Litter Care and Socialization

Birth to 1 week

• Should double birthweight by 10 days of age
• Keep warm
• Private nurse as needed
• Monitor dam – temp and glands
• Provide low stress environment for dam
• Gradually increased dam’s food
• Start BioSensor 3rd day of life, but otherwise minimal handling
• First nail trim at 1 week then weekly thereafter (human nailtrimmer)

1 to 2 weeks

• Weigh daily
• Keep warm
• Private nurse
• BioSensor
• Rapidly increase dam’s food
• Bottle feed as needed
• Gentle handling
• Toileting on own
• Eyes open
• Starting to walk
• Environmental enrichment – different textures

2-3 weeks

• 2 weeks pyrantel pamoate wormer
• Weigh every 2-3 days as needed, especially any smaller pups
• Keep warm
• Transition to puppy pen with crib bumpers (start small – size of living area about same size as litter box)
• Private nurse
• BioSensor ends Day 16
• Increased gentle handling
• Bottle feed as needed
• Ears open – gradually introduce to sound (classical music)
• Environmental enrichment – different textures, small stuffed animals
• Gradually increase dam’s food to approximately 1 cup per pup per day (adjust for milk production)
• Introduce canned food to pups at around 2 weeks

3 to 4 weeks

• Weigh 1-2x weekly
• Continue to adjust dam’s food as needed for adequate milk production and maintenance of dam’s weight
• Pen bedding – easy to clean and good traction
• Beds to cuddle in, especially if cool
• Some pups scale low half gate at around 3 weeks of age – keep padding around half gate as crash pad in case of escapees
• Send dam into pen as needed to nurse if not going in voluntarily
• Litter box training, spot clean litter box as needed
• Environmental enrichment – toys, crate doors to walk on, small crate to explore, low foot stool or aerobic step to climb
• Pups will still be sleeping a lot, do not over stimulate
• Go into pen to interact with pups, sit quietly and cuddle
• First trip outside, weather allowing- very brief and as a group
• Low volume radio and/or TV on during day
• Start feeding small amounts of soaked kibble and milk at 3 weeks
• Small water bowl in pen
• Monitor ability to drink and hydration, don’t increase kibble amount until drinking.  If diarrhea or dehydrated, bottle feed goat milk and/or water as needed
• Small puppy collars at 3 weeks
• Basic manners – no attention for paws up or barking

4 to 5 weeks

• 4 weeks pyrantel pamoate wormer
• Weigh 1-2x weekly
• Feed individually
• Send dam into pen as needed if not going in voluntarily
• A common cause of diarrhea at this age is over feeding
• Expand out puppy pen, remove bumpers
• Taller half gate with crash pad padding
• Start letting pups explore outside the pen in small groups
• Don’t create unnecessary stress by taking a pup away from its littermates
• Pups will still be sleeping a lot, do not over do the activities
• Sound effect tapes
• Radio and/or TV on during day
• Start desensitizing to bold human movements, unusual vocal sounds, sudden loud noises
• More extended time outside
• Desensitize to wearing small harness
• Lots of human interactions, cuddling, petting, focused handling
• Rude petting (mouth, feet, tail)
• Gentle restraint cradling on back
• Encourage Sit and eye contact for attention, only pick up if sitting

5 to 6 weeks

• Weigh weekly
• Dam starts weaning pups – gradually decrease her food amount
• Pups will probably be able to climb over half gate, secure pen, but send dam in to nurse as needed
• Can try “do-not-nurse clothes” to encourage the dam to continue to interact with pups
• Feed individually in crates or next to person with person’s hands around food bowl
• Increasingly more time outside of pen, mostly in groups
• Introduction to wading pool if warm enough
• Interactions with other safe older dogs
• Play tunnels
• If exposed to steps, recommend padding with a comforter – baby pups tend to tumble (top heavy)
• Brief one-on-one sessions, especially for training
• Fetch games
• “Puppy, puppy, puppy” recalls
• Desensitize to wearing small harness
• Continue CONTROLLED exposure to all sorts of novel stimuli .e., vacuum, hair dryer, loud TV
• Toileting outside when possible
• Visitations start at 5 weeks – kids, men, different ethnic groups.  Encourage visitors to wear something unusual and/or bring something novel (like a kid’s toy, athletic gear)

6 to 7 weeks

• 6 weeks pyrantel pamoate wormer
• Intranasal Bordetella vaccination (alternatively can wait until 8 weeks)
• Fecal check prior worming
• Feed in crates
• Weigh weekly
• Big puppy collars
• Encourage dam to still interact with pups, OK if she corrects
• Transition dam to normal adult maintenance rations, but still probably needs increased amount
• Increasingly more solo opportunities to explore, identify pups that are less confident and provide more opportunities to gain confidence by self
• Baby puppy training
• Find person games
• Self control – overstimulate pup and then passively wait for pup to calm down, and reward
• Bite inhibition
• Start using small cat nail trimmer instead of human nail trimmer
• Sleep overs or outings without dams in groups
• Car rides

7 to 8 weeks

• Usually too big and active to weigh easily
• Encourage dam to still interact with pups and correct them as appropriate
• Formal crate training, keep very short, possibly in pairs
• Introduction to leash –  I use a harness
• Very short walks in neighborhood (i.e., to neighbor’s house and back).  If reluctant to leave home turf, carry pup to neighbor’s house and walk back home.  Don’t restrain or pull pup, let it go at its own pace.
• Hard puppy kibble with a bit of water added

8 weeks

• First HW tab (also treats round worms) or no mosquito exposure entire 8 weeks (i.e., winter litter), no need for HW, just dose with pyrantel
• Fecal check prior to worming
• Vaccination (DAP +/- Bordetella if not previously given)
• Vet examination