The First 8 Weeks
Caring for our dams and sire leading up to and during the breeding process is only the first step to our successful breeding practice. The first two months of a puppies life is what we refer to as the formative period. During this time we are working to prepare our puppies for their forever homes. The care we take in breeding is matched only by the thorough socialization we give our puppies throughout their first eight weeks of life.
The health and well being of our Dam is paramount. Leading up to the birth, we are constantly monitoring her health and temperature to gauge when the pups will be born. We shave her belly and clean her teats in preparation for nursing puppies and ensure she is comfortable, well nourished and hydrated at all times. Weeks before birth, we set up and stage the whelping room. This allows her time to get comfortable and to get her scent established in the space. It also allows our other doodles time to get familiar with the area.
Our Newborn Puppies - Weeks 0-2
We take a great deal of care in raising each fur baby to ensure they are mentally and socially prepared to become a loving part of your family. Our whelping box is situated in a central location within our home, it is kept clean and dry by changing out the pads twice a day. Newborn puppies cannot regulate their own body temperature for the first 2 weeks of life so one area of the box is heated between 85-90 degrees for the first couple days then gradually decreased to 72 degrees for the remainder.
We continue to check on the puppies every few hours to ensure they are each suckling, warm and content. Each puppy is handled daily to begin early neurological stimulation and weighed each day to ensure they are gaining adequate weight. By the end of the first two weeks, their eyes begin to open.
You can read more about Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) by clicking HERE.
Our Newborn Puppies - Weeks 3-7
One of the most important things we do for our puppies is to put them on a deworming schedule. This begins at the two week old point and is repeated every 2 weeks until the puppy goes home. Click HERE for the full deworming process. The end of the first two weeks is also when the pups begin trying out their legs and begin to walk. It is during this time that we also start to housebreak the puppies by training them to eliminate in the designated section of the whelping room. By starting this process early, it eases the transition for when new owners take their puppies home and start housebreaking the puppies. At around three to four weeks old, puppies begin weaning from their mother's milk and begin a diet consisting of puppy mush, or puppy gruel. We offer this to the puppies 3-4 times each day and eventually transition them to regularly textured puppy food. This process of transition lasts 7 to 8 weeks and by the time your puppy comes home, they will be on regular puppy food.
Another important step we take to prepare puppies to leave us is to make sure they are socialized and acclimated to the sights and sounds of a busy household and outside world. This is one of the reasons we like to have our whelping area centralized in our home as the puppies are daily exposed to conversations, clanging pots and pans, older dogs barking and other loud noises. We set up obstacles for the puppies play area, start to give them simple commands, come, sit, stay, begin to groom them and give them baths, and handle each of them multiple times a day for short periods of time. When they are old enough, around week 6, we take them outside for a brief playtime in the grass. The puppies are too young for flea and tick medications at this time, so we keep their time outside short.
Vet Check at 6 Weeks
Each puppy is taken to the vet at 6 weeks for a visit. Our vet examines each puppy and gives them their first round of vaccinations. Each puppy is sent home with a record of wellness that includes their vaccination record and each of their deworming treatments. Click HERE for more information about the vaccination schedule your puppy will need.
Our last two weeks with the puppies is spent giving them as much love as we possibly can. Each member of our family joins in playing with the puppies and caring for their every need. Our goal is to breed the healthiest, happiest and most loving puppies that will be a blessing to your families from day one.