Monday, January 30, 2012

New Adventures for the Four Week Olds

The plumpty dumpties won't be plumpty dumpties for long.  Today they graduated from their whelping box to a spacious indoor puppy pen (goodbye kitchen!). And now they can learn to trot and run.

Regular Reader knows a winter litter is a first for us. All of our previous litters whelped in either early fall or late spring.  When we found out, however, that we could expect to welcome our first human grandchild into this world in May this year, we knew we wouldn't be having a spring litter.  So it was either go for a litter when we did (resulting in our current gang) or wait another year.  You know how that worked out.

The dilemmas with a winter litter are first, how to give the pups room to run and explore safely, and second, how to expose them to typical outdoor sounds while they can hear but while they haven't yet entered fear stages. 

Hopefully we've figured out the first: while not a perfect solution, the pups' new indoor pen will give them room to move and explore and romp a bit, at least for now while they are this size.  And it's big enough for us to later introduce steps and tunnels and other fun physical challenges for them.

The new and improved indoor pen does hog the whole kitchen though.  Ai yi yi yi yi.  The things we do for our canine kids, eh?!   But it's only for a few weeks, and it's critical for the pups' development. We'll gladly make do.

And since the pups will have more room to exercise, they're of course going to need continual access to drinking water. Today they met the water bowl.  :o) 

What follows are two brief videos taken today of the little squirts first exploring their water bowl (they all figured it out) and then stretching their wings a bit romping in the new pen.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, no we didn't put in a new floor. We bought a small roll of linoleum to lay beneath the puppy pen to protect our kitchen flooring from puppy piddles and water spills.  It's not pretty but it works, and we can roll it back up and store it for the next litter.

Regarding the second dilemma (exposure and acclimation to outdoor sounds): well, the pups are still getting exposure to all kinds of indoor sounds (vaccuum, blender, coffee grinder, table saw, hammering, pots and pans banging, telephones ringing, smoke detectors, TVs, radios, etc...). And I've carried them outside to hear birds and airplanes and wind chimes and big dog barks (and will continue to). People in Pennsylvania, however, don't weed-whack and mow their lawns February. 

The only thing I can think of to give them at least some exposure to outdoor noises they'll eventually encounter is to find recordings of lawn mowers and chain saws and weed whackers and such on-line and then play them for the pups. I don't have a clue what else to do. Any thoughts out there anyone?   

In the meantime, we'll keep at it. I'll try to get a more detailed developmental update on the blog by the end of the week.  Next up?  Solid food! 

'til next time,


From Mary's Pen said...

Four weeks??? It hardly seems possible! Goodness, they're starting to look like puppies! :)

I had to laugh at Red's version of exploration- paws first. :)

They're handsome boys, for sure.

Rejoicing in the day,

JuliaR said...

So wonderful. Your puppies are blessed to be yours!

I am sorry about your family issues but I am glad to see you back blogging and that the puppies are doing well.

We got our Uma (back in 1990!) when she was only 6 weeks old (it was an experiment that they discontinued and went to 8 weeks) in the middle of December. She had to go outside in the snow and cold to become house trained and so she got used to the snow right away! It didn't bother her in the least, except later, in the spring as the snow melted, she thought she had to pee on snow and was quite disconcerted when at last, she was reduced to peeing on grass. That's a fun memory.