From the day your litter of puppies is born, to the day the puppies go home to their new, forever families, it might be only eight weeks.
Very young puppies sleep a great deal. In the case of a singleton puppy, mother is all: food, playmate, cuddle companion. Our job was to handle him in appropriate, stimulating ways, exposing him to feelings and sounds, textures and toys, smells and tastes.
Our puppy was excited to learn new things, eager to explore, but somewhat ambivalent about food. He’d taste it, but he preferred what he got from his mother. So, we waited.
New toys, new challenges, new adventures were in order. Enough to help him build skills like climbing stairs, but remaining sensitive to anything too hard, dangerous, or scary.
Daily weigh-ins ended. Grackle the kitten went from playing with the toys he could reach from the outside of the puppy pen to jumping into the pen.
While I was away at the Vizsla National, the Bacon Provider discovered the right food to get the puppy interested. Suddenly, he found Eggi was done nursing. There were a couple of long nights. But soon, the puppy was eating more, playing harder, and sleeping longer at night. Eggi was relieved to sleep alone in her crate as she had before the puppy.
The Bacon Provider started the house training in earnest. By the time I was home from Virginia, the puppy was ready to have some temperament testing, and some conformation assessment; the consensus of my professionals was that he was both wonderful and ready to go.
We felt that we’d done our job, and even that we’d done it well.
Our puppy’s new family has given him a name that means little fire. They have other dogs for him to play with, elementary school-aged children who adore him, and farm animals. He goes to work with his new owner, and by all reports they are delighted with him.
I am so happy for him. And I miss him.