Saturday, October 04, 2008

Two Weeks Old -- No Longer Neonates

As of yesterday when they turned two weeks old, the wee pups are no longer considered "neonates" -- the word used to describe newborn pups through 14 days of age.

I described the stages of puppy development here at LabTails last fall so I won't go into detail here again (you can check that entry by clicking here).

But, just so we all know where they're supposed to be, and FYI and mine, they are now officially in the "transitional"stage (usually from 14-21 days) during which they move FROM being completely helpless, driven solely by instinct, cocooned in darkness and silence, and incapable of learning TO becoming increasingly aware of themselves, their littermates, and their surroundings via their improving sight, their new ability to hear (when their ears unseal sometime this week), and their growing ability to move around on their own.

This week will bring MANY changes for them (and us). They'll actually start to look and act a whole lot more like what we think of when we think of puppies.

Here's what they're doing now (again, this will change over the next six days):

Their pads have changed from pink to black (for most of them; we have a few stragglers):

Their noses are nearly all black now (all of these pups will have black noses, which is more desireable by breed standard):

Some of them are sitting:

One or two are actually sniffing - deliberately using their noses - as they walk (that's a REAL milestone in coordination!):

All are up on their feet and taking at least tentative steps (some are cruising like old pros!):

Most of the pups' eyes are open (I think we have one or two pups yet to go). And they are all climbing with abandon!

All are, of course, still nursing and snuggling with Momma Elsie (they are only two weeks old after all -- believe me, I know it feels like much longer since they were born):

They can all straighten their tails, and some even wag (as in really wag as a demonstration of pleasure):

Oh, and they're starting to chew on (or shall we say "gum on") their littermates:

By the end of this week the whelping box will be really busy. :o)

Changes for us mean:

1. We're finally getting a regular night's sleep again. :o) We're leaving Momma Elsie alone with the pups from about 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., and all is well. Yes, she still rolls over on them or sits on them, but they're big enough now to squiggle out (or scream bloody murder!).

2. No more tube feeding Mr. Black. We haven't tube-fed him now in nearly 48 hours and he gained 3.5 OUNCES in the last 24 hours (Go, Black go!). He's still quite small compared to the rest: he weighs only 2 pounds 6.5 ounces compared to Mr. White's (the next smallest) 2 pounds 14 ounces, and everyone else is over 3 pounds, but he's developing well (eyes open, walking, climbing, etc.). He may just end up being a little guy. We'll see.

3. It's time to pull out the puppy pen (to expand the pup's territory beyond the whelping box).

4. We'll start putting toys in with pups (visual and sensory stimulation).

5. We'll be handling the pups quite a bit more now (increasing their people socialization). It's time consuming, yes, but vital for the pups if they're going to be people-dogs. Poor us: we have to spend hours a day handling snuggly, squirmy, grunting puppies with puppy-breath (hehe). ;o)

6. We'll be spending more time with Momma Elsie (she gets people needy again for a time, almost like she needs to be reminded she's more than a milk machine!).

7. We'll be cleaning the whelping box more like four times daily (with little clean-ups in between) instead of just two. Elsie is starting to lose interest in cleaning up after her pups (I would, too, if I were her...yuk).

8. I can actually run out for an hour or two during the day (FREEDOM!).

It's funny how much newborn-puppy rearing is like having a newborn baby in the house (hehe).

And so it goes.

Look for a few videos later today.

'Til next time,

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Awwww! Such sweet babies!! Yes, it must be SO hard to give so much puppy love hehehe! I just wish that I could reach through the computer and love on every one of them!