June 2nd, 2010, 07:51 PM
I am going to be fostering four 6 week old puppies who have been without their mother since 4 weeks of age. I will have them for 4 weeks before they are put up for adoption and I really want to do my best regarding their socialization and toileting and basic training. I have only fostered older puppies before and those all were with their mother until 6 weeks of age. Any hints?
June 2nd, 2010, 10:13 PM
Thank you for fostering the little buggers, mossrocks. Do you know yet what breed(s) they are and their sizes?
For litters of young puppies, we set up a playpen in which we put a crate (door is left open) with towels in. On the opposite side of the pen, we lay newspapers down so that they can eliminate away from their "den." At six weeks, you can start taking them into your yard every hour or so when they are not napping to start on the house training (don't forget a pocket full of treats to reward them when they do go). Here are a couple of pics of our usual set up.
Are you fostering for a rescue? Do you have lots of space? Any chance they have 4 extra crates to lend you? You can also start to feed them separately and let them get used to being alone in a crate for short periods of time. Could the rescue supply you with appropriate sized Kongs as well? We find puppies settle in rather quickly into crates if they're busy eating their meals from stuffed Kongs.
You can also set up a playpen (depending on their size) in the front yard where they will be exposed to everyday noises such as traffic and people walking/cycling/rollerblading by.
Do you have family members to help you? We spend one-on-one time with each puppy from a litter so that they can begin to get used to being without their siblings for short periods. If you have friends who are willing to help as well, you can set up games to play with the puppies. With four puppies, you can have four people play "Pass The Puppy" :D. Each person handles the pup, ie. touches ears, mouth, toes, tail, etc and feeds the pup little treats. After a minute or two, the pups get passed on to the next person. Try to have a variety of friends over so that it's not always the same people. If you have friends with young children, it would be a good idea to have them help out too (with supervision of course).
If you haven't already done so, read these books (it's free). If your time is limited, look for all the chapters that deal with developmental deadlines. You'll get all sorts of ideas on what's important throughout the different puppy stages.
Good luck and please please please post pics of the them when they arrive :goodvibes: :cloud9:.
June 3rd, 2010, 12:00 AM
Our Lola, now 6, was abandoned with her siblings about 4 weeks of age. They were at a shelter, and adopted out at 12 weeks. Some of the advice we got was that it`s best to keep them together as much as possible. Since they won`t get socialization skills from their mom, at least they can get some from each other. Do you have an older dog that can spend time with them? Lola was excessively "bitey" as a puppy, and we think that came from not having mom be able to teach her better manners. She is also very fearful, but we don`t know if that came from being abandoned, or maybe it`s just how she is wired :shrug:
Best wishes with your little pack!