Hello, outside world! I took the puppies outside for the first time today as I took their 3 week photos. They look just gorgeous in the sunshine! Click on their pictures for more photos of each puppy.
The puppies are becoming more aware of the world around them. They have suddenly realized that life is more than food and sleep. They have discovered many new things - their siblings, Mama's food and water bowl, noises that now wake them up, children, and much more!
They are all growing beautifully. I have gotten many questions about what size these puppies will mature at. The truth? I don't know. Puppies have a way of surprising with their adult weight. Their weight is also dependent on diet and exercise. However, I can estimate that they will fall in the 16-20lb range. (If any of you reading this have a puppy from Jolly, please comment below on their adult weight. We would especially love hearing from the 2017 litter families who have a full siblings to these puppies.) I use this website to estimate puppy weight, but it is not very accurate at this young age. It becomes more accurate as they grow. The puppy weights as of three weeks are as follows: Boaz (2lbs, 1oz), Liberty (1lb, 12oz), Peanut (1lb, 10oz), Rocky (1lb, 10oz), Miracle & Chase (1lb, 9oz), and Ryder (1lb. 8oz).
The puppies' whelping area will undergo some changes in the next few days as we being paper training them. We believe that house training starts now for the puppies as they begin to become mobile. We have used the Misty Method successfully with our past litters, and we plan to use it again. The premise of the Misty Method is that dogs do not naturally want to soil their sleeping area. As the puppies can begin to choose where they eliminate, they should be given a "potty area." We teach them what the potty area is by keeping the other areas as clean as possible. Whenever the puppies soil their bedding area, I clean it up to remove the scent using Biodeodizer and/or a fresh towel. Whenever they properly go on the newspaper, I cover it up with more newspaper to keep it clean, but yet preserve the scent that will keep them coming back. They do not always catch on perfectly, but it is amazing how fast they learn and how often they get it right.
Paper training the puppies then lays the foundation for crate training, which should begin at 8-10 weeks old. Because the puppies have been paper trained, they already know there is a proper place to eliminate and proper place to sleep. Crate training simply transitions them to have that proper potty place be outside and the proper sleeping area being their crate. (If you want to read more, see my previous posts on house training - part 1 and part 2.)
The puppies diet still consists solely of Mama's good milk. Jolly spends longer and longer stretches of time away from them - even venturing down to the creek in our backyard to go swimming (evidence that she's fully recovered from her surgery), but is always eager to return and check on them. We begin weaning them around 5 weeks old using Life's Abundance Small & Medium breed puppy food. (If you are going to be bringing one these puppies home, please check out our nutrition page on our website to find out all about Life's Abundance.)
And, of course, as they grow that means more play time with the kids! All the children love spending time with the puppies, but there's a little girl who very enamored with her little Peanut.
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The puppies have more than doubled their size since birth! They are doing fabulous. (Remember to click on their photos above to see more individual pictures.) Some are trying out their shaky legs and walking around their cozy whelping box. Most have discovered how to climb out of the box to find Mama.
As you can see above, there is one escapee who decided he couldn't wait for a meal. We arrange the whelping area in this way with a bed for Jolly because she does leave them for short periods of time at this stage. She still spends nearly every moment with them, but she will slowly decrease her time with them over the next weeks. Jolly is eating well to feed all her babies. She is the sole source of their nutrition right now, which means we need to make she has all the nourishment she needs. We do so by feeding Life's Abundance All Stage food to her free choice, along with occasional raw eggs and goat milk fresh from our homestead. (Note: We only feed our dogs free choice in the end of pregnancy and during lactation.)
One obvious development is their open eyes! This brings lots of excitement around Russell Homestead because the children know that now AT LAST they can hold them. Below is JJ holding Miracle. We keep the holding sessions short at this age. They aren't ready to play yet, but they love a good warm place to snuggle down and sleep.
They are all growing at a nice, steady pace. Boaz continues to lead the pack at 1lb, 9oz, and Ryder is the smallest at 1lb. The rest fall nicely in between. And, since they do sleep their days away right now, I'll close with what we like to see when we look into their box - everyone snuggled into a big pile. Thanks for stopping by!
All new life is a miracle. Some lives, however, have more hurdles to jump over before arriving safely. Our puppy, Miracle, survived an unusual delivery.
We knew from both an ultrasound and an x-ray that Jolly was carrying at least 6 puppies. Our vet said he wouldn’t rule out 7, but he definitely saw 6. After having 6 puppies on July 5, Jolly settled down and started taking care of her babies, showing no signs of distress. We assumed it was a litter of 6 just like her last litter.
As a routine measure of care, we monitor Jolly’s temperature after having puppies. On July 6, her temperature was elevated in the morning. We whisked her and the puppies off to the vet. An x-ray revealed that there were 2 unborn puppies. We were shocked! Somehow these babies had hidden on her previous x-ray.
As we discussed options with our vet, we decided a C-section was best for Jolly. The vet said there is no way to predict if these puppies were still alive. Their last sibling had been delivered 18 hours earlier.
Following surgery, we learned that Jolly was actually carrying 3 unborn puppies, which means she was carrying a total of 9 puppies this litter! Our vet told us one puppy was underdeveloped with no bones to show up on the x-ray. That dear puppy had died in utero long before labor and delivery. One other puppy did not survive the 18 hours in the womb, but one little Miracle did! And he’s a feisty little Miracle! He jumped right into the bunch and made sure he got his fair share of the meals.
The vet said it is very likely that the underdeveloped puppy was the root cause of Jolly not being able to deliver her last babies. Her uterus tore where he was attached. Because of this tear, we chose to spay Jolly, which means this is her last litter.
Though we are sad to have lost 2 puppies in the litter, we are very grateful for the 7 miracles we do have!
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
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