AKC Breeder Newsletter
AKC Breeder Newsletter is a quarterly newsletter covering a wide range of topics of interest (nutrition, breeding techniques, health concerns, etc.) to the purebred dog breeder. You can sign up for AKC Breeder here.
The following article appeared in the Winter 2015 issue.
The Enjoyment of Raising Puppies
By Roseann Fucillo, Papillon Club of America
I have always loved participating in the care and raising of my puppies and have enjoyed immensely watching them develop and grow. Since I recently retired, I am now able to devote more time and have seen the difference it has made in the confidence of my last litter.
It all starts out with whelping. Having easy access to them at night by my bedside allows me to watch, handle, and give reassuring pets and cuddles while listening to the normal suckling sounds of nursing that signal all is well.
When the puppies are about 3 weeks old, I first introduce them to a litter box. Since I have Papillons, a toy breed, I use a box that is designed for ferrets, and it is small enough to fit in a corner.
It’s amazing to watch how smart and clean the little ones are, and they instinctively know where to “go.” I make their space larger by attaching additional crate-panels, and finally when they have nearly stopped nursing, I put an ex-pen in my kitchen/family room, where they have a large area to play with toys as well as space for the litter box.
Numerous times during the day I check and handle them. They hear the sounds of the TV, music, vacuum cleaner, and telephone, and the rattling of pots and pans. They also become accustomed to visitors, running up to strangers to give kisses and be cuddled.
I start their training young, putting them on the kitchen counter to stand while giving treats. They take their first walk on a lead around my kitchen island. They learn to listen to key words such as “good boy” to give them assurance, and they learn hand signals for “stop,” “stay,” and “OK, let’s go!” After a few times, I gave them a test run and put them in crates for a short ride to the church parking lot a block away. I made sure I had their water, treats, and some plastic bags for cleanups. However, in haste, I left the bags in the car. Of course one of my pups decided to do his business right in the front of the rectory! Luckily, I grabbed a nearby leaf for cleanup.
By the time the pups were 6 months old, they were ready for a long ride to our PCA national specialty, held in Wilmington, Ohio. It was a more than nine-hour drive, making it in nearly 11 hours when including several stops for restroom, food, and gas. Having packed the car well, giving the puppies access to their ex-pen, food, and water made the trip go faster.
In the hotel room I put down a thick tarp on the carpet, placed the ex-pen on top, and inserted their litter box—which was an extra crate, unscrewed, and very convenient for young ones. Once we arrived, they easily acclimated themselves with their new surroundings. Rugs, marble floors, and even elevators were all taken in stride with tails up, typically characteristic of the breed! They loved meeting new people and other Papillons, and they looked forward each day going to the “show.”