THE VANGUARD WAY OF RAISING AND SOCIALIZING PUPPIES

Background

As each animal grows and develops, three kinds of stimulation have been identified that impact and influence how it will develop and be shaped as an individual. The first stage is called early neurological stimulation and the second stage is called socialization, with both having a window of limited time. The third and final stage in the process of growth and development is called enrichment. Unlike the first two stages it has no time limit, and by comparison, covers a very long period of time.

Newborn pups are uniquely different from adults in several respects. When born, their eyes are closed and their digestive system has a limited capacity requiring periodic stimulation by their dam who routinely licks them in order to promote digestion. At this age they are only able to smell, suck, and crawl. Body temperature is maintained by snuggling close to their mother or by crawling into piles with other litter mates. During these first few weeks of immobility, researchers noted that these immature and under-developed canines are sensitive to a restricted class of stimuli which includes thermal and tactile stimulation, motion and locomotion.

 

Data shows that stress in small amounts can produce adults who respond maximally. On the other hand, the results gathered from non-stressed litter mates show that they become easily exhausted and are near death if exposed to intense prolonged stress. Sexual maturity was attained sooner in the litter mates given early stress exercises. When tested for differences in health and disease, the stressed animals were found to be more resistant to certain forms of cancer and infectious diseases and could withstand terminal starvation and exposure to cold for longer periods than their non-stressed litter mates.

The results show that early stimulation exercises can have positive results but must be used with caution. In other words, too much stress can cause pathological adversities rather than physical or psychological superiority.

Handling and touching all parts of their anatomy is also a necessary part of their learning which can be started as early as the third day of life. Pups that are handled early and on a regular basis generally do not become hand-shy as adults.

Methods of Neurological Stimulation - Days 3  through 16

There are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has optimum results. The first period involves a window of time that begins at the third day of life and lasts until the sixteenth day. It is believed that because this interval of time is a period of rapid neurological growth and development, and therefore is of great importance to the individual. Listed in order of preference, we start with one puppy and stimulate it using each of the five exercises. We complete the series from beginning to end before moving on to the next puppy. The handling of each pup once per day involves the following exercises:

  1. Tactile stimulation - holding the pup in one hand, the handler gently stimulates (tickles) the pup between the toes on any one foot using a Q-tip. It is not necessary to see that the pup is feeling the tickle. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds. (Figure 1)

  2. Head held erect - using both hands, the pup is held perpendicular to the ground, (straight up), so that its head is directly above its tail. This is an upwards position. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds. (Figure 2)

  3. Head pointed down - holding the pup firmly with both hands the head is reversed and is pointed downward so that it is pointing towards the ground. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds. (Figure 3)

  4. Supine position - hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling. The pup while on its back is allowed to sleep. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds. (Figure 4)

  5. Thermal stimulation—use a damp towel that has been cooled in a refrigerator for at least five minutes. Place the pup on the towel, feet down. Do not restrain it from moving. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds. (Figure 5)

These five exercises will produce neurological stimulations, none of which naturally occur during this early period of life. Experience shows that sometimes pups will resist these exercises, others will appear unconcerned. In either case a caution is offered to those who plan to use them. Do not repeat them more than once per day and do not extend the time beyond that recommended for each exercise. Over stimulation of the neurological system can have adverse and detrimental results. These exercises impact the neurological system by kicking it into action earlier than would be normally expected, the result being an increased capacity that later will help to make the difference in its performance. Those who play with their pups and routinely handle them should continue to do so because the neurological exercises are not substitutions for routine handling, play socialization or bonding.

 

Five benefits have been observed in canines that were exposed to the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises. The benefits noted were:

  1. Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)

  2. Stronger heart beats

  3. Stronger adrenal glands

  4. More tolerance to stress

  5. Greater resistance to disease

Socialization - Weeks 4 through 16

Most researchers agree that among all species, a lack of adequate socialization generally results in unacceptable behavior and often times produces undesirable aggression, excessiveness, fearfulness, sexual inadequacy and indifference toward partners. Socialization studies confirm that one of the critical periods for canines is between the fourth and sixteenth weeks of ageIt seems clear that small amounts of stress followed by early socialization can produce beneficial results. 

OUR GOALS

We strive to maximize the potential of each puppy by stimulating its learning ability, interests and natural instincts.

We follow a series of tests and exercises for baby puppies, which both educates and evaluates each puppy as it grows and develops. By day 21 all of the puppy's senses are intact, with hearing being the last to “hook-up”. By 16 weeks of age the basic character of the dog appears to be formed.

How we expose and stimulate our puppies to the various senses to give them the best start possible:

  1. Smell: breeder's hand, orange peel, nail polish, bird feather, bread, meat, cat hair, carrot, etc.

  2. Touch: cool metal, pan of sand, ice cube, pan of gravel, terry cloth, cotton sheet, nylon cloth, tile, brick surface, wool mat, newspaper, plastic, screen, metal floor grate (place puppy on these various surfaces from day 3 onward).

  3. Hearing: clapping hands, pounding on wall and door and floor, dropped cake pan onto floor, voice (loud, soft, variety of voices), bell, cap gun, bird, vacuum, clock, kitchen sounds, telephones ringing, children playing, sportscasters yelling on TV, radios playing, buses moving by and so on.

  4. Vibratory: Vacuum cleaner, clock ticking, mixer, hair dryer.

  5. Sight: people, other animals, TV, toys, cars, machines, trees, everything that you can think of.

  6. Taste: Begin at day 21, use your imagination, they tend to taste all new things, floor, rocks, you, toys.

Exercises to help acclimate our puppies to their new homes:

  1. Handling:  Young puppies are cuddled and handled daily by as many different people as possible.  We keep the contact gentle and pleasant for the pup, holding the puppy in different positions (never harsh or punitive positions), gently finger her feet, rub her muzzle, stroke her back and sides, look in her ears. This is done most easily when the puppy is very young, before her eyes and ears are fully open (7-10 days from birth), but can also be accomplished in the first 1-2 months.

  2. Food bowl exercises:  We teach our puppies to enjoy having people approach his/her bowl while they're eating.  This can be accomplished by walking up to the puppy during his/her dinner-time, drop an even-tastier treat into her bowl and walk away.  This is repeated (once or twice during each meal) until puppy is visibly excited about our approach.  Walk up, pick up her bowl, put in a treat, give bowl back, walk away.  These exercises are designed to prevent resource-guarding, which occurs when dogs feel anxious about others approaching their own valued resources. 

  3. Teach your puppy to be alone:  Puppies must learn to tolerate being alone (completely separate from other people and animals) each and every day so as to avoid developing separation anxiety later in life.  For details on how to proceed, click here.

  4. Prevent aggression:  There is no need to “show the dog who’s boss” or try to “dominate” him.  This includes pinning the dog down, “scruffing” him or popping his leash.  Confrontational approaches like these frequently backfire and create the very aggression dogs owners seek to avoid.  We, at Vanguard Frenchies, focus on rewarding correct behavior and preventing undesirable behavior by teaching our puppies human rules and building a trusting relationship.

  5. Socialization:  After our puppies leave, we encourage all new puppy owners to expose their puppy to at least five new people every day, keeping the interactions pleasant and nonthreatening, and of course after they are 16 weeks old and fully vaccinated.  Focus especially on setting up pleasant encounters with unfamiliar men and well-behaved children.  Also expose the puppy to different surfaces, textures and objects.  See Margaret Hughes’ handout, “The Puppy’s Rule of Twelve”.

  6. Bite inhibition:  Provide plenty of appropriate toys to redirect puppy mouths to appropriate outlets.  Remember that this is how puppies explore their world so please don’t take it personally!  When puppies bite too hard during play, making a sudden noise (“Ouch!”) and ending the game will help them learn to use their mouths gently.  Never squeeze puppies’ mouths shut, yell at them or hold them down:  this will frighten them and likely make biting worse!

Click here to see the day-to-day activities we subject our puppies to in the first few weeks of life

Enrichment - Lifelong 

Enrichment is a term which has come to mean the positive sum of experiences which have a cumulative effect upon the individual. Enrichment experiences typically involve exposure to a wide variety of interesting, novel, and exciting experiences with regular opportunities to freely investigate, manipulate, and interact with them. When measured in later life, the results show that those reared in an enriched environment tend to be more inquisitive and are more able to perform difficult tasks. Non-enriched pups, when given free choice, preferred to stay in their kennels. Other litter mates who were given only small amounts of outside stimulation between five and eight weeks of age were found to be very inquisitive and very active. When kennel doors were left open, the enriched pups would come bounding out while litter mates who were not exposed to enrichment would remain behind. The non-stimulated pups would typically be fearful of unfamiliar objects and generally preferred to withdraw rather than investigate.

Regular trips to the park, shopping centers and obedience and agility classes serve as good examples of enrichment activities. Road work and chasing balls are not substitutes for trips to the shopping mall, outings or obedience classes most of which provide many opportunities for interaction and investigation. We expect our new puppy owners to continue the practice of enrichment once our puppies leave our home.

Potty Training 

By the time the puppies are 3 to 4 weeks old, we start training them to use a dog litter box. Half of their box is bed/sleeping/play area and the other half is potty area. As soon as they can barely walk, they naturally want to go away from their bed area to potty. My job is simply to make that possible – easy but very important. This is one of the many things that is neglected with a cage raised puppy. Those puppies are much more difficult to house train. Our puppies are never raised in cages, although we are firm-believers in the crate training method once puppies go to their new homes, as long as it is executed properly.

 

We start by setting a timer for  every 20 minutes and right after eating. We place them in the litter box to potty. We give them lots of praise when they pottied. Then we started taking them outside to the grass and praising them accordingly. They make the correlation between the litter box inside and the grass outside pretty quickly.

Contact Us

     Call or text Ryan at (713) 367-1777

     Email us at vanguardfrenchies@gmail.com

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