Welcome to 6 weeks old – an energetic and fun time with a litter of puppies! I'm going to kick off the week with an adorable picture that can only be labeled "puppy eyes."
And now, here's the whole crew posing for me! Remember to click on their pictures for more pictures.
The puppies have left their newborn sleepy days in the past and are actively learning about their environment and engaging in play with us, their littermates, and anyone who gives them attention.
The bulk of their nourishment now comes from their three meals a day of softened Life’s Abundance Small and Medium breed puppy food. By 7 weeks old, they will no longer need the food to be softened. Tachi will occasionally still go into the litter to feed them. (With the set up in our house, she has the freedom to go into their whelping area and leave whenever she wants.) However, being the wise canine mother that she is, she knows it’s time to distance herself from them in the natural process of them growing up. I’m often asked if she misses the puppies when they go home. Though Tachi is a loving, attentive mother, she does not spend much time with the puppies after about 6-7 weeks old because they swamp her trying to nurse, which becomes physically impossible due to their size. She, of course, notices when they begin leaving, but knows the time has come for them to launch into the world.
The puppies’ repertoire of experiences continues to expand. They spend time outside everyday – several times a day to catch as many potty needs as possible. They already prefer to do their business outside. Though they cannot hold it every time at their young age and still use the newspaper in their potty box, they have begun to consistently go when I take them outside. When outside, they are seeing and hearing so many new things – cars, lawn mowers, power tools (all from a distance), birds singing, kids in bicycle helmets, our other dogs – Cooper and Sheerah, our cats, balls, frisbees, and more! We aim to have brief, positive experiences with new things. Being outside is very important as well to give them an outlet for their puppy energy. While they still take several long naps, they are now full of energy for short periods of time.
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: Willow - 4lbs, 2oz; Murphy - 3lbs, 10oz; Jackson - 3lbs, 9oz; Ruth - 3lbs, 8oz; Mandy - 3lbs, 5oz; Belle - 3lbs, 4oz; Odysseus - 2lbs, 15oz; and Lucy - 2lbs, 12oz. Using their weights as a guide, we dewormed them again today. 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 all puppies to worms, we do it as a preventative.
As I have done with previous litters, I'm going to address some frequently asked questions. Before getting to them, please be aware to finish out this litter I'm going to post videos throughout the week next week featuring individual puppies. (To those subscribed to the blog, I will not be sending notifications simply to minimize emails to your inbox.)
What bathing and grooming products do you use? My crew of mini schnauzers gets a weekly bath using Life's Abundance Revitalizing Shampoo and a mist of Life's Abundance Bath Fresh Mist. The mist is also helpful to freshen them up between baths. For grooming, if I were told I could have only one grooming tool in my house, it would be a simple comb (as in the human kind). When brushed weekly, mini schnauzers do not typically get mats and tangles. I occasionally use a slicker brush. Rarely, I pull out my dematting tool to get a stubborn tangle.
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.
Will my puppy be house trained when he/she comes home at 8 weeks? No. Your puppy will be ready for crate training when he/she comes home. We do the Misty Method of house training for our puppies. They have a basic understanding of a place to sleep, play, and potty at 8 weeks old. They are ready to begin crate training at 8 weeks, but they are not house trained! This litter has been doing well with the Misty Method. They consistently keep their bedding area free of potty accidents. Most of their potty needs go into the potty box. We keep fresh newspaper in the potty box after they use it, preserving the scent while keeping it clean.
Is it hard for your children when the puppies go home? Yes and no, and harder for some than for others. My children understand the responsibility and the training an 8 week old puppy requires because we’ve had the privilege of raising all our adults from puppies. They love playing with the puppies and are, of course, sad to see them go. At the same time, they get to see the joy a puppy brings to someone else. We try to encourage them as the puppies grow that we are helping get them ready for their new family. When our children ask, “Why can’t we keep a puppy?” we gently name off our adults and say, “We did 'keep' a puppy.” Another thing that softens the blow of seeing their puppies leave is that new life is part of a homestead - every year we typically welcome puppies, goats, and kittens. So, our children may or may not seem sad when you pick up your puppy, but they say their goodbyes before your arrival to limit any teary last-minute goodbyes.
To finish out the week, here are a few snapshots.
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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