Our puppies are raised in our home with our family. Not all the litters listed are raised at FHF. If they are going to be raised elsewhere, it will say it on the description of the litter.
Puppies at FHF are exposed to a variety of children and other dogs and are handled daily. We raise our puppies using Early neurologic Stimulation and Puppy Culture. They are exposed to car rides, collars, and crates before going to their new homes. They are exposed to carpet, linoleum, tile, hardwood, and stairs at our home as well as cement, foam tiles, and turf in the puppy play area. Weather permitting, they will go outside on grass, dirt, gravel, asphalt, deck boards, porch, and cement. Our yard has a wide variety of obstacles and toys for puppies to practice playing on. Each litter will spend some time in the whelping pen, playpen, kennels, and outside pens (weather permitting). They spend some time each day loose in our house and exploring different parts of our house.
The puppies are raised with our children, so they are used to a large variety of noises and toys and the chaos of a large family. They have had regular baths and nail trimmings before going to their new homes. They are taken on vet trips for their socialization and vet care even though we could easily do this at home since we are both veterinarians. We feel a positive vet experience at a young age can make a huge difference of how they handle visits the rest of their lives. Puppies are temperament tested using the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test at around 7 weeks old. This test allows us to see how the puppies will perform away from their peers and if they have any sensitivities that may need special care in that first year. Litters have structure evaluated at the same time. We will also give a summary of the puppies personalities that we have seen at home. Pick of the litter will usually be placed in a breeding home so that we can continue and improve our breeding in the future.
Each puppy is microchipped, BAER tested, and vaccinated with a DPC around 7 weeks old. They are dewormed multiple times as well. They will be started on heartworm and flea preventative at 7 weeks. Not all of our Aussies or Miniature Americans will have docked tails or front dew claws removed. We do still get natural bobs and some litters may be docked on Stud Dog's request. All of our puppies have their rear dew claws removed shortly after birth.
Puppies will have pictures loaded onto our webpage as well as on our facebook page. Videos of the puppies playing will also be on our facebook page. You are welcome to download any of the pictures of your puppy to keep.
Picking of the puppies will start around 7 weeks old, starting with the stud owner and ourselves. People on the deposit list get the next pick and any left available will be posted to Facebook ASAP. It is easiest if people come and meet the puppies in person before it is time to pick, but we understand that it can be difficult to travel for some owners. We try to have puppy play times between 5-7 weeks old so everyone can play with the puppies in person before picking begins. These are usually on weekends, but some weekends we may not be available. Puppy Play times are posted every week to our Facebook page. These are great times to come and meet us, the puppies, and the dogs. During picking, we are willing to discuss each puppy on the phone and have people pick their puppy over the phone.
The puppies have started clicker training around 7 weeks old. We use string cheese and a variety of flavors of Zukes minis for treats. We introduce the clicker in the puppy palace and the basement. We usually try some clicker training outside, but very few puppies can focus that much outside yet. Each litter gets at least one lesson and we try to fit in a couple before going to new homes. We try to do the first lesson before picking, which helps us evaluate their food drive and focus. New owners should start new places with the fewest distractions and then work up from there. Some puppies are more food motivated than others. Training before meal times can be helpful for those that are not as food motivated. I alsot like having a large variety of treats to choose from the first few lessons. This will help when you start puppy classes. There is a lot of info at this site for clicker training http://www.clickertraining.com/
The puppies have started kennel training. They go to individual kennels after play time for their naps. We start this around 7 weeks. The kennels have a puppy blanket in them so they get the small of them on it to take home with them. Expect them to do some crying the first few days away from home and their siblings. Tire them out as much as you can before they have to kennel for the night. This helps to decrease the crying and helps them sleep through the night.
The puppies have started potty training. Every litter does amazing about pottying outside, but still have accidents in the house and will still go overnight. If they are not doing well (some puppies do struggle more than others, we will tell you at the 7 week picking. Carry them outside as soon as you remove them from their kennel. It is not unusual for them to potty multiple times outside before they are done. Make sure they go out right away after naps and eating. We find that most of our puppies will potty a lot the first couple hours of the morning and after meals. In the inside play area we have an area with turf that the puppies use. I find this a lot less messy than the bedding options or puppy potty pads, that they always seem to shred. We get ours from PetEdge.com. Cloth pads are also an option and we use them some in our basement.
Puppies will come with a small amount of food, toy, and blanket with the dam and litter's scent as available. We also send a folder with their paperwork-veterinary sheet, registration paperwork for the microchips, and a copy of the contract.
Visit our Facebook page for information about Puppy Play times. These are open for anyone looking to meet us, our dogs, and our puppies that are old enough to come out. We also try to post videos and extra pics of the puppies and dogs to the Facebook Page. As picking is happening we will post as puppies are picked. We will also post if there are any puppies left available after the deposit list picks which puppies they want. We also have many people come and meet us at shows when we are in their area.