About My Puppies.

Preparing for Puppies

Health Testing

My Miniature American Shepherd breeding dogs are either tested for or clear by parentage for prcd-PRA, MDR1, HSF4, and DM. They have also had their hips graded by OFA and received passing grades.

Pedigree Research

I thoroughly research the pedigrees of my Miniature American Shepherd breeding dogs before pairing them together. I am so serious about pedigree research that I created and run a free online pedigree database for Miniature American Shepherds with my friend to help other people research pedigrees as well. We have entered around 11,000 dogs into the database.

Placing Puppies

Temperament Testing

My Miniature American Shepherd puppies are matched with their new owners based off of my experiences with the puppies and their parents, as well as how the puppies score on the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test. This test is done at 49 days of age and tests for: social attraction, following, restraint, social dominance, elevation dominance, retrieving, touch sensitivity, sound sensitivity, sight sensitivity, and stability. My Miniature American Shepherd puppies receive a score for each exercise based on their responses. These scores give me insights into what kinds of lifestyles the puppies need and which puppies may need more training than others.

Source: http://www.volhard.com/pages/pat.php

Structural Evaluations

Another thing that I consider when matching my Miniature American Shepherd puppies with their new families is how well my puppies conform to the breed standard based on the structural evaluations that I do when my puppies are about 8 weeks old. I evaluate the structure of all of my Miniature American Shepherd puppies whether or not I am planning to keep any for my breeding program so that I can know what level of structural quality I am producing in my Miniature American Shepherds and what faults to keep an eye on when selecting future breeding pairs.

Final Decisions

If there is not a puppy that will fit your lifestyle available on the list of puppies that you chose to get one from when you sent in your deposit, you will have the option to receive a refund or to transfer your deposit to another litter or future litter of mine.

Nutrition

Adult Nutrition

My Miniature American Shepherd adults eat Farmina, a high quality, GMO-free kibble made in Italy, which helps the mothers during pregnancy and lactation.

Puppy Nutrition

My puppies eat Fromm Puppy Gold formula when they start eating kibble. I have chosen to feed them this food because it is easier to find than Farmina. My Miniature American Shepherd puppies leave with enough food for their new owners to use to switch them over to a different dog food if they choose not to continue to feed them Fromm.

Whelping

Whelping Bed

Their whelping bed is a roomy wooden whelping box that has been painted and sealed with non-toxic polycrilic to make it easy to clean. It has vinyl tile flooring that can be easily wiped up. It also has pig rails on the side to keep the mom from squishing a puppy between her and the side of the box.

Supervision

My puppies are born inside with someone there to supervise in case anything goes wrong. I am in the same room as the puppies for the majority of the time during the first few weeks of their lives, and they are carefully monitored to ensure that they gain weight and don't get too hot or too cold.

Human Interaction

Where My Puppies Live

My puppies live and sleep inside of the house until after they are weaned, at which point their pen is moved into the garage and combined with another pen for play time so that they have more space, but they spend a lot of time inside or outside playing with supervision.

Quality Time

I spend a lot of quality time with my Miniature American Shepherd puppies from the time they are born until they leave to their new families. My puppies are handled frequently when they are small and played with when they start running around. My puppies receive plenty of physical and mental stimulation to help them prepare for future experiences they may encounter later in their lives.

Bio Sensor

I put my Miniature American Shepherd puppies through the Bio Sensor program. Puppies that go through the Bio Sensor program have been shown to have: improved cardio vascular performance, stronger heart beats, stronger adrenal glands, more tolerance to stress, and greater resistance to disease. It starts when puppies are 3 days old and ends when they are 16 days old.

Source: http://breedingbetterdogs.com/pdfFiles/articles/early_neurological_stimulation_en.pdf

Lay Over

When I was a child, I helped my neighbors raise their guide dog puppies by going over to their house every day and doing something that they called "Lay Over" with the puppy they had at the time. With the dog on its side, I would move my hand along its body and make sure to touch it everywhere, including in between its toes. This exercise helps prepare dogs to be examined by a veterinarian, groomed, or generally petted. After my Miniature American Shepherd puppies are done with the Bio Sensor program, I start doing Lay Over with them.

Puppy Training

Litter Box Training

I litter box train my puppies as a way to teach them that they can only potty in certain places. This helps to keep their sleeping, playing, and eating areas clean. It is also a good lead in to potty training outside.

Crate Training

I put a plastic crate and a wire crate in my puppy play area and put toys and food inside of them to create positive associations for them with crates. When they are about 6 weeks old, my puppies start spending some time alone in crates.

FitPaws Peanut

I work with my Miniature American Shepherd puppies one-on-one with my FitPaws Peanut to help my puppies develop their balance and core muscles.

Stairs

I teach my Miniature American Shepherd puppies how to walk up and down stairs so that my puppies don't go home afraid of stairs or not knowing how to navigate houses with stairs.

Collar and Leash Training

Puppies often go to their new homes and are extremely uncomfortable with and reluctant to having something put around their necks. Some of them have meltdowns when collars are put on them and then paired with leashes. I prepare my Miniature American Shepherd puppies for their new homes by putting collars on my puppies as soon as their necks are big enough and practicing walking with them around the house on a leash soon after that.

Introduction to Clicker Training

I am a big believer in clicker training. In my experience, it greatly reduces the time it takes to train a dog to do a specific behavior. I introduce my Miniature American Shepherd puppies to clicker training and work toward teaching my puppies some basic commands before they go to their new homes.

Puppy Playtime

Adventure Box

I made an Adventure Box to help my puppies get used to being touched by objects with different shapes and textures, as well as the sounds of metal, wood, and plastic hitting each other, depending on where they enter and leave the box.

Crinkle Tunnel

The crinkle tunnel that I put in the play area for my puppies helps them feel comfortable with different sounds and textures and with being surrounded.

Ball Pit

I set up a ball pit so that my Miniature American Shepherd puppies can experience jumping in and out of it and walking through the balls, which surround them and move when they step on them. The ball pit is another way to get my puppies used to being touched and surrounded, and it also helps them with balance.

Kiddie Pool

I let my puppies splash around in a kiddie pool to introduce them to walking and splashing around in water. It's also a good way for puppies to cool off when they're playing outside.

Balance Disc

The balance disc that I have for my puppies helps them develop their balance and core muscles. It's something that I can work with them one-on-one with or let them play on in their play area, which is for supervised play only.

Desensitizing

Walking Surfaces

The rule with introducing puppies to different walking surfaces is that they should walk on at least seven surfaces by seven weeks of age. My Miniature American Shepherd puppies walk on cement, carpet, tile, vinyl, grass, fabric, rubber, plastic, gravel, metal, sand, dirt, rocks, wood, leather, and cardboard by the time they are seven weeks old. My puppies walk on things that are smooth, bumpy, and wet and on things that crinkle or move when they step on them.

Noises

I introduce my Miniature American Shepherd puppies to loud and strange noises to help keep them from being startled too easily as they get older. I do this by playing loud noises, dropping things, and exposing them to loud toys and other objects.

Practice in the Car

I practice driving my puppies around in a car to make it less likely for my Miniature American Shepherd puppies to suffer from car sickness and a fear of the car later on.

Grooming

I start clipping my Miniature American Shepherd puppies' nails on a weekly basis when they are one week old. When they are older, I start bathing and blow drying them. I use high quality shampoo on my puppies and blow dry them with a variable speed force dryer so that I can work them up to higher speeds. The loud sounds from the blow dryer and the sensation of being blown on, if introduced correctly, are good experiences for the puppies to have when they are young.

Going Home

AKC Limited Registration

I pay for and submit the AKC LIMITED (no breeding rights) registration application for each of my Miniature American Shepherd puppies to ensure that all of my puppies are registered correctly with AKC. Puppy buyers can choose registered names if they do so in a timely fashion. The registered names must begin with "Bertrom's".

Puppy Package

My puppies come with a puppy package that includes some of the food I've been feeding them, a clicker, some training treats, a teething toy, and a soft toy.