Fitting into family life
Just before they were four weeks old, the Mystical litter moved into the kitchen, so that they are able to get out of the run and start to explore the house, but in a safe (puppy-proof!) environment. It’s been lovely watching them in the run while we watch TV, but there is more space in our kitchen. They still have access to the outside run, which is also a bit bigger.
The puppies now start to be exposed to ‘normal household sounds’. This includes the vacuum cleaner obviously, but also all the other noises, such as the washing machine, dishwasher and the incredibly scary sound of the pepper mill! They all ran and hid when Chris was seasoning the potatoes!
A cosy crate
I have put a crate up in the run, mainly so that Busy can safely and easily jump in and out of the run when the gate is closed. She needs to access the run to feed the pups whenever she chooses, but she also needs to be able to escape! Otherwise they just feed and feed and feed and…
Interestingly, when the crate is there, the puppies choose to sleep inside it, often piled up in a heap. Even more interestingly, they don’t toilet inside the crate – ever! They wee everywhere else in the run, including on the vet bed out there, but in the crate the vetbed stays clean and dry.
Lots of people think crates are cages and frown on their use. I see it as a cosy, safe space. You wouldn’t lie a baby in the middle of the floor to sleep would you? Puppies and dogs like a nice hole to sleep in, if they can get one. Busy loves sleeping under a table in a corner of the kitchen. Read more thoughts on crates/cages here.
Crying for attention
Around this age, puppies start to be aware of company and how to attract attention. My husband and I call this attractive trait ‘seagulling’ because they sound just like seagulls! It’s a horrible, screeching noise, which can be hard to deal with (especially at 5am).
Despite being ‘home-bred’ puppies, my dogs are not given my undivided attention – that would be ridiculous! I am fortunate that I have worked from home for the last 25 years, so I am around most of the time, but that doesn’t mean I’m not busy. This week has been particularly full.
I cuddle my puppies every day, making sure they are handled, cuddled, kissed and generally loved. Equally, I leave them to sleep and grow. As they get older, the balance shifts and they gradually spend more time around us. But at this age, they still need to sleep plenty of time. The seagulling can be when they are getting tired, but don’t want to go back to sleep – just like babies!
Your other dogs
If you have another dog, as all the owners of this litter do, you need to think about how you are going to manage the puppy alongside your older dog. It is difficult to judge when is the best time to get a second dog and there is no right answer. I do know that the older dogs are unlikely to be thrilled when the puppy arrives!
Whatever happens, you need to make time for your older dog and ensure that they still get individual attention. I always train my puppy separately from the other dogs until they are at least 5 months old. It’s better for both dogs if you do this.
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