It is a BITTERLY cold and windy day today. It’s the perfect kind of day to stay inside and snuggle puppies.
The past two weeks have been pretty calm and uneventful, which is good! The puppies are steadily gaining weight. Mama Mia is doing well and caring for her pups like the very experienced mother she is. Since birth, the puppies have more than doubled their weight, most of them now weighing between 1.5 and 2 pounds, and their eyes recently opened.
Their main interests right now are eating and sleeping, but they are beginning to show little bits of awareness. Some of them are trying out their unsteady little legs, and I am seeing very brief playful interactions among them.
I am doing something new with this litter of puppies that I am excited about. It’s called an Early Neurological Stimulation Program. It is a program designed by the military in raising dogs for training. The goal of the program is to build a calm and confident temperament that can better handle stressful situations. The program is done during the first two weeks of life when a puppy’s brain is going through its most rapid development. It is a daily series of 5 exercises each done for 5 seconds, so it’s very brief and gentle.
- Touch in between the puppy’s toes.
- Hold the puppy with its nose towards the ceiling.
- Hold the puppy with its nose towards the floor.
- Cradle the puppy on its back in the palms of my hands.
- Place the puppy on a cool surface.
These exercises get the puppy accustomed to be handled, even in slightly uncomfortable positions, and this kind of handling is excellent as the very first stepping stones of socialization.
Another one of the exciting things to happen is that Reese finally got to hold the puppies! I made her wait until the puppies’ eyes were opening before I allowed her to hold them. She did a great job being gentle, but she still needs a lot of guidance. 🙂
Now that the puppies’ eyes are open, the next big event is potty training! I usually begin between 2.5 and 3 weeks old. Since the puppies can now see, they will soon begin exploring. The first new area I will introduce to them is a potty station. This will teach them not to pee or poop in their bed, which is the foundation for later crate training. It also helps minimize the mess for me! By having a specific potty area with either paper or shavings, it keeps the puppies, their bed, and their play area much cleaner! Any smell and mess is much easier to manage when it’s contained and not tracked around by seven sets of tiny paws.
Here are the updated individual pictures of the puppies. They are getting cuter every day! I chose cartoon character names for this litter. Enjoy!
Winnie (the Pooh)