Here's what we can expect to see in the pups by the end of the week:
- rapid improvement in their motor skills (standing, beginning steps, sitting, better control of their movement, etc.).
- being able to eliminate on their own (Master Blue squatted and poo-ed all by himself yesterday; Master Red did so this morning; haven't caught Master Green doing so yet.. but I suspect he has since we occasionally find a rogue sesame stick -- what their poo looks like -- in the whelping box).
- starting to move away from where they sleep to potty (it's instinctive, and this not-pottying-where-they-sleep instinct is the foundation of housebreaking later on).
- wider range of movement (will crawl and walk around more while beginning to explore)
- the beginning of real, voluntary tail-wagging. :o)
- showing more interest in their littermates (pawing at them, chewing on them)
- first teeth (these should erupt around Day 20)
- first hearing (their ears should unseal around Day 20 or 21, sometimes earlier). We'll know their ears have unsealed with they begin to startle to loud noises.
And here's what we'll be doing during this important development stage:
- We'll spend more 1:1 time with the pups, giving them individual interaction with humans and more socialization, but for only a few minutes at a time (they're still quite young).
- We'll also start putting them on different surfaces for one minute per day (probably when I need to move them out of the whelping box to clean it).
- Later in the week we'll introduce them to a water bowl (they begin to "lap" during this stage as well).
- We'll add bright colored objects and toys to the whelping box for their visual and sensory stimulation.
- We'll "raise the drawbridge" (we'll put up the side of the whelping box that currently rests open to allow Kenya to come and go). The pups have already shown some interest in what's outside of the box, so once they're more active we'll need to contain them (for their safety).
- Kenya will still be allowed to come and go with them as she pleases; she instinctively is already staying out of the whelping box for longer stretches of time. But we will give her more time apart from them.
Just so you can see how they're doing, here are a couple of videos of the pups I took this morning (I think I may have found a way to solve my video upload problem; guess we'll see, eh?):
This first one (less than 10 seconds) shows you Master Blue chewing on his brothers snout (they've become far more aware of each other):
This next one, the longest of the bunch, shows you the typical fuss-before-we-settle restlessness. It starts with all three of them settling in, but still restless. Master Blue starts fussing, then moves over toward Masters Red and Green. Master Red has trouble rolling over. A little while into the video you'll see Master Green push himself backward and sit, and Master Blue chewing on Master Green. Master Red then starts meandering around a bit (and taking a peek outside of the whelping box) while he roams. His noises are typical of the pups' settling-down fussiness (all of the pups do this, btw; I just happened to catch Master Red this time).
This last one captures the rest of Master Red's exploration (you can see some beginning steps here) and his fussing while looking for his brothers (again, all the pups do this; it was just Master Red's turn this time), and you'll also see Master Green later in the clip "bark" in his sleep as Master Red finds them and settles down.
By the end of the week, they'll really look like puppies, complete with the abilities to walk, to see more functionally, to hear, to climb, to lap water, to poo and pee without stimulation, to interact with each other, and to explore their worlds.
Then the work *really* begins!
'til next time,