HOUSE RAISED - These puppies are raised and whelped in my master bedroom and I am present for the entire whelp. After two weeks, the puppies are moved to the 'breakfast nook' in the kitchen. This is the room with the most commotion, noise, and day to day activities occur. Its a large old farm house so its perfect for having friends, neighbors, relatives and family members stop to see the puppies and play with them. Its also large enough for all the adult dogs to meet the puppies.
OUTSIDE - Puppies are allowed outside depending on the time of year. Since we live on a farm, they are able to see and hear and watch things going on such as tractors, lawn mowers, chainsaws, hammers, elevators for hay, cars, and all noises associated with farming.
PUZZLES - What this means is that they are introduced to numerous things to make them think and not be afraid of things, or changes. Their lives should be constantly changing while they are here and should never have a 'routine'. this keeps them always looking for what is next and never being anxious about it.
* Surfaces (tile, vinyl, wood, carpet, tarp, plastic, cement) on an ever changing schedule.
* Obstacles (grates, doors, drawers, gates, pans) anything they can climb on, fall safely off of, play on or investigate.
* Dishes. The pups are fed in plastic, stainless steel, ceramic bowls and we make sure they eat as a group, and as individuals. We also work with them so they are not food aggressive by playing with their food while they eat it.
CRATES - The puppies are introduced to wire crates by week 6. They are allowed in and out of them as leisure for a few days and then are sleeping in groups in the crates by week 7. Week 8 they are sleeping alone in their crates and crate training has begun in earnest. They are also exposed to wire and plastic crates, especially those that might be shipped via an airline. We feel a start to crate training is a huge help to new families.
HOUSE TRAINING - The puppies are allowed in most of the downstairs of our house. Two large living rooms, the kitchen, and dog room are all fair game to them. This makes it a challenge to potty train everyone but they are truly members of the family and we take a LOT of potty breaks to give them the idea of potty-ing outside is way more fun than in the house. Yes we do have all wood floors :)
CAR RIDES - We start them early with car rides (day 3 to the vet for dew claw removal) and then are taking them for small group rides by week 7 (if even just for a few miles) to give them the instability of a moving vehicle. This also helps with car sickness on the day the new owners take possession.
WALKS - we take the puppies for short walks around the farm (we also have a half mile long driveway) and feel that its important to get the pups used to be active outside and introduce them to bugs, gravel, Guinea hen poop (not my idea!) and other things that they cannot see in their x-pen in the front yard.
NOISES - I mentioned this earlier but wanted to make mention again. We have many noises in our house (music with bass speakers, vacuums, dish washer, cooking, washing machine, tv, fans etc) and purposely make more noises (dropping pots or silverware on the floor, knocking on the door, building things in the kitchen with hammer or drill) so the dogs are stimulated to recognize these items and not fear them.
EIGHT WEEK VET CHECK - This exam is done to confirm that there are no heart murmurs, hernias, wry bites, eye issues, or other physical deformities. This also confirms what my vets tell me everytime. I am the ONLY person that comes in with their puppies to their clinic, that has litters that are 100% healthy! Makes me feel very good!
MICROCHIP - Ebonwald Cardigans are microchipped at 8 weeks of age. We have used AKC, AVID and Home Again microchips. We used AVID most recently as they have a one time fee, not an annual fee. We pay for the microchip and the new owners pay for the lifetime fee (usually around 20 dollars). This ensures that the pups, if ever lost during their life, can a direct connection to me, the purchaser of the chips, and to the owners.