The pups had a very busy weekend, with lots of company. They up and about now, exploring the area around their pen, and responding to people. On Friday the little patched boy greeted me with a wagging tail, the first pup to "notice" people. I love it when they reach that stage, and it happens at 21 days. At that age they start to respond to their environment and to notice things. To me, that's the time they become little dogs.
We had two families with children who sat on the floor of the puppy pen and held the pups. It's hard to keep kids sitting when they get excited about pups, but important not to startle or scare the pups at this age. Both the pups and the kids did a great up. Several older kids and lots of adults to visit and handle pups too. Because the pups are only cute and active for 10-15 minutes at this age, no one gets bored either.
I firmly believe that all the early handling and exposure to small children makes an enormous difference in how the dogs respond later on. Dogs that I have purchased, who have had little or no experience with kids, take more work later on to be comfortable around kids, while the dogs that are used to children are always comfortable with them. There are exceptions of course, and part of a dog's temperament is "built in", but we can do much to modify some things, and to raise puppies that are best able to face the world.
Eyes are open wide now, and we have a couple of blue eyes. Not a fault according to the Dalmatian standard, just something that goes with a Dalmatian's genetic color makeup. We can show blue eyes in the US, although some breeders never keep or show blues. It's really up to the individual. The patched boy has a blue right eye, which will be very cute on him. The smallest male also has a blue, but if he continues to look as nice as he does now, will probably go to a show home. I don't get blues very often, so this was a surprise, but Pauli's granddam had one. I've shown and finished many blues in the past.
Tonight we do the paperwork on Letty. She has worked out very well in her new home and is due to be spayed next week, before she comes in season again. Skip does NOT want have to hand walk her for several weeks (while in season) when she could be going for a daily run in the dog park!