Our puppy program starts long before any pups are whelped, with an exhaustive search to identify potential stud dogs to compliment our female to produce pups with a combination of health and personality traits that move the breed toward our ideal animal. And all that takes place before our female is even bred!
Our pups are whelped in a quiet part of our home and handled daily. We follow a strict schedule of Early Neurological Stimulation and Early Scent Introduction.
RRK9 Puppy Development We know that both genetics and environment contribute to how a puppy develops. We do our best to address the genetics in our selection of the breeding pair, but once the pups are here we continue our efforts to develop outstanding working prospects. At RRK9s we use two early developmental programs that ensure our pups have every opportunity from the very start!
From days 3-16 each pup is handled in accordance with the protocols outlined in the Early Neurological Stimulation (or Biosensor program). In addition, during the same time period, we use the Early Scenting Introduction protocols. Between these two programs we do our best to stimulate the pups encouraging early development and maximizing their final performance potential. Dogs that started life with these programs are smarter, healthier, easier to train, and have more personality!
Once the puppies begin to wake up, they are introduced to lots of new things, new people, and new places. By the time they are 8wks old and ready for their new homes, the pups have been introduced to crate training and have been on several car rides of varying lengths. While the pups are not fully crate trained or seasoned car-riders, we try to start them out on the right foot. We believe starting positive experiences with these things is an important step in the right direction. This early acclimation in a gradual, positive manner makes the new owner’s life easier as they travel home, settle their pup into a new place, and start crate training in earnest.
On whelping night we record the details of each pups' birth on a log sheet, including its birth weight and information about the sex and color of the puppy 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. Admittedly, the first couple of weeks there isn't much to take note of other than monitoring weight gain, tracking whose eyes and ears opened first, and so on. But as the pups age we are able to see more and more of each unique personality, and thus our observations become much more individualized and meaningful.
Much of the evaluation process is simple observation of how the pups behave and react as they begin to explore the world and as they are exposed to a wide variety of new sights, smells, sounds, objects and environments. It's amazing how much information about each pup's personality can be gleaned by just sitting back and watching as they experience new things, interact with one another and with other people and dogs, and adjust to the changing dynamics within the litter that occurs as they work out their own pecking order.
Both in their puppy enclosure and strewn throughout the house they have access to a plethora of balls, kongs, stuffy toys, squeaky toys, nylabones, tug ropes and most every other dog toy imaginable. Watching them play together is not only enjoyable, but insightful as well. 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.
How puppies are chosen at RRK9s Every owner has different expectations and needs from a new puppy. For some, just getting that new cutie is all that matters, and not much thought is required to select a fitting animal. For others, there are very specific traits they need from their pup to make it a successful placement. At Ruby Red K9s, we try to place the every pup with an owner to meet both their needs.
We do not want someone looking for their next performance dog to miss out because the best performance prospect was sleepy when they visited! Additionally, we do not want someone looking for a more laid back companion to take home a high-level performance prospect because that pushy pup was the one in their face! In both of those scenario's everyone loses. We spend a great deal of time and effort observing all our pups to determine as much as we can about each individual personality before we make our recommendation for which new home he/she will go.
With this in mind, we will work with you to understand your needs and desirements to ensure you are happy and also that the pup we place with you will meet your needs.
In the time we have with these pups, personality observations will be recorded often and a personality test will be given at 8wks old. Testing pups for environmental stability and drive is a common practice among working dog handlers. The test we give is a modified Volhard test. The test will be given to the each individual pup by a person they have not met before and in a place with which they are unfamiliar. We make this effort to ensure we capture the most objective information about each puppy. Between the recorded information and final test results, we will place each pup with the new owner that matches it best.
Worming and Vaccinations Our pups are dewormed regularly throughout their first few weeks. 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 single Distemper and Parvovirus vaccine 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. For the overall health of the dogs, we use and strongly recommend Dr. Jean Dodd's minimal vaccination protocol. This means not stressing out the dog's immune system by administering unnecessary vaccinations, or vaccinating more frequently than is absolutely necessary to ensure immunity and compliance with the law.
Permanent Identification Because unique, permanent identification can go a long way in reuniting dog and owner should the dog become lost or stolen, all of our puppies are permanently identified with a microchip. Microchips are implanted before the pups go to their new homes.
Registration and Naming All of our puppies are registered with the American Kennel Club and the 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 demonstrated desirable breed traits and minimum testings of passing hip/elbow evaluation, CNM, and EIC testing. There is no additional cost to implement Full registration, but this is our attempt to protect the breed. We will be picking the official names for each pup, however, the new owner if free to use any call sign they desire.
New Owner Stuff As a new owner, you will need to prepare for when your puppy comes home! We recommend several things to help you and your new addition have a smooth start to a long and valuable relationship. - A dog crate. We recommend a 42" (min) dog crate to help your puppy feel secure and to have a safe place to put them when you cannot keep an eye on them. This is especially important during the first 18mo. Ensuring they have a safe, controlled environment is one of the best things you can do to avoid forming bad habits, too! Crate training is highly recommended, and to start this off with a puppy, you will want a crate with a divider. - Appropriate chew toys. We recommend Kong chew toys, especially the "Kong Classic Dog Toy". This is a very versatile toy and one that should be safe to fill with treats and leave with the dog. Be sure to observe this a few times, just in case. - Play Pen. This is not mandatory, but we've found an xpen from Midwest can give the dog a much larger play area, but still keep them contained and safe. We like the Midwest brand simply because it has a door in the pen, which can be extremely convenient. We like to link the edges of the play pen to the front corners of the dog crate during the day, giving them access to a play area and a sleep area. - Enzyme Cleaner. Although we do our best to get the puppies started on their potty training journey, almost every pup has a couple accidents, and having this on hand and accessible can make those moments a bit less frustrating. - Other toys. Feel free to try lots of different toys to find out what your pup likes best! Also, please make sure you always observe how the pup interacts with the toys before you leave them alone with a particular one. You do not want to leave your pup alone with a soft toy they like to chew on - there is a good chance they will end up trying to eat it! We also recommend you do not leave training-type toys out. This includes tugs, balls, or other retrieving items. These items will be more special to the dog, and make you more valuable to them, when they only get to play with YOU when they are out. - Leash and a collar/harness. Having a leash is very important, and it works best with either a collar or a harness. Because of the training we like to do with our dogs, we always use a harness until we train our pup to be responsive to leash pressure (this helps to avoid pulling later down the road). However, either can help you keep your pup safe. - PLEASE PREPARE TO SOCIALIZE YOUR PUPPY! Although this is not exactly equipment, taking advantage of the stage in a dogs life between the 8th week (pickup) and the 20th week is the very best way to ensure your pup reaches their genetic potential for performance and/or temperament. Please take them as many places to meet as many people as you can. Set up some puppy visits from close friends, take them to parks and/or schools to meet other people (including children). We discourage socializing with other dogs until the puppy has their first vaccinations with you and even then be cautious to only let them around other dogs you KNOW are well behaved. And feel free to reach out to me if you need additional socializing ideas! Socializing a pup during this period, although time consuming, pays huge dividends by vastly increasing their life experiences during a critical time in their development. It is during this time they will absorb these experiences more quickly then any time that follows, and these experiences will give your pup more confidence in all other circumstances it may find itself in for the rest of your lives together.
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