Our Schedule of Puppy Curriculum
Day 3 to Day 16 The Neonatal Period
Once we are sure the puppies are thriving, we begin Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) exercises created by Dr Carmen Battaglia. This includes brief exposures daily to thermal and tactile stimulation, motion and locomotion which is thought to make the puppies more resilient to challenges later in life.
Early Scent Introduction ( ESI) is also started at this age. Other than the sense of touch, the only other sense the puppies have at this age is the sense of smell. We expose our puppies to a different scent daily and note their response. We follow our puppies after they go home and have found puppies who have the most positive responses to the scents have gone on to be exceptional hunting and diabetic alert dogs.
Day 16 to Day 21 The Transitional Period
The puppies eyes and ears are open and they are able to toddle around their whelping bed. At this age, we arrange their whelping bed into three sections: the sleeping area, the play area, and the potty area. By managing their environment at an early age, the puppies are able to use their innate desire to keep their sleep and play areas clean and will begin to toddle over to their potty area to relieve themselves.
The puppies are also beginning to realize that there is more to the world than their mother and littermates. We provide safe whelping box exposures in the form of soft stuffed animals ( that do not make sounds to startle the puppies) in the play area of their whelping bed for the puppies to explore.
Week 3 The Critical Socialization Period
The puppies are moved to from their whelping bed to their weaning pen which allows them to see more of the world( passive enrichment ). We arrange their weaning pen into the same three areas : the sleep area, the play area, and the potty area. We use rabbit pans with pine shavings for the potty area.
While the puppies are still dependent on their mother for nourishment at this age, we begin introducing puppy mush once teeth have erupted.
We introduce the puppies to new experiences, new toys, and new surfaces at this age. Our motto is that the amount of new exposures is not as important as making each new experience positive for each puppy.
Weather permitting, the puppies are introduced to experiences outside of the weaning pen: on the puppy patio and in the puppy play yard. The puppies learn to potty outside.
In inclimate weather, the puppies are introduced to new exposures in the big dog room. We have wonderful retired moms who make great puppy socializers so our puppies can be exposed to neutral dogs before they go home.
The puppies are introduced to open crate conditioning . We start with one open door crate with a Snuggle Buddy (stuffed animal with a heart beat and a blanket scented with mom’s scent). During this week, we increase the number of open crates to one per puppy. The puppies see these open door crates as a fun game as they are able to go in and out of the crates using their free will. This creates a positive association with the crates. We send the Snuggle Buddies and scented blankets home with each puppy for an easier transition to their new homes.
We let our moms set the pace for weaning and follow her lead. But, by this age, the puppies primarily are on puppy food and are drinking water. Although the puppies don’t need their mother as much for nutrition at this age, she still plays a big part in their everyday life, teaching them valuable manners.
The puppies are introduced to closed door crate conditioning at this age during the night. They usually need a potty break a couple of times during the night.
On day 53 of life, the puppies undergo their temperament evaluations. We assess for level of assertiveness, confidence, motivation, resilience, touch tolerance, energy level, sight and sound sensitivity, prey drive, signs of resource guarding, signs of separation anxiety, and focus ( human, dog, or environment). We video tape these evaluations and share the videos and written reports with those who have a puppy reserved from the litter. We then collaborate with our puppy families to determine which puppies will be the best fit for them.
The puppies go to our vet for a head to toe exam, health certificates, vaccinations, and microchipping. The puppies are able to experience a car ride and get to meet the vet and the staff.
We schedule puppy visits, puppy selections, and go home day all on the same day after the puppies have been cleared to go home by our vet.
Even though the puppies are less dependent on her as they grow, the puppies mother is still a daily part of her life until they go to their new homes.
Our puppy curriculum is just the beginning of your puppy’s socialization and training. We send the link to your complimentary Baxter&Bella online dog training as soon as the puppies are born and we enter into contract so you can start getting ready for your puppy while we are getting your puppy ready for you. Many puppy families find Baxter&Bella very helpful when their puppies first come home until they are fully vaccinated at 16 weeks. Most puppy families usually switch over to brick and mortar training facilities at this age so their puppies can continue their training with distractions (new people and new dogs).
Even though your puppy has left us, we are here for the lifetime of your puppy for questions and we love updates.