Research has proven there is only a short window of time (till 16 weeks old) to stimulate, enrich, and socialize puppies to turn them into a well balanced, adult, canine companion. Here at WestShoreDoodles we do everything in our power to enrich and socialize our pups during the first 8 weeks of life.
-Handling multiple times per day
-Litter box training starting at three weeks of age
-crate training introduction weeks 4-8
-Introduction to various surfaces
-Indoor and outdoor playtime
-Weekly baths, ear cleaning, nail trims to prepare for visits to the groomer
3 days - 2 Weeks old
Early Neurological Stimulation
Every day we handle each individual puppy and conduct a series of 5 different exercise. These exercises produce neurological stimulation early on that wouldn't naturally occur. This tends to kick the neurological system into gear earlier, resulting in improved cardiovascular performance, stronger adrenal glands, more tolerant to stress, greater resistance to disease.
Studies have found that ENS puppies were able to cope more with stressful situations, and problem solves better than other puppies. The biggest benefit is that they were actually physically healthier with higher cardiovascular performance, stronger immune system, more tolerant of stress and a stronger heartbeat!
3-5 Weeks old
Startle/Surprise Reflex & Recover immediately
I have started playing “relaxation” music in the puppy room. Music is played throughout the day and turned off for a “quiet room” for sleeping at night. This helps to teach puppies the transtition between every day noises vs a “quiet” room for sleeping.
I will also start to condition them to daily noises so they are less fearful.
Vacuum sweeper, TV turned up, dropping books, slamming a door, CD of a baby crying, alarm, doorbell, blow dryer etc....
Litter Training Begins.....
Potty pellet box training & Separating from litter mates for a few minutes daily. (extra snuggle time with us ;)
This teaches pups to be alone, away from there litter mates, bonds with humans, prevents separation anxiety. My hope is to successfully give the pups confidence when being alone. Puppies learning and problem-solving activities have proven that puppies with early enrichment exercises have grown up to be :
Better problem solvers
Better learning and memory
Puppies have a natural desire to keep their "den" clean. We introduce a potty area during this stage. Many families will use this at home filling a boot try with with pellets.
The Enrichment Effect
Introduction to new surfaces are coming out for the pups to explore and gain confidence too. I will start introduction to the crates. Crate doors will remain open. I will begin closing the crate doors periodically throughout the day starting on week-5 with a "buddy".
We try to introduce new items every day to the pups. This provokes curiosity and builds confidence. Some days its flashing lights, singing toys, other days it's a step stool to climb or a tunnel to crawl through.
Different surfaces and startling noises are best introduced as a pup, so you have an adult dog that reacts better to new stimuli.
Problem Solving Games are Introduced. Building confidence/crate training/sensory tactile/new surfaces
Using a clicker we teach Manding (sitting nicely) and Recall (come)
6-8 Weeks Old
PUPPY CULTURE FOCUS: crate training/manning/car ride/baths/puppy socialization/clicker training
Pups start to spend time individually locked in their crates, throughout the day, only for a short time span with a treat (bully stick).
Clicker training will continue. Along with working individually with each puppy on manning aka: sitting outside of the play box, along with at meal time.
Pups will get out & about 2-3 times before 8 weeks of age.
The purpose is to help get pups accustomed to riding in a vehicle before going home.