Puppy Raising Protocols
We believe strongly in giving our puppies the best start to life. Learning starts well before the puppies are even born and so does our puppy raising curriculum, starting from inside the womb, up until they leave our home to their new families!
The mother is one of the most important aspects to puppy raising. A healthy, happy, stress-free mother, will create healthier, stronger babies.
Everything we put into our girls, shows through in their babies, we start our process from the moment our girls come into heat to be bred, so our future puppies are given the absolute best start to life as early as possible.
Ensuring our mothers nutritional needs are met through our precise home prepared raw diet.
The first 4 weeks of gestation, we typically feed their normal amount of food with a steady increase in bone and offal content for essential nutrients that the mother's body will start to demand more of as the pregnancy progresses. By 6 weeks gestation the girls are given as much food as they want to eat, the puppies will be rapidly increasing in size and will be increasing the nutrient need in their mother to support the rapidly growing puppies!
We provide a range of different gut support during pregnancy to keep the mothers feeling as best as they possibly can whilst supporting their puppies needs.
We start to introduce as many different protein sources from different animal species as well as different plant sources during pregnancy. These different elements to the diet, directly effect the growing puppies and increase the puppies own immune system and tolerances, which in effect, help reduce potential allergies or food intolerances later in life.
Belly rubs are a must! As our girls progress into their pregnancy, they really enjoy having their bellies rubbed, not only does this make the girls feel better, but it actually effects the puppies as well. Rubbing the belly of a pregnant dog calms her down and makes her feel good, this calms the puppies and reduces the puppies stress whilst in the womb. Especially during the last week of gestation, stress free mumma and puppies are very important and plays a huge role in a healthy delivery.
ENS & ESI
ENS - Early Neurological Stimulation
ESI - Early Scent Introduction
Both ENS and ESI work in a similar way to each other when introduced to very young puppies between the ages of 3 and 16 days.
Early neurological stimulation was been used for many years, adapted from the U.S. Military's canine program called 'Bio Sensor'. It was used to give the puppies a superior advantage through low levels of stress inducing exercises, once a day, for 2 weeks.
Each of the following exercises are performed for 3-5 seconds each.
Tactical stimulation (between toes)
Head held erect
Head pointed down
Five benefits that have been observed in dogs that were exposed to the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises include:
Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
Stronger heart beats
Stronger adrenal glands
More tolerance to stress
Greater resistance to disease
In tests of learning, stimulated puppies were found to be more active and were more exploratory than their non stimulated littermates over which they were dominant in competitive situations.
Secondary effects were also noted regarding test performance. In simple problem solving tests using detours in a maze, the non-stimulated pups became extremely aroused, whined a great deal, and made many errors. Their stimulated littermates were less disturbed or upset by test conditions and when comparisons were made, the stimulated littermates were more calm in the test environment, made fewer errors and gave only an occasional distress sound when stressed.
The Transitional Period
Between 2-3 weeks of age, puppies will enter what is called the Transitional Period; between when their eyes open and their ears open (roughly 7 days later).
During this period the puppies begin to respond to affection and interaction, seeking out snuggles and play. We also get to begin shaping emotional responses by introducing frustration, and quickly rewarding with a positive, aka, a piece of cheese! We frustrate the puppy just slightly, by gently rubbing their backs, as if to mimic the puppies natural playing style and then placing a piece of cheese in their mouths immediately afterwards. This causes a positive reaction towards frustration, which has been found to help teach a puppy how to react to situations later on in life and teach self reasuring behaviour.
As soon as the ear canals have opened (noticable from first reaction towards a noise) this period is over and they will enter the Socialisation Period!
The Socialisation Period
From 3 weeks of age, the puppies will enter the Socialisation Period!
A new item is added to the puppies pen or a new daily experience from this point onwards as well as intoruding a new sound each day now that their ears are open! These sounds include noises we would expect them to hear later on in life (eg. traffic, airplanes, doorknocking, loud talking, fireworks, cars beeping, trains, etc.). As the puppies age, we begin to start clicker training which progresses to free shaping training, introducing a daily obstacle course and barrier frustration learning.
Socialisation is incredibly important for a well adjusted, social, content and happy dog.
The socialisation window is very short, starting from 3 weeks of age, and finishes somewhere between 12-16 weeks. But the absolute most important window, is during the 4th week, but before the 5 week fear period. During this very short time frame, a puppy is able to take on any positive challenges and ingrain this positive emotional response in their brain and hold onto it for life, of course this works both way, any negative responses will also effect them for the remainder of their lives, this short window plays a key role in how your puppy will respond to all future situations.
The final stage to raising a happy, healthy, well mannered dog is through enrichment. Enrichment has no time limit, unlike the socialisation period, enrichment becomes part of the normal routine from 7 weeks of age, this includes, but is not limited to:
Dog friendly indoor shopping
Visiting the park or beach
Formal and informal training
Physical exercise which include rewards
Playing (without toys)