Raising a Border Collie
Border Collies are an incredibly intelligent creatures. In fact there is a Border Collie known as Betsy in Austria that has an intelligence and lateral thinking that rival great apes. She can understand over 340 words. This puts her in line with trained dolphins and parrots in language capabilities.
We strive to enhance and enrich the lives of our Border Collies and their puppies. Not only do they help us around the farm, they are family members and a true joy to be around.
Our dogs are a part of our family. The puppies are ALWAYS born and raised inside in our home. They are given every opportunity possible to ensure they are happy and healthy members of their family.
For the first two days of life our puppies are give Fresh-Frozen Plasma. A puppy's digestive system is not fully developed the first few days of life. Because of this the plasma is fully absorbed. This is a natural immunity booster. Our puppies have a consistent weight gain and we have yet to experience fading puppy syndrome.
On day three (until day sixteen) we start with "Early Neurological Stimulation" This is widely known to improve pups by kicking in their neurological system earlier. The puppies have improved cardio vascular performance, stronger heart beats, stronger adrenal glands, a greater tolerance to stress and a higher resistance to disease.
The puppies are more active and more willing to explore.
The time this is done is very important, there is only a short window of when the puppies will benefit from these five exercises.
Each exercise is done for three to five seconds to make sure we do not over stimulate the puppy.
1. Tactical stimulation (between toes)
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.
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 in an upwards position.
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.
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 or struggle.
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.
We also work on "Socialization" This is also very important. We will continually work with the puppies socialization, but the most critical time in the puppies life is between the fourth and sixteenth week of age. This is when imprinting begins and the experiences the puppies have will have a lifelong effect.
The puppies (and our dogs) are interacted with daily. The are used to human contact and affection before they even open their eyes. Once they do open their eyes we work on exposing them to many different sights and sounds. The puppies are moved and carried around at a young age. When they get older we take them in the car several times. They will also have had a bath several times as well. Yes, our puppies will actually behave when being washed. They may not *like* baths but they learn that it's just something that must be done from time to time =)
We get them used to different noises. Sometimes I will play a noise CD that includes sounds like children playing, thunderstorms and a baby crying ect. As they get older I have my son (he loves this part) walk around the house making noise. As he doing this I will have him drop little bits of treat on the ground. The puppies have no problem following him around no matter how loud and "scary" he may be.
We take them to new places, outside, inside, different rooms, different people, different sights, different sounds and different smells. The more they are exposed to as a puppy the more adaptable they will be when they get older.
The whelping box is extended and the puppies now have a larger play area. We also designate a potty spot and feeding spot.
**Starting in 2011 I have switched our dogs and cats to an All Natural RAW (Prey model) diet.. I understand that this is not an option/decision for everyone. I will need to know ahead of time if you would *NOT* like your puppy exposed to a RAW diet. In the past I have had puppies raised on Blue Buffalo Wilderness/mixed with the puppy formula. This is my second choice and it is usually widely available at most Big Box Petstores**
Puppies are fed a mixture of raw goat or sheep milk, raw egg, ground raw meat(beef,chicken,duck,lamb) and Kefir.
Puppies are always wormed starting from three weeks on. We use Fenbendzole 10% as this is one of the safer wormers to use on young puppies. We will also dose Pyrantal, and if the new owners request we can give Sentinel. (this controls heartworms, some intestinal worms and fleas)
We do not have fleas on the property as we raise Guineas, so we do not otherwise treat specifically for fleas.
Last is the "Enrichment" stage. This stage actually has no time frame. This is when we start to teach the puppy new things.
We start to teach the puppies "housebreaking" Instinct tells the puppy that they do not want to soil in their sleep and play area. We put a large potty box in the whelping/play area.
Depending on the time of year, the puppies will also spend time outside. Getting use to noises outside as well as the different animals on the farm.
We also start to let the puppies get used to kennels. We will start with leaving a kennel in their play area. When they go to sleep or take a nap in their we shut the door for short periods of time. From there we focus on extending the time they are in the kennel. We start with two puppies in at a time and we put them in after playtime and a potty break. This way they generally take a nap. When they wake up, the puppies are taken outside for a potty break. The time they are in the kennel is gradually increased over the next several weeks. By the time the puppy goes home they can stay in a kennel for 3-4 hours at a time.
At six weeks the puppies will take another wellness vet visit. The puppies also receive their first vaccine. We use Pfizer Vanguard Plus 5 way vaccine. To date they have one of the best vaccines to protect from Parvo. If you are vaccine free or would rather your pup not receive a vaccine at this time please let me know. I have several pups including some of my own that I have delayed or eliminated vaccines. We personally do titer tests for our own dogs, this way we know what anitbodies they have and what they don't. We have never had parvo,distemper or any other disease here on the farm.
This is one of the main reasons we are very specific on where and when the puppies/farm can be visited. This insures that all puppies will be safe from any infectious disease someone may bring in.
Puppies will be checked for level of herding instinct and drive. We use runner duck as well as tug toys for this.
Basic clicker training is started with each puppy.
At eight weeks puppies will be getting ready for their new family. They will also have their last vet visit to ensure they are ready to go to their new homes.
All puppies will go home with a copy of their contact/guarantee, vet and vaccine records, microchip information, clicker for continual clicker training, favorite toy or blanket and lifetime support.
All of our puppies will go home happy, healthy, ready and willing to learn!