During the third week and sometimes at the end of the second puppies have open eyes and they are walking around their pen enough for us to introduce puppy gruel. Feeding time is a bonding time with any baby. When a puppy learns to bond with us he will transfer this skill to his new family. We pat and cuddle and encourage during mealtime. We start by offering a spoon to the puppy first with gruel and then with water. In a few days he learns that often our arrival at the puppy pen means food and scrambles to the dish himself.
During the last part of the three weeks we introduce new objects in the puppy pen every day. This is an important to build his puppy confidence.
At three weeks the puppy moves downstairs into the relative chaos of the household. For the first time puppy can watch the coming and going of other dogs, children and visitors to the house. The puppy is walking and living in a completely new space. Every day there is a different sort of bed to sleep on, a new toy in the pen, and a new sensation. We pick up puppy and cuddle him on his back, ruffle his fur and give him lots of tactile experiences.
Often when people think of puppy training their first thought is appropriate bathroom behaviour. At three weeks of age when puppy comes downstairs to be part of the household. They begin in a pen with a large comfy bed for mum and babies to cuddle in. Beside the bed is a small play area with toys. Surrounding the area are trays of litter. It is in this litter the puppies go to the bathroom. It is hard for them to go anywhere else because when their little legs stumble out of bed that is where they land. They quickly learn that the wood stove pellets that we use are absorbent and make a very nice bathroom. As they grow the play area gets larger and the potty area gets further away from their bed.
This absorbent material easily translates to ground and grass out of doors.
When puppy is between 5 and 6 weeks old, depending on the weather, we take her out after every meal. In the morning it is a good long walk about, weather permitting. We praise her when she pees and poops. Many of them start right away to go off of the path into the bushes to poop.
Although at between ten and eleven weeks when puppy goes home he should have a good idea what the great outdoors is for, he is not completely ‘potty trained’. A young puppy has a small bladder and a forming brain. It is usually we people who are trained until he is older and achieves greater bladder control and a clearer understanding of human expectations.