BIRTH:  Since we began raising puppies, every litter has been born in the den next to our master bedroom.  The den is the perfect location, so we can hear them all night long, it is always warm as it receives the morning sun and  becomes a nursery, as it has a wood floor and is 14 x 16', so becomes a fun little recreation room for them.   We are present for the whelpings and our pups enter this world in our hands.  We assist the mothers if they need it, clamp and clip the umbilical cords, aspirate the mouths and noses and dry them.  They nurse until the next pup is born and we are generally doing this from the evening hours through the night.  We assist the mothers by massaging their backs and moving them to ensure the process progresses effectively, so that all pups are born in a timely fashion and are not in the birth canal too long.  

DEW CLAWS: We want you to know that we have decided NOT to remove dew claws any longer.  I always did at three to four days old, but my vet asked me why I did this.  I told her so that they would not tear when they were out exercising.  She said she had only repaired one dew claw in her career, and advised me to watch a movie about the use of their "thumb", the dew claw.  I was heartbroken that I had removed their thumbs, as a dog uses it so much.  I now have chosen to not remove dew claws and will provide you with a neoprene dew claw wrap for hiking, if you request it.  

EARLY VISITORS:  We discourage visitors in their early weeks of their lives, as we keep them in a very clean environment, our den, and don't want them exposed to any more than they need to be at such a young age.  Their parents are not taken to the groomers or dog parks when we have pups, as we do not know what they could bring home  and we won't take that risk.  When visitors come to our home, they leave their shoes at our front door and wash their hands prior to holding a pup.  We have had the occasional  dog owner that wants to bring their dog to our home to meet the puppies and see which one gets along best.  We cannot accommodate that until after they are fully immunized, as our first priority is the safety of our pups, and not bringing viruses into our home that our puppies will not be immunized against.  A virus can come in on a shoe, the pads of a dog and many other means, and can live up to a year, so we are very cautious about exposing our pups to the outside world, until they have their first immunizations.  We do welcome other dogs to visit when we do not have puppies, so that you may see our adults and their personalities.

PLAYFUL PUPS:  When the puppies are five weeks old, we move them to a 20+ foot run in our living area.  This is a perfect opportunity to integrate them in to our daily life and develop their socialization skills..  They hear the sounds and experience the smells they will live with the rest of their lives.  Each day I begin my morning with them.  I crawl in to the run to feed them, clean the area and play with them for a long time, until they take their first nap.  Throughout the day their parents play with them, touch noses if they are not out of the pen and learn to chew on their toys and good chews, rather than household items.  We put  two smaller kennels in the run to accustom them to crate training, but the doors are off of the kennels.  They love to sleep and play in the kennel, but they also crawl on top of them and play King of the Hill.  They are piddle pad trained here, with their bedding in a 12' x 8' rounded area at one end of the 20+ foot pen, and the piddle pads taped to the floor at the other end.  It is great training, as when they run around our home for their daily play times with all of us, they head to the piddle pads to relieve themselves, rather than our area rugs.

Their pen is full of creative toys that we buy locally and also the educational "thinking" toys from Drs Foster and Smith.  They love their toys and it is amazing how smart a five week old puppy is at figuring things out.  Mark loves to watch television, but when we have puppies, there is always a pup on his lap or chest when he is "plugged in".  We rarely are in our home without a puppy in our arms or running around our feet.  We have a large home and they have access to most of it.  We keep our home puppy proofed, and with wood floors, they have great fun playing tag and I don't have the worry of them hurting themselves or ruining anything.  We take pride in giving your loved one the best possible introduction in to this world, with great socialization, great exercise and stimulation, and a lot of love and attention.