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3 weeks old today! As I was starting a load of wash this morning, I noticed heads up in the whelping box wondering what was going on. The puppies are beginning to realize there's more to the world than food and their siblings. They still prefer a meal and pile of warm, cuddly brothers and sisters, but they are showing signs of alertness to the world around them.
They are not quite walking, but their swimming motion has turned into a crawl. Occasionally, one will get that belly off the ground and take some tottery steps. They have also become more purposeful in their movements - such as trying to get to Mama when she's outside the box. Below is Shep (I think) determined to get to Mama as she eats her evening meal.
With these more purposeful movements around the whelping box comes the time for laying the foundation for house training. We have used the Misty Method many times over, and it has not failed us. The premise of the Misty Method is that dogs do not naturally want to soil their sleeping area. As the puppies can begin to choose where they eliminate, they should be given a "potty area." We teach them what the potty area is by keeping the other areas as clean as possible. Whenever the puppies soil their bedding area, I clean it up to remove the scent using Biodeodizer and/or a fresh towel. Whenever they properly go on the newspaper, I cover it up with more newspaper to keep it clean, but yet preserve the scent that will keep them coming back. They do not always catch on perfectly, but it is amazing how fast they learn and how often they get it right.
Below you will see the new set up of the whelping area. The puppies can only access the bedding area and the potty area (newspaper in a plexi-glass box).
After a few days of this set up, the puppies will have a good idea of where to eliminate. At that time, we will open up their area to give them a play area. As of yet, they still spend the majority of the day sleeping, but that will change soon!
Paper training the puppies then lays the foundation for crate training, which should begin at 8-10 weeks old. Because our puppies have been paper trained, they already know there is a proper place to eliminate and proper place to sleep. Crate training simply transitions them to have that proper potty place be outside and the proper sleeping area being their crate. (If you want to read more, see my previous posts on house training - part 1 and part 2.)
Another new development in their little lives was the introduction of goat milk (from our own herd of Nubian goats). We gave them their first taste of it last evening. We dipped their noses a bit and let them learn to lap the milk. Some had more fun licking it off each other afterwards than out of the bowl! Quite obviously, their main source of nutrition is definitely still Mama! They are all approaching the 2lb mark, with King already an ounce over.
Teaching them to lap milk is the first step in the weaning process. After they master that skill, we introduce Life's Abundance Small & Medium Breed puppy food softened in milk or water.
You may notice in some of the photos that two of the puppies have collars on. I was having much difficulty telling Joy and Mary apart, as well as Shep and Gabriel. I put a collar on Mary and Gabriel to solve this dilemma. I'm eager to put on their Lupine collars, but the puppies are a bit small for those yet.
And, of course, the kids had fun holding their puppies more this week. Thanks, as always, 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!
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