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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My friend is fostering two 5 week old puppies, and I am helping her. The humane society she is fostering them through is completely worthless. I despise that rescue. Anyway, because they are so bad, we have quite a few questions that they are unable to answer or they give us answers that are completely wrong and frankly dangerous.

My questions are as follows:

Is it safe for the puppies to go outside in our fenced backyard? My friend feeds the squirrels and mice back there (yes, I know. I can't convince her to stop) and I have for a fact seen raccoons and raccoon poop in the yard as well. The puppies clearly are not well vaccinated, if at all. So, is it safe for them or should we just keep them inside?

Should we free-feed? Another set of fosters that have two of their litter mates told us that they were told by the rescue to free-feed their pups. The puppies that they foster are MUCH bigger than the two siblings that we foster. So much so that no one thought they could possibly be from the same litter. Is that because they get fed so much food?

A spin-off from the previous question:
The fosters for the litter mates said that their puppies are completely potty trained (at 5 weeks? Really? I think not) and that they are incredibly calm and never bark or whine. They claim it is because their puppies get more food. Could that be true? It doesn't seem healthy to me.

At 5 weeks old, one puppy obsessively humps his litter mates. I have never seen a puppy that young do that. Why would this be? Is that normal for that age?

The same puppy that humps seems overly physical with his sister. He latches onto her throat, ear, leg, etc. and thrashes his head from side to side in what I call the "kill-move." She screams her head off and he just keeps going. We have to separate them, and when we do, he turns and latches onto our hands or arms and snarls and growls up a storm, almost like he's redirecting that "aggression." Is this behavior normal?

Thanks in advance. These puppies are crazy, and my friend keeps repeating that she had no idea what she was getting into. I tried to tell her! :grin2:
 

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Young puppies eat around the clock, the milk bar is never closed. Even during weaning they go to their mom to supplement between feedings.

Humping could be stress.

What kind of puppies are these? I find the dog aggressive behavior very disturbing but it can be normal for many bully breeds or terriers. It is not unusual for those breeds for the puppies to have to be separated from each other at an early age.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yep, you guessed it. Bully breed mixes.

So we should be free-feeding them? One thing I really dislike about this rescue is that we are given so little information, and the other fosters for their siblings are given completely different information. We were told to only feed them three meals and that's it. The other fosters were told to give them food every time the bowl is empty. We were told the puppies are 5 weeks, and the other fosters were told they are 7 weeks. Oh boy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Any tips on if we should take them outside or not?
 

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I wouldn't take them outside until they're around 8 weeks. Puppies that young are much to young to be roaming around outside. I would just focus on them being around each other for warmth and comfort. As for free feeding, I don't know much about raising puppies before 7 weeks without the mother, so I don't have any suggestion for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I wouldn't take them outside until they're around 8 weeks. Puppies that young are much to young to be roaming around outside. I would just focus on them being around each other for warmth and comfort. As for free feeding, I don't know much about raising puppies before 7 weeks without the mother, so I don't have any suggestion for that.
Oh, thanks for reminding me to add this info.

If we do take them outside, they will either be on a leash, which is what the humane society suggested, or in an x-pen. We won't let them have access to the whole yard. That sounds like trouble!

Thanks for your input. :)
 

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I would be feeding them several meals of kibble soaked in puppy formula or goats milk. Access to fresh water. Start on crate and potty training just as with any puppy. Outside needs to be in a safe, clean area. You can spray the ground with a bleach solution to kill any nasties.
I had several bully litters over the years and never separated the pups, but I have never heard of a humane society separating a litter before so maybe I missed something. I would deter any over the top play but I've seen pups get pretty rough. Do remember that puppies, like children, learn what they live.
Handle them often, touch feet and ears, expose to noises and sounds, avoid the impulse to tip toe around them and let them safely explore their environment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I would be feeding them several meals of kibble soaked in puppy formula or goats milk. Access to fresh water. Start on crate and potty training just as with any puppy. Outside needs to be in a safe, clean area. You can spray the ground with a bleach solution to kill any nasties.
I had several bully litters over the years and never separated the pups, but I have never heard of a humane society separating a litter before so maybe I missed something. I would deter any over the top play but I've seen pups get pretty rough. Do remember that puppies, like children, learn what they live.
Handle them often, touch feet and ears, expose to noises and sounds, avoid the impulse to tip toe around them and let them safely explore their environment.
The humane society separated the litter of 10 into groups of two when they were 4 1/2 weeks old. When I asked why and where the dam was, they told me that separating the pups from dam and other litter mates at 5 weeks is completely normal and the best time for the puppies to learn independence and to bond with their humans. They also said the puppies were weaned anyway so they didn't need her. Apparently she needs a break from the litter before she can be adopted. I tried extremely hard not to roll my eyes and bit my tongue to keep quiet. That is another example of why I say this rescue has no idea what they're doing. So there are 5 different fosters that have two pups each.

One other thing is that the humane society said to only feed them canned wet food, so they have not experienced dry kibble yet. Should we get the same brand puppy food as we do the canned food and start them on kibble?

Thanks for the advice. I will definitely work on what you suggested.
 

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I heard about that 'separating litters when they're 4 weeks etc.' but somehow I didn't buy it. My dalmatian had accidental pups and we kept the litter together for 9-10 weeks. The point is so they can learn from each other AND of course the mother. It's crucial for them to learn bite inhibition from that age. Lots of pups that have been adopted too early (before 7 weeks) were more than just a regular landshark. We had them on kibbles since, hmmm... 5-6 weeks? But VERY mushy kibble though, with warm water. Don't want those tiny sharpy teeth to hurt! Anyways that's just my opinion based on experience.
 

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The humane society separated the litter of 10 into groups of two when they were 4 1/2 weeks old. When I asked why and where the dam was, they told me that separating the pups from dam and other litter mates at 5 weeks is completely normal and the best time for the puppies to learn independence and to bond with their humans. They also said the puppies were weaned anyway so they didn't need her. Apparently she needs a break from the litter before she can be adopted. I tried extremely hard not to roll my eyes and bit my tongue to keep quiet. That is another example of why I say this rescue has no idea what they're doing. So there are 5 different fosters that have two pups each.

One other thing is that the humane society said to only feed them canned wet food, so they have not experienced dry kibble yet. Should we get the same brand puppy food as we do the canned food and start them on kibble?

Thanks for the advice. I will definitely work on what you suggested.
Wow that is a horrible organization!

Canned food is fine, but they should start on kibble. You can go ahead and use the same brand, cheap right? Just soften the kibble, use warm water if you must, and mix the canned in. The idea is to gradually reduce the moisture. Young pups need to be kept hydrated and often don't get enough water so adding more liquid to the food helps. Since they don't have big teeth they often give up on dry kibble as it takes to much energy to eat.
I feed puppy formula mixed with canned food until about 5 weeks and then start adding kibble and reducing canned food. At about 7 weeks I start cutting out the formula. By 8-9 weeks they are on dry kibble, unless there are issues.
If possible can you get the other fosters on board with puppy play dates?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
The canned food is Taste of the Wild, so it isn't particularly cheap, but it isn't the most expensive either. I'll start adding some soaked kibble to see if I can get them to eat it.

For puppy play dates, I kind of doubt my friend would want to make the time for that. She has the time to do it, but she would have to sacrifice something else. You know how it is. I'll suggest it anyway, but I feel like she's more likely to listen to the rescue than to me, even though I swear I have more knowledge than them! Lol. I've caught them in many completely wrong things, but that's okay. I certainly don't know everything. Hence why I asked on here!

Another question:
How long should the puppies be alone for? My friend left at 8:30 this morning and did not get home until 3:00. I was scrambling to take them out, play with them, refill water bowls, clean up poop and pee, etc. It's frustrating because they aren't my puppies. I didn't sign on to do the work! Anyway, her being gone this long is a common occurrence. Should I let her know that she needs to give them way more attention? I would say they are out of their kennel maybe 30 minutes total in a day. Otherwise they are in a large kennel with each other and a bunch of toys. I would do so many things differently, but they aren't my fosters. I have to pick and choose my battles with what to suggest to her.
 

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The canned food is Taste of the Wild, so it isn't particularly cheap, but it isn't the most expensive either. I'll start adding some soaked kibble to see if I can get them to eat it.

For puppy play dates, I kind of doubt my friend would want to make the time for that. She has the time to do it, but she would have to sacrifice something else. You know how it is. I'll suggest it anyway, but I feel like she's more likely to listen to the rescue than to me, even though I swear I have more knowledge than them! Lol. I've caught them in many completely wrong things, but that's okay. I certainly don't know everything. Hence why I asked on here!

Another question:
How long should the puppies be alone for? My friend left at 8:30 this morning and did not get home until 3:00. I was scrambling to take them out, play with them, refill water bowls, clean up poop and pee, etc. It's frustrating because they aren't my puppies. I didn't sign on to do the work! Anyway, her being gone this long is a common occurrence. Should I let her know that she needs to give them way more attention? I would say they are out of their kennel maybe 30 minutes total in a day. Otherwise they are in a large kennel with each other and a bunch of toys. I would do so many things differently, but they aren't my fosters. I have to pick and choose my battles with what to suggest to her.
That's a better food then I was expecting, seen lots of rescues provide fosters with complete crap.
These puppies will need much more time then that to grow into well balanced adults, or as balanced as they can be. They will need interaction and handling and they need time to explore their world, even if it's just the kitchen and a piece of the yard. Further if they are in fact at a genetic disadvantage the more effort put into them the better. She should not be fostering puppies if she cannot commit to the time. They will carry these few weeks with them for the rest of their lives. When raising orphaned pups it is not uncommon to see me carting them around in my pockets or shirt as I move around the house all day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's a better food then I was expecting, seen lots of rescues provide fosters with complete crap.
These puppies will need much more time then that to grow into well balanced adults, or as balanced as they can be. They will need interaction and handling and they need time to explore their world, even if it's just the kitchen and a piece of the yard. Further if they are in fact at a genetic disadvantage the more effort put into them the better. She should not be fostering puppies if she cannot commit to the time. They will carry these few weeks with them for the rest of their lives. When raising orphaned pups it is not uncommon to see me carting them around in my pockets or shirt as I move around the house all day.
Unfortunately, I knew this was going to be the case. When she first told me she was going to be fostering two puppies I was angry. Truly angry. I knew this was going to be a disaster, as she has never had a puppy before, and now she was bringing home two very sensitive 5 week old puppies. I'm not trying to bash her or anything. She has a really good heart. She just isn't very informed and doesn't even know that there is a better way to do things. That's why I'm doing the legwork and putting in a lot of my time. I will start taking them outside and working with them more tomorrow. I didn't have much time today.

I really appreciate you answering my questions, so thank you very much. I'm trying to do my best for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just a quick update. I started adding kibble to their wet food, and they are wolfing it down no problem. I also started feeding them more food in general.

I have started taking them outside a couple times a day. It’s very interesting to see their personalities when in different environments. The dark brown female is confident in all situations. She runs right up to scary things to smell and investigate. The tan male puppy completely freezes in new environments. It takes him a while to open up and start exploring. He’s the bully when in a comfortable environment though.

I have introduced them to lots of new things, and they take it in stride for the most part. Again, the tan puppy takes more time to come around. They both learned how to navigate stairs extremely quickly. Oddly enough, the tan puppy was confident when introduced to chickens (through a fence while I held him) and the female completely freaked out. Not what I was expecting.
 

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It's so interesting to watch how they react to things and see their personalities develop.It's good that they have you to look out for them:)
 
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Just a quick update. I started adding kibble to their wet food, and they are wolfing it down no problem. I also started feeding them more food in general.

I have started taking them outside a couple times a day. It’s very interesting to see their personalities when in different environments. The dark brown female is confident in all situations. She runs right up to scary things to smell and investigate. The tan male puppy completely freezes in new environments. It takes him a while to open up and start exploring. He’s the bully when in a comfortable environment though.

I have introduced them to lots of new things, and they take it in stride for the most part. Again, the tan puppy takes more time to come around. They both learned how to navigate stairs extremely quickly. Oddly enough, the tan puppy was confident when introduced to chickens (through a fence while I held him) and the female completely freaked out. Not what I was expecting.
I hate that this has become your problem, but it sounds like you have things well in hand. I love watching puppies explore and learn. I am convinced that puppies and children can only be truly enjoyed on their level, and it gives us an opportunity to rediscover our world through new eyes.
 

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Well done @Pytheis for taking care of the pup esp when they're not even your responsibility in the 1st place. Canned food mixed with kibble is a great way to feed any dog, best of both worlds. It IS really interesting to see how pups behave in different environment, esp taking them for the 1st time and watch who takes the lead, who ignores and who is unsure. It's a funny observation ?
 

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At 5 weeks old, one puppy obsessively humps his litter mates. I have never seen a puppy that young do that. Why would this be? Is that normal for that age?


sure - it has nothing what so ever to do with sexual urges.

this is social behaviour -- and you sort of answered the question yourself in the very next
paragraph when you said this same pup latches onto thorat and ears and is physical.

I WOULD take them outside - as I do all my own pups .
At four to 5 weeks if climate and temperature appropriate they do go out side.

Youn pups maybe for an hour . I might put them into a specially built safe enclosure under the
shade tree with water and a few toys - and I will sit in a chair two three feet away , either readign
and being distracted by some behaviour whch is informative as to inherent character.

a five week old can be out for a longer time -- safe enclosure - where they can move around or stretch
out belly to cool grass.

I may take them out as individuals , briefly, for personal attention , or I might take the bunch out and
very slowly walk a total of 30 feet (return trip) to get them to bond and follow .
Then they are put back into the pen - before being brought in to a clean pup-room they are allowed to
pee -- starts house training young.

Gradual exposrure to outside is important for immune health. They are introduced to little doses of nature , the pollen , the grasses, the beneficial bacteria and soil organisms which become part of their micro biome.

pups and children raised in too clean an environment never develop a rational immune response.
a little "dirt" , less asthma .

I wouldn't free feed. . Their might be priority rights competition - best place to rest , best and most food , hoarding the toys. Again another opportunity to observe the personality dynamics.

If one pup seems deprived because all the others and the mr humpy dog are too assertive , then you can always
let that pup compete and then remove and give him/her a topper upper

you can't correct the other pups .
 
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