How our puppies are Raised

It is our belief that a carefully bred, properly raised puppy that has been well socialised from birth & received positive training throughout its puppyhood and early life truly makes a fantastic family companion that is an absolute joy to live with.

It is our goal to produce puppies with outstanding temperaments that will go to there new homes with having solid foundations already in place to make the transition for both the puppy & their new owner a positive one. We place great importance on correct nutrition, training, socialisation & early life experiences for our puppies, so you take home a confident happy healthy puppy that is ready to fit right in with your family for life.

For these reasons we have implemented the ‘Puppy Culture’ program with the raising of our litters. You can view the puppy culture website for more information on this program HERE.

Although we do an extensive amount of work on the puppies before they leave our care it is very important for you to continue the socialisation & training of your puppy, particularly during the first few weeks at home during their critical socialisation period. Therefore we highly recommend you seek out a good puppy preschool run by a  positive or force free dog trainer. Do your research before bringing puppy home so you can find the best puppy preschool in your area. Continuing your puppies education into adulthood will ensure you have a wonderful well trained & behaved family companion.

Below is a week by week guide of what puppies are doing, if you have any questions at all about any of the information contained on this page feel free to email us guwalilabs@gmail.com

The first 3 weeks – Birth to 3 weeks old

Our puppies are all born inside our home in the living room where we can keep them warm in winter by our fire, one of us also sleeps in the living room during the first couple of weeks close to the whelping box to keep a close eye on things & make sure everyone is getting their turn at the milk bar.

We are on hand during the entire birth to ensure the safety of both the mother & the puppies during the birth. If any complications arise we are there to act quickly or seek veterinary assistance if required.

The puppies are all weighed at birth so we have a baseline to go by & then weighed every couple of days to ensure they are receiving enough nutrition from their mum & if any are not keeping up we will supplement with some good quality puppy formula.

The puppies have their nails trimmed at 2 days old, and then every week, this serves a few purposes firstly short nails help the puppies feet & legs to develop and grow properly. It helps the mum be more comfortable to nurse the puppies as their nails even at this age can be very sharp! And it also serves to desensitise the puppy to having their feet handled.

From 3 days through to 16 days old the puppies start ENS or Early neurological stimulation which is a series of 5 exercises designed by Dr. Battaglia, for more information on ENS and the benefits to your puppy see this great article – http://breedingbetterdogs.com/article/early-neurological-stimulation

The puppies are regularly picked up and cuddled by various member of the household to condition them to being handled all over.

By the end of the second week (2 weeks of age) the puppies eyes are beginning to open & they start to take an interest in their litter mates & surrounds, they are also getting up on their feet more. We start to introduce a new toy or visual object each day between 2 weeks & 3 weeks of age.

By the end of third week the puppies ears have opened & they start to hear noises from their environment.

Week 4 puppies are 3 – 4 weeks old

When the puppies turn 3 weeks old they are entering their critical socialisation period, they have both their eyes & ears open so can see & hear, they have started toddling around the whelping box & interacting with their littermates. Below in dot points are the areas we work on during this week.

  • Starting at 3 weeks old we start exercises to help the puppies develop a good startle recovery
  • We Introduce new visual items to the whelping box each day
  • The puppies are introduced to a variety of sounds to work towards sound desensitisation
  • They will have their first introductions to solid foods
  • Puppies also start to spend some one on one time with us away from their litter mates – this helps to prevent separation anxiety later on particularly when puppies head to their new homes.
  • We add a litter box to the whelping box to encourage puppies to keep their living area clean, it also provides tactile stimulation & enrichment to the puppies
  • During this week the puppies start to be introduced to a variety of people & young children from our extended families.

Week 5 – Puppies are 4-5 weeks old

When the puppies turn 4 weeks old they are getting well on their feet & showing a big interest in the outside world. Their games become more sophisticated & they start picking their toys up & carrying them around. They are much more active in their play with their litter mates, and are well & truly outgrowing their whelping box. Below in dot points are what is happening with the puppies this week.

  • The puppies start to go outside of a daytime so they have more room to play, exercise & stretch their legs. This also helps to get them use to toileting on grass which is useful for toilet training later. They will continue to come inside to sleep for at least another week or so.
  • We introduce crates to the puppies for the first time with doors open & comfy beds so they can nap in them & learn to be comfortable being in their crates.
  • We start to work on problem solving exercises to help the puppies deal with frustration & learn to think for themselves.
  • Clicker training also starts this week – the puppies all learn what the clicker means & we play a lot of simple clicker games with the puppies to teach them to offer behaviours for a reward.
  • Once the puppies understand what the clicker means they are taught the concept of sitting to ask for things (attention, treats, pats etc) instead of jumping on us.
  • We also continue the startle recovery exercises we started with the puppies last week.
  • This week we also like to invite the puppies new families that live close enough to visit for the first time to interact with the litter.

Week 6 – Puppies are 5 – 6 weeks old

At 5 weeks old the puppies are entering a mild fear imprinting stage. Before now the puppies showed no real fear, as this stage emerges we may see fear responses to things the puppies have never been afraid of before. During this week we continue with everything we have done so far, introducing new & challenging things but also monitoring the puppies response & dialling back if the puppies are especially fearful.

  • Crate training continues – puppies start to have meals in their crate with door closed, they continue to use the crates for sleeping with door open.
  • We continue with startle recovery exercises started in week 3 while being observant not to induce a fearful response for any puppy.
  • More visitors are welcome this week
  • We continue with clicker training and Manding (sit to ask for things) moving onto group manding this week.
  • More problem solving activities
  • Puppies continue their weekly nail trims
  • Puppies start to sleep outside in their kennel attached to their day yard by end of this week with crates in their sleeping area.

Week 7 – Puppies are 6 – 7 weeks old

By the time the puppies reach 6 weeks of age they are entering the curiosity period, they have the highest approach & lowest fear during this time. This is why we like to host a puppy party during this week! We invite any puppy buyers who can attend along with some dog savy friends to assist. During the puppy part families are offered the opportunity to work with each puppy on a simple training exercise which helps the puppies to learn to be trained by other people, We serve our guests light refreshments during break time & the puppies nap & get use to the noise of having strangers around. We also discuss diet, training & socialisation for when your puppy comes home.

During this week the puppies also –

  • Continue with crate training, having meals in their crates & then short nap time with door closed
  • Continue with problem solving & emotional resiliency exercises
  • Start work on resource guarding prevention protocols – We teach our puppies to love having their ‘things’ being taken by a human be it food a toy or a scrumptious raw meaty bone.
  • Body handling protocols are introduced, nail trims continue
  • Training continues & puppies are taught to sit, drop & come when called

Week 8 – Puppies are 7 – 8 weeks old

Below are the key points we work on with the puppies this week –

  • We continue with resource guarding prevention protocols started last week
  • Crate training continues with the puppies gradually increasing their time spent in the crates for naps, meals etc.
  • We continue working on all the skills the puppies have learnt so far including Manding (sit for attention/polite greeting) Sits, downs come when called
  • We start work on loose leash walking
  • Body handling continues along with nail trims

Week 9 – Puppies are 8 – 9 weeks old

Real fear emerges this week, fear periods are a very normal part of puppy development & learning how to recognise it & deal with it in an appropriate manner is very important. For this reason & in the best interests of the puppies we like to keep our puppies with us until they reach 9 weeks of age so we can expertly guide them through this week and ensure all their experiences are positive so they learn to deal with fearful experiences in a positive way as adult dogs.

Below are key points of areas we work on this week.

  • Puppies are taught their name if we know it.
  • Attention exercises are started.
  • Crate training continues as per last week
  • More work is done on loose leash walking
  • Puppies continue to practice manding, sits, downs & come when called.
  • Body handling continues along with nail trimming
  • Puppies start to leave for their new homes once they turn 9 weeks.