A TOUGH LESSON:
After more or less four weeks, the maternal jealousy of the female dog normally relaxes and it will begin to desire to rest from the puppies every now and then. Then, a biological process of great educative value begins to take place: the weaning.
The weaning is inevitable. No mother would be able to breast-feed its puppies its whole life long at the expense of its own health. Besides that, the puppies get more and more demanding every time and every time the mother comes back to the nest they all harass it at the same time.
The female dogs normally begin the weaning letting the puppies breast-feed only a little while it is standing on its paws and walking when they get tired of that. The puppies have to face denial for the very first time in their lives, a reject. This is tough lesson, but also very important.
This denial is stronger every time and the puppies accumulate the frustration and desperately try to reach their mother's breast. Then the mother is forced to offer them another alternative that in the natural environment would consist on half-digested food that it would regurgitate for its litter and at home it is the special food previously put in the nest by the owner.
Good mothers reject the puppies gently but firmly. The first warning would be just a look. The second one a growl and if any puppy would dare to insist, it would be pushed away by the mother with the snout or even giving bites on the air. The maternal discipline is essential because it teaches the puppies that they can't always get things their way and forces them to look for a solution adapting themselves to new situations, in this case, alternative food. This is maybe the most important lesson of their lives and as such, the puppies bred with a feeding bottle or separated too early from their mother are frequently not capable to successfully face the never stopping changes presented by life.
FEEDING BOTTLE OR WET-NURSE
For many reasons, sometimes it is not possible for the mother to breast-feed its own puppies and you will have to feed them with a feeding bottle or look for a wet-nurse for them. The best, for health and psychological reasons would be to find another female dog with milk to breed them. If you find it, you can convince it to breast-feed and take care of the puppies by rubbing its body with your two hands and right after that rubbing the puppies' bodies in order to create a tie among them.
Feeding the puppies with the feeding bottle is not very simple and requires time. You have to use a special milky preparation and administer the right dose every two or three hours, including the night.
The human wet-nurse will also have to be in charge of stimulating the urination and defection right after each feeding. Besides that, she should also get correct information about playing the mother's role in the weaning because the puppies with no maternal discipline can turn into extremely excited, disobedient, difficult adult dogs with rare ability to interact with others.
HOW TO WEAN a Puppy
There is no fixed rule, but the most frequent thing is to initiate the weaning in the third or fourth week.
A good type of food specially designed for puppies is not difficult to find and it get very easily digested. It is concentrated and caloric enough to satisfy the growing needs; it contains all the needed nutrients and requires no supplement.
In order to serve it, pour warm water on the food, leave it soaking and stir it until it gets an appropriate consistence to be eaten by lapping. To encourage them to eat, you can wet your finger on the preparation and let them lick it or suck it, closer and closer to their bowl every time. Take it out 15 minutes after serving it, even if there are remains.
Once they have already gotten used to the new food, reduce the quantity of water gradually.
A little later, always leave a bowl with food (with no water) at hand among the normal servings.
The daily ingestion will depend on the size and the breed of the dogs. Let yourself be guided by the directions on the package, but not exactly as they are given.
Puppies no longer need milk. In fact, its ingestion may cause them digestive problems as diarrhea because little after the weaning the dog's organism is incapable to assimilate the lactose.