Our puppies are an extension of our family. We always strive to do the best we can to produce healthy, well adjusted, confident puppies for families as well as working homes.
Rodina Straze is proud to offer such an exceptional puppy raising program. As a Professional Dog Trainer, I understand how important early socialization is to the future success of each and every dog.
As a dedicated breeder, my goal is to set each puppy up for success utilizing The Puppy Culture program of puppy raising, training, and socialization. In addition we have also implemented our own training protocols developed specifically to benefit the German Shepherd Dog and our clients.
As a result, you will take home a puppy possessing a solid foundation, who is confident, outgoing and can adjust quickly to new situations. This is our commitment to making sure each and every puppy receives the best possible start in life during this critical time.
Below is an overview of the developmental stages that each puppy goes through, the Puppy Culture protocol during that period and our own additional training protocols.
During the prenatal period, studies have shown that environmental influences, such as stress, can affect the behavior and health of the semen produced and the fetus. If the parents are emotional, reactive or stressed then this may produce similar traits and many other health concerns in their offspring.
The brain is very sensitive to perinatal programming. Stress hormones in particular have a powerful influence on brain, body development. Puppies born of parents that are stressed have different brains, and bodies, than those born of happy, well adjusted parents.
Prenatal stress causes:
Higher Pre-weaning mortality
Lower body weight
Lower motor activity scores
Less Bone Mass
Impaired Cell Proliferation,
Lower social scores
Increase in stress hormone levels
We want our puppies to have the best start possible.
So we ensure our sires and dams are provided what they need to be happy, relaxed and not stressed out.
Some just love relaxing in the shade with their favorite ball
Some of our dogs love watching tv with their favorite toy or nursing puppies
Newborn puppies are helpless and respond only to warmth, touch, and smell. They cannot regulate body functions such as temperature and elimination. But amazing changes are taking place in their little brains and their body weight will double by 10 days. We take advantage of this period by neurologically "jump starting" the puppies when they are between 3-16 days old.
The U.S. Military in their canine program developed a method in an effort to improve the performance of dogs used for military purposes, a program called "Bio Sensor" was developed. Based on years of research, the military learned that early neurological stimulation exercises could have important and lasting effects. Their studies confirmed that there are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has optimum results. The first period involves a window of time that begins at the third day of life and lasts until the sixteenth day. It is believed that because this interval of time is a period of rapid neurological growth and development. The "Bio Sensor" program was also concerned with early neurological stimulation in order to give the dog a superior advantage. Its development utilized five exercises which were designed to stimulate the neurological system. Each workout involved handling puppies once each day. The workouts required handling them one at a time while performing a series of five exercises. Listed in order of preference, the handler starts with one pup and stimulates it using each of the five exercises. The handler completes the series from beginning to end before starting with the next pup. The handling of each pup once per day involves the following exercises:
1) Tactile stimulation - holding the pup in one hand, the handler gently stimulates (tickles) the pup between the toes on any one foot using a Q-tip. It is not necessary to see that the pup is feeling the tickle. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds.
2) Head held erect - using both hands, the pup is held perpendicular to the ground, (straight up), so that its head is directly above its tail. This is an upwards position. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds.
3) Head pointed down - holding the pup firmly with both hands the head is reversed and is pointed downward so that it is pointing towards the ground. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds.
4) Supine position - hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling. The pup while on its back is allowed to sleep. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.
5) Thermal stimulation -use a damp towel that has been cooled in a refrigerator for at least five minutes. Place the pup on the towel, feet down. Do not restrain it from moving. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.
These five exercises will produce neurological stimulation, none of which naturally occur during this early period of life. These exercises impact the neurological system by kicking it into action earlier than would be normally expected, the result being an increased capacity that later will help to make the difference in its performance.
The benefits that have been observed in canines that were exposed to the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises are:
Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
Stronger heart beats
Stronger adrenal glands
More tolerance to stress
Greater resistance to disease
In tests of learning, stimulated pups were found to be more active and were more exploratory than their non- stimulated littermates over which they were dominant in competitive situations.
Secondary effects were also noted regarding test performance. In simple problem solving tests using detours in a maze, the non-stimulated pups became extremely aroused, whined a great deal, and made many errors. Their stimulated littermates were less disturbed or upset by test conditions and when comparisons were made, the stimulated littermates were more calm in the test environment, made fewer errors and gave only an occasional distress sound when stressed.
We see the puppies transform. Their eyes and ears are open, but sight and hearing is still limited. Tail wagging begins and the puppies begin to control body functions. They are becoming real puppies who can toddle, and play.
Did you know that puppies have developmental periods, and those developmental periods are defined by behavioral markers? It is important for both breeders and puppy owners to be able to correctly identify these behavioral markers, because something that is extremely beneficial one week, could be very harmful in the next week, depending on what developmental period the puppy is in.
The period between the time the puppies eyes and ears open is known as the Transitional period. This is because useful vision and hearing are thought to be necessary for puppies to enter into the next period of development .
This week we offer fresh goats milk in a shallow pan for the puppies to start lapping up. We also start to enrich the puppy’s environment with age appropriate items. For the transitional period these are tactile items the puppies can explore by scent, sound, and texture. Enriching the environment optimizes brain development and is continued until the puppies leave for their new homes.
German Shepherds develop very quickly and have a strong desire to be clean. As soon as their eyes open they will attempt to move away from their sleeping area to potty. At this time we introduce a small “potty” area for the puppies and a small bed. This helps the puppies to define a sleeping area and a potty area preserving their natural desire to be clean. Clean puppies are easier to house train later, and have fewer accidents. We continue to adapt the potty area from potty pads to litter pans as the puppy's grow.
The critical socialization period in dogs begins at just three weeks old, and is over when the puppies are 12 weeks old?
And, the prevention of common behavior problems begins when the puppies are just three weeks old?
Socialization is more than just exposure, it’s a rich blend of skills, experiences, and enrichment.
Puppies receive an expertly enriched environment, in which the benefits will last a lifetime. This continues every week until the puppies leave.
Here at Rodina Straze we are truly dedicated and take full advantage of the Critical Socialization Period, to help each puppy be the best it can be. Puppies are ALWAYS raised in our home, with love and full attention to their needs.
We continue to expertly guide puppies with just the right amount of socialization. This week we start Puppy parties:
Problem behavior prevention protocols are started.
We teach the puppies to LOVE having someone take their food, food bowl, toys, bones, and other items. This helps prevent resource guarding later.
This week the puppies are brought into our training center and begin working on more formal skills.
Fear Periods start. Fear periods are a normal part of puppy development, knowing how to deal with them, what to do, and most importantly what not to do, have lifelong implications for the adult dog and it’s family. With our expertise we are able to both recognize when a puppy is experiencing a fear period, to help them through the period, without allowing any trauma that might affect their temperament forever.
This week our puppies get ready to go home, as long as we recognize the puppy is not presently experiencing a fear period. We have found this is the best age for our dogs and the bloodlines we breed to transition into their new homes and bond with their new families.