WW Litter at 4 Weeks Enrichment Experiences, page 2
24 Days Old 2/9/22
Today is “feel funny under your feet” day for enrichment experiences. I put down a small plastic bottle and a larger jar that will roll nicely, a muffin tin, an egg carton, a scrunched-up piece of aluminum foil, one of the containers from the Lady Godiva chocolates gift box, a pie tin, a muffin tin, a food tray and a plastic tray that should give if a pup walks across it. The room was quite full of new things! I put them in the area closest to the bed so they might encourage the pups to go out to the newspapers to potty, hopefully anyway. All day, each time I entered the room, I moved objects to different places, to stimulate them to notice something if they hadn’t already. It’s not important that I see them investigating things. The important thing is that they get used to their environment constantly changing, and it becomes normal to change their idea of where they’re going or what they’re going to do. I want my pups to leap, with enthusiasm, into each new experience in life.
25 Days Old 2/10/22
I didn’t set up any enrichment exercises in the puppy room because I had scheduled my friend, Linda, to come help me do a photo session in the living room. She helped me cut toenails, a great help with these wiggly little ones. And we loosened their collars. They are so fuzzy now that I wouldn’t have been able to tell who was whom since the hair pretty much covers the collars.
Amazing what happens when the neurological system is finally all hooked up. Now I should begin to see what they’ll really be like as far as personality. Drives will start coming in a little later. Right now they’re seriously beginning to explore their world, which is exciting to see, because they seem to change by the hour as they interact with things they didn’t notice before.
The pups enjoyed having their enrichment exercise in a larger area, with both their first stranger AND some toys. Did they ever enjoy all the attention! Linda is a cat person and doesn’t have a dog, so I always enjoy watching – and photographing – the way she interacts with the puppies. She stayed for about an hour so I got a lot of photos – including some really cute ones! I tried both of the rental lenses plus my regular lens, so I was busy trading lenses every few minutes. The 35mm lens worked well in the living room, but not the 50mm lens.
The pups hardly stressed at all in the big area this second time in it. For the last time, I used the backdrop to confine them in a part of the living room (and remove distractions in the photos). They marched around exploring, finding me. Mr. Purple found Justice and visited with him. They showed only mild interest in the toys, very typical at this age. Mr. Purple did some hamming for the camera, giving me some great photos. He also gave Linda some nice eye contact. He did not, however, cooperate when we took individual shots. The girls sure did, though. They are at a super-cute stage!
see all the 25-day photos
26 Days Old 2/11/22
Today was plastic & noise day for enrichment exercises. I turned the radio on low, tuned to the classic country station, and left it to play during the day.
I had some bubble warp, including one l-o-n-g strip, that I thought they might like to grab and carry. It will also provide a first experience of walking on unstable surfaces and hearing weird “pops,” mostly as Lovely or I walk across it since they are still too light to do much bubble popping. I put the long piece, which was green, over the towel holding the newspapers on the board. I put the smaller, “fatter” pieces of clear bubble wrap around the room. I put down two bowls that wobble nicely, and also two plastic containers for them to investigate, a big one and a small one, both with lids that perhaps they will grab. I also put down a Styrofoam piece that we use in beginning clicker-training classes when we’re teaching them to freely offer behaviors. That will give them an experience of walking on top of something.
Then, I no sooner put down the enrichment items than they were all over them, barely giving me time to grab and turn on my camera. I never had a chance to try either of the rental lenses because the puppies didn’t give me a break.
It probably was a good thing I didn’t add the complication of switching lenses, because my external flash attachment was giving me trouble, flashing only intermittently, and finally died. I frantically tried different light settings in an attempt to get some usable photos without help from the flash. What a terrible time for it to die, the week when I’m taking photos every day – and with no camera store in town any more. We used to have two.
Miss Green marched all over, checking out every single item. She seemed to enjoy walking on the bubble wrap. Mr. Purple crawled into the big plastic container and seemed to have trouble finding his reverse gear, but eventually managed to back out. Miss Pink seemed fascinated by the piece of Styrofoam and went over it and back several times. She then found the small container and stuck her head and shoulders into it.
After that, Miss Pink soon headed to the bed to sleep. It doesn’t mean that the sleepers have less ambition or potential drives if they don’t immediately investigate new objects at this age. Puppies have very short active times and still spend most of their time sleeping – and it’s while sleeping that they grow. Tomorrow I may catch today’s “sleeper” busily engaging with the new objects, while today’s performers snooze away. The important thing is that sometime during the day they will be awake, wandering and investigating, engaging their brains. Puppies at this age have all the ability to learn and process information as an adult dog; they just have very short attention spans between naps – and of course, no experience yet. This enrichment week starts those experiences and stimulates them to be life-long learners.
Eventually the other two pups tired out and headed into the whelping bed for a nap.
I never saw anyone playing with the plastic containers, but every time I entered the room something was in a different place, including the small plastic container, so I think they did a little dragging by the handle. And they climbed over the training Styrofoam quite a bit.
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