I am raising my puppies the "Puppy Culture" way, and this page is dedicated to explaining what that is, and why I feel it is important and valuable to my puppy buyers.
Puppy Culture is a way of raising puppies, in the critical first twelve weeks of their lives, that make them resilient, emotionally stable, and eager to learn. It gives them a polite way to communicate with their people. It gives us guidelines to teach the puppy HOW to learn, in a positive and encouraging way, so that they become willing and keen partners in training.
I start with early neurological stimulation from 3 to 14 days old, along with plenty of cuddling, and handling of all of their body parts, and nail trimming regularly. Between 3 and 4 weeks, there is a key period where the puppies will startle at a sudden noise, but don't yet register true fear. During this time, I will expose them to many different noises so that they startle and get past it, over and over. This helps the puppy learn to recover quickly from scary things. The puppies are calmer and mentally stronger for having those early exposures.
I also begin to expose puppies to different smells, novel objects, unsteady surfaces, different textures, etc, to give them a good start with new things, and confidence in unfamiliar environments. I expose puppies to the vacuum, hair dryer, and other household sounds.
I begin presenting the puppies with problem solving challenges appropriate for their age, and short training sessions with the clicker. It's absolutely amazing to watch four and five week old puppies sitting and learning how to interact with a new object. I also teach the puppies "manding" which is a way to give puppies a voice-a way to request something from you (such as attention or treats), without jumping all over you. I also start with positive associations with the crate during the training periods, and very short periods of alone-time to accustom the puppy slowly to being left to prevent separation anxiety. I also do some "trading" exercises with the puppies to prevent resource guarding.