I believe I have said this before, but time flies when you mark it by puppy milestones. I am always shocked by how much growing these pups cram into the eight very short weeks we have them before they go out to puppy raisers. We are now in the middle of week two, but start at the very beginning. You know it’s a very fine place to start.
I have to give the disclaimer while I am amazed at how the grow and change, the first few weeks are my least favorite. I feel the same way about two-legged kids – keep the infants, give me a toddler any day! Right now the pups are very much like infants they are driven only to sleep and eat. They have NO problem doing that – trust me.
During the first few weeks they live in the whelp box with Sabina. We are lucky that she is a very attentive mom. She take great pride in keeping the pups clean and tidy. She is super cautious moving around the pups, she moves around them tentatively reluctant to move unless given a command and encouragement to do it. I love that about her. Some mama dogs loose their desire to eat in and around whelp time. Not a problem here – Sabina is always eating as much as we allow her to.
Our time is spent making sure the temperature in the room is comfortable, that bedding is clean, and doing quick health checks when we weigh the puppies. The puppies are weighed twice a day at this point. Steady weight gain is a good sign that the pups are doing well. Sabina is notorious for getting mastitis so we closely monitor her closely. Mastitis is a serious condition that requires veterinary intervention. The Canine Companions vet, Dr. Daniels, is absolutely amazing and always helps us navigate this portion to make sure that we keep Sabina healthy and comfortable.
Right now we are in the middle of week two – and there is decidedly more activity. The pups are really starting to navigate around the whelp box. Each litter seems to have their own preferred temperature – this litter likes it between 72 and 74 degrees. This is a welcome discovery for Mama Bean as she is always hot anyway. In addition to the room temperature the pups sleep in piles – or not – to keep themselves comfortable.
At this point we are pretty much just hanging out watching them – trust me it is mesmerizing. Oh and doing laundry. These little pups generate 2-3 loads of laundry a day. I am not kidding. Between washing bedding and all of the little hand towels we use to keep after little messes and quick clean ups of mama. Week two brings lots of changes: eyes begin to open between the 12th and 15th day; starting around the 6th day their hearing will be fully functioning by day 17. The pups do have some sense of smell at birth, but their sniffers won’t be fully up and running until day 21. The best part is that in addition to all of the physical changes going on, we are starting to see glimmers of their personalities as well. Certainly signs that the best is yet to come.