With the puppies activity and brain development growing every day, it’s time to start “ramping up” their environment. So, Ken built a ramp and we introduced it to them in the evening! This will give them added confidence in their steps, will challenge them in their problem solving skills and will create yet one more surface for them to get used to. In addition it gives them a nice, easy way to enter and exit the whelping box. They didn’t let the grass grow under their feet at all when checking it out-I barely got it into the area and placed it over the entry way of the whelping box and they were clamoring up one side and down the other wondering what the new addition was in their area! It’s so much fun to see what they do every time we add something new to their play area. We try to keep it interesting by rotating toys and changing up the space so they have something different and engaging to play with and they seem to love the variety!
They are 4 weeks old now, so we will be increasing their space after tomorrow’s video shoot to include the front entry. This will double their current space and give them even more room to explore! With that additional space, they will now become enveloped in the family happenings and get used to increased noises, activity, and a little bit more of “real life”. They are also getting big enough that we are removing the “pig rails” in the whelping box (the frame around the inside so that they have a space to scoot under if Sugar were to accidentally lay on them)
At this point, if it were warmer, they would start going outside regularly for potty breaks, but unfortunately the weather isn’t going to allow that process so we will make it work with the potty pads instead!
It’s too cold for them to walk outside right now, but teaching them new environment adaptation means they get to go out for brief 30 second “jacket excursions” on the “warmer” days (Minnesota definition of warmer)!
And now the fun begins! They are old enough to slowly introduce visitors into their lives! They have made it through the critical stages in as close to a germ free environment as possible and now visitors will come to help socialize them so that they are well adjusted to many different people, handling, voices, and situations! While it’s important to not have TOO many visitors to wear them out or expose them unnecessarily to anything that may make them sick, it’s a critical stage in their development. This is a serious concern not to be taken lightly with puppies that haven’t had their vaccinations yet. Because of this visitors have guidelines about not exposing the puppies to external germs from dog parks, vets, pet stores and even their own dogs. They will also be introduced to our resident dog Maddie to meet other dogs:)
So, where are they currently in their development? According to Puppy Behavior and Development at Dogtime , these are some of the high points of their age:
The socialization stage: Three to twelve weeks
- A puppy needs occasions to meet other pets and people during this stage.
- By three to five weeks, play becomes important as a puppy becomes aware of his or her surroundings, companions (both people and dogs), and relationships.
- The influence of the puppy’s littermates increases at four to six weeks as he or she learns more about being a dog.
- From four to twelve weeks, a puppy’s interaction with people becomes more influential. With littermates, the puppy learns to play, develops social skills, learns the inhibited bite, explores his or her social boundaries and hierarchy, and improves physical coordination.
- By five to seven weeks, a puppy needs positive human interaction as he or she develops curiosity and explores new experiences.
They have now sprouted their bottom row of teeth as well, and by day 45 they should have 28 teeth filling that tiny mouth of theirs! Ouch! soon my hands will have bite marks all over them from the sharp puppy teeth and I will look like I’ve been in a battle with someone and I lost……