**Click on the above pictures for more photos of each puppy. Scroll down on their individual pages for the most recent photos.**
The puppies are really "coming alive" at 5 weeks old. Although they still need long naps, it is not unusual to look in their whelping area and see everyone awake and playing. The children are able to handle them more and spend longer periods of time snuggling with them.
The puppies had lots of new experiences this week - milk, food, collars, outside time, bath time, and a grooming brush. They also briefly met our other adult dogs. Their world is expanding everyday, and we are so pleased with how they are all growing!
We put collars on the puppies this week. They spent lots of time trying to scratch them off, but soon realized their fate was sealed. We use Lupine collars because of their high-quality and their chew guarantee. Lupine will replace any collars that your dog chews or scratches. We've used this guarantee only once before this litter. This time around, Liberty and Miracle scratched their collars enough to damage them and require new ones. Lupine graciously replaced them for us.
Above, the puppies are having their first taste of goat milk. They transitioned quickly from lapping milk to eating softened pieces of food. They still receive a few feedings from Mama a day, but their main source of nutrition is now food. We soak it in goat milk to soften it, but we will gradually lessen the milk amount and softening time. All the puppies love feeding time! We also have started to take them outside to do business after eating.
A big new life experience for the puppies this week was bath time! Above, Liberty is all snuggled up after her bath. Since Jolly doesn't spend time cleaning them anymore, it is now our turn. The first bath is typically easy because they are too shocked to respond. They smell wonderful after the bath with Life's Abundance Revitalizing Shampoo with kiwi and mango scent. After they dried off from their baths, I gave them a very brief brushing session to simply introduce them to the idea.
To close this week, I'll include some photos with the children and the puppies. As you can see, these puppies are well socialized with children! Children (and all the noise they make) are simply a part of their lives. As I've watched my children interact with puppies over the years, I've decided there is a balance when allowing young children to play with puppies. On one hand, the child needs to learn to be gentle, and, on the other hand, the puppy needs to learn how to tolerate hands that don't always know the best way to hold them. We have to be constantly monitoring our children as they handle the puppies. As I think back, when we had our first litter of puppies here at Russell Homestead in 2014, AJ was 4 years old. At age 4, we could not trust him to be alone with the puppies. Now, at 8 years old, he has earned our trust to play with them independently along with CJ, age "almost" 7. They both do a wonderful job of handling the puppies and giving them lots of snuggle time.
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!
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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