4 weeks old! So much has changed in our puppies' ever-expanding world this week. They are now walking and romping with each other. Though they spend the majority of their day sleeping, they are now much more aware of the world around them when they are awake. Since their eyes and ears are much more developed than last week, they are now learning all kinds of things through their senses. Of course, we don't have to intentionally socialize them to normal household noises. Our household of 7 people supplies lots of interesting sounds - vacuum cleaner, door opening and closing, adult voices, children voices, plates clattering, a washing machine, and on and on. I did start playing short youtube clips of puppy sound desensitization for them. I play these clips softly to give them a gentle introduction to sounds like a circular saw, a hair dryer, a siren, horns blowing, etc.
The puppies are doing well with lapping up milk. They now look forward to their bowl in the morning and the evening. Just this morning, we introduced Life's Abundance Small and Medium Breed puppy food softened in goat milk. (You can read all about Life’s Abundance on our nutrition page.) This litter is very eager for food! Tachi has been showing us some signs of weaning in the past week, such as leaving the puppies for extended periods of time. It is becoming nearly impossible for her to feed all 8 at one time - there simply isn't enough room! Over the next week, we will gradually increase the amount of food we give them while decreasing how much milk they get from Tachi.
The puppies are growing beautifully! I put their 4 week weights on their individual pages. King remains the largest at 2lbs, 9oz and Angel and Noel the smallest at 2lbs. They are now sporting simply adorable Lupine ribbon whelping collars. The collars are super soft and gentle. The children LOVE these collars because now they can readily identify "their" puppy. I will soon be switching them over to Lupine's 6-9" small collars.
Above, you can see that the whelping area has changed once again. (Notice Mary being a good girl and using the potty box!) We expanded their area this week to include a play area. They now have 3 areas - sleeping area, potty area, and play area. They are doing excellent with sleeping in the proper place and not soiling that area. A few of them are using the potty box, but most toddle to a quiet corner to do their business. To continue to train them, we clean up messes often (Life's Abundance Biodeodorizer to the rescue!) and place them in the potty box when we see them wake up or after eating.
Below are lots of pictures from this week. The children can now spend long periods of time with them. MJ was playing with them the other day for about 20 minutes when I heard her say, "Mommy, they are all falling asleep!" They still tire quickly and need their sleep. You'll also see a few adorable sleeping positions that I captured below.
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*Click on each photo to go to their individual page, which as more details and photos. Scroll down for the latest photos.*
3 weeks old today! As I was starting a load of wash this morning, I noticed heads up in the whelping box wondering what was going on. The puppies are beginning to realize there's more to the world than food and their siblings. They still prefer a meal and pile of warm, cuddly brothers and sisters, but they are showing signs of alertness to the world around them.
They are not quite walking, but their swimming motion has turned into a crawl. Occasionally, one will get that belly off the ground and take some tottery steps. They have also become more purposeful in their movements - such as trying to get to Mama when she's outside the box. Below is Shep (I think) determined to get to Mama as she eats her evening meal.
With these more purposeful movements around the whelping box comes the time for laying the foundation for house training. We have used the Misty Method many times over, and it has not failed us. 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.
Below you will see the new set up of the whelping area. The puppies can only access the bedding area and the potty area (newspaper in a plexi-glass box).
After a few days of this set up, the puppies will have a good idea of where to eliminate. At that time, we will open up their area to give them a play area. As of yet, they still spend the majority of the day sleeping, but that will change soon!
Paper training the puppies then lays the foundation for crate training, which should begin at 8-10 weeks old. Because our 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.)
Another new development in their little lives was the introduction of goat milk (from our own herd of Nubian goats). We gave them their first taste of it last evening. We dipped their noses a bit and let them learn to lap the milk. Some had more fun licking it off each other afterwards than out of the bowl! Quite obviously, their main source of nutrition is definitely still Mama! They are all approaching the 2lb mark, with King already an ounce over.
Teaching them to lap milk is the first step in the weaning process. After they master that skill, we introduce Life's Abundance Small & Medium Breed puppy food softened in milk or water.
You may notice in some of the photos that two of the puppies have collars on. I was having much difficulty telling Joy and Mary apart, as well as Shep and Gabriel. I put a collar on Mary and Gabriel to solve this dilemma. I'm eager to put on their Lupine collars, but the puppies are a bit small for those yet.
And, of course, the kids had fun holding their puppies more this week. Thanks, as always, for stopping by!
*Click on each puppy for more details and pictures!*
The eyes are open, and the excitement is running high with our children - it's time to cuddle these puppies! We don't allow our children to handle the puppies before their eyes are open. So, now the time has arrived! We keep the cuddling sessions very brief at this age because all the puppies truly want right now is food and sleep. They are beginning to awaken to the world around them as their eyes and ears open, but Mama is still the center of their world.
The puppies' second week of life can be summed up by these two photos below.
The pile of puppies is growing rapidly and filling up the whelping box. All the puppies have doubled their birth weight. King leads the pack at 1lb, 7oz. Noel and Angel remain the smallest at 1lb, 2oz. The others all fall between those two weights. Overall, they are all mostly the same size and all growing beautifully!
The puppies are not walking, but a few are trying out their wobbly legs. As they continue to become more mobile, we will be changing their living area. Below is a picture of their current living space. Notice that Tachi has a bed outside their sleeping area where she can "get away" as needed. We keep free choice food available to her while she feeding her babies (We ONLY feed free choice during the end of pregnancy and lactation.). Her appetite has greatly increased as she meets her babies' nutritional needs. She remains the sole source of their food at this age.
In the next week to week and half, we will change the whelping area to begin house training. Yes, house training at 3 weeks! We believe we can lay the foundation for house training even at this young age. Our puppies will not be house trained at 8 weeks when they go home, but they will be ready for crate training, and they will have a basic understanding of a living area, potty area, and sleeping area. I will give more details on that next week.
Below are some pictures of our children holding the puppies for the first time.
I walked past the whelping box one day this week and found a scene that brought to mind the words, "A Mom's Life." As I looked at the pictures later, I decided "A Mom's Blessed Life," fit better.
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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!
Independent Field Representative