Saturday, December 5, 2009
I've been getting lots of questions lately so I thought I'd take a moment and answer some of them.
How much do the pups weigh now?
The pups range from Miss Green at 4# 12 oz to Miss Lilac (Bobbi), who is 5# 15 oz. Most pups are over 5# now. All are eating well and growing fast.
What are the pups eating?
Skye was having trouble keeping up with the nursing demands so I started feeding the pups this week. Since we begin feeding when the pups have teeth, we transition pups directly to Bravo, ground raw meat/bone/organs and veggies. We add a little Dr Harvey's Canine Health, which is a mix of grains, as well as a multi-vitamin supplement, probiotic and salmon oil. The pups dove in their first meal and haven't looked back. They still nurse a number of times each day, too.
So far, the pups have eaten chicken, turkey, lamb, beef and pork. They liked them all but beef is the favorite!
What have the pups learned so far?
At this point, our primary focus has been housebreaking. This is a time when pups can either grasp housebreaking or miss it completely. Early in the week, the pups were struggling to "hit the spot." I had the smaller pans in the pen for ease of entrance (the lip isn't as high on them as it is on the box) but they are slippery and require better aim and balance. We had started feeding solid food, which does increase pooping, so there were lots of missing.
When I didn't see an improvement in a few days, we made some changes. The smaller pans were replaced with the larger box so that half the pen area was now potty. A few challenging days and then yesterday, it all came together. The pups are now hitting the spot 90% of the time. Whew! That was a good thing!
What else have the pups learned?
Although housebreaking is important, it is not the only thing the pups are learning. We are teaching them to come to the come-in whistle and "here." We signal meals with one of the other of these "commands" and the pups are really tuned in to them now. They hear those sounds and start moving fast!
We also use mealtimes to introduce new places and eating utensils. The pups have eaten in three different rooms with three different kinds of dishes (metal, plastic and paper). As the pups get more mobile, we'll feed them in as many areas of the house as we can move them.
We are also doing physical and mental stimulation with sounds, scents, textures and anything else we can think of. The pen has different floorings, toys of all shapes and textures, hanging toys and mobiles and things that make sounds. All of this is changed twice a day.
As of tomorrow, we start the sound introduction. We have tapes of all kinds of sounds, including gunshots. We start playing them every day at low volume at 5 weeks. As the pups age, we play them louder and in different locations.
Of course, the pups are learning all about people and dogs. They've met people of all ages, shapes and sizes. They play regularly with their mom, Corey, Dreamer and Una. Tonight, they even got to meet a cairn terrier puppy.
We've got lots more to do with them but I'll tell you more about that in future blogs.
Are the pups going outside?
We've had one trip outside thus far but tonight its 30 degrees and snowing so it will be a week or two before they go back out. Even at 60 degrees, the pups got chilled within 20 minutes. I'm sure we'll have more nice days and, even if we don't, the pups will be able to handle the cold within a week or two. Then we'll hit the woods!
When will I know which pup goes where?
I know it's hard to wait to find out which pup goes home with who but we wait till the temperament test is over and all the health checks are completed before we figure out which pup matches well with new homes? The temperament test isn't till December 22 and the health checks are around the same time so looks like we might have some great Christmas presents for our patiently waiting owners.
Just to reassure everyone, so far the pups look terrific! They are developing normally, both physically and mentally. So far, so good!
How are Miss Lilack (Bobbi Jean) and Miss Rainbow (Peggy Sue) doing?
Bobbi Jean is the pup whose tail had to be docked at two days of age due to damage it sustained before she was born. Bobbi is a terrific pup who shows no indication that she misses her tail. She is active and curious.
Peggy Sue is our pup with only three normal legs. She has one front leg that is stunted. She took a little longer to learn to walk but she is doing very well now. She loves to carry toys in her mouth, plays with her brothers and sisters and climbs on everything.
Peggy is incredibly sweet and very pretty. We are thrilled she is doing so well and expect she will continue to develop well. She'll be a 3-legged dog but a very happy one.
Well, that's all. There are videos and photos posted under Week 5.