My mama dogs are part of our family and sleep next to our bed. When the babies come, they live indoors for the first part of their lives and I am with them continuously, including up and down during the night, just like with human newborns.
As the pups grow, they are moved to the breezeway or garage where they have space to run and play and slowly start to house break themselves by having access to the fenced yard. As they grow, they potty a little further and further away from their bedding, til eventually it is on the far side of the yard.
This gives them a good start for you training them where you would like for them to go. (Please note that no matter how good of a start they get, it is only a start. No dog is completely trained at 8 weeks, there is a lot of work ahead for you!)
At almost three weeks, they start edging out of the bed towards the potty pads, and I have pads out for their overnight needs as they get older too. When we traveled across country to deliver pups to new families, I was very glad that they were also pad trained. That sure helped at 2am in a hotel.
At about the same time they start using the pads, they also get training in eye contact. From the moment they are born, each has been snuggled, tickled, cuddled, and manipulated around enough to know that human touch is safe and pleasant. Once their eyes open, I make a habit of gazing into those sweet, befuddled eyes each time the baby is picked up and make sure that everyone in the family knows to do that before cuddle time.
As they learn to wobble around their nest, I start getting their attention, and having them meet my gaze before lifting and petting. Along with that, I will coax them to me with “come, puppy!” in a sing song tone. Training has begun very early, but all they know is that someone loves them and wants to give them attention.
At this time, I concentrate on the ones who do not enjoy being held as much as the others. There are always a couple who would rather be left in the nest. Those get put into a soft, cross body sling I wear as I vacuum or fix dinner. This has worked to turn their attitude around and makes them as comfortable with humans as they are with their siblings.
During weaning, which starts with formula at 3 to 3-1/2 weeks and progresses to soft foods, I set aside some of the meal to hand feed. This is when I begin working on getting them to sit and look at me for a bite of food. I do this one on one to start with, but by about 7 weeks, the whole litter knows to look in my eyes and sit politely to get their bite.
A crate is set up with bedding for them, so they are used to it from about 4 weeks old. Daily, I will shut them all in it together while I mop up. At six weeks, I start putting a couple in with the door shut at random times. At 7 weeks, they go into crates alone for short periods.
As an artist, I work from a home studio with a concrete floor. The door opens into the puppies’ yard and in nice weather is left open for them to wander in and out. In the evenings, every family member scoops up a puppy or two for holding while watching TV or reading a book. We switch them out so everyone gets turns getting used to being a beloved house dog.
Toys are washed daily and switched out, so there is always a variety. The little guys are so excited over new toys and run to see what I bring them. I add bright colored step stools and other large items for them to explore, but do not leave them out all of the time. The pups seem to thrive by having their play area changed and updated.
Raising puppies takes months of commitment, running on little sleep, and lots of determination to give those babies a taste of care and devotion so that they grow up to be confident and loving pets.
A dog is a long term commitment, that does not end when the cuteness fades and old age sets in. This is 14 year old Twinkle, who is now blind and kind of off in her own world but who still loves a scratch behind her ear, hearing her name repeated, and getting a good treat.
My goal is to raise happy, healthy dogs that will be so loved that their families will be there for them til the end, like we are with Twinkle.
Honey, our golden retriever is from Health Tested lines, both her parents were clear. The poodle stud that she was bred with is fully tested.
Sugar has had a DNA panel, and is OFA certified in hips, eyes, and heart. The stud we use for her is also fully tested.
I do not do DNA tests on each puppy when born, but can tell you that their parents were studied before the breeding to be a good match up of traits and to produce healthy dogs. We can do an educated guess of the size of the dog as an adult, but cannot promise a certain weight.
All pups will be vet checked, treated for parasites, have all required shots up to 8 weeks, and be microchipped. You will need to register the chip yourself and consult your own vet for continuing vaccines.
I have often given away a puppy to family and friends so I can watch it grow up. If you decide to get a dog from me, please send me updates and photos, I love to hear how my grand dogs are doing.