After about 10 days, the puppies will start to open their eyes. By 2 weeks of age they can see pretty well and are able to find the mother easily if they get separated. The puppies are learning to walk but are still very wobbly. At this point, they are still just eating and sleeping. They have not become playful yet. The mother is doing all the work taking care of her litter, feeding and cleaning up after them.
The puppies get stronger and more active every day. It is important to spend time with the mother and her litter so the pups become accustomed to people and get used to being handled. Socialization is one your most important jobs in raising puppies. The mother dog will start to need help keeping the whelping bin clean and will be willing to spend time away from the puppies while they are sleeping.
Around 4 weeks of age, the puppies are getting their tiny, very sharp teeth. The mother dog will want to spend less time nursing because it becomes increasingly painful. At this point, the process of weaning should begin. At times when the mother is away from the litter, place a dish of slightly warmed milk in the bin. The puppies will be curious and come over to investigate. Some of the more adventurous pups will stick their noses in the bowl. In order to get all the puppies familiar with the milk, bring each one to the bowl and dip your finger into the milk, then put it on their nose and mouth so they will get the smell and taste. As they are learning to drink from the dish, they may topple face first into the milk. This looks very funny but it does not discourage them! It is amazing how fast they take to the milk. Continue this 2-3 times a day between the mothers nursing.
After a few days, ground up some dry premium puppy kibble in a blender until it becomes a powder. Mix a little bit in the milk. It will still be totally liquid but will have some kibble powder floating in it. This is to introduce the taste of the puppy kibble. Gradually add more kibble to the milk so it becomes more of a mush and make sure the puppies have a bowl of water at all times. At this point you can switch from using milk to using water to make the mush. As they get more kibble, they will need to nurse less and less. The pups teeth will be getting bigger and stronger so you can begin to add whole pieces of kibble into the mush. The mother will be spending less time with the litter. This prepares her for the time when the puppies are all gone to their new homes.
There should be food and water available to the pups at all times and the whelping bin or whatever area the puppies are staying in will need to be cleaned often. If the weather is warm enough, the pups can spend some time playing outside. This is when the puppies will be the most fun, so enjoy them before they are off to their lives with their new family
Joseph M. Sabol is a world class doberman breeder. For further information go to http://theroadhousedobes.com sponsored by Nuvet Pet Vitamins http://petvitamins4u.com
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