Where are your puppies born
born in our home. They are whelped in a bedroom set up
specifically for this purpose. Mom and pups have a whelping box
and I have a bed in the room so that I can stay with them full
time. The bedroom works out great, as it has an attached
bathroom for washing up and is also next to the laundry room (LOTS of
laundry with puppies!). We spend the first two weeks in the
whelping room as we find that the dam really appreciates her privacy
at this time.
weeks, we set up puppy play yards, both upstairs in my computer room
and downstairs in the living room. This allows pups to get
acclimated to the sights and sounds of a busy household.
weeks, pups are living underfoot the majority of the day and sleeping
in their playpen at night. By allowing the pups to play loose
and interact with us, they develop many skills that they would not if
they were sitting in a whelping box or x-pen full time.
How do you tell
which pup is which?
At birth, we
put various colored ribbons on the pups which help us to track each
as an individual. We keep growth charts and diaries of behaviors
starting from the very beginning. At about two weeks, pups
graduate into tiny collars, with colors corresponding to their
original ribbons. By about four weeks, we can identify pups
immediately on sight, however, we keep their collars on them so that
they are easily identified in photos and by those who visit. At
seven weeks, pups are microchipped.
Are the pups
handled from birth?
In addition to many hugs and kisses, we begin by utilizing the
"Bio Sensor" program developed for Early
Neurological Stimulation In addition, Toenails are
clipped starting at 3 days and they are handled by strangers and
children weekly after the third week.
pups are handled so frequently, they are generally very friendly and
outgoing. We believe that this affords them the best
opportunity to be successful after they leave us.
What is your process for
socializing the pups?
above, we begin by utilizing the Bio Sensor program. During
this time, pups sleep the majority of the time and do not have the
ability to see or hear. By day 14, eyes will be open and ears
should be as well. At this stage, we will add new smells to the
whelping box. The puppies' nervous systems undergo' rapid
development during this time and teeth begin to develop. They
will begin to explore their environment to a greater extent and we
encourage them to crawl to us for lots of stroking and attention.
weeks (day 21), everything changes. Pups are now fully aware of
their environment and become quite playful. They will begin to
initiate interaction and will enjoy lots of visual stimulation.
Toys are introduced at this time. Pups also begin to interact
to a greater degree on day 21, face wrestling and knocking each other
down. We introduce their first food on day 21 as well.
This gruel is offered on our fingers and pups are normally highly interested.
four, pups are highly interactive. They bark, use body language
and are extremely playful. At this point, they are eating at
least one meal per day. Trips out of their playpen are
commonplace and, depending on the time of the year, they may venture
outside. At this age, they are blank slates and we assist in
developing their fine motor skills by introducing many new surfaces
to the playpen for them to walk on and climb over. During this week,
we introduce mild auditory and visual stressors.
five, there is another big change. Pups begin to exhibit
individual personality traits, a pack order begins to emerge, and
their dam is interacting with them differently as well, teaching
appropriate social skills and setting limits. Pups are quite
active physically at this point and have developed coordination and
depth perception. They are allowed to romp through the house
(supervised of course). They are highly inquisitive at this
point and we begin to set up small agility obstacles as well as
introduce metal articles to carry. We also lay the foundation
that helps them make the connection between people and rewards (food,
petting). At this age, we normally invite children to come for
play sessions... this is one of our favorite parts!
weeks, pups have undergone rapid development and are essentially
little dogs. At this stage, the dam's relationship with them
has changed and pups seek most of their interaction from us. By
now, pups are eating full meals, going outside to explore, are
supremely confident on all types of footing, and with various noises
and environments. They choose to make eye contact (and are
rewarded for that!) to initiate interaction and are exceedingly
demanding for attention. At this stage, we have many visitors
(often daily) and also take pups for rides in the car into town.
We introduce them to the sherpa bag if they'll be flying home and
also have them spend short periods in a crate. At this age,
pups are introduced to our other dogs. We also set up
challenges at this age... tests that are designed to evaluate
individual problem solving ability as well as scenting ability,
endurance, tenacity, resiliency etc.
brings our formal puppy evaluations. Pups are evaluated stacked
and moving. At this time, we administer a Puppy
Aptitude Test as well as several other tests that we have
customized to help us evaluate the various working drives. Pups
also have their first vet visit and are microchipped and responses
are noted. Each of these evaluations help us to determine how
to match puppies to homes (see How
Placement Decisions are Made).
have now determined where each pup will go, we work to socialize the
pup in ways that will help it to most easily fit into the new
household. We also begin to imprint training behaviors.
Pups are socialized individually and rewarded for sitting squarely,
making eye contact, asking to go outside etc. They are
encouraged to carry items and are taught to "trade".
Pups are introduced to a target stick and also a clicker, with
rewards for responding to both. Ball and tug drives are
developed further. Pups are encouraged to jump or scale small
obstacles and are rewarded for being adventuresome. They are
bathed and brushed. They are introduced to walking on lead and
travel with us for small errands. By the time the new owner
arrives to pick them up, they are fully ready for their new lives.
How long is the dam with her puppies?
As long as
she wants to be. Each dam varies in her attentiveness to the
pups and desire to spend time with them. Some are highly
interested in interacting with pups until they go home, others are
quick to reprimand pups once teeth erupt. In general, our girls
are good mothers and are with pups full time until about three
weeks. From 3-5 weeks, they enjoy some private time but visit
frequently for nursing and play sessions. By about 6-7 weeks,
they are weaning pups and are only visiting for short play
interactions. We allow the dam to interact with them as she
sees fit. The old adage "Mother Knows Best" holds
true in this case.
What are pups eating and when?
Since our "I"
litter, we have weaned our pups on a completely raw diet. We
have found that our raw fed pups grow more proportionately, are more
"together" at a younger age ie. better motor skills, and
are extremely food motivated adults, making training that much easier.
At 21 days,
we begin to offer our pups a "Gruel" once a day. This
consists of goats milk, baby cereal (like for human babies), egg
yolk, organic yogurt, honey and vitamin C (crystals). We let
the pups lick at this and in just one or two feedings, they are
eating with great gusto.
At 4 weeks,
we add baby food beef, lamb and chicken (yes, again, human baby
food), and also baby food veggies which are wonderful since they're
already pureed. I also add a supplement called "The
Missing Link". They are offered this twice daily,
assuming they are still nursing.
By 5 weeks,
we start adding canned salmon and ground whole chicken or turkey in
place of the baby food, plus a larger variety of real fruits and
veggies as well as cottage cheese and apple cider vinegar. We
replace the baby cereal with a 12 grain mixture. At this point,
mom is sometimes starting to want to wean the pups, so the frequency
of feeding is based on her willingness to allow them to nurse.
At 6 weeks,
we introduce a greater variety of meats, such as Beef, Elk and Emu,
as well as some chicken or turkey necks. At this age, they
usually will eat the meat off the bones, but will not be able to eat
whole chicken backs or turkey necks until about 7 weeks. By 7
weeks, the pups are eating just as our adult dogs would (See BARF
Diet). Mom has usually weaned them by now so they are
offered four meals per day.
A Few Notes:
allow mom to nurse pups as long as she is willing. We feel that
mother's milk is the ideal diet for a growing puppy and never
We try to
introduce new foods to the pups one at a time to ensure that they
don't encounter digestive problems. It also helps up to
pinpoint foods that the pups don't like (for instance, I had one
entire litter who wouldn't eat anything if there was bananas in
it...another litter loved bananas).
If a pup
will be fed kibble when it goes to its new home, we recommend that
the owner ship us a bag of what they'll be feeding so that we can
incorporate it into that pup's diet. This is to avoid any
additional stress when they arrive at their new home. We also
send each pup home with some of our food, so that the changeover is
not so dramatic.
How are pups vaccinated?
by litter. Conventionally, we have used the Progard Puppy DPV
(high titre parvo/distemper only) vaccines, per Intervet's 6.5, 9.5
week schedule and Progard 5 at 12.5 weeks. However, there have
been studies disputing the necessity for the earliest vaccine due to
interference by the immunity passed on by the dam.
What we are
doing now is asking for a consensus from the prospective puppy owners
for each litter to help us decide whether they would prefer to
utilize, or skip, that 6.5 week vaccine. Some of the items that
will come into play for this decision is the time of year the litter
arrives (much less worry of disease with our cold Canadian winters),
the area that pups will be traveling to, and the level of titre that
the dam had prior to whelping her pups.
We will send
each pup home with a recommended vaccine schedule. This again
my vary based on the risks in the area you are located in. Our
suggestion is to re-vaccinate at 6 and 18 months and then titre test thereafter.
Do puppies get wormed?
Pups are now wormed with Pyrantel Pamoate at 3 and 5 weeks, with
fecal floats done at 5 and 7 weeks. It is rare that we
encounter pups with worms, but recent experience has taught us to be
better safe than sorry. It is to your advantage to have the pup
wormed again once he is home as fecal floats are prone to false negatives.
Will the puppy be seen by a
veterinarian before we take it home?
puppy will be examined by a veterinarian at 7 weeks. Hearts are
listened to at this time and pups are microchipped. Once the
pup is deemed healthy, it is issued an International Health
Certificate which will allow it to travel.
contract, you should also have your pup examined by your veterinarian
shortly after he arrives home. This will give you peace of mind
that he has arrived home healthy.
Is birth order or rank
order (ie. Alpha dog) within the litter important?
We have seen
no studies to suggest that birth order plays any part in development
of puppies. In our own experiences, there has been no trend in
In terms of
pack order, it is very rare to see a true Alpha, Beta etc. pattern
emerge within a litter. It's never as simple as looking at a
litter and figuring out who is the dominant or submissive
puppy...this is an oversimplification. Some pups will be
naturally more adventuresome, inquisitive or bold than their
littermates, but this does not always equate to a dominant
personality (ie. a puppy can be bold without being rank
seeking). Conversely, a puppy can show inherent weakness in
temperament, yet still hold a strong position within its litter in
some regards. It is up to a good breeder to understand how to
evaluate these behaviors and understand what type of adult each puppy
will mature into.
Is the size of the puppy
important (ie. will the runt of the litter have problems)?
We have not
found size to influence adult behavior, though we have found the
smallest puppies to often be the feistiest within a litter, as they
have to work just a bit harder for everything (and of course we tend
to spoil them with extra attention).
we also have not found birth size to be an indicator of adult
size. Some of our smallest puppies have turned out to be very
large adults, and some of our big brutish pups have matured into
moderate sized dogs. The size of the parents and their siblings
is generally a better indicator of adult size than birth weight.
you know which puppy
will be best for us?
above, we dedicate an incredible amount of time getting to know each
pup. And by the time the litter has arrived, we have also spent
a fair bit of time getting to know you. You can find out more
about this process on the Adoption
Process and How
Placement Decisions are Made pages.
Will you give us instructions
as to how to raise the puppy once he/she is home?
By that point, we will have had many conversations about what to
expect once your puppy comes home. Most often, by the time you
found us, you have experience raising puppies. However, will
will still offer suggestions in terms of feeding, training,
veterinary care etc. We ask that you keep in touch with us and
will offer you and Support that
you may require throughout the lifetime of your dog.