A puppy coming into the world is a miracle. Usually the miracle takes place around two in the morning and as each successive miracle makes his appearance the sun comes up and if we are lucky somebody makes coffee and brings it up to the whelping room.
Newborn Labradoodle Puppy's Life
For the first ten days of her life a little puppy has no sight and no hearing. They can smell and they can feel the warmth of mum. The puppies are born with an amazing survival instinct. Most of them find mum and begin to nurse within minutes of birth. Mum licks them vigorously to stimulate their little bodies. They can only eliminate with mum’s help, she stimulates the process and licks them clean.
Labradoodle Breeders' First Job
Our primary job is to make sure every puppy gets a turn at nursing on the central, full teats and is not shoved away by his stronger brothers and sisters. We make sure everybody is warm as puppies can’t control their own body temperature. Mum needs food, water and lots of encouraging words from us.
Jean sleeps in the room with mum and puppies for the first few nights. Little puppies wander off and can get lost in the confines of the whelping box. They could become dehydrated and cold if they don’t find their way back to mum.
Labradoodle Potty Training Begins
It is mum who gives the puppies their first potty training lesson. Our job is simply to make the whelping box continually clean. At first you would never know a puppy goes to the bathroom as mum stimulates the process with her tongue and rarely is any excrement seen in the box. By about three weeks when the puppies begin to toddle mum will get up and move about the box. The puppies all wake up hollering for a meal. Mum stands up too tall, they need to go to the bathroom and they do! They have gone away from where they sleep and this has been their first formal clean potty lesson.
We Give Our Puppies Their First Bathroom
We put in a tray of wood pellets, the sort that you use in pellet stoves. The puppies quickly choose the absorbent pellets as a place to relieve themselves. It smells good, it is easy to clean and it is a very distinct area as compared to newspapers. Discovering these inexpensive and safe pellets was a breakthrough in our house. Our puppies have been much more easily housetrained since we began to use them. We did however introduce a pellet potty to an older litter who simply thought the pellets were lunch and peed on the newspaper. So we realize pellet potty is something that has to be learned as a very young puppy.
As soon as the puppies are able to lurch about by themselves at between two and three weeks we give them puppy gruel. This the consistency of cream. We soak the dog kibble with boiling water and mash it. add more water until it is the consistancy of gruel. We begin by feeding each baby with a teaspoon. Very quickly they learn to eat by themselves out of the communal dish.
We used to have the puppies weaned by five weeks in order to have their first inoculation. Now the thinking is that this is not crucial. The amounts of mother’s immunization they are getting in the milk is small because the quantity of milk is greatly reduced. Mum has begun to wean the puppies on her own. We love natural weaning. It means mum can teach puppies a great deal as she can be with them as much as she likes. The puppies learn that first most important lesson ‘no means no’. When they want to nurse and mum says no, mum means no and shows them in a way we just can’t do.
At eight weeks old our puppies are off to their first vet visit. The doctor checks them all over very carefully. They have their first of three vaccinations for the common doggies diseases. They will be vaccinated again in three to four week by their family.
We used to vaccinate earlier so that we could give puppy more than one vaccine before they went home. Now the veterinary protocol is to vaccinate later in puppy’s life.
The Great World
One of the nicest times we have with puppies is going outside to play. Even winter puppies enjoy lurching about the snow when the weather is good. We have almost four acres to walk around and they follow us up the path to the driveway and across the field. Their mum often comes with us.
Our Labradoodle Puppies Come Downstairs
When the puppies are little mum needs privacy and quiet. Depending on the mother’s inclination newborn puppies can have a visitor or two. Mum doesn’t relish a social life in these early days.
Super Dog Stimulation
The Bio Sensor Program
During the first three weeks of life we use a set of daily exercises for the puppies.
We were very excited when we came across the study by dog behaviorist and geneticist Dr. Carmen Battaglia.
Dr. Battaglia did research into the area of early stimulation and controlled stress for puppies. The US military has also done research in this area and implemented a program for their dogs in military service called the bio-sensor program. The breeders who discovered this program of simple puppy stimulation called it the ‘super-dog’ program.
We believe we have had good results using this guide to stimulate our newborn puppies. If you would like to read Dr. Battaglia on early puppy stimulation, ‘the super dog program’ and its effects please click on Bio Sensor Super Dog Program.
Labradoodle Puppy Meets World
At three weeks the puppies come downstairs. Here they experience other dogs, door slams, household noises and other goings on. They also have their first big potty box so that it is easy for them to go to the bathroom in the right place. Weather permitting they poke their wee noses outside at about six weeks.
It was our interest in massage and touch that we have used to bond with babies of all sorts that led us to read the books of Linda Tellington Jones. This Canadian woman developed the famous TTouch – the Tellington TTouch. This is a method based on circular movements of the fingers and hands all over the body. According to Tellington Jones the object is “to activate the function of the cells and awaken cellular intelligence – a little like turning on the electric lights of the body.”
We have found the practise of TTouch to calm stressed animals and be a way for us to bond with small puppies. We are hoping soon to attend a TTouch seminar with Linda Tellington Jones.
It is our goal for each puppy to have met fifty different people before they go to their home. This is a lot of people and we keep track with pencil and paper to make sure that we are meeting our goal. Early Socialization is the most important part of a puppy’s life.
Labradoodle Puppy's Early Spray And Neuter
We spay and neuter our pet puppies at eight eight weeks of age. Early spaying and neutering does a great deal to prevent gender specific behaviors that we don’t wish. Male dogs are not likely to mark or be aggressive. Female dogs are not territorial. The International Labradoodle Association recommends early spay and neuters for pets.
Changing Times And Changing Veterinary Technology
Up until the 1940’s the accepted Veterinary practice was to spay a bitch after she had given birth to one litter. They said it calmed the dog. Up until this time they paid no attention to the male dog and he was left in tact. It was growing information technology and skill level that allowed vets to safely spay and neuter dogs at or just before six months of age. These factors and the realization that female dogs who were un-spayed or allowed to have a litter were plagued with reproductive health problems. Slowly times changed and the male dog was acknowledged to have a role in reproduction and was neutered. People saw amazing changes in dog behaviour, all for the better. It was a slow road but most people now accept that pet dogs should be spayed and neutered at 6 months of age.
Now the technology and veterinary skills have taken huge strides forward. Most new veterinarian practices do paediatric spays and neuters. New studies have shown that problems with bone development and other health issues are not related to early spay neuters. If you are interested in the discussion, you can find a lot of varied information on “blogspot.com – early spay neuters.” We are lucky to have a wonderful veterinarian who performs paediatric spay neuters on all of our pet puppies. This is included in the pet puppy price.