hip to one side and popped out a puppy as if to say — here, this is yours, take it will you?

My experience with Wink was not a true singleton experience because I was fortunate enough to have a friend whelp a litter of Border Collies the same day and she gave me one of her puppies for Twister to foster so Wink had a littermate.

Twister was an awesome mom to both “Tsuna” and Wink. Tsuna lived to be 15 years old and I saw Wink just last fall, looking great as usual.

That brings me up to my current singleton who quickly is earning several names; “Sid the Kid” or “Swagger” or “Swag-Man” and as of today he is “Pork -Pie Boy.”

Why “Pork-Pie” you ask?

I have spoke to two friends that have had puppies in their litters of similar birth size; one from a litter of Border Collies one a litter of Standard Poodles.

So at birth all three puppies weighed around 9.6 oz.

At one week old the Standard Poodle weighed 14.6 oz and the Border Collie weighed 18.5 oz

Here it is only Day 5 and my Pork Pie weighs 24 oz. Yesterday I started to limit how long he could belly up to the milk bar in hopes of not having his belly explode. He still gets fed every time he cries, I am just not allowing him to drain all of the resources each time.

And in case you were thinking, “but Susan, possibly your boy is just a big puppy, how big was his sire?” Let me tell you his sire was 5 lbs lighter and 2 inches shorter than Feature . . . so that theory is gone:).

What I am looking for here is input. Here are the special needs and some of the solutions for the singleton puppy that I can think of but I don’t want to overlook anything;

1) Monitoring his intake so he doesn’t become a Pork Pie — although I have been given advise both for and against trying to regulate intake.

2)Tactile stimulation; without littermates there is no one crawling on or under him — so I do that with stuffed animals twice a day . . . often times when he is nursing other times just for no reason. In addition he has a big pile of stuffed animals and a towel with a knot in it (his favourite) to curl up with.

3) Building a frustration tolerance. It has been suggested that some singleton puppies “give up” in work easily because they never learned to work through frustration as a young puppy. Most puppies get knocked off of a nipple and have to fight to get back on a new one. With a singleton this never happens. To help with this I take a stuffed animal and push Sid off of a nipple perhaps once a feeding (but not during the night feedings as I am too dopey). Sometimes I do not allow him access to a new nipple for a 5 seconds other times I just let him discover a new one.

4) Socializing. Puppies learn bit inhibition and doggy body language through their littermates. Without littermates you could easily raise a social deviant puppy. Encore will be great for this but I also  I know of a litter of Cocker Spaniels near by that was born the same day as Sid so my plan is to approach this breeder for play dates with this litter once Sid is 3-4 weeks old.

Okay, I am now appealing to all of you true Breeders out there or anyone who has had experience raising a Singleton those of you that are just great a surfing the internet:). Any input you have for me would be greatly appreciated!

Sorry only one racy picture, I hope that was enough to keep you all reading to the end!

Today I am grateful for one healthy puppy. He has been through a lot making his way this far, I would like to do my best to help make the rest of his journey be less rocky.

78 Comments

  1. Rebecca says:
    Friday, January 4, 2013 at 8:40am

    So glad to have found this post.. we were expecting four pups from our working cocker spaniel bitch and one fattie arrived on the 2nd January to a maiden mum who is doing very well bless her. The advice given here is so helpful but I am more worried about the effects on mum at the moment (I am a dog trainer so can handle his needs he he). Before giving brth her four back teats were really swollen and full of milk, she went to have a scan on the evening of the 2nd Jan to check where the other three puppies had gone (the vets had made an error on their original scan) and they checked her over and said everything was fine. Her teats are still the same, are not red or burning but she seems uncomfortable and if you touch one milk spurts out really easily. The pup is doing well and is feeding, but just cant keep up with four active teats and we cant dictate to him which teats he feeds off of. Is mum more likely to develop mastitis with only one pup and should we be draining any of her teats to help her out a bit? I dont think they can dry up as I think Am concerned about losing any of the colostrom he is probably chosing all (it makes it harder that they are both jet black so morph into one when feeding). She seems quite restless today and has been digging a bit, I have lost a bit of faith with our vet so reluctant to call them for advice (very long story!) but also do not want to risk an infection in mum. Temperature is normal, she is eating and drinking and is not pale. She is absoloutly obsessed by her puppy though and wont go outside to the toilet (she has been out three times since the 2nd) as she wants to be near him. She is happy for him to be handled though and just watches very intently. we have tried taking him closer to the back door whilst keeping him warm but then she just panics as he is not where he should be and wont go outside at all, Any help would be appreciated x

    Reply

  2. Gina says:
    Monday, March 18, 2013 at 9:46pm

    I’m so glad to have found your blog. I have a singleton Brittany puppy that is 4 weeks old. I have talked to a lot of other breeders about it and get varying responses from “it’s no big deal” to “you absolutely MUST get her with other puppies”. None of the breeders I know have puppies right now and I am very hesitant to get my 4 wk old puppy around other pups that I’m not familiar with. My vet is of the opinion that it’s not a big problem and I just need to expose her to a lot of different situations once she gets a little older to socialize her better. I called a breeder (that I do not know) and she acted like I was crazy to think another breeder would even consider letting me bring my puppy around theirs at 4 wks. old. Historically, my puppies have been between 9-14 oz at birth and she was 14 oz. She seemed really fat for the first few weeks but is balancing out now. She is up walking, running and playing. I have 2 other adult dogs, besides her mother but they just don’t play with her the same as other puppies would. I do have a 4 yr old son who just won’t leave her alone, so maybe that will help with frustration tolerance, and I’m hoping that he will also help with bite inhibition. I’ve actually told him to yelp loudly if the puppy bites him. The puppy is already spoken for and will be going to a family that has some experience with Brittanys as this will be the parents 5th Britt. They do not have any other dogs and have 2 older (high school & college age) sons, so I’m hoping it will all work out. You’ve all given me some ideas of things to do to help and I’m feeling much better after reading this. Thank you to everyone who has posted here!

    Reply

  3. Catherine Laria says:
    Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 12:11pm

    5 Years ago I had a singleton… Today she is going into labor for her first time and the x-ray shows she too will be having a singleton! I believe the breeding timing was off due to the stud being at Nationals with me but either way we are back in the same position. My concern is the x-ray shows the pup to be rather big. We have everything ready and are 15 minutes from the ER vet if needed. But I wanted to share this link. This lady’s page has gotten me thru 5 litters now, this will be my 6th. She has a wealth of information and is very detailed. One tip I read was on the singleton (She calls it a “swimmer”, and the reason you need some sort of “climbing” stimulation, regarding how their chest and lungs develop. She suggested a small foam egg crate material to go under the sheet/pad. This will simulate little peaks and valleys the pup can crawl over. Anyway, here is her site. http://www.debbiejensen.com

    Reply

  4. bilay says:
    Monday, May 27, 2013 at 1:19pm

    Hi. My miniature schnauzer is due next week. Her first scan showed nothing the 2nd showed a pup. She doesn’t look pregnant though her tears are larger. I’m concerned about whether or not it will trigger a Labour. I’m taking her to a vet on friday.

    Reply

  5. Ana says:
    Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 8:52pm

    I’m raising a singleton GSD, my dog’s first litter and mine too! Did my research, got a proven sire (only a bit away from his ROM), have a breeding mentor, did everything by the books, and was amazed when only one pup came. She seems to be doing fine, is well-grown and happy, and is not a swimmer. My worry is dog socialization; without siblings, she is the little Princess of the Universe although she is very independent and self-contained. I would love to have any advice as to how to raise her well.

    Reply

  6. Julie says:
    Monday, August 5, 2013 at 2:22pm

    I have a singleton Border Collie puppy, and worried she is gaining too much weight too fast. She gains about 4 oz a day, when most my other BC’s 1-2oz per day was normal. she is one week old. Should I try to limit the amount of time my bitch is nursing her? if so, how often should I allow her to nurse. She is a good mom and will lay with pup most he day so she can belly up to the bar at will. She looks very fat to me, and dont want her to become a swimmer. advice welcomed

    Reply

    • Susan says:
      Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 9:08am

      I would contact breeders with more experience on this one. Yes swimmer’s is a concern. Swagger did get pretty darn fat but never had swimmers.

      Reply

  7. Melody says:
    Friday, August 23, 2013 at 11:52am

    I had my Pomeranian bred for the 1st time to a male pom who had never been bred and they hung up sevral times and the ties lasted a few minutes like normal, the first tie was June 28th so I took her for her Xray yesterday and they say she is not pregnant and she has had every symptom by the book of being pregnant, morning sickness the whole nine yards and this morning she has 4 teats hanging a lot more than they were, I have had a dog go thru a false pregnancy but never lasted like a full term pregnancy, could they have missed a single pup or could we be way off on the due date, because I read where the sperm can live for a few days before it fertilizes, can that throw us off on the date? I am hoping pups are hiding, but I am so puzzled that the x ray shows no pups

    Reply

  8. Hannah says:
    Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 6:07pm

    My long haired Dachshund had a puppy last Sunday. She ended up having only one and still went into labor. The puppy was small and the birth went normally. Milk came in fine and all is well. But the puppy will suckle on my finger anytime it finds it and she always seems hungry. Should I start supplementing? Or wait a little?

    Reply

  9. Mona Lilly says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 10:06pm

    We just had a litter of one. A Toy Fox Terrier. We decided to take the puppy C-section, that was a good idea the puppy was too big for the mom to deliver. She will be four weeks old and I too am concerned about her. I have been using the stuffed puppy to play with her. I growl and play kind of ruff like the other puppies would. She does however seem shy. Thanks for all the posts and I will keep updated on this.

    Reply

  10. Jan says:
    Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 12:26pm

    Hi Susan
    How soon after whelping do you put your dogs back in the agility school? Some say 6 weeks and some say 10.
    Many thanks
    Jan

    Reply

  11. Elsa says:
    Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 5:57am

    Didd Swagger born through C-Section? My BC bitch is on the 63th day and yet to deliver and I hate to get her go through the ops. How long more can I delay ?

    Reply

    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 9:44am

      No Swagger was born naturally . . . although it was after a shot of oxytocin at the vet clinic.

      Reply

  12. Wendy Becker says:
    Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 2:10pm

    I raise Miniature Bull Terriers and show them in conformation.My one girl was bred by AI July 2013 producing only one girl pup, a large pup. I didn’t see your site until recently and she is now a bit over 6 months. We were not prepared for some of her issues,lack of attention, biting, sensitivity to touch, frustration coping, etc., but recently we have made some progress with much of this, about a 25% improvement. She’s very food motivated and has a favorite tug toy that we have made good use of with play, release and reward, and gaining her attention while I tell her to wait (getting that eye contact), then she gets it back. I am waiting for your book to further assist, and will be enrolling her in a graduated obedience class in the next week and conformation classes. I’ve been sick for a while and only now really have the vigor to do these activities. Any other suggestions I can utilize to help us bond further?

    Reply

  13. Maru says:
    Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 10:43pm

    Hi, I have a singleton of my GSMD (Swissy). Is my first dog litter and mine too. The problem is that the puppy had “flat chest” and her mother couldn’t fed her. The puppy was with the vet and now she has almost four weeks and is ok. She is taking starter mini kibbles. After 21 days she came from the hospital and her mother miraculously recongniced her. She stimulates her to pup but she is not playing with. Your comments are very useful.
    I have to say that english is not my first language so please excuse my writing.

    Reply

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