We plan our breedings out in order to ensure that each litter has our undivided attention and we can spend a significant amount of time socializing, interacting with and evaluating the puppies. All of our dogs live in the house, and we whelp and raise our litters in the house as well. Keeping the litter in our home with us ensures they are in a safe, secure, climate controlled area, and allows us to easily keep dam and pups under careful observation. As the pups age, it also affords us the opportunity to expose the pups to a variety of normal household sounds and activities on a daily basis.
Our pups are handled several times a day from birth until they arrive at their new homes. In addition to handling, they also undergo the Bio-Sensor "Superdog" Program 3-16 days after birth. This is a training for early neurological stimulation that was developed by the US Department of Defense for use with Military Working Dogs. This program is one that is widely used by breeders of all types. Although its impact is controversial in the development of young pups, it certainly doesn't hurt.
Our pups get a lot of exposure to other dogs as well. In addition to spending time every day with their dam, once they are old enough the pups also get to interact with our other dogs. This provides additional playmates and important lessons for them in canine social behavior, communication and manners. We introduce the pups to cats too, just for the additional experience it offers them.
Customers on our puppy waiting list often come to visit too. By the time they go to their new homes, the pups have already met dozens of people of different ages and ethnic backgrounds.
To make them even more resilient, our pups are also exposed to normal household activities on a daily basis. They see, hear and smell people, dogs, cats, and lawn mowers, television, music, the vacuum, pots and pans and the buzzer on the dryer.
Crate and Car Familiarization
We believe in kennel training our puppies early, usually around 5 weeks of age. The first week we will crate 2 puppies together with their food bowls, in order to allow them to acclimate to the confinement of the crate without experiencing isolation at the same time. As they continue to develop and grow and get more and more used to the crates, they are separated until each pup is eating all of its meals in its own crate.
At around 6 weeks old, puppies are taken for short car rides a few times a week in order to accustom them to vehicle travel .
All of our own dogs are fed a mix of raw food and commercial kibble. We highly recommend incorporating raw foods into the dog's diet, but we understand there are a number of reasons why someone might be unable or unwilling to feed this way. With this in mind, our litters are raised onto a diet that is half raw, and half high quality, safe commercial kibble. This way all the pups are familiar with and acclimated to both ways of feeding, and can easily adjust to whichever their new owners decide to feed.
Having Heather on-board made dealing with the diet aspect so much easier to understand, without having to worry about all the myths and false information the internet is full of.
Heather, is Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN) and Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), as well as a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician with the National Board for Nutrition Support Certification (NBNSC).
Evaluation & Placement
Upon whelping we record the details of each pups' birth on a spreadsheet , including its birth weight sex, color and any other important notes. We then fit each pup with a different colored collar to allow for easy identification. For the duration of the pups' stay with us we continue to maintain detailed records documenting our observations and the progress of each individual puppy.
As the pups age, more of each pup's unique personality becomes apparent. Watching them play together is both fun and insightful. As they chew and carry and shake toys, run and chase and scuffle with one another, we are able to observe additional valuable information about each pup's drive and temperament. Our puppies are excellent for family, home, protection and competition
All of our puppies are registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). New owners are provided with the registration certificate when they pick up their puppy. All of our puppies are sold with the Limited form of AKC registration, which precludes the dog from being bred and having offspring registered with AKC. We are happy to remove this limitation and upgrade this to Full (Breeding) registration after the dog has met the breed worthiness stipulations clearly spelled out in our contract, which include working title or certification and passing hip/elbow evaluation.
We have the right to select the AKC registered name of all puppies we breed, unless it's specified in the contract agreement using the German style naming system where each litter is assigned a letter of the alphabet, and the registered names of all of the pups in that litter begin with that letter of the alphabet, followed by the kennel designation of "Das Haus Vom Knallhart." New owners of course are free to use any call name they desire.
Worming & Vaccination
Our pups are wormed regularly throughout their first few weeks. We also vaccinate them against Bordetella Bronchiseptica (Kennel cough) at 3 weeks of age.
We perform a fecal exam on the pups between 6-7 weeks of age to check to see if additional worming is necessary and while typically all worms are cleared by this age, this is not always the case. All domestic dog puppies are born with worms, and even with a regular worming schedule and clean environment they can be hard to completely eradicate as pups are notorious for reinfesting themselves while still living together as a litter. Therefore we do recommend new owners have a fecal check done by their veterinarian shortly after taking their puppies home, to see if additional wormer is needed.
Our puppies are given a double Distemper, Adenorvirus Type 1, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus vaccine at 6 weeks then again at 8 weeks of age. Additional vaccinations will be required over the subsequent weeks after the puppies go to their new homes in order to complete the puppy series and ensure long term immunity.