that is the time we take care of the pregnant bitch.
We care for the pregnant bitch, not only by giving her proper food, but also the right stimulation. Research shows, that puppies of bitches, that were stressed during their pregnancy, will be very nervous and shy. Stress hormones, as well as “hormones of happiness”, influence the development of the fetus. Especially in the last third of pregnancy. That is the reason that the bitch should have a quiet and pleasant environment without stress.
Neonatal phase: Day 0 – 12:
During this time the puppies should undergo an early neurological stimulation, a special exercise that is done every day for 3 minutes. The puppy is being mildly stressed by different stimuli, and that boosts his mental development. A careful approach is essential, the puppies must not be overstressed, they need to feel safe and sound close to their mother.
Transition Phase: Day 12 – 20:
The ears and eyes are opening and we can stimulate those to develop correctly. We use quiet music and fairy tales for children, turning them on very quietly, so then puppies perceive them subliminally. We lift the puppies and introduce them to their surroundings, letting them sniff and look. Meetings with people are short, they spend most of the time with their mother.
Socialization Phase: Week 3 – 12:
Socialization with bitch and siblings:
It is important to let the puppies communicate with one another. They have to learn the dog language, to be able to solve conflicts in the future. An essential trait is bite inhibition. The puppies are playing, one bites, the other yelps and stops playing. That is a punishment for the first one and in the future it will be careful not to bite so much. The mother also corrects the biting during nursing. If the puppies bite too much, the bitch leaves. Puppies also learn to use calming signals. Head turning, lip licking, yawning, tail wagging. The puppies learn all this only through interactions with other puppies and his mother, so it is very important this phase is long enough, so the puppies don’t leave their dog family too early.
Socialization with people:
Is as important as with other puppies. The puppy will live in his new family with people mostly. So it is important to show him as many different people as possible. Men, women, children of different ages, small and tall people, etc. It is good to have people visiting to play with the puppies and give them treats. The treats are a positive reward and in the future the puppies will not be afraid of people.
This is what a socialization plan may look like:
Puppies are blind. They are weighed daily, to see their progress. If they don’t put on weight, special milk is prepared for them. But mother’s milk is the best choice for their development, boosting their imunity system until the first vaccination.
Puppies are still with their mother. They grow and gain strength very fast. We are trying to stand them on their legs. From the third day of their life we do early neurological stimulation: it helps the cardiovascular system , function of adrenal glands and stress tolerance is stronger.
Puppies are starting to see and hear. Stimulation of hearing and sight starts now. The puppies will start a special exercise which helps to eliminate future nausea. We are carrying the puppies to different rooms, so they get to know different places. We also play different sounds, so they will not be afraid of them.
Puppies get to know different people, the sounds get louder. They start to have other food than just their mothers milk. The puppies start their house training, after they wake up, they go to poop and pee outside their bed. They are learning to be responsible.
The puppies are very active and inquisite. The time of intensive socialization starts. The contact with their mother and siblings and also with people is very important. They have different articles to explore and go over and under them, simply a lot of fun. We use loud sounds – TV, vacuum cleaner, squeaky toys. The puppies learn to stay in the crate and ride in a car. Of course they get tasty rewards for that.
A very special week, when their positively reinforced training starts. They learn basic commands like sit, come, say hello. They take their steps on leash. Then it is up to their new family, to continue their training. This is also the time they will visit the vet. They are meeting lots of people and learn to communicate with them.
It is time to say goodbye, the puppies are leaving for their new families. Good luck!