The puppies are 4 weeks old today! This is my favorite week to photograph them because they are physically able to sit (though a few were unwilling), but they still find me and my noises interesting enough to say still for a just a few seconds.
They are very mobile at this age – toddling all around and beginning to wrestle and play with their siblings. They still sleep the majority of the day, but now noises wake them up. Speaking of noises, we make sure our puppies are exposed to all kinds of household noises. This week, in addition to all the noises of a household of 7, they heard a vacuum cleaner, a blender, and a leaf blower. I also played "Puppy Sound Desensitizing" clips from Youtube with sounds like dog hair clippers, circular saws, and phones ringing. In order not to frighten them, I played the clips very softly (so softly that they were soon asleep). I was impressed that none of my adult mini schnauzer reacted to these noises either!
House breaking has already begun for our puppies. We are not taking them outdoors to go potty at this young age, but we are teaching them there is a place to sleep, play, and eliminate through the use of the Misty Method. We arranged their whelping area with a “potty box” right outside their sleeping area. When they wake up, they often need to eliminate. Since they don’t prefer to eliminate where they sleep or near others, they naturally toddle off from the group to go potty. Thus, we put the potty box at an opportune place for catching them when they wander away from the pack. We also encourage them to use it by placing fresh newspaper over their messes. This preserves a smell that keeps them coming back, while also providing a clean environment for their whelping box. Puppies, especially 7 of them, don’t get it right every time, but it is amazing how young they can learn to eliminate on newspaper. We keep their sleeping and play area as clean as possible to encourage them to soil those areas.
They are still solely nourished by Mama, but that will change this week. We will introduce them to Life's Abundance Small and Medium Breed puppy food soaked in goat milk from our homestead. (You can read all about Life’s Abundance on our nutrition page.) This litter more than any other seems to have an interest in Jolly's food. Several of them were trying to eat her kibble, and we had to start feeding her away from the puppies. This is always an exciting transition time for the puppies, and the time that Jolly begins to hand the reins over to us. They are typically weaned by 6-7 weeks and onto dry food by 8 weeks.
The puppies are growing and changing, and all doing just beautifully! I will close with a few snapshots from the week. They still sleep in strange positions, and the children are just loving them!
Thanks, as always, for stopping by & reading our blog!
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