Our litters are raised in our home. We begin with carefully selecting breeding dogs for excellent health and temperament, inclusive of all health testing as outlined by the Labrador Retriever Club of America. We then provide excellent neonatal care with optimal nutrition, top notch veterinary care and enrichment and careful conditioning in a low stress environment. We believe that this level of care has a great impact in creating stable, intelligent and healthy puppies.
Once puppies arrive they are cared for around the clock, beginning with excellent care for our dams in the early weeks. At around week three, puppy care begins to shift from the dam being the primary caregiver to us working with the dam in their care, and pretty quickly over weeks 3-5 we become the primary puppy caretakers as the dams nurse and clean less.
We do use some protocols borrowed from popular puppy raising programs, though we do not exclusively use any one set of published protocols, but rather a combination that includes some of our own. Puppies receive daily ENS and regular handling in the first two weeks, and are provided an impeccably clean whelping area. After the neonate stage, puppies are provided an enriched environment to help develop strong brains and bodies. Puppies are intensely socialized with people, places, things and other appropriate dogs. We introduce scents, sounds, textures and other novel stimuli while carefully balancing new experiences with rest and comfort from their dam and their human caregivers.
All of our puppies are introduced to a litter box before three weeks of age and are taught to keep a clean den, which is the beginning of the housebreaking and crate training process. We select bedding and flooring for traction to help puppies get their feet under them, to get them moving and get their coordination underway as early as possible, and to assist in the development of excellent orthopedic structure.
By week four, our puppies are taking trips outside and soon begin nature walks and social visits with new people. We teach them the clicker through group and individual training sessions. They are taught handling for grooming and veterinary visits and learn to tolerate eye, ear, and dental examinations, as well as nail trimming, brushing and baths.
By eight weeks of age, puppies are well prepared for their homes. They have taken car rides, they’ve experienced crating alone, they’ve been introduced to wings and live birds, they have an excellent recall (will reliably come when called) and have had every opportunity to develop into a well balanced and well prepared working companion. The puppies are microchipped, vet checked, have had their first set of vaccines, are treated prophylactically for parasites, and are matched with their ideal home and owner.