It’s very important for us to invest a lot of time studying this breed and all the dogs that are or will become part of our family. With this, we attend in a special way to all diseases related to breed and to the analysis of pedigrees and lines, in order to be able to achieve the best litters that we are capable of.
This is a step that we class to be part of the work of each litter, it can take months, but we consider it essential for a strong foundation in our breeding program.
Between day 3 and day 16 we carry out Early Neurological Stimulation exercises with our puppies. These exercises have multiple benefits such as promoting stronger hearts or greater tolerance to stress. We find this makes the puppies have better adaptability to changes in the environment and more resilient individuals.
We put a lot of emphasis on habituation to physical handling, our pups learn to be physically handled/explored on all parts of their body, we introduce nail clipping, grooming and blow drying, we pay special attention to manipulation of the puppy’s mouth, paws, and once again always making it an enjoyable game/interaction and avoiding any stressful experiences for our puppies. Our aim is to avoid future sensitivity in handling situations for our puppies (veterinary, grooming etc)
From the moment our little ones can hear, we accustom them daily to sounds of all kinds such as works, fireworks, storms, traffic, etc. All this is always done gradually and during meals and calm periods, to facilitate the puppies to process it as something positive and normal. With this, we prepare them to face daily life in the best possible way and without fear.
During the (at least) 8 weeks that they spend with us, their playground and stimulation will change every day, introducing all kinds of different sensory materials such as plastic bottles, bags, proprioception cushions, boards, tunnels, different textures, etc. Nothing that could pose a treat of falling or strain for our puppies. Little by little, the park itself is expanded and adapted as the weeks go by and our shelties grow.
Although it is true that a dog can take up to 10 or 12 months to control it’s toilet habits, in Aucanada we try to make them assume from a very young age that their needs should be done in specific places and times. For this, at 3 weeks of age we add a second level with grass in the enclosure, so that the puppies learn to relieve themselves there and with the passage of weeks we gradually move it outside, we also include a piece of grass in the puppy pack to help them with the change upon arriving at their new home.
At weaning time we wean to raw and then opt for a mixed diet of BARF and kibble and I think, this facilitates adaptation to their new families, whatever diet they finally decide for them. Our dogs are fed with RAW (BARF) diets always advised by our professional Nutritionist. We follow a more detailed diet plan in our females during their pregnancy , lactation and post birth.
Early socialization is crucial when puppies are in the socialization period, we receive frequent planned visits so that the get to know different people creating a positive association. Here we also introduce children of different ages whom are accustomed to handling dogs and puppies, of course always supervised and controlling the situation. All visits follow our handling and noise desensitization plan.
Starting at 4 weeks, we spend time each day working individually with each puppy. It is based on different exercises that will be crucial for the cognitive development of the puppy, play is a crucial tool for us and we strive to maximize play drive, as well as the great importance of bonding with people, proprioception and comfort on different surfaces, interaction with the environment and their body.
The puppies begin their life in Zone 1 or the Rest Area, from the beginning this zone is associated with rest, at 3 – 4 weeks we add different types of crates without doors to the rest area, for a few weeks they will associate the crate with Rest, at around 6 weeks we start group and individual training with the complete crate. We also work with travel bags so that our puppies have a pleasant flight.
We started car trips at around week 4, in these weeks our puppies will get used to driving, the movement and the noise of traffic, the puppies will travel frequently and not only to the vet, each litter will accompany us in our daily life and we try to visit a variety of places such as the city, the airport, coffee shops, friends and family houses and a long etc. always in a safe and controlled way.