When it comes down to breeding dogs, most breeders in our audience have a great knowledge of the basics of dog training and puppy socialization. They know why it matters and why it should be taken seriously from the day puppies are born, until the day they depart to their new home, and beyond.
To me, it makes no doubt that dog breeders should absolutely be affiliated with a quality local dog trainer. This will help the breeder learn new ways of improving the care given to both the nursing bitch and every single puppy.
We have asked Ian Stone, a qualified dog trainer from Simpawtico Dog Training about his thoughts on the top three mistakes dog breeders make these days.
“In my opinion, the top three mistakes breeders make in terms of training are:
- Letting puppies go to soon. Puppies should not leave before 8 weeks. If puppies didn’t go home until 10 or 12 weeks, that would be even better, provided of course that they were doing constructive socialization and bite inhibition work during that time!
- The most important thing to teach a puppy is bite inhibition, but the most urgent thing is household etiquette. These have a tremendous impact on the puppy’s quality of life, but breeders generally do not spend any time on either of these.
- Not enough human contact and/or handling from multiple people of all ages and genders.”
You may learn more about Ian on his dog training website!
How to Prepare the Litter for Separation?
This is known by all, the very first few months of a puppy’s childhood are going to shape who this individual will be and how he or she will behave in the future.
Although the owner has to do the homework, the dog breeder will spend at least two months with each puppy. Therefore, it is vital to prepare all these little babies for an unavoidable separation.
As a breeder, you could start with a simple exercise after four of five weeks. Take two of these pups and put them away from the rest of the litter for few seconds, and increase the duration gradually over several days.
Don’t upset the mother — make sure she is constantly around and can at any time see and grab the puppies. Make it a game, not a trauma!
How to Deal With Dominant Puppies in a Litter?
Depending on the size of your litter of puppies, you will notice that some pups are stronger and more of actual fighters than others, even within the same litter. This is normal and what many breeders do is grab the strongest puppy in order to let the weaker ones reach their teat, or food bowl.
As a general rule of thumb, the breeder should never intervene in such situations unless a puppy is clearly in danger (or starving.) Trust me, it is generally not the case and the breeder should allow the puppies to understand how social hierarchy works. This is to protect them in the future in more dangerous situations (other dogs growling, for example.)
Dominant puppies aren’t bad puppies, they simply have stronger and perhaps bolder characters and should be allowed to express themselves without any frustration. As long as they show no aggressivity, let them be.
How to Socialize Puppies as a Dog Breeder?
To socialize a puppy means making sure you get the puppy used to common situations, locations. noises and even anxiogenic experiences. That way, they will gradually learn how to stay calm in all configurations because they have already been through something similar younger and all went well.
Until around four months of age, puppies are extremely curious and naturally don’t embed too much stress or anxiety. This is why it is the best period to make sure they face these external stimulations so they are equipped for their future adult life. With that being said, it is vital to start this process as early as possible and actually never really end it.
The latter part is the owner’s duty, but the former is yours. As a responsible dog breeder, you must make sure you have an in-depth chat with your local trainer and define a generalization or socialization plan for all your puppies from today onwards.
Because you are taking care of several puppies at the same time, you may not be able to bring them out to your local cafe, but you can certainly introduce them to other pets, people of different sizes, and broadcast weird and loud noises in your garden from your laptop.
How New Owners Should Welcome Their Puppy
Make sure your puppies’ new families read it carefully before they pick up their new family member because the first hours spent with their new dog are crucial. Read some literature about it, or get your favorite trainer to write up a little leaflet.
A puppy landing in a new family is stressed, scared and sad. The new owner’s mission is to provide affection, closeness, reassurance and distract the puppy’s mind from drowning because of sorrow. Puppies loooove when a human is obsessed by them so that mission should be fairly easy.
The next days are also important because giving too much to the new puppy can be dangerous. After a few days, the owner will go to work and get back to his normal routine. The dog will again see his closest friend disappear for a while, every single day. This is called separation anxiety and can result in destructive behaviors.
A good dog trainer will provide your families with clear written instructions on how to transition from breeder to owner without causing further stress to the puppy.
Get in touch and meet with several dog trainers near you and make sure to use their brains. The same way you are an expert at breeding dogs, they are experts at understanding canine behavior and training dogs from their earliest stages.
Obviously, it’s not about Skyping each other every weekend or going to the golf course every last Sunday of the month, but rather nurture a relationship where both of you gain value from each other.