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Breeding Philosophy

Air Capital Border Collies (ICT) focuses on transformational dog breeding: the Avidog way. This means we focus on evidence and peer-reviewed science based systems for transforming puppies to exceptional dogs.

Exceptional puppies start with the health of the breeding dogs. We take into account genetics, temperament and structure when pairing our breeding. Sire and dam undergo physical and mental exercises with a strict process to well timed breeding to prepare them for easier and low-stress ties, easier and faster whelping for the dam, maximize litter size, and stronger and healthier newborns.

We consider the effects of epigenetics and its impact on the puppies during prenatal stress. We provide enrichment for the dam during her pregnancy and continue a catered system through Neonatal, Transitional, and Sensitive phases of puppy rearing.

We match puppies to home for life, and in the case of the unplanned, we will always take the dog back. When purchasing an ICT puppy you also gain a lifetime of support.

Read below the stages of our puppy rearing from birth to entering your home.

Neonate Puppies

Birth to 14 days

During the neonatal period puppies are born with their eyes and ears closed, they cannot regulate their body tempurature​, have limited communication methods, and spend most of their interaction in the world through touch and smell. During this period we build stress management and immune systems, and focus on orthopedic health. We closely monitor each pup's growth and introduce people, activities, and scents as part of their ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation) training.

ENS training at this stage includes: Gentle holding and rotating up puppies belly up and head down, cotton swab touches between toes, early scent introduction, and nail trimming every three days or so. 

Its not uncommon to find me on an air mattress set next to the whelp box during this first stage. We also keep the room cool (72-78 degrees) and make sure mom has ample opportunity to build a strong connection with her pups. When we have to step away we monitor the pups with a smart camera linked with an app on our phone.

koa neonatal.jpg

Image curtesy of Christy Bierema

spectre puppy pen.jpg

Image curtesy of Christy Bierema

Transitional Stage

Day 14 to 21

The transistional period starts when the pups can see and ends when their ears have opened. Puppies will initially use scenting ability to explore their world and gradually use their eyes. At transition stage pups become increasingly mobile and begin to use social cues with their littermates. We provide supportive bedding with traction and positive stressor activities such as climbing toys and noises to developed their mental growth. Because puppies are senstitve to their environment we want controlled novelty activities to stimulate their senses and brains. ENS training continues through day 16.

Activities introduced during the transitional stage includes imprinting on the dam and bonding with littermates to provide lifelong social skills and stress management. We expand the whelpbox and start the process of potty training. We will continue introduction to new sights, sounds, and other household dogs, and have informal handling and engagement with visitors. Pups are getting ready to move out of the whelp box and into the puppy pen where they'll have access to the adventure box with age-appropriate novelty items.

Sensitive Period

Week 3 - 16

During the sensitive period puppies are hypersensitive to their environment. They learn quickly from small events which have long-term impact on their development. Socialization activities increases to other animals and people while puppies learn how to give respectable behavior in the form of manners. Manners include potty training, bite inhibition, recall, follow, restraint, crate training, leash breaking, and simple commands and cues. During this period we will challenge puppies with increasingly complex puzzles, textures, and sounds, and are sure to provide stimulations that mimic work, build confidence, and provde opportunity to learn. This is a very busy time and vital to creating the exceptional puppy.

Around week seven we will have tested puppy personalities with APET methods and begin matching them to their potential families. At this time we will send out contracts, require payment, and begin making arrangements for pups to be braught home at eight weeks of age. Sometime puppies stay longer due to travel restrictions, airline restrictions, or other unplanned events. In this case, we will work with the family and continue the enrichment program until pup arrives at their new home. We encourage continued practice of puppy enrichment and will provide tools and materials for new owners.

spectre puppy play.jpg

Image curtesy of Christy Bierema

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