Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Winston and Sophie Puppies Are 5 Weeks Old

The ability to really influence a puppy's brain begins between four and five weeks of age.  We are now in what is often termed the "critical period" of development.  This period extends from three weeks to sixteen weeks of age.  Busy times ahead with lots of positive new experiences for the puppies.

Sophie continues to be an enormous influence on her pups.  She will snuggle with the puppies and gently play with them.  It is beautiful to watch them interact with one another. She is still nursing them even though they have begun to eat solid foods.  Nursing is a developmental opportunity for the puppies as they jostle for space at the milk bar and now that their teeth have begun to emerge...valuable lessons in bite inhibition have also begun.

Housebreaking training is well underway.  The puppies are regularly using the potty box.  Their pen has lots of toys for them to play with which are regularly exchanged for new and different ones.  A crate was added to their pen and they love crawling in it for naps.  

Here are a couple of videos taken of the pups playing in their pen.

The weather cooperated this week and short visit outside have begun.  There are many new sights and sounds in the yard for the puppies to explore.  

A quick snack "al fresco"
Rogue and Duke pose for the camera.
One of the things we do with the pups while they are in our care is follow the "Rules of Seven" developed by Pat Schaap, a longtime Sheltie breeder.  By the time the puppies are seven weeks old they should have:
  • Been on 7 different types of surfaces:  carpet, concrete, wood, vinyl, grass, dirt, gravel, wood chips
  • Played with 7 different types of objects:  big balls, small balls, soft fabric toys, fuzzy toys, squeaky toys, paper of cardboard items, metal items, sticks or hose pieces
  • Been in 7 different locations:  front yard, back yard, basement, kitchen, car, garage, laundry room, bathroom
  • Met and played with 7 new people:  include children and older adults, someone walking with a cane or stick, someone in a wheelchair or walker
  • Been exposed to 7 challenges:  climb on a box, climb off a box, go  through a tunnel, climb steps, go down steps, climb over obstacles, play  hide and seek, in and out of a doorway with a step up or down, run around  a fence
  • Eaten from 7 different containers;  metal, plastic, cardboard, paper,  china, pie plate, frying pan
  • Eaten in 7 different locations:  crate, yard, kitchen, basement, laundry  room, living room, bathroom
Visitors are a regular occurrence now that the pups have moved downstairs.
I hope you enjoy our weekly blog posts about Northrock's "E" litter.  If you would like to see more photos and videos of the pups I invite you to like our Facebook page Northrock Barbets where I try to post photos of the little muppets on a daily basis.

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