If you’ve ever wondered about what goes into raising a litter, follow this blog and I’ll post some details here! Watch this post for daily updates during Week 2. Click HERE to see the posts from Week 1. Skip ahead to week 3 HERE.
First week summary: zero full nights of sleep for the Pepper or the human. 14 loads of puppy laundry. 4 rolls of paper towel. 30 pounds of raw food consumed by momma P.
ESI- I’ve been neglecting to mention the odors we’ve used the last few days. Here’s a recap:
- Day 1- Anise
- Day 2- Mozzarella
- Day 3- Birch essential oil
- Day 4 – cooked chicken (Rose tried to lick it!)
- Today- pine essential oil
Some really zippy locomotion going on now, when the puppies are motivated and looking for mom! Their eyes are still closed and ears too, so navigation is still based on smell and to a lesser degree, touch and heat.
Flashback– here’s what momma Pepper looked like at one week of age.
ESI- Blueberry- not overly interesting.
The puppies had their second nail trim today. I had a nap with the little guys and momma P in the afternoon. After about 20 minutes, they started to complain that they were too warm and they kicked me out.
When the puppies sleep, they twitch and bounce like popcorn popping. This is thought to be a result of how fast all of their little neuro-connections are forming in their brains. When the puppies are feeling very warm, they tend to navigate towards the edges of the whelping box, and lay under the pigrail- being in direct contact with the whelping box walls is a little cooler. When they feel like they need more warmth, they head over to the heated nest and pile up together there. It’s very clever how they are able to reason like this at such a tender age.
ESI – Orange peel (mostly wanting to avoid that awful smell!)
We are getting close to being able to see some eyeballs. The first clue that the eyes are starting to open is when there are starting to be eyelid rims visible. Instead of looking glued shut, the puppies’ eyes look like they are just tightly closed. The next clue is that they start to raise their heads up at times. I believe that this is because they are starting to be able to sense light, even when their eyes are not yet open. The video below shows this well- watch for the puppy at the lower left after Pepper leaves from a quick puppy inspection.
Individual puppy photos from today have been updated on our facebook Album HERE.
ESI – Cypress essential oil
More clues on the eyeball front- some blinking action from the puppies today!
ESI- Cat hair – very loved by Phillis and Bonnie, mildly intriguing to the others.
In addition to the eyes that are nearing the brink of opening, I am seeing some signs that hearing is beginning too. The very first sign of this is that the puppies will flick their ears ever so slightly. This coincides with another clue, where they suddenly ‘jump’ when there ears/head get stroked. It makes sense, right? For 10 days they live a world with no sound and suddenly, there is something there- I would imagine that to start with, at this early stage, that they don’t really hear sounds from the world yet, but more are sensing pressure changes and contact. Cup your ear and notice the feel/sound that makes. Soon, actually hearing will start and the first sign that they can truly hear sounds outside of their own body is that they will begin to vocalize differently- adding little barks, roos and howls to their already extensive vocabulary.
Now is probably a good time to talk about puppies and fear. Often we get comments when I post a puppy video that viewers are worried about how ‘scared’ the puppies must be, based on their whimpering vocalizations. Puppies at this age do not feel fear. It’s not physiologically possible. They feel things like comfortable, uncomfortable, hungry, full, too warm, too cool, frustration, etc. Whining is essentially the only mechanism they have to solicit attention, and so you can think of it more as the puppy working to change something vs being scared. They do not feel fear until around 4-5 weeks of age and this is by evolutionary design.
The function of this extended fear-less period in a predator (or predator derived) species is to give the youngsters a chance to be able to get accustomed to the most important things in their surroundings including their mom, other social influences, and they need a lack of fear to be able to breach their den and begin to go exploring. For the purposes of our performance-bred dogs, we also utilize this fear free period to our advantage in socializing the puppies and giving them an abundant variety of positive environmental exposures, including things like sound desensitization. The first period marks the onset of the first time a puppy is able to feel fear, and that provides it’s own set of learning opportunities with evolutionary advantages. However, for now, it is enough to know that during these first 5 weeks or so, puppies don’t have the wiring in their brain to feel fear.
We have EYEBALLS! Bonnie and Rose both have slightly open eyes this morning! Looks like a couple of others are about to pop open too. Also, we’ve got some seriously good walking going on today. In anticipation of that hearing function firing up, the puppies are listening to some music today.
Today’s ESI- Vanilla (the extract, not the dog).
Nail trim #3 this morning.
If you thought yesterday’s video was fun, wait until you see these! A lot of walking action and a delicious lunch. Pepper has a lot of milk. A LOT OF MILK. Normally by this stage, a momma dog’s supply has sort of equalized to meet demand, but for Pepper, she is still producing a lot more than what these 6 hungry dudes need. We are watching closely for signs of mastitis which is a definite concern when mammary glands are over-producing, and so far, so good.
Video: Strolling around! Watch near the end of the video as Phillis navigates in circles, gradually making them bigger until she is able to identify her siblings all piled up to join them. Her eyes are open, but vision will take several weeks to sharpen, so she’s still relying on her other senses for now.
Lunch is served (yes, princess Pepper gets a pillow while she nurses).
After lunch be like:
ESI: coffee grounds. Haggis really sniffed, Rabbie and Bonnie tried to grab a taste- others said meh.
Pingback: Pepper’s Puppies | Eromit Labrador Retrievers
Hi Erin, Thanks for writing this blog….we are really enjoying it. I hope you get more sleep this week! I imagine we’ll have a few sleepless nights too the first few nights the puppy comes to our home and misses her mom and litter mates.
Erin, I love reading what momma Pepper & the baby puppies are doing each day. I’m learning so much, and marvel as they reach each new milestone. Thank you so much for taking the time to post so we can share it with you 🙂
Pingback: Pepper Puppies- Week 3 | Eromit Labrador Retrievers