Starting on day 3 of their lives, I use the exercises for stimulation as developed by Dr. Carmen Battaglia.  These exercises are described in detail in the May 1995 AKC Gazette.  I performed the exercises each day as I weighed and checked the pups.

Also from the beginning I did some aromatherapy using anise, rose and gardenia scents (I think you could also use lavender as it is supposed to be calming)  I first used anise drops on a cotton ball-held it close enough to a pup so that it could smell and follow the scent as I moved it from side to side. While letting the pups get the scent, I stroked slowly down the pup's back.  This was very calming and relaxing for all the pups. I changed the scent daily, but the one they liked best was the anise.  My girls really followed the cotton balls, and as they got a little older, they tracked  like crazy when I would play a game of "find it" with real food.  I always put the scent on a cotton ball-again did this exercise at weighing time .   You can obtain the various oils for the scent exercises at most health food stores.


Second week: pups are getting around fairly well.   At one end of the whelping box I put rolled up newspaper under the carpet I had on the flooring of the box   This formed a bit of a ramp for them to crawl up.  I left this in until the end of the third week-I think that is when they were escaping from the box anyway.  They

learn to climb on the pig rail of the whelping box very quickly.


 When they opened their eyes, it is ’mobile time.’   I put a black and white jump bar across the whelping box (I removed it when I wasn't in the room with them-no accidents that way).   To it I tied a rawhide (which they could smell), a fleece toy, and something with a rattle to it.  My girls attacked the objects almost immediately. I changed the articles every 4-5 days-or left up ones that still really interested them.  Initially I put the toys down where they were easily within reach-3 to 4 inches above the floor of the whelping box It was also during this week that I put a 6 inch cat toy-a ball with another ball inside it-in the whelping box with the pups-they would push the ball across the box.  They loved the noise it made.  It was also very easy for them to roll it.


During the next few weeks, I continued to introduce more toys, etc just keeping them as stimulated as possible.  At 3 weeks of age they were going through a kitty tunnel-and walking on all kinds of surfaces-even had them walking on a flat board-which was later  raised to over 8 inches off the floor-getting reading for agility kinds of things.  




At 3 weeks of age, Tassie  sleeping in her tunnel with her favorite toy.

Mackie often fell asleep after playing hard with the ball within a ball cat toy.

Just a few hours old

Socialization with different people from the very beginning

Conducting the stimulation exercises researched and designed by Dr. Carmen Battaglia

Toys in the whelping box

Training for obedience, tracking, and agility