How We Raise the Perfect Family Member
at Deer Creek Farm
From day one...
Our puppies are delivered in their own whelping box inside our home. They have their own little corner area off our family room so they have security but also hear the normal hustle and bustle of family life. At this stage, we expose the puppies to early-neurological stimulation daily. You can find more information on this procedure on our Links Page. Our mothers are wonderful about keeping their area clean and tidy and let us know when they need to go outside. At first our girls stay very close to their puppies, wanting to keep an eye on them at all times, but when the puppies are around 2 weeks old, the mothers also enjoy break times periodically running around the house.
At this age, the puppies are beginning to show their own personalities and are starting to explore their world as their eyes open. This marks the beginning of the socialization process. The puppies learn from their mother about boundaries and respect, and their siblings teach them how to play nice and understand what is too rough. It is also critical to have as much human interaction as possible to develop confidence with many different people and many different situations. We continue to handle the puppies daily, and encourage many people including our grandchildren to cuddle with them. This encourages a love of people and sets the foundation for that strong bond Labradoodles are known for. During this period, we also introduce food and water to the puppies while their mother is enjoying a break. They pick this up quickly from watching their mother eat and drink.
The puppies also begin to spend some time in our puppy play area in our Nursery at 5 weeks of age. This area is set up for the puppies to have a play side with lots of toys, a comfy bed of blankets, and a litter box potty area. The puppies are already aware of the difference between a bed area and potty area from their whelping box and within a week know to use the litter box for their bathroom. The puppies also spend some time outside if the weather permits.
At 6 weeks, the puppies are weaned completely and are eating dry food. Over time, we are able to increase the distance between the potty and bed areas while they are still in the Nursery play area. This process greatly aids in our ability to crate/house train when the puppies are in their 7th week. We also are starting to transition the puppies into spending some alone time in a crate at different points in their day, by first grouping them into pairs and only for short durations. We find that by doing this process gradually, the puppies are more likely to succeed quicker at crate training and learn to enjoy it, making their first nights home with their new family a more joyous experience for all. We also introduce treats during this time to strengthen the puppies' drive to please and promote eye contact, setting them up for success during our next puppy phase. Some puppies at this time are already sitting for a treat or before feeding time.
Puppy Preschool Begins!
At 7 weeks our puppies all receive their own collar, crate, and leash. They are then assigned to their own training group in the home of one of our trainers. During their training period, the puppies go outside regularly to potty and play with our cats and other dogs. The puppies are completely integrated into what life will be like for them in their new families with rules and basic training before entering the arms of their new owners. For more information about what our puppies learn during their last few weeks with us, please visit our puppy preschool page.