The puppies are four weeks old today and at possibly the cutest stage. Well, until next week.
At right is how they look most of the time. They're just starting to play. They actually started last week, but it was more bumping into each other and biting. Now they actually look, focus, attack!
We have a webcam on them a few hours a day (when it is working, which it is not today) and there is a chat room with the cam. That has been great! We've had webcams for several litters now, but this is the first time the puppies' prospective owners have been able to "meet" and talk to each other...loads of fun. It also allows me to get to know our new family members better before they come to pick up their puppies.
We're using Yahoo, but combined with our satellite internet service (all we can get out here other than dial-up) it has been a whole lot of trouble. I hope we'll find a better service soon.
Here's Razzle, our blue brindle boy with one of his favorite toys.
They're walking pretty well now, usually able to make about seven or eight steps before crashing.
Last week was fun. Week three is when eyes open and they start to become aware of everything around them. The first time one comes staggering towards me when I step into the whelping box always tugs at my heart. Of course, now, only a few days later, they are all stampeding, tails wagging, because they have figured out I am Food Lady.
We start them on solid food a little earlier than many breeders, and the only reason I can give is that I feel sorry for their mamas! They are so big at three weeks that they can't all fit at the bar at the same time, and she always looks so put-upon. So Saturday they had their first meal, and it looked more like mud wrestling than eating for a few meals.
But they have the hang of it now and are wolfing down four meals a day.
They all get lots of lap time every day and now we're taking them out of the box for some floor-time play too. They're having a ball exploring everything in the room, but they don't stray too far from Mama.
This next week we start to see personalities and then we'll begin to tentatively figure out which puppy would be best suited to which home. We try to give each owner a choice of at least two or three, but we do guide the choices based on our observations of the puppies' temperaments. You don't want the wildest one in the bunch to go to a quiet couple who want a couch potato, or the most reserved one to go to a home with three kids.
These are the happiest days I have. There is simply nothing I love more than raising puppies. It's a lot of work and a lot of mess, but the joy of getting these little fellows ready for their new best friends to pick them up in a few weeks is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.