Learning Who We Are…

Day 8 brought our first day of scent training with the pups. Over the course of the next 2 weeks the pups will each be introduced to a new scent every day. The first several scents are calming and will help relieve any anxiety the pups have over just entering the world. All of the scents are grouped into different categories: calming, environmental and stimulating. Each category is going to give us insight to every puppy’s different personality traits, allowing us to help shape their personalities before their little ears even open! There’s no pass or fail reaction, as it’s all going to add up to tell us who each individual puppy is, and will give us insight into their stronger areas and which areas we need to pay close attention to. By the time these pups are 22 days old, we’ll know their personalities and this will ultimately help us tone and shape them. Each pup will be sent home with their individual assessment so their new families and/or service trainers have all the information needed for continuing work with the puppy. Of course, we will be using the information on the assessment in conjunction with our training program. Using scent training early in life also gives pups a head start in stimulating their sense of smell, which is essential in areas of service work, such as Diabetic and Seizure Alert Dogs, since they need to quickly notice the perspiration changes of their handler.  

We’ve removed the puppy’s collars for the time being, and are marking a hind foot on each puppy with a corresponding colour of nail polish. It’s very important that we keep good records on each pup, so we can monitor their weight, ENS reactions, and now scent training.  There’s a lot going on over the course of a day for these little ones, considering their only priorities right now are eating, pooping, and sleeping!

Guardian Angels…

Guardian Angels …

It was an exciting weekend here at Glenannon Station Retrievers! Gracie’s puppies arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning according to their own agenda, not by the scheduled c-section that was supposed to take place a few hours later. We had opted for c-section since she was carrying such a large litter.  We now have 7 adorable little boys and 3 very cute little girls. These little ones came into the world with the help of Dr. Emily Seager, her veterinary technician- Bonnie & some very special Guardian Angels, who gave up a restful night’s sleep to help bring these little pups into the world.  The pups re-paid them with some snuggles while their mama was recuperating. 

Bringing puppies into the world is very similar to birthing human babies. Just like human babies, puppies’ immune systems aren’t fully developed which makes them susceptible to infectious diseases. Their mom passes her own immunities to the pups through colostrum to help defend against diseases.  When the pups arrive, they need to be assessed and made sure they’re all able to suckle well. It’s vital that the puppies ingest colostrum (A.K.A liquid gold). It’s also imperative the puppies are licked by mom, as this is the only way their urinary & intestinal tracts are stimulated. If puppies aren’t licked they fail to thrive or survive. Licking also grooms the puppies and helps with bonding which therefore speeds the maturation of the nervous system. Bonding with mom and puppy is just as important in dogs as it is with humans. 

Mama also needs to be well looked after and ensured she is recovering well, drinking, and eating. In the days following the puppy’s birth, I consider it a team effort- mama feeds & licks her puppies and I feed & look after mama to make sure she remains strong and healthy for herself and babies.  It’s often crossed my mind that I should have been more like a mama dog with her puppies when I brought my babies home; focussing on just us instead of all the ‘to-dos’ new moms feel we need to stay on top of. 

Today is Day 3!

Pups are eating well and are very healthy, so we began their very first lesson today.  Early Neurological Stimulation was initially developed by the US Military in their canine program. These simple stimulation exercises have lasting, important effects on the puppy’s brains. We will be doing these exercises once a day for the next 2 weeks and recording the puppy’s reactions each time. We will already begin to have insight into their personalities, even at this young age. Plus, these exercises help to strengthen & regulate their heart rates, give them more tolerance to stress & resistance to disease, and help them develop stronger adrenal gland.

New Beginnings…

Welcome to another 1st for us!  Glenannon Station Golden Retrievers  very 1st blog! My intentions for this blog are to take our followers through our Empowered Puppy Enhanced Training Program. We are going to start this with our entire litter of Gracie and Bravo puppies, who are due within the week. 

Raising Golden Retrievers is a 2nd Career for me. Well, with more accuracy; I should probably say it’s a 2nd career for me, a 2nd job on top of my husband’s full-time career, and a much needed commitment on all our children’s behalves as well. Prior to this I have worked in Early Childhood Development and Public Health, all revolving around helping young families. That’s why this has been such a great fit;  I’m still working in early childhood development – this time around with puppy’s brain connections and development and I’m still involved with and helping families, but this time families of all kinds and ages. I try to establish a good rapport with our puppy families, even before the puppies are born. This way, I have a good sense of which puppy will be the best fit for the family and which family is a good fit for the pup.  

From the beginning, we’ve been doing way more than breeding dogs and selling puppies.  Establishing positive brain connections and getting puppies off to the best start has been what we’re all about. Our puppies join their new families being well socialized to people of all ages, animals of all shapes and sizes, sights and sounds of the community and household, and taken for many rides in our vehicles. We introduce the pups to crate and potty training so they have a foundational base prior to  moving into their new homes. But, this was just the beginning. Several of our adult goldens have very impressive lines of service and therapy work behind them. I am currently working toward Therapy Dog designations with the St. John’s Therapy Dog Program for several of our goldens and look forward to weekly visits at our local hospital, schools and nursing homes. From there began plans for our Enhanced Training Program. This program is based on the research and expertise of the Empowered Puppy Program in the United States. It’s founder, Kim Paciotti, has raised and placed hundreds of puppies and has proven that early puppy development is the key to happy, healthy puppies and adult dogs. 

We can’t wait to pilot our Enhanced Training Program with Gracie and Bravo’s litter.  We’ll be starting their training before their eyes and ears are even opened. These puppies will be trained as a whole being – mentally, physically and socially. Training puppies at such young ages will allow us to assess their individual personalities and train according to who they are, instead of generalized “one size fits all” training, will stop unwanted behaviours before they begin and will help to build strong relationships between the puppies and their new owners.   The select litters which we plan to be part of our Enhanced Training Program will have the potential to go on to further training as working service dogs, therapy dogs or enjoyed at home as family pets. 

I sincerely hope you will follow our journey over the next 9-12 weeks! My next blog will be to announce the arrival of Gracie’s puppies.  It won’t be long now, we’re on official puppy watch!