Beginning with carefully selecting breeding dogs that have the structure (verified with health testing) and the temperament (friendly, bold, eager to please, easy to train, willing to work and play with other dogs as well as people, loyal but not overprotective) that can produce puppies suitable for my mission. Be aware that all dogs are individuals and not all my pups will exactly match my ideal, which may not be your ideal.
At this point I use outside studs so I can best match the sire with the dam toward my mission. I register my dogs with the Goldendoodle Association of North America and with the Continental Kennel Club, not just to have a registered dog, but to lay down a record of this dam that is linked to her complete DNA testing and her OFA results. I believe this cross often combines the best traits of two very fine, intelligent breeds.
Goldendoodles are hugely successful already and as we breeders work toward refining the purpose we are breeding toward, we think this cross will someday be accepted as a breed. To work toward that goal we must keep records in registries so that future breeders can make sound breeding decisions. I will register the litter, you may register your individual pup or not as you see fit.
Beginning with the best care of the mama, I pour love into these little ones, creating a safe place in my living room for whelping and the first few weeks of life. During gestation I feed a careful combination of species-appropriate raw foods and a variety of 5-star dry dog foods. When the puppies open their eyes I start them on raw goat milk and after a few days add raw organic ground turkey meat that has been deeply frozen for a few days. In a couple of weeks, I add a blend of raw food scientifically designed for optimum gut microbiome in the puppies. At this time I also start adding a high quality puppy kibble to accustom them to what many homes choose to feed their dogs.
My philosophy is to avoid chemicals in every way I can, especially preservatives in their food and the vaccinations often given young pups. I encourage puppy buyers to investigate the controversy surrounding vaccinations and I offer them the opportunity to never have their pup vaccinated or to direct me to their wishes. If left to me to choose, my vet and I vaccinate against Parvovirus at 6.5 weeks and Distemper at 9 weeks, then Rabies at 4 months in compliance with Texas state law.
I watch carefully for any sign of intestinal worms and if I see nothing, I do a precautionary de-worming with Pyrantel Pamoate at 4 and 6 weeks. I do not use any insecticides in or on my mama dog while she is carrying or nursing puppies.
Microchips are also controversial in dog health so I will leave that decision to you and your vet.
I do not ban visitors as some breeders do because I think it is more important to expose the pups to people and their possible bacteria to develop both socialization and immune response. However I do ask guests not to come if they have recently been at the vet, the dog park or other places sick dogs may be. Guests, please remove your shoes and wash your hands before entering the puppy area.
Puppy Culture is a set of early puppyhood activities that offer the best possible start to life as a well-adjusted dog. If your pup’s training is at all important to you, I highly recommend taking a look at Puppy Culture as a protocol for at least the first 16 weeks of your pup’s life.
From day 3 to 16, I perform Early Neurological Stimulation on each of the puppies. Once they open their eyes and ears (about 2&3 weeks), I offer socialization with varied types of people through weekly puppy open house events.
At 3 weeks I work with their sound desensitization and startle reflex to aid in a lifetime of rapid recovery from startle.
I separate each puppy from the litter for short periods to help prevent separation anxiety in the future. I put the pup on the grooming table and groom him, including toenails (which I have kept short since birth).
When they are about 3 weeks old I remove the whelping box and add crates and many types of beds and dens to their puppy pen – an 8’x8’ (expanding to 8’x12’at 4 weeks old) wire pen with pee pads and litter boxes at one end by the exit to the outside. I put their eating and sleeping areas at the other end with play space in the middle.
I change the configuration of the beds and add a different toy every day so they learn to accept changes in their environment.
I begin to challenge their young minds with fun games, toys, little frustrations and obstacle courses.
They learn to go outside several times a day and to come when called with the famous pup-pup-pup-pup-puppies!!
At 5 weeks they begin to go on walks with the adult dogs and me. They have 15 acres to roam and explore with the guidance of their elders. They encounter creeks and ponds, tall grasses, big hills, cats, etc.
At 5 weeks and again at 8 weeks puppies go through a fear imprinting stage when I will be very careful not to scare them.
At 6 weeks I begin a bit more formal training. I reward sitting for attention rather than jumping or pawing. I introduce them to walking on a leash, riding in the car and visiting the vet. We get that Parvo vaccine and a thorough check-up.
By the time they go home with you they will be used to many of the sights and sounds of everyday life with people, dogs, cats and environmental challenges like water, terrain, ramps, wobbly footing, stairs and the doggie door. They will be familiar with the crate.
Then it is your turn: The first 12 weeks is a window to the dog’s mind and greatly impact how he learns and behaves for the rest of his life. At what age you take the dog home depends on whether you and I feel you can do a better job of that or whether I can.
You can better: make the permanent bond with the pup, give him the individual attention he needs, condition him to YOUR lifestyle, if you will take the time at the very beginning of his life with you. Don’t put this off and let the window close without having made every effort at giving your pup a good education. Puppy classes are strongly recommended!
The birth litter can better provide stimulation, socialization and play (including bite inhibition) if you are too busy to give that to your pup, if you need to keep him crated a lot, or if you don’t have other dog(s) and/or must be gone all day.
So when you take your puppy home depends on all these things. It would seem 8 weeks would not be optimum because of the 8th week fear imprinting stage. Going home to a new place is scary enough. Before 7 weeks they will not have had any vaccinations yet. So there seems to be a window at 7 weeks (only if you are at home and/or have another dog at home) and again at 9 weeks. I think you will want to have your pup for as much of the 12-week window as you see fit so you can socialize him into your world.
I recommend you learn all about that wonderful 12 weeks here: https://shoppuppyculture.com/pages/puppy-culture-1
I recommend only positive training methods. Please research it. You might want to look at Ian Dunbar, Jane Killion, Jean Donaldson, Pat Miller, Jennifer Arnold, Suzanne Clothier – all have wonderful books to help you understand how a dog works and how to have the deep relationship we all want with our dogs.