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Puppy Culture is a program developed by Jane Killion, a professional dog trainer, and breeder. It is a comprehensive, organised program for breeders to follow during the first weeks of a puppy’s life. Puppy culture is a comprehensive program for breeding and raising puppies that aims to optimise their physical and mental development. It is based on the latest scientific research and focuses on providing puppies with a wide range of early learning experiences and socialisation opportunities.


Puppy culture aims to provide puppies with a foundation of experiences and skills that will help them grow into confident, well-adjusted adult dogs. This includes providing puppies with exposure to a variety of people, places, and experiences, as well as teaching them basic manners and obedience skills.


Puppy culture programs may include activities such as exposing puppies to different surfaces, sounds, and sights; providing them with opportunities to play and explore; and teaching them basic commands such as "sit" and "stay." It also includes training for breeders like us in canine behavior and development, as well as guidance on how to properly socialise and care for puppies.


Puppy culture is often associated with breeding programs that are focused on producing high-quality, well-adjusted puppies. It is considered a holistic approach to breeding and raising puppies that aim to optimise their overall health and well-being.


The first 12 weeks of a puppy’s life are incredibly important. This is an almost magical time when a breeder has the power to change the outcome of a puppy’s life by what we choose to teach him. By doing just the right things at just the right time, we can give your puppy the best start possible.


Making sure that your puppy’s genetic material is excellent is only the beginning. The physical and emotional health of the mother will affect the health of her puppies. Since research has shown that puppies born to mothers that receive prenatal massage are more docile and enjoy being touched, we spoil our mothers with lots of affection and belly massages. A puppy’s predisposition to form deep and meaningful relationships begins even before they are born. 



Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) begins on day 3 and continues through day 16. Research shows that tiny struggles and stresses in appropriately small doses are actually good for puppies and will help them grow into strong, healthy well-adjusted adults. Benefits include greater tolerance to stress, greater resistance to disease, a faster adrenal system, a stronger heart rate, and a stronger heartbeat. This is a gift that a breeder can only give their puppies once during the window of 3-16 days.



Behavioral markers are used to identify the beginning and end of each developmental period because every puppy is different and these timelines are simply guidelines. The transitional period begins when the puppy’s eyes open and ends when they first startle upon hearing sounds. 



Most people think of socialisation as exposing their puppies to as many new experiences as possible while the puppy is young. While this is part of the process, it’s not enough. Our goal is to raise dogs that have the emotional intelligence to connect with you. Emotional intelligence can be taught to young puppies and one of the goals of the Puppy Culture Program is to teach breeders how to do this. There are 7 key things that will nurture the emotional intelligence of a puppy. 


  1. Communication: Giving a puppy his own voice (Communication Trinity – (power up the clicker, box game, manding), attention/distraction protocols)

  2. Emotional stability: The ability to recover easily from fear as well as stress (startle recovery,  barrier challenges, Volhard Aptitude Test at day 49)

  3. Habituation: Familiarity with the maximum number of things (Puppy Parties, sound protocols, habituation soundtracks, and noises, meeting different people, dogs, and other animals). We also have a Spotify playlist that is played each evening at bedtime that helps them to settle into a routine.

  4. Enrichment: The view that novelty and challenges are opportunities for enrichment rather than things to be feared or avoided (novelty items, Adventure Box, off-premises socialisation - this can be simply leaving their puppy play area and being introduced to the alpacas and Marigold our house cow through the fence!)

  5. Health: Physical wellness and motor skills that will allow the puppy to develop in a neurologically and physically sound way (daily weight checks, grooming, vaccinations, deworming, proper nutrition, vet health checks)

  6. Skills: Learned behaviors that allow him to function in human society (recall, manding, simple commands, den training, leash walking, resource guarding, bite inhibition)

  7. Love: The desire to seek out the company of both dogs and humans as emotionally positive experiences (shaping emotional responses, Happy and Calm CER (Conditioned Emotional Responses), daily cuddles with humans and mum).


Weeks 8-12: Per Puppy Culture protocol, puppies go home with their families.  This gives them two weeks in that critical socialization period to adjust to their new family’s lifestyle and be introduced to new people and experiences. 


“Manding” is an automatic sitting in front of a person the puppy is interacting with. It is not a required behavior or a rule, but rather an acceptable behavior taught to replace jumping on a person. It is not the same as a “sit” command.  Think of manding as sitting when the puppy would be otherwise jumping up.

A puppy is naturally predisposed, programmed if you will jump on a dog or person they are soliciting interaction from. Excitable jumping is charming in a teeny puppy but gets old fast in an adult dog.  As the author of Puppy Culture Jane Killion puts it, manding is a voice given to a puppy. Now, he can tell you he wants to interact and do it in a welcome way, without jumping on you as you’re approaching, for the rest of his life. He is no longer in danger of being pushed off or shut down while either asking for attention or responding to your call for it.

OUR PUPPY early enrichment program

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