The puppies are growing and changing very rapidly. (Remember to click on their photos for more pictures and details!) They are now realizing there is a world beyond their whelping box. They still spend the bulk of the day snoozing away, but they have short periods of time when they are awake and beginning to play with each other.
A big change in the puppies’ abilities this past week was learning to walk. Their walk is quite tottery, but they are walking! They are also becoming purposeful in where they are going, such as trying to climb out of the whelping box when they sense Tachi is resting just outside it. So, that means it’s house training time! We have added a potty box to their area, as you can see below.
We believe house training begins as soon as the puppies are mobile at 2-3 weeks old. We use the Misty Method to train our puppies. The premise of the Misty Method is to capitalize on a dog’s God-given instinct not to soil the place where they sleep. The puppies now have two areas – a sleeping area in the gray box with a towel and potty area on newspaper in a plexi-glass box. They cannot yet access the rest of the whelping area. This next week, we will change the towel in the sleeping area several times a day to teach them it’s a clean area and transfer sleeping puppies from the potty box to the sleeping area. (Yes, the puppies do sack out in there at first, but my children are good at catching them and moving them.) When the puppies do eliminate in the potty box, we cover it with fresh newspaper to keep it clean while preserving the smell to make them come back again. We also eliminate the smell in the sleeping area by cleaning it with Bio-base Biodeodizer, which works naturally to eliminate the source of bad odors by using viable bacterial cultures (read more here), and it smells amazing! This is hands-down my hubby's favorite Life's Abundance product because, yes, puppies do make messes; and, yes, they are quite smelly at times. Spraying on biodeodizer immediately makes the odors begin to dissipate.
In addition to adding the potty box, another big change in the puppies’ world this past week was adding raw goat milk to their diet. The puppies still nurse from Tachi for the bulk of their nutrition, and the milk we provide is like a “snack.” We choose goat milk because it enjoys a reputation of being a universal milk to raise various species. It is known to be gentle on digestive systems. We have found it to work very well to wean puppies. Of course, we also have a readily available source with our very own herd of Nubians. This litter of puppies, likely do the large number of puppies, dove right into the milk licking the milk and each other happily. In the coming weeks, we will gradually transition them to Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed puppy food.
Below are some pictures of their first feedings. The very first time we used a shallow cookie sheet so no one would get their nose too deep in milk. Then we switched over to 5 shallow bowls. Notice how in the one picture, they are licking it off each other.
We weigh the puppies morning and evening. Their weights of this morning from smallest to largest are as follows: Tracker – 1lb, 6oz; Faith – 1lb, 7oz; Chester, Zuma, Ivan, and Everest – 1lb, 10oz; Zeke, JD, and Auggie – 1lb, 11oz, and Amelia – 1lb, 13oz. For some solid proof that we've got growth, check out the space in the whelping box - at left was taken at 1 day old and at right was taken at 3 weeks old. Go Tachi - that's some hard work she's done in 3 weeks!
As shown by the weights, Amelia is the largest of the litter, though not by much. She's also just a bit ahead of the others in walking and alertness, as evidenced by her photo shoot today. She stole the show for sure with her perkiness!
Since the puppies can now see and hear, they are already being socialized to the normal household sights, smells, sounds, and sensations. They are in a room off our kitchen and near our washing machine. They already are familiar with a myriad of household occurrences – doors closing, washing machine running, coffee pot brewing and beeping, happy voices (and grumpy voices), blenders whirring, hands touching them, soft surfaces, hard surfaces, cool surfaces, and on and on – and all of this without any real purposeful socialization on my part because they are part of our daily routine. They even got to experience the sounds of a birthday party. As they grow, I intentionally socialize them to as many things as I can, while being conscious not to overwhelm or overstimulate them. We always, always let them get plenty of rest because that's an important part of puppy growth and development.
I’ll close my post today with snapshots from the week. As you can probably guess, the cuddle sessions are getting longer! In the first picture, I found CJ in the whelping area with his puppy Tracker (if you remember he wanted the smallest puppy). He had gotten Tracker out of the gray box and put him with Tachi by himself so he could have all the milk he wanted. CJ loves looking out for little ones. The adult mini schnauzer you see in a photo is Aunt Sheerah checking out Tracker. In the last picture, EJ is giving his puppy "Ifin" (Ivan) a kiss.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by!
Two weeks old and awakening to the wide world around them - here are Tachi's puppies! Remember to click on their pictures for more details on each puppy.
As the eyes crack open, the eager hands of children reach out to get their hands on these sweet puppies. Our children are now allowed to hold the puppies for a few minutes. The puppies truly only want nourishment and warmth at this age. When you hold them, they look around for both and often settle in the crook of your arm.
Tachi and the puppies are doing fabulous! Everyone is growing at a nice, steady pace. All the puppies have doubled their birthweight, and some have even tripled it! Their weights as of this morning are as follows: Zeke-1lb, 5oz; Chester, JD, Ivan, Auggie, & Amelia-1lb, 4oz; Everest & Zuma-1lb, 3oz; and Tracker & Faith-1lb, 1oz. We’ve been amazed at the growth of Zuma and Tracker. As the smallest puppies in a litter of 10, we expected that they may lag a bit and need to be supplemented. However, they must have a little tenacity in their favor because they are clearly getting what they need!
We’ve been closely monitoring Tachi – taking her temperature daily, making sure she gets time outside playing in the sunshine, being certain she eats plenty of nutritious food, and making sure she always has fresh, clean water. She’s a real supermom – she makes caring for 10 look easy. She continues to take care of all their needs from eating to staying clean. In the next week as the puppies become more mobile and begin going “potty” on their own, we will expand our whelping area to include a potty box to begin early house training. Below is the current whelping area (notice Tachi has a place where she can rest outside of the puppy box – she uses this "rest area" more and more frequently as the puppies grow.)
CJ with Tracker
For those of you who have one of these puppies reserved or for those who may be interested in reserving one, here’s a brief outline of how it works. (You can read more on our deposit process and FAQ pages.)
1. We are currently accepting deposits of $450 to reserve a male or female puppy.
2. At 4-5 weeks old, you can come meet the parents, the puppies, and us.
3. After they visit the vet at 6.5 weeks old, we will contact you for your choice of puppy in order of the waiting list.
4. At 8 weeks old, the puppies can go HOME!
I will wrap up this week with a few pictures of the first cuddle session and sleepy photos (because they still sleep the majority of the day away).
Thanks for stopping by!
Tachi's puppies are 1 week old! Though their pictures may look similar to their introductory post, they have grown a lot in just one week. Below are the puppies - click on their pictures to go to their individual pages.
A day in the life of a newborn puppy involves eating, sleeping (lots of sleeping!), and seeking warmth.
The puppies cannot see or hear, but they can move. They propel themselves all around looking for food and warmth. Below is Zeke swimming while I was trying to take his 1 week photo.
The puppies are also growing stronger each day. Their little bellies do not get off the ground as they "swim," but they can lift their heads - a skill Tracker shows off below.
Our care for the puppies at this stage involves keeping their area clean and taking the best care possible of their Mama - their sole source of nutrition. With 10 puppies, we were not sure Tachi would be able to feed all of them. We've been weighing them frequently, and Tachi's is doing a fabulous job. We have not supplemented the puppies at all. Zuma, who entered the scene as one of the smallest at 5 ounces, now weighs in at a whopping 12 ounces! He has by far been the fastest gainer, but he still isn't the largest - that prize goes to Chester and Amelia at 13 ounces. Tracker is the smallest at 9 ounces. In between we have Faith at 10 ounces; Zeke and Ivan at 11 ounces; and JD, Auggie, and Everest at 12 ounces (along with Zuma). A milestone we watch for is doubling their birthweight by 7-10 days. Zuma has surpassed this milestone, and the rest are on track to meet it by day 10.
We are still in awe of Tachi's ability to produce enough milk for the crew. We feed her as much as she'll eat of her Life's Abundance food, and coax her to eat more by adding ground turkey, rice, eggs, and goat milk. She spends nearly every minute - waking and sleeping - with her babies. She has their black coats glossy clean and their little tummies round with milk.
We watch the puppies for signs of health everyday - weight gain, sleeping in a pile, twitching while sleeping, and nursing with a good, content latch. We are thrilled to see lots of healthy signs from these puppies.
A big event in the puppies' week was a routine trip to the vet to get their tails docked and dew claws removed. Below are the puppies in a laundry basket for easy transport to the vet.
Our children are eager to their hands on these little guys, but we make them wait until their eyes are open. Right now, I handle them every day, but they are too fragile for little hands.
We feel so blessed; hope to see you back next week for week 2 and EYES!
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