Who Should Know Your Puppy Best?

In my opinion your breeder should know your puppy the best. That's why I usually pick out which puppy you take home. From the time they are conceived until they are born, the mother and I have a special bond — we have connected with each other a long time ago and this is just part of our partnership.

Some believe when pups are born it so happens there are big ones and little ones. Well, in some cases that may be true, but I believe something else takes place. When mom is ovulating her eggs, it takes a few days for those eggs to mature so they may become fertilized. The eggs may mature at different times or even different days, so in that case not all the puppies are the same age. Most of you have heard or referred to the small puppy as the runt, but in all reality it may just be the last to have been fertilized. Also, in a large litter it could depend on where this puppy is in the mom's horn. Mom has two horns that carry the pups, and if you can imagine "peas in a pod" you can always find the larger peas in the middle and the tiny ones at the ends of the pod. That's how it is with puppies. So the smallest puppy has to catch up with the others and sometimes ends up being the largest.

When our puppies are born it is a private event between mom and me. As each puppy is born, mom licks and inspects them, and I inspect them each thoroughly also. I weigh them and assist with anything needed. I add a ribbon or collar, and then record the weight and time born, along with the sex. Now this newborn has mom's scent imprinted on him for life. The miracles of nature!

We work hard stimulating our puppies from day one. Holding them, touching them, letting them know that they can trust humans. Toys get introduced at about 2 weeks, and they can push a ball around before their eyes are even open! When those eyes open, I want them to look straight at me and smile! We keep the whelping box spotless. I believe if a puppy is raised in dirty conditions they will never get over that habit.

Ok, now these guys are mobile and the fun begins! They are so nosey, inspecting everything. We watch to see who is the bravest or who may need reassurance. We can tell you who was the first to venture off, along with who made it up the steps first, and who figured out the dog door and showed the others just how to do it! Waiting and watching for each one to develop his or her personality. As with children they develop at their own pace. Our puppies also go to daycare at our vet's after they get their first vaccine. We have other people handle them and feed them. They get brushed and spoiled by the girls at the clinic. We welcome others to spend time with them as they grow. Daily walks in the yard with toys and new things to discover. Our older dogs also help teach them their manners and how to use the dog door and, unfortunately, how to chase my birds! At our house, raising a litter is 9 weeks of responsibility, dedication, and commitment, not to mention a lot of hard work.

Puppies go through different periods where they are scared, so we work with those to bring them around to being confident again. At age 9 weeks, they are deciding on who is the leader the pack, and sometimes they have a little disagreement about who the boss is. Puppies change from day to day. You can come visit and pick out the quiet pup and come back 2 weeks later and he's the bully of the pack! At 9 to 10 weeks is when we like them to go to their new homes. At this age it is important to have one-on-one human attention and training.

Don't get hung up on a particular puppy or color of ribbon, as it can lead you astray.

When going to visit or pick up your puppy, look around. Is the environment clean? Are the pups fat and friendly? Have they had a bath and been groomed to go home with you? They should be… In my mind as a breeder, these things are very important. I am a responsible breeder! This is a partnership between you and me. I want my puppies to have a wonderful, happy, long life with you and your family. You cannot always blame the breeder for things you have created once your puppy comes home. If you take just one piece of advice away with you, I hope that is "your puppy will grow up to be what you train him to be." I can't stress enough how important the first year of this dog's life is — the time for socialization to all new things. Train outside your home as much as you can. Take this dog everywhere and let others give him treats, pet him, walk him, and share him. This is the secret to having the best pet you will ever own. In his life he should be confident to be without you at times, so please don't make him so dependent on you that he can't be on his own. I'm a phone call or email away, and if you need my advice I will be there to help.

Good luck with your new friend!