As Buffy’s poodle puppies go into week 6 it’s almost hard to remember that just a few weeks ago they couldn’t see, hear, or walk and now they are running, jumping, playing, and showing each of their wonderful personalities! By this time in their development, they are up for all sorts of new challenges in their puppy curriculum. I set up wobble boards, ball pits, and even obstacle courses for them to run through. Weekly nail trims and daily handling exercises help get the puppies ready for grooming. I also introduce a crate for the puppies to sleep in at night. The door is left open so that the puppies can always access their potty area, but this will help make the crate a familiar item that they associate with bedtime. Buffy has been an attentive mom, keeping her 3 boys very well fed which has made weaning a bit of a challenge, but the puppies have begun to enjoy their kibble and are now eating 2 times a day, and only nursing about 1-2 times a day for shorter and shorter periods.
Week 7 is generally the last week the puppies have with me as at 8 weeks they are ready for their new homes. Two big milestones this week are temperament testing and visits to the vet. To help families pick their puppies, I perform a temperament test gaging 12 personality traits:
· Human Assertiveness (how the puppy engages with the tester)
· Confidence (the puppy’s belief in their ability to handle new things)
· Motivation Level (how much the puppy wants to work for their human)
· Nerve Strength (how the puppy handles stacked stress)
· Touch Tolerance (how they feel about handling)
· Energy Level
· Sound Sensitivity (sudden, unexpected sound)
· Sight Sensitivity (sudden, unexpected movement)
· Prey Drive
· Human Focus
· Tender Heartedness (how the puppy handles unexpected strong human emotions)
· Dog Friendliness
It is important to remember that this is not a pass/fail test. There is no perfect puppy. Every puppy is unique and deserves to be valued for what makes them, them. But, hopefully, by giving each family a window into each puppy’s unique personality, I can be more successful in finding them just the right homes. Check out one of our temperament tests here: YDF Poodle Puppy Temperament Test.
A few days before the puppies leave my care, I take them to the vet for a full health check-up and their first round of vaccinations. They will need two more rounds of Distemper/Parvo Vaccine, and their Rabies Vaccine to be fully vaccinated.
Go-Home Day has each family scheduled in order of when they placed their deposit to come meet the puppies that are available to them and then make their final selection. Bringing home a puppy is an important decision and I genuinely believe that you should know about your puppy’s personality before making your pick instead of choosing from a picture. Some clients are nervous if they are scheduled as the last pick, but I always tell them every family is looking for something different in the puppy they choose. Many of my last picks were actually “first pick” for that particular family! Sometimes first pick is the most challenging, so many great puppies to choose from. All of Buffy’s boys were so wonderful, there wasn’t a bad choice! And I always let my clients move their deposit to the next litter if they don’t feel there is a good match. Making sure my puppies find just the right home is the most important thing. Check out a clip of Go-Home day here: Puppy Go-Home Montage!
I have been asked many times if it is hard to let the puppies go to their new homes and I always answer, “No!” I jokingly say that they are a lot of work and I’m ready for a break, and while this is true, the real reason is because I see how happy families are when they add a puppy to their family! I love each of my poodles so much, and they enrich my life every day. I love spreading that joy! Yes, puppies are a lot of work, but they are worth every minute of it!