7 weeks old! Did I mention the word energy yet? Or perhaps spunk? These puppies are at a fun age where they want to play and explore...for about half an hour and then they take a nap! It's a fun time that the children are soaking up. We gave them lots of new experiences this past week - especially as the temperatures turned mild enough to let them enjoy the outdoors. But, before I give the weekly update, a few pictures of the puppies telling me they are DONE with photos! Their 7 week photos are always a challenge because they are no longer fascinated by me and my quirky noises. I may or may not have had the children behind me making noises, whistling, banging buckets, dinging bicycle bells, etc. to capture their photos this week. So, here are the puppies telling me no more photos shoots!
The puppies are now eating dry food three times a day. They have free access to water at all times. They are no longer nursing from Sheerah. In addition to their food, I give them 1/6 of Life's Abundance Wellness Food Supplement. My adults eat this vitamin like it's the best treat EVER. The puppies are learning to like it, too. I use this supplement when my puppies or dogs are going to experience some type of change or stress in their lives - going home, vaccinations, boarding, pregnancy, lactating, injury, new family member, etc.
The puppies weights are as follows: Shadow - 4lbs, 10oz; Thomas - 4lbs, 8oz; Rex - 4lbs, 5oz; Annie - 3lbs, 13 oz; Elsa - 3lbs, 10oz; and Clarabelle - 3lbs, 5oz.
We gave the puppies as much time outdoors as possible because they've been kept mostly indoors with the cold November temperatures. While outside, they heard traffic going by, a train clacking by (complete with a few loud horn blasts), and bicycle bells (hmmm...did I mention that before?). They were fascinated by the grass, leaves, and shrubbery. They spent more time with the cat, and one or two puppies got a supervised ride on a tricycle. I opened and closed an umbrella several times to show them it was nothing frightening. I also had CJ and MJ play with them while wearing a hard hat. As you can see in the photos at the end of the post, the hard hat did not faze them all.
I know that during their short time here, I cannot expose them to everything they will experience in life. My goal is to show them that new sights, sounds, and smells are not scary. If they believe that, they will be confident and adaptable dogs as they grow. Of course, a large responsibility rests upon the new families taking these puppies home to continue their socialization. Remember - brief, positive, and gentle! Keep treats up your sleeve to show them new experiences are fun. Give treats to new people when they meet your dog to show them meeting new people is rewarding.
On a different note with Thanksgiving and pumpkins upon us, I'll mention one tip I received from my obedience school instructor in regards to pureed pumpkin. If your puppy or dog has an upset tummy - vomiting or diarrhea - one thing to try is feeding them pureed pumpkin. It has settled many a tummy for us over the years, and dogs love it. Of course, make sure to contact your vet if their is excessive tummy upset, but keep pureed pumpkin on hand for those times when your dog randomly vomits or has loose stool.
I'm going to wrap up my post this week with some more common questions and snapshots at the end of the post (don't miss those!)
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.
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 - we hope for goat kids and more puppies in 2020. 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 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; Thomas has earned that badge for this litter. There's also usually a puppy who is more laid back (though I hesitate to even throw out the term "laid back" when discussing young puppies because nearly all puppies have energy). In this litter, Elsa is the most laid back. 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 should I bring when picking up my puppy? Your puppy will go home with his/her collar, a blanket that smells like his/her littermates, and a bag of treats. You should bring a leash and a crate for traveling. Your puppy likely will not go potty on the way home. Puppies do not like to go in unfamiliar environments. However, it would be wise to stop every 2 hours to make sure the puppy does not need to eliminate.
What is your one parting piece of advice for taking home a new puppy? Take time to invest in training, training, training! You won't regret the hours you invest in training your puppy - it will pay off over their lifetime. I highly recommend taking your puppy to puppy kindergarten and obedience school. And, of course, give them lots of love and patience!
This is my final post for this litter as we will be busy sending them to new homes next week. Thanks for journeying with us.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing a piece of our lives. We feel blessed and thankful. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
I had to open with this photo for the weekly update. If you follow my blog, you know we have fun naming our puppies. In this litter, Shadow is named after the retriever in Homeward Bound. If you've seen that movie, you should be able to hear Sassy saying, "Cats rule and dogs drool!" when you look at this picture.
Now for the photo updates...
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 on their newspaper) 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 two-thirds cup of food in a cup of goat milk/water to feed to the group at each meal. They eagerly chow down on it. By 7 weeks, our goal is to have them on dry food. Their weights are as follows: Thomas and Shadow - 4lbs; Rex - 3lbs, 14oz; Annie - 3lbs, 9oz; Elsa - 3lbs, 5oz; and Clarabelle - 3lbs, 1oz.
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 6 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.
The biggest change in their lives was going outside for the first time!
The milder temperatures coupled with the puppies getting older allowed me to take them out for a few minutes. They stayed today on the rock outside our door before - guess who - ventured out first. If you've been here to visit the puppies or if you've read my blogs on this litter, you might be able to guess.
Thomas loves exploring, and he is the first to try new things in this litter. The puppies got to experience rocks, mulch, and grass during their short time outside. Another new experience was meeting our cats and hearing our goats. They also got to experience hearing gun shots because we live close to State Game lands. I introduced them to an umbrella and some new sounds (lawn mower, vacuum cleaner, snow blower, weed eater, and more city noises).
Another new experience for the puppies was bath time. Though it was not their favorite experience, I kept it quick and positive. They smelled and felt wonderful after bathing them and misting them with my favorite bath products. They had another brief brushing session with my Slicker brush as well.
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 December. If I were brining a puppy home in December, I would (as I did February) take them outside for potty needs from day #1. I would not clip these puppies until at least February or March. 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 prevented us from taking them out a lot, but we are starting to whenever possible as they get older.
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.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by! We wish you a heartfelt Thanksgiving from Russell Homestead.
Some new sounds are coming from the whelping area – little yips and paper being shredded! Puppies somehow seem to “come alive” between week 4 and 5. It is like a switch flips from life being about food and sleeping to life being about playing and exploring with a dose of food and sleeping on the side.
Since the puppies started shredding the paper in their potty box, that’s a sign that it’s officially chew time! I introduced the puppies to Life’s Abundance buffalo lung this week. They love it, and I love that it’s one ingredient – buffalo lung! Life’s Abundance has several wonderful chewing products that are one ingredient – no harsh chemicals, fillers, or preservatives! We use these products on our adults and 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.
The puppies were introduced to solid food this week. We began by teaching them to lap goat milk. We use goat milk because it has a reputation for being gentle on digestive systems and deliciously irresistible to dogs (and it’s available from our own homestead so we know it’s fresh and safe). They learned to lap in a matter of 2 days, and then we began soaking and mashing Life’s Abundance Small & Medium breed puppy food in the milk. They love meal time! We will transition them to softened food and finally hard kibble before they go home at 8 weeks. Sheerah still also feeds them a few times a day, but she’s making that switch already to spending more time away from the puppies than with them. A wise canine Mama, she is, knowing that it is time to release her babies. She’ll continue to feed them over the next week, but finish up by the time they are 6-7 weeks. 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.
Their weights are as follows: Shadow - 3lbs, 8oz; Thomas - 3lbs, 4oz; Rex - 3lbs, 3oz; Annie - 3lbs, 1oz; Elsa - 2lbs, 14oz; and Clarabelle - 2lbs, 8oz.
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 heard a piano playing, thunder, rain, fireworks, a chainsaw, knocking on the door, and doorbells (some live and some via online clips). They got to see our children dressed up in snow clothes – hats, big coats, boots, gloves - and also dressed up to go homeschool co-op with backpacks (things we take forgranted, but new sights for them). They also got to spend time with their "aunt" Tachi. She loves being with the puppies in the whelping area. She's a wonderful introduction to larger dogs for them because she's extremely gentle. Perhaps my favorite new experience for the puppies was having MJ “read” to them in her 4 year old imagination. The puppies got to hear an interesting story and experience what a book looks, smells, and sounds like.
As with our last few litters, I’m going to address some frequently asked questions at the close of each post. For my faithful readers, this will be a repeat, but perhaps helpful to some 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 recommend using Frontline on your puppy once he/she is 10 weeks old.
2) 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 many times 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.
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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