Breeding is more than just animal care. It encompasses a deep knowledge and understanding of genetics, health testing, pedigrees and temperament before puppies even arrive. Puppy raising is now more than just puppies in a pen. Similar to early childhood education, puppy raising is about safe and comfortable exposures and experiences when puppies are ready. Regular handling, attention and care is needed to raise a well adjusted puppy.
The first few weeks of a puppies life is a precious and quiet time. During this time, ensuring Mumma's needs are meant is our main job. She eats a lot of food and drinks a lot of water which means frequent, around the clock care. We handle puppies daily with a sequence of handling experiences to familiarise puppies with humans. Before they return to Mum, puppies are held close to our chest to feel our heartbeats and when calm, returned. Further to this, puppies begin early-neurological stimulation (ENS) through introduction of specific, non-food based scents. Everything is done at puppy pace. If puppies aren't responding or Mum is stressed, we stop. Sometimes we have a break for a day to allow puppies to develop a touch more. Like humans, all puppies develop differently and at different rates.
Once puppies eyes and ears are open, and they've found their feet, we move onto some different exposures. We following a sequence for a few weeks now, where we introduce a variety of objects, surfaces and textures into the whelping box and play pen spaces. These exposures usually happen in the safety and comfort of their whelping box/play spaces. Like children, puppies are constantly learning and absorbing all the things around them. They are learning how things move, roll, feel, taste, look and react. They are finding their voices and playfulness with Mumma and littermates.
The final few weeks with us sees the puppy curriculum really ramp up. Puppy's confidence has grown and they move into outdoor spaces. They are challenged with harder play equipment, bigger toys and food puzzles. They continue to have regular close handling from humans, bathing, grooming and begin crate exposure and training. Veterinary checks, microchipping, vaccinations and temperament assessments are completed around 7 weeks followed by allocations.
Home Time! Following a puppy journey is exciting, but not as exciting as home time! We do everything we can to help our puppies become well rounded and well adjusted puppies ready to be very lucky family companions. The reality is though, puppies are hard work. Like young babies and children, they often don't sleep well, don't understand what you're asking and can be very cheeky! Stick it through though and your hard work will pay off.
Training your puppy doesn't end at any point. Keep up their training, especially in the first 12-18 months to help prevent any regressions in behaviour- they'll probably still happen but consistency is essential. Regular socialisation and exercise is very important for your Cobberdog. Find a local dog training club to continue training. If you're stuck and unable to find local assistance, Baxter and Bella's online training is a great resource that can help at any time of the day. Code BWBAC