One of the most important effects a breeder has on their puppies, beyond genetics, pedigrees, and nutrition is the way they bring them up. Dogs are products of both nature and nurture. The experiences puppies have between 1 to 16 weeks shape their personality for life. Positive socialization makes for happy, bombproof dogs that are adaptable and easy to live with. My goal is to give puppies as much preparation for their lives as I can in the short 9 weeks I have them. We raise our puppies in an "enriched environment".
My socialization process includes:
- Newborn socialization with Biosensor techniques, a process developed by vets and the military to produce dogs more resistant to stress, and more adaptable to changes in environment.
- Born in my bedroom, they recieve lots of people bonding with kids, and folks of all ages. We have open house every week for people we know to come and play with them.
- Utilizing the techniques detailed in "Puppy Culture" videos. We highly recommend their program for both breeders and new puppy owners.
- Pups live and interact with my adult dogs, and other dogs, and our house cat at a very young age.
- The 7's: 7 types of floor, 7 new challenges, 7 types of food dishes, 7 different locations, 7 different play objects, 7 different people
- Access to their own puppy yard, as well as going in the BIG yard daily, as well as puppy walks through our acreage and small creek.
- Loud sounds, such as firecrackers and vacuums.
- Bathing, shaving,blow drying, and standing on the grooming table
- Pet DVD's, Tv, and radio by their play area with animal noises, sights and sounds in the daytime.
- Introduced to houstraining, litter box training, and doggie door trained
- Crated with littermates at least a few times before going home
- Individual playtime and alone time
- Trips to the vet, agility classes(all that movement and noise!!), shows, beach
- Water (seasonal only)
- Started with lead training
- Clicker training introduction- learn to sit and come when called
- Bird wings/Retrieving
- Car rides
- Mini agility equipment including teeter
- A different object in their play area at least every other day- boxes, play structures, teeters, cans, carboard tubes, noisy toys, balance ball etc
Our 8 week socialization plan - why our puppies stand above the rest.
Week 1: Puppies are handled during the birthing process, weighed, and marked with a colored color. They are weighed and held daily. At day 3, their tails are docked. At day 5 we start the neuro stim biosensor exercises. Otherwise they are kept with mom in a quiet warm environment.
Week 2: Biosensor is continued daily. Weighed daily and held gently. Still kept warm and with mom, as growth and food are most important. Bedding is changed as often as needed for puppy and mom's comfort. Puppies may start opening eyes during this week.
Week 3: Biosensor is continued until day 16. Weighing continues until midweek, thereafter weighed weekly. Pups have visitors holding them gently, as well as our family. Mom spends a bit more time away, and pups are up toddling around with open ears and eyes. They get soft toys of multiple sizes to play with. Soft food and goats milk is introduced. We move them out of the whelping box at the end of this week. Once eyes and ears are open we begin giving them light challenges and startling noises.
Week 4: Puppies are in a small area with fencing, walls, and windows. Eating, sleeping, and pottying areas are available to them. Introduction to large litterboxes (pine pellets) and paper show them the correct area to eliminate. Music and tv daily. Total darkness and silence at night. Soft, hard, and chewy toys available. Toys available, as well as the mini tunnel and small wobble board. Hard food and fresh water available as well as soft food, but mom still feeds and stays with them day and night. Handled by many visitors and taken out for their first outdoor time with mom. Allowed supervised play in other rooms in our home. Clicker training and manding training begins.Usually wormed this week. First bath and dry. First puppy open house.
Week 5: Puppy area gets bigger, and allows them a larger play space that is on the tile, allowing them the opportunity to make better choices of going potty in their litterboxes. They are getting very good at this by now! Larger play objects are added, like a small pause table, tiny jump, cardboard boxes, teeter board,large stuffed toys. A new toy is added daily, in a variety of textures and sizes. Pups play daily with adult dogs that are not their mother. Pups go outside to play in our big yard (in any season) twice daily for up to an hour. They start to learn the doggie door. In summer, they get a baby pool to play in (supervised) Music and talk radio stations change daily for different noises. Fan, vaccum, and loud bangs are introduced. Of course lots of visitors including children and older folks. Our Sunday open houses often have up to 30 people in a day visiting the babies. Starting on weaning, hard kibble is available at all ties, and soft food is offered 3 times per day. Bathed and shaved on face, feet, and tail.
Week 6: More cognatively able, the pups get the full puppy room, with no more papers, and just two large litterboxes. Accidents outside the boxes are infrequent. Doggie door is mastered, and they are allowed full range to go in and out (unless under 10 degrees) into a 40X20 fenced run with astroturf flooring. Morning and afternoon they are allowed to go into the full yard with the adults. Mom is beginning to feed infrequently. New toys include a mini dog walk, tiny teeter totter, cardboard tubes and more. Bird wings are used as fetch toys. All these build on activities and challenges from past weeks.
Week 7: Car trip as a group. In summer, go to the beach to feel sand and go in the water. Introduced to clicker training, come, and sit. Lots of outdoor exploring, fetching toys, and learning to interact with adult dogs who like, and dislike them (learning social cues). Puppies get a full haircut and bath. By this time they have been in every room in our home. One litterbox available, but 90% of pottying is done outside via the doggie door. Firecrackers/gunshots are introduced in a safe way. They are eating solid food and raw meat on their own. Activities are continuing to build on last weeks. Formal temperament testing is completed by a stranger to the litter. They are also evaluated by us and other breeders for their physical structure and our show picks are picked near 8 weeks. Shots and vet checks are done at the vet at almost 8 weeks. Final worming is performed.
Week 8: Puppies are ovary sparing spayed or vasectomized by our vet. The are kept quiet for a few days to recover, but this is hard to do! They barely notice they had an operation. We keep playing with them and introduce leash walking.
Week 9: Working on sit, clicker, come, and leash walking, Ball pit, and lots more outddor time. Plus everything from past weeks. First vaccine is given.
Week 9.5- 10 Puppies are released to new homes!!