Today the puppies turn 6 months old, so I thought it would be the perfect time to share this post. Happy birthday puppies!
Breeding dogs is not an easy task. You choose the stud dog carefully, do all the health screenings, and watch over your expectant mama dog vigilantly. You pray for an easy birth, and for all the pups to be born healthy. The day finally comes, and the new puppies arrive, blind, deaf and defenseless. And now the hard work begins…
There is more to breeding and raising a healthy litter of puppies than just choosing the right stud dog, the best foods and determining when to vaccinate and de-worm the puppies. Equally important is raising puppies that are well-socialized and fearless in new situations. To ensure that our puppies will adapt quickly to life with their new families we began using socialization protocols, some we created ourselves, and some we learned from other breeders following “Puppy Culture.”
The key to early socialization is to present new stimuli to puppies each week in a fun and gentle way. We didn’t want to scare our puppies, so each new experience was introduced in a positive manner. Right from the beginning our puppies began learning that new people, noises and new objects were good things. We started out socializing our puppies with people before their eyes or ears opened, when their entire world was discovered through the sense of touch and smell. They were held gently, cuddled and even had their tiny paws rubbed.
2 weeks old
2 weeks old
Then as they grew, and they could see and hear, we introduced new toys into their whelping box. We also began introducing new textures through blankets and bedding. And with the help of our family, they began meeting new people. Each new experience was presented in as positive a manner as we could make it.
When they were old enough, they were taken outside for the first time, and that is when the real fun began. Each week we would present them with new toys and new objects to climb on, over and in. And we had people of different ages, and wearing different clothing, meet our puppies for carefully monitored playtime. They met seniors, children, men, women, people in uniforms and people wearing hats. They were introduced to new sounds like when the neighbors mowed their lawns, when a motorcycle would drive up the street, or when the garbage trucks came to collect the garbage. Everything was new to them, and everything was made into a positive experience.
5 weeks old
6 weeks old
5 weeks old
6 weeks old
What did following the “Puppy Culture protocols” accomplish for us? It helped us to raise puppies, that are confident and fearless. I can’t imagine raising puppies any other way. Well-socialized puppies learn quickly, readily adapt to new situations and the adjustment to life with their new families goes much more smoothly. They are almost immune to fear, and recover from stressful situations that other puppies may take a while to overcome. At even a young age, these puppies are much more focused, and easier to train. It's this greater resiliency and retention of early training lessons that help them to connect to their human families.
The puppies at 7 weeks old
The puppies at 8 weeks old
We will definitely be using Puppy Culture protocols in all of our future litters, as we want to give our puppies the tools to live happy lives.