Here's our healthy, happy litter at 2 weeks old! Remember to click on their pictures to go to their individual pages that have more details and photos.
The first two weeks of a puppy's life are spent mostly in a sleepy dreamland with lots of food and growing involved. The puppies are in a main area of our house with lots of activity and noise. Yet, during the second week of their life they remained somewhat clueless to the outside world. A door slam, a mower running outside, a radio playing, the children putting on a “concert” with various instruments (complete with homemade drums) – they slept through them all! However, they are far from helpless creatures-they have strong instincts to seek food and warmth. As soon as I wake them up from their adorable slumber in a pile, they instantly seek out Tachi looking for food. If they find themselves alone in a corner of the whelping box, they propel themselves on their belly around the area until they bump into a sibling. When I take their weekly photos and have them alone on a blanket, they are constantly searching around food and friends. They may look sleepy and peaceful, but they are actively on the go when awake. As you can see in the photos, their eyes are opening up. Lucy surprised us as the first one to have both eyes open. The rest have tiny slits (see Ruth above) that will likely be open with the next 24 hours. The children like the eye-opening stage because it means they can handle them. Up until this point, the puppies' handling has been limited to me weighing and checking them. I’ve also permitted the children to reach in a pet them.
The puppies are growing beautifully. Everyone more than doubled than birthweights - a milestone we like to see by 10 days old. This litter all doubled their weights by 9 days old. This morning their weights were as follows: Willow-1lb. 9oz; Mandy-1lb, 6oz; Murphy, Belle, and Jackson-1lb. 5oz; Ruth and Odie-1lb, 4oz; Lucy-13oz. Lucy has amazed us all with her ability to thrive with no supplementing. For the first two weeks of a puppy’s life, nutrition comes solely from their mother. We take seriously our commitment to Tachi’s nutrition to give the puppies the best start in life. Tachi is eating Life’s Abundance All Stage Food, as much as she can eat! We supplement her with vitamins as well.
Tachi is once again making mothering a litter look easy! We continue to monitor her, making sure all her needs are met. She’s a real supermom – caring for all of their needs from eating to staying clean. Our care for the puppies at this stage involves caring well for Tachi; she then takes care of all their needs. We also keep their whelping area clean by changing the bedding several times a day and spraying it with Life's Abundance Biodeodizer, a safe, gentle cleaning product that eliminates odors.
Another aspect of their care at this stage is weighing. During the first two weeks, I typically weigh twice a day. Now, I usually weigh them every other day. You may be wondering why all this focus on weight. Someone once asked me as she was peering into the whelping box watching them competing for a spot to latch, "How in the world do you know if they all nursed?" The answer - by weighing them. You cannot know just by watching because it's hard to tell them apart when they are in a pile and it's hard to know how much they are getting. Weight gain is an overall good indicator that all is well.
In the next week, we will be rearranging the puppies' whelping area as they become mobile. Below is how the whelping area is currently laid out with a nest box for the litter and Tachi’s bed for her to rest away from the litter. She is able to hop in and out of their box as needed. She still spends the majority of her time with them, but has started to spend longer periods of time away from them as they sleep. Any squeaks bring her right back, though!
The puppies are only able to belly crawl right now. As they take tottering steps in the next week, we'll give them a potty area right outside their sleeping area to begin to lay the groundwork for house training. We follow the Misty Method, which we have found prepares our little ones for crate training when they go home at 8 weeks old. The Misty Method also helps the puppies learn there is a place to sleep, play, and potty. (Read more about our house training here and here.)
I'm going to close with some pictures of the puppies sleeping - what they do best right now! And also one precious picture of Tachi snuggled with her puppies. 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