Our puppies at Shannon Down are whelped in a bedroom in our house and at a few days old their dewclaws are removed at home.  When they are born, they are weighed and we continue to weigh them every few days up until about 2 weeks old.  After that time we don't bother weighing them unless they appear to not be putting on weight.  At 3 weeks old, we introduce their first 'mush meal' that normally consists of ground up chicken or turkey mixed with baby cereal and warm goats milk or water to make it liquidy and easy for them to lap up.  It's normally a messy ordeal and they tend to play in it more than actually eat it but they get a taste for it and after a few days they get very excited when it's time for a meal. 


We start them out on one mush meal a day until they start to really eat the mush, then we move up to two meals a day and once they are good at handling that they move up to 3 mush meals a day.  They continue to nurse on mom as well but she can come and go out of the whelping box as she pleases.  Once those teeth start coming in around 3 weeks old the mother's tend to cut back on the amount of nursing the puppies do which is why we start introducing the mush at this age.   As the weeks progress we also put less liquid in the mush so that it's not so thin, as their teeth come in they start chewing some more so we tend to leave a few chunks of ground meat in there for them to chew on and start adding in a little bit of kibble.

At about 4 weeks old, or sometimes a little earlier if they are climbing out of the whelping box already, we move them into an x-pen in the puppy room so that they can move around more and start getting use to different surfaces.  The floor is tile but they have puppy pads and blankets all over the floor.  At this time we also introduce them to the litter box, they learn to use the litter box incredibly quick and really helps with mess clean up while they are in the process of learning to ask to go outside to potty.  For some reason, we have found that using the litter box helps house train them even faster.  They tend to be very clean and do not like to potty in their play area, even in the litter box, but will use the litter box if we can not get to them fast enough to let them out.


At 4 weeks old we also start to take them outside to explore and learn to potty outside.  With the Winter litters the house training can take a little bit more time than with the Summer litters due to it being cold outside, no little puppy wants to go outside when it's cold out.  Since we have a porch with steps we walk the puppies up and down the steps until they learn to go up and down them themselves, and they are accompanied by one of us and usually their mother when they are outdoors for at least the first week, then their mother will go out with them when she wants but they are usually so interested in exploring they pay no attention to her.  In the Winter time they usually only go out long enough to potty and then come back in, but in the Summer they stay out for longer periods of time to play. They also come out into the living room to cuddle with different people and meet the adult dogs, so long as they are supervised by one of us.


Once their teeth come in all the way they start eating more solids, such as pieces of chicken, organ meat, tripe, chicken necks and kibble. From about 5 weeks on, our puppies also play loose in the house, always supervised by us and a few of the tolerant adult dogs and their mother.  Some of the adult dogs do not like puppies in their faces and running circles around them so they are put in crates or outside to play while the puppies have the run of the living room for a little while.


We prefer to hold on to our puppies until they are at least 10 weeks old or a bit longer if we can.  We like to start traveling with them around 7-8 weeks old so that they can get more socialization and get a few miles in the vehicle under their belts before they leave.  We also do some crate training and leash training with them depending on what age they leave.  We vaccinate with a DA2PPv vaccination at 6, 9, 12 & 16 weeks (depending on when they leave for their new home they will have at least two vaccinations before they leave).  The puppies will be wormed with Panacur at 4, 6, 8, 12 weeks. 

We often get inquiries that want to pick their puppy when they are first born, we don't usually allow that - we like for them to develop a personality before we decide what home that puppy will go to.  Though one person may like a puppy because of color or markings, it may develop a personality that just doesn't fit the home.  To energetic, to laid back, and so on.  We want the puppies going to the best homes they can possibly go to so we try and place puppies in the right home based on their personalities.  We prefer if the owner can come to our house and pick their new puppy up so that we can meet them and they can meet all the puppies, their mother, and their father if they are here at our home, along with the extended Whippet family.  But some of the best homes just aren't within driving distance so depending on where they are we can sometimes arrange for a ride for the puppy so that they are closer for pick up or we do also ship, though if we are shipping we usually like to hold on to the puppy for a little bit longer.  Also, please do not inquire about one of our puppies if you intend on getting a puppy and then not communicating, we like to stay in touch with our puppy owners, get frequent updates and pictures.  After our puppies leave our home, we like to stay in touch, we are always here for questions, advice or just to talk about anything in general.  

By the time our puppies leave, they have been introduced to lots of different sounds, different dogs, lots of different people of different ages.  They have spent a bit of time in a crate, some time on a leash and have done a little bit of traveling in the van.  They are raised in the house around the family and we intend them to continue to do the same when they leave our home.  They have been weaned and raised on a raw diet and started on kibble before they leave for their new homes, they have been vaccinated, wormed, socialized and raised with lots and lots of love from the whole family.


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