Well Raised Puppies At DoMarco
One of the first questions potential owners ask is how we raise our puppies. Here are some highlights.
We breed a litter because we are always trying to improve our own dogs and the breed as a whole. Our breeding program has a plan. We research and plan breedings years ahead of time. Every whelping is a risk for our girls. We don't breed our bitches without lots of planning, good pre-natal care and pre-arranging veterinary support. No matter how much experience one has, the anticipation of the upcoming whelp is always nerve wracking.
The care of the dam and every pup in the litter is of critical importance to us. The puppies are born in their own nursery of the home, and we stay with the dam and her litter around the clock usually for the first week or two. We are careful from beginning to end to provide proper warmth, a clean environment, bedding with good traction for the puppies as well as good padding in the whelping box for the dam.
During the first couple of weeks we stimulate the puppies in the same manner that is described at the website of Dr. Carmen Battaglia (see below.) And we follow many of the puppy raising techniques described by Pat Hastings and Erin Ann Rouse in their book, "Another Piece Of The Puzzle: Puppy Development" (see below.) We have found both are helpful to our puppies. We conservatively utilize these early neurological stimulation techniques, and we spend hours socializing the pups to everyday life in our home environment. The puppies are handled and loved by several different members of our family. All of the puppies are weighed and cleaned daily, toenails are cut weekly, and baths are provided as needed.
At approximately week three puppies' eyes and ears open. The puppies are moved to an active area of the home where they can experience many sights, smells and sounds. We begin to clang pots and pans, play all types of music, and let them experience television, mirrors, toys, etc., as well as family activities. We also introduce clicker training at feeding time to begin the foundation for later recall training.
We believe in letting our dams interact with their babies as much as possible. The lessons that the dam teaches the litter (like bite inhibition) are invaluable to a well raised puppy. When puppies are older, the dam teaches her puppies how to interact with another adult dog and good social skills.
Between week three and four, the puppies are beginning the weaning process, slowly being introduced to food in addition to nursing. At this time they are also introduced to an open gate in their puppy playpen that leads to the potty area. Puppies want to be clean. We have found that having a separate potty area for them encourages them early to be clean puppies. It makes house breaking a breeze as they naturally understand the concept of going from one place to another area to potty from infancy. As the puppies grow each week, the puppy pen is enlarged to provide adequate play room and sufficient space for a potty area. Every night we have a bedtime story. All of the puppies gather in our laps and we tell stories to each one while they nuzzle with us.
By week five, the fun really begins. The puppies are wagging little tails and playing with us in the house and outside if weather permits; we start to see little personalities developing and pack order begins. At this time, we begin loads of socialization.. introducing the puppies to other knowledgeable friends, our adult dogs (we KNOW they are vaccinated) as well as car rides, blow dryers, clippers, etc. We enlarge the play area adding in more stimulation via toddler slides, crates, tunnels, baby pools, all sorts of toys, and several different floor surfaces. Good floor traction assists with healthy development of puppy structure and motor skills.
By week six, socialization continues, and the pups are introduced to sleeping in crates together and separately. We find ourselves shooting hundreds of pictures of darling puppies! You can't help it they are so cute! Puppies have to be handled a lot to get them to sit still long enough for a picture like this!
By week seven and eight, weather permitting, the pups are introduced to our sandy beach and usually have a blast joining their dam for their first swim in the lake. They are well started on their road to being socialized puppies, and ready for their new families to continue this important socialization process. At week eight to nine we do a puppy structural and temperament evaluation, and begin the process of matching the puppies with the families that we have interviewed.
Puppies are wormed on a veterinary recommended schedule, and vaccinated in accordance with Dr. Jean Dodds' vaccination guidelines. We follow the studies of Dr. Dodds as well as Dr. Ronald Schultz, University of Wisconsin Madison, and we do not believe in over vaccination of dogs. We follow the minimal use of vaccinations whenever possible.
ADDITIONAL HEALTH AND TRAINING INFORMATION LINKS: