Just hours old
Our newborn puppies are our top priority. They are brought into this world within our home. These puppies don't come into the world with anything other than a life full of love, commitment, and caring hearts dedicated to their care and wellbeing. We want the mother to feel safe and secure with her new babies. She is moved to a quiet part of our home prior to their arrival. Puppies are never brought into this world without us helping every step of the way. We are always right there during labor and assist in delivery making sure the puppies have the easiest, safest way to start their new lives. This first week, puppies are helpless and completely dependent on their moms. Newborns cannot regulate body functions such as temperature and elimination. At day 3 thru day 16, we perform Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) on each puppy once daily. Visit the "Puppy" page to better understand the importance of these exercises on the future behavior/temperament of the puppy as an adult. We also perform early scent introduction coinciding with the ENS exercises, introducing puppies to different smells ranging from mossy earth to a rat. These scent exercises help enhance their sense of smell as an adult. This greater sense of smell is beneficial to dogs that are used as search and rescue dogs, cancer detection, military dogs, medical alert dogs and dogs that trial in upper-level obedience trials.
Weekly photo shoots are done starting at day one, along with weekly updates on what they are doing and what we are doing with them. As they become older, we will include weekly videos and candid shots of puppies at play. There are many benefits of having these staged photo shoots other than they are cute and everyone loves them. Puppies are extensively handled and placed in certain positions and on different objects. Each week the photo shoot is with a different prop meaning a different surface is used, new smells, new objects, and asking them to be in different, new positions. These shoots help prepare puppies to become a bolder, well-adjusted adult. Trips to the vets, grooming appointments, handling at home will be a lot easier if they are able to be handled without fear and with cooperation.
Puppies are still helpless, depending on their mom for warmth and elimination. They are more active, moving around the whelping box. During week two we continue with the once daily ENS and scent introduction exercises. We also gently handle each pup a few times a day, stroking them allowing them to be familiar with human touch. Stroking, along with mom licking the puppy, stimulates the formation of GR receptors (Glucocorticoid Receptor) genes. These receptors are what tells the body to shut down a stress response. If they have more GR receptors, they will recover more quickly from stress. This benefits the puppy their whole life. Puppies who had neonatal (birth to 2 weeks are called neonates) stroking have been shown to have lower blood pressure as adults. Eyes will open on day 10-14. Vision is not real clear at this age. Items such as toys will be added to their whelping area to aid with their eyes learning to focus.
Eyes are open and puppies can hear. They are moved to a busier part of the house where they can be exposed to new noises and the hustle and bustle of daily life within our home. There is a rapid development of motor skills, the ability to eliminate on their own, the initial emergence of baby teeth, and the first usable vision begins. The puppies start moving around, using all four legs instead of crawling. Puppies begin to interact with their littermates, and tail wagging begins. Puppies have no fear until 3 weeks of age when their hearing skills are developed. Starting at 3 weeks it is important they are introduced to a variety of noises and changing sights such as light level, moving objects and vibrations; should all be a part of their daily life. We start adding soft noises, music, increasing in volume as the days go by. This starts their sound desensitizing. Over time, sounds become more intense and sound CDs are played to desensitize puppies further. These noises are important for the development of their ability to be able to adapt to the world they will become a part of as an adult. Puppies should be introduced to other dogs prior to 16 weeks of age. Short visits with the adult dogs of our house are started. Puppies start eliminating outside of their sleeping area. We add a small litter box and pee pads to their area at this time which encourages them to eliminate in certain designated areas. This starts their litter box training. Puppies become aware of their surroundings and realize that toys and littermates are not just for snuggling but also fun to play with. They start mouthing toys and chewing on each other. Day 21 is critical to the start of their socialization. This socialization window of time is from 3-12 weeks of age. After you bring your puppy home, it is very critical you continue their socialization process. Everything that a puppy learns prior to week 12 is much easier taught than after the 12–16-week age.
Puppies have the use of all of their senses at this time and now need a stable environment and influence of their mom. Since puppies have no fear until 3 weeks of age, they should continue to have different sounds added to their daily life. Socialization is very important in this period. They should be introduced to new people. At 5 to 6 weeks, we have a puppy party where we invite the puppy families and future puppy families over to a social event where they can meet and play with their puppy. All the puppies are handled and played with by all of the families. This begins their socialization process that leads to future social skills. These puppy parties are fun but stressful on the puppy with all the new people, noises, commotion! Puppy's developing minds need stimulating. We add numerous enrichment stimulation items to their puppy area. One of these puppy enrichment items is our 'Puppy Disneyland' This allows the puppy to experience the sense of touch, sight, sound and movement … all skills they need to develop to become a well-adjusted adult. We add different toys and enrichments daily to keep their minds stimulated, allowing them to experience new and different mental and physical challenges.
We start weaning the puppies on puppy mush which includes soft Life's Abundance kibble, a probiotic, NuVet Vitamins, MSM, goats' milk, coccigaurd which is a coccidia preventative to their daily feeding schedule at three to four weeks of age. By the time they are 6 weeks old they will be on hard kibble along with their supplements … no more baby mush!
Puppies continue to receive weekly nail trims including exposure to the Dremel. They are individually handled daily, making their human bond stronger. By now, they are getting used to their weekly grooming sessions. Crate training has begun at this time.
By now, the puppies are weaned. Puppies are curious, have little sense of fear, and are curious of everything and anything. Play fighting with their siblings is in full force. They have mastered their litter box training with few mistakes made. They love their people family. Motor skills and mobility has developed. They have gone on several car rides, including a car ride to Dr. Bratt, our vet, for their going home wellness exam. They are checked for hernias, potential joint issues, bite issues and cleft palates, little boys are checked for testicles, and their hearts are checked for murmurs. Also, a visit from our doggie ophthalmologist, Dr. Sarah, for eye OFA checks. A copy of their vet wellness check and a copy of their eye OFA exam will be included in their puppy folder. We want to know they are perfectly healthy before going from our arms to yours. Socialization continues, as well as weekly grooming and nail trimming.
We have dedicated ourselves to give our puppies the very best start in life. Our puppies had the very best care throughout the first 8-9 weeks of life such as daily care, mental stimulation, the best in nutrition and supplements, socialization, and medical care. Puppies will go through different fear stages in their young life. It is important that families continue the socialization process after bringing their puppy home, introducing them to many new places, challenges, people, noises, environments to ensure they will mature into a well-adjusted adult.
Our commitment to you does not end when you take your puppy home. We are here to offer help, address concerns, and answer questions for the life of your puppy. We wish for our puppies to go to loving, forever homes where they are treated as a valued family member.