The transitional stage

Once the puppies eyes and ears open around two weeks of age (give or take a little) and up until around three weeks of age, the puppies have entered the transitional stage of life.

Around this time our puppies are moved from their large whelping crate to a small puppy pen. They’re starting to do more than pull themselves along in a shaky crawl, they’re actually using their “toddler” legs to maneuver around their home. This is the perfect time to introduce the litter box.


When I set up the puppy pen, I put in a big bed that takes up about half the pen, and the other half is just about the right size for their first litter box. This is when I use the commercially made litter system called UgoDog. It’s basically a low pan with two grates on top. What makes it perfect for this age puppy is they can crawl right off their bed onto the UgoDog. Their legs are not stable enough yet to crawl into a box with sides so this is the ideal set-up. Puppies naturally will try to move away from their sleeping area to eliminate, so it’s a pretty easy transition to the litter box.


(When I first moved them into the new pen, I set them onto the Ugodog since I just woke them up in case they needed to potty).

Now that their eyes and ears are open we try to start introducing them to a new toy or object each day; varying the shape, texture or sound. Here are a few examples.

This is why I frequent my favorite second-hand store. 😉


Once eyes and ears open and the first puppy shows a “startle” reaction to a loud noise, we do an exercise called “Startle and Recovery”. Puppies at this age are not fearful, they just react, then quickly recover from loud noises. (We never want to scare them with a loud noise). It’s just a quick startle and recovery reaction from the puppy to get them use to loud noises and things later in life.

Here’s a short startle and recovery exercise. (Sorry, it’s sideways..)

We’ll also start using other noisy things around them such as the vacuum cleaner, the blender, hair dryer, hair clippers, etc.

Around week three we are also clipping puppy toenails again (this will be an ongoing weekly thing). The puppies are weighed again (after about two weeks, we go to weekly weigh-ins until they are about five to six weeks, then it’s done as needed for de-wormings) and given their first dose of de-wormer.



This is about the time when we will start taking one puppy out at a time (around the house) and give it some one-on-one time away from its littermates for a few minutes each day. This will help with the separation process later when they go home.



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This issue has come up before from people that have been on our list a long time and passed on several opportunities. So I just want to give some clarification on the subject of the waiting list and our puppy prices.

This is from our “Getting a Puppy” page. I did just revamp it to hopefully clarify things.

“Please carefully consider the decision to get on our waiting list. We want serious adopters that are prepared to take on a puppy when a puppy is available. IF YOU SIT ON OUR LIST FOR OVER A YEAR (BECAUSE YOU HAVE PASSED MORE THAN ONCE FOR WHATEVER REASON, AND OUR PRICE INCREASES, YOU WILL NEED TO PAY THE CURRENT PRICE.) If you are on the list for over a year because we had nothing to offer you (or you told me when applying “I only want a red female” and I’ve not had one to offer you), then that is a different story. Obviously, I understand that sometimes life “throws a curve ball” and something happens, and we are happy to work with you. But please know that as time goes by our expenses increase (vet, fuel, food, health testing, etc) and we must then increase our prices to compensate.”

If anyone would like to be removed from our list please let me know and I will refund your application fee. Or if you have questions regarding this issue, please email me. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.


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The neonatal stage

Our puppies make their appearance into the world in our living room. (Yes, puppies are always born in our living room.) The first couple weeks after a litter is born is often referred to as the “Neonatal” stage. Puppies eyes open around two weeks of age, which is the basically the end of the neonatal stage.

Birth can be easy or difficult. Puppies can come out at an average weight (6-7 oz), larger (7-9 oz) or tiny (3.5-5+oz). Sometimes puppies come out chunky, start eating and don’t look back! Other times, just like with human babies, a puppy will drop below their birthweight, but then start gaining and pass that weight within the couple days. Other times we might have a tiny one, two or three that need to be supplemented. These guys get extra groceries (from us or we stick them on mom to nurse when the bigger pups are sleeping, or both!) A lot of times these are the feisty ones, the little fighters and they have a special place in my heart. ❤

So the first time weeks for sure, we are weighing the puppies every day, if not twice a day. At about a week of age, they get their first toenail trimming done. Puppy toenails are like little needles and you can imagine what those feel like on mom’s soft belly. I just use a human fingernail trimmer to nip the pointy ends off about once a week.

During the first couple of weeks, the puppies are pretty much eating, sleeping, pooping and peeing (with mom’s help). They do a wobbly-crawl to move around, rooting around until they find mom, “the milk truck”. When they sleep, their body does these cute little twitching motions.  Newborns need to keep fairly warm and (depending on the time of year) we use the nearby wood stove, a heating pad or portable heater near the whelping crate.

The first two (plus) weeks they stay with mom in the large whelping crate that they were born in.

Normally on the third day of life, we start Early Neurological Stimulation or ENS. ENS is done from day three through day sixteen and consists of five simple exercises done once a day for about five seconds per exercise. These activities put the puppy through a small amount of stress which has been shown to improve cardiovascular performance,  make for stronger heartbeats and adrenal glands, plus makes them more tolerant of stress and more resistant to disease.

The first exercise consists of holding the puppy and using a cotton swab to touch a foot (pad, between toes, or just rub the bottom) for five seconds.

Next, the puppy is held upright for five seconds.

Thirdly, the puppy is turned over, with the head facing down and held for five seconds. (I know, it looks strange. But it’s only a few seconds)

Then puppy is turned over and held on it’s back for five seconds.

And lastly, the puppy is set down on its stomach on a cold, wet washcloth for five seconds.

Here’s a quick video of a session with one pup.

As you can see these exercises can be done quickly (I know, they look strange, but don’t hurt the puppy) once a day to each puppy but can have a lasting, beneficial difference.

And that pretty much wraps up the first two weeks of a puppy’s life here.

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Remember a few weeks back when I told you about a new Poodle puppy that was coming? Well, the weeks flew by pretty quickly (probably because I’ve been busy) and the new little one has arrived. She wasn’t quite three weeks old when I found her and of course had to wait until she was old enough to come to her new home.

Yesterday she went to the vet for her check-up.

She is a beautiful white and red parti, AKC registered mini Poodle. And as soon as I figure out a name that suits her, I’ll let you know. She is a little darling! And not happy about being ‘quarantined’ at the moment. (All new dogs that come here are tested for brucellosis before they are integrated into our pack/family for health reasons).

What I didn’t tell you was, we have a second addition!

I spotted this little cutie while I was waiting for the first one to be able to come.

She is also an AKC registered mini Poodle, white with cream spots, and what’s unique about her is she has the most gorgeous blue eyes! She is from a merle mom and could possibly be merle herself. It’s hard to tell because of her coloring. We will definitely be doing some genetic testing on her to know the particulars.

She is a sweet, happy puppy and is enjoying her new brother and sister (Reba’s pups). They’re actually only two days apart in age. She doesn’t have a name yet either.

I’m really excited to add some new bloodlines and beautiful colors to our program. ❤️

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Weekly therapy

I got my very own first dog when I was around seventeen. Of course, we had family dogs over the years, but this one I picked out, paid for and took care of myself. She was supposed to be half German Shepherd and half Australian Shepherd, but she looked more like a Golden/Aussie cross. I called her Tawny.

Tawny was my best buddy, but unfortunately, I didn’t know much about socializing puppies at that stage in my life, so I kind of kept her to myself, which was a big mistake. She was kind of reserved and fearful, to begin with. Add to that personality the lack of socialization and you end up with a fear-biter and an anti-social “liability”.

When she was about a year old I met someone who’s family showed purebred dogs. His dad suggested I enroll her in an obedience class. To make a long story shorter, it took a long time, but it sure helped this dog come out of her shell, gain confidence and start enjoying life and people more.

One thing lead to another and I got my first purebred dog and started showing in conformation and obedience shows. In the meantime, I had gotten married. As the years passed we added the first two kiddos and I was still into the dog show scene.

Being a full-time stay-at-home mom to rambunctious, twin boys called for a much-needed break once in a while. So I used to tell my husband that that one night a week at dog class was my “therapy”.

Which leads me to this current week. I started “therapy” again. 😉

Every April a local 4-H leader in our area puts on a basic dog obedience class in town. I’ve been going to her class for years now. There’s always a dog around here that needs training…..hehe

It’s a nice break from my normal routine. It’s fun to get out with other dog lovers and train. My kids are grown and out of the house now, so I can’t use the “need” of going to have a break from them. Although my husband is home full time now…..I’ll just leave it right there. 😉 bhahaha! (just kidding, honey!)

This year the trainer is doing class two nights a week instead of her normal one. So being the glutton for punishment that I am, I signed up for both nights, with two different dogs.

I’m taking my German Shepherd, Cajsa on Tuesdays.

Cajsa hadn’t had her first rabies vaccination yet (required for class) so we headed into town earlier for a quick vet appointment and shot.

She heard people and activity beyond the exam room door.

Then finally got comfortable and laid down…just before the doctor came in.

We had some time to kill before class started so we head to my favorite farm store for a few minutes.

Looking for the perfect treat

“This one?”

“Just give it to me, mom!”

Learning to ride nicely in the back seat. 😊

I need to remember to put a larger dog bowl in the truck for water breaks instead of the puppy-sized one that I had.

You can tell she was really stressed about being there. 😉

There are usually a few German Shepherds at class.

And the fun thing about this class is Cajsa gets to take it with her sister.  Sister was a bit nervous around other dogs so we didn’t get any close interaction between the two this first week.

Then Thursday night rolled around and I was back to town for my next class.

I had to change into a whole different technique and mode of training with this little guy. A German Shepherd’s temperament and size are much different than most Cavaliers.

Justice is such a cute little guy ❤️ A chip off the ol’ block. (He’s is Dickens’ son).

Cuddle time after class.

And now the real work starts; practicing consistently and learning so we can pass the CGC (AKC’s Canine Good Citizenship) test at the end of the six weeks.

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Six hours

I got about six hours of solid, delicious sleep last night. It was amazing! That’s unusual for me even without puppies around. And yes, I’m off the couch finally. 😉

My sweet husband actually got up at 1:30 this morning to let Rosie out to potty. Then again around 5:30 when she and Hope wanted out again. I heard none of this activity (or barking that they were doing).

I woke up at 6:30 and heard Hope’s distant bark; like she was outside. I got this panicked thought, “Did I leave her out all night?!” :O

Solid sleep is such a wonderful thing!

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What’s next

Now that our first Cavapoos of the year have made their appearance, you might all be wondering, “what’s next?”

Well, like a dorm full of college girls or a house full of women, my girls start…um, cycling together too. (Sorry fellows if that was TMI 😜) Yep, while the new babies were coming into the world and getting settled in, we’ve been busy with more matchmaking. 😀

It’s feast or famine in the dog raising world. We have no puppies or the girls come in season about the same and we have lots of puppies! Of course, the boys are happy (and some a bit frustrated). It’s a bit of a juggling act coordinating things especially if you want to match one male with more than one female. You have to be careful not to overuse said boy.

So hopefully if everything goes as planned (we’re not done with the “honeymoon” phase here), it will be a busy summer for sure! But with lovely Washington summer weather, there’s no better time to enjoy puppies! ❤️

Of course, it will be a few weeks before we can confirm pregnancies on the girls. And there are some first-time moms and first-time pairings (from experienced moms) so we don’t know exactly what colors we’ll get. But I’m thinking probably similar to the colors we have with our current litters.

Speaking of current litters; if you are in the top twenty on my wait list (we may get further down, but let’s start with that number) and haven’t reached out to me recently, I’d love to know if you’re leaning more towards a Lucy pup or a Rosie pup. Please be specific; I “only” want a red female, or I’d love a red puppy, but I would be interested in a Blenheim (Lucy’s boys’ color) or my first choice is a Blenheim boy. That way I know ahead of time what you want or if you’re open to colors/genders. I know I do have this information from some of you already, but in case you changed your mind, please let me know. Please email me on the current email thread that we’ve been using to correspond since I replied to your application. I like to keep all of our “conversations” in one place. Starting a new email will only confuse my already muddled brain.  😉

Unfortunately, we can not hold any puppies over from our current two litters for our Progressive Puppy Program because we will have new litters arriving about the time our current pups will be ready to leave to their forever homes. And (*drum roll!) we have a family wedding in July (our #2 son) and want to enjoy that, and the time with visiting family! (What’s a Progressive Puppy you might wonder?

So please take the timeframe into consideration also before you email me your choices. Lucy’s puppies will be going home on Sunday, June 3 and Rosie’s the following Sunday which is June 10th. Make sure that you are available to pick up your puppy on one of those Sundays (depending on which litter your pup comes from. Lucy pups may be able to stay until the 10th if the 3rd doesn’t work for you. But Rosie pups will not be ready to go home early, on the 3rd.) Once puppies are matched and I know where everyone is coming from, I will figure out meeting times. We will be meeting at the Spokane International Airport; terminal (if you’re flying in) or in front of the Wingate Hotel (if you’re driving in).

Normally, I have a few people that can’t make the delivery day and choose to come here to pick-up their puppy. (There is an extra boarding fee for those staying over their “normal” time). But that won’t be an option this time either, because of the expectant moms. Since some of our moms will be first-timers, I can’t have visitors in and out picking up puppies. I need to keep the environment quiet, clean (no “new” germs) and “normal” for them. I’m sure you understand.

And one last thing; I’m sure some of you have been drawn to Lucy’s uniquely colored female. Well, bad news; so have I. Sorry. I have already started genetic/color testing on her to hopefully get more information about her makeup. She was born looking more slate blue, but know looks more chocolate with merle patches in her color spots. She most likely will be staying here to be the first producer of F1b Cavapoos. (We’ve been thinking about doing this for those that are needing a more “guaranteed” non-shedding dog. Although with any cross, there is never a guarantee for it to be “non-shedding”. ) The F1’s that we currently raise (first generation between a purebred Cavalier and a purebred Poodle, are considered low-to-non shedding. Although I know of one that is a shedder). The F1b is a Cavapoo bred to a Poodle, so it is three-fourths Poodle and one-fourth Cavalier. So it is much less likely to shed with more of the Poodle genes. It is considered to be 99% non-shedding and the most “hypoallergenic” of the different generational crosses.

Anyways, that wraps it up for now. Thank you for reading through this long post and joining us on this journey!

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