Updated: Jan 28
I always say, that raising a puppy should be based on the same principles as raising a child. I think that's the most important thing to understand. They are needy ( not necessartycery in a way), they need physical contact, they need love, they want fun all the time. And they also need structure, discipline, predictability. But what do these words mean in our every days? In this Blog I will talk about my daily routine and hopefully it will give you a little better picture of what I mean by those words I mentioned above.
Talking about Predictability, just like everything else, it is built up with tiny little moments. I always create a schedule starting with the morning routine all the way till bed time.
I use the same words, low, quiet voice to great them in the morning- at the same time, staying with them and pet them even before I give them food or clean their potty spot. It takes away their extreme excitement to see me again after those long night hours....Then I fill up their food, and while they are eating I give them fresh water too. This is a very precious time, bonding time. I love, that they come and see me, then run back to eat again, since they are hungry, and come to me again - want to make sure, that I didn't go anywhere....After I clean their potty place I leave them alone, without a word. I let them eat, drink, do their business....it's important for them to learn that they are alone sometimes, and it's OK, I will be back soon.
I go back and check on them a little later, clean up and take away their food if they are not eating anymore. I believe that dogs will get picky if they always have food available. Even with my adult dogs I feed them and take away their bowls after they are done. If they don't eat their breakfast or dinner they will be offered food at the next feeding time.
After breakfast it's always play time. I let them run. That's our morning class for some new things to try, some individual learning opportunities. To be more specific, I want them to be exposed to lots of different things. Sometimes I give them new textures to try: blankets, crunchy papers to walk on, card board or boxes to climb on, go under....Other time I would go with new sounds: hair dryer, dishes, vacuum machine. These classes don't last too long, I also want them to play together. That is very important for young puppies to learn how to play together, how to interact with their siblings. That's the very first part of their socialization process. That is the reason we don't let them go home with their new families before they are 8 weeks old. So, I let them be alone again, since after play time it's time for an other nap. Sometimes I am around, but I don't talk to them when it's quiet time.
Basically that's the big block, repeats all they long. After they wake up, they go potty, they need food and water, they want to play until they get tired and need a nap again......
Play times are sometimes the same, sometimes different, that is the time to put them on the scale ( which is an other kind of surface, smooth and cold), or take some individual pictures, or some private cuddling time.
The last time they eat is about 8 pm. With my last visit a take away their food, clean up, pet them, say good night and walk away without talking any more. I turn off the light and close the door.
It is absolutely amazing how quickly they learn the schedule and go with it, with no problems at all. If something doesn't work I know that I did something wrong; maybe it's too cold or too hot, maybe they need more water....For example, when they are a little older I move them to a different play area two times a day. That is a little change for them- at the beginning it's not even a little- , but again, they adjust to the new routine quickly. Sometimes I have to adjust and do some things differently, because it doesn't work.
Yes, it is a lot of work, a lot, and I know that not every breeder is able to/ would do. It's also time consuming, especially when I have a big litter to take care of/ work with. But I believe that that's the only right way to do it, even if it makes me tired at the end of the day. On the other hand, it's a lot of fun to see them grow, see them happy and healthy and well behaving and socialized...My reward is to see the happy families when they come and see their puppy, or when I get the feed backs about how easily they started their new lives with their new families. I'm also happy that I am able to work with families after they have their puppy. Sometimes they need help, sometimes they have problems, and most of the time we find the solutions together. That is just fantastic!