Six & Seven Weeks Old

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. No matter how your holiday was spent, I hope you experienced joy and thankfulness for God’s many blessings, large and small.

For me, and probably many of you, as well, the holidays are a time of family. Of anything in my life, I am most thankful for the gift of my family- for my immediate family and for the heritage and blessing of extended family.

It’s humbling to look at my family and see the amazing blessings God has given me, especially knowing I don’t deserve them. I haven’t done anything worthy of God’s grace and goodness, yet His grace and goodness are evident every day. And while I am certainly very thankful for the “good things,” God’s goodness is also evident in the bad days, too. His blessings aren’t limited to peaceful, prosperous times. His blessings abound in all times and circumstances. And knowing God is present at all times is truly the greatest blessing of all.

And I’m also thankful for these ten bouncing balls of fur! Can you count all ten?

You guys, these puppies are adorable. Every one of them. They are each so different and so much fun. And it’s great knowing that there are going to be so many homes enjoying a new puppy this Christmas. I’m so excited to share these sweet pups with you!

Here’s what we have been up to! I don’t feel like there is too much to report. We’ve been practicing a lot of the same things as last week, but the puppies certainly have been learning and maturing.

Potty training: Woohoo! Potty training is going so well! I haven’t cleaned up any poop accidents in an entire week! You don’t realize how exciting that is until you have raised a litter of puppies. But when all the poop ends up in the proper place, wow, it’s AMAZING.

Crate training: Mia’s puppies are doing well in the crate. Duchess’s puppies still cry quite a bit, but this is very normal at this age. None of the puppies have had accidents in the crate, but not all of them enjoy being crated… yet. Some puppies immediately love the crate. It’s safe, secure, and quiet. But not all puppies like it at first. However, I think all puppies can be crate trained. And crate training is hands-down the BEST way to begin house training. If you don’t have a crate for your puppy yet- get one. It is absolutely worth it.

Weaning: Both litters are now eating unsoftened kibble. Mia’s puppies, now fully weaned, are also enjoying the NuVet Immune System Supplement. I start this after the puppies wean from momma’s milk, because their young immune systems take a dip. Having good immune system support goes a long way in keeping a puppy and young dog healthy. NuVet is made with human grade ingredients in an FDA registered facility, and it’s specifically formulated to boost the immune system. I use it for my puppies, young dogs (under 2 years), and my pregnant and nursing mommas.

Play: One of the most important things I can do with the puppies during these last couple of weeks is play with them. They love to interact, and getting lots of attention, love, and play is so good for them. So the children and I are doing our best to soak up the last days with these two litters! Having such mild weather recently has been great, as the puppies just love to play outside. I have a large play yard set up with lots of toys inside so that they can all play together on the nice afternoons.

Vets, vaccines, & deworming: The puppies get a vet check and their first puppy shot at 7 weeks old, and they also get one last round of dewormer. Once that is done, they are all set to go to their new homes! Mia’s puppies went to the vet this week, and Duchess’s will go next week. The time is really winding down fast.

Have a great weekend!

Five & Six Weeks

Oops, I told you weekly updates. You may have noticed the lack of an update last week. What can I say? 🙂 But here we are today. Better late than never, right?

Duchess’s Irish Setter puppies are now five weeks old, and Mia’s Mini Goldendoodle puppies are six weeks old. They are both fully interactive and playful, and we are having so much fun! Now that they have reached this age, they are almost developmentally the same. Mia’s puppies are just a bit closer to being fully weaned.

On the warmer days, the kids and I spend time outside in the yard playing with the puppies. Puppies just love romping in the grass! They are really enjoying some of the new toys in the play pen, and they never get tired of being snuggled. They have gotten to hear and see some new things- like a fire siren, traffic, my husband’s old tractor, etc. I’ve been focusing on outdoor noises this past week. Next week, I’m going to give them more experience with indoor sounds like vacuuming, TV, music, and other household noises. The more they hear and see now from the safety of a familiar place, the better they will handle frightening things in the future!

The two big things that we have been working on are weaning and potty training.

For the first weeks, momma’s milk gives puppies all the nutrients they need. After that, they begin a slow transition off milk onto solid foods. As puppies come off of momma’s milk, they are no longer receiving her antibodies. They still have some of her immunity, but it fades quickly in the coming weeks, making it much easier for them to pick up parasites, bacteria, viruses, etc. That’s why a quality diet is so important. It makes all the difference in a puppy’s immediate health and ability to ward off illnesses, and it makes a long term difference, because good nutrition helps their bodies to grow and develop well. (Of course, good nutrition does not prevent every disease. But there are a lot of health problems, some major and some minor that really can be prevented by good nutrition and exercise. No different than humans, really!)

I’ll post links to the food and supplements I use at the end of the post!

I feed our dogs and puppies Life’s Abundance dog food. High quality ingredients, especially the proteins, and no questionable ingredients. Dog foods made with lower quality ingredients are very telling in a dog’s health- dull fur, more poop (since the lower quality ingredients aren’t as easily absorbed), more cases of vomiting, diarrhea, and food allergies. Excellent quality dog food may be more expensive, but it prevents so many other things, that’s it’s fully worth the cost!

I also give the puppies NuVet Plus, which is an immune system supplement. I like to begin this once the puppies have been weaned from mom’s milk, because of that loss of immunities. I use supplements as they are needed for my dogs. I use it when they are young ( I recommend from weaning until 2 years old), and during pregnancy and nursing. Those are the times when a dog has the highest nutritional, immune system support needs.

The puppies are LOVING their food, especially the Irish Setters. It’s funny watching them eat. The Mini Goldendoodles carefully chew their food and it takes them several minutes to finish a meal. Meanwhile, the Irish Setters devour their food in blink. I’m sure they barely chew!

Along with weaning, comes deworming, which is done at 3, 5, and 7 weeks old. Both litters have been dewormed twice, and they will receive one more round prior to going home. Keeping on top of parasite control in puppies is so important! Their young immune systems aren’t ready to ward off parasites, so they need regular dewormings for the first few months of their lives.

And for the not so fun part of raising puppies… potty training! I’ll be honest, puppies are messy sometimes! But that’s why I work so hard to get these guys started on potty training and crate training. The better I can get them trained, the less messy poo clean-up I have to do! The Mini Goldendoodles are doing very well. They certainly aren’t perfect, but they have been keeping their bed very clean, and the majority of their pottying has been going outside where it belongs. (Yay!) The Irish Setters are coming along nicely, but they need some more practice. (This is one area where I can see the age difference. In another week, the Irish Setters will have learned a lot more in the potty training arena.)

Next up for the puppies will be vet checks and vaccinations. I’ll do my best to keep my promise of a weekly update for next week. 🙂

Here are the links to the food and supplements that I give the puppies.

Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food: https://lifesabundance.com/Category/DogFood.aspx?realname=20552921&cat=0&hdr=&Ath=False&crt=0

NuVet Plus: https://www.nuvetlabs.com/order_new2/nuvet-plus-wafers.asp

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Three & Four Weeks

Good afternoon!

All of the puppies continue to grow, and they are all doing very well. Here’s what we are up to this week!

Mia’s puppies are now four weeks old. The one month mark means that we begin the weaning process! This is probably one of the periods of puppy raising that takes the most work. I begin by soaking small amounts of food and giving the puppies one meal a day. Then, I gradually increase to three meals, and then I begin feeding them larger amounts at each meal.

During that time, I also begin allowing momma to be away from her puppies for longer periods of time. Up to this point, momma has been allowed to eat as much as she wants, but I will soon begin to measure and limit her calorie intake. This will encourage her body to slow its milk production. Over-production of milk during weaning can lead to mastitis, so I take a proactive approach in helping mom’s milk supply to dry up in a slow and comfortable way.

The puppies, of course, will be eating Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food. The quality ingredients and excellent nutrition works to keep them healthy from the inside out! I have been feeding my dogs and puppies Life’s Abundance for about four years, and I love it! My puppies and adults have always done so well on it, and I was so impressed with the changes I saw in my dogs when we switched to feeding Life’s Abundance several years ago. Seriously, it’s one of the best dog foods you will find.

A few of the things I love the most about this particular kind of food (and I have tried several brands in my years as a breeder) are:

*It contains only high quality proteins. Protein is essential for all bodily functions (brain, heart, muscles, skin, coat, bones, etc), and not all protein is created equally. Life’s Abundance has quality controlled protein sources of chicken meal (which is more nutrient dense than whole chicken) and eggs.

*It is enriched with DHA and contains guarantee probiotics, prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and a complete array of essential vitamins and minerals.

*It hasn’t been sitting on a store shelf for months! Life’s Abundance makes their food in small, weekly batches. This means when I order food, I know it is as fresh as possible, and fresh food is more nutrient rich.

*It has all of the good stuff and none of the bad! No artificial flavors or colors. No corn or wheat or corn/wheat glutens. None. Ever. Corn and wheat are very difficult for dogs to digest, meaning they can irritate the digestive system and provide very little nutritional benefit.

This isn’t just “puppy food.” This is a top-of-the-line, nutritious diet. I have seen the positive effects of good nutrition, and I simply cannot overstate the importance. A healthy momma and healthy puppies begin with a good nutrition. Their bodies’ simply cannot grow and function well if they are not given the high quality nutrients they need.

Here is a picture of Mia’s puppies enjoying one of their first Life’s Abundance meals. Getting them to eat took no encouragement! It was warm and sunny this afternoon, so the puppies got to spend time out in the yard.

Ollie after his snack

And now for Duchess’s puppies! They are three weeks old, and they are quite the lively bunch. I had to move Duchess’s food bowl up on a stool, because her puppies were eating it! They don’t have teeth yet, but they were getting into her bowl and gumming her hard kibble.

The puppies are now getting fairly steady on their feet, and I am beginning to see some tail wagging and hear some little yips and barks. They still sleep a lot, but they are definitely interested in the big world around them!

Today, Duchess and her puppies moved to our outdoor pen. It was time for them to have some more space. The small temporary pen off my kitchen wasn’t cutting it anymore.

Most times, my puppies spend their first 3-5 weeks inside where I can keep a close eye on them. Then, I often move them outside where they have much more space. Our outdoor pen gives them inside and outside access at all times, which greatly helps with potty training! It’s warmly heated in the winter, and cool and ventilated in the summer. (And just for my peace of mine, we have a camera on them all the time, so I can peek in on them during the night or when we are away from home.)

The puppies will still be spending a good bit of time in our house, though, to continue their training. I bring them inside to practice crate training, and to continue their exposure to sounds like vacuum cleaners, children, TV, etc.

Next week, Duchess’s puppies will begin weaning, and Mia’s puppies will be old enough for the waiting families to begin choosing their puppies. Check back then for another update!

Mia’s Puppies- 4 Weeks Old

One month! It’s great milestone for puppies, and I view it as leaving the newborn puppy stage and entering the puppyhood stage. (See updated puppy pictures here!)

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This past week has seen more potty training, puppy teeth beginning to pop out, yips and barks from the puppies’ pen, sound training, and, the most exciting part, weaning!

Weaning

The puppies will begin eating a little bit of softened Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food. They start with one small meal a day, and I gradually work them up to three meals a day. I like to wean slowly, over the course of 2.5 weeks, so that it’s gentler on the sensitive puppy tummies. Because of this and the fact that they are on such a great food, I very rarely see any puppy diarrhea or vomiting. The quality ingredients and excellent nutrition works to keep them healthy from the inside out!

A few of the things I love the most about this particular kind of food (and I have tried several brands in my years as a breeder) are:

*It contains only high quality proteins. Protein is essential for all bodily functions (brain, heart, muscles, skin, coat, bones, etc), and not all protein is created equally. Life’s Abundance has quality controlled protein sources of chicken meal (which is more nutrient dense than whole chicken) and eggs.

*It is enriched with DHA and contains guarantee probiotics, prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and a complete array of essential vitamins and minerals.

*It hasn’t been sitting on a store shelf for months! Life’s Abundance makes their food in small, weekly batches. This means when I order food, I know it is as fresh as possible, and fresh food is more nutrient rich.

*It has all of the good stuff and none of the bad! No artificial flavors or colors. No corn or wheat or corn/wheat glutens. None. Ever. Corn and wheat are very difficult for dogs to digest, meaning they can irritate the digestive system and provide very little nutritional benefit.

This isn’t just “puppy food.” This is a top-of-the-line, nutritious diet. I have seen the positive effects of good nutrition, and I simply cannot overstate the importance.

Socializing & Sound Training

In the next weeks, the puppies will get to hear, see, smell, and experience a wide variety of different things both inside our home and outside. This wide base of experiences provides them with a solid base of socializing. Obviously, new families will have to continue this socializing process, but the earlier it’s started, the better! It helps puppies to develop temperaments that are less reactive or fearful and more calm and confident.

So far, they have heard normal household noises while they hang out in my kitchen, and they have also heard a video soundtrack played very quietly of animals, traffic, and household noises. Playing these sounds quietly for them off my phone or computer gives them non-frightening exposure to some noises that may be loud and startling in real life.

And, of course, they puppies get the wonderful experience of being handled by a child. My daughter is old enough to play very well with the puppies. It is so good for puppies to get used to the unpredictable and sometimes rough movements of children, as well as their shrill voices. My son is also very interested in the puppies, but he only gets to touch them briefly with his mama’s help. He is still in the “grasp and pinch” stage of babyhood. So his puppy interactions are closely monitored!

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I hope you are all doing very well and staying healthy!

Mia’s Puppies- Three Weeks Old

In the past, I have very intentionally kept my blog entirely free of politics, current events, etc. However, I am finding it hard to even sit down and begin writing a blog post about my puppies during the COVID-19 situation. I am struggling to find the motivation to write about my dogs when there are so many people being negatively affected by this global crisis. My blogging seems shallow and weak.

However, here I am. I am here because I believe we will get through this. Life must go on. Life WILL go on. I am here, because maybe seeing this post will be a pleasant break from the news. I am here, because maybe you need to be encouraged to live today in FAITH and not FEAR.

So before I dive into my normal blogging, I want to encourage each of you today to have a spirit of faith and remember that even though things seem wildly out of control, God is still in control. He isn’t surprised by anything, and “though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for You are with us.” (Psalm 23:4) Also, I encourage everyone to be responsible and respectful. Please respond kindly; and think of others, not just yourselves. Protect those who are high-risk by implementing the recommended social distancing. We will get through this!

And with that, I guess I’ll begin. Like I said, I barely have the heart to blog about something as light and carefree as puppies, but I will do my best.

To start off, here is a picture of Caramel. I hope she brightens your day! Also note those beautiful yellow flowers peeking out in the background. Forsythia are my favorite kind of flower, because they are bright yellow in March or April, a sign of hope that spring is really here! I cut some today off my bushes that have started blooming beautifully this week. (You can see the rest of the litter here.)

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Things have been pretty quiet and peaceful here. Mia’s puppies are three weeks old, and they are doing very well. They are growing, and Mia has been doing a fantastic job. Mocha is the smallest puppy weighing almost 2 pounds, and the rest of the puppies are around 2.5 pounds. Hazelnut is the biggest, weighing in at almost 3 pounds.

Here’s a brief summary of a few of the things I have been doing with the Mia and the puppies.

For Mia:

During the first couple of weeks, care for the momma is exceptionally important. Mia has access to food and fresh water at all times. She also receives a daily supplement. Top-notch, dense nutrition is of the utmost importance for a pregnant and nursing mom. Without the proper nutrients, her milk supply will lack in quality and quantity. If I want healthy, growing puppies, I must be giving momma the very best.

Mia receives Life’s Abundance All Stages Food. This mix provides high-quality ingredients and robust nutrition. It’s made in small batches and tightly quality controlled and tested for safety, so I know each scoop I am giving her is fresh, full of nutrition, and free of unhealthy additives and fillers.

Mia also receives one NuVet Plus wafer each day. This supplement is to help support her immune system and provide an extra boost during a time when her body is working hard to care for puppies. Good quality ingredients is something I really care about. NuVet uses human-grade ingredients made in an FDA-registered facility. Quality ingredients provide better quality nutrition. This supplement is not available in stores and can only be purchased through veterinarians and breeders. (You can purchase it here using my order code 47834.)

For the puppies:

Mia has been giving the puppies 100% of the care they need during these first weeks. I have simply been handling them a little bit each day, and I have been providing clean bedding.

The puppies’ eyes have opened, and that means I have begun potty training. I expanded their pen a little bit to provide them with a space to potty away from where they sleep. Obviously, this will take a few weeks for them to master; but even now, they are beginning to seek out and use this area. Dogs have a natural instinct not to soil the area where they sleep. By providing them with a “potty area,” I am utilizing this natural instinct and building a good foundation for crate and house training.

In the coming weeks, the puppies will begin to be more active and alert, and they will begin exploring their small world. I’m very excited for the warmer weather, because the puppies always enjoy spending time outside. This is one of the reasons I enjoy spring, summer, and fall litters!

Come back next week for another puppy update!

In the meantime, please stay safe. Pray for each other. Remember that God’s grace is sufficient and that He is the master of all. As a closing, here is a line from a song I listened to the other day that spoke to my heart. “Bigger than all my problems. Bigger than all my fears. God is bigger than any mountain that I can or can not see. Bigger than all my questions. Bigger than anything. God is bigger than any mountain that I can or can not see.”

We can rest in God’s hands, and we can be assured of His love and care for us.

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Six (Almost Seven) Weeks Old

It’s turning out to be a beautiful spring week! In February… I’m secretly wishing for one big snowstorm, but you certainly won’t find me complaining about this warm weather in the bleak mid-winter.

And there aren’t any complaints from these guys either!

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The cutest stage of puppyhood has arrived! We now have nine bouncing, barking little pups! They aren’t as easy to tire out, and they just LOVE to interact! This stage of puppyhood is when we are building the foundation for the rest of their lives, and there are so many important aspects of a healthy, happy, and well-adjusted puppy. There’s nutrition, which directly affects immediate and life-long health. There’s socialization, which determines how a dog reacts and interacts to the things and people around it. There’s training, which affects how a dog behaves in response to its owner. I do my best to give my puppies a solid foundation upon which their new families must continue to build. With a good foundation and the proper continuation of that nutrition, socialization, and training, puppies can grow into happy, healthy, well-behaved members of the family.

In the last couple of weeks, the puppies have gone from fully dependent on Jade to almost fully weaned. It’s a time of big transitions for the little guys. Because the temperatures have been unseasonably warm, the puppies have been able to transition to the outdoor pen. For them, this means twice as much space, outside pottying, fresh air, and more interaction with our other dogs.

The puppies are now eating three meals a day of Life’s Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food, and they are doing so well on it! The high quality and multi-sourced proteins are so very good for young puppies. The large breed puppy food contains chicken meal (much higher protein concentration than whole chicken) and eggs as the two main protein sources. Healthy fats and antioxidants are also very important for growing puppies, as well as DHA, probiotics, prebiotics, and everything else that will help these puppies grow and develop properly.

I cannot overstate how important proper nutrition is for young puppies. All of their bodily systems (immune, musculoskeletal, digestive, neurological, etc.) are immature and still growing. Giving on-point nutrition during this developmental stage is so important! If a puppy is not well-nourished, its body cannot develop properly.

One of the most obvious vulnerabilities of puppies is their immune systems. After weaning from the protective immunities found in mom’s milk, puppies become very vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Most times, the immune system is fully developed and honestly quite hardy by 18-24 months old. However, during that in between time, I find it best to supplement puppies’ immune systems.

Now that the puppies are weaning from mom’s milk, they are starting on NuVet Plus Immune System Supplement. They each get one wafer every day to help bolster their young immune systems, especially as they get ready to head to new homes. The stress of a new home can often make puppies much more susceptible to infections, which is why supplementation can be so beneficial during this time.

As for socializing and training, the puppies are soaring through things with flying colors. Now that they are transitioned to an outdoor pen and have outdoor access for the potty business, we have been 100% accident free for the last half week! (Yay for my laundry!) We are still practicing crate training, but the puppies have been doing well so far. They do cry some, but that’s still to be expected at this age.

They have also gotten to experience some new things, such as seeing and hearing traffic, hearing a fire siren, seeing and hearing normal household sounds, etc. They haven’t been phased by anything yet. They are a very confident and happy-natured litter!

In the next week, the puppies will get a vet check, vaccinations, another round of dewormer, and then… it’s already time for them to head to new homes! There are two super sweet gentlemen available yet, so if you or a friend need a little Golden Irish love for Valentine’s Day, give me a call!

And for your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures of the puppies and my kiddos enjoying the 60 degree afternoons we have had this week!

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This puppy was so proud of finding this big stick!

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Believe it or not, this was completely unstaged! This pup crawled up into the back pocket of my stroller to hide from (and then pounce on) siblings.

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Enjoy the rest of your week!

 

Four Weeks Old

Happy Saturday!

This week, Jade’s puppies had their one month birthday! We have left the newborn puppy stage behind, and we are diving into the teething and tail wagging stage of puppyhood. Today, I took updated individual pictures of the puppies. This guy here was being a real gem for his picture! You can see the rest of the puppies on the Available Puppies page. I will note, though, that the pictures are a bit deceiving! The puppies of this litter are all very close in color, but the lighting in the pictures makes some of them (like this guy) look deceptively lighter than they really are.

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Here are a few of the highlights from the puppies’ daily routine.

Potty training

The puppies started with the Misty Method of potty training about a week and half ago. I gave them access to a corner of the pen with newspaper, and I am working on teaching them to ONLY potty on the paper. In the last two or three days, they have really started to get the idea. There are still a lot of accidents, but I am happy with the progress I’ve seen! I’ve tried a variety of different materials for the potty area in the past, but I always come back to using newspaper, especially for the training period. When the puppies potty on the paper, I lay a clean sheet of newspaper on top. This keeps the area clean, so the puppies aren’t stepping in any messes. However, it keeps the smell. Being able to smell it helps establish in the puppies’ minds where the potty area is! The flip side of this is that I have to keep the play and bed areas smelling clean to remind the puppies NOT to potty there. This means I am changing bedding several times a day, and I usually do one or two loads of puppy laundry every day. Potty training is a lot of work, but it’s worth it when they get it!

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Weaning

Four weeks marks the time that I usually begin weaning. This week the puppies got their first taste of solid food, and they didn’t need any encouragement. As soon as their little noses found the food, they all dove right in! The puppies are getting Life’s Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food. As you all know, I LOVE feeding my dogs Life’s Abundance. It contains high-quality proteins, antioxidants, probiotics, prebiotic fibers, vitamins, minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids, and DHA. Of course, it has all of that, but NONE of the unhealthy things like artificial flavors or colors. You won’t find any corn or wheat. Instead of those hard to digest grains, Life’s Abundance uses other nutritious grains like brown rice and oat groats that are better for a dog’s body. Healthy puppies are happy puppies. 🙂

Play time

Now that the puppies are fully mobile, play time is one of the most important aspects of their training. A few times a day, I let the puppies out into the large section of their pen. (They will gradually get more and more time out here as they get better with potty training.) They spend time playing with each other and playing with myself and my children. They have been briefly introduced to my other dogs, but I’ll wait until they are a few weeks older yet before they are allowed to play with the other dogs.

Socializing

The puppies get to spend some time every day upstairs in the kitchen. This gives them time to get used to normal household noises, and this is also when I work on their crate training. The puppies did very well in their first time in the crate. There was one accident but very little whining! I also practice noise desensitizing with them by playing music, sounds of fireworks, thunder, traffic, etc. at a low, background level. This helps get them used to some of those potentially frightening noises. Of course, they get plenty of socialization with people (especially the little kind) every day. 🙂

I hope you all have a great weekend!

 

 

Thankfulness Litter- 7 Weeks Old

We are in a very busy season of puppyhood these days! Very busy and very adorable. 🙂 The puppies are now fully weaned, and they are enjoying their delicious Life’s Abundance Puppy Food. Since coming off momma’s milk, they have also started on NuVet Plus Immune System Supplement. This helps bolster their young immune systems which go through a very vulnerable stage after the effects of momma’s milk and colostrum wear off. As always, they are doing very well on their new diet! Lots of energy and no tummy or digestive upsets, which means all is well on the inside. They have bright eyes and beautiful coats, which means all is well on the outside, too!

They puppies have had their health exams, got their first vaccinations, and got to experience their first baths and ear cleanings! (They were less than enthusiastic about that last one.) It has definitely been an exciting few weeks.

The puppies are reaching the point where they have SO MUCH energy! Running, jumping, sniffing, and chewing are some of the most important things for these little guys. Watching them explore and experience new things is so much fun! I love to introduce my puppies to as many things as possible during the two months that they live here. The more they see, hear, and experience now will help them adjust more easily to new homes. They have gotten to hear normal household sounds- vacuum cleaner, children, doors, banging kettles, and music. They have gotten to see and hear normal outside things, as well- lawn mower, traffic, other dogs, chickens, etc. I’ll continue to broaden their small horizons as much as I can in this last week that they are here.

I briefly mentioned chewing… Puppies love to chew. Just like teething babies love something to gnaw on, chewing feels amazing to little puppies. This litter has been burning through my supply of Porky Puffs and Buffalo Bully Sticks. They absolutely LOVE them. (It’s either the treats or my toes. I’ve opted for the treats.) Doxa, as the biggest puppy, usually manages to get control of a Porky Puff by shoving her smaller siblings out of the way and then running away with it so she can chew it all by herself. (In these pictures, though, it’s Saba who got her own Porky Puff!)

When you bring home a new puppy or if you have an adult dog who still loves to chew, you will thank yourself for keeping good, healthy chews on hand! It keeps them occupied and busy, it keeps them from chewing or destroying things they shouldn’t, and it’s very good for their dental health. Chewing helps puppies to lose their baby teeth and work in the adult ones, and chewing is an excellent (and easy) way to keep adult teeth clean.

But I always give this suggestion with a word of warning. Not all dog chews are healthy- or safe! If you have an aggressive chewer, plastic or rubber chew toys can be questionable. (My Golden Retriever hasn’t yet found a toy she can’t rip apart and eat.) And not all “edible” chews are healthy. Many of them, especially raw hides, are very hard on the digestive system. Buy with caution. I suggest edible chews with healthy ingredients and no preservatives or artificial colors or flavors. My favorite Life’s Abundance products, hand-down, are their chewing treats- Porky Puffs, Buffalo Bully Sticks, and Buffalo Lungs. Safe, healthy, and AMAZING. The Buffalo Lungs are in a big bag (great value for the price!), but they are a slightly softer chew. The Porky Puffs and Bully Sticks are harder treats that will keep a puppy busy for a few days. You can see all the different treats and chews here.

Crate training is also a big deal at this age. I crate the puppies for short periods to help them get used to the idea of a crate and establish the habit of not going potty in the crate. Usually when I first put them in the crate, one of two of them will cry and whine piteously for a while. But a good dose of tough love wins out. Within half an hour or so, all of them give up and snuggle together to sleep. Relaxation and rest is what I like to see for crate time. The crate is supposed to be a place of peace and quiet, where a puppy (and older dog) can go to rest and take a break. In my opinion, crate training is the best way to work at house training a puppy.

Although, this is undoubtedly a very busy stage with puppies, it is probably my favorite. There is so much to teach and practice, and they are simply a lot of fun!

I hope you are all having a wonderful week! I’m going to head outside and enjoy some enthusiastic puppy kisses before the afternoon is spent!

The Thankfulness Litter- Almost 4 Weeks Old

It’s been one month with this litter already! And they are all doing fantastic! Doxa still leads the pack in weight. She’s over five pounds, while her three siblings are about four and a quarter to four and a half pounds.

Now is the time that the fun really begins. In the past week, the puppies have really begun changing and becoming aware of the world around them. They have gone from sleeping nearly all the time, to exploring their whelping box and playing with each other. They still sleep a lot, but they are certainly reaching a new and more active stage of puppyhood.

We have been spending some time working on potty training now that the puppies are able to get around. I gave them access to a small area outside their nest filled with shredded newspaper. This gives them a place to do their business away from the sleeping area, which is a natural instinct puppies have. I try to harness this natural desire to leave the nest to pee and poop and teach them the habit of going in a particular place. By doing this, I give them some foundational crate training skills, and it helps to keep their sleeping area much cleaner. In another week or so, I will give the puppies access to a large play area. I will wait until I feel like they have a good grasp of the potty area, so that they will continue to use the designated potty area and keep the new play area clean, as well. It’s always a work in progress; but the more they learn now, the easier crate training and house training will be for their new families!

Here you can see the puppies exploring the whole pen. I labeled each section of the pen, if you can read my chicken scratch. Also note the wet newspaper in the potty area- that’s a mark of success!

Next week begins a very fun part of raising puppies- weaning! The puppies will be ready to begin eating solid food. As always, my puppies get nothing but the best food. Nutrition plays a HUGE role in puppies’ health! My adults and my puppies very rarely get sick, and I attribute that to excellent nutrition and healthy activity levels.

These cute little guys will be starting on Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy food.

A few of the things I love the most about this particular kind of food (and I have tried several brands in my years as a breeder) are:

*It contains only high quality proteins. Protein is essential for all bodily functions (brain, heart, muscles, skin, coat, bones, etc), and not all protein is created equally. Life’s Abundance has quality controlled protein sources of chicken meal (which is more nutrient dense than whole chicken) and eggs.

*It is enriched with DHA and contains guarantee probiotics, prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, and a complete array of essential vitamins and minerals.

*It hasn’t been sitting on a store shelf for months! Life’s Abundance makes their food in small, weekly batches. This means when I order food, I know it is as fresh as possible, and fresh food is more nutrient rich.

*It has all of the good stuff and none of the bad! No artificial flavors or colors. No corn or wheat or corn/wheat glutens. None. Ever. Corn and wheat are very difficult for dogs to digest, meaning they can irritate the digestive system and provide very little nutritional benefit.

This isn’t just “puppy food.” This is a top-of-the-line, nutritious diet. I have seen the positive effects of good nutrition, and I simply cannot overstate the importance.

The other fun part of this age is that my daughter finally gets to play with the puppies. She has been able to hold them briefly, but now the puppies are able to interact a little bit. This also means, I hear her pleading, toddler voice ask me about a million times every day, “Mommy, let’s go play with the puppies!” And thus begins the puppies’ socialization with children. 🙂 The rough little hands, unpredictably loud and shrill voices, and the fast movements of children are excellent experiences for puppies! Not only do they learn to tolerate it, but they grow to love it, too! Eventually, my job changes from protecting the puppies’ from my daughter’s excited play to protecting my daughter from the puppies’ excited play. 🙂

I hope you all have a good weekend, and remember to be thankful for each new day!

Puppy Update: 5 Weeks Old!

If I have learned anything in the past few weeks it has been that everyone needs a Golden Irish. Seriously, these puppies are ADORABLE! I see so many of the great attributes of both parent breeds all mixed together in a litter of floppy-eared puppy sweetness.

The puppies have the playful and confident Irish Setter nature, but it’s toned down just a bit by the affectionate and gentle Golden Retriever personality. All these puppies want to do is play and love on whoever is close by. When I bring food to the puppies in the morning, I am greeting with happy barks and wagging tails, and my feet are swarmed by a mob of fluffy, wiggly puppies. (Not a bad start to the day. I highly recommend it!)

And I’m certainly not the only one enjoying the puppies! At least a dozen times a day, my daughter asks to go play with them. This is definitely one of the biggest benefits of family-raised puppies. Every day the puppies are loved on (and carted around by) a toddler. Although my daughter does very well with the puppies, she’s still a toddler. Gentleness is a tough concept to grasp. The puppies become very accustomed to being picked up and squeezed by little arms. They aren’t frightened by her loud squeals and giggles. In fact, they learn to LOVE it!

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Besides playing and enjoying all the sweetness, there is a lot of work going on with the puppies, as well! At five weeks old, the puppies are well on their way to being weaned. I begin weaning at four weeks old, and I transition them slowly off of mama’s milk with the goal of having them fully weaned between six and seven weeks old.

Right now, the puppies are eating Life’s Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food mixed with raw goat milk. For the first while, the food needs to be softened. Once the puppies are used to chewing and using those needle-sharp teeth, I stop adding the goat milk. I like using goat milk over just water, because goat milk adds nutrients, protein, and healthy fat. This is beneficial for the puppies who are slower to wean.

Once the puppies are weaned off of their mother’s milk, their immunity is weakened. Because of this, each of the puppies will be started on NuVet Plus Immune System Supplements. These supplements help build and protect the young immune systems. Because of the antioxidants in the supplement, it’s also beneficial for the puppies to be receiving them during while getting their puppy shots. Some studies have shown that puppies who have received antioxidant supplements are able to give a better immune system response to their puppy vaccines.

In addition to the weaning process, the puppies are continuing their early training and socializing. They are getting to interact with our other dogs, and they are getting to experience new sights and sounds like lawn mowers, thunder, and vacuum cleaners. Next week, I will also begin crate training! I’m very pleased with how the puppies are doing with their potty training so far; and I’m sure that by eight weeks old, they will have a solid foundation to begin the house breaking process at their new homes.

This litter has been a lot of fun so far, and Jade has done a wonderful job as a first time momma! I am looking forward to the weeks ahead with these sweet little pups!

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