5 weeks old and FULL OF LIFE! We sometimes just stand and chuckle as we watch their adorable antics as they romp and tussle with each other. Puppies seem to come alive between weeks 4 and 5. Although they still need long and frequent naps, they now spend a lot of time awake and playing with each other and our kids.
Their week was brimming full with new experiences. My belief is that early, positive experiences with things in life aid in a confident adult who is not easily scared by new experiences. (Of course, this extends waaaay beyond the puppies' 8 weeks in our home - new owners have a responsibility to utilize the window of time from approximately 3-18 weeks where most puppies are accepting of new experiences.) New sounds for the week included thunder, gun fire, and fireworks - all played softly from my phone. I'm always impressed that my adults don't react to these sounds any more than the puppies.
Another new experience was meeting my Slicker grooming brush before the photo shoot today. I gave them a brief, fun brushing session. They also got to meet our cat, Princess, today. They got to see and smell her, and we plan to have them spend more time with her in the coming weeks.
The puppies also received new Lupine 6-9" collars this week. We are big Lupine collar fans around here. Lupine collars are made in the USA and come with a "even-if-chewed" return policy. That's right, you can get a new collar if you puppy (or dog) chews their collar. Lupine truly stands behind their products.
Yet another new experience for the puppies was some new chewing opportunities! Their little teeth are erupting all over their little mouths, and it's time to chew!
These are 2 of my all-time favorite chew products. They are both single-ingredient products from Life's Abundance - free from all fillers and preservatives! I also like them because they tend not to break off in pieces. Both of them get soggy as the puppies chew rather than splintering.
The puppies made the transition from mostly Mama's milk to mostly food this week. They love, love meal time! We feed them three times a day. They are currently eating softened food, but will be dry food by 7 weeks.
The best part of the puppies' past week was meeting some of the new families! We had a delightful time playing with puppies and chatting with families who will soon have a new four-footed member. Below are two photos that families graciously shared with us that they took while here.
To give you an idea how much the puppies have grown, I have 2 pictures for comparison.
To close, as usual, I'll share pictures from the week. I've said this before on the blog, but I think it's worth repeating - 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 (7) and JJ (5).
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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!
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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