Dogs have a gestation period on average of 63 days. This means that compared to a humans 9 months, dogs typically are pregnant for 2 months. While our mama dogs are pregnant, they are being fed the best food, typically raw meat or TLC dog food, and are remaining very active. An active dog is healthy and will result in an easier pregnancy. The week or two building up to their due dates we make sure females know they have a whelping box as a safe space for their puppies to be born. The box is placed in a private room inside our home. This way they can get used to sleeping in the box and in a way start "nesting." This isn't a card board box, a whelping box is a custom built Trex Decking Whelping box with insulation, that ensures no puppy will be laid on by its mom. This is a big problem with large breeds who have large litters and the whelping box helps to avoid that. Nearing their due date, I begin to check their temperatures. A decrease in temperature below 98 is a good sign a dog is going into labor. We will also notice heavy breathing, digging, and dogs trying to find quite and dark spots they feel safe in- the whelping box serves this purpose. At this time we have the mama dogs in their whelping boxes full time except for when we take supervised bathroom breaks. Once labor starts, dogs can take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours giving birth. The time depends on the size of the litter typically. I am always their to watch and ensure mama dog is safe and that each one of the puppies that are born is healthy. Experienced dogs are very capable of delivering on their own but we take no chances. Each puppy is dried with a towel and placed right back with mama under the heat lamp to begin nursing. If any problems occur during labor our local vets in Waukon are always on call to help out. C-sections are not common in the breeds we raise and throughout all my years of raising dogs we have only had 2 moms have c-sections to ensure the safety of mom and puppies. Although most breeders choose not to spay their dogs at this time it is in the best interest to spay them and we did so in both occasions. Our dogs health is way more important than a litter of puppies to us.
Willow 3/4ths of the way into her pregnancy.
An example whelping box a few hours after birth. Notice the low trim around the bottom inner edge of the box to protect the puppies.
Woobie's litter a few hours after birth.
Birth to 2 Weeks of Age- Puppies remain in our home.
My daughter with 3 of her friends over to play with the puppies.
A puppy a few days old, eyes and ears still closed.
As soon as puppies are born there is a million kids and hands their to hold and actually start the socialization process. A lot of families struggle with dogs they buy from breeders or awful puppy mills because the breeders don't even interact with the puppies. We are NOT a puppy mill. We raise these puppies because dogs, and doodles in particular, can help people live life to the fullest. We ensure that these dogs are socialized. From birth to two weeks, a puppies eyes and ears have yet to open. They rely solely on their nose to guide them to their mom. We start ENS training during this time period and getting puppies used to laying on their back, being held, etc. We also are constantly weighing puppies to ensure they are healthy and growing. We have cameras on them at night and puppies who need a little extra help receive scheduled formula feedings. Someone is always checking on them, but our mama dogs are the sweetest mothers in the world. They lay with their puppies for at least 80% of the day under a hot heat lamp and are always excited to go back in after potty breaks and time to stretch their legs. They really love their puppies. The puppies also receive their colored collars at this time because they are very hard to tell apart when so young. Families typically don't visit at this stage because you can't yet judge a puppies character and personality.
2-4 Weeks of Age: Sound Desensitization and Potty Training in our Dog Building
During this time period puppies really start to breakout of their shell and show their true personality. They open their eyes and ears at the 2 week mark. They start to find their legs and work on balance during this time period. They begin to understand that their are certain places for sleeping and certain places for pottying but can't quite distinguish the two. Around 3 weeks of age puppies move out of their whelping boxes in our home and into 100 sq. foot kennels in our dog building. I place fake grass (turf) right next to their blankets and beds. This way as soon as they wakeup and have to go to the bathroom they step off their bed (which they know is for sleeping) and walk onto the grass (which they determine is for pottying). The grass is really easy to clean off too to make sure the puppies don't have to stand in their own mess. The grass while also being close to their bed covers much of the area of the kennel at this age, so even if they wander farther away they still potty on the grass. Mama dog is still their bestfriend but they begin to notice each other more. They start to growl, bark, and play fight with their siblings. This is the stage when they wag their tail for the first time as well. If you ask any member of my family, they would say this is their favorite stage. The pups start to eat kibble and really start to become interactive with people. The kids love this stage as we introduce tons of different surfaces and toys and really get them playing. This is important because confident puppies are much happier. My CD of sounds, which plays throughout the puppy's life at the HermeierDoodle property, is finally being heard once their ears open up. The CD plays in the dog building and the puppies constantly are exposed to the noise of firecrackers, alarms, sirens, doorbells, thunder, and even baby cries. Hearing these noises helps sound desensitize dogs for the same noises they will hear later in life. Some families visit during this stage but it is still in your best interested to wait until at least 5 weeks.
This is a facebook post from a previous buyer: "Severe thunderstorms in SW Wisconsin tonight. I'm reading posts from friends saying how scared their dogs are. I'm smiling at my dogs, who, despite the crazy thunder and lightning, are trying to go outside and play! Great job desensitizing them Dannette and family!"
Puppy a few days before opening his eyes for the first time.
Puppy a few days after opening his eyes, they open from the center of their faces on outward.
Weeks 4 through 8: Potty Training Cont.
My 7-year-old nephew (afraid of dogs) playing in the outdoor areas for the pups.
The puppies outside on there playhouses.
Lots and lots of interaction, this is my son.
The ball pit.
Puppies' houses get set up a little different at this point. At about 4 weeks I move the grass areas that once took up the whole kennel to take up a smaller area of the kennel. I move the grass back towards the doggie doors and not right next to the beds as well. The puppies are already used to going potty on grass, so now I just give them a smaller area to aim for and keep it as close to the doggy door as possible to encourage them to associate pottying with going outside. By 6 weeks they will all be using the doggie door and going outside to potty, then I take the remainder of the indoor grass away. By 7 weeks there will be no accidents inside (except for a few at night) and everyone will be pottying outside. I even go as far as putting a bell in front of the doggy door so they start to pick up that bell means going outside. Even in the cold winter months the puppies are trained to go outside. These puppies love being outside and they don't realize it is cold because of all their Doodle-hair. They will come in and out using the doggy door and our building is kept at 75 degrees. The puppies at this age are allowed into the large 400 sq. foot dog runs that we have attached to their indoor kennels by the doggie doors. Lots of playing and lots of growing happens during this time. The puppies will start to go on car drives with me. I take them to our local hospital I work at as a nurse and the nursing homes for them to interact with patients and residents. And as always, a good worming schedule is kept and every puppy is watched closely for weight gain. These puppies start to go home at 8 weeks and I believe have an amazing start in life. They will be temperament tested at exactly 49 days and also have their last vet check and vaccination in this week. From about 5-8 weeks a lot of people are visiting to choose their puppy. This is the best time because puppies will show their true colors. You can easily tell who is shy, adventurous, or loud by this age.
A typical kennel at the Hermeier house. Notice the grass towards the doggy door, the step to ensure they can reach the doggy door, and their designated sleeping area.
Puppies Final Days on the HermeierDoodle Property
While preparing the puppies to go off to their new homes I start regulating their food better, instead of having them on full feed. Any puppy that stays longer than the 8 weeks will most likely spend a few nights in a single pet porter to start kennel training. On the last day, puppy will receive his bath, a blow dry, and a toenail trim. We also take away their food and water on travel day a couple hours prior just to be sure your puppy travels well and doesn't get car sick.
Ethical family breeder of Labradoodles, English Goldendoodles, Bernedoodles, and Borderdoodles. Located in Northeast Iowa.
HermeierDoodles | 563-568-8611 | 1274 Parsley Dr, Waukon, IA 52172