Our puppies are born with hands on assistance from me from the very start. I am right there with the moms while she is giving birth helping her bring these fragile babies into the world. I will tear the sac that surrounds the puppy’s head to ensure that it gets its’ first breath of air as quickly as possible. I also clamp & cut the umbilical cord to ensure that the mom doesn’t get to eager & chew it to close to the pups’ body. I will rub the puppy to dry it off a bit & to stimulate its breathing. Then mom gets her turn to lick her newborn clean creating that bond between them. It always amazes me, the strength these tiny 3 – 4 oz puppies show in scooting their way to find a nipple & begin to nurse almost immediately after birth.
After all of the puppies are born, mom and babies spend their first weeks of life in the spare bedroom of our home, deemed during these times as our puppy nursery. Mom has 24/7 access to as much food as she would like to eat in order to keep up her milk supply as well as maintain a healthy weight while the puppies are nursing. A close eye is kept on her in the weeks after the pups are born for any signs of possible post whelp problems like fever, mastitis or eclampsia. Extra calcium enriched foods are added to her diet to lessen her chances of getting eclampsia (milk fever). The new family is kept in a 4ft x 4ft exercise pen for safety and the bedroom is gated off from the other inquisitive furry family members. For the first 3-4 weeks of life they stay cozy in a large box (we use a plastic under-bed storage box) lined with a large bathroom rug & heating pad underneath for comfort & warmth. At about 3 ½ weeks of age or when the pups show that they are able to climb out of the box, it is removed and replaced with a doggie bed and a blanket or two. It is also at about this time that they start to learn to potty on their own and this is when we will put potty pads in the pen for them; again it is amazing at how they know to use them so quickly. Not that they use them every time, but it is obvious from the start that they know what they are for. All during these first weeks of life, when the pups are kept secluded to prevent being exposed to germs of the outside world, either I or my husband or other family members will sit in the room with mom & babies for hours of each day. The pups are handled by us often while changing bedding, getting weekly weights (& pictures), and just because they are so darn cute; this gets them accustomed to the human touch and is an early start of being socialized with people.
Somewhere between 5 – 7 weeks of age mom begins to spend less time feeding her pups & we know that their teeth are starting to come in. This is when we begin to introduce them to puppy gruel (a mixture of ground up puppy kibble and goats milk). Once they are used to this new adventure in food, we slowly add less liquid to the kibble and gradually grind it up less, until they are finally eating strictly dry puppy kibble by about 8-9 weeks of age.
At around 6-7 weeks of age the puppies receive their first set of puppy shots and it is only after they are immunized at least once that they are slowly introduced to the other furry members of the family. We begin by bringing them out into the living area keeping them separated using another exercise pen where they are safe from the possible grumbly older furry folks; yet they are there to see, hear, smell, and get to know the bigger world around them. After a few days of this type of introduction for both the puppies and the adults, we begin to let the puppies out with the adult dogs for short periods, lengthening their interactions as they all get to know one another. Each of these adult/puppy playtimes are completely supervised by myself or another family member. NEVER are the puppies left alone with the other adult dogs! Through each of these steps in their first 10-12 weeks of life the puppies learn the important lessons & skills that help them to mature into confident and well- socialized adult dogs making them wonderful, loving pets for their new families!
Finally, at about 12 weeks of age our puppies are ready to leave our home to become a forever part of their new family. Though the puppy would then officially be a part of your family, he/she will forever and always remain a part of ours in our hearts. We welcome any questions you might have in raising your new puppy in the first few weeks & months of adjusting to their new surroundings, and will also always be available should you have questions in the years to come. We would very much appreciate updated information on how the puppy is doing during their crucial first year of life, and updated pictures are ALWAYS welcome, and almost a must! If you are ever in our neighborhood, a visit would be a welcome treat for us. It is very important to me as a breeder to hear & see how my puppies grow up to be in health, temperament, and conformation to breed standard. Therefore I ask that when you receive an email or message request from me asking for information and/or pictures, please don't delete it. Getting this type of information from you helps me be the responsible breeder that I strive to be.