How We Raise Our Puppies At Willow Ridge
Our pups are born in our kitchen and stay there till 4 weeks old. We always have someone watching the litter the first 2 weeks. And we have cameras on them when we cant psychically be with them. We do not allow visitors family included to stop by the first 4 weeks to keep mom calm and to let her know her pups are safe.
With pups being in our kitchen they get used to everyday household life and noises. And we are right there if someone has gotten too far from mom the first week and need help getting back to her. We keep a heat pad in one corner if pups need extra warmth. Mom has fresh food and water and can let us know when she needs to go potty or a break.
At 4 weeks the pups move to the weaning area in our mudroom. I put a potty area with shavings and a crate with the door off to get them to learn where to potty and were to sleep. They get an automatic waterer and fed 3 times a day from 4-6 weeks. At 6 weeks we do 2 feedings a day to get them used to the schedule they will have going into new homes.
We introduce dog desensitizing noises such as gunshots, fireworks, door bells, vacuum, people talking, traffic sounds, etc to produce confident not afraid of life pups. We also keep a radio on during the day when not playing those sounds and turn off at night to signal its bedtime.
At 5 weeks weather permitting pups go to their puppy playpen during the day but brought in every night. They have toys and a pool(summer) in their playpen. They learn what the water hose is, the pressure washer, adult dogs barking, cats, lawn mowers, all kinds of country life living!
They get yard time too where they explore, I watch and evaluate them, and teach them recall.
6-8 weeks the pups have been to the lake(weather permitting) at least once, been on several car rides, gone to my friend's farm, my dad's farm, met around 20 new people, gone to the vet for a check up and first shots. For pups going into hunting homes we do introduce them quail.
At 8 weeks they are ready to meet their new families! Pups go home with a goodie bag and families have lifetime breeder support if they ever need anything.
How do people pick their puppy? Here's how I do it. There is no 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc picks. New families need to be completely honest with me on what they are looking for and wanting in a dog.
Here are Willow Ridge I start evaluating the pups at 4 weeks old. I make little notes about pups as I watch them handle the changes in their lives. I mean weaning and moving to a new area is a big deal! So I write down how each pup handles it. I do that with everything new that comes their way.
When their playing with each other I take note who is the boss, who is the one that gets picked on, how does each puppy handle their siblings. I take notes on how pups act inside vs outside. I note who is in my lap, who is exploring, who goes back and forth, etc.
I do that every week starting at 4 weeks old. At 7 weeks I pile all that together and pick out the best family for each pup. I have done this for the last few years and it has worked out perfectly.
New families still have to do the training and meet the needs of the dog to get the best dog possible. They dont come trained but as long as everyone is honest on what they want I will get them the best pup for them.