7 weeks old! The puppies had an exciting week and their little worlds expanded even more! The unseasonably warm February temperatures felt like a heaven-sent blessing because I could take the puppies outside. They loved the outdoors, and they got to experience rocks, mulch, snow, grass, macadam, and, of course, children with riding toys! In addition, they showed a real preference for doing their potty business outside.
The puppies had a fabulous trip to the vet. They weren't too sure about the car ride there, but nobody threw up. At the vet, they were very well-behaved - no accidents or barking! Our vet said they are all in great health. King has a very mild underbite that we are keeping an eye on. As his teeth come in (he was a late teether), we will see exactly what his bite is going to do, Below are a few pictures from the vet visit.
The puppies are now eating dry food. I switched them over from softened food to dry food this past weekend, and they ate it like champs. I now feed the whole crew 2 cups of dry food 3 times a day. So, on average, they get 3/4 cup food per day. If you are taking a puppy home from this litter, I will have detailed feeding instructions for you.
As I did last week, I'm going to address a few more common questions I receive.
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 (with a few exceptions). 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 frequently.
This past week I saw an example of how well the Misty Method works for beginning house training. As I prepared to take my puppies to the vet, I took them outside right before my half an hour drive to the vet. They did their business, and we drove to the vet. I waited about half an hour to see the vet. Once in the examination room, the puppies wanted OUT of the crates they were in. Since it had been an hour since their potty break, I assumed the puppies would have accidents in the vet's office. However, not one puppy had an accident! We drove home, and I let them out again and most went potty!
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 are expecting baby goats in the near future and hoping for more puppies in 2019. 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 are treated with Bravecto. You should discuss flea and tick prevention at your first vet visit.
Are you Amish? While I’ve never had this question from anyone interested in our puppies, I’m going to speculate that it was an unvoiced question in many people’s minds due to where we live and what we look like. No, we are not Amish. We are Mennonites. There is a difference, but rather than discuss doctrinal differences, I’ll just say that the most important part of our faith is believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. In Romans 10:9 the Bible says, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” As Mennonites, we strive to know the Bible and live by it in our daily lives. We welcome any further questions anyone may have on our beliefs.
Well, this wraps up yet another journey from newborn puppy to home-going. There will be no blog post next Monday as we begin sending off our little ones to the next chapter of their lives. Thanks for joining us; we are blessed!
I had to begin with my favorite picture from the week. This AJ reading with Gabriel.
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 3 bowls. I continue to weigh them to make sure everyone is getting a fair share. Here are their weights as of 6 weeks: King 4lbs, 4oz; Star 3lbs, 14oz; Shep 3lbs, 13oz; Mary 3lbs, 12oz; Gabriel 3lbs, 9oz; Noel 3lbs, 5oz; Angel 3lbs, 3oz; and Joy 3lbs, 1oz. I was surprised that Joy is now the smallest. She's very healthy and happy - just not in a growth spurt at the moment.
Last week, I shared two of my favorite chew products. This week, the puppies will share their 2 new favorites.
The puppies liked the two products I shared on the blog last week - buffalo bully sticks and porky puffs, but they REALLY liked the buffalo lungs I gave them this week. They chewed through the pieces of lung with nothing left but a few crumbs. The bully sticks and porky puffs they nibbled on but didn't finish. I think they liked the buffalo lungs because they are a bit softer than the other two. Buffalo lungs are another Life's Abundance product with a single ingredient - buffalo lungs! The other treat I introduced this week that they quickly devoured was the dental treats. These treats smell good enough to eat and even include parsley to freshen their breath!
We continued to add new experiences to the puppies' life this past week. They heard boat sounds and motorcycle sounds through an online clip. They perked their ears at first, and then fell asleep to sounds of motorcycles racing down the street. They also experienced their first bath, which, admittedly, was not their favorite new experience. MJ enjoyed cuddling them after their bath with Life's Abundance Revitalizing shampoo.
I decided to address a few great questions I've been asked over the years about puppies. I will address a few this week, and a few next week.
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 the end of February. As they grow and the temperatures warm up, they will be able to spend lots of time outdoors. 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 cold temperatures have kept them exclusively inside up until this point. With the temperature hitting 55 degrees Fahrenheit here today, I did take them out for their photo shoot. Each puppy spent about 1-2 minutes outside getting his/her photo taken.
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.
I always hesitate to label a puppy as "laid-back" because no matter how laid back a puppy might be, they are still going to have those "mini-tornado" moments! In a litter, there is usually one puppy who stands out as the one who does things first and has the most adventurous spirit. Noel has certainly won that badge for this litter! Mary, too, doesn't take life laying down, but she's not quite as adventurous as her sister Noel. Angel and Joy keep up with the pack even as the smaller ones. None of the crew stand out as being sleepy and laid-back. Out of the boys, Gabriel seems the most inquisitive and fun-loving. King stands out as the largest, of course, and he sometimes is the first to sit down after romping. Star and Shep blend into the crowd a bit more than their brothers. We've found Star sleeping a time or two when the others were up. Shep isn't afraid to go out on his own and explore. All in all, as one family said, no one is going to be disappointed with the puppy they bring home!
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.
Come back next week to hear answers to "How do your children handle the puppies going home?", "Will my puppy be potty trained when I bring him/her home?", and "How long should I leave my puppy in the crate at night?"
Now, for the fun pictures! Thanks, as always, for reading my blog, and have a wonderful week!
5 weeks old and FULL OF LIFE! We sometimes just stand and chuckle as we watch their adorable antics as they romp and tussle with each other. Puppies seem to come alive between weeks 4 and 5. Although they still need long and frequent naps, they now spend a lot of time awake and playing with each other and our kids.
Their week was brimming full with new experiences. My belief is that early, positive experiences with things in life aid in a confident adult who is not easily scared by new experiences. (Of course, this extends waaaay beyond the puppies' 8 weeks in our home - new owners have a responsibility to utilize the window of time from approximately 3-18 weeks where most puppies are accepting of new experiences.) New sounds for the week included thunder, gun fire, and fireworks - all played softly from my phone. I'm always impressed that my adults don't react to these sounds any more than the puppies.
Another new experience was meeting my Slicker grooming brush before the photo shoot today. I gave them a brief, fun brushing session. They also got to meet our cat, Princess, today. They got to see and smell her, and we plan to have them spend more time with her in the coming weeks.
The puppies also received new Lupine 6-9" collars this week. We are big Lupine collar fans around here. Lupine collars are made in the USA and come with a "even-if-chewed" return policy. That's right, you can get a new collar if you puppy (or dog) chews their collar. Lupine truly stands behind their products.
Yet another new experience for the puppies was some new chewing opportunities! Their little teeth are erupting all over their little mouths, and it's time to chew!
These are 2 of my all-time favorite chew products. They are both single-ingredient products from Life's Abundance - free from all fillers and preservatives! I also like them because they tend not to break off in pieces. Both of them get soggy as the puppies chew rather than splintering.
The puppies made the transition from mostly Mama's milk to mostly food this week. They love, love meal time! We feed them three times a day. They are currently eating softened food, but will be dry food by 7 weeks.
The best part of the puppies' past week was meeting some of the new families! We had a delightful time playing with puppies and chatting with families who will soon have a new four-footed member. Below are two photos that families graciously shared with us that they took while here.
To give you an idea how much the puppies have grown, I have 2 pictures for comparison.
To close, as usual, I'll share pictures from the week. I've said this before on the blog, but I think it's worth repeating - 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 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, at 8 years old, he has earned our trust to play with them independently along with CJ (7) and JJ (5).
Thanks for stopping by!
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