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What is Puppy Culture?

Thursday, May 13, 2021 10:46 AM

Weeks are flying by right now!!! Kiaya's babies are 7 weeks old. They are very pretty babies, and they have been a fun litter to raise. We have made several trips to town so far…with more trips planned before they start to leave.  

The latest adventure was a visit to Lowe's on Sunday. I wanted to give them more visibility this time, so I used a crate on top of the wagon. It worked perfectly for them! They were engaged and not fearful through the visit…with new sights, sounds, and smells.

You have probably seen me mention Puppy Culture different times, and you might wonder what it means. Puppy Culture is a program that teaches how to raise puppies with different experiences to help them mature into the best version of themselves. My first Puppy Culture litters were in 2017. It helped raise my awareness of different ways I can help set my puppies up for success in life. Of course there is more work required after they leave me, but I do my part while they are in my care!

The Puppy Culture program is extensive, and can be implemented in different ways. The main aspects I use with my puppies are:

  • Manding
  • Exposure to different age appropriate experiences/training
  • A variety of balance/play equipment
  • Problem solving experiences

Manding is a default Sit without a command to Sit. I help the puppies learn to Sit and wait for food/attention…as opposed to jumping up begging for food/attention. It helps build better Focus, too. Manding is the base of good puppy manners, and it is something they can start learning at an early age! It is an easy 'default' for families to reinforce with babies after they leave me, too. 

Most of the age appropriate experiences and training with my puppies happens here at home. Graduating from the whelping box to kitchen/deck to puppy room with dog door/yard may not seem like much, but the puppies are experiencing new things through that process. Exposure to new experiences helps with the rebound from fearful experiences throughout the dog's life! My puppies have a start with grooming experiences, potty training, and crate exposure. I also work on teaching them not to mouth/bite my skin and clothing. And also the manding training mentioned above!

I recently implemented starting trips to town at a younger age. I am planning to test these puppies at a public store for social anxiety around 8 weeks old. Stevie was very outgoing with her litter, but she showed social anxiety as soon as I started taking her to public stores as a puppy. I thought she might outgrow it, but it is part of her personality. Signs of social anxiety is another aspect of personality I want to be able to share with my puppy homes during my selection process. 

Balance and play equipment is fun for the puppies, but the equipment helps build confidence as they play! The puppy equipment I have also provides a base for working with agility equipment (for those that plan to train towards agility classes in the future). 

Puppies need to exercise their brains, in the same way they need to exercise their bodies! Barrier challenges are an example of how my puppies exercise their brains with problem solving. They also enjoy food balls and eating food I scatter for them on the mat. They always enjoy the short training sessions I do with them.

This was a very brief overview of Puppy Culture, but I hope it helps explain some of the things you may see me do with the puppies if you follow us on Social Media. I want my puppies to be successful with their families in their forever homes.