A few weeks before mom is due to deliver, I convert a spare guestroom into a nursery. Here, I will construct a whelping box and bring all the essentials that will be needed for delivering the pups. Mom and I move into the nursery about a week before she is due.
The first week of the pup's life, mom will only leave their side to eat, drink and go potty. It's almost a panic for her to get back to her pups. She adores them and cares for them on a 24-7 basis. I check weights, cuddle, stimulate and talk with them during this time.
After the first week, mom will start to venture out of the whelping box while the pups rest. She may decide to take a quick nap outside the hallway, but the first sounds of the pups beginning to stir, she dashes back in the whelping box. I will spend more time with the pups letting them hear my voice and get use to my touch.
Around the second, the pups eyes begin to open and the world will soon be changing for them. They no longer lay in one big pile, but now seek their own space.
Mom is now willing to leave for short periods of time. She has a separate kennel in the room where she can retreat and take a break, but most of the time she just climbs on the bed and makes herself comfortable. She deserves every second of rest she can get it. Being a mom to a bunch of German Shepherd puppies is a demanding task!
I spend more time with the pups and notice they start wagging their tales when they hear my voice. I keep up with their daily health checks and start clipping their nails. This will help the pups get use to having the nails trimmed when they get older, plus it’s getting rough on mom’s belly.
At three weeks they are ready to move to a new place. A new 8 feet by 12 feet puppy nursery is constructed in the center of my living room. This location allows for the pups to have plenty of space and be exposed to all the new sights, sounds and smells that a rapidly expanding world has to offer.
The new home will start being filled with new toys, objects and surfaces so the pups get a good start on adjusting and thriving in any environment.
In addition to the new home, new foods start getting introduced. The pups will get exposed to chicken, beef, lamb, fish and an assortment of vegetables. Early exposure to different foods may help prevent any food allergies down the road.
At four weeks the first visitors come to start the human socialization. Puppy hugs and kisses are exchanged for handling, talking, cradling and bonding.
Mom still cleans and feeds them, but spends more time watching TV and resting outside the nursery. She has a new bed outside the bigger nursery and prefers to sleep away from the pups, but always close enough so she can see, smell and hear what’s happening.
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