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.
Thanks for stopping by!
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, as they still snooze away most of the day and night. The children were sure they needed a toy this week so we added a blue ball to the whelping area.
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. Ten puppies at 4 weeks old is almost impossible for Tachi to feed – there simply is not enough room! Therefore, we have increased our feeds up to 3 a day – morning, noon, and evening. Just this morning, we started added 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: Amelia – 2lbs, 10oz; Zeke & JD – 2lbs, 8oz; Chester – 2lbs, 6oz; Auggie & Everest – 2lbs, 5oz; Zuma – 2lbs, 4oz; Ivan – 2lbs, 3oz; Faith – 2lbs; and Tracker – 1lb, 14oz.
We dewormed the puppies this past week. We will 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.
In addition to physical growth, the puppies are growing in their repertoire of sounds and experiences. Since the weather is beautiful, our windows are open and they are hearing lots of new sounds at a safe, far-off distance that does not frighten them. This past week they heard a lawn mower, power tools, vehicles, a rototiller, gun shots (we live near State Game lands where some hunting was taking place), and, of course, the sounds of children playing – bikes, rollerblades, balls bouncing, etc. The puppies got to experience grass and rocks during their photo shoot. One lucky puppy – Faith – also got to meet our curious kitten. The rest of the puppies will get to meet the kittens later, as well as the goats.
Another new experience for them was getting their "real" collars. Prior to this, they were wearing ribbon whelping bands from Lupine. Now, they are wearing 6-9 inch collars from Lupine. (Lupine is a New Hampshire based company that makes quality collars and leashes; most of their products come with a lifetime guaranteed even if chewed!) Our children love their new collars because they come in fun designs. They got to pick a collar for their puppy, and this is the collar the puppies will be wearing when they go home.
I will close again with snapshots from the week. The adult schnauzer you see is Aunt Jolly meeting Ivan. We allow our adult schnauzers brief interactions with the puppies at this age and more as they grow. The last 3 pictures are EJ and MJ trying to help me take their weekly update photos. Notice how the puppies are watching the children. MJ was sure peek-a-boo would get Auggie to look at the camera.
Thanks, as always, 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