A couple weeks ago, we did a post on the Bio-Sensor and scent exercises we do here at Aria with the young puppies. Developed by the US Army, the SuperDog program is designed to stimulate a pup’s neurological and physical development when coupled with a healthy, natural environment and loving human leadership. There’s only a small window of time in a puppy’s development -from day 3 through day 16- where these exercises are the most effective, so it’s important to plan ahead and get them on the calendar so your little guys don’t miss out. It’s amazing to see how these exercises can not only maximize their potential as performance dogs later in life, but also give you some idea of the individual temperament of each puppy early on in their life. This aids in making better placement choices, when it comes time to send them to their permanent homes. If you’d like to see a video on the process, one is availablehere.
Our article on the BioSensor and Scent exercises from a couple weeks ago is available here —> ARTICLE and back in July of 2016 we did another blog post going into detail on exactly what we were doing, and when, with the 2017 Firesongs litter. You can see that post here —> ARTICLE
For an even more detailed approach, there’s a great article in a 2015 issue of The Canine Chronicle you can find here —> ARTICLE
I hope this is as interesting to all of you as it was to me. It made for fascinating reading as I was looking after Zen’s litter of neonates that month, and made me rethink some of my previously held notions about how dogs absorb information.
Did you know that from day 3 through day 16, there are a set of easy exercises you can do with your newborn puppies that help maximize their potential as performance dogs later in life? These Bio-Sensor exercises stimulate their neurological and physical development and were developed for the SuperDog program for the US Army. There’s only a small window of time for this program to be most effective, and keeping track on a developmental schedule will help you be sure you don’t miss this opportunity. If you’d like to see a video on the process, one is available here.
You can also introduce scents during this time frame. Each day, introduce a new scent item. While each puppy takes their turn investigating the offered scent, put them on a level surface, or hold them in your lap – so long as they are safe from falling. You can choose a variety of scent items for these few days, focusing on things they might need to be familiar with in their adult life. For example, bird dogs would benefit from exposure to pheasant feathers. Law enforcement dogs could be exposed to some of the scents they might encounter on the job. Therapy dogs could sample some hospital scents, like antiseptics and cleaning products. Blankets that smell like other pets in the household, or dirty laundry from family members are good choices, too.
Hold the scent near their nose, a half inch to an inch away, and allow the puppy to interact with the scent at will for at least five seconds. If the puppy moves forward to engage with the scented item, allow them up to 30 seconds to continue smelling. Repeat the process with each pup.
You can see a video on early scent introduction here.
Keeping track and making little notes of each session may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually pretty rewarding. As time goes on, you can learn a little bit about the personality of each pup. Who is good at self-soothing? Who is normally quiet, and who is always vocal? Who is the first one to
explore a new scent or toy? All these things can be important later, when deciding which pup is the best fit for which home.
There can be a very thin line between “good” and “great.” Going that little extra step early on can help YOUR puppies stand out as superstars later in the ring, on the field and as pets and companions.
With the puppies rounding the corner into their third week, it’s time to make some upgrades in their living space. They already outgrew their original little Rubbermaid tote where I’d stash ’em while I’d clean their whelping box – they all escaped en masse one day early last week, before their eyes were even open. It was weird. I’ll tell you all about it sometime in the next couple days. Aside from getting a bigger box, I put the half-partition up in the whelping box that very day even though it seemed kind of premature. But, hey – better safe than sorry, right?
But early on, I noticed something kind of amazing that I’d only heard about before, but never had the opportunity to observe first hand. The VERY instant the pups had any control over their own bladder and/or bowels, they began moving away from the puppy pile to poop and pee. Amazing, isn’t it?
One of the billions of things that factory puppy farming gets so completely wrong is to raise pups on wire bottom floors, where they never have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Their waste falls away and they don’t have any consequences. The other kind of factory farming means cages that don’t get cleaned regularly – and that makes pups comfortable in their own filth. Neither is what nature intended. In this case, doing the right thing comes easy to the pup… you just have to give him the opportunity to start doing it and those instincts will do a lot of the work for you.
I’m starting to see that raising puppies the RIGHT way, is kind of like making a quality piece of art. Sure, you can go to the swap-meet and pick yourself up a cheap velvet Elvis, or somebody’s favorite aunt’s hobby painting – but it won’t be the same quality as a portrait painted by an artist with an education from a school of the fine arts and a lifetime of experience. A master of their craft is going to use the best materials available, just like a quality breeder will breed stock that’s true to the breed standard, has excelled in the ring and/or the field, is mentally and physically sound, and has been health tested and deemed clear of any genetic disorders. Artisanal puppies. Raised with loving, hands-on care, with methods appropriate to their breed. But anyway, I digress…
So, given the right opportunity, puppies will start housebreaking themselves. This week, here at Casa de Aria Longnoses, they get their opportunity!
The first addition to the whelping box is the litter tray. This is a crate tray, with a light smattering of compressed pine bedding pellets. They expand once they get wet, so there’s a lot more on the tray than it looks like. The added bonus is you can tell once they’ve used it!
Here’s what the box looks like all put together.
They got a couple toys last week, but now that their eyes are open, they get a variety of new friends.
Here’s an “up close and personal” of their new friends. As a funny aside, Rita told me that once the puppies open their eyes, they usually see the puppy on the Dura-Whelp logo, recognize it as a puppy, and try to make friends with it. I was skeptical… until I saw it happen last week! I think I have a photo of it, too… I’ll try to find it and put it up as a feature on The Daily Cute sometime soon.
So, within minutes of putting the pups in their new box, guess what?
It works! The litter box WORKS! The proof is in the… er, well, not pudding… but you get it!
Giving your puppies an early start at basic housebreaking gives them the tools they need to have a good start at their forever homes. Isn’t it cool how mother nature helps out?
This post brought to you by fantasy authorC.T. (“Chel”) Griffith, life long borzoi enthusiast and person who did very little today except play with puppies. Dang, they are getting SO cute!
I’ve been putting all this focus on the puppies, so far, and that makes sense. Because who doesn’t love cute puppies, right? But I thought I should probably introduce their parents… there’s some real star power going on here, behind just the cute-factor. Here’s one of those times when I can just shut up and let the pictures do most of the talking. 🙂
Most of the puppies have their eyes open now. Still a few bumbling around in the dark, but most are awake, aware, and taking their first looks at their little piece of a big beautiful world.
It’s been the most fun day! I’ve hardly been able to take my eyes off of them. They’ve been noticing and interacting with each other as individuals now, looking up at their dam, looking at me and coming towards me. All the little hints of personality that I’ve seen are starting to blossom before my very eyes!
My goodness, they are adorable. They’re just too cute for words. They’re also getting kind of hard to photograph. I set them down, and they don’t stay put. Not even for an instant. They’re off and running, scattered in all directions. They won’t look at me when I want them to, and they come bumbling towards me when I’m trying to get side shots for identification. Looks like ALL shots are gonna be “candids” until I can get a helper.
I expect the rest of them will open their eyes tomorrow. They were born on July 5th, and are already a VERY active and mobile bunch. You can tell their parents are speedsters! They all escaped the clear Rubbermaid tote I was using to keep them cozy while I was cleaning their pen – they all figured it out within 5 minutes of each other on Sunday, and they weren’t even two weeks old yet. No one had their eyes open yet, either – it was like they shared a hive mind. A bigger Rubbermaid has since been secured.
Better brace yourself… more photos (and possibly bad puns) to come!