I have a couple puppy-picture-theme posts in mind. I was thinking about a series showing that we do, in fact, live at Toys R Us for dogs. I also have tons of cute "I love my brother/sister" shots.
I think we need to discuss the crate. Some people think crate training is cruel, but we do not. It is good for them to have a safe place where they can't hurt themselves or get into trouble. Dogs like to have a "den" and a crate satisfies this need. It also helps in housebreaking, as dogs will not soil their crate if at all possible because it's where they sleep. They spend plenty of time both in and out of the crate.
When we leave the house, the pups are always in their crate. If we aren't watching them, they're in the crate. When we go to bed at night, they're in the in the crate. This might sound like a lot of time, but really they spend more time sleeping passed out on the tile floor than anywhere else. And we're suckers and allow it.
At first, they weren't happy about the crate. I can understand this, especially considering where they came from. They lived in an outside pen with several other siblings. They were away from their parents, away from the breeders (don't even get me started on what I think of these people) and that's where they stayed. Imagine being only almost seven weeks old and being taken away from your siblings, on a long car ride where you threw up, with strange people, to a strange place, and put in a small (comparatively) pen. It was obvious they were scared.
So we comforted them, reassured them, took them out to go potty regularly, and put them back in the crate. The crate was in our bedroom at night so we'd hear them whine, and in the kitchen during the day. They huddled together and got used to this, but it seemed like they had a hard time falling asleep/staying asleep while we were in the room. I guess humans are just too much fun. So we tried moving the crate downstairs and they sleep much, much better.
If a crate is too big, a dog can use one side of it for sleeping and the other side for a bathroom. We needed to figure out a way to make the crate temporarily smaller. We put a large pillow and a large stuffed dog on one side to block it off. Usually they would pull the puppy down and sleep on it or next to it. This will be good for size comparison later!
(all pictures are at 7 weeks old)
to be continued...