Here are our four week puppies enjoying the October sunshine!
4 weeks old! It is hard to believe that half our time with these babies is already passed. The puppies are becoming a lot more “fun” in the past week as they are now up and romping with each other and interacting with us. These play periods are very short lived (5-15 minutes), as they still snooze away most of the day and night. With their increased mobility and desire to play, we have changed their whelping area to continue their house training process. See the area below.
We gave them a play area this week. Notice the potty box (with wet newspaper - good puppies!) is right outside their sleeping area because they typically go potty upon waking. They have free access to the sleeping, potty, and play areas. As they learn to keep the sleeping and play areas clean, we will expand it the play area to include the now "off limits" area. And, of course, they spend much time outside of their whelping area interacting with us.
Feeding them is becoming more our responsibility and less Tachi’s. Tachi has shown us some signs that she is ready to wean them – mainly spending less time with them. As opposed to spending a lot of time with them in the beginning, she now goes in mainly to feed them. Eight puppies at four weeks old is almost impossible for Tachi to feed – there simply is not enough room! We have begun feeding them goat milk in the morning and evening. In the next few days, we will start adding softened food with the milk. We start our puppies on Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed puppy food. We highly recommend this food for puppies! When our puppies go home, they will be on this food with no added milk or water.
The puppies continue to grow nicely. Their 4 week weights are posted on their pages. Their weights are as follows: Peace - 2lbs, 13oz; James - 2lbs, 12oz; Eddie & Gordon - 2lbs, 9oz; Benny - 2lbs, 6oz; Grace & Mercy - 2lbs, 2oz; and Theodore - 1lbs, 13oz.
We will deworm the puppies today and continue to deworm them every two weeks until they go home. Deworming puppies is simply a standard procedure for us. We also will be taking a fecal to the vet when they go for their health check-up to be sure they are worm and parasite free.
Their week was full of new experiences; we keep them brief and positive in order to show them that new things are safe and interesting. The puppies got to go outside for the first time and feel the grass, rocks, and leaves while hearing a leaf blower, traffic going by (including a loud motorcycle that caught their attention), and children playing in a leaf pile. During one of their naps, I turned on an audio clip of various city sounds - horns, sirens, traffic - and some power tool sounds. They slept through most of it. Another new experience was joining us for our afternoon reading time on the couch. For the most part, they snuggled down and went to sleep, but a few puppies listened very attentively to my voice as I read.
You may wonder why we have a focus on brief, positive, new experience for our puppies. Puppies are naturally open to the world around them. This "window of socialization" closes around a few months old. If puppies learn young to accept new things, they will be much more flexible as an adult to accept new people and places. When you bring an eight week puppy from us (or any breeder), do not consider them "socialized." We lay a solid foundation of socialization, but then the responsibility rests upon their new families to expose them in positive ways to new things. One of the best things we have done for socialization is basic obedience training at a local dog training club; it's an investment you won't regret!
I'll close with snapshots from the week - don't miss the last ones where they are experiencing their "first" meal. Thanks, as always, for stopping by!
You will notice immediately a new sense of alertness in these little gems! This week, they became aware that a world exists beyond their whelping box. Here they are at 3 weeks old:
They are now sporting some eye-catching Lupine collars. Lupine, a company based in New Hampshire, makes top-notch pet products, such as leashes and collars. Their collars come with a chew guarantee, which we've tested and found accurate here at Russell Homestead. Below are the puppies' collar colors to help you identify them in photos and when you come visit, if you are one of the families that is going to bringing on these puppies home.
The puppies are all growing beautifully. Their weights at three weeks are as follows: James & Gordon - 2lbs, 1oz; Peace - 2lbs; Benny - 1lb, 15oz; Eddie - 1lb, 14oz; Grace & Mercy - 1lb, 10oz; and Theodore - 1lb, 4oz. Their sole source of nutrition is Tachi, and that will begin to change in the upcoming week. In addition to packing on ounces, they are developing rapidly. Though they mostly still crawl (see James below)...
...they are taking tottery steps and sitting occasionally (see Eddie below).
With their added mobility, we turn our attention to beginning house training. Yes, house training at 3 weeks old. We believe house training begins as soon as the puppies are mobile at 2-3 weeks old. (You can read more about our house training process here and here.) 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 blue box with a towel and potty area on newspaper in a plexi-glass box. They cannot yet access the rest of the whelping area. We 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 spraying on biodeodizer immediately makes the odors begin to dissipate. You can see below to the left the potty box. As the puppies begin to use over the next week, we'll give them access to a larger play area.
The above picture also shows how the puppies spent the majority of week three - sleeping. However, they are beginning to play for short spurts of time. They may tumble over each other and play for 5 minutes and then sack out for over an hour. They did show interest in a stuffed moose we added, especially in snuggling with it to sleep.
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), hands touching them, soft surfaces, hard surfaces, cool surfaces, radios, and on and on – and all of this without any real purposeful socialization on my part because they are part of our daily routine. This week, they also got to hear a leaf blower and lawn mower from a distance. 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! Notice we took them into different rooms of the house to experience new sensations.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by!
Hello, world; you are beginning to come into focus! Here are the puppies at 2 weeks old. (Remember to click on their pictures for more pictures.)
As you can see from the pictures, some of the puppies have their eyes open. Some do not, and some do, but fell asleep during the photo shoot! Week #2 for the puppies is spent pretty much in a sleepy dreamland with lots of food and growing involved. The puppies are in a main area of our house with lots of activity and noise. Yet, during the second week of their life they remained somewhat clueless to the outside world. A door slam, a radio playing, children being children – they slept through them all! However, as soon as I touched them to change their bedding, they came to life searching for food. In the coming week, they will gradually become more aware of their surroundings.
The puppies are growing beautifully. Everyone, including Theodore, doubled their birthweights by 10 days old – a sign they are healthy and growing well. Their weights are: Gordon 1lb, 10oz; James 1lb, 8oz; Eddie & Peace - 1lb, 7oz; Benny - 1lb, 5oz; Mercy & Grace - 1lb, 4oz; and Theodore - 14oz.
Tachi is once again making mothering a litter look easy! We continue to monitor her, 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 – caring for of all their needs from eating to staying clean.
Another aspect of our care for the puppies continues to be keeping their whelping area clean. We change their bedding several times a day and clean the whelping area with Life's Abundance Biodeodorizer, a safe, deep-cleaning spray that helps keep odors away.
In the next week, we will be rearranging the puppies' whelping area as they become mobile. Some of them are taking tottering steps, but their little bellies barely get off the ground at this age. That changes quickly, though, and we want to take every opportunity as they grow to begin laying the groundwork of house training. In an effort to do so (and as we follow the Misty Method), we will add a potty box to their whelping area as they become mobile. They learn quickly to keep their bedding area clean (because we've kept it clean all along). We've found the Misty Method to provide great results when our puppies go home in preparing them for crate training.
I want to shed some light on a common question we receive, "What's the difference between a black & silver (B&S) puppy and a salt & pepper (S&P) puppy?" Before answering, I want to point out that schnauzer genetics vary widely; I'm going to answer based on the genetics we've seen here at Russell Homestead with Cooper (B&S), Sheerah (B&S), and Tachi (S&P). Both B&S and S&P have silver highlights on their faces (eyebrows & beards), paws, and (for lack of better way to say it) behinds under their tails. The S&P have speckled hairs in their silver highlights, while the B&S have no speckling. When newborn, you can tell the difference by looking at the ears. S&Ps have brown speckled hair on/behind their ears, while the B&S have all black ears. The S&Ps also have speckling down their sides as puppies. For our puppies, as they grow, the brown/silver on the ears and sides becomes less noticeable (in general). Tachi is a somewhat dark S&P because her speckling is contained to her silver highlights. From a distance, she looks very similar to Sheerah, our B&S girl. In general, with our genetics, our S&Ps don’t necessarily look that much different than our B&Ss, except for the speckled hair in the highlights. To see what I mean, look at our puppy update photo page and look for the heading “Special Features” and find Tachi & Cooper’s first litter at one year old. Ada & Henry are S&P; the rest are B&Ss.
I'll close this week with a few snapshots of the children holding the puppies for the first time. Early, gentle socialization is best! Notice how the puppies like to snuggle in the crooks of arms. Puppies at this age naturally look for a warm place to burrow into, which is why they sleep in a pile. We keep the holding sessions very short, usually only a few minutes, because the puppies really only want food and sleep at this age. And, don't miss the last photo - it was very cute watching how still Tachi was being in order not to disturb her little one.
Thanks for stopping by and have a blessed week!
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