Good morning families!
Several things have happened over the last couple of days, and I just wanted to give you a general overview of what has changed for the puppies.
Graduating to preschool
Now that the puppies are almost 5 weeks old they are able to climb out of their bed. Some puppies learn quicker than others but this litter seems to have learned it at the same time, because Monday morning (of course it had to be Monday…. uggghh) I walked into my living room and had 7 tiny Whippets all over the room. It was definitely time to move to their new home, which is a heated run that we set up in our garage. This is an important step because that is how potty training begins! The puppies now had to learn to sleep in their bed inside the run, but pee and poop o u t s i d e their bed. Not easy if you consider that up to this point, their bed was also their bathroom at the same time which mommy tried to keep clean. Now, only three days later, I can proudly announce that they all got that part down. They haven’t soiled their bed in two days now. Wohooo!
Time for fresh air
The weather has been kind to us lately, and we can enjoy mild temperatures in the later morning and the afternoon, along with plenty of sun. Yesterday I have introduced the puppies to their kennel in the backyard, where they can run, play and grow up with exposure to the outdoors! Since the puppies are not used yet to wind and the changing temperatures outside, we will gradually increase the amount of time they can spend there.
First solid food
Around 5 weeks we also introduce the first solid food to the puppies. When it comes to weaning from the mother, we are one of the breeders that lets the puppies nurse up to their seventh week of life. A lot of breeders wean puppies abruptly at around 4 weeks of age. That can cause mastitis and other issues in the bitch, and I consider it emotionally unhealthy for the puppies to do so.
We now provide food and water for the puppies twice a day, so their stomach can get used to eating solid food. The food amount provided will gradually increase, while the amount nursed will gradually decrease. We had great success with this very slow weaning process. As a certified lactation consultant (for humans, not dogs), I know how important mother’s milk is for any growing creature. From experience I can say that Moneypenny is getting sick of nursing between 6 and 7 weeks, and from then and on she would completely distance herself from her puppies and just wants them gone 😉
Meeting with the family
Now that the puppies have their own run, daddy and aunt Ada visit them to play and teach them important lessons. Several times a day we would visit the puppies, take them out of the run and let them have free roam of the garage, talk to them, run with them and pet them. This is primary to provide them with increasing physical exercise. During those times we also teach them some basic manners such as: we do not bite socks, we do not bite humans, we do not bite cables, etc
Several times a day, and especially in the evenings, I take one or two puppies inside the house where they can follow me around. Sometimes I would carry them around, have them sit on my lap while I write on my assignments or let them sleep on my tummy while I watch TV. I consider this as a crucial part of bonding between dog and human, and I also think it is important that each dog gets his fair share of individual attention.
That was a long post! I will write another one either tonight or tomorrow about the final 3 weeks!