How your puppy is raised
We understand the commitment of adding a puppy to your family and know that it will be important to you to know what type of life your puppy has here for the first eight weeks of his or her life! This page should answer most of your questions on the care, housing and training your puppy will receive here at Oregon Bordoodles! Curious to know what puppies we have currently? Visit our Current Puppies page!
We are proud to say that we raise our puppies using many methods learned in the “Puppy Culture” program! We strongly encourage ALL of our puppy buyers to purchase a copy of Puppy Culture so they can follow along with us as we raise their puppy, and so they can continue our hard work, once they bring their puppy home. There is SO MUCH MORE to Puppy Culture than the tidbits described in the weekly puppy raising methods mentioned on this page. You can learn more about Puppy Culture HERE.
Labor and Delivery
Puppies are born here, in our home. I am present for each litter born and it’s one of my favorite parts of being a breeder! Getting to finally meet the little lives I’ve been thinking about for months, and to watch the amazing instincts of a mother dog is truly magical. Although we encourage the mother to do all she possibly can on her own, we check each puppy at birth once she is finished cleaning him/her. Puppies are weighed and checked over, then recorded and placed into a warming “bassinet” that stays in the whelping box with mother. We use a fetal doppler to monitor puppy heart rates as needed, which gives us insight as to whether all is well or if we need to contact our on-call Veterinarian. Once her labor is over and all the puppies are delivered, we watch closely to be sure everyone is latching well and taking in colustrum (a rich form of milk only produced right after birth.) We may take a few simple photos, but we work hard to keep this time a quiet and stress-free moment for them, and their tired Mama.
Watch: Autumn having a puppy
The puppies are kept warm in their whelping box, where they can nurse almost constantly. They’re monitored closely every hour of the day. We provide special bedding that allows our puppies to have traction while crawling on their tummies. Proper traction in the whelping box is crucial for proper hip and knee development–as research is proving the connection between hip dysplasia and environment factors such as whelping box material. Our puppies are weighed twice daily to ensure they are taking in enough milk and growing properly. We also begin ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation) with the puppies at 3 days old. Please learn about ENS in this video: Early Neurological Stimulation.
14 – 21 Days
It is crucial to us that we set our puppies up for success in every way possible. Around 14 days of age, puppies eyes are opening and they begin “toddling” around. They instinctively start leaving their nursing bed to eliminate. If a breeder isn’t diligent on these signs, she can actually curve this natural instinct by not creating a “separate” potty area. Puppies then grow up learning to accept that they will sleep and eat in urine and to “go” on their bedding. As soon as we see these signs of toddling, we change our setup. The 4ft x 4ft whelping box is altered to encourage natural “space awareness elimination”. We place a comfortable padded bed in the whelp box so that Mama can nurse comfortably. On the other side of the whelping box we lay down a tray and grate and use binder clips to clip puppy potty pads to the top of the tray. This makes an obvious change of surface for the puppies and they quickly begin only eliminating on the pads. This is the first step to the grate system and allows them to feel the grate under their feet indirectly due to the pad being on top of the grate. Within just 7 days, puppies will be using the pads more often than their bedding. We complete the ENS program and continue petting and holding our puppies.
3 Weeks Old
This is an amazing age! You may not think much can be done with such a young puppy–but it is quite the opposite. At three weeks old, studies have proven that puppies have virtually no fear. They do, however, have a strong startle reflex. So this is an ideal age to begin teaching “Startle Recovery”. Dropping metal dog-food-dishes, banging around, vacuuming, sneezing, coughing, dropping a stack of books… anything that will cause the puppies to startle. It’s incredible how quickly puppies at this age will startle and then bounce back. They jump and look, and then return to whatever they were doing. So, taking advantage of this built-in response by daily exercises, helps the puppies continue having a wonderful willingness to trust, investigate and move forward – putting the object of fear behind them. We also add in one new toy a day, that has a new texture or sound. In addition, we clip puppy nails to start their acceptance of feet handling. And lastly, we are sure to remove puppies, one at a time and spend individual time with each one. This helps begin a healthy bond with humans, as well as reduce separation anxiety later in life.
4 Weeks Old
More space! Puppies are now carrying toys around and enjoying chasing one another and really stretching their legs. Studies have proven that physical activity in young puppies actually helps their brains grow the ability to learn and bond. So during this time, we make their living space larger. We have slowly moved the pads from being on top of the grate to under the grate. This means the potty goes through, keeping puppies clean! It’s an odd surface they’re unlikely to encounter elsewhere which helps avoid elimination-texture-area-confusion later! We have fun items and different beds and blankets for surface change. We continue exposing them to new obstacles and sounds as well as give them challenges to overcome. We set up problem solving scenarios such as an simple barrier between them and their food that they must learn to go around, to find food. Problem solving and learning are crucial at this young age, and we have a lot of fun creating ways to do it! We also begin “Clicker Training” at this age which is a wonderful tool the puppy can use their entire life.
Watch: Aurora x Solstice Litter A
5 weeks old
Up until now, we’ve had the luxury of being able to encourage a startle recovery response in the puppies without worrying about true fear. As the puppies approach 5 weeks of age, however… the game changes. The puppies now develop true fear responses, so we use more caution in exposure. At this age, during a “fear imprint stage”, a single event can actually effect them long-term. They begin responding to things with fear that they may have never been afraid of before. Because of our hard work in weeks previous, they have a stronger ability to recover from fear quickly. But during this sensitive time, we are watching closely for individual reactions so we know if we need to help a particular puppy overcome a fear stage of a particular sound, item, smell or texture. We also continue clicker training, practicing “manding” (as explained in “Puppy Culture”), overcoming obstacles, socializing with people and animals as well as well as outdoor potty training..
Watch: Clicker Intro #1
6 weeks old
Puppies are extremely curious at this age. They are coming into a peak time for socializing and continuing positive experiences. This is a great age to introduce them to as many appropriate people as possible. We also introduce more less-stable objects such as miniature agility equipment, which helps build their self confidence. If they haven’t already played in the outdoor puppy yard, we are sure to begin that during week 6 as well.
7 weeks old
They’re very playful and our hard work with them can be seen clearly by their ability to “mand” (as explained in the Puppy Culture videos), overcome startle, learn, and even love. They’re used to baths and nail trims as well as being brushed. We continue lots of daily enrichment, work resource guarding exercises and introduce new experiences such as puppy teeter totters, swimming pools, ball pits and more!
8 weeks old
Puppy pick-ups are scheduled, bags are packed and folders made! Puppies are ready to meet their families at last!
Again, we STRONGLY encourage owners to purchase the Puppy Culture package so they can continue the program at home. Not only are there weekly lessons from 9-12 weeks, but many other videos about training, fear stages and more than can give your new puppy a huge advantage to becoming a wonderful and well-adjusted canine citizen and companion.
We move puppies often, keeping them in an ever-changing array of settings, which we have found makes puppies more adaptable and comfortable in new places. Puppies are born in the nursery and we work diligently on potty training during their entire time with us. We rotate between the nursery, dining room, living room, indoor puppy enclosures, outdoor play yard and of course… lots of time on our laps and in our arms! We keep our puppy areas clean and sanitized at all times and they are spoiled with awesome toys, puzzles, snuffle mats, play structures and more! We play “Through a dog’s ear” music as well as a sound exposure track. I’ve never met more spoiled puppies! We treat each and every puppy as if we are keeping him/her, and keep record of the daily activities and training of each puppy.