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At Rockwell Ranch Doodles, we raise all our puppies using the Puppy Culture Curriculum. This is a value-added service that makes a big difference in our puppies as well as the families they become a part of. You may have heard of Puppy Culture, but aren’t exactly sure what it’s all about. Here you will learn in layman’s terms what it involves and the amazing outcomes it produces.

Puppy Culture is the result of decades of animal behavior research and the science of promoting healthy physical and behavioral responses in dogs, while deterring problem behaviors from a very young age. Puppy Culture begins on day 3 of the puppy’s life. This first stage is centered around early neurological stimulation (ENS) and involves performing a series of 5 exercises with each puppy daily for 2 weeks. These exercises have a lifelong impact on the strength of the puppy’s heart, as well as its neurological responses to changing physical stimuli, such as body position, tactile stimulation, and temperature changes.

After ENS is complete, the fun really starts with week 3! This is where the socialization and behavioral training begins as the puppies are beginning to discover each other, their environment, and getting a sense of self…personalities are emerging! Over weeks 3 through 8, Puppy Culture protocols all work toward building 7 principles into each puppy while they are a blank slate:

  1. Communication (dog and human language)
  2. Emotional Stability (coping with fear, stress, and frustration)
  3. Habituation (familiarity with the maximum number of things)
  4. Enrichment (novelty and challenges are good rather than things to fear or avoid)
  5. Health (developing neurologically sound ways)
  6. Skills (learned behaviors which allow them to function in human society)
  7. Love (the desire to seek out relationships with dogs and humans as emotionally positive experiences)

These principles are accomplished by using very intentional and hands-on methods. Each day, new and different toys, objects, and obstacles are introduced into their environment. This actually builds brain mass and problem-solving skills. It may be a pot placed under a towel and they seek to figure out how to climb on top, a tunnel to investigate and crawl through, or crinkled-up packing paper to walk across and discover it won’t hurt them although it makes funny noises. During this time we also introduce them to all sorts of noises they will encounter in life such as thunderstorms, the vacuum cleaner, honking horns, etc., which conditions them to these noises, decreasing their fear of new and strange noises. Early potty training starts at week 3 as we establish a specific place for them to relieve themselves, which strengthens their desire to keep a clean “den” and makes house training much easier later. They also are introduced to spending short periods of time in a crate, which makes crate training a smoother process in their new homes. In addition, we create opportunities for them to meet and interact with other children and adults, which deters stranger anxiety.

Puppy Culture creates a happy-go-lucky dog with a zest for life, people, and new experiences, rather than a nervous, fearful dog which can lead to many problem behaviors. It is a labor of love and is well worth the time and effort, as we hear over and over from our puppies’ families how they cannot believe what a good puppy they received; well-adjusted, trainable, happy, and ready for anything. We’re proud of the results Puppy Culture produces and the immense value it adds to the health, longevity, and happiness of our puppies and their families.