Ontario Guardian Corso

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Early Development

Birth to 8 weeks of age

There is a lot that goes into raising a litter of puppies, especially Cane Corso puppies! Once the puppies are born, this article can be used to guide you through what the litter of puppies experiences week by week while here at O.G.Corso. We want to give each one of our puppies the best possible starts in life, and we recognize the essential need for early stimulation, daily handling of the puppies, lots of love and affection, plus proper socialization. These are all required and essential to help give each puppy a solid foundation start in life.  We will be sending out our puppy updates at two, four, and six weeks of age, and the rest of the information can be found in this timeline below as we simply cannot fit every important detail into an update, so we added it here!  Some puppies advance faster than others and each litter needs to be treated as an individual and is unique in its own way. As a new member to the O.G.Corso family, you will also get an instagram handle to get picture updates along the way! 


Birth to 2 days of age:

All puppies are born with eyes and ears closed (they cannot see or hear until later), so their only senses at birth are smell, taste, and touch. Our puppies experience the sensation of human touch right from the moment they are born as we assist the mother in birthing, clamping of the umbilical cord, recording the gender and markings of each puppy born (for later identification), and assisting each puppy to nurse from the mother right away.  The puppies locate their mother's nipples by their keen inborn sense of smell.

For the first couple of days we handle the puppies only when necessary, to weigh the puppies daily to ensure that each puppy is gaining weight and growing, and if any other assistance is required.

We also observe the puppies closely to make sure that they are all nursing properly, and eliminating (peeing and pooping), moving around and sleeping normally, and that the puppies are neither too hot or too cold.


Day  3  to  16  days:

Within this time frame we will begin neurological stimulation based on the research and program developed by Arskeusky, Kellogg, and Yearkes and the "Bio Sensor" program (later known as the "Super Dog Program") which is highly endorsed by Dr. Carmen Battaglia. This program promotes early neurological stimulation in order to give the puppy a superior advantage. It's development utilizes five exercises which were designed to stimulate the neurological system.  This involves handling each puppy once per day, one at a time, while performing a series of five exercises. The handler starts with one pup and stimulates it using each of the five exercises. 

Benefits of Stimulation

Five benefits have been observed in canines that were exposed to the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises. 

The benefits noted were:

 1. Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)

2. Stronger heart beats,
3. Stronger adrenal glands,
4. More tolerance to stress, and
5. Greater resistance to disease.

 

In tests of learning, stimulated pups were found to be more active and were more exploratory than their non-stimulated littermates over which they were dominant in competitive situations.

 Secondary effects were also noted regarding test performance. In simple problem solving tests using detours in a maze, the non-stimulated pups became extremely aroused, whined a great deal, and made many errors. Their stimulated littermates were less disturbed or upset by test conditions and when compared, the stimulated littermates were more calm in the test environment, made fewer errors and gave only an occasional distress sound when stressed. 

 

For information on this program in greater detail please click and watch the video below: Early Neurological Stimulation


The "Bio Sensor" program in no way replaces the need for "normal" interaction with each puppy such as petting, cuddling, kisses, playing, etc. It is separate stimulation that has been proven to create better well rounded and confident dogs.

Somewhere during day 10 and 14, the puppies eyes and ears will open so that they can begin to see and hear the world around them.  Mental growth and physical development accelerate from this point onward due to the visual and auditory stimulation, as well as, muscle growth as the puppies increase their activity.


2  to  3  weeks of age:

The "Bio Sensor" program carries over 2 days into the 2nd week of age.

Two weeks of age marks a pivotal point in a puppy's life because of all the vital steps that need to be introduced this week. One of those steps is the very early stages of weaning the puppies from their mother, and this should always be done gradually and carefully!  The weaning process is done over the next 4 weeks of age so that it is introduced to the puppies in baby steps to avoid stress and in order that we can have our puppies weaned by 6 weeks of age, so that enough time remains for us to devote the final 2 weeks to establish each puppy on a feeding schedule that will allow the puppy a smoother transition into a new home.  We also want to ensure that each puppy is eating a sufficient amount of food and drinking sufficient water.  Weaning the puppies by 6 weeks of age only means that the puppies are no longer nursing from the mother by 6 weeks, not that the mother is absent entirely. 

At 2 weeks of age we offer 1 to 2 meals of goats milk per day depending on how much milk the mother got in to begin with, and the puppies will still have full day/night access to their mom.

The puppies start deworming at 2 weeks of age.

When the puppies eyes and ears open, we begin to introduce them to auditory stimulation which includes:

 human voices doors opening/closing, footsteps sound, machine (various sounds such as static noise, rain falling, thunderstorms and other nature sounds, etc.)music (various CD's, Radio)vacuums and so on.

 

During the early stages of their eyes and ears opening, there is a window known as "no fear" where puppies can be introduced to various sights and sounds that if introduced at a later date may be harder for puppies to accept without fear.  A puppy may still show some fear later on, but it will make the experience a lot easier for the puppy to overcome.

 Our puppies will be visually introduced to:

 humans (us and trusted friends or family)various coloured whelping pads (the warm comfortable liners for our whelping boxes)soft plush toys of various shapes, sizes, and colours change of environment for puppy.

 

With hearing and sight, the puppies have a whole new miniature world before them in their whelping box.  They begin to walk and investigate everything through continued tactile, visual, and auditory exploration.  Their physical, mental, and social growth expands greatly during this phase.  We will continue to monitor their weight at this time when we introduce them to tasting goats milk in preparation for the weaning process.

Below are just a few examples of the different types of sounds that our puppies hear throughout their 8 weeks here with us:

Canine desensitization to city sounds

Canine desensitization to household sounds

Canine desensitization to nature sounds

human socialization 


By 3 weeks the puppies are walking around on wobbly legs and the start of playing with their littermates is evident.  The puppies are held and played with daily to further their social interaction skills, and to create bonds with humans.



3  weeks to  4  weeks:

At 3 weeks of age we offer 2 to 3 meals of goats milk per day depending on how much milk the mother has, and the puppies will still have full day/night access to their mom. 

At this stage the puppies are playing fairly actively and are beginning to learn social skills from each other.  To continue their physical and mental stimulation we rotate a vast variety of educational toys every 1-3 days depending on cleanliness needs. 

 These brightly coloured toys include:

soft, plush stuffies (for comfort and texture)an array of balls with rattles, bells, and lights (for general interest and sight and sound stimulation)rubber puppy chew toys (to help stimulate their gums while their teeth are erupting)crinkly toys (for auditory and mental stimulation)


Socially, as the puppies learn how to play, they will learn key behaviours such as what is known as "bite and be bitten" (if they bite their sibling, the sibling will bite back) which is not a form of aggression, but rather a very important lesson in the social structure of a dog pack.  We continue to hold and play with the puppies daily.

At this stage the puppies nails will have grown sufficiently and need trimming, so we introduce them to this for the first time, and take the opportunity to brush their fur as well.



4 weeks to  5  weeks:

At 4 weeks of age we offer 3 to 4 meals of goats milk per day, and by this time we are also introducing pre-soaked kibbles that are mashed up to be about an "oatmeal" consistency, and the puppies will have access to the mother for a few hours in the afternoon (they usually feed 2-3 meals from their mother during this afternoon time) and then again throughout the night.


Puppies are again dewormed


At 4 weeks we expand their small world and move them from their whelping box to a puppy pen within the puppy room which gives them more play space and an introduction to pee-pad training.  While the puppies were in the whelping box they were accustomed to a quilted pad, and when we transition them to the pen area they have a rubber mat for the flooring as well as a towel or fleece pad area for a change in textural stimulation. Once the puppies have caught on to the pee-pad training we introduce them to a puppy bed for a place to sleep in preparation for crate training to follow.


5 weeks to 6 weeks:

At 5 weeks of age we will be feeding 4 to 5 meals of pre-soaked whole kibbles (made soft with water), portions according to the size of each puppy. Only a small amount of goats milk is added if "comfort food" is needed.  The puppies will have access to the mother for 1 afternoon feeding and then again night time only, and this depends on how much milk the mother still has for her puppies.

The puppies are introduced to activity play centres for added stimulation.  These provide fun activities with a variety of textures, sounds, and bright colours.  Pee-pad training continues, and by now they are enjoying full-out-play with their siblings, and are able to make sense of the things in their environment.  The puppies start to view people as providers and look forward to interaction.

Up until this point (unless otherwise specified) the puppies have been in our puppy room, and we integrate them into our living space ( in our kitchen and living room) in a safe enclosure.  They meet our other dogs throughout the day not only from the confines of their enclosure but with periodic monitored "free time" when they can investigate and play with our dogs -- this is a really fun learning experience for them!  They learn key social behaviours such as respecting their elders in that of our dogs, and learning to be submissive and share.  During this time of 5 to 8 weeks the puppies will experience all the sights, sounds, and smells of a household, which include but are not limited to:

Auditory . . .

 cupboard doors opening and closingdrawers sliding out and inhousehold doors opening and closingdoorbell and knocking on doorrattling and clanging of pots and pansscraping and stirring of cooking utensilsloading and unloading of dishwasherrunning waterappliance soundsradio and TV soundsvacuumingfootsteps in the hall, on the stairs, etc.

Visual . . .

 furniture and decor (in different rooms)appliancespeople (family and guests)new rooms (new furniture in each room)vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping (seeing it move)food being prepared for people and for our dogsgroceries and other shopping items being carried into our homegarbage being carried out of our home

Smells . . .

 food smells for people and dogs (baking and meal preparation)laundry soap fragrancesair freshenerscandle fragrances

Puppies seeing and hearing the vacuum!

The puppies are introduced to crate training with addition to a crate in their enclosure by 6 weeks.  In the day time it is a play house where they can go in and out as they choose and they learn that this is a safe/quiet/cozy little den.

the larger pen that the puppies transition to when we move them into our kitchen area at 5 weeks of age. The puppies will be using the pee-pad about 80% of the time, will have free choice water, and will be sleeping in the crate for naps throughout the day and they will be introduced to sleeping in the crate at night.


6 weeks to 7 weeks:

At 6 weeks of age we will be feeding 4 meals of pre-soaked kibbles, and the puppies will try other foods like, but not limited to, peas, carrots, watermelon, apple, egg, and cheese.  The puppies will no longer have access to the mother for nursing as her milk will be dried up by this stage, but their mom will still be close by!

If the puppies have not been bathed previously (as it is sometimes necessary) this is the age when we usually do this.  They will be exposed to an actual bath with water and shampoo, towel drying and blow drying, brushing of fur, and nail trimming.


We also begin to teach the puppies to sit before placing their food dish in the pen. This provides a foundation for training, as each puppy will learn positive reinforcement for behaviour and learn to look to humans as their pack leaders.


7 weeks to 8 weeks:

The puppies will spend their remaining week at O.G.Corso getting them used to a feeding schedule for you to continue in your home being fed morning, afternoon, and evening if possible.

At 7 weeks of age we will be feeding 3 slightly larger meals per day of pre-soaked kibbles and canned food. The puppies will continue to try new foods, but always keeping the kibbles as the main bulk of their diet

As it is almost time for the puppies to go to their new homes, they will be "fine-tuning" the skills they have been learning here at O.G.Corso.  A vast array of experiences as well as foundational training (pee-pad, crate, sitting before a meal) have been a process of establishing routines and expectations step-by-step on a daily basis; and when your puppy joins you in your home you need to continue to make their new surroundings comfortable, loving, safe, and enjoyable as they continue learning and adjusting to your life-style with your rules as pack leader.

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