7 weeks old! These puppies are full of life and love! It is so sweet how they all come running when we call them in a high, happy voice. Their attraction to human voices is due to being raised around them from day 1.
Photographing 7 week old puppies is no easy task. They've learned after 7 weeks that all my catchy noises behind the camera are just that - noises. Their interest is no longer piqued by me - they want to run and play and see new things. I was, however, pleased with this batch of pictures. I let them romp in their play yard for about 45 minutes before even trying pictures, which helped with the sitting still, but they still weren't amused by my noises.
The puppies’ had a full week – first bath, a trip to the vet, vaccinations, and lots of new experiences. The puppies spent more time outside as we made a larger play yard for them to safely romp. They so enjoy running around in the grass and seeing all the sights and smelling all the interesting smells. They spent more time with our kittens, saw a school bus go by, experienced an umbrella opening and closing, heard an air compressor and sander, saw a tractor and wagon go by, met EJ with a hard hat (see pictures below), and got to meet some more new faces as families came to visit them. That may seem like a long list of new experiences, but, remember – brief, gentle, and positive! Seeing EJ with the hard hat lasted only a few minutes. It was something familiar – EJ and his voice – paired with something new – a hard hat.
Below are some pictures of their first bath – admittedly not their favorite experience, but they weathered it well. They smelled wonderful after a bath in Life’s Abundance Revitalizing shampoo and a mist in Life’s Abundance Bath Fresh Mist.
The puppies are now on dry food. Their 7 week weights are as follows: Amelia - 4lbs, 14oz; Zeke - 4lbs, 12oz; Zuma - 4lbs, 7oz; JD - 4lbs, 4oz; Chester & Ivan - 4lbs, 1oz; Auggie - 4lbs; Tracker & Everest - 3lbs, 13oz; and Faith - 3lbs, 9oz.
Their vet visit went well. My vet found them to be in overall good health. He did note that their patellae (kneecaps) in their rear legs are loose. This condition is called a luxating patella. Although it is a common condition in small breeds, we’ve never seen it in our schnauzers. My vet graded them all at a grade 1, which is the most mild form. Since they were only 6.5 weeks old at the check-up, we feel it may improve with age and plan to have the litter rechecked near the 8-week mark. (UPDATE: We had the puppies rechecked at 8 weeks old and ALL were cleared of luxating patellae!)
I'm going to wrap up with a few more common questions we receive and snapshots. This will be my last post for this litter as they will heading off to their forever homes next week.
Will my puppy be house trained when he/she comes home at 8 weeks? No. Your puppy will be ready for crate training when he/she comes home. We do the Misty Method of house training for our puppies. They have a basic understanding of a place to sleep, play, and potty at 8 weeks old. They are ready to begin crate training at 8 weeks, but they are not house trained! This litter has been doing well with the Misty Method. They very faithfully keep their bedding area free of potty accidents. Most of their potty needs go into the potty box. We keep fresh newspaper in the potty box after they use it (preserving the scent but keeping it clean) and clean the play area several times daily. Even at this young age, they show a definite preference for pottying outside versus the potty box. When we let them out, they consistently take care of business first.
Is it hard for your children when the puppies go home? Yes and no, and harder for some than for others. My children understand the responsibility and the training an 8 week old puppy requires because we’ve had the privilege of raising all our adults from puppies. They do love playing with the puppies and are, of course, sad to see them go. At the same time, they get to see the joy a puppy brings to someone else. We try to encourage them as the puppies grow that we are helping get them ready for their new family. When our children ask, “Why can’t we keep a puppy?” we gently name off our adults and say, “We did 'keep' a puppy.” Another thing that softens the blow of seeing their puppies leave is that new life is part of a homestead. So, our children may or may not seem sad when you pick up your puppy, but they say their goodbyes before your arrival to limit any teary last-minute goodbyes.
What flea and tick products do you recommend? We do not treat our puppies with any flea and tick medicine. (We do deworm and vaccinate them, but no flea and tick medicine.) We choose not to use flea and tick products due to their small size. In addition, they live in a low-risk environment because all our adults - dogs and cats - are treated with Bravecto. You should discuss flea and tick prevention at your first vet visit.
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing a piece of our world! We are so blessed!
The puppies are doing fabulous at 6 weeks old! They are growing and changing and leaving their newborn puppy days behind. Nap time, although still an important part of the day, is decreasing as play time is increasing. On average, they sleep all night (though they often get up for a potty break or two) and 6-8 hours during the day. Puppies are known for lots of energy, but their energy comes in spurts. They may be a mini tornado one minute and sacked out sleeping the next. We make sure the puppies have lots of sleep time because sleep is essential to their growth and development.
The puppies are eating 3 meals a day of Life's Abundance Small & Medium Breed puppy food. I soak 1.5 cups of food in 0.5 cup of warm water for about 5 minutes. I feed them as a group with 5 bowls. They are gaining weight nicely. Their weights are as follows: Amelia - 4lbs, 2oz; Zeke - 4lbs, 1oz; Zuma - 3lbs, 13oz; JD - 3lbs, 10oz; Chester - 3lbs, 9oz; Ivan - 3lbs, 8oz; Auggie - 3lbs, 6oz; Everest - 3lbs, 5oz; Tracker and Faith - 3lbs, 1oz. By 7 weeks, our goal is to have them on dry food.
In addition to their food, we have added Life's Abundance Wellness Food Supplement to their diet. They receive a very small piece daily; I break 1 vitamin into 10 pieces for them. I add this to their diet as they prepare to receive their first round of puppy vaccinations in the next week and prepare to make the transition to a new home in just 2 weeks! I feel this vitamin helps maintain their overall health.
Their whelping area (shown above) includes 3 areas: sleeping area with a bed, play area, and a potty area. They are doing very well with potty training. (If you are just joining my blog readers – you may want to check out our philosophy of potty training in these posts – here and here.) Also, notice they have a water bowl in the corner. We give them access to water at all times. They have kept their bed perfectly clean. We are also now taking them outside to do business as often as possible. They definitely prefer to their business outside even at this young age!
The puppies’ experienced too many new things to mention this week – hearing airplane and helicopter sounds while playing outside in the yard, watching the children fly a kite, hearing a shop vacuum while we cleaned our shoe rack, hearing many new sounds through a puppy sound desensitization clip (knocking on the door, hair dryer, circular saw, drill, door bell, phone ringing), meeting our kitten Margaret, meeting new people, experiencing another brushing session with a Slicker brush, chewing on new soft toys, watching the children on a tricycle and rollerblades, walking on various surfaces in our house and yard, and going up and down a step. We believe that early and gentle introductions to a wide variety of sensations fosters a confident adult dog.
As I did last week, I'm going to address some great questions I get from families. (Be sure to scroll to the end for more pictures!)
Should I take my new puppy out in the cold weather? This question can not be answered with a "yes" or "no" because there are many factors - age of the puppy, outside temperature, breed of the puppy, if the puppy has been clipped, etc. When I get this question, my mind goes back to when we brought our first mini schnauzer home. It was Valentine's Day weekend 2013. We took her out for potty needs from Day #1 here. We did not clip her coat to give her some protection from the cold. In my opinion, it is okay to take them out to go potty for short periods of time. If your puppy does not go potty in a few minutes in the cold weather, I would recommend crating them for another 20-30 minutes and trying again. Obviously, if the cold is extreme, you should not take a very young puppy outside. However, mini schnauzer puppies will quickly be able to stand colder temperatures as they grow. For this litter, they will be going home in early October. By the time the cold weather sets in in this area of the country, I think the puppies should be able to handle it. So, in summary, use common sense and watch your puppy for signs of being too cold when deciding if he/she should stay inside or go outside.
Do you at Russell Homestead take the puppies out for potty needs? Weather-permitting (see question above), we start taking the puppies outside for potty needs between 5-6 weeks. There is no way to take the puppies out for ALL their potty needs at 5-6 weeks, but we take them out at common times of needing to go - when they wake up and after they eat. For this litter, the temperatures have been perfect for taking them out and they love the fall sunshine.
What are the puppies' personalities? Due to the way we raise our puppies in our home around people and household noises, there are certain things I think all my puppies have in regards to personality. They all are drawn to people and human voices. They are all unfazed by normal household sounds. They are all used to living in a clean environment and ready for crate training. They are all playful, energetic, and fun-loving. That said, in a litter, there is usually one puppy who stands out as the one who does things first and has the most adventurous spirit; Ivan has earned that badge for this litter. Amelia, as well, is very adventurous and spirited. Tracker and Faith are distinguished by their small size – although they certainly are not behind the others developmentally. Faith shows glimpses of her Mama’s submissive personality. Zuma, Faith, and Tracker started as the smallest and all made their way in large litter, which means they have a bit of spunk. Next to Ivan and Amelia, Zuma is the most adventurous and inquisitive. I always hesitate to label a puppy as laid-back because no matter how laid-back, all puppies have "mini-tornado moments." If I had to pick a laid-back one, I'd pick Auggie. He reminds me a bit of a teddy bear with his sleepy, cuddly personality. Next to Auggie, I'd pick Chester as the other laid-back one. Zeke and JD are the “twins” – they are very similar in looks, build, and personality. Zeke was the most playful as I tried to take their photos today – he just couldn’t sit still! Everest is set apart by her darker markings. She is in the middle of her sisters in size as well as personality – not as playful as Amelia, but not as laid-back as Faith. All in all, they are all very sweet puppies who will continue to develop their personalities as they bond with their new families. All have been given a great foundation of experiences to build upon.
What grooming tools do you use on your mini schnauzers? My adult mini schnauzer receive a weekly bath and brushing. The two tools I use the most are a Slicker brush and regular human comb. I occasionally use a de-matting comb. If you are looking for a Slicker brush or other great puppy products, visit my sister's shop at Kristen's Happy Tails.
I'll wrap up with a few snapshots. The first 2 pictures show you what the puppies wanted to be doing during the photo shoot. The adult schnauzer you see in 2 of the pictures is Cooper - the proud Papa of the puppies.
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Click on their pictures above for more photos and details!
A switch seems to flip between 4 and 5 weeks in a puppy’s life. Life used to be all about food and warmth, and life suddenly becomes much more about playing, exploring, and learning! Food and warmth are still essential, of course, but a change takes place in their interests.
The puppies now are full of adorable antics as they wrestle and chase each other. Their little teeth are erupting from their gums, which means it is chew time. For the first time this past week, I observed them chewing on the newspaper in the potty box and the towels in the whelping area. Since I want to encourage their chewing efforts in different directions, I introduced Life’s Abundance Buffalo Lungs and Life’s Abundance Porky Puffs.
What I love, love about these products is that they each have a single ingredient – buffalo lung and pig snout. No preservatives, fillers, or artificial ingredients! Our adult schnauzers highly recommend these products! (In fact, I have to make sure Tachi doesn’t snatch these goodies away from the puppies right away. The buffalo lung did go missing this afternoon...) We use these products on our adults as well as puppies because chewing is an important part of a dog’s life. In addition to help easing the pain of puppy teething, it helps clean their teeth throughout their lifetimes. And, chewing is just fun and enjoyable for dogs! I think it can help relieve stress and anxiety, as well. We don’t believe in trying to teach puppies NOT to chew, we believe in teaching them what to chew on. We already are training our puppies there are things not to chew on – mainly our toes (which seems especially delightful to puppies) and the newspaper in the potty box. We instruct our children never to let puppies “play bite” or chew on them – even though it’s adorable right now before all their teeth are intact and before they have real jaw strength.
On the food front, we’ve been upping the amount of Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy food and decreasing the amount of goat milk they receive. We feed them three times a day. At each feeding, the group receives 2/3 cup of food softened in 2.25 cups of milk. The ratio will keep slowly working itself up to dry food in about 2 weeks. Tachi rarely feeds them at this point. Every once in awhile she hops in, but usually only stays briefly. We often have families ask if she misses the puppies when they leave. Although she is a fabulous mama, she has the God-given instinct to distance herself from the puppies to allow them to grow and develop into adults. The time frame of a few weeks of mothering may seem short to us, but not to dogs. She fed them, cleaned them, socialized them to dog behavior, and lots more in a few weeks, and she knows it’s time to let them go. So, no, we don’t believe Tachi feels any sadness in seeing them go at 8 weeks because she is already letting them go gradually and she has given them the nutrition and skills they need from a Mama.
Socialization continues to be an important part of the puppies’ lives. (Although, naptime is certainly a LOT more important at this stage.) This week, they got to meet some strangers as families came to meet us and see the puppies. They got to go in various rooms of our house – a bedroom, our kitchen, and our schoolroom. We took the whole group outside to play in the shade in the grass. Oh, the fun new things they found - a leaf, a piece of bark, a balloon, grass stems! (See photos at the end of the post.) I also played some puppy sound desensitation clips from youtube. They heard things like thunder, heavy rain, and a door bell all being played quietly. Most of them fell asleep. Another new experience was a brief grooming session with my Slicker brush before their photo shoot this week. All in all, we like to just keep expanding their worlds while giving them lots of time to rest and grow.
Per a new family request, here are pictures of the puppies' collars. This will help you identify the puppies when you visit and remember who is who after you go home.
Their weights as of this morning are as follows: Amelia - 3lbs, 8oz; Zeke - 3lbs, 3oz; Zuma & JD - 3lbs, 1oz; Chester - 3lbs; Auggie - 2lbs, 14oz; Everest - 2lbs, 13oz; Ivan - 2lbs, 12oz; Tracker - 2lbs, 10oz; and Faith - 2lbs, 9oz.
As I did with Tachi’s last litter, I’m going to answer a few frequently asked questions each week. Some of these will be repeats for my dedicated readers, but important information for new families.
1) What flea and tick products do you recommend? We do not treat our puppies with any flea and tick medicine. (We do deworm and vaccinate them, but no flea and tick medicine.) We choose not to use flea and tick products due to their small size. In addition, they live in a low-risk environment because all our adults are treated with Bravecto. You should discuss flea and tick prevention at your first vet visit. Since Bravecto is not recommended for use until after 6 months old, I would recommend using Frontline on your puppy once he/she is 10 weeks old.
2) What food should I have on hand for my puppy? We recommend Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed puppy food. Read all about Life’s Abundance here on our website. Be sure to have a bag on hand when your puppy arrives at home.
3) What size crate do you recommend? We recommend 30"x19"x21" wire crate with a divider panel. This crate will serve your mini schnauzer from puppyhood to adulthood. When you are crate training, use the divider panel to give the puppy a small place to bed down. As they grow and learn to potty outdoors, expand their crate area. When they are fully trained, the divider panel will not be needed. You can purchase a crate from my sister over at Kristen's Happy Tails. Anything in her shop (except Life's Abundance products) can be purchased and ready to go for you (no shipping charges) when you pick up your puppy. Purchase Life's Abundance products here.
I will close again with fun snapshots from the week! I've said this before on the blog, but I think it's worth repeating as you look as these pictures of puppies being handled by children - 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 youngest 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 our oldest children can play with puppies alone, while we still have to monitor the younger ones. I feel both our children and puppies learn from this experience. We've heard many, many testimonies from families that our puppies love children.
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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