We enjoy meeting our puppy families and sharing our love and enthusiasm for labradoodles with others. Although many may have concerns about why they are not always able to just come on over and meet our dogs and puppies the reason is very simple. Our primary responsibility as breeders is to maintain the health and safety of our dogs and puppies.
When the puppies are born the mothers are like any other mother from any species -overwhelmed and tired. Once the bonding with the newborns takes place and they are all settled the mother become focused on rearing these babies and can be very protective. If they are forced to have to deal with too many people – known to them or otherwise they became stressed and start to secrete excessive amounts of the stress hormone Cortisol into their milk. The puppies then literally drink in their mother’s stress.
The Earth Angels moms in our home raise their puppies for 3 weeks in a whelping room right beside our bedroom. I am close by and have a video camera on them to see what is happening when I am not. A happy mom is settled and calm with quiet puppies who are sleeping and nursing almost all of the time. A stressed mom is restless, noisy and possibly irritable with crying puppies who get cold and hungry very quickly. Darren and I and occasional visits from their guardians are the only humans mom has to deal with for the first 3 weeks. I try not to be too intrusive but monitor from a bit of a distance and let mom tell me if she wants anything. I check and weigh the puppies daily and this is not something mom’s tend to appreciate. Mom is usually quick to eat and go to the bathroom and then quickly back with her babies. I usually do a quick puppy check and change the bedding or add warming bags while mom is doing her business. As we get closer to 3 weeks mom is showing more interest in leaving the whelping room and coming to jump on our bed for a cuddle and more interested in the rest of the home.
At this point we move mom and puppies down to our main living area. The puppies can hear and have some vision and so for the first day or two can be quite unsure of it but mom is always close by by able to jump in and out of their large pen as needed. This ability to come and go facilitates healthy attachment as puppies learn that mom can go but will respond when they need her. As the days go on mom and babies get more adapted to the bigger world again which is great for the brain development of the puppies. We introduce toys, a slide, a crate , solid food over the next couple of weeks and then the Adventure Box and finally the bigger world of the great outdoors. These helps the puppie mental and emotional development as they prepare to leave our home and go to a completely new home with entirely different sights and smells.
We allow families to start to visit at about 5-6 weeks and a few friends may stop by before then but the majority of our outside socializing begins at 5 weeks. We ask that visitors to not visit other breeders, dog parks, pet stores or places where they may pick up bacteria or viruses that can affect our dogs and puppies. Parvo has been brought on to properties and can live in soil for 20 years so it is obviously a big safety concern for breeders.
When we have no puppies in our home we welcome people who may be interested in meeting our adult dogs and learning more about our amazing labradoodles.