Puppy Paws Episode 3

At 12 to 13 days old is usually when we see our puppies first open up their eyes. It is a pretty exciting time to realize they are going to start to perceive the world in a very different way. In Episode 1 of the Puppy Paws you got to see our newborn puppies in the very first few days of their lives when they were entirely reliant on mom. In Episode 2 of the Puppy Paws we introduced you to a very different puppy. All of a sudden these guys were alert and active and exploring and engaging with the world around them. A lot of people are probably wondering how and when did this huge transformation happen in the puppies lives. And it happens between the days 14 to 21 days old. That’s called the transition phase. Their eyes and ears open. They start to respond to things that they can see and hear. They start to eliminate waste on their own. They are not entirely dependent on Mom for warmth or food anymore. They really become much more aware of the world around them in general. This is the time when these guys start to try to walk and wobble. They make their first tentative steps out of the puppy house and explore the bigger world than what they experienced in the first few weeks. During this phase of the puppies lives they also start to interact with each other. They experiment with their vocalizations so their first attempts at barking and growling at each other. They socialize a lot more with mom and with other adult dogs in the dog yard. That’s the time when we finally turn the Puppy Cam on. It becomes entertaining enough for everybody to tune in from home and see what the kids are up to. At four weeks old we give the puppies their first dose of dewormer. We put it into a syringe and inject it straight into their mouths and they swallow a yummy tasting paste and that helps to control the worms that are inherent in almost every dog’s intestines at all points in their lives. This is about the time we start the phase of their training where they learn to socialize with people they don’t know. Because our park sled dogs will interact with anywhere from 40,000-50,000 visitors throughout the course of a summer it is really important to us that these guys learn to love every new person that they meet. And that foundation is laid when they are young puppies. We’ll have park staff, park visitors, anyone we can, all ages, come and visit and spend some time with the puppies – holding them and cuddling them, calling them from place to place, so that the puppies learn that every person they meet is a fun interaction for them. And we’re really grateful to everyone who helps us socialize the puppies because it really is a critical part in their training for being sled dogs here for the rest of their lives.

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