With the puppies rounding the corner into their third week, it’s time to make some upgrades in their living space. They already outgrew their original little Rubbermaid tote where I’d stash ’em while I’d clean their whelping box – they all escaped en masse one day early last week, before their eyes were even open. It was weird. I’ll tell you all about it sometime in the next couple days. Aside from getting a bigger box, I put the half-partition up in the whelping box that very day even though it seemed kind of premature. But, hey – better safe than sorry, right?
The original whelping box was easy. Just the box with the railings and the fleece with the rubber bottom. Wipe down and change as necessary. Simple, effective. Here it is, in case you don’t remember. In case you’re curious, you can view the entire blog entry with the whelping box setup right here.
But early on, I noticed something kind of amazing that I’d only heard about before, but never had the opportunity to observe first hand. The VERY instant the pups had any control over their own bladder and/or bowels, they began moving away from the puppy pile to poop and pee. Amazing, isn’t it?
One of the billions of things that factory puppy farming gets so completely wrong is to raise pups on wire bottom floors, where they never have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Their waste falls away and they don’t have any consequences. The other kind of factory farming means cages that don’t get cleaned regularly – and that makes pups comfortable in their own filth. Neither is what nature intended. In this case, doing the right thing comes easy to the pup… you just have to give him the opportunity to start doing it and those instincts will do a lot of the work for you.
I’m starting to see that raising puppies the RIGHT way, is kind of like making a quality piece of art. Sure, you can go to the swap-meet and pick yourself up a cheap velvet Elvis, or somebody’s favorite aunt’s hobby painting – but it won’t be the same quality as a portrait painted by an artist with an education from a school of the fine arts and a lifetime of experience. A master of their craft is going to use the best materials available, just like a quality breeder will breed stock that’s true to the breed standard, has excelled in the ring and/or the field, is mentally and physically sound, and has been health tested and deemed clear of any genetic disorders. Artisanal puppies. Raised with loving, hands-on care, with methods appropriate to their breed. But anyway, I digress…
So, given the right opportunity, puppies will start housebreaking themselves. This week, here at Casa de Aria Longnoses, they get their opportunity!
The first addition to the whelping box is the litter tray. This is a crate tray, with a light smattering of compressed pine bedding pellets. They expand once they get wet, so there’s a lot more on the tray than it looks like. The added bonus is you can tell once they’ve used it!
Here’s what the box looks like all put together.
They got a couple toys last week, but now that their eyes are open, they get a variety of new friends.
Here’s an “up close and personal” of their new friends. As a funny aside, Rita told me that once the puppies open their eyes, they usually see the puppy on the Dura-Whelp logo, recognize it as a puppy, and try to make friends with it. I was skeptical… until I saw it happen last week! I think I have a photo of it, too… I’ll try to find it and put it up as a feature on The Daily Cute sometime soon.
So, within minutes of putting the pups in their new box, guess what?
It works! The litter box WORKS! The proof is in the… er, well, not pudding… but you get it!
Giving your puppies an early start at basic housebreaking gives them the tools they need to have a good start at their forever homes. Isn’t it cool how mother nature helps out?