One of my mentors once told me “Unfortunately breeding is not always about posting cute pictures and selling puppies. People do not realize the heartache and work that comes with it.”
This statement couldn’t be more true. Thankfully I have been blessed to not experience any heartbreak when it comes to breeding dogs and raising puppies, but there has been quite a bit of work involved, stress and anxiety, many tears, and sleepless nights. We take raising puppies very seriously and put a lot of time into our puppies. No matter how prepared you are things don’t always go perfectly and sometimes breeders have to be more involved with some puppies/litters than others.
Our whelping area is set up in the same room as our office. The week of our bitch’s due date we set up the whelping area and an air mattress gets set up as well. The air mattress gets put up against a wall during the day and is brought down every night so I can sleep in the same room with the puppies and mom for at least the first 2 weeks of the puppies’ lives. My boyfriend, Charles, works from home as a mortgage loan originator so he is in the office most of the day talking on the phone and looking over the puppies. We weigh our puppies every morning and every evening and record their weights to make sure they are all consistently gaining. Our puppies are held often and raised with the guidance of Puppy Culture. During the first few weeks our puppies get minimal contact with the other dogs in our home, but around 3-4 weeks old they begin interacting with our American Staffordshire Terrier mix (my “foster fail”), our Akita, and our other Shibas. They also begin going outside around this time and we begin working on potty training. Our other dogs are great with the puppies and give them the perfect start on learning how to interact with other dogs. They safely correct the puppies and help teach them good dog manners. This is a great beginning to socialization, but there is so much more to socializing puppies and raising enrichment seekers.
Our puppies are also introduced to children, different textures, sounds, and toys. The first 12 weeks of a puppies’ life are the most important in shaping their futures and we want to take full advantage of their time with us. Our goal is to raise the most sound and confident puppies possible. All of our puppies have grown into wonderful, outgoing, loving adults, but that doesn’t happen by chance. We put a lot of time into working with our puppies and having them play on a lot of different surfaces, we help them overcome any fears they may have, and we have been blessed with wonderful puppy buyers who have taken our advice and put the same time and love into their dogs. Continued training, socialization, and consistency are key once you bring your new Shiba puppy home.