Lots of outdoor time every day, and indoors in the evening and at night! Puppies are becoming more agile, learning to go up and down the 3 steps on the back deck. We put the crates in their indoor pen and outdoor yard, as well as the outdoor igloo, and put kibble in them to entice the puppies to sniff and forage for it, incentivizes them to be in the crates/igloo. We put the wobble disk out and some puppies climbed on it immediately, some observed and took their time to approach. We are doing daily 'manding' sessions, where we capitalize on the puppies' natural way of 'asking' for what they want (they sit and look at you--it's very subtle, until you have all puppies doing it at once, then it looks like magic!) and rewarding them for it with kibble or cream cheese treat. Today we did a brief 'resource guarding prevention' session- we give the puppy a raw beef bone (super tasty!!) and then gently take it away and give them another tasty treat to reward them for giving it up, then give the bone back. This helps the puppy realize that when I take away their "prize", it's not always a bad thing and they do not get possessive and defensively guard the prize. Puppies are six weeks and receive both 6week deworming and a coccidiosis preventative.
.Sorry I missed posting the 4 week update here because I was having technological difficulties. During week 4 Puppies were started on puppy soupy-mush 1x/day which we have gradually made thicker over the week, and then added a 2nd meal. Mama Hope has been weaning them and spending less time with them, and big 'sister' Nova (unrelated) has been allowed to play with the puppies for short supervised periods. We took the puppies to different rooms in our house for play and exploration. At 5 weeks we began bringing the puppies outdoors to a penned area for them and they LOVED it. No hesitation about exploring and being out on the grass. We started with short playtimes but have extended their outdoor time more and more. During the heat wave last weekend we had them outdoors early in the morning and brought them in to the AC with fans on indoors. The puppies each received their second dewormer, and 2 quick baths in the sink in the last week. They love playing in the big yard now, and playing in the kitchen where we bring in new objects to investigate each day. They have been introduced to the riding lawnmower (not too close to their pen) and while unsure of it at first, were quickly distracted and gave me their attention when I brought out cream cheese treats.
The Sweet 7 are 3 weeks old! Now that their eyes and ears are open, they are so much more interactive and playful! They still sleep MOST of the time, but they wake up for 15 minute spurts and toddle around, chew on each other, try to play or wrestle, but it's in slow motion and so cute. They are finding their voices and have started howling, that's our favorite, there's not many things cuter than 3 week old puppies howling together. Their teeth are starting to erupt, and they have tripled and some almost quadrupled their birth weights so we have begun feeding them once a day a puppy milky-soup of puppy milk replacer and soaked puppy food blended together. They loved it right away and were lapping it up so we knew they were ready for it! In a couple days we will go to feeding twice a day, and gradually make it thicker, then 3 times a day as mama Hope gradually weans them and they need more than just milk. We've made several changes to their area, removed the box, removed most of the towels and replaced with pee pads, made a distinct sleeping area and potty tray area, and add/change out different items and toys several times a day. We've also been holding them throughout the day, had family and close friends over for very short supervised visits to hold them (we have a process and protocol for visitors to manage incoming germs/puppy viruses/careful handling). We continue to trim their claws, and introduced them to the nail dremel tool. All sounds are new to them as their ears have just opened and we will be introducing new ones each day-the vacuum cleaner, blender, loud children (lol), classical music, hair dryer, as well as recorded sounds of animals, alarms, thunder, etc
Puppies are 2 weeks! They are all gaining weight and growing well each day. All have their eyes open, within the last few days, we can see they are beginning to explore their world in a whole new way. Super fun to watch. I've been trying to post lots of photos and video clips to Facebook and Instagram so you can follow along (sorry I can't post videos here). They are almost finished up with ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation) in 2 days, and we are beginning to add new stimuli to their area, one or 2 toys or objects at a time throughout the day. They are very curious and already coming up to examine and explore these new items. The most interesting thing is watching them discover each other, chewing on, looking at, and interacting with each other. They are beginning to use their voices more with little growls, barks, yaps, cooing (sounds like a bird, so funny). At this point in their development their vocalizations do not really mean anything- they are just finding their voices and discovering the sounds they can make. Their ears are just beginning to open, and they are not quite responding to sound regularly. We currently have them in a corner off our kitchen where there are lots of different sounds (and smells from cooking!) all day long. We've been trimming their claws every 3-4 days to keep from scratching up Mama Hope, and to get them used to the process. We are beginning to hold them more often for short periods of time, and sometimes they are wriggly and sometimes snuggly and fall asleep, so this is really good for them. Pretty soon this week we will change up their living area a bit-remove the whelping box and enlarge their area. Once puppies begin walking and can eliminate on their own without mama stimulating them (as they are now) they will naturally walk away from their sleeping area and eliminate. The idea is to start them early by setting up a 'potty area' and a 'nest area' and while it's really hit or miss, they eventually start to hit the target more and more and potty where it's appropriate. More on that in the next 2 weeks.
Puppies are 1 week old! All are doing well and thriving! They currently range from 1lb 14oz to 2lb 5oz. They are getting up off their bellies and toddling around on their wobbly legs! Mama hope was dehydrated over the weekend, we took her to the emergency vet Saturday to get blood panel and calcium levels checked, just to be sure she didn't have any infection, eclampsia, or something else going on. All checked out ok, just really dehydrated so she was given an antacid injection for her upset digestion, and sub-q fluids to help her bounce back. By Sunday afternoon she'd turned a corner and was drinking and eating small amounts of bland foods. She is now eating normally, along with her probiotics and calcium supplement. Here are the puppies' 1 week pictures:
Red boy Black boy Purple girl
It's Day 4 already! Puppies are growing leaps and bounds and doing very well, they have all gained several ounces, some gaining 2 oz./day!! Because they are doing so well, I'm focusing a lot on keeping Hope healthy, making sure she gets the nutrition and calories she needs, as well as mental breaks and rest. I check her temperature several times a day to be sure she's not fighting infection- mastitis or uterine infection. She goes out for several short walks on leash. Also trying to get the post-whelping diarrhea under wraps so she doesn't get dehydrated, and also watching her post-whelping discharge. Sorry if that's TMI, but it's what I do. So Hope is doing well and is a great mama to her pups, feeding/cleaning/responding to them, but the second day her temp went up a bit, just above normal range, so I worked to get her temp down and monitored her, and she was back in normal range by evening. Here are some pics of the first couple days. We clipped puppies claws yesterday, and began ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation) today.
Hope's puppies were born this morning, 4 boys and 3 girls! All are doing well and already gaining an ounce or 2 each. These first few days are mostly about making sure they are thriving and gaining weight, and helping mama have a clean non-disrupted place to feed her puppies. We change out the bedding a few times a day to keep things extra clean and dry. We check puppies weights daily the first 2 weeks, and check mama's temperature to be sure she isn't getting any types of uterine infection or mastitis. She eats A LOT and will spend most of her time with them the first week especially. We make her special foods like liver, boiled chicken and rice, mother's pudding (goats milk, egg yolks, oil, sugar, gelatin), calcium supplements, puppy food (it's higher calorie and protein/fat), and broth, just to name a few of things on her menu! We want to keep her calories and calcium up for nursing, it's a whole lot easier than supplementing the puppies ourselves. It's important the puppies have a temperature controlled environment, not too hot, but definitely not too cold as they are unable to regulate their own body temps yet. We keep either a heat lamp or heating pad in their box at all times, but only in one area so they can move away from it if they get too warm. Mama stimulates them to eliminate by licking their bums and bellies. If she doesn't do it, we have to do it for her. So far Hope is an excellent first time mama and doing all the things she should be doing! It's pretty amazing to watch instincts kick in and she'll do all the things without being taught. She watches over them well but is not overly worried or overly protective, she is such a relaxed and chill girl, you'd never guess this was her first time!
The other day we took Nova to Hobby Lobby with us, let her sniff around, meet some people, see sliding doors, grocery carts, etc. (of course we asked the employees if it was alright first, and brought a bag with cleaning supplies in case of a mess). It is so important for puppies to get exposure to different places, sights, sounds, and people. All in appropriate doses! Short car rides (Nova gets carsick easily so we've worked slowly with that so she doesn't attach anxiety to riding in the car, ginger capsules help with the nausea), short trips to stores that accept dogs, visiting friends and family, different trails, beaches, parks, and meeting dogs that are friendly to puppies. It's also crucial that highly dog-trafficked areas are avoided until vaccinations are completed.