How They are Raised

For every litter I have, there is countless hours preparing it. From researching pedigrees, to health testing to picking breeding pairs, a lot goes into my litters as I am so selective with breeding. From the Dam's diet to ensuring the whelping nursery is warm, private, clean and sunny -- - many things go into ensuring I'm setting up the puppies with the best early start to their lives as possible. I have a life long promise to these puppies to give them the best possible life and it starts long before they are even born.
 

My ultimate goal when raising my puppies is to place high importance on early socialization and continue with this program from the first day they are with me right up until their last day here.

I closely follow the Puppy Culture program to create a solid foundation and curriculum to follow as my puppies grow and thrive. Each week the puppies are introduced to new sights, sounds and smells as well as small obstacles and exercises to help brain development which in turn creates the building blocks of a sound, confident, well rounded pup.

The Nursery

Main Floor Run

Safely enclosed in a
enrinchening play area
off of my Livingroom

Clean, quiet, warm & bright private nursery for puppies to grow safely 

Outdoor Time

Introduced to a Clean, Outdoor puppy-only run 

for a couple hours per day

The Nursery

Pre-Birth to 3 Weeks of Age

Weeks
5+

Weeks
3-8+

Weeks
0-3

Warm, Cozy and Private

Puppy Culture Protocols

From before the puppies are born, the pregnant dam spends one on one time with me in the nursery room to give her time to becoming comfortable and familiar with the environment. I want this to be a well lit, warm yet quiet and private place for her away from the rest of the household. I have a designated bedroom off my master bedroom for the 1-3 week nursery

The soon-to-be moms are given baskets full of freshly washed towels to dig and nest in when they near whelp. I spend every second with them during this crucial time. My pregnant Moms put their full trust in me during this moment and it is truly a bonding time between me and my Momma dogs during these 3 weeks.

Once the puppies eyes and ears open (around 3 weeks) the litter is then moved to their main floor run where they will spend the rest of their time with me. I want my puppies to be located in the hustle and bustle of my house to ensure they're taking in as much sights, sounds and smells as I can provide them

0-14 Days Old

  • Early Neurological Stimulation on days 3-16

  • Individual Cuddle sessions

  • Clip Nails & Introduce Baby Dremel

  • Introduce a sleep nest

  • Closely monitor weight gain 

  • Add pee pads outside of the sleep nest

14-21 Days Old

  • Individual longer cuddle sessions

  • Introducing new tactile items (big toys, crackle paper, pieces of fleece)

  • Introducing new experiences (explore new rooms, new visitors, walking outside of whelp box)

  • Nest area expands

  • In house socialization slowly begins

Puppy Pen

3 - 8+ Weeks of Age

Interactive & Enriching Environment

Puppy Culture Protocols

Once the puppies are past their neonatal period, they move to the main floor of the house just off my kitchen. The main floor puppy pen is bright, warm, interactive and ever changing and evolving. It grows and changes with the puppies as they go through the different stages of development. 

Throughout their time in this pen, the puppies are introduced to new tactile items everyday and are monitored while they explore these new strange objects. From crinkly paper, to tupperware towers to knock over to interactive baby sound mats - my puppies are met with a selection of new experiences every single day in and out of the puppy pen to challenge their minds and fear recovery rate while never pushing the puppies over threshold. 

Due to the pens central location in my house, the puppies are conditioned to the sound of a laundry, pots and pans being clinked together, vaccuming and just overall normal house traffic. As my main goal with my puppies is to create a well balanced and sound adult dog who takes on life confidently, it is very important to me that my puppies are exposed to as many new sounds, sight and smells as possible while their brains are like little sponges.

Shaping Behaviour

Along with socializing the puppies, I work on shaping behaviour at this stage. The foundations of crate training are introduced along with grooming table exercises, recalls, manding, play response using tug toys, potty training, focus work and the introduction to scent work odours (wintergreen, thyme & pine)

I also carefully monitor and help shape behavioural issues that may pop up such as teaching bite inhibition, addressing resource guarding and correcting unnecessary barking.

3-4 Weeks Old

  • Sound Protocols (classical music, habitual recordings, "upsetting" appliances

  • Home socialization begins

  • Startle Recovery

  • Whelping Box Reorganization

  • Baby's First Challenges (wet feet, sound mats, tiny and soft obstacles)

  • Raw Meaty bones introduced

  • Daily new experiences & textures

4-5 Weeks Old

  • Barrier Challenges introduced

  • Feeding outside weening pen

  • Puppy Call introduced

  • Water introduction

  • Introduction to interactive toys (wobble ball)

  • Shaping Emotional Responses

  • Treating on Grooming Table

  • Outdoor Time at 5 weeks

5-6 Weeks Old

  • Introduce hammock bed

  • Open door crates introduced

  • Scent circle exercise

  • Litter pen introduction

  • Begin basic free stacks

  • Begin manding with calm CER

  • Monitor little squabbles

  • Puppies begin to be weaned

  • Model good behaviours (recall, vocalization etc)

  • Adventure walk to develop follow response

6-7 Weeks Old

  • Individual crate time with raw meaty bones for early stages of crate training

  • Car rides in groups

  • Walks to new areas of the property

  • Puppy Party with Breeder friends

  • Advanced Manding

  • Puppy call "Pop Quizzes"

  • 15 Minute potty breaks outdoors

  • Resource Guarding Prevention Exercises

7-8 Weeks Old

  • Puppy Behavioural Evaluations

  • Puppy Party 2 with friends & children

  • Train away biting

  • Tugging Foundation

  • Advanced Resource Guarding Prevention

8-9 Weeks Old

  • Structural & Temperament Assessments

  • Specialized Socialization

  • Advanced Sound Conditioning

  • Introduction to friendly outside dogs

  • Barrier frustration work

  • Calm CER to crate

  • Specialized training sessions depending on career of future puppy

  • Visits to home depot, chapters or garden centres

How the Puppies Are Chosen

At 8 weeks old, the Puppies are evaluated in two different areas. One area being structure, expression & movement and the other is through a temperament test known as the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test (video below). Both of these evaluations play a crucial role in assisting me in my decisions of what puppy goes where. That's right, most of my homes will have no idea what puppy is there until the 8th week mark but trust me - it's worth the wait for the perfect dog.

How does the test work and how does it assist in such important decisions of a puppy's future? The test consists of a series of exercises and each one serves a purpose. From assessing confidence, noise sensitivity, social engagement, fear recovery, curiousity and much much more. 

To learn more about the test in detail, please visit the follow link:
https://www.searchdogs.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Volhard-Puppy-Aptitude-Test.pdf

The Volhard Exercises

  • Social attraction

  • Following

  • Restraint

  • Social Dominance

  • Elevation Dominance

  • Retrieving

  • Touch Sensitivity

  • Sound Sensitivity

  • Sight Sensitivity

  • Stability