At 4 weeks our English Cream Golden puppies are moving more freely. They are interacting and playing with each other more. This is the time that we are changing their area, so that they are getting used to going potty away from their sleeping area. We have a puppy area that has a doggie door that leads to grassy fenced yard. The mom teaches them to use the door.
The mom has been very diligent about keeping them and their sleeping area clean. As they grow, it is important to provide them with the ability to eliminate away from their food and sleeping area. Dogs have a natural aversion to soiling where they sleep and play. Keeping this area clean also helps with housetraining your English Cream Golden Retriever puppy later.
During this time the puppies demand for food becomes more than the mom can handle. We start introducing solid food. This can be a very messy process as the puppies learn not to get in the middle of the food, but stand outside the bowls and eat. We start off with a mush mix of food and gradually switch to dry kibble.
We keep the sharp toenails of the puppies trimmed regularly to help protect the mom’s belly area while the puppies are still nursing.
The mom is beginning to spend less time with the puppies now, which requires the puppies to start focusing on each other more and depend less on the mom for care. This time will increase gradually each day until they are fully weaned between 6 and 7 weeks of age.
It is between 5 and 6 weeks of age that we start introducing the puppies to different environments and noises helping to prepare them for their new homes. This includes toys; pull ropes and balls. It is fun to see them discover and explore the new items in their play area.
Some breeders let their puppies leave their littermates and mom at 6 weeks of age. We feel very strongly that this is too early. All puppies, whether they are English Cream Golden Retrievers or any other breed need the time with their littermates and mom to learn basic “dog” social skills. The mom teaches them manners, as well as the other puppies — what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior within the pack.
If a puppy leaves their littermates and mom between the ages of 4 – 6 weeks the puppy can become “oversocialized” and identify with people too much and not feel comfortable or secure around other dogs.