The Beginning Stages of Your Bulldog Puppy
Many adopters have questions about what their puppies are up to while they wait for them to grow. Below is a week by week progression of your puppy’s development.
The new born puppies are under intensive, 24/7 care.Variables such as temperature, air movement, and nutrient intake must be tightly controlled. This critical time period is very important to provide a solid foundation for a bulldog puppy’s life. Puppies are kept separate from their mother to ensure they are not laid on nor neglected. We prefer a 2 ½ hour feeding interval at this stage of a puppy’s life to ensure that proper weight gain is attained although most times a puppy will often lose a little weight during their first week of life.
At 2 weeks of age, the young puppies are still under 24/7 care with feeding intervals hopefully around 3 hours apart. There are notable developments as the puppies should be stronger and able to find and latch onto the mother’s teat with increased vigor. Bulldog puppies at this age, most often do not have their eyes open yet. Instead they rely on their sense of hearing to know where their mom is and the other littermates. Without eyesight and given their small stature, we still separate our bulldog babies from their mom’s after they are done feeding.
The third week of life is a big week as major, physical development and progress are made during this week. The baby bulldogs should begin cracking their eyes open and begin developing their new found eyesight. Increased visibility adds a small level of independence that is certainly appreciate. The young puppies are now able to locate their mother and nurse more consistently on their own. During this week, we most often make the decision to leave the litter with their mother permanently. Mom will take on the responsibility of not only nursing the puppies but also cleaning up after them. This also means we are able to get a full night of sleep! From a social standpoint, each puppy’s unique personality starts to show itself. This is certainly a fun time for us as we get to enjoy and discover each puppy’s likes, dislikes and sometimes quirky behavior!
What do we look for in a good Bulldog mother?
1. Bulldog mom has to have a genetically clean pedigree history. We make sure each bulldog line that we produce has the best chance to stay healthy and happy.
2. Bulldog mom has to have a great personality. We demand that all the bulldogs we own are extremely confident and great with both children and other pets. Breeding bulldogs with great personalities is very important as many social traits are passed from the parents to the baby.
3. Bulldog mom has to have a great maternal instinct. Because the babies are so vulnerable we try to select and keep female bulldogs that show endearing and caring traits towards their babies.
Week four is our walking week! While bulldog puppies do begin to walk earlier at times, typically during week four we begin to see some major walking. The new found mobility is a joy to watch but does present some different types of responsibility as our bulldog puppies certainly can get themselves into trouble! The baby bulldogs are still nursing with their mother as we are big advocates of the nutritional value that a bulldog mom’s milk provides. Bulldog puppies are more likely to fight of sickness and diseases while they are on their mom’s milk and are generally healthier long-term if they nurse at an older age. During this week, we will start to perform some basic socialization steps to ensure that they are prepared for their new homes.
The puppies are now able to run, chew, and yes, sometimes bite! Ouch! With the physical progress there are certainly ample teaching opportunities to develop these little guys into well behaving bulldogs. During this time we continue to analyze each puppy socially and develop unique, social profiles of each bully. The puppies start to focus less on physical survival and devote much of their time to playing with their littermates. This is a great learning environment for the puppies! We will also begin weaning the bulldog puppies from their mother by separating the puppies from their mom and providing high end puppy chow mixed with goat’s milk or water. This mushy treat quickly becomes a favorite for the pups.
Now that the puppies are off their mother’s milk, substantial weight gains often occur during week 6. A robust bulldog puppy can now weigh around 5 pounds. The immunization benefits of mom’s milk begin to wear off and the puppies are able to be vaccinated from diseases that could potentially harm them. The puppies will also undergo their first round of vet checks to ensure they are developing physically sound bodies. Socially, we continue work with the puppies to ensure they are exposed to the many different environments of the new homes they will be going to all while balancing a high level of biosecurity to ensure they are not exposed to harmful diseases.
We like to call this week “Attitude Week” which compares similarly to the “terrible two’s” of a toddler. The puppies are now old enough and confident enough in themselves to begin developing expectations. Being held and being fed are no longer special occasions rather they are rights to life that are demanded. We continue to provide the high level of care that we hold ourselves to while developing flexibility within each bulldog pup.
The theme for week 8 is adoption preparation. The pup’s second vet check is conducted to ensure health and additional vaccinations are administered. We will make a decision with our vet the age in which the bulldogs are able to be taken home. The primary variable within this decision is physical development. We are big believers of making sure the puppy is “ready” before they are allowed to leave our care. Most of our bulldogs will go home right around the end of week 8 all the way to week 10. It simply depends on the bulldog.