The pups reached the two-week mark on Wednesday. They're all healthy, perfectly formed, their eyes are open and can hear already.
Shortly after they were born, and I saw that Princess trusts me, I stroked and fondled each one a little every time I was out there. I'm at the puppy shed about eight times a day: they're so adorable I can't get enough of them. But if they're asleep, I don't disturb them as they start crying and Princess, lying outside the enclosure, comes to inspect, and ultimately feeds them!
Although they're moving around in their hut, they seem to sleep most of the time. This weekend I saw them playing with each other, though and one even tried to clamber out over the obstacle in the doorway.
The pups are sitting up, waddling around the hut, interacting with each other...
...and playing rough-and-tumble with each other!
The first two weeks of a puppy's life are about survival. The puppy is born utterly dependent -- unable to see, hear, walk, or even sustain his own body temperature. He does, however, have the sense of smell, as well as the sense of touch, and he'll use both to find and remain near his mother, the source of warmth and food. During this time the puppy spends 10 percent of his time eating and 90 percent of his time sleeping, often twitching, kicking and whimpering as he slumbers in what is called "activated sleep." This sleep activity is the new-born puppy's only means of exercise, and it helps his muscles strengthen and develop.
Into week two, the puppy's eyes usually open now, followed by his ears. Many experts recommend that the breeder pet and handle the puppy for at least three to five minutes every day at this point. A puppy that receives gentle human handling tends to have improved cardiovascular performance and disease resistance. He also matures faster, develops better problem-solving skills and is better able to tolerate stress as an adult dog.
At the beginning of the third week, the puppy enters a transition period. Already able to hear and see, he's now working on his motor skills. Here he stops crawling on his belly and begins to stand and walk around. His teeth begin to emerge and he can lap liquids. He's becoming a typical playful puppy, wagging his tail and playing with litter-mates. Experts urge responsible dog owners to start exposing the puppy to new objects and experiences now; a variety of toys, different areas of the house (in our case, going out into the enclosure for a short while at a time) and getting different people to handle him gently. (to be continued)
So on Saturday I decided to go sit inside the hut and cuddle the pups. All good and well. Except as soon as I sat down on the floor, with the pups crawling all over my legs, Madam Princess stepped into the already overcrowded space. She lay down on my left, wedged in between my hip and the hut wall, with her head on my lap. Immediately the pups clambered over her, each "pulling up a bar stool" and beginning to drink. I could still pet the pups while they suckled and give Princess a well-deserved cuddle as well.
Princess squeezes in between me and the hut wall!
Awww, mum, I need cuddling too!
Grant loved the upside down pup burrowing for milk!
While Princess gets up close and personal with me, I could still reach out and stroke a pup here and there
And a pat for Princess
This morning Michael and I moved onto the next stage: taking the pups outside the hut. More about this tomorrow.
I hope you're all still having a great weekend.