Here's our happy crew at six weeks old!
The puppies are doing fabulous - growing, playing, eating, sleeping, playing, romping, eating, chewing, running, playing, and lots more sleeping! A typical day for the puppies goes something like this - breakfast of Life's Abundance Small & Medium breed puppy food (softened slightly with goat milk and water), play time as a litter (because the kids are still sleeping), nap time, various play times with the kids throughout the morning, short nursing session with Mama Sheerah, nap time, lunch of softened Life's Abundance food, nap times and play times throughout the afternoon, evening meal of softened Life's Abundance food, and a second short nursing session with Sheerah before sacking out for the night. The puppies are quiet all night long. They use the potty box overnight, but remain quiet until we are up in the morning.
Chewing has become an important part of their day as their teeth are erupting from their gums. Below are the two chew products we have introduced the puppies to.
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.
All this eating and chewing means growth! The puppies weights as of six weeks are as follows: Bentley - 4lbs, 13oz; Scout - 4lbs, 7oz; Noah & Holly - 3lbs, 15oz; Ivy & Buck - 3lbs, 8oz. Using their weights as a guide, we dewormed them again this week. We will do this one more time right before they go home. The puppies show no signs of worms; but, due to the susceptibility of puppies to worms, we do it as a preventative.
Socialization is a big part of what we strive for here at Russell Homestead. Much of our socialization happens spontaneously because our puppies are doing life with us. This week, with our area receiving about 15 inches of snow, our puppies got to experience all kinds of snow-related things - people in snow clothes (hats, gloves, swishy-sounding snow pants, scarves), the sound of a snow blower from outside, and sniffing and pawing snow during a short time outside in the warm afternoon sunshine. Speaking of being outside, the puppies got to outside for the first time as our temperatures were in the forties one afternoon this week. We chose a warm spot on the driveway in the sun (see pictures below). The puppies loved it - they looked all around at everything and wanted to run around and play. We let them run around for a about five minutes, and then returned them to the warm house.
In other socialization, we introduced them to several different toys, some with squeakers. The children also show them various household objects as they play with them in different areas of the house. At one point, JJ, age 7, said he's socializing his puppy to train noises while he ran our toy trains for Buck complete with whistles and chuffing. Though train noises may not seem overly important to socialize a puppy to, the point is more to show them that new sounds, smells, and sights are safe and interesting, rather than scary and intimidating.
As I have done with previous litters, I am going to cover some frequently asked questions for the families bringing one of these bundles of joy home.
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 February. We never clip our puppies before they go home. (We bathe and brush, but no cutting of their hair.) The first few weeks for these puppies, they will need to be closely monitored when taken outside; however, with spring just around the corner, they will soon be able to spend much more time outside. 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.
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 believe all our 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. That said, in a litter, there is usually one puppy who stands out as the one who does things first and has the most adventurous spirit; in this litter, that title goes to Bentley, with Ivy and Noah as close runners-up. Buck is the most calm and laid back. Buck, for example, does not rush up to the food dish at meals, but takes his good ole time getting there. He, along with Scout, is often the first to bed down for a nap after play time. Scout seems to have a calm and confident air about him - content to snuggle and sleep, and a bit more ambitious than Buck. Holly, of the girls, is the more laid back one. She is quieter and less adventurous than her sister. (Although, a side-note here, I hesitate to label any puppy as "laid-back" or "calm" because all our puppies have energy. No matter how calm, they will have mini-tornado moments. When I say "laid-back" here, I'm saying it more in comparison to their littermates.) The two most vocal are Ivy and Noah - vocal as in finding their barks first. In contrast to what you may read online about mini schnauzers, we have not found them to be incessantly barky. Ours bark when someone arrives, but the barking subsides within two to three minutes. We do not find that they bark for no reason, but they definitely see themselves as the harbingers of anyone's arrival on our property. All in all, our litter of puppies are all sweet and will continue to develop their personalities as they bond with their new families. All have been given a great foundation of experiences to build upon.
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. By far, I use the regular human comb the most, especially on their belly and legs.
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 adult dogs and cats 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 or five pounds.
What do I need to purchase before bringing my puppy home? See my blog about puppy shopping here.
And, now, the snapshots from the week...
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