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Ethical breeder in Virginia
home raised goldendoodles in Virginia

On this page you will learn more about how our puppies are raised and the care that goes into each litter. Starting from birth to 8 weeks when your four legged friend will join your family. 

Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS)

Early Neurological Stimulation is done starting 3 days after the puppies are born and continuing until day 16. The process consists of 5 simple and harmless exercises, which are: tactile stimulation, lying in the supine position, held with head held up, tilted upside down, and thermal stimulation. ENS has shown to be effective in improved cardio performance, stronger heartbeat strength, and increased adrenal production. Studies also point to increased stress tolerance and improved immune response, leading to better disease resistance.

It was developed by the military and known as the 'super dog program', in order to improve the performance of working dogs.

Early Scent Introduction (ESI)

Early Scent Introduction is done starting 3 days after birth and continues till day 16. A variety of scents is introduced to the puppy each day for short intervals. By introducing scents to each puppy it helps prepare them to be working dogs for example: hunting dogs, tracking dogs, gluten alert dogs, and diabetic alert dogs. 
Besides service dogs that may need a great sense of smell, ESI can also help prepare puppies that are going to be family companions. 
By introducing them to these scents from a young age, we are preparing them to come into your home where they often will encounter scents like household smells, animal smells, and nature smells.

Noise Exposure 

Noise Exposure is one of the ways we socialize our puppies when it comes to new sounds. Pups who have not been exposed to noises early in their lives often react with fear when startled.  At Heart to Heart, your pup will be exposed to doorbells, vacuums, fireworks, door shutting, knocking, and many different music genres. This exposure is helpful in creating a calm reaction to unexpected or startling noises. As the pup hears these sounds, they become accustomed to hearing them without reacting. 

Gentle 10 step handling exercises

Starting at about the puppy's third week, we begin a ten step handling protocol. Your pup will get used to having its ears and tails gently pulled, its nose touched, its feet massaged, and general handling. Intensity is increased every week, and pup gets used to belly rubs, handling feet and nails, and all kinds of touch. Puppy will feel safe being handled, and this is also a great way to condition your pup for the grooming that will soon follow. 

According to a study, puppies not handled until 7 weeks of age were more hesitant to approach humans than were puppies handled at 3 to 5 weeks of age.

Socialization 

When puppies are exposed to social encounters early, it helps them to accept new people more easily.

Why? When pups are exposed to other people early, they are less afraid later. Your pup has made trips to stores (they all seem to LOVE Tjmaxx!), met new people, been around wheelchairs, and met and played with men, women, children, older people, and people of various cultures and appearances. They learn to ride in cars, quietly meet people in checkout lines, and behave like ladies and gentlemen. Puppies young minds are receptive to new experiences, and we believe that exposure to the world outside the puppy pen will help them to be more receptive to the new experiences they are about to encounter in your care.

Grooming

Let’s face it. Doodles have to be groomed. And a lot of doodles hate it. We strive to get your pup used to the grooming process starting around four weeks. Your puppy, as cute as it is, is messy! So we bathe our pups approximately weekly, unless the litter is large or extra messy. We also use a blow dryer to dry your pup, and we trim and dremel their nails. We trim the hair around their eyes and feet, and give them a sani-trim.  Early on, we massage their feet to get them used to having their feet touched and groomed. We also expose them to the sound and feel of the clippers, so that they will not react to them later.

Potty Training

Potty training isn’t a last minute thing at Heart to Heart. As soon as the pups begin to move around and play, we create a separate potty spot right in the whelping  box. Puppies don’t like to soil their sleeping area, so they naturally gravitate towards a designated spot away from their living space. As they grow, we gradually take them outside to learn to potty in the grass. As this is now a learned behavior, the transition to the furrever family is much easier, as pup already knows that it can potty outside. We are aware that housebreaking a puppy is a huge task for a new puppy owner, and we want to make that as easy as possible. We also know that just because we started the process, the pup is nowhere near housebroken. Expect accidents, but expect your pup to get the hang of the routine. Heart to Heart Doodles believes that housebreaking a puppy is 99% training the human to take the pup outside at appropriate times. First second after waking up from a nap, overnight, or any crate time - take your pup potty.  Puppy will poop in the morning, after eating, and any other time it needs to.

Crate Training

We begin crate training our puppies starting at 5 weeks. The first few days a crates are placed in their playpen to get used to it. Once they are used to it, they take short 1 hour naps during the day, each time we extend the amount of time they stay in the crate and then we move on to night-time crate training at week 6.

Most of the time puppies are still not ready to sleep through the night at 6 weeks old, but we make sure we are close by to let them out to potty. By the time they reach 7-8 weeks old they are fully crate trained and able to sleep through the night. We also add a Snuggle Puppy to each crate to help with feeling lonely. We send this Snuggle Puppy home with them in order to help them with their first nights home.

We believe it is important for their transition home, as well as their safety and potty training. By getting them used to sleeping in their crates alone at night before they go home. Although we start with crate training, it is important to understand that the first few nights away from their littermates can still be a bit difficult for them as they adjust. 

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