I’m often asked, almost right after a litter is born, “Can I take a peek at the puppies?” It’s not surprising. Who doesn’t want to see a litter of newborn puppies? Touch them, hold them, listen to all their wonderful little noises. I understand this desire completely, but in the interest of safety for my puppies, I have a strict visitation policy in place to protect the little lives that are in my care.
My visitation policy allows for families with puppies who are paid in full to visit that particular litter once the puppies are 6 weeks of age, but not before. I also only allow adults and children over 8 at these visits. Visits are limited to about 45 minutes for each family. Why do I have such a strict visitation policy?
It’s all about safety of the puppies.
- Immature immune systems. Puppies are not protected against disease that can be brought in on shoes or clothing. Many breeders have lost entire litters of puppies due to disease being brought into the breeder’s home. You don’t have to touch a puppy to transfer disease to them. Your shoes and clothing can bring it in and leave it on the floor or furniture, only to be transferred to the paws of the mama dog, who then transfers it to her babies.
- New mama dogs are extremely protective of their babies. When strangers enter the home, even if mama is in another part of the house, she hears their voices and kicks into a highly emotionally charged state. This stress causes her body to create cortisol, which enters her milk. When the puppies consume the milk, the cortisol then causes them to become stressed as well. A stressed puppy is more likely to succumb to illness and fail to thrive.
- Stressed mama dogs will panic. They jump up and away from their puppies to assess what they think is a threat, and many times unintentionally step on or crush a puppy. The mere sound of a stranger’s voice in another room will cause them to panic and can result in an injured puppy, or even death.
- The puppies are reserved or fully paid for by purchasing families. Would you want to have a puppy reserved or paid for and know that a lot of other families were being allowed to come and hold or play with them and put them at risk? I like to raise and socialize my puppies in such a way that their risk to disease and/or injury is as low as possible so that I can deliver healthy puppies to the families who are waiting for them.
- No young children allowed at visits. Children – especially young ones – get very excited around puppies and I’ve seen more than my share of accidents or injuries as a result. Experience has taught me that it’s simply better to require young children to be left at home and to let parents introduce their children to their new puppy after the puppy has left my care. That eliminates risk to my puppies and financial responsibility to you should a child injure a puppy while visiting.
Hopefully my policy is one you will view as being responsible and a reflection of being a quality breeder who cares about the well-being of my puppies and fairness to my purchasing families.
If you are one of the waiting families who is scheduled to come and visit, you will receive an email from me with detailed information on precautions, but here is an overview:
- Before coming here, you must NOT visit any other breeders, veterinary clinics, dog parks, grassy areas of rest stops, pet stores, or ANY other areas that strange dogs are likely to have been. It is incredibly easy for you to inadvertently carry in disease on your shoes or clothing which will then be transferred to my pups. Please do not make stops – just leave your house and come directly here.
- On arrival, you’ll be asked to leave your shoes outside my front door, and immediately wash your hands with antibacterial soap before handling pups. Please be comfortable in your stocking feet and know that all precautions are for the good of the wee puppies.