What is Avidog?
Avidog helps turn this
Skadi (A Litter)
Loved by Rachael & Sven S.
Genetics play a huge role in creating the dog that is best suited for your family, yes. But you can do a lot with a puppy to help influence the dog that they will become during their early weeks of life.
As a breeder, we are always looking for educational opportunities to improve the health and well-being of our puppies, and to improve the overall quality of the puppies produced through our program. We, thankfully, hit the proverbial jack pot when we discovered Avidog.
Avidog combines science, art and over 40 years of breeding experience to create, develop and present puppy rearing courses, programs, and equipment for puppy owners and dog breeders. Their goal is to help people raise healthy, stable, and fit dogs. Since joining Avidog, we have added new standards and protocols to our breeding program; enhancing how we raise our puppies.
For those interested in finding an Avidog Associate Breeder, find the list here. (Small hint: you found one!)
Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) and Early Scent Introduction (ESI)
ENS is a prescribed series of exercises which each puppy goes through, every day, from Days 3-16, for 3-5 seconds each time.
This exposes the puppy to very slight stressors - which have an optimal effect on the developing brain and immune system.
For more information on ENS, check out this link.
ESI is an Avidog concept. It exposes the puppy to one novel non-food scent each day, from Days 3-16, for 5 seconds each time. This stimulates the development of the nose and scenting abilities.
For more information on ESI, check out this link.
Puppies raised in our home!
Many breeders will whelp litters in the house, but then move them to outside kennels once the pups reach 3-4 weeks and begin making a lot of noise and mess.
Unfortunately, this coincides with when the socialization period starts - and when the pups need, more than ever before, to be in the middle of a busy household!
Our litters are whelped and raised in the house.
In this photo, you can see my cot bed next to the whelping pool (we've since upgraded to a box) in our puppy room. I sleep by the puppies (and spend most all of my time with them) for at minimum 3 weeks - just to make sure no one gets squished by accident!
Early Potty Training
When the puppies' eyes open around 3wks, and they start to toddle around, a toilet area is added to the whelping box.
This greatly speeds up toilet-training for new owners, since puppies don't get used to going everywhere and to sleeping in their pee/poop.
We use puppy pee pads at this age. Half the whelping box is a sleeping/play area, and the other half is a toilet area. Once they graduate to the puppy pen, we switch to litter training using pellets.
The Avidog Puppy Potty Training Solution is what we follow for our puppies while they are here!
A New Object, Daily
As soon as the puppies' eyes have opened, a new object is introduced to the whelping box, daily.
The puppies explore this novel object keenly. We try to vary the objects so they have different textures, sounds, smells and sizes.
You can see a short video to the right of a puppy experiencing a fake flower for the first time.
The Weaning Pen
At the age of about 4wks, the pups are getting too big and too busy for the whelping box.
They are moved to the larger weaning pen, still inside our house. You can see the toilet area - we use artificial grass or pellets. The rest of the pen is kept very clean, as to help with puppies understanding where they should potty.
The pups have lots of toys and equipment to play with. They continue to have a new object, daily.
We also introduce crates at this age - with the doors open.
This video gives an idea of the enriching environment we aim to achieve. This is not the only thing that we do, but we fully believe that this is one of the most important things we can do.
The pups have to constantly go through changes in their environment, and learn to tolerate the differences. In this video you can watch them exploring the Adventure Box made by Avidog. Read more about the adventure box here and here.
Our puppies are encouraged to problem solve every single day - we are raising dogs who have the ability to think for themselves!
We're going on car trips! (6-7 weeks)
Many of our pups have a long journey ahead of them when they are collected. For this reason, we believe it is important they are used to the crate and have experienced car travel before being collected.
We don't put puppies down on the ground in public places, or allow them to meet strange dogs - but we do hold them in our arms, carry them, and allow people to meet them.
We also allow them to explore on the ground in private areas with the Avidog concept of 'woodland walks' being valuable learning experiences.
By this age, we are struggling to provide enough 'new' experiences on our property - and the pups are approaching the age when they really need to go to their new homes.
Meeting and interacting with an array of people is important to the social development of young puppies.
From ages 3 weeks up to 16 weeks, pups are particularly sensitive to social engagement with other dogs, people, even other pets and livestock.
We do our best to ensure our puppies meet 100 people during these early months. In the video you can see our "B" litter on our family farm in Mabie, WV - they got to experience the mooing of cows for the first time at 5 weeks.
Avidog Puppy Aptitude Testing
At 7 weeks old, it is time to test the puppies. We normally have a pretty good feeling on what puppy is going to fit where by the time they are 6 weeks...but the final testing that decides where puppies go is the APET.
Read more about the APET here.
This test helps us assess a puppy's temperament, confidence levels, independence versus dependence, and retrieving ability.
We use these assessments and our own observations throughout the development of the puppy, to place each puppy in the right home for the puppy. This is why we do not allow gender or color to dictate where each puppy goes - our final goal is to make sure the puppy truly fits YOU.
Avidog Nomograph and Vaccine Protocol
Learn all about Nomographs here.
"Nomographs or nomograms are graphs drawn using a simple blood test that estimates the amount of distemper and parvovirus antibodies passed from a dam to her puppies via her colostrum during the first 12 hours of the pups’ lives.
Nomographs are useful for breeders and puppy owners because they can help predict when pups:
• are no longer protected by maternal antibodies and
• will be able to respond to distemper and/or parvo vaccines.
During a puppy’s first 12 hours of life, its intestinal tract allows distemper and parvo antibodies in its mother’s colostrum to pass into its bloodstream and start protecting it from these diseases.
As the puppy grows up, maternal antibodies break down in approximately two-week “half-lives” until they are no longer present in the pup. While a puppy’s maternal antibodies are high, they neutralize viruses such as parvo and distemper. This keeps the pup safe from these potentially fatal diseases. However, this same neutralization also blocks vaccines so the puppy will not be able to be immunized if vaccinated." - Dr. Gayle Watkins
Essentially, nomographs show us (and you) when is an appropriate time to vaccinate your puppies. If you choose to follow the nomograph, we greatly appreciate your consideration. If you choose to simply give vaccines on a normal schedule by your Vet, we have done that as well. Though as many like to say...know better, do better!