Wilma and Butch: Briard puppies, due 11-9-15...
Wilma is pregnant! Yeah! This litter will be all blacks / black born grays. Neither parent carries the tawny gene. I'm expecting wonderful personalities, great movement, substantial heads, and fantastic coat quality. I'm not expecting small Briards, but you never know about size. This is a repeat breeding, and the first time around, I just loved what Wilma and Butch produced! Unfortunately, due to a very odd set of circumstances, I did not end up with a pup from my own litter. I decided to repeat the breeding to get the pup of my dreams.
How we raise our puppies
The quality of a puppy is determined by both genetics and environment. How they are raised before you ever meet them is a major influence! Lebec and l'Hermitage believe in several things:
1) Mom knows best. We don't try to override or interfere with a bitch raising her pups. We add the human element, but Mom is in charge. Unless health issues interfere, she has complete access to her pups from day 1 to the day they leave. At 3 weeks, we start adding our food to the puppies diet, but Mom is always allowed to feed as long as she wants. And she is in charge of discipline!
2) Socialization begins at birth. We handle all the pups daily. Once eyes are open, we try to introduce new items and experiences regularly. In raising pups, doing things "later" is too late. "Now" is always the right time. Visitors start young, with friends handling pups within the first week.
3) At 3 1/2 weeks, pups are moved into the puppy pen in the living room, with all the activity of living. Pups get turned loose several times a day to explore and broaden their world. The outside is added at about 4 weeks. The puppy pen has play and poop areas, to begin housebreaking. The play area is continually enhanced with toys, obstacles, and an environment to stimulate the puppies. Mom can hop in and out. The older dogs get to visit through the pen bars, and gradually get to meet pups in person.
4) Outside exposure to new places is the key. Starting at week five, we do field trips every weekend, to friend's houses, to puppy parties - anywhere a car ride and a new (safe) place can be experienced. We try for different surfaces, different ages of people, even different temperatures, at each new place. Thanks goodness for good friends!
5) We continually encourage visitors, be it the kids from around the neighborhood, prospective buyers, friends - anyone we can get! The more people the puppies meet, the better.
6) Starting at 7 weeks, pups are fed in crates to prepare them for new homes. They spend several nights in their crates before leaving, giving puppy buyers a head start on house training.
7) Puppy buyers are provided with books on puppy rearing and Briards, a long document giving our take on raising Briards, a puppy crate, collar and leash, a scented toy, and ready access to us for help and advice at any time. Pups are microchipped before leaving.
Pups from Lebec and l'Hermitage are raised with love and experience - it's a winning combination.