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After 25+ years of breeding, you learn a lot! Research and interfacing with other breeders all add important feedback BUT I would have to say most of my learning has come from “watching” the litters. Dozens of them over the years, different breeds YET all the same in the way the mother looks after them, the way they mature, and the way they start to develop a personality. After observing over and over again I started to develop my personal plan for raising all types of puppies to their fullest potential.
We handle our puppies from birth until they go to their new homes. However, we do not ‘overhandle’ our puppies. It is important for the socialization of a puppy for them to be handled regularly by us. As they mature and develop, we begin to teach them the proper way to interact with people and each other. These puppies are raised in our home where we can hear everything that goes on. We strive to have confident, loving puppies who have manners when they enter into their new homes.
The puppies spend the first four weeks with their mom in our ‘nursery’. During this time, we are checking on them throughout the day making sure they are gaining weight and getting what they need. Our puppies are supplemented, when needed, with a high quality milk replacement. Some puppies need an extra boost to give them a jump start on life. The puppies know human contact from the beginning and learn to find comfort in the touch of a human. Once the puppies reach four weeks of age, they are weaned from their mothers. Then they are placed into our ‘daycare’ where they have the space they need to walk, jump, run, play with toys and each other. They are provided with toys that are not only fun, but also assist in their development similar to mind stimulating toys for an infant/toddler. They are provided with food (free fed) 24 hours a day, seven days a week just like being with mom. Our puppies are given ample time to sleep. Sleep is an important part of the development of a puppy just like a child.
The teaching begins with us and finishes with you in your home. The puppies need to be worked with and given boundaries just like a human child. We lay the foundation and you provide the building blocks for the life of the puppy. We provide you with a written PUPPY GUIDE that assists you in transitioning the puppy into your home, training (harness, leash, basic commands, and toilet), and what the puppy needs from you. We are a phone call away if you need help with the puppy. We encourage our clients to call if there are any questions or concerns.
A LETTER FROM A CLIENT
“Gizmo” is now 9 weeks old and he has been absolutely wonderful! We tried very hard to follow your instructions 100% and it works. Friends keep calling expecting to hear horror stories of the puppy crying all night and day. They are actually a little disappointed it has been so easy for us!
Well it has only been a week but Eli and the rest of the family adore him and everyone wants to know where we got such a precious pup with a great personality.
We would NOT have a loving puppy if it were not for YOU. I was not kidding when I said I have been studying your website for awhile. I was intrigued with how you described how to deal with the dogs compared to others. I also heard many painful stories from people about raising a pup. When we came to see you, the puppies were so cute but what sealed the deal is your description of how to raise them.
Thanks for the recent advice. Gizmo had his first bath yesterday. He does something cute/smart every day.
One thing that I would say you should stress more is how they get under your feet so quickly. He loves to run and I was jogging with him in the house and so sad I stepped on his leg and thought I broke it. He seemed to recover fast but I was very scared and sorry. I now just walk around him but he wants to just run, hop and do cart wheels!”
– Cindy, Elijah and Gizmo
Another great suggestion from a puppy buyer! When you purchase a puppy, this subject is covered IN THE “PUPPY GUIDE” under PUPPY TRAINING.
We are professional breeders. There is a big difference here from puppy mill mass breeding and casual breeding of two family pets. We take this very seriously. Pedigrees are researched and dogs are bred with the intent of producing the best puppies possible. We choose not to breed our moms on every cycle and our moms are retired young. When a dog comes into season she is brought inside the house to prevent harassment within the group and an unplanned breeding. Once bred she goes back with her companions until closer to birthing. We also start giving her daily supplements (similar to pre-natal vitamins for humans). A few weeks before birthing they come inside our home and are set up in the ‘nursery’ where they stay until the puppies are weaned. This is one of the reasons my retired moms make such great house dogs later in life. They are so used to house activities and rules they adjust quickly and easily into another home.
We don’t feel We are producing puppies as much as we are producing someone’s pet for life. We approach breeding totally different than most breeders. True, each mom and dad and all the puppies have a piece of our heart. You couldn’t give yourself to this totally if you didn’t first love dogs. But beyond that is a dedication to not just have a litter of puppies but to have a litter of puppies that are exceptional in every way.
You are purchasing a puppy of exceptional quality. Clearly, the most important part is already done for you. When talking with us, you will often hear us say, “Keep it simple”. Often those few words are ignored, or overlooked as buyers search for all the information they can get from books and the internet. True, these sources are a help, but, once you are raising that puppy, we watch new owners get themselves into more trouble by complicating a simple process!
Our puppies are suitable for any household.
MOST of our puppies are purchased by parents for their small children. BUT let’s not leave out the teenager, or adults who want a friend.
CONFIDENCE, RESPECT & STRESS
Here are OUR favorite three words:
CONFIDENCE: Our goal is to hand off a CONFIDENT puppy to a CONFIDENT buyer!!
We hate the word “submission”!!! So many times we see a buyer flip a wee, scared pup over on its’ back in order to see if it submits. They have read this, and other nonsense, in books on “How to pick the best puppy”. Certainly a normal puppy will squirm and cry. You are a giant by comparison. Nothing about you from smell, to forcing the puppy to do something totally against its’ will, makes the puppy confident. What can be gained? We don’t know. When asked, most people have NO idea why they do this, just that they had heard or read it somewhere. To us this whole silly little scenario proves nothing more than you can always force something smaller than you to do your will. How many owners want a dog that responds to them out of “fear” rather than love and respect? AHHH never thought of it that way did you?
Weaning is stressful. A week prior to weaning, we start feeding the puppies canned food similar to what their mothers eat while their mother is outside going to the restroom. During this time, the puppies are being prepared to start weaning from their mothers. After a week of feeding them while mom is outside, we transition them over to the ‘daycare’. We allow our puppies to have some time alone in their new environment. We check on them often to make sure that their needs are met. They ARE watched closely, with multiple checks to see that they are eating, drinking and going to the bathroom. During this time, the puppies are given the canned food along with some soft kibble so they can make the choice. They have food in front of them 24 hours a day. We supplement them with some electrolytes and Nutri-Cal ( A vitamin enriched sweet paste) that gives the puppies the extra boost they need while adapting to being without their mom. When the puppies are checked on, we give them some love and talk with them giving reassurance that they are ok in this new environment. We place a few big stuffed animals in their ‘playpen’ to provide them with something that they can cuddle. For the first few days, the puppies huddle together and turn to each other for comfort. They learn a lot within the litter; they start developing a personality, learn submission, and learn how to be strong. All of these things help the puppies to develop confidence.
Puppies go through “growing stages”, just as do children. Newborns are suited to small and well-heated areas. Weaning requires more space because pups are beginning to walk and it is necessary for them to exercise. Six & seven week old puppies need more room for rough-housing! Puppies eight weeks and older require exercise for the proper development of muscles and tendons. We believe that after weaning puppies need to spend ALL their time growing efficiently. While the puppies are going through growth phases, they require a lot of sleep. SLEEP IS CRITICAL FOR DEVELOPMENT. A puppy that gets good sleep, eats, plays, grows, and has healthy development. If a puppy is not allowed enough time to sleep, they can become ill from being stressed and tired.
It is essential that a breeder recognize and meet the demand for “increased space” at each stage. Meeting this demand is not only critical for physical development, but also reflects on our Philosophy for the mental health of pups and to ensure that early on they gain confidence. Being able to race around and fight with your littermates prepares pups to be outgoing and fun loving with your family. They learn to love and look forward to all the activity!
We have a large room that is dedicated to dividing up puppies at various growth stages. This room has controlled temperature, challenging toys and cubby holes for hiding. This space encourages puppies to have spontaneous fun and to compete. We give them a variety of toys to play tug of war, chase, and any other game they choose to come up with. It can be quite entertaining to watch the puppies play and communicate with each other.
This is a “short version” of the most important things you will share with your pup as it matures into a dog. Our PUPPY GUIDE takes you step by step on how to assist you in your puppy’s development.
At 4 weeks puppies are unsure but “determined”!
At 8 weeks, this is what you see..
A confident puppy
, even if born the “runt”, our puppies are outgoing and self-assured. This is a trainable puppy because its’ responses are based on the confidence in itself. We hand off what we refer to as a “clean slate”. This puppy will come to you happy, loving, playful, and ready to please. Our puppies are not overhandled, they are encouraged to be independent but affectionate at the same time.
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” Colin Powell
CHRISTMAS GIFT PUPPIES —- WHY IT IS SUCH A BAD IDEA
Some “breeders” are thrilled when they have puppies that can be sold as Christmas presents. We choose to wait until after Christmas to send puppies home. Christmas is an exciting time for families. Often there are parties, and many visitors which causes a lot of disturbing noises to a puppy. A puppy requires a lot of sleep. It is difficult to accommodate a puppy’s need for sleep when there is so much activity going on in the household. Puppies become overwhelmed quickly and will become ill from the stress of all the new visitors in their home. We are happy to send photos of your new puppy for everyone to see Christmas day. Everyone can be excited about the new puppy and continue to enjoy the holiday. Meanwhile, your puppy is in the familiar comfort of our ‘daycare’ with their siblings sleeping, playing, eating, etc.
Oscar the Schnauzer is our example. His owner sends us photos of him from every occasion (including her wedding!). He is well behaved and loved by all. He CAN TAKE THE HANDLING (plus added excitement) and in fact loves it. BUT Oscar is an adult… not a puppy! Eventually, your puppy will also be the hit of your family functions —– but later……much later.
Meet: (Schnauzer) OSCAR aka “Mr Friendly Fun Time Guy”! Oscar loves any reason to dress up. He is the hit of every function BUT he always makes time for a nap. Even a “seasoned” party animal, he knows he needs to rest.
SIMPLE PUPPY FACTS
Puppies take 2 weeks to develop confidence and fully settle into a new environment –and this new environment includes: ONLY the people living in the house with the pup. NOBODY else can touch the puppy!
Puppies stress easily——stress is serious——–with serious consequences!
Stress is caused by many things: Relocation alone is stressful, but the #1 cause is OVERHANDLING
and too much excitement! This includes too much petting and the biggest culprit HOLDING/CLUTCHING/CUDDLING. This is how humans show love, BUT the worst thing you can do to a newly arrived puppy.
And the TWO worst times
of the year for stress are THANKSGIVING & CHRISTMAS
. Both dates come with abundant excitement, multiple guests and hyperactive children.
Protect your puppy just as we did while raising it.
NO PUPPY should be among the gifts from Santa on Christmas morning! We will not permit our puppies to be picked up during the 3 weeks BEFORE any large family gathering OR the week FOLLOWING such a gathering. We will make those arrangements with you prior to taking the puppy home. Please be sure to let us know what your holiday plans are so we can figure out the best plan for the puppy.
All information we share with new puppy owners comes from OUR personal experience OR from those of clients. We have received phone calls on Thanksgiving evening and on Christmas day. When the call is from a client we know how the conversation will end!
It always starts with—”We explained the rules to everyone”! The puppy was fabulous and running from person to person. We could see puppy enjoying everything as much as all the kids/family members were. We followed the NO holding rule. We did nothing wrong”! YET the puppy is lying there, won’t eat and visibly showing signs that he/she is not well. We now have to concern ourselves with dehydration and hypoglycemia. The next thing is to find an EMERGENCY VET in your location. The visit won’t be pleasant. The room will be crowded. You will likely spend hours there and the puppy may have to spend the night. The whole experience will be terrible – and costly. HOW do you think the puppy will be taking all this?