WHELPING TIME (from pregnancy thru birth)
Our females are devoted family members that live with us (24 X7). We monitor them throughout their pregnancy, and modify their diet accordingly. Their bellies are rubbed and the unborn puppies are talked to. For the week prior to whelping, we monitor them quite closely. When it is time to whelp, we go through their labor and delivery with them. It amazes me, as to how strong our puppies are when they are born. Within seconds, some of them are nursing from their mother. Our puppies are whelped and raised in a stress free environment within our home. After the puppies are born, their mothers diet is adjusted as needed to provide our puppies with adequate nutrition in order for them to grow properly. The mother's health and temperament plays such an important role in how each puppy experiences their world and adjusts to their lifestyle. If the mother is calm and relaxed, her puppies will be well balanced and able to trust and respect people.
WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY
There are many stages in each puppy's development where proper socialization is extremely beneficial! The 1st two weeks is known as the (Neonatal period). Puppies nurse a lot, and spend 90 % of their time sleeping in puppy piles. The mothers are very devoted and spend all of their time nursing their puppies and stimulating them to go potty by licking their bottoms. To stimulate their brain, the exercises we perform are: tickling between their toes with a Q-tip, holding the puppy on its back in the palm of our hands with it's' head down, and massaging each puppy with a damp towel.
Weeks 2 and 3 is the (Transitional period)
At 2 ½ weeks, the puppies start to develop their motor skills and start to walk instead of crawl. As their eyes and ears open, they become more alert. They also are able to go potty on their own. They start to recognize us and respond to our voices. At 3 weeks, their teeth start to appear, and they start to mouth the other puppies as they begin to play. They use their little voices as they start to bark and play growl. This is a very important period in their development. We spend a lot of time with our puppies and they are handled a lot by all family members, (men, women, and children of various ages). At this stage, the mothers appreciate us "babysitting" their puppies as they start to spend more time away from them. With that being said "we are the lucky ones because the puppies are "oh so cute" as they develop their own personalities". This truly is one of my favorite stages, because I know we can make a huge impact in their future and who they become. They are so precious and want to interact with us. During this important time, the foundation is built for the Human/Animal bond that affects them for the rest of their lives.
Weeks 3 and 4 is the (Awareness Period 1st stage)
The puppies are very alert and become very much aware of their surroundings. During this stage, they tend to startle from loud or sudden noises. I like to expose them to many new noises and things. I set up obstacle courses for them to play on, tunnels for them to crawl through, and mirrors for them to see their reflections in. I expose them to radios, hair dryer noises, vacuum cleaners, wash machine and clothes dryer sounds. The puppies start to test their leadership role, as well as their dominance hierarchy. They like to play fight with each other and mount on each other's shoulders. We start to feed them their nutritional puppy food mixture. Since they now have teeth, the weaning process begins and their mother starts to discipline them if they bite too hard while nursing.
Weeks 4 and 5 is the (Awareness Period 2nd Stage)
During this period; the mother dog increases her time away from her puppies as she continues the weaning process. The puppies excitedly wait to eat their nutritional puppy food mixture. The mothers check on their puppies regularly but prefer to be with us. During this period the puppies need mental as well as physical stimulation and challenges. We spend time outside on our mini obstacle course. Also we provide a lot of toys that they can climb on, chew on, carry around and play tug of war with. We schedule a lot of "puppy pack" time as well as individual time. Working with them separately builds their self esteem and teaches them independence as it starts to build the important human/animal bond. The time invested right now, is so important because it helps to reduce separation anxiety later in their life.
Weeks 6 and 7 is the (Socialization Period)
During this period; our puppies are fed four times a day and taken outside every half hour for "potty breaks". Their first DHPPC vaccination is administered at 6 weeks and the Home Again Chip is inserted at 7 weeks. I like to expose our puppies to as many new experiences and things as possible. It is also important to have as many people handle them as possible. However, we make sure the people have not handled any other dogs prior to handling our puppies because they can carry parvo /corona on their skin or clothes and expose our puppies to it. We continue to use the obstacle course and introduce the focus trainer and as many other new objects as we can. We believe in using positive reinforcement (verbal praise 1st and edible treats 2nd). We like them to be motivated by praise. We promote off lead listening skills as we teach our puppies to trust and respect us. The goal is to build a working team relaionship for future obedience or agility training. We introduce them to our educational toys, such as the"treat balls" and the "Twister" canine puzzle. We go for walks through the back yard, pasture barn, to our clinic, and for car rides. It is extremely important to expose them to everything and yet keep them safe so they have no bad experiences. We promote proper socialization because ---puppies that do not receive proper socialization may be shy or fearful puppies and remain that way throughout their lives.
Weeks 7 thru 9 (Permanent Learning Period)
Young puppies are like mini computers(with feelings) just waiting to be programmed. They love to learn but have short attention spans and tend to easily lose focus. During this period they also experience the fear stage. It is important to continue working with them and exposing them to new positive experiences. We do a lot of play training, expose them to the focus trainer, and use lots of positive reinforcement and treats. If the puppy has a fearful reaction to something, we continue play training on something else and then come back to what they are afraid of. It is important not to overreact to what they are fearful of. I also feel it is important for puppies to remain with their mother, father and litter mates at least thru their 8th week because the mother & father dog teach them to respect and set a good example of how they should act as an adult. With that being said—the mother dog is not locked up or kenneled with her puppies, however she is allowed to interact and play with them throughout the day. Interacting with their father, other adults, and litter mates is also valuable. They experience pack hierarchy and learn canine body language as they learn to trust and respect other dogs as well as people. It is so rewarding to see "KC" play with his puppies by dragging his toys in front of them to entice them to play or to tug. He teaches them to be independent and explore as well as to immediately respond to the "come" command. Their confidence grows as they happily follow him through the obstacles. "KC" dearly loves interacting with his puppies!!!
Weeks 9 thru 12 (Exploring Period)
Puppies love to explore their new world. They love the challenge of climbing on, under, over, and through things. They are so eager to learn but have short attention spans. It is extremely important that they are able to play with other puppies and dogs during this stage, so they can learn "doggy social skills". If they do not have this opportunity to socialize with other dogs----they will have a difficult time interacting with them as adults. If they have not learned canine respect, they will be less respectful of people and will have a more difficult time learning to trust. They will jump on their human family or pack members and try to use them as chew toys. Using the focus trainer teaches them to focus, as you use up their excess energy. A tired puppy is a respectful puppy. Be careful that large breed dogs do not attack or pounce on young puppies because it may affect her/him for the rest of their life. This is the optimum time to enroll young puppies in a puppy socialization class.
Weeks 12 thru 16 (Independence Period)
Puppies begin to test leadership and dominance during this period. They develop their own opinions and start to test human authority. Like young teenagers, they may throw temper tantrums. This is the stage that we teach them who the alpha member of our family and puppy pack is. I definitely recommend using the alpha rollovers as a bonding experience and teaching the puppy to trust you as well as respect you. If you haven't already done so, it is also imperative that you sign up for puppy socialization classes with a qualified instructor. At this stage the puppies are willing to please and are easily taught. If you miss this window of opportunity...it is much harder to train them at a later stage. It is so much easier to teach them correctly from the very beginning than to try to modify bad behavior that has become a habit.
Four to 8 months (Flight Instinct Period)
During this period, puppies want to "test their wings". If not properly socialized, they tend to be more fearful and may react to loud noises by running away. Younger puppies usually come when they are called. During this stage they want to play "catch me - if you can". Teaching the command "come" is extremely important. It should always be a HAPPY command and always be rewarded with a treat. Remember, dogs must trust and respect you in order to come when they are called. It is extremely important to enroll your dog in a beginner obedience class with a qualified instructor. Obedience is shaped like a pyramid and the basics must be taught to build a solid foundation. I cannot stress enough, how important it is to take you puppy to class and do your homework each day!!!! If you do not, the behavior issues will escalate and training will be much harder at a later time. Obedience is like a savings account, you will get out of it whatever you put into it. Please feel free to contact me to discuss training facilities. They are not all equal. I would like to see you enjoy your class and have both you and your puppy benefit from the training! The sky is the limit as to what you can teach your precious puppy.
The amount of time that you invest will be returned to you by 200%. Good dogs are born-Great dogs are trained!
Six to 16 months (2nd Fear Stage Period)
Puppies often experience a 2nd fear stage during this period of time. Some puppies that have always loved everyone may all of a sudden be fearful of everyone. Make light of their fear by distracting the puppy from what he/she is afraid of, remove him/her from the situation and refocus their mind on fetching a toy or treat. Do not reward their fear by babying them. Instead give them a command to sit or drop and reward the positive behavior with praise or a treat. If you console a puppy that is fearful—you are rewarding their fear—and ultimately it will intensify their fear. Continue spending quality time training your young dog. Hopefully this phase will soon pass. If you are concerned about behavior issues-please call.
Obedience is truly a Way of Life! "DON'T COMPLAIN-OBEDIENCE TRAIN" The Mini Aussie is a fun loving intelligent dog. It is the perfect breed of dog for every lifestyle! Owning and training a puppy will be the most rewarding experience that you will ever have! The more you train, the smarter your dog will become and the stronger the bond will grow between the two of you! I truly hope that you enjoy looking through our Website. It is loaded with a lot of excellent information.
I also encourage you to checkout Cannon Veterinary Services Website. [CannonVet.com]
DESIGNER AUSSIES WISHES YOU LOVE, LUCK AND HAPPINESS WITH YOUR PUPPY!!