Where We Raise Our Puppies
Since a picture is worth a thousand words....
Pictured in the first two pictures are two litters of one week old puppies. Scales are in the back for daily weighing. Couch is in the pen so that someone can keep an eye on the pups. The pen is around both litters so that our nursing moms can have some privacy away from our other dogs.
Pictured below is a litter of puppies just over 2 week of age. Puppies start their lives out in the whelping box only. At about 2 weeks of age we will add the pen to give a little more room. Toys are added to the pen at about 2 1/2 weeks. At 3 1/2 weeks of age, we will add a pan of pine pellets to the box and enlarge the pen a bit. Just before 4 weeks of age, we take the box away and the pan of pine pellets will be inside the pen.
The next picture shows a 5 week old litter. The pen has grown considerably since 2 1/2 weeks of age and we've added a second pan of pine pellets at about 4 1/2 weeks of age. We use the dog house that is in the pen to begin the process of training them to go in and out a doggy door. This particular dog house has flaps on the door. We have slitted the flaps to make it easier for young puppies to push through it. The roof comes off the house so that I can reach in from the top with food to coax puppies through the door. The sheets of vinyl and the 2 whelping pads are down to protect my floor as puppies are still having some accidents close to the pans at 5 weeks. By 6 weeks, I'm usually able to take the vinyl and pads up leaving the bear hardwoods. (The jars of apple and grape juice toward the back of the pen are anchors keeping puppies from pushing the pen out away from the potty pans.)
Pictured in the following 2 pictures is a 6 1/2 week old litter in our side foyer. At this age puppies are being trained to go in and out the doggy door that is in the back of the picture. We work with them in this foyer early in the mornings and late in the afternoons in the warmer months and we work with them in the middle of the day when it is colder outside. We lure them back and forth through the door with food. Puppies are still spending considerable time in their inside pen which you can see a little bit of on the left side of the first picture. This is the same pen that is pictured above with the pine pellets. For the clarity of the picture, I have removed some fencing that makes an enclosed walkway from the pen in our keeping room to this area in the foyer. You can see the walkway in the video of puppies using the door further down.
Pictured below is our front lawn and outdoor puppy pen for 4 week old puppies. Four-week old puppies spend only very short amounts of time outside and we don't take them out every day at this age.
The next few pictures are of our puppy play yard. This is the area that puppies have access to when they go out the doggy door that is pictured from the inside on the pictures of our side foyer. By the time puppies go home, they have been trained to safely navigate the two steps that go into this area. You can see the various smaller areas that this yard is divided into. Having these divisions helps puppies to develop thinking skills as they work through how to get from one side of a fence to the other. This yard has a variety of ground surfaces for puppies to get use to: grass, sand, kennel decking, a stone patio and walkways, and pee gravel. The canopy is up while we have puppies under 8 weeks so that we can continue taking them outside to potty in most weather.
The following video shows a litter of 7 week old puppies being called in after playing outside. They are coming into our side foyer and then headed down a fenced make-shift hallway to the inside puppy pen that is pictured in a previous picture above.
The next video shows a few puppies hanging out on the side porch going in and out the doggy door.
The following video is just before dinner time. Puppies go outside to potty just before meals. While they are pottying, I put a bowl of food in each crate. This video shows them coming into their pen from the side foyer and getting in individual crates and beginning to eat.
The final video is of me calling a litter of puppies from inside to outside through the doggy door.