Puppy Whelping & Socialization

Providing a comfortable, stress-free whelping environment

The whelping area is a warm, quiet area in our house that is away from the busy activity of daily life and where the other members of our Brittany pack do not have access. This area has plenty of room for the whelping box, an “escape route” and extra bed for momma when she needs a break, and an x-pen enclosed area for puppy exploration as they develop. Momma dog is introduced to this area prior to whelp date for a less stressful transition.

Socialization: Neonatal period 0-14 days old

We believe that puppy socialization actually starts by providing as much of a less stressful pregnancy and birthing experience for our momma, but the real fun starts right after the pups are whelped. During this Neonatal period, we carefully balance the need for calm, quiet bonding time between momma and her pups with increased human interaction, through daily holding and petting. We subscribe to the Puppy Culture Program of puppy socialization practices, which also includes Early Neurological Stimulation which promotes these early socialization practices and incremental environmental stimulation, as long as pups are not overly stressed. During this time period, puppies also experience their first visit to the vet for check up, tail docking and dew claw removal, as well as first nail clipping.

Socialization: Transition period 2-3 weeks old

Puppies eyes are opening during the beginning of this period and they are beginning to. toddle around. Quiet time with momma, as well as daily holding and petting of each pup by us continues, but they are now ready to have novel experiences outside of the whelping box. Pups who do not show signs of being overly stressed are carried to other areas of the house; introduced to different textures with toys, flooring material, and blankets; a “potty” area is established outside of their nest/bed. Toward the latter end of this period, pups are introduced to different humans and monitored time with liquids they can lap independent of nursing. Also during the later part of this period, puppies are beginning to hear and recognize sounds.

Socialization: Weeks 4-6 weeks old

This a FUN and BUSY period, as the active puppies are growing and learning fast. Pups now have their full hearing and are reacting to sudden sounds. Sound Habituation Training is a daily activity by exposing pups (at first at very minimal, mild levels) to alternating daily household sounds, for example vacuum, blow dryer, TV programs, etc. We also expose them to recordings of rain storms, thunder storms, fireworks, rifle/shot gun sounds. Play and exposure to a wide variety of toys, obstacle courses, climbing, sound and textured flooring and wobble boards also help them learn problem-solving, confidence in new situations, and spacial/body awareness & development.

As weather permits, they are given as much time as possible for outside play and exploration. Puppies not only continue to interact with a variety of humans, including children, they are exposed to our other dogs, horses, chickens, and deer that wander on to the property. Puppies during this time period also are introduced and exposed to pen raised, wild birds: pigeons, chucker (partridge) and quail for beginning level hunt training and evaluations.

During the latter part of this period, the pups are now becoming fully weaned and eating gruel and puppy food, they have an established “potty” area inside their pen and we begin potty training process toward outside area. We also introduce crate training at night. Nails clipped and gentle brushing has also become a weekly routine for them.

Socialization: Weeks 7-8 weeks old

As the above sound habituation, socialization exposures to humans and animals, play activities and training continue, even enhanced, the process of getting pups ready for their forever home with their new family begins. Pups are seen by our Veterinarian for their well puppy exam, 1st shots, and are microchipped. We register each pup with the American Kennel Club (AKC) and prepare care packages and information for their owners. Pups are given final evaluations for conformation and initial hunting ability.