We are on a natural weaning course right now. Rhumb is engaging the pups in more and more play, and they are looking to their Mama for more and more play, but I think when Rhumb becomes milk full, she really wants to nurse them to relieve that pressure.
For example, none of the pups really wanted to nurse before the lights went out, and Rhumb wasn’t feeling it either, but she did get up at 2am this morning and was pawing to get in with her puppies, and when we let her in, she laid down and let them nurse away.
They slept until nearly 7:15am this morning, and when we took them all out to go potty, and play in the rain for a bit, neither Rhumb nor the pups had any desire to nurse again.
So it is the natural process of growing up, letting go, and forming new relationships. I love watching processes happen as they are intended.
We just fed breakfast, I made a new mix, another ‘mish-mash’ of what we had in the freezer, and they loved it. A raw grind consisting of – whole duck, lamb muscle, lamb liver, beef muscle, elk muscle, whole chicken, spinach, chard, bananas, pear, and apple.
They went out and played in the rain for a bit, but the rain is on the cusp of sleet/snow, so it was a bit chilly. Now we have sleepers, kind of sleepers, and want to be players, but the weather seems to have a sleepy quality today.
Pork Chop is learning how to ‘kennel up’ in his airline carry-on Sherpa bag. He is in fact the bag, but it is all vented and he did super good this morning. I will try to film another session this afternoon.
Everyone is asking if I am using ‘rewards’ with the puppies yet, yes I am. I am using Steve’s Real Food Freeze Dried Raw nuggets. There are three things they will go home with for sure, maybe more, but for sure three.
1 – RECALL – When I say “puppy puppy puppy” even if they are outside, they will race up the stairs to get to me. I say this when I put their food down to eat, when I want them to come to me for a big snuggle, and when I have rewards to offer. This word phrase will be ‘that’ phrase in their vocabulary forever and more, that will be hard wired to come as fast as possible.
2 – NAME GAME – When I say the puppies name I give them a reward. I can say one of the puppies names now, at 8 weeks of age, and they will turn to look at me. Whether the new owners keep their ‘Romper Room Names’ or not, they will have an emergency ‘come’ if they need it. Right now Mama Beetz and Pork Chop have the strongest recognition, but they will all turn to their own name more or less every time.
3 – HUP – When I lead the puppies nose up and over a platform or bucket and say HUP the puppy will get up with all fours onto the platform or bucket, then I say YES and reward. I am teaching the puppies a ‘platform game’ and each one has their own, so they hold their own space and then wait for me to say their name and reward. This encourages each puppy to use their own self control and patience, or rather to tolerate a delay in attention and the pending reward.
To answer some of the other questions –
And no they are not potty trained, they are doing a great job of learning where to go, and making outside choices if possible, but they are too young to always make the right choices.
And they are still teething, most likely until 13-18 months, but they are building better bite inhibition each day and we are all losing less and less blood, so we are grateful.
And they are all barking now, because that is what dogs do, it is part of their communication. Pork Chop is the least barkiest of the bunch, if he really wants to communicate his point he just body slams or lays on one of his litter mates, Seiche and Skye love their voices, and Massimo just let his voice fly this morning. Mama Beetz doesn’t bark often but when she does she seems to have perfect control over what she is trying to say.
So here are some rainy day photos, I do hear the pitter-pat of paws over my head right now and that tells me that everyone is awake and ready for round two. Nancy
Click on any photo to enlarge and then you can scroll through with ease.