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Epigenetics is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. These changes to gene expression affect future offspring even before conception. In fact, there is research that suggests that trauma can stay in our genes for generations, negatively affecting the children and grandchildren of those who have experienced it ---> STUDY (link).

Keeping this in mind, we take great care to ensure the dogs in our program are raised in a physically healthy and emotionally fulfilling environment
 so that the way they pass on genes is beneficial to their puppies. Our dogs live in our home with us and are our beloved pets. The health and well-being of our mommas, especially while pregnant, is of utmost importance to us. We do regular veterinary prenatal visits to ensure our moms and puppies are doing well throughout the pregnancy. Our mommas also get the star treatment! They get daily massages, an optimized diet, special conditioning & exercise, and loads of affection and one-on-one time. A happy momma equals happy puppies!



The first three weeks after birth are a crucial time for puppies. They are not yet fully developed lacking eyesight, hearing, and temperature regulation. They don't start to see until around 10 days and don't develop hearing until around 14 days. Their only senses for the majority of this stage are smell and touch. It's in this crucial period that we begin Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) and Early Scent Introduction (ESI). These are exercises designed and proven to stimulate and strengthen the immune system, improve cognitive function, and significantly increase stress tolerance. The benefits of these exercises last for the rest of the puppy's life! 
Along with ENS & ESI, we also introduce loud sounds and different textures to make sure our puppies are prepared for anything. 



These next weeks are some of the most fun... Our puppies are starting to really move around and discover their world! This is the best time to introduce activities designed around building proprioception, the sense that lets us perceive the location, movement, and action of parts of the body. This is an oft overlooked but critical sense that directly affects confidence, cognitive ability, and behavioral development. Our puppies are further exposed to different surfaces, noises, people, other dogs, and a variety of toys and activities designed to boost their connectivity with people and their problem-solving ability. 

At this time we also introduce a potty box and introduce puppies to the concept of keeping their area clean. This is a critical first step in housebreaking puppies. The earlier we teach them cleanliness, the easier they are to potty train! 



We use the last few weeks to fine-tune everything our puppies have learned up to this point. We start crate training, going on drives, meeting strangers in different environments, swimming, and teaching pups to come when called! Our puppies are taken to a variety of different places to have different experiences and learn how to ride in the car. They are taught how to settle, how to be relaxed in a crate, how to be comfortable at the vet and other new situations, and how to come when called. This further helps to set our foundation so that the puppies are ready to transition to their new homes. Most importantly, our puppies are taught how to learn! This makes them highly receptive to training and naturally intuitive when it comes to learning from their new family.  

At seven weeks, we also perform Volhard's Puppy Aptitude Testing, sometimes referred to as temperament testing. This is the ideal age to evaluate puppies' personalities so we can best match them to their future families! It also helps us see where each puppy is in mental development so we can use the last week to focus on problem areas or further hone their natural talents! 


If you haven't yet guessed, we are VERY passionate about our dogs, puppies, and puppy raising! Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about our program... we love to talk puppies and the science behind why we do what we do.  We are heavily influenced by the training strategies and philosophies of our peers at Training Between The Ears & The Puppy Potential Workshop.

Feel free to look around our site to see more of the day-to-day life of our dogs, why we chose Labradors as our breed, and the reasons behind our extensive program.


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