Not all doodles are created equal. If you’ve researched and read, you’ve likely come across some conflicting information along the way. Example: one of the most common misconceptions (among Goldendoodles) is that the F1b generation is the ONLY non shedding cross. Not true. There are other generations who are allergy friendly with no shedding, including the multigenerational and backcross pups here at GVD. Because hybrids are not recognized by AKC or UKC, there is no definitive “standard” for doodles. We don’t need a governing body to give us a road map, though. We know what produces great puppies, and that’s where we place our focus.
Their first few weeks with us are the most critical. As breeders, we have every opportunity to shape and mold these young lives during their most formative weeks. We start with Early Neurological Stimulation (super puppy program) at Day 3 of life, and continue through Day 16. Those thirteen days are a period of extremely rapid neurological growth, and the ENS program capitalizes on that. We introduce five methods of stimulation that wouldn’t normally occur in nature, and we do this once per day for each puppy. The results are scientifically proven: faster stronger heart rates, a more robust adrenal system, greater resistance to disease and stress, and a beefier immune system. We’re always surprised to see that some breeders don’t perform ENS exercises with their puppies …. it’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s free. Why wouldn’t you want the pups to have the very best start in life?
The Misty Method is another tool we use to raise our pups. By the time a puppy is 3 weeks old, they already instinctively know not to eliminate where they eat/sleep. Now their little legs don’t get them very far, but they do try to waddle a few steps away from the group to do their business. By honing in on this powerful instinctual behavior, we can give your pup an excellent start on house training. At just three weeks old, they have been provided with an outlet for elimination. Their toileting place starts out very big, and very close to the the nest. As they get older, the potty area becomes smaller and is placed a little farther away from the bedding with each passing day. By the time the puppies are 4.5 weeks old, they are consistently eliminating in their designated area, and searching to get even farther away. That’s when we introduce outdoor potty time, and before you know it, the pups are running to the far corner of the play yard to do their business. No puppy is ever house trained at Going Home time (sorry they just aren’t physically and mentally mature enough at that young age), but with this early conditioning, housebreaking efforts will be a cakewalk.
Puppy Culture and Rules of Seven are two more methods we use to raise well rounded, happy, confident pups. Everything is introduced in stages, all in age appropriate scenarios. One day might be running the vacuum cleaner all around them, another day might be rolling about in a wheelchair.
Suppertime is a wonderful opportunity to work with the pups. At some point, we will require a litter to cross an obstacle to get to the pot of gold (the almighty food dish!). This teaches them nothing in life is free and they must work for what they want. Sitting and crying rather than crossing the barrier doesn’t fill your belly, darlin'. It only takes a few minutes (seconds in some cases!) for them to figure this out.
In their 3rd and 4th weeks of life, we focus heavily on the startle-recovery response. Puppies have no real fear at this age, so it is the perfect time to introduce stimuli that might otherwise be “scary” to a puppy at a later date. Flapping an umbrella open and closed, dropping metal dishes on a hard surface, letting them explore wobbly uneven surfaces …. just a sample of day in day out life here. Every toy and every activity for the puppies is geared with this in mind: will it provide enrichment? will it empower the pups? will they learn from it? The result is clear in our puppies - they are healthy, strong, resilient, confident and brave. Can’t ask for much more than that!