A Quick Check-in From Puppies-R-Us
Posted at 03:29PM - Comments: (4)
It’s simply astonishing how fast puppies grow. Three weeks ago I wrote a post about the then-four-week-old puppies I’m fostering. Three weeks ago, they were just starting to show little bits of grown-up dog behavior: adorable little growls and barks, playing with each other, and running toward me when I call them for a meal or to go outside (or come inside).
Today, the seven Treeing Walker Coonhound puppies are seven weeks old and just the most amazing, perfectly formed little dogs. They (unfortunately) remember things they learned days ago – like how exactly they got through the barriers I erected in the kitchen to keep them out of the recycling bin, where there are crushed aluminum cans and plastic bottles just waiting to be strewn about the kitchen (so, for a while, the recycling bin will have to be relocated to a table top). Fortunately, they also remember good things, like how they can get attention and petting if they sit in front of me, rather than jumping up or biting my bare ankles (ouch!).†
Housetraining is going super well, too. I keep them in a large kennel that’s on my back porch, with a tarp under a thick bed of wood shavings. They have an enormous crate, covered with cardboard and then blankets that are holding in the warmth from an electric heating pad (the hard-plastic kind made for dogs; it only heats up to dog body’s temperatures, and turns off when there is no weight on it). When I awaken them in the morning, I open the door to their pen and rush down the porch stairs into the back yard. Just 10 days ago they couldn’t “do” stairs. Now they tumble down in a group and they all immediately halt in the dirt and go pee! Yay, puppies! Cheers and petting all around. Then we race back up the stairs, and I open the back door and let them into the kitchen. They run around and play (and try to bite my ankles, and pull on my pants legs) as I prepare their breakfast. Immediately after breakfast, we all race outside again, back down the stairs into the backyard, and now it’s poop time! It’s all routine, and hardly any more indiscriminate pottying in the kitchen.
I’m letting them into the rest of the house now, but only in ones and twos – not the whole herd. That’s tooooo much. They go in too many different directions and I don’t have the whole house puppy-proofed. Why is it that puppies this age have such a strong instinct to grab anything that looks like a cord? But I do want them to be comfortable with the sounds of the TV, vacuum, heater, stereo, people opening and closing doors, and so on, so after pottying outdoors, that’s the time to have supervised and nearly individualized indoor exploration time. (It’s a wonder I am getting anything done!)
Mama Hound still sleeps with the babies and plays with them a bit outside, but she really, really appreciates getting to come in the house and lay about with my other adult dogs in the house while I work. I remember how great it felt when my toddler son started kindergarten and I could work unencumbered for much of the day – ahhhh.† That’s how she seems to feel. She will be headed soon to the Western coordinator of the American Black & Tan Coonhound Rescue - the group that is sponsoring the whole family’s rescue, to be spayed and start treatment for her heartworm infection. At least now she’s put on some weight and is more familiar with people and loves attention and affection. I’m not sure she had any love before this group pulled her from the shelter that took her in as a stray, skinny, pregnant, and heartworm-positive. She was so shut down with stress that she seemed almost comatose. Now she’s developing some darling play behaviors and frisking about with the pups and even with my two-year old dog Woody.
If anyone is interested in a calm, sweet, low-maintenance mama dog, or one of these darling pups, check out the AB&TC website. The pups will appear on the site soon, in the “available puppies” in the Southwest region. The mom won’t be available until after her spay and heartworm treatment (unless, by some miracle, someone wants to foster-to-adopt her through that period).