Our Facilities & Puppy Care
~ The view from our front yard ~
Our puppies are whelped in our home and spend their first 2-3 weeks in the whelping box with their mother. They are weighed at birth and regularly thereafter. Every puppy is handled daily from birth and an ENS protocol is followed for days 4 through 16. Once their ears open, they get used to a wide range of house sounds, live music, television, washer/dryer, etc. They are introduced to different smells and textures. They also start weekly visits to local retirement homes.
At 2.5 weeks, we move them to a 4'x8 x-pen near the kitchen. Here they get introduced to many different types of toys, a dog bed, and a potty pan (pine pellets in a shallow pan). Sound desensitization CDs are introduced. In this central location, they definitely hear a lot of household noise and see a lot of activity! They actively play with each other and toys at this stage and most will start using the potty pan by 3-4 weeks of age.
At roughly 4 weeks, they move from the kitchen to the puppy shed -- a 16' x 12' building containing three 10' x 5' kennels. In their kennel, the puppies have a dog crate, pine shavings, toys, and free choice water. During the day, the puppies have regular access to both a 600 sq ft, smooth-gravel play yard and an adjoining 2000 sq ft, grass yard dedicated entirely to their use. At night, puppies and mom are always secured in their pen and the shed doors closed.
We play with the puppies multiple times each day and new toys are introduced over time. We spend time playing and tugging with each and every pup. Weekly visits also continue to senior care homes. This video shows a typical visit to assisted living when the pups are 5-6 weeks old. These trips involve a minimum drive of 15-25 minutes each way, so the puppies become accustomed to weekly rides in a moving vehicle.
They experience as many new sounds, surfaces, sights, and smells as we can make available. We keep things fun and safe. We severely limit time spent on slick surfaces, and stairs are avoided because of research showing a link between stair usage in puppies and hip dysplasia. While puppies eventually get to spend supervised time with gentle adult dogs, we do not allow any rough play with older puppies or dogs. These are precautions we encourage owners to continue when they get their puppy home.
Any puppy that has to fly on an airplane with its owner to get to his new home is given extra time in crate training using soft pet carriers. Training in hard crates and/or wire crates is initiated around 6.5 weeks of age.
Softened kibble is introduced at approximately 3-4 weeks. The puppies are dewormed every two weeks starting at 2 weeks of age. We start easing into weaning at 6.5-7 weeks. BAER testing is done at approximately 7 weeks and a comprehensive vet check is done at 7.5 weeks. Puppies are given a Distemper/Parvo vaccine at 8 weeks. Puppies are ready for new homes once they are fully 8-9 weeks old. Please don't hesitate to ask about how we care for and prepare our pups for their new homes!