The care provided during the first 8 weeks is vital.
We're here for them, so they can be there for you.
The purpose of our puppy program is to play a significant role in each puppy's sensory discovery, exposure, care, and to experience that learning and doing things are fun. Our program aims at prevention rather than correcting behaviors later. The neonatal exposure of an activity at the right time based on the puppy's neurological development was determined with great thoughtfulness. Download our Puppy Activity Calendar and you will know what your puppy is doing each day along his/her journey home to you.
ENS: EARLY NEUROLOGICAL STIMULATION
The puppies are handled individually with ENS starting once 3 days old. By introducing mild stresses in a controlled way, their neurological system is stimulated. Each exercise is done for 3-5 seconds. Tactile stimulation is achieved by using a Q-Tip to gently touch between each of the pup’s toes. In the supine position, the pup is held belly up. It is natural for the pup to squirm a little. Once trust is earned, the puppy will submit. Next, the pup is held up in both hands so that the tail is pointed to the ground and the head is above the tail towards the ceiling. From the head held up position the pup is tilted over and held so the head is towards the ground and the tail is towards the ceiling. For thermal stimulation, the pup's belly is laid on a damp cool towel. The goal of these activities is to improve the growth and development of the pup’s immune system, cardiovascular system, and stress tolerance.
While puppies are not able to hear or see for their first 21 days of life, touch and smell are functioning. For neonatal scent introductions, a daily new scent is introduced to each puppy beginning on day 3. Each pup is gently held and the scent item is held ½” from the puppy’s nose. If the puppy shows no reaction or an adverse response, scent training is ended after 5 seconds. If the puppy chooses to engage with the scent item, it is allowed to do so up to 30 seconds. The puppy gains full empowerment of moving towards or away from the scent item. A scent is never moved closer to a pup that has an adverse reaction.
As the puppies grow, we select pungent scent items that they may interact with during their daily pet life or service dog job. Such as natural items (grass, tree bark, leaves, moss, dirt, leaves, evergreen needles and cones), fruits, herbs and spices, training items tennis balls, leather, cloth, feathers, wooden, and plastic items, and tolerant pets such as cats, rabbits, and chickens.
HIGH TRACTION SERVICE MOUNDS
Puppy eyes will begin to open around day 9-12, however they cannot focus, nor are they conscious of what they are seeing. We add PVC pipes, pool noodles, and/or rolled up towels under their blankets. This helps develop their strength as the puppies use their legs to climb over them.
MUSIC/ TALK RADIO
Ear canals begin to open for function between day 11-13, however, they are not able to consciously interpret sounds until day 23. Thus, getting them use to normal human noise and novel sounds begins at this age.
At a young age, we familiarize puppies with putting on and removal of clothing. This practice builds a bond of human trust, submission, and prepares them for wearing a harness. Several of our puppies will have a career as a service dog in which vest wearing will become daily life.
We introduce new things for them to walk on. They are given enough space to go around them to ensure they do not have to participate if they don’t want to.
TOUCH CONDITIONING BY A MALE
Twice daily the puppy is handled for 2-3 minutes alternating between a woman and a man. Each individual puppy is massaged. Touching each area of the body, paws, ears, head, legs, tails, tummy, and checking of eyes. A gentle touch and rub back against their hair.The first reflex that can be conditioned is the cutaneous muscle reflex. Conditioning this reflex to be nonresponsive to human touch begins it’s critical period at day 14 and ends on day 28. The cutaneous muscle which is found under the dog’s skin all over their body will twitch as a startled response when skin is touched by a human (whichever sex not participating in touch conditioning). It is more noticeable in dogs over 4 months of age when they may let one sex handle and exam them, but not the opposite sex.
TOUCH CONDITIONING BY FEMALE
It negatively impacts the dogs in their adulthood when touch conditioning is not performed by both human male and female during their 14-28 days of life. No type of later “training” will reliably bring a touch shy dog out of this behavior fault.
The puppies experience a lot of physical changes including baby teeth emerging around 15 days of age. By day 20 the puppies’ brains are slowly awakening. We notice significant change in our touch conditioning on day 21. It is an exciting day as they will react consciously to our presence.
We pour a little bit of rubbing alcohol on a gauze or cotton ball and wipe it gently onto on to each puppy to simulate being at the vet and having blood drawn.
PUPPY TOY INTRODUCTION
At 3 weeks of age, the puppies are aware of self-environment and learn about being a dog. The puppies are curious about their environment and begin exploring. They are able to learn discipline and submission. Toys include objects made of rubber, vinyl, plastic, metal, 6” lengths of conduit, brown vitamin-pill bottles with lids removed, long socks with (2) knots tied in them (tracking articles), 6” x1” strips of cowhide (tracking article), Pupchip rawhides (ideal teething substance). The purpose of these toys is to custom build the puppies to naturally learn to retrieve, find by scent, and tolerate metal in their mouths. These introductions assist with tracking obedience, search and rescue, and Red Cross work.
OUTDOOR YARD PLAY
We rearrange their outdoor play area with different toys, obstacles, and change the position to introduce a new experience each day. Outdoor equipment includes tires, balance board, slide, tunnel, ect.
Introducing the puppy to mobility beyond their four legs. Helps prep them for car rides.
To build awareness of items above the puppies, overhead items are placed to gain familiarization.
High food drive is an inherited trait that we breed for. Introducing treats and positive affirmations makes training easier.
Once 4 weeks of age, we offer pet and play family visit sessions to socialize the puppies with strangers.
In addition to exposing the puppies to a variety of experiences, people and environments, we also introduce starling sounds in a safe environment. Since sounds are often the source of fears in dogs, getting them used to some noises helps prevent from being scared of them later.
PUPPY CULTURE: CAT FAMILIARIZATION
Puppies get an opportunity to socialize with cats and our other farm animals.
Labradors or iconic for being an intelligent, loyal partner. He/she is also an individual with distinct personality characteristics and idiosyncrasies.
Labradors are inherently fond of water and swimming.
VACCINATIONS & PREVENTATIVE DEWORMING
First shots are administered and include: Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2 (CAV-2 cross protection CAV-1), Parainfluenza and Parvovirus Vaccine (MLV) 5-way protection . You will receive proof of shots and a vaccination record to know when shots are due next.
Preventative deworming will be administered as well before the puppies go home.
MEETING THE CHICKENS
Once the puppy learns to follow, we are able to have a couple at a time follow us around while doing farm chores. This allows them to smell and be introduced to several farm animals.