Tomorrow is the day the puppies turn three weeks! Reba is doing much better and I'm only feeding the pups around three times a day to help her (and them) out. They had become rather adept at escaping from their whelping bed to chase Reba down for food this week that I had to get creative and develop a new pen. Ideally, the pups would have been moved outside this weekend but with daytime temperatures hovering around 13 degrees Celsius, and night time temps hitting the freezing mark, the pups remain inside until developmentally they are able to regulate their internal temperatures.
The picture is of the "final" modifications I made to their pen. I'm using a tall dog play pen, and have attached two panels from a wire shelving unit. This enables Reba to hop in and out to feed and clean but keeps the pups contained. I had been trying to get the pups to differentiate between potty and sleep areas with little success. So I thought I'd move a crate in with the hope it creates a clear difference of space for the pups. On the floor I have puppy pee pads (hate the concept but ran out of newspaper), part of which are covered by my foamy bath mats.
I also hate being able to see the pee mess. The obsessive compulsive parts of me want to clean it immediately - even though I know to encourage peeing in a specific area you're supposed to leave it, and keep the sleep area clean. The pen still gets a major clean in the morning and before bed. But I may be moving that to just in the morning - If, and big if - the pups keep the crate area clean. We'll see how it goes. This theory is supposed to speed up house training and crate training. (According to Cesar.)
It amazes me how quickly they learn. The crates been in there for about five hours and they're already starting to sleep in it. It helps that Reba loves the crate and feeds in there. On my list of things to do is to buy a larger crate to help Reba spread out when it's meal time.