Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teething Puppies

For the past month we've been raising five young puppies: a hundred blog topics but who has energy to blog with five puppies in the house? They came to us at eight weeks of age (and I do say "us," because I may have been the one who raised my hand to say yes, but I would not have survived five puppies without my husband's fabulous help). They were all adopted by twelve weeks--and the last goes home on the weekend.

The goal was Terrific Socialization. That period between eight and twelve weeks, even fourteen weeks, is SO crucial, SO important that you want to do your very best to bring your puppy everywhere, show him everything, have him meet everyone, hear every sound, smell every smell--all before he has been completely vaccinated! Not such a simple task, especially with five, but we've done a solid job.

It was lovely to put in practice again what I preach about puppies. It's been a while! Remember those razor-sharp puppy teeth? Yikes. No matter how you try, the puppy enthusiasm wins and arms will be scratched. But even with five nutty pups, our house is still standing. Our possessions are intact. Proving that proper chew toys can always make the difference!

At night the puppies had our guest bathroom all to themselves for four weeks. They had lots of rowdy times in there and should have gotten bored, too--bored enough to chew our cabinets and moldings and doors. (Did I say we bought our place only five months ago?) NO chewing! EVER! Five puppies??

I did spray Bitter Apple on the baby gate and the cupboards and all, but so many dogs actually LIKE that taste.... I credit really good chew toys: lots of them and a variety. Best? Blue nubby Gumabones that Nylabone no longer seems to produce! Argh! I had four of different shapes in my bin from who knows when. Thank dog. They also had rubbery chew toys and Kongs (of course) and rope toys and even a few well-made stuffed toys (so they wouldn't chew up their blanket). The hard Nylabones are never as popular, but those saw some action, too.

And during the day we kept changing things up: puppies have ADD, if you hadn't heard. Best trick? Wet and freeze an old washcloth. Pup-sicle! Of course filling a Kong with peanut butter is a good tool, too--and not having one for every puppy kept them busier!

I will admit that some dog did use his paws to try to burrow his way to Arizona through a tiny bit of wall under the bathroom cabinet. The polite pup chose a spot no one can see unless lying on the floor in exhaustion beside a bunch of puppies. That proves yet again how dogs LOVE crating--but that's another blog post.

I'm off to nap again. I wouldn't have traded fostering this litter for anything, but I'm so glad it's over.