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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