After taking an almost 14 year break in breeding, I began again last year with a new breed. I have moved from Dachshunds to Lowchen and bred my first Lowchen litter last year. I take the job of breeder very seriously. I recognize the huge responsibility to produce and create dogs that will grow up to be confident, social and well adjusted. This starts with me, the breeder.

Puppy parties and meet and greets are a great way to expose your puppies to many people.

There is always more than one way to do something and more than one way to accomplish a goal, but when it comes to puppy raising, there are a few things that are, in my opinion, critical to all puppies. It’s nice to keep your puppies warm, fed and vaccinated, but in order to produce really stable, confident and well adjusted it requires a lot more than that.

My puppies are used to sleeping in separate crates which will help them transition easily to sleeping in a crate in their new home.

My current litter of puppies are 7 weeks old. That means that they will be going to their new homes pretty soon. I have spent the last 7 weeks exposing them and preparing them for life when they leave my home. Here is a list of some of the things I have done with them and where they are at in their training and life skills work:

Oonagh, a junior with a puppy from my last litter helps me get the puppies started.

  • They sleep in separate crates through the night
  • They eat in crates and have been fed in crates, loose and in different rooms
  • They have been brushed and combed
  • They have had many nail trims
  • They have had their feet clipped and their bodies clipped in show trims
  • They have been bathed
  • They have been outside
  • They have on car rides
  • They have been exposed to safe adult dogs
  • They have been exposed to household noise such as TV, radio, vacuum cleaner, etc
  • They have been fed out of kongs

    They will go to their new homes knowing how kongs work.

  • They have been walked on leash
  • They have learned what a clicker is
  • They have learned to sit to ask for things
  • They have learned to self entertain with raw meaty bones, bully sticks, tendons and other chews
  • They have been all over the house, they have learned how to walk in and out of rooms, their pen, their crates and baby gates
  • They have had individual training sessions playing learning games like the “box game”
  • They have been on grass and pavement
  • They have met many people including children
  • They have eaten different types of food (mush, moistened kibble, goat milk, dry food, raw bones)
  • They have been stacked on the ground and on raised surfaces

This isn’t everything and I am not finished yet. I encourage those of you getting puppies to look for a breeder who goes above and beyond the basic care required to raise healthy puppies.  Look for a breeder who does Puppy Culture or a similar puppy raising program. If you are a breeder, I encourage you to push harder and strive for more.

Breeding dogs is a hobby, a passion and a mission that is at serious risk of becoming not existent. With the push to adopt shelter or rescue dogs and the popular belief that breeders are cruel, greedy and money hungry, it is critical that those of us who breed responsibly do a stellar job of raising puppies that are the best there is to offer.

For more information on puppy raising check out our online courses From Whelping to Winning and Litter Evaluations – the Planning, the Process, the Picks.

Great breeders go above and beyond to be sure the puppies they are putting out into the world are the best they can be.


Vicki Ronchette is the founder of Show Dog Prep School and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. Vicki has been working with dogs professionally for over 30 years as a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, groomer and veterinary assistant. She is the author of Positive Training for Show Dogs, From Shy to Showy and Ready? Set. SHOW! Vicki presents workshops and seminars all over the country on how training show dogs.