Hello from Russell Homestead where we are rolling in puppy energy! Our litter is 6 weeks old today and doing fabulous. They are growing well and developing a large repertoire of experiences. Before I share their 6 week photos, let me share Angel’s sentiments about photo shoots (a sentiment shared by her siblings).
Angel’s expression says, “Are we done YET?” All the puppies wanted to pop up from their sitting position to come inspect my camera, give me kisses, and PLAY! Life has become more about playing than sleeping and eating for 6 week old puppies, but they still do a fair amount of sleeping and eating as well. Now for their 6 week photos. Remember to click on them for more pictures. Can’t you just see the intelligence & curiosity radiating in these pictures?
In the food department, the puppies are eating food softened with warm water 3 times a day. In another week, we will have them on dry food only. They will go home to their new families eating ¼-1/3 cup per feeding 3 times a day – 6AM, 1PM, and 6PM (approximately). Detailed feeding instructions are, of course, including in the folder each family gets at pick-up time. They no longer depend on milk from Tachi, though she does occasionally check on them. With the set-up in our home, Tachi has the freedom to come and go from the whelping area by jumping over the fence, while the puppies remain safely contained there unless we are watching them. We are often asked if Tachi misses her puppies when they leave. Canine mothers distance themselves around 5-7 weeks old because they know their puppies are ready to launch into the next phase of life. When a 5-7 puppy is with his mother, he wants to nurse. At this age with 8 puppies, it is physically impossible for her to nurse the litter. Additionally, the puppies no longer have the need for milk. Tachi, who is a loving and caring mother, does notice when they begin going to their new homes, but she has already begun “cutting the apron strings” before that time comes.
Their weights as of today are Toby – 4lbs, 3oz; Liza – 3lbs, 14oz; Gloria – 3lbs, 10oz; Mary & Anna – 3lbs, 9oz; Angel – 3lbs, 7oz; Eleanor – 3lbs, 2oz; and Gabe – 2lbs, 13oz.
I’ve discussed previously on my blog the differences between a salt & pepper and black & silver mini schnauzer. I took pictures of Anna and Gabe’s sides this week to show you the difference on their sides as well. As the salt & peppers grow, they develop pepper down their sides. The black & silvers do not.
We always strive to give each litter many positive experiences with all kinds of things to lay a strong foundation for their socialization. This litter has gotten a healthy dose of all kinds of winter clothing – beanies, hats, scarves, gloves, bulky coats, boots, and more! They also got some up close sights, sounds, and smells of our goats as we had some newborn baby goats residing in our warm kitchen for about 24 hours. Two of our goats had twins on the same night this past week – a night when it was 10 degrees! Both moms did a good job of cleaning off their babies, but 3 of the 4 needed the warm kitchen to recuperate a bit before rejoining the herd in the barn. So, the puppies got to experience goats. As you’ll see from the photos below, they receive daily human interaction in our home. My favorite pictures from this past week are from their early literacy training with my daughter MJ. Just look at how intently Toby is listening!
As I’ve done with some previous litters, I’m going to address some frequently asked questions and then share a LOT of photos from the past weeks.
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.
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