We posted this puppy journal to help outline how we raise our puppies. This is not a tutorial on how to raise puppies. This is ‘not’ the seminar I give to breeders.
If you do not understand how to execute these tasks properly, at the right time, and looking for the right response. This article is for information purposes only.
Puppies are handled so they can smell us. They are kept warm and comfortable in a quiet room.
It is important that the first 2 weeks keep the mother and puppies as quiet and warm as possible.
We do early neuro-stimulation. This is done for the first 13 days.
Week 2 – 3
Puppies open their eyes at 10 days old, but they have very little visual capabilities.
At this age we hold the puppies, look in their eyes, hold them close. We restrain the puppies momentarily.
Day 15: We start changing the ‘visuals’ in the whelping box. We do this passively, by hanging different quilts/colors on the sides.
Day 20: We start a fan in the background to create an ambient noise.
Puppies are walking now. We put objects in the whelping area for puppies to step over. These items have different textures and are changed daily so the puppies are always stimulated by different items.
First time outside. The puppies are kept together with their mother for a few days. Then when they are more aware and running around playing we let them go to the kennels with their mother.
Puppies are held 3 – 4x a day. We wear glasses, hats, gloves, and different colors when handling the puppies. We put them on a mat, on a table. On the table we start teaching them to reoriented back to us, get use to eye contact, and learn to ‘touch’.
On the table we lure the puppies in a circle, both ways.
At this stage the puppies are unable to fear. If a puppy is pushed it will just fall asleep.
Puppies are introduced to buttons and switches. We start touch training.
Note: Up until now the puppies are not really learning. We are expanding their Spatial Map.
This is where puppy raising becomes fun. The puppies are active 4+ times a day. There are several tasks started:
-The puppies start scent detection
-Puppies spend time underfoot in the house. We watch carefully to see which ones follow closely
-We watch carefully to determine which puppies are bold and curious. Which ones see something new and engage, and which ones back off.
-Puppies are taken in a group to follow me, without their mother. If we have a puppy that doesn’t follow after 2 or 3 tries, or is afraid, then that puppies becomes a pet.
-Puppies are left for longer periods of time outside with their mothers.
– We start asking puppies to sit to be petted, and start encouraging them to follow our hand.
-visual and touch sensory are increased. We also add simple challenges. They may include putting a T-towel on a puppy and letting it get out, or putting them in a bowl/or tote and letting them crawl out.
– Puppies start learning sit and we touch them on the butt, tail, paws, jaw, ears, and look them in the eye. We also ‘kiss’ on their head. They roll over, and we touch their bellies.
We still focus on ‘comfort now – confidence later’.
Puppies are learning over, under, through. Scent detection training increases. Challenges increase.
-Puppies eat in the bathtub to desensitize to slippery and grooming.
-Puppies are run in the rain, and through water.
-By now we expect a strong follow behavior, and recall, in any service dog or SAR prospect. Any puppy who doesn’t follow, but explores and will return is still considered, but their position as a prospect depends on their willingness to work and their Volhart test.
Volhart Test on day 49
We start seeing working mentality and drive.
Bite Inhibition – Because our puppies will go to Search and Rescue, and Service Dog work, we work hard on bite inhibition but, we do teach tug, and we do not diminish drive.