Pepper Puppies- Week 3

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 3. Click HERE to see the posts from Week 1, or HERE for week 2.

February 8th

Growth chart so far:

weight in ounces

Interpretation: Everyone is growing well, no extreme puppy differences.

ESI: Duck wing. Haggis thought this was his favorite scent so for.

February 9th

Today we are watching livestream of auntie Chelsea competing at the Westminster Master Agility Championship! (Chelsea is Pepper’s older sister). The puppies haven’t actually earned any screen time yet but are listening to the noises of the agility trial in the background. You can watch too, by downloading the Westminster App (it’s free!).

There is a lot of action in the whelping box today. Any time I enter to sit with the puppies, they are climbing up all over me, so I’ve removed myself to get a few video clips. Slow motion play wrestling, squeaking, howling, and walking about. When Pepper enters, they walk up instantly and attack her too. The litter is now at the stage where mom shows up to feed them, and she often falls asleep and lays with them a bit, but otherwise, she’s present only for cleaning and to attend to anyone who seems needy.

ESI: Grouse wing- most of the puppies took a good long sniff.

February 10th

Strong and inquisitive puppies! Watch how they smell (and taste) everything and gravitate towards me.

And getting some serious yums from the momma.

ESI: carrot – BORING!

February 11th.

Today is a big day for the puppies, as they are moving into their new abode in our other puppy room. They are also getting access to the artificial turf to being litter training! As they are very mobile now, we want to encourage them to leave their immediate bed area to eliminate on the turf. As they start to get the hang of that, we’ll be able to increase how much room they have access to, for a bigger play area, but they need to start small and work up to that. Pepper will be able to come and go from her own private area, in order to be able to escape her puppies to catch a break, but since she is not interested yet in having the other dogs around her puppies while she’s present, we’ll continue to keep the puppy room door closed for now.

The puppies have been hearing all kinds of noises, from various types of music to a varied exposure of other noises (fireworks, gun shots, babies crying etc). They’ll continue to get those sorts of recorded noises, but their new room does allow for more natural household noise exposure so they’ll now get a better chance to hear real-life stuff like vacuum cleaner, coffee grinder, TV, phone ringing, and so on.

One of the things we work on at this age is the ‘startle’ reflex. Remembering our discussion that puppies this age don’t feel fear yet, we want to expose them to things that will build safe, fear-free neural connections in their brain. New, sudden noises do cause the puppies to startle out of surprise, and they settle back into whatever they were doing. We want to have many repetitions of this startle/recovery cycle before the fear period begins. Things like a slamming door, dropped dog dish, or clapping help desensitize the puppies to sudden loud noises.

Today is the last day for ESI and ENS. To celebrate, the puppies smelled a cream Ale. Except for Mouse who must prefer wine, they all thought it was very intriguing!

February 12th

New photos posted on our facebook page, HERE

February 13th

The puppies are not 3 weeks old yet, but are getting quite mobile. One of the ways we try to stimulate them now is with environmental enrichment. Their litterbox will stay in the same place until they are ready to start leaving the whelping box, but other features will change daily- new toys, different matting, and soon we’ll be able to add a little dog bed in there. Or at least, I’ll try it. Pepper is destructive with soft toys but so far has not wrecked the little pillow we’ve had in the whelping box, so I’ve added a second one. The toys will vary from day to day but we’ll avoid soft squeaky toys except for undirect direct supervision for now.

Pepper’s milk supply has finally stabilized to meet demand, so I’m no longer feeling quite so worried about the potential for mastitis.

The puppies at this age are very socially motivated. That means that they’d rather visit and play with each other, their mom and their known humans than do anything else (except when they are really ready for a big meal, at which point milk trumps play). Because they have no concept of eating anything other than milk, food is not overly motivating. They don’t really see well enough to appreciate toys as anything other than obstacles in their path. They don’t have teeth yet so their is no desire to chew and aren’t really able to pick things up, but in the next few days, will probably start to grab at each other and then start to try the same thing on toys. They will move towards me based on smell, sight or hearing. Already, the puppies are being introduced to the familiar puppy call ‘pup pup pup’.

The puppies spend the vast majority of their lives sleeping. They are maybe awake for a total of 2-3 hours a day, spread out over the whole course of the day in small increments. Here’s a video of a few minutes of play. Watch how they slowly mouth wrestle. Haggis at one point climbs over one of the pillows. Towards the end, I talk to the puppies and you can see them stop when they hear my voice, and some of them approach even though I’m outside of the box. Their eyesight is still not great so seeing anything more than moving shadowy type figures is probably not happening yet.

The puppies have now met all of the grannies and great-uncle Chester, as well as Marvin the Cat and Mezzy. Pepper is not wild about having the other animals around her puppies yet so other than Shelby, they only visit while Pepper is occupied doing other things. If she’s outside, the older dogs will often snoop around the whelping box, go in for a visit, or just nap nearby.

2 Comments on “Pepper Puppies- Week 3

  1. Pingback: Pepper’s Puppies | Eromit Labrador Retrievers

  2. Pingback: Pepper’s Puppies- week 2 | Eromit Labrador Retrievers

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