Week by Week

Family Labradoodles and Goldendoodles – Week By Week

Week One

A puppy is born with a vulnerability that still amazes me. They come into the world blind, deaf, and without the ability to maintain their own body heat or bodily functions. Their entire existence is navigated by their keen sense of smell. They stay very close to and on top of one another- all curled up to conserve warmth. They are able to cry if they find themselves separated or alone. Once a puppy gets cold, their chances of survival are tenuous. Many deaths of puppies during this period can be traced to chilling. Once chilled, a puppy has trouble digesting food, and often develops secondary infections and pneumonia. During this crucial period, they are never left alone. They nurse for short periods and sleep.

Puppies sleep 90% of the time, only waking to suckle. Mom attends to all bodily functions by licking (stimulating) them, since their bladders and intestinal tracts are not functioning on their own yet. They are weighed at birth and every day thereafter. Their weights are charted so that we are able to determine everyone is gaining each day. Careful attention is paid to smaller pups to assure they are getting what they need. A primary focus at this stage is the health and happiness of the mother.

Selective breeding, love, proper nutrition, and exercise are key ingredients that will help assure that your puppy will be just right for your family.

Week Two

Puppies have gained between 6-8 oz. They are moving around more, but are still not able to crawl. They scoot and wiggle about to position themselves for nursing, or pile together if mom is not present. It is time to have nails trimmed for the first time. We are handling them more often- touching feet and gently working and stretching their muscles, and getting them used to the loving human touch.

Mom is keeping her pups tidy and clean, and we are keeping the whelping pen and mom the same. Laundry at this point becomes daunting!

Mom is wolfing down her high calorie anything and everything her heart desires; cheese, eggs, chicken livers, ice cream, and yummy puppy starter — not to mention treats!

Week Three

Eyes are beginning to open. All puppies are born with blue eyes. It takes another week before they are able to focus and see clearly. Useable vision is at 18-21 days. Ears are beginning to open as well; noises startle pups and they are still unable to locate the source of the sound. However, exposure to sudden, loud noises at this time is essential and encouraged, as fear has not yet developed.

They are getting stronger and are able to push up onto all fours, but standing is still a scary and very wobbly proposition. This week sees rapid development of motor skills. Puppies are able to move backwards as well as forward, and begin to move around quite a bit more, especially toward the end of week 3. Curiosity and bravery will soon become their new exploratory compass- just as long as mom is a short drink away, and it isn’t naptime.

We resist simply reaching in and helping them overcome obstacles, unless of course, they’re lost in a corner and getting cold. Otherwise, they are problem solving– stimulating their learning ability.

They are able to eliminate on their own now, and will be begin to move away from their nest to potty. They are also learning to walk instead of crawl.

Week Four

Now that the puppies have the use of all their senses, huge strides in development will begin to take place. It is at this crucial point that a breeder, knowledgeable in all aspects of behavioral development, begins increased individual attention.

Imprinting is so important; a poorly imprinted puppy will have issues throughout their adult life. Social imprinting, both with other dogs and with humans, is paramount to becoming well adjusted. For instance, puppies raised in isolation from other dogs at this time get attacked and rejected when introduced at 16 weeks — just one example of imprinting “mistakes.” Socialization begins in earnest and exposure to all manner of sounds and sights are a part of their daily lives. Handling, cuddling, and picking puppies up is just about the best thing one could wish for- and our friends and neighbors think so too! Early morning coffee with good friends, each with a puppy in their arms, is as good as a day can get.

Play-fighting is now the fun thing to do, although mom is watching carefully if they get out of hand. She is also painfully aware that baby teeth are on their way in. Learning to eat solid food is not far behind.

This is the time that they graduate from the familiarity of their whelping pen to the puppy room. While we introduce them to their new living space, they all huddle together, usually all in one little bed, looking like a tiny lifeboat filled with wide-eyed survivors in a sea of tile. Soon, curiosity takes over and one or two brave souls will venture out. Within minutes, they are scampering and running and tumbling and skidding into walls and having the times of their lives. Yippeeee!

Week Five

Puppy gruel- one part blenderized dry puppy starter, 2 parts goat milk, and one part warm chicken broth- Yummy! That’s what the puppies will be eating this week. Mom is still supplying the lion’s share of meals, but is more anxious to make her exit. Puppies now have a full set of sharp little teeth. They are learning to lap water but seem to think they need to step in it first. Ditto for the food.

This is the Curiosity Period (5-7 weeks). As the puppies are weaned from their mom, they are less apt to depend on her and begin to climb, crawl, taste, and snoop into everything and anything they can. They have very little sense of fear. Now is when a puppy has the lowest fear and the highest acceptance of all things new or scary. It is also the time to approach the puppy with all different ages and types of humans. Wonderful and varied stimuli are important too, to help them build confidence in new situations. If frightened by something now, the pup will bounce back quickly and will still have learned solid coping skills.

As we approach week 6, the puppy is leaping ahead with their motor skills and intellect. It becomes increasingly difficult to present more and more intense challenges and complex stimuli; a basket or pasteboard box has long since lost its thrill. More and more research backs up the conclusion that puppies raised in environments lacking challenges, are more likely to develop into fearful, less successful adults.

They have all worked hard navigating steps, up and down. Using the pet door took one whole minute to learn (the reward was huge). Outside is where the mysterious and exciting world of the puppy play yard lives. Getting there means conquering steps and the pet door- done and done!

Click the arrow icon for full size!

Week Six

Puppies have been learning the rudiments of housebreaking this week. It follows naturally now that the out of doors is an option. Natural instinct motivates them (to try) not to soil their living quarters.

Socialization Period (5-16 weeks), socializing does two things: It reduces the number of things in the world that a puppy (and eventually an adult) may be frightened of, and it provides the experience of being afraid and then recovering. This bounce-back is one of the most valuable lessons a breeder can “teach” a puppy. The more things that a puppy must experience with trepidation, the longer the list becomes of things that are no longer fearful. As his confidence snowballs, the faster a puppy recovers and reacts positively to situations– consequently the better adjusted the adult dog will become.

Click the arrow icon for full size!

Week Seven

Observations of temperaments of each puppy are ongoing. To further assess behavior, we often use a formal temperament testing method performed by a qualified evaluator. We have found out that in our Labradoodle and Goldendoodle litters, there are very few differences among individuals’ overall predilection. Many generations have gone into refining dispositions with the goal that each mind and gentle in spirit. We take great pride offering what we think is the perfect family companion.

We are diligently working on housebreaking in earnest, although the map and paper towel supply is still getting a workout. Our AKC Junior Handlers come more often to play with the puppies- spending several hours at a time.

Watching the puppies play and interact, we gain a better understanding about individual temperament, how they engage each other and their environment. Authorities agree that by 7-8 weeks, puppies have fully developed brains, and are capable of learning anything. The one minor caveat is that their attention span is equivalent to that of a 2 year old. What they learn at this stage is imprinted and permanent. This week is when all appropriate vaccinations are given. Veterinary health checks with Dr. Wolf and Dr. Dragon, and a final review of the health and well-being of the puppy.

Puppies are beginning to sleep through the night- if you consider morning to be at 5 AM. During the night, we keep the pet door locked for the pup’s safety. No alarm is needed because noisy little voices make it clear that it’s time to unlock the door.

They are awake and ready to potty- hurry and get the door open! They all run out with success and no accidents. Life is good.

Week Eight

Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are old enough and mature enough at 8 weeks to go to their new and permanent home. At this stage, we feel they are more receptive to individual attention to such training objectives as crate training, housebreaking, and more extensive socialization. We recommend maintaining the puppy on their current diet (Royal Canine puppy food) and if desired, slowly weaning them to another premium food.

We are adamant believers in the school of thought that the first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life greatly shapes the rest of the dog’s existence. Remember, you are acquiring a dog, which is presently disguised as the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen– a brief stage when you consider that your dog will most likely live 10-14 years. However, for the puppy, the period of learning can well determine how they engage with and react to the world for the rest of their lives. How they cope with the new situations and act with strangers, children, new stimuli, new sounds, lights, new everything, directly relates to how well they have been socialized during the first 4 months of life.

We treat our obligation for the first two months very seriously, and invest considerable time and energy into their development in the 8 weeks that they are here with us. But the next two months are equally as important. If the appropriate time and energy is again invested during the next two months, the return will provide you and your family a lifetime of joy with a dog that you love, and that loves you.

+ Week 1

Week One

A puppy is born with a vulnerability that still amazes me. They come into the world blind, deaf, and without the ability to maintain their own body heat or bodily functions. Their entire existence is navigated by their keen sense of smell. They stay very close to and on top of one another- all curled up to conserve warmth. They are able to cry if they find themselves separated or alone. Once a puppy gets cold, their chances of survival are tenuous. Many deaths of puppies during this period can be traced to chilling. Once chilled, a puppy has trouble digesting food, and often develops secondary infections and pneumonia. During this crucial period, they are never left alone. They nurse for short periods and sleep.

Puppies sleep 90% of the time, only waking to suckle. Mom attends to all bodily functions by licking (stimulating) them, since their bladders and intestinal tracts are not functioning on their own yet. They are weighed at birth and every day thereafter. Their weights are charted so that we are able to determine everyone is gaining each day. Careful attention is paid to smaller pups to assure they are getting what they need. A primary focus at this stage is the health and happiness of the mother.

Selective breeding, love, proper nutrition, and exercise are key ingredients that will help assure that your puppy will be just right for your family.

+ Week 2

Week Two

Puppies have gained between 6-8 oz. They are moving around more, but are still not able to crawl. They scoot and wiggle about to position themselves for nursing, or pile together if mom is not present. It is time to have nails trimmed for the first time. We are handling them more often- touching feet and gently working and stretching their muscles, and getting them used to the loving human touch.

Mom is keeping her pups tidy and clean, and we are keeping the whelping pen and mom the same. Laundry at this point becomes daunting!

Mom is wolfing down her high calorie anything and everything her heart desires; cheese, eggs, chicken livers, ice cream, and yummy puppy starter — not to mention treats!

+ Week 3

Week Three

Eyes are beginning to open. All puppies are born with blue eyes. It takes another week before they are able to focus and see clearly. Useable vision is at 18-21 days. Ears are beginning to open as well; noises startle pups and they are still unable to locate the source of the sound. However, exposure to sudden, loud noises at this time is essential and encouraged, as fear has not yet developed.

They are getting stronger and are able to push up onto all fours, but standing is still a scary and very wobbly proposition. This week sees rapid development of motor skills. Puppies are able to move backwards as well as forward, and begin to move around quite a bit more, especially toward the end of week 3. Curiosity and bravery will soon become their new exploratory compass- just as long as mom is a short drink away, and it isn’t naptime.

We resist simply reaching in and helping them overcome obstacles, unless of course, they’re lost in a corner and getting cold. Otherwise, they are problem solving– stimulating their learning ability.

They are able to eliminate on their own now, and will be begin to move away from their nest to potty. They are also learning to walk instead of crawl.

+ Week 4

Week Four

Now that the puppies have the use of all their senses, huge strides in development will begin to take place. It is at this crucial point that a breeder, knowledgeable in all aspects of behavioral development, begins increased individual attention.

Imprinting is so important; a poorly imprinted puppy will have issues throughout their adult life. Social imprinting, both with other dogs and with humans, is paramount to becoming well adjusted. For instance, puppies raised in isolation from other dogs at this time get attacked and rejected when introduced at 16 weeks — just one example of imprinting “mistakes.” Socialization begins in earnest and exposure to all manner of sounds and sights are a part of their daily lives. Handling, cuddling, and picking puppies up is just about the best thing one could wish for- and our friends and neighbors think so too! Early morning coffee with good friends, each with a puppy in their arms, is as good as a day can get.

Play-fighting is now the fun thing to do, although mom is watching carefully if they get out of hand. She is also painfully aware that baby teeth are on their way in. Learning to eat solid food is not far behind.

This is the time that they graduate from the familiarity of their whelping pen to the puppy room. While we introduce them to their new living space, they all huddle together, usually all in one little bed, looking like a tiny lifeboat filled with wide-eyed survivors in a sea of tile. Soon, curiosity takes over and one or two brave souls will venture out. Within minutes, they are scampering and running and tumbling and skidding into walls and having the times of their lives. Yippeeee!

+ Week 5

Week Five

Puppy gruel- one part blenderized dry puppy starter, 2 parts goat milk, and one part warm chicken broth- Yummy! That’s what the puppies will be eating this week. Mom is still supplying the lion’s share of meals, but is more anxious to make her exit. Puppies now have a full set of sharp little teeth. They are learning to lap water but seem to think they need to step in it first. Ditto for the food.

This is the Curiosity Period (5-7 weeks). As the puppies are weaned from their mom, they are less apt to depend on her and begin to climb, crawl, taste, and snoop into everything and anything they can. They have very little sense of fear. Now is when a puppy has the lowest fear and the highest acceptance of all things new or scary. It is also the time to approach the puppy with all different ages and types of humans. Wonderful and varied stimuli are important too, to help them build confidence in new situations. If frightened by something now, the pup will bounce back quickly and will still have learned solid coping skills.

As we approach week 6, the puppy is leaping ahead with their motor skills and intellect. It becomes increasingly difficult to present more and more intense challenges and complex stimuli; a basket or pasteboard box has long since lost its thrill. More and more research backs up the conclusion that puppies raised in environments lacking challenges, are more likely to develop into fearful, less successful adults.

They have all worked hard navigating steps, up and down. Using the pet door took one whole minute to learn (the reward was huge). Outside is where the mysterious and exciting world of the puppy play yard lives. Getting there means conquering steps and the pet door- done and done!

Click the arrow icon for full size!

+ Week 6

Week Six

Puppies have been learning the rudiments of housebreaking this week. It follows naturally now that the out of doors is an option. Natural instinct motivates them (to try) not to soil their living quarters.

Socialization Period (5-16 weeks), socializing does two things: It reduces the number of things in the world that a puppy (and eventually an adult) may be frightened of, and it provides the experience of being afraid and then recovering. This bounce-back is one of the most valuable lessons a breeder can “teach” a puppy. The more things that a puppy must experience with trepidation, the longer the list becomes of things that are no longer fearful. As his confidence snowballs, the faster a puppy recovers and reacts positively to situations– consequently the better adjusted the adult dog will become.

Click the arrow icon for full size!

+ Week 7

Week Seven

Observations of temperaments of each puppy are ongoing. To further assess behavior, we often use a formal temperament testing method performed by a qualified evaluator. We have found out that in our Labradoodle and Goldendoodle litters, there are very few differences among individuals’ overall predilection. Many generations have gone into refining dispositions with the goal that each mind and gentle in spirit. We take great pride offering what we think is the perfect family companion.

We are diligently working on housebreaking in earnest, although the map and paper towel supply is still getting a workout. Our AKC Junior Handlers come more often to play with the puppies- spending several hours at a time.

Watching the puppies play and interact, we gain a better understanding about individual temperament, how they engage each other and their environment. Authorities agree that by 7-8 weeks, puppies have fully developed brains, and are capable of learning anything. The one minor caveat is that their attention span is equivalent to that of a 2 year old. What they learn at this stage is imprinted and permanent. This week is when all appropriate vaccinations are given. Veterinary health checks with Dr. Wolf and Dr. Dragon, and a final review of the health and well-being of the puppy.

Puppies are beginning to sleep through the night- if you consider morning to be at 5 AM. During the night, we keep the pet door locked for the pup’s safety. No alarm is needed because noisy little voices make it clear that it’s time to unlock the door.

They are awake and ready to potty- hurry and get the door open! They all run out with success and no accidents. Life is good.

+ Week 8

Week Eight

Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are old enough and mature enough at 8 weeks to go to their new and permanent home. At this stage, we feel they are more receptive to individual attention to such training objectives as crate training, housebreaking, and more extensive socialization. We recommend maintaining the puppy on their current diet (Royal Canine puppy food) and if desired, slowly weaning them to another premium food.

We are adamant believers in the school of thought that the first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life greatly shapes the rest of the dog’s existence. Remember, you are acquiring a dog, which is presently disguised as the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen– a brief stage when you consider that your dog will most likely live 10-14 years. However, for the puppy, the period of learning can well determine how they engage with and react to the world for the rest of their lives. How they cope with the new situations and act with strangers, children, new stimuli, new sounds, lights, new everything, directly relates to how well they have been socialized during the first 4 months of life.

We treat our obligation for the first two months very seriously, and invest considerable time and energy into their development in the 8 weeks that they are here with us. But the next two months are equally as important. If the appropriate time and energy is again invested during the next two months, the return will provide you and your family a lifetime of joy with a dog that you love, and that loves you.