Signs of labor?

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, Dec. 1, 2023

The frigid cold air is abuzz with anticipation at the Dire Wolf Project headquarters!

Jesse, our newest expectant American Dirus, is gearing up for a special event—the imminent arrival of her puppies out of Vlad.

As she approaches her due date, every moment is poised for signs of the impending labor.  today, something's different.

Jesse's demeanor hints at the secret stirring within her.

As we eagerly anticipate the birth, we watch for the first signs of dog labor.

This crucial first phase signifies the opening of the dog's cervix and the gradual relaxation of her reproductive tract.

While contractions might not always be visibly apparent, signs of restlessness, pacing, whining, digging, panting, and even a loss of appetite or vomiting may appear.

Sometimes, a mother dog may appear curious, gazing at her sides as if pondering the changes within her.

During this initial stage, the pups begin their journey away from the uterine horns, gradually approaching the birth canal. They transition from floating on their backs to maneuvering themselves as they approach the cervix.

Generally lasting between 6 to 18 hours, the first stage of labor can often be missed without consistent observation.

This morning, I noticed Jesse's face bore a subtle change—she held herself more gingerly, moved with a quiet grace, and carried a maternal aura that's both tender and beautiful.

Yet, despite these nuanced differences, her appetite remains robust. She ate and drank heartily, displaying her usual zeal.

But there's a gentle shift in her behavior; she didn’t trot up to the fence in her excitement to see me. Instead, she opted for a more serene approach.

Throughout the day, a small indentation forms in the back of her kennel—her chosen spot for repose. She has been curling up, embracing the peace and quiet, as if preparing for the grand event that lies ahead.

It's as though she knows the time draws near and is patiently awaiting the birth of her little ones.

Our excitement brims over at the thought of Jesse's Giants Litter—each puppy is expected to be giant in size, heralding the legacy of the Dire Wolf Project.

The very notion of hearing those adorable puppy squeaks as they nurse fills us with joy and wonder.

Amidst our eagerness for the impending birth, we remain vigilant, ensuring Jesse's comfort and monitoring any subtle changes that may signal the transition into the next stage of labor—a momentous occasion as we await the joyous arrival of Jesse's Giants Litter.

If you want to learn more about our predictions for this upcoming litter, here’s the link to the litter page:

Also, in case you missed the announcement yesterday…

I am scheduled to leave on the next DireWolf Express on December 5th to deliver the next bunch of dogs to their new homes.

Just like tracking Santa’s sleigh, you can follow my journey and catch up with all of our adventures around the country by downloading the FREE tracking app, PolarSteps.

I will have to hand the baton of daily email newsletters to Jay while I’m away, so be prepared for some hilarious stories from the dad-joke king.

You don’t have to miss me, though, because I will be posting DAILY stories, videos, and pictures of the trip all along the way in REAL TIME.

It’s always a blast to keep track of where we are now.

This link will help you download the app:

P.S. If we have puppies this weekend, which I suspect will be the case, I will send out a few extra emails to keep you updated so you don’t have to wait with bated breath until Monday to find out all about the puppies.

You can also keep up with any breaking puppy news at the Giants Litter link above. I always post all my notes/pictures there in real time, so I don’t have to rewrite them later.

And if you just can’t stand not knowing, and you have to find out the scoop before I can update you, email me and I’ll share any news I have.

Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.