About My Puppies

Puppy Culture

I follow the Puppy Culture Protocol because it helps set up my puppies to grow into well-adjusted adults. Scroll below to see the types of interactions involved with the Puppy Culture Protocol.

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 with my friend for Miniature American Shepherds to help other people research pedigrees as well. There are over 15,000 dogs in our database.

Temperament Testing

My 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 Puppy Placement Decisions

I place my puppies with their families based primarily on structure and temperament. I get first pick, then partner families, then performance homes, followed by regular pet homes. Puppy buyers are able to tell me which color(s) and gender(s) they would be happy with adding to their families. Puppy buyers are encouraged to be open to different colors so that we can match the best puppy for them to their families. If there is not a puppy that we would recommend for a specific family, that family may have their deposit returned or may move it to a future litter.

Puppy Nutrition

My puppies eat Canidae All Life Stages when they start eating kibble. It is available at Petco and at specialty pet stores. 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 Canidae All Life Stages.

Whelping Box

My puppies are raised in a whelping box for the first few weeks of their lives. It is easy to clean, and it has pig rails to keep the mother from squishing the puppies.

Neonate Supervision

I supervise my Miniature American Shepherd puppies heavily while they are neonates to ensure that all of them are eating, gaining weight, and thriving overall. I will rotate the puppies if necessary so that all of them get enough milk, and I ensure that all of them are able to drink colostrum, the first milk, which contains the mother's antibodies.

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

Daily Handling

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.

Nail Trimming

I start clipping my Miniature American Shepherd puppies' nails on a weekly basis when they are one week old.

My Puppies Live Inside

My puppies live inside my house. They are raised in a whelping box in a bedroom for the first few weeks of their lives, after which they are moved downstairs to the entry way so that they are constantly getting attention from the people in the house and are able to hear all sorts of noises throughout the day.

Outside Play Area

I have an outside play area for my puppies that allows them to explore and get exercise on a regular basis without them having to live outside.


My puppies have many toys that are rotated every week so that they experience different types and sizes of toys and textures. The puppies get to interact with some toys that move and make noises while under supervision.


I play classical music for my puppies off and on from the time their ears open until they go home. Classical music is good stimulation for them, and it is also important for them to experience quiet times.


I use my vacuum around the puppies every few days once they are downstairs so that they can have a foundation to becoming used to the noise.

Litter Box Training

My puppies are litter box trained. It helps keep their area clean and teaches them that potty only goes in specific areas. A background of litter box training helps the puppies on their way to becoming potty trained after they go to their new homes.


An important part of puppy raising is providing small amounts of frustration for the puppies to experience so they can become adults that handle frustration well and are problem solvers instead of dogs that give up easily during training.

Balance Disc

My MAS puppies have a balance disc in their outside training area so that they can learn confidence with motion under their feet and start to develop core strength.

Wobble Board

My puppies learn to work on a wobble board for confidence and core strength. Many of them learn to view it as a fun game.

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.

Daily Clicker Training

I start clicker training my puppies for a few minutes a day at a young age. They start learning by playing clicker games that provide mental stimulation and provide the foundation for future training.

Collar and Leash Training

My puppies start wearing collars at an early age. I start leash training my puppies by walking around their play area with them off leash at first and teaching them that good things happen when they stay near me. After they figure that out, I add the leash.

Car Rides

I take my Miniature American Shepherd puppies on car rides to help them learn that cars are okay. Some puppies are better in the car than others, but they all get experience in a car before they go to their new homes.

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.