Shantel babies are born in our home, and raised in the living room (the hub of all the home activity). Each puppy is held daily and played with individually as they grow. When their eyes and ears start opening (around 2 weeks) we add soft colorful toys to their whelping box. As the puppies grow, so do their toys. They are given a variety of toys: such as squeaky toys, stuffed animals, tug toys, dumbbells and balls. Also, added to their play pen are toys that make noise, ie, a little piano that makes various animal sounds, music and voices (they love this- lil' Chopin's in the making!).
As the puppies get older and steadier on their feet, we also introduce little obstacles such as a card board "tunnel", and a "pause" table.
As we have a wheelchair ramp to our porch, they are exposed to "A frames" as soon as they start venturing beyond the door. The puppies are also exposed to a variety of surfaces such as carpet, tile, gravel, cement, wood, astro turf, dirt and grass. We encourage the puppies to explore their world, and will take them individually to different parts of the house (and later property) to accustom them to different surroundings. For their "musical" ear we play a variety of music during the day as well :-)--there is a television, stereo, or radio on at all times.
Their playpen is also set up in such a way as to facilitate housetraining at an early age. It is not uncommon for our 5 week old pups to ask to go outside to do their "potty". When we take them outside they are given the command "potty"- this makes travel much easier as they will then go on command!
While the puppies are maturing we take notice of each pup's individual personality. The pups are then placed in well screened homes, according to personality. For example, an active pup would not be placed in a quiet, sedentary home. It is our goal that our babies go to permanent loving homes, and we do all we can to make sure it's a perfect match the first time!