Molly, pregnant with 2011 litter approving the new whelping box! 

The way in which I raise my pups has come from learning from my elders and mentors.  I have slowly started making it my own, but still believe that the tried and true method is the best.  From the moment of conception, my girls and the pups are my number one priority.   

Puppies are kept at my home until they reach 12 weeks of age.  This is vital for their development.  The time they spend with their litter mates and their mother prepares them for playing with other dogs, as well as adhearing to the pack leader.

From the time the pups ears are open, generally at 10-14 days old, I begin playing music CDs in their room.  These are generally a mixture of thunderstorms and farm life.  I also start introducing them to the vaccuum at this age.  At 4-5 weeks old, they are brought out into my living room during the day.  Here they learn the flow of a household, the come and go of visitors and delivery people, the activities of the kitchen, as well as the sounds of the TV.  I also make sure to play shows and videos that have baby sounds as well as other animal sounds for them to hear.  I also introduce them to plastic water bottles at this age. I also start introducing them to a crate.  I place the bottom of a crate into the whelping box for them to investigate.  They quickly learn that this is where they sleep, and to go potty outside of the crate.  This also starts on housetraining, as you do not go potty where you sleep.  By the time pups go home, they will be sleeping through the night (from about 10:30pm to 6:30am).  However, the occassional growth spurt might bring about some crying in the early hours to be let outside to go potty.

 Starting at birth, I trim their nails weekly.  I use a nail dremel and nail clippers.  Once the pups are about 4 weeks of age, they also receive their first warm bath.  If before this time, I would wipe them clean with baby wipes or a damp cloth.  I also touch the babies everywhere.  I gently tug on their ears, and massage their toes.  I also play with their tails.  Many dogs are opposed to these actions, as well as it is one reason why dogs bite young children.  By exposing puppies to this at this age, they will become descenitized to it and are less likely to react as adults.

Conception and Gestation:

During this time, my girls receive anything they could possibly desire.  I provide my girls with a calm environment from the moment of conception until the puppies arive..  I also try not to make any changes at this time.  My girls get daily exerice, premium food and supplements, as well as lots of love and attention.  A good friend of mine, and mentor, taught me that puppies born from a mother that was petted have a greater tolerance to handling than puppies from a mother that was not petted, as well as the litter will be more docile.

My girls are always fed a high quality food.  However, during pregnancy my girls receive added supplements.  This can be anything from cottage cheese, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, chicken broth, as well as ground turkey.  This continues until the puppies are fully weaned from their mother. 

Neurological Stimulation- Bio Sensor Method:

The U.S. Military in their canine program developed a method that still serves as a guide to what works. In an effort to improve the performance of dogs used for military purposes, a program called "Bio Sensor" was developed. Later, it became known to the public as the "Super Dog" Program. Based on years of research, the military learned that early neurological stimulation exercises could have important and lasting effects. Their studies confirmed that there are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has optimum results. The first period involves a window of time that begins at the third day of life and lasts until the sixteenth day. It is believed that this interval of time is a period of rapid neurological growth and development, and therefore is of great importance to the individual.

The "Bio Sensor" program was also concerned with early neurological stimulation in order to give the dog a superior advantage. Its development utilized six exercises, which were designed to stimulate the neurological system. Each workout involved handling puppies once each day. The workouts required handling them one at a time while performing a series of five exercises. Listed in no order of preference the handler starts with one pup and stimulates it using each of the five exercises. The handler completes the series from beginning to end before starting with the next pup.

The handling of each pup once per day involves the following exercises:
1. Tactile stimulation - holding the pup in one hand, the handler gently stimulates (tickles) the pup between the toes on any one foot using a Q-tip. It is not necessary to see that the pup is feeling the tickle. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds.
2. Head held erect - using both hands, the pup is held perpendicular to the ground, (straight up), so that its head is directly above its tail. This is an upward position. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds
3. Head pointed down - holding the pup firmly with both hands the head is reversed and is pointed downward so that it is pointing towards the ground. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds
4. Supine position - hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling. The pup while on its back is allowed to sleep struggle. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.
5. Thermal stimulation - use a damp towel that has been cooled in a refrigerator for at least five minutes. Place the pup on the towel, feet down. Do not restrain it from moving. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.

These five exercises will produce neurological stimulations, none of which naturally occur during this early period of life. Experience shows that while sometimes pups will resist these exercises, others will appear unconcerned. In either case a caution is offered to those who plan to use them. Do not repeat them more than once per day and do not extend the time beyond that recommended for each exercise. Over stimulation of the neurological system can have adverse and detrimental results.

These exercises impact the neurological system by kicking it into action earlier than would be normally expected. The result being an increased capacity that later will help to make the difference in its performance. Those who play with their pups and routinely handle them should continue to do so because the neurological exercises are not substitutions for routine handling, play socialization or bonding.

Five benefits have been observed in canines that were exposed to the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises:

1. Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
2. Stronger heart beats,
3. Stronger adrenal glands,
4. More tolerance to stress
5. Greater resistance to disease

In tests of learning, stimulated pups have been found to be more active as well as more exploratory than their non-stimulated litter mates.  They also were more dominant incompetitive situations.

 

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