THE FIRST 8 WEEKS

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1-7 DAYS

When puppies are first born, we gently pet and handle them often. The puppies also get daily individual cuddle sessions from me and my children from the day they are born. 

At 3 days old, we start early neurological stimulation (ENS). 5 benefits have been observed in dogs that were exposed to ENS... Improved cardio vascular performance,  stronger heart beats, stronger adrenal glands, more tolerance to stress and greater resistance to disease.

I make my bed near the whelping box and sleep there for the first two weeks to check on the puppies and the dam throughout the night to be sure everyone is doing good.  

We  weigh puppies every morning and night for the first week and chart  growth to be sure everyone is growing and getting the nutrition they need.

We trim the puppies nails for the first time close to the 7 day mark.

7-14 DAYS

We continue to do daily puppy cuddle sessions with each puppy. We are still doing ENS and will continue ENS protocols till the puppies are 16 days old. Puppies are weighed once daily and we snuggle and love on them often throughout the day! 

Puppies are given their first dose deworming at 2 weeks of age. 

14-21 DAYS

Puppies eyes are now open! 

We start introducing puppies to different tactile objects, though at this point they can't carry, shake or interact much yet, so we introduce them to different "Feels" such as big soft toys, toys that make crackling sounds, pieces of fleece and so on. We introduce the puppies to one new thing and/or experience each day. Walk them around to different parts of the house and let them slowly explore. 

3-4 WEEKS OLD

I have an Alexa in the whelping room and we start to introduce classical music to the puppies for 45 minutes every day. Note: Dogs in a kennel that spent time listening to classical music spent more time sleeping, barked less and shook less than dogs that listened to other kinds of music.

We play the television and play habituation recordings (sounds of traffic, cars, and other desensitizing noises) for about an hour a day as well.

We do one startle recovery activity a day.

At this age we start to organize the whelping pen into different sleep and potty areas. 

Puppies are given their second dose of deworming at 4 weeks of age.

4-5 WEEKS OLD

At this stage, puppies are starting to move around a bit more. We move them from their whelping pen to the weaning pen that is a little larger. 

I start puppies on puppy mush at this age. I have a designated blender and I blend up puppy food, goat milk and a probiotic to keep their gut health in check! Puppies looooove their puppy mush! Puppies are also introduced to water. 

We start introducing more interactive toys and low and stable climbing objects. We also introduce puppies to outside time (Weather permitting!)

When puppies are 4 weeks old we give them their first bath. They are also introduced to the doggie blow dryer. 

5-6 WEEKS OLD

Puppies are starting to play and move a lot. They are really enjoying wrestling with each other. We make the weaning pen a bit larger and introduce crates with the doors removed so puppies become familiar with them. Puppies are nursing less and really loving their puppy mush still. When we feed puppies their puppy mush, we generally feed them outside of the weaning pen. When I set their food down I call out "Here puppy, puppy, puppy!" to start teaching recall.

We introduce raw meaty bones for puppies to chew and teethe on. 

We also introduce treats for puppies to eat from our hands. Learning this at a young age helps dogs learn to be gentle when eating treats out of your hands. 

Puppies are getting lots of love and socialization from my family and our friends with daily snuggle sessions.

Puppies are given their third dose of deworming at 6 weeks of age.

6-7 WEEKS OLD

Puppies are getting so social and are so much fun to watch interact with their litter-mates! 

We start puppies with individual crate time with the door closed. We introduce car rides in the crate at this age as well. Puppies are getting much more outside play time. We take puppies one by one and start teaching recall by having one person on one end of the room calling out, "Here puppy, puppy, puppy!"  and the puppy gets a treat when they come. . 

7-8 WEEKS OLD

This is our last week with the puppies and it is so bitter sweet.  Families are getting ready for their furry companions and we are giving as much love as we can to these puppies as this is our last few days with them!

We take the puppies to the vet for their health checkup and to get their first round of vaccinations. 

We take the puppies on a few more rides in the car, continue their recall training and give them loads of love and snuggles. As we handle the pups, we take special attention to petting their paws, their ears under their bellies and under their armpits so they are use to being handled everywhere. This will help immensely when it comes time for them to be groomed...  your groomer and your veterinarian will thank you! 

Puppies are given their fourth and final dose of deworming at 8 weeks of age.

8 WEEKS- FAMILIES COME AND PICK UP THEIR PUPPIES!

When puppies go home to their families we send them with a little goodie bag of helpful things.

The bag contains:

*A small bag of dog food. We feed our puppies Purina Pro Plan Lamb and Rice.

*A small fleece blanket with the littler mate and their mama's scent.

*Folder with puppy info and vaccination record.

*A bag of used litter--- gross, I know, but very helpful! When you get home, before you take your new puppy inside, sprinkle the used litter in the area of the yard you would prefer your dog go do its business. Set the puppy down in that litter area so they associate that spot with their new potty spot. Every time you take the dog out to go potty, take him to this spot! 

I hope you have taken a moment to check out the Baxter & Bella online puppy school. I have been following their protocol with my new future stud puppy, Gus. It has been so incredibly helpful and informative!