Here are Leda’s boys now — these pictures were taken from about three and a half weeks to four and a half weeks.
Tiny Boy 4 has changed to Somewhat Smallish Boy 4, as he has started to catch up to the others. There’s only a three-ounce difference now. He’s still not as plump, but he’s working on that. Really into food, that’s for sure!
It’s just astonishing how different two litters of related puppies of the same breed can be. Leda’s boys are half-sibs to Morgan’s puppies from last year because in each case the father is Ishmael. They’re also cousins once removed, I guess? Because Morgan is Leda’s full niece. I think that makes their puppies cousins once removed. Anyway, they’re related by about three-eighths or so. But they’re so different!
A) Morgan’s puppies were VERY HARD TO WEAN. They were right up there with the most difficult puppies I’ve ever raised. They refused everything — puppy kibble soaked in formula or in water; meat baby food; Royal Canin puppy starter, which is super-palatable. They weaned straight onto hard kibble when they were about six weeks old. Well, some puppies are like that. This was the second litter of mine that did that.
In contrast, Leda’s puppies were SUPER EASY TO WEAN. They were all delighted to try plain formula, kibble soaked in formula, kibble soaked in water, anything. You put it in front of them and they dive right in. Feet in the dish, shoving for a place, making a total mess, but wow, are they happy to eat real food. Even the plumpest, which is Boy 3. I’ve basically allowed Leda to quit nursing completely. She joins the puppies to clean up after mealtime, but she walks in circles and scoots back out of the puppy room pretty fast.
B) Morgan’s puppies were FRONT OF THE ROOM puppies. They never noticed they had a den. They crowded up to the gate and nestled down on the dog bed there. That’s where they slept 100% of the time.
Leda’s puppies are DEN puppies. They sleep in the doorway of their den and, when startled or if the room starts to get cooler than they like, they retire into the den. They sleep at or in the den 100% of the time.
C) We shall soon see how these puppies compare for the super-important third criterion for puppy raising: housetraining.
Morgan’s litter were SUPER EASY TO HOUSETRAIN. I mean, for me. The new owner must also remain attentive and finish the job. I’m good at housetraining puppies, however, as you’d expect. I realize that normal puppies become reliable from four to eleven months, more or less, and I’m therefore calm about the whole process and just persist until the puppy is reliable. BUT, all that aside, I certainly appreciate puppies that catch on fast, and Morgan’s puppies did. The one that stayed with me till she was seventeen weeks old? That puppy never had an accident in her new home, I hear. [Buffs fingernails on shirt, looks smug.]
Will Leda’s boys be EASY or HARD or something in between? No way to tell. BUT, this coming week is when I will start taking them outside. I housetrain at first solely by providing chances for the puppies to do their business outdoors. All puppies want to move away from their den to do their thing, unless their cleanliness instinct has been destroyed by being caged in a pet store or puppy mill during these important early weeks. You can turn the cleanliness instinct into an indoors-bad-outdoors-good idea with relative ease if you provide consistent opportunities to go outside at tactically sensible times, such as right after the puppies wake up and right after they eat. I won’t correct mistakes at all until they’re eight or nine weeks, and by then they should be very, very clear on the idea that Outside Is Good.
I really wish one of these puppies was a girl. With tremendous structure and a lovely head. I’m going to be really sorry to let them all go.