The content below is the week summary of the update from our Vizsla breeder on the things she does with the puppies and where they are at in their development. The activities below are an example of what a reputable breeders does to help puppies prepare to live their best lives. This post is part of our How To Raise & Train A Vizsla section. Click here to see more weekly updates.

In this sixth week of life, the puppies are introduced to more people, taken on a field trip offsite, get to meet a horse, have a Puppy Party and begin their clicker training.

Notes from week 6:

  • Puppies are growing and learning every day
  • Now have the much larger “puppy room” to play in by day
  • Can lead them out the door into a little outdoor puppy yard
  • Very good at using their potty tray
  • Learning to potty outside as well
  • Can call them outside before they awake from each nap = learning to go outside to potty as soon as they wake up
  • Mom is happy someone else has taken over feeding responsibilities
    • no longer stays in with the litter for extended periods of time
    • no longer stays with litter overnight
  • Now spend their nights as a litter without an adult dog in the room
  • Several open crates in the puppy room, so they are also splitting up into smaller groups for sleeping
  • Feed at least one meal a day in a crate with door shut
    • discovering being crated means they do not have to worry about a litter mate stealing their food
    • lays the foundation to being crated as a positive experience
  • By day they get lots of attention all the other dogs who are great nannies
  • Exposure to gunfire
    • live in a very rural area and hear the sound of gunfire in the woods
    • store nearby sells ammo; guys go out behind the store and shoot targets
    • have heard plenty of distance gunfire while
      • they are happily playing
      • observing my adult dogs remaining calm
      • have displayed no reactions at all
  • Worked on a lot of individual exercises this week,including the box game
    • clicking and treating when they offer any behaviors or interactions with a box we set down for them
    • helps reinforce “the sound of the clicker means a treat is coming”
    • teaches them to offer novel behaviors
      • looking at the box
      • sniffing the box
      • touching it with a foot
      • putting front feet in the box
      • and other behaviors
      • even though the person is holding the food, they eventually learn they are ‘rewarded' for offering behaviors instead
  • Toenails dremmeled for the first time
    • still clip them with people nail clippers
    • acclimating to sound and the feel of the dremel by touching their nails with it briefly
  • Bring 2 puppies into the house at a time to spend time with us and the other adult dogs
  • Adult dogs go into the dog room periodically and visit with them
  • Puppies have graduated from ground food, to chicken legs and thighs, chicken breasts (yes with bones!) chunks of beef, kidney and beef hearts
  • All are manding, or sitting nicely and making eye contact when entering the room with food!
  • Had our first off site Field Trip to barn where horses are boarded
    • accustomed to being in a new place
    • without the security of the adult dogs
    • new smells
    • new sounds
    • new people
    • people who fed them cheese
    • people who petted them
    • people who held them
    • experience the sound of traffic driving nearby, including diesel truck engines and a tractor
    • first ride in crates in the van
  • For those familiar with Puppy Culture we had their Puppy Party outside
    • each puppy was introduced to a curled tunnel, so they could not see through to the other side
    • a tire jump
    • a miniature dog walk
    • introduced to string cheese as a treat
    • handled by a person new to them, who clicked and treated them over each obstacle
    • amazing to see the difference in them with their first exposure to each obstacle
      • after a little nap where their brains could ‘organize' and process this new information
      • they came back out and it was like they had been interacting with these apparatus for weeks already!
      • even a few who were a little hesitant at first overcame quickly
  • Have two litters, only 5 days apart in age
    • other litter was going to be raised by the Sire's owner but change in plans
    • finally put both litters in the same room
      • to meet through an ex-pen for 2 days
      • then let them interact together

We celebrated the big day by playing in the creek! They loved this, even the ones who rolled down the embankment and fell into the creek, they popped right back up and kept playing! The water in the mountains is cold so they mostly played from the bank, but running water was another interesting new experience.