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Coming Home to Westcliffe

Visits to Foxhaven: Rose & Her Puppies

 “It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” – John Grogan

The puppies are becoming quite popular with our friends and neighbors. Potential families for the puppies are scheduling interviews and “meet & greets” with us. Each day the puppies grow, become bolder and make my heart smile.

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This past week (fifth week for the puppies) we have expanded their world to include a sheltered back deck ‘gymnasium’ complete with a low spinner swing, a little Playskool play house, a sit-n-spin, a kuranda bed and toys that we rotate daily. This is in addition to their indoor weaning pen with fun mobiles, tunnels and cozy nest. We also spend lots of supervised time outside on the front grass. 

Our goal at Foxhaven is to love our animal companions well. We are grateful for how each and every soul blesses our lives. We are made better people by our animal friends.

With our puppies, we seek to grow them up to be curiosity seekers by enriching not only their environment but also providing appropriate exercise and problem solving activities for their developmental stage. This “triple crown” is shown to cause physiological changes; such as, neural connections which in turn lead to larger brain and brain cell survival. These changes in the physical structure of the brain correspond to improvements in the emotional health and intellectual capacity of the puppy. The puppies brain is especially sensitive during the first 12 weeks of life, to both good (positive) and bad (harmful) experiences. This is why we take great care and good planning to thoughtfully time our experiences. I credit Puppy Culture with the protocols, research and background to pace the enrichment according to the unique needs of each puppy. The “proof is in the puppies” that I see thriving.

It all of this it is vital to remember, too, that puppies have the choice to engage or retreat and that it is our maxim to NEVER scare a puppy. We are not creating any rigid rules, but fostering positive feelings and associations in our puppies for things they will experience in their adult lives. For example, nail trimming is oftentimes an arduous task for dog owners; wiggly puppies, nearly an impossible feat for many. We employed a tool known as a Liki Mat to create a conditional emotional response (CER) to nail trimming. A little cream cheese did the trick and six puppies nail were trimmed in about 10 minutes with zero struggle. 

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The most rewarding part of this past week was playing outside with puppies and watching them discover the world outside. Friends and family laughed, smiled and, I believe, found a bit of an oasis from troubled waters so prevalent in this year 2020. I know the puppies had a blast!

Posted 115 weeks ago