The puppies are growing and changing very rapidly. (Remember to click on their photos for more pictures and details!) They are now realizing there is a world beyond their whelping box. They still spend the bulk of the day snoozing away, but they have short periods of time when they are awake and beginning to play with each other.
A big change in the puppies’ abilities this past week was learning to walk. Their walk is quite tottery, but they are walking! They are also becoming purposeful in where they are going, such as trying to climb out of the whelping box when they sense Tachi is resting just outside it. So, that means it’s house training time! We have added a potty box to their area, as you can see below.
We believe house training begins as soon as the puppies are mobile at 2-3 weeks old. We use the Misty Method to train our puppies. The premise of the Misty Method is to capitalize on a dog’s God-given instinct not to soil the place where they sleep. The puppies now have two areas – a sleeping area in the gray box with a towel and potty area on newspaper in a plexi-glass box. They cannot yet access the rest of the whelping area. This next week, we will change the towel in the sleeping area several times a day to teach them it’s a clean area and transfer sleeping puppies from the potty box to the sleeping area. (Yes, the puppies do sack out in there at first, but my children are good at catching them and moving them.) When the puppies do eliminate in the potty box, we cover it with fresh newspaper to keep it clean while preserving the smell to make them come back again. We also eliminate the smell in the sleeping area by cleaning it with Bio-base Biodeodizer, which works naturally to eliminate the source of bad odors by using viable bacterial cultures (read more here), and it smells amazing! This is hands-down my hubby's favorite Life's Abundance product because, yes, puppies do make messes; and, yes, they are quite smelly at times. Spraying on biodeodizer immediately makes the odors begin to dissipate.
In addition to adding the potty box, another big change in the puppies’ world this past week was adding raw goat milk to their diet. The puppies still nurse from Tachi for the bulk of their nutrition, and the milk we provide is like a “snack.” We choose goat milk because it enjoys a reputation of being a universal milk to raise various species. It is known to be gentle on digestive systems. We have found it to work very well to wean puppies. Of course, we also have a readily available source with our very own herd of Nubians. This litter of puppies, likely do the large number of puppies, dove right into the milk licking the milk and each other happily. In the coming weeks, we will gradually transition them to Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed puppy food.
Below are some pictures of their first feedings. The very first time we used a shallow cookie sheet so no one would get their nose too deep in milk. Then we switched over to 5 shallow bowls. Notice how in the one picture, they are licking it off each other.
We weigh the puppies morning and evening. Their weights of this morning from smallest to largest are as follows: Tracker – 1lb, 6oz; Faith – 1lb, 7oz; Chester, Zuma, Ivan, and Everest – 1lb, 10oz; Zeke, JD, and Auggie – 1lb, 11oz, and Amelia – 1lb, 13oz. For some solid proof that we've got growth, check out the space in the whelping box - at left was taken at 1 day old and at right was taken at 3 weeks old. Go Tachi - that's some hard work she's done in 3 weeks!
As shown by the weights, Amelia is the largest of the litter, though not by much. She's also just a bit ahead of the others in walking and alertness, as evidenced by her photo shoot today. She stole the show for sure with her perkiness!
Since the puppies can now see and hear, they are already being socialized to the normal household sights, smells, sounds, and sensations. They are in a room off our kitchen and near our washing machine. They already are familiar with a myriad of household occurrences – doors closing, washing machine running, coffee pot brewing and beeping, happy voices (and grumpy voices), blenders whirring, hands touching them, soft surfaces, hard surfaces, cool surfaces, and on and on – and all of this without any real purposeful socialization on my part because they are part of our daily routine. They even got to experience the sounds of a birthday party. As they grow, I intentionally socialize them to as many things as I can, while being conscious not to overwhelm or overstimulate them. We always, always let them get plenty of rest because that's an important part of puppy growth and development.
I’ll close my post today with snapshots from the week. As you can probably guess, the cuddle sessions are getting longer! In the first picture, I found CJ in the whelping area with his puppy Tracker (if you remember he wanted the smallest puppy). He had gotten Tracker out of the gray box and put him with Tachi by himself so he could have all the milk he wanted. CJ loves looking out for little ones. The adult mini schnauzer you see in a photo is Aunt Sheerah checking out Tracker. In the last picture, EJ is giving his puppy "Ifin" (Ivan) a kiss.
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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