All of the pictures below are Molly’s 3 week old pictures taken on February 3, 2020 except for the last one of the bottle feeding. The bottle feeding picture was taken two days prior. The puppies are starting to get really cute now as they are learning to play and vocalize and “be puppies”.
Next week, we’ll start taking individual pictures of the puppies.
Getting More Mobile
Between 2 and 3 weeks of age, puppy development takes off. At 2 weeks, puppies are still partially scooting around and wobbly on all fours. However, they are confidently walking around by 3 weeks. Between two and three weeks, they begin playing with each other and with toys.
However, most of their time is still spent sleeping. For the most part, they will sleep for 2-4 hours at a time. They wake up when mom comes in to feed them. She’ll spend a little time with them. Puppies will play for a few minutes and then they are back asleep again. They are rarely awake for more than 15 minutes at a time at 2 weeks. By three weeks, their periods of wakefulness is still only about 30 minutes at a time.
What We Do With Them at This Age
Just after two weeks, we add toys to the puppy pen. We also will begin bottle feeding larger litters once a day when they are right around two weeks. For smaller litters or those with moms with an exceptional amount of milk, bottle feeding isn’t necessary nutritionally. However, we feel that bottle feeding once a day for a couple of days at around 3 weeks enhances the puppy/human bond.
We add a pan with pine pellets in it to the puppy pen at around 3 weeks of age. This will become their toileting area. Until puppies are 3 weeks 4 days, the pan is hit or miss with regard to toileting (mostly miss). However, at 3 weeks 4 days, the idea begins to click. We scoop any poop out of the pan, but for several days, we leave the pee in there. The pellets absorb most of the smell as far as human noses go, but the puppies can smell it. We keep the rest of the pen as close to perfectly clean as we can keep it. We change the pads MANY times a day. The key to this stage of house training is for the puppies to associate their living quarters with cleanliness so that there is a clear differentiation between potty area and living area.
Puppies naturally want to pee away from where they live. However, if breeders keep their puppies in quarters where everything has pee or poop, they will loose their natural instincts. As much as possible, we work with puppies’ natural instincts, molding them to what best suits humans. Puppies are very capable of learning these distinctions starting at 3 1/2 weeks.
Sometime after 2 1/2 weeks, we begin letting puppies lap a goat’s milk mixture out of bowls. We hold the puppies while they drink individually (another human/puppy bonding experience). We do this once a day starting sometime between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 weeks depending on the milk supply from the mom.
For more information on how we raise our puppies, see our Raising Puppies page.
We’ll continue keeping you posted on how Molly’s 3 week old puppies are growing on a weekly basis. See our Available Puppies page to get to pages of Molly’s puppies at other ages.