At Maverick Ranch, we take the raising of our puppies very seriously. Our puppies are vet checked, vaccinated, regularly dewormed, and microchipped prior to leaving for their new homes. We sell all of our puppies with a two-year health guarantee, a one-month free pet insurance offer, a puppy pack of products we love and recommend, a puppy manual of useful information to help transition a new puppy to your home, and lifetime breeder support. It is our priority to give our pups and their future families every opportunity for a successful and loving future. The way a puppy is raised by the breeder can greatly impact their health and temperament, from the strength of their joints to their confidence in new situations. At Maverick Ranch we want our puppy families to bring a healthy, happy, well-adjusted puppy into their home. For this reason we whelp and raise our puppies in our home to ensure they get 24/7 proper care from the minute they are born to the minute they leave with their new family. Our puppies are handled daily since birth.
You may find breeders who raise their puppies the Badass Breeder way or who use the Puppy Culture program. At Maverick Ranch, we have studied both of these amazing programs and decided to combine the best of both along with the knowledge we have gained from our many years being involved with dogs. We loved the different protocols from both of these programs and couldn't choose just one, so instead we decided to create our own mixed puppy rearing program.
EARLY NEUROLOGICAL STIMUALTION
From approximately three to sixteen days old, we perform ENS (early neurological stimulation), otherwise known as the Bio Sensor or Super Dog program, on each puppy. This program was developed by the U.S. Military in their canine program. ENS consists of five exercises performed on each puppy once a day. These exercises are tactical stimulation (between toes), holding the puppy upright, holding the puppy upside down, holding the puppy on it's back, and thermal stimulation. Each of these exercises are performed for five seconds each. These five exercises produce neurological stimulation, none of which occur naturally at this period of life. Five benefits have been observed in canines raised using ENS including improved cardiovascular performance, stronger heart beats, stronger adrenal glands, more tolerance to stress, and greater resistance to disease.
EARLY SCENT INTRODUCTION
From approximately three to sixteen days old, we perform ESI (early scent introduction). This protocol was designed to enhance a puppies ability to identify and react to specific scents.This protocol involves introducing the puppies to a new pungent scent each day. We use natural scents like spruce needles, sheep wool, cinnamon, etc. We hold the puppy and let them smell the new scent for approximately five seconds. ESI has been known to improve nose awareness and confidence in dogs. This protocol is great for hunting, tracking, and service dogs but the benefits can be appreciated in any dog. Dogs examine and understand the world with their noses. The area in the brain that processes the data picked up by the nose is 40 times larger in dogs than in humans. A dog's ability to smell is a function of their intellect.
Beginning at three weeks old, we begin daily puppy massages. Every consecutive week we consistently add more pressure to the exercises. These are quick gentle interactions that won't overstimulate the puppies. We are essentially getting the puppies used to being handled. We do these exercises to properly condition the puppies to human touch. We are their first relationship with a human, and we make sure to make it a positive one.
Starting at three weeks of age we begin performing the following exercises:
- Rub ears
- Cover Eyes
- Open mouth and run fingers on gums
- Rub belly in circular motions
- Run hand down back
- Run hand and fingers along tail
- Touch all paws
- Tap nails
- Run fingers around neck and under collar
- Touch their nose
Starting at approximately 4 weeks old, we begin exposing the puppies to different sounds, surfaces, objects, places, etc. Each day we perform exposure activities that provide appropriate stimulation in every phase of their growth. From a young age our puppies learn to deal with the anxiety and fear of new experiences, so they have a solid foundation to become confident and well adjusted adult dogs. Puppies raised using a rearing program focussed on appropriate socialization are more confident, attentive, and social. They are less likely to have anxious or destructive tendencies. Young puppies have minds like sponges, so socializing them while they are in our care is an essential part of properly preparing them for their new home.
"More than anyone else, Breeders have the unique opportunity to make a dramatic impact on a puppy's personality. By the time a puppy goes to his new home, much of that opportunity has already passed." Jane Killion (author of Puppy Culture)
Our dams are fed a high quality food. We adjust their diet to meet their nutritional needs throughout gestation, nursing, and after weaning. Once a litter is born, we weigh each puppy daily to ensure they are growing at the appropriate rate. If a puppy seems to be falling behind, we will supplement the puppy with high quality milk replacer. Our puppies begin weaning from their mother at approximately four weeks of age. We start them on a soaked kibble puppy mush and transition them to dry kibble before they leave. We raise our puppies on TLC puppy food. We have spent countless hours researching different dog food brands and we are happy and confident in our decision to trust this company with our puppy nutrition. We make sure to feed our puppies the appropriate amount of food to keep them at a healthy body condition score.
At approximately seven weeks old we perform temperament testing on our puppies. We do this to learn more about each puppies individual temperament. Temperament testing involves putting each puppy through various situations and recording their reaction. For example, to test a puppy's sound sensitivity, we make a loud unfamiliar noise and record their response. The puppy then gets a score of low, medium, or high for every test. Based on the accumulation of reactions, we study what kind of home they would be most suitable for. We then take these results along with all of the things we already know about each puppy to help us match the puppies with families.
Many puppy buyers want to pick out their puppy in person, or so the saying goes "let the puppy choose them." The reason that is a bad idea is because the buyer will almost always end up choosing the most confident puppy in the litter, and although the confident puppies are great, they may not be what you are actually wanting in your future pet. The most confident puppies also tend to be the most assertive, and may be more testing to inexperienced dog owners. When you get a dog, you are making a commitment to have that dog for upwards of fifteen years. That's a long time, and we want to make sure you get a puppy that can transition to your family's lifestyle and happily coexist in your home. Every puppy in a litter is different, some are very independent, while others would rather sit on someone's lap all day. Some puppies are very energetic and driven, while others want to play quietly. It's so important to understand that no puppy's temperament is better than another puppy's temperament, and they all deserve a family that can appreciate them for who they are.
Please understand that puppy matching is not us checking off a dream dog checklist. We are NOT matching our clients with a puppy that will seamlessly transition to their home, never make a mistake, and be perfect in every way. Puppies are still puppies, and they will test their owners and require guidance in order to learn what are acceptable behaviours in your home. When we match our clients with a puppy we are trying our best to give them a puppy we strongly believe has the potential to be the dog they dream of owning, whether that be an adventure buddy that goes everywhere with them, or a companion that is waiting for them when they get home, ready to cuddle on the couch. But at the end of the day, those desired behaviours have to be fostered by their new owners for every puppy to reach their full potential.
At approximately four weeks of age we start to introduce our puppies to a potty area in their pen. We use a shallow tray that the puppies can easily get in and out of and fill it with hypoallergenic paper litter pellets. Over the course of a few weeks they learn how to separate their sleeping/play area from their potty area. Usually all of our puppies are completely trained using this method weeks before they leave to their new homes. We have found that using pee pads to train puppies can confuse them. They learn to go to the bathroom on a soft surface and can confuse it with carpet or fabric. This can make it difficult to house train your puppy. Pellet potty training seems to help your puppy transition to going to the bathroom outside as pellets help mimic the outdoors. If your day to day life cannot always follow a strict potty training schedule, setting up a pen with a pellet potty area for your puppy can be very helpful. You can learn more about potty training your puppy here. Our puppies will be introduced to kennels and spend small amounts of time in a kennel before leaving to their new home. We believe it is important to start your puppy on kennel training soon after you bring them home. Although your dog may end up being loose in your house or sleeping on your bed at night, they will most likely need to be in kennel at some point in their lives whether it be at the groomers, boarding facility, or veterinarian. It's important your puppy feels comfortable being confined in a kennel for short periods of time.
One of the things we are most proud to do in our program is Manding. Mand is a term used in psychology to describe a specific type of positive reinforcement training. If you watch a dog, you will find that they have learnt to do a behaviour when they want something. Some dogs sit by the door when they want to go out, some bark when they want dinner, and some paw you when they want attention. However the behaviour will only continue if it is reinforced in some way. For instance, if they ask to go out and you let them out, if they ask for dinner and you feed them, and if they paw you or jump up on you and you give them attention, that is a mand. However, if you ask them if them want to go out and they look at the door, that is not a mand because they are responding to you. Remember: a mand is initiated by them, they are asking for something and it is what they want. We know that like humans, dogs get less stressed if they have some control over their lives and this gives them the control. How do we teach our puppies manding? It is a very simple method, we reinforce the behaviour that we want when the puppies spontaneously provide it. To teach our puppies to sit calmly for attention, we watch them and reward them when they are sitting quietly. We have noticed a huge difference in our puppies ability to focus and calmly behave around people using this method. The more you reward, the more often the puppy or dog will provide the behaviour. Reward can be attention, a treat, or whatever they are asking for. We love to train our puppies using manding, and we hope you continue to use this method when training your own puppy.
Our puppies are dewormed with Strongid T dewormer at two, four, six, and eight weeks old, and they receive an Interceptor dewormer tablet at about eight weeks old. Our puppies go for a vet examination when they are approximately eight weeks old and receive their first vaccination (Canine Distemper-Adenovirus Type 2-Parainfluenza-Parvovirus Vaccine). Please note that puppies are at-risk of contracting deadly viruses like Parvo and Distemper until approximately two weeks after they receive their full course of vaccinations (16-20 weeks old). Please use the biosecurity protocols we recommend here to help protect your puppy until they are fully vaccinated.
Our dams and sires are genetically tested to ensure that our puppies will not be at risk for developing any genetic diseases that are testable and avoidable within the breed. We also genetically test our puppies so we know about the characteristics each individual puppy inherits from their dam/sire, such as coat type, colour alleles, etc. This can help us immensely with placing our puppies. We are able to distinguish coat variances so we know which puppies will be lower shedding (doodles), or which puppies have desirable coat and colour alleles for breeding programs.
Whatever we can do as a breeder to make our puppies healthier, we want to do. Puppy appropriate exercise is something we take into consideration when raising each and every litter. Breeders and Scientists do not know how to completely eliminate the risks of certain health problems like hip dysplasia genetically, so we must take precautions with the environment in which puppies are raised. Hip Dysplasia is a disease that can be greatly influenced with environmental factors such as weight, exercise, diet, and growth rate. From day one, our puppies are raised on surfaces that provide the traction they need to develop strong joints. We make sure our puppies are at healthy weights and growing at an appropriate rate. Too much weight can put excess strain on the developing joints of a puppy. Our puppies are socialized to many things, but their joint health is always front of mind when playing with new toys and obstacles. For example, we limit exposure time to items such as wobble boards, slides and stairs, because they could pose a negative risk to the development of a puppie's joints. We hope, as future puppy owners, you take precautions with your puppy's joint health in mind. Please read our information on Puppy Appropriate Exercise on the "Puppy Manual" page to learn about why this is so important to us, and how you can appropriately exercise your puppy.