The time has come for the puppies to understand that they have teeth-and they know how to use them!!! They now go bounding across the play area at one of their siblings and go right for their weak spots of the ears, nose, toes or tail and chomp down with intent. Out comes a yelp which gets me to come running to make sure no catastrophe has befallen the group, only to find out that they are actively involved in puppy play! No matter how many times they do it, I fall for it each time and it’s yet another opportunity to drift back to when I was raising our girls and I would come running at any suggestion that pain was happening, assuming the role of protective mother and knowing full well that these are the situations that have to happen to let them learn. And so I give the puppies a mini mom lecture on how to treat your siblings with kindness and I put them back down where they immediately run right back to what they were doing and start mauling each other with a force only a puppy knows:)
Today’s enrichment toy is a wobble board that I made this weekend and I was laughing at them for how curious they are with EVERY new item that comes into their play area! (I’m not sure what I would have gotten done if the weather was nice. You know it’s a serious case of puppy fever when you don’t mind being stuck in the house still and you secretly are happy to hear about the cold weather so that you have no reason to get out and do all of the things that are accumulating on your to-do list…..) This wobble board will enforce confidence in the puppies even when their footing is unsure and the floor is “moving” underneath them. This transfers over to many personality traits of the puppies and giving them confidence early on is so important so that they have the tools to deal with stressful situations in the future. This doesn’t mean that they will never be unsure of a situation, sound or object; it just means that hopefully through this process it will build good problem solving skills and confidence so that when they do encounter something that they are unsure of that they recover quickly, they realize that they don’t have to panic and they are able to continue their work at hand. It has been amazing to me to continue to learn just how important a puppy’s first 8 weeks are in their future success as a well adjusted dog.
Their socialization with other visitors has started and they seem to love the extra play time that they get with humans now! They sleep for longer periods of time when they DO sleep, and they are now sleeping for 6 hours through the night! You learn to appreciate a night of 6 hours worth of sleep so much more after 4 weeks of much less than that! So, these puppies continue to be a gift by giving me opportunities to appreciate the smaller things in life-learning that being in an x-pen snuggling with puppies, having 7 beautiful puppies run to greet you at 5am in the morning, and watching the play of a litter of pups can light your day just as much as anything else you could possibly imagine!