If you've read my blog before, you know I have a special spot for puppy yawns. This one of Midnight is SO good, we are going to have a first-ever-for-the-blog "caption the photo contest." To enter, suggest a caption for the photo in the comments. As a family, we'll pick a winner by 7/3/20. The winner gets a $15 gift card to Life's Abundance. (To be eligible, I must have a way to contact you; leave a way to contact with your caption suggestion.)
For the next photo, the caption should simply be SUMMER!
And now for their weekly update photos... (Remember to click on the photos for more of each puppy. Scroll down on their pages for the latest photos.)
As you can see in their photos, the puppies are much more alert to life! 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.
When they begin shredding the paper in the potty box, it tells me two things - their little teeth are bothering them and they are looking for new things to explore. Enter - chew time! This week, we introduced them to buffalo lung and buffalo bully sticks.
My favorite chew for the puppies is the buffalo lung. 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 soaking their Life's Abundance Small & Medium breed food in 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 love meal time! We will transition them from softened food to 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: Luna - 3lbs, 10oz; Midnight - 3lbs, 6oz; Hiro - 3lbs, 1oz; and Bella - 2lbs, 9oz.
In addition to adding chews and solid food to their lives, socialization continues for the puppies. They got to spend time outside checking out rocks, mulch, grass, kittens, and more! They had the wonderful privilege of interacting with some of the families who are going to take them home. They got to experience another room in our house - the basement which has lots of new interesting toys and furniture. A mop and leaf blower were 2 new sights and sounds. I also gave them a quick, gentle brush with the slicker brush and comb I use for weekly brushing on my dogs. So, the horizons continue to expand, all with lots of time left for....SLEEPING!
The above photo shows you who is who to help you identify puppies in my other photos. Luna has a purple collar, Midnight has an orange collar with geckos, Hiro has a peacock collar, and Bella has a southwest-y design called "El Paso." For the families taking these puppies home, the collar will come with them.
Before the weekly snapshots, I'm going to give some answers to common questions I receive.
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.
3) Do you at Russell Homestead take the puppies out for potty needs? Weather-permitting, 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 warm temperatures provide lots of opportunity to go outside. When they don't go outside, they typically go in their potty box. We have opened up the whelping area giving them a sleeping area, potty area, and play area. While your puppy will not be house trained when he/she comes, your puppy will have a preference for doing potty needs away from their sleeping area.
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.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by! Remember to enter your caption in the comments below. We greatly appreciate clicking the "Like" button below; thanks!
6/27/2020 10:28:24 am
Vanessa -- I continue to be so impressed by all the work, that not only goes into this blog, but that your family puts into raising and loving the puppies. And I am not just buttering you up so you select my caption as the winner ;) Honestly, you genuinely are giving these cuties such a solid foundation. Thank you, and your staff of professional snugglers, for another glimpse into the development of this adorable litter of pups!
Thanks, Laura! We take our work seriously, for sure. And it is work - lots of fun mixed in, too, of course, but socializing and raising a puppy well involves lots of time and commitment. At the end of the work when the puppies go home, we get to be part of the joy of someone bringing a puppy home - what a bonus!
6/27/2020 02:58:13 pm
Seeing your puppies is so exciting. We love our Boaz, who will be 2 years old in a few days. We really appreciate your dedication to your puppies. Caption: Is it time for my nap yet?
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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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