Friday, October 17, 2008

Four Weeks Old Today!!!!

The pups are four weeks old today. It's difficult to imagine where those weeks have gone: on one hand, seeming to take forever; on the other, just flying by.

Here's what the young pupmeisters are up to these days:

They're still nursing, but not nearly as frequently, nor as long. The pups are far more efficient, and Elsie's milk lets down stronger and faster now so it goes quickly (all of about two minutes). And, of course, Elsie is getting less amenable to the idea of the pups nursing now that they all have TEETH! The poor sweet Elsie girl...I think she's ready to be done with this:

If you read this week's posts, you know we've started them on gruel: a mixture of soaked-in-boiling-water-first-then-blended-puppy-food mixed with Esbilac (puppy milk replacement formula) cooled to just moderately warm (like the temperature of milk in a baby bottle). They absolutely love it and are quite ready for it. We'll gradually increase the consistency over the next ten until the pups get to point where they're handling dry puppy food (what we'll send them to their new homes on).

The pups are learning to lap from a water bowl (here are Mstrs. Green, Red, and Yellow trying it out below). After a few snout fulls (for the braver, jump-right-in types), they get the idea. The more cautious pups seem to lap without any snout-fulls at all ( there a lesson in there somewhere?):

They're fine-tuning their vocalizations: figuring out what each means, trying each out in a more controlled way. Here's Mr. Red trying out the forlorn howl:

They're beginning to use a puppy litter box (yes, they make these especially for canines and puppy potty training now). This is our first time trying it, and it seems to be working well. They pups use it about half the time (without our actively training them to do so). Even if they only use it half the time, that's half the clean up for me and well worth the small expense (saves a TON on paper expense and laundry, too). Here are Mr. Red (foreground in box) and Mr. Green (behind Mr. Red) trying to use it simultaneously:

They still like to hide. I think it provides a sense of security for them. In the following three pictures, Miss Pink sleeps soundly underneath the lip of the litter box, Mr. Blue rests under the rails in the back of the whelping box, and Miss Sky slumbers along the whelping box side under the rail (like Mr. Blue):

They seem to enjoy the feeling of being boxed in (or at least having something over their heads). That bodes well for their crate training to come! :o)

And they still nap most of the time, of course. The following pictures are of Mr. White, who plopped down next to the water dispenser, and Mr. Lime, who plopped down on top of the pyramid toy, sleeping soundly about 30 seconds after they put their heads down. When these guys plop for a nap, they plop for a nap!

The pups continue to wrestle with and chew on each other, but it's not really in earnest yet (just wait!), nor is it well coordinated (they're still developing, after all). Here's Mr. Green chewing on Mr. Red as Red walks by:

They love their soft toys! Here's Mr. Blue with the soft ball:

Here, Mr. Black snuggles with the octopus toy at nap time:

And they still love the puppy pile (I don't think they ever outgrow their love for being close). Here are Yellow, Red, and Black snuggling together:

And they still love to sleep anywhere, in any position, wherever they plop for their naps:

And they thoroughly enjoy their people time (this is Miss Sky with Aunt Jeanie, aka DTS):

For now, our primary puppy-people-socializers are DH Don, me (of course), DS Dan, DSD Sarah (when she comes in from Maine), DTS Jeanie and her kiddos Kyle and Kristin (as they're around), and BFF Kath and her son Daniel -- all people who Elsie loves and trusts and who come and go regularly from our home throughout the year. We'll start adding more people who Elsie already knows but come less frequently over the next week to ten days. Then the new owners will be able to come visit the pups reqularly during the pups' last two weeks here.

Here's Mr. White pawing at and climbing on BFF Kath as she sits in the puppy play pen (yes, in addition to handling them, puppy socialization at this stage means getting on the floor and allowing the pups to climb all over you -- such hard work, I tell ya!):

Each pup, including Mr. Black, is developing right on schedule. At 28 days old now, they've just completed their first "awareness/identification" stage of development and now move into their second "awareness/identification" week.

This week we can expect to see more sophisticate play (less throwing themselves at and tripping over each other, and more controlled romping). We should also see more chasing (yup, we've actually seen a trot or two out of the more developed pups already!), dominance play, and "kill" games where they pin each other by the neck (this is all part of them identifying where they fall in the pecking order).

We'll be adding climbing toys, more movement toys (rolling balls), and more new surfaces for them to walk on. We'll also be taking them outdoors on the grass and decking later in the week.

For the first time in they're young lives, they'll also start spending short amounts of time 1:1 with us away from the litter. That's when we can really begin to see their personalities. We'll gradually increase the time away with each pup so that they learn independence and so that we can minimize (hopefully) their separation anxiety and increase their human bonding when the time comes for the puppies to go to their new homes.

Betcha never knew so much went into the proper socialization of a pup (most people don't, and then they wonder why they end up with a "problem" puppy)! I know I sure didn't before we started breeding, but the more we do now to prepare the pups for their lives with their new owners, the more likely it is that they'll find forever happy homes.

And that's the goal, isn't it? We raise them to fly, to reach their potentials, and to enrich the lives of those they love (and who love them).

Sounds a bit like human children, too, eh?

'Til next time,

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

All SO very sweet!! I just love all the pictures, especially the howling ones. That Mr. Black sure is a cutie!