Click on their pictures above for more photos and details!
A switch seems to flip between 4 and 5 weeks in a puppy’s life. Life used to be all about food and warmth, and life suddenly becomes much more about playing, exploring, and learning! Food and warmth are still essential, of course, but a change takes place in their interests.
The puppies now are full of adorable antics as they wrestle and chase each other. Their little teeth are erupting from their gums, which means it is chew time. For the first time this past week, I observed them chewing on the newspaper in the potty box and the towels in the whelping area. Since I want to encourage their chewing efforts in different directions, I introduced Life’s Abundance Buffalo Lungs and Life’s Abundance Porky Puffs.
What I love, love about these products is that they each have a single ingredient – buffalo lung and pig snout. No preservatives, fillers, or artificial ingredients! Our adult schnauzers highly recommend these products! (In fact, I have to make sure Tachi doesn’t snatch these goodies away from the puppies right away. The buffalo lung did go missing this afternoon...) We use these products on our adults as well as 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.
On the food front, we’ve been upping the amount of Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy food and decreasing the amount of goat milk they receive. We feed them three times a day. At each feeding, the group receives 2/3 cup of food softened in 2.25 cups of milk. The ratio will keep slowly working itself up to dry food in about 2 weeks. Tachi rarely feeds them at this point. Every once in awhile she hops in, but usually only stays briefly. We often have families ask if she misses the puppies when they leave. Although she is a fabulous mama, she has the God-given instinct to distance herself from the puppies to allow them to grow and develop into adults. 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. So, no, we don’t believe Tachi feels any sadness in seeing them go at 8 weeks because she is already letting them go gradually and she has given them the nutrition and skills they need from a Mama.
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 got to meet some strangers as families came to meet us and see the puppies. They got to go in various rooms of our house – a bedroom, our kitchen, and our schoolroom. We took the whole group outside to play in the shade in the grass. Oh, the fun new things they found - a leaf, a piece of bark, a balloon, grass stems! (See photos at the end of the post.) I also played some puppy sound desensitation clips from youtube. They heard things like thunder, heavy rain, and a door bell all being played quietly. Most of them fell asleep. Another new experience was a brief grooming session with my Slicker brush before their photo shoot this week. All in all, we like to just keep expanding their worlds while giving them lots of time to rest and grow.
Per a new family request, here are pictures of the puppies' collars. This will help you identify the puppies when you visit and remember who is who after you go home.
Their weights as of this morning are as follows: Amelia - 3lbs, 8oz; Zeke - 3lbs, 3oz; Zuma & JD - 3lbs, 1oz; Chester - 3lbs; Auggie - 2lbs, 14oz; Everest - 2lbs, 13oz; Ivan - 2lbs, 12oz; Tracker - 2lbs, 10oz; and Faith - 2lbs, 9oz.
As I did with Tachi’s last litter, I’m going to answer a few frequently asked questions each week. Some of these will be repeats for my dedicated readers, but important information for 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 would recommend using Frontline on your puppy once he/she is 10 weeks old.
2) What food should I have on hand for my puppy? We recommend Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed puppy food. Read all about Life’s Abundance here on our website. Be sure to have a bag on hand when your puppy arrives at home.
3) 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 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 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!
Independent Field Representative