Once the puppies eyes are open around two weeks of age they will get introduced to soft toys and what I call the toy machine. The toy machine is actually pvc pipe put together that has soft toys and other textural and sound elements close enough for the pups to interact with. This helps with their socialization process. They will be moving around and exploring but usually don't pay much attention until about three weeks of age. Around 4 weeks of age when puppies teeth come in I will introduce them to solid food. I do this by grinding their kibble with raw goat milk and raw grass fed ground beef. There is nothing more fun than watching a bunch of puppies around a feeding bowl eating their first meal. It is a mess. Luckily they will be washed and groomed every week starting at three weeks of age.
It is important for puppies to be exposed to all the types of people, sounds, flooring, animals, etc. that they will encounter as an adult. Doing this makes sure that the puppy has associated positive experiences with all it encounters and thus is going to be friendlier and more stable. That doesn’t ensure that they won’t be alert with new people and let you know someone is on their home property. So my program for socialization is summarized below. The puppy area will contain a rotating array of items and include an indoor area and outside area. Sounds will be presented as an audio CD first to identify puppies that have natural sound aversion, and then I will desensitize before exposure to actual noise making item which includes the accompanying percussive sound waves. This takes time. This takes effort. This makes a better dog. This is a program I have put together from puppy raising experts and is not proprietary.
The puppies will be exposed to these things in their lives with me:
Surfaces: Linoleum, Porcelain tile, wood slats, Wood ramp, Wood steps, Rugs, Wobble ball, Sand, Dirt, Grass, Gravel, Concrete, Asphalt, Metal
People: Toddler, Child, Teenager, Adults, Elderly, All types of people, Groups of People wearing costumes, sunglasses, hats, heavy coats, and holding packages, carrying backpacks and luggage.
Sounds: TV, Vacuum, Dish washer, Washing Machine, Dryer, Dehumidifier, Chainsaw, Car horns, Dogs barking, Thunder drum, Fireworks, Ocean Waves, Dropped pans, Lawn mower, Rain
Environment: Car ride, Crate, Hanging fabric/toys, Battery operated toys, Unrelated dog, Vet's office, chain link fencing, City sidewalk, Skateboards, Bicycles, Vacuum, Water/swimming
Toys: rope toys, plush toys, big balls, small balls, soft fabric toys, squeaky toys, paper or cardboard items, metal items, and sticks
Locations: Back yard, kitchen, car, garage, bathroom, living room, hallway, Vet’s office,
Challenges: climb on a box, go through a tunnel, climb steps, go down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide and seek, go in and out of a doorway, go in and out of a dog door, gone up and down steps, Gone in and out a gate
Eating/ Drinking Vessels: metal, plastic, cardboard, paper, human hands, pie plate
Temperament Testing Using the Volhard Method. I will have the puppies tested and scored for these Ten Items
1. Social Attraction - degree of social attraction to people, confidence or dependence.
2. Following - willingness to follow a person.
3. Restraint - degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
4. Social Dominance - degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.
5. Elevation - degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or groomer.
6. Retrieving - degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with Social Attraction and Following a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
7. Touch Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
8. Sound Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms.
9. Sight Sensitivity - degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
10. Stability - degree of startle response to a strange object.