The puppies are handled and socialized from day one of life. They are kept on mother's milk-the perfect source of nourishment until they are weaned. We start introducing soft puppy food at 3 weeks when their teeth come in and continue to feed mother's milk and or milk replacer until the puppies are finally weaned around 6 weeks of age. If we have a very large litter, the puppies are supplemented with a bottle and milk replacer to keep up with their growing bodies while mama gets the nourishment she needs. The puppies all imprint on us before their eyes and ears are opened at 2 and 3 weeks of age and they love and adore their human handlers. We are the first humans they respectively attach to!
In addition to socialization and imprinting, we start all the puppies on potty training at 2-3 weeks of age. We do this by establishing a sleeping area with a nice clean bed, an eating area, and a potty area with wee wee pads in their area of the house. This practice we adopted from the "Misty Method of Raising Puppies" by a breeder named Bev Dorma from MistyTrails Havanese/Mastiffs. The psychology behind it is based on how wolf mothers raise their packs. Wolf mothers are meticulous about keeping the "nest" very clean and in the den they have separate areas to sleep and eat and the pups are trained to eliminate outside of the den. The first day we implemented the training, several of the puppies woke up from their nap, walked a few steps over to the potty area, tinkled, and walked back to their bed to sleep. We will continue potty training until they all head to their new homes.
In addition to beginning potty training, each puppy is bathed regularly and their coat is gently combed through, we also apply olive oil to their coats to prevent cradle cap from forming. They will be prepared for bath time at home and possibly make great show dogs!
Our oldest daughter in a snuggle session with the newborn pups. Our girls are in heaven with all these precious puppies! They help to give them a good start with children. Mastiffs love young children and are very good with them anyway. This is just icing on the cake.
This is a picture of our newborn puppies nursing on mama, the best nourishment possible! All healthy and no complications, we love raising the puppies in our home where they are safe, warm and monitored around the clock.
This puppy is receiving her first bath! And then on to weighing and taking measurements of hips, shoulders, neck and length, so we can monitor the puppies growth for our breeding program.
Fitted with collars and everyone has a name, this is how we will keep track of them as they grow and develop. Each puppy that is sent home has been individually monitored from the start.
This is an example from our first litter how potty training begins at 2 weeks old. We have placed pee pads on one side of the "den" and a clean bed on the other side. As you can see, at least four of the puppies utilized the new pee pads so far. It is amazing to watch the puppies catch on in the first few minutes of the new arrangement.
At certain times, the growing pups may need a top off. While this is not the preferred method of nourishment for the young pups it is necessary when our dam has an extremely large litter!