We know that sound healthy puppies begin before the female is even bred. The following
    outlines our efforts to give our puppies the best possible start.

We feed high quality dog food. Our preference is for Diamond Natural Large Breed Lamb &
Rice Puppy food. This is given to the mother for several weeks prior to breeding and through
gestation. It is also what we use once the puppies reach solid food age.
Our puppies are born where the mother is most comfortable, next to my wife's side of the
    bed in our master bedroom. This “normal” area eliminates stress on the mom which is proven
    to have a negative effect on puppies.
Puppies are raised in our home. For the first 3 weeks the pups are kept in the basement in a
secluded “den”. Mom can go to be with her pups as much as she likes, she can also spend time
away with the family upstairs. Pups are stimulated daily, but careful attention is paid to not
over stimulate them. By 3 weeks the puppies have gained their sight and hearing and they are
moved to either the kitchen or, depending on the season, our back porch. (Since we live on a
farm, the back porch sees a lot more traffic than any other door in our house.) Being raised
    in the house allows them to become accustomed to household noises and the constant
    movement of people and other pets which will be a part of their lives. Living in our family
    area also provides socialization opportunities that would be lost if they were raised
    elsewhere. "Socialization is the key to the puppies development. A puppy that has no human
    contact, but lives only with the litter for its first twelve weeks, cannot be trained to be
    more than a companion. If the litter lives isolated for the first sixteen weeks, the puppy
    can accept no training from man." (per Richard Wolters, noted retriever training author)
    So, our recommendation is, don't buy any puppy that has been raised in a kennel or a
    garage with minimal human contact.
My wife is a work at home mom and our children are home schooled. Given that, our pups are
allowed to go out doors a dozen times each day for play and exercise. This exposes them to
    all the sights and sounds a farm has to offer, it also begins to give them the idea that
    outdoors is the proper place to do their bathroom business. We’ve had many customers tell
    us that our pups were so easy to house train, we must be doing something right. We are not
    really attempting to house train specifically, we are just trying to minimize the messes that
    need to be cleaned up.
I’ve been studying Early Neurological Stimulation in animals and was amused to find that
except for the cold washcloth, we were basically already performing the requirements. This
stimulation is said to better enable them to handle stress as an adult. Read about Early
Neurological Stimulation HERE. (I don’t think we are going to add the cold washcloth, we are
getting good results and I’m hesitant to go experimenting.)
Our pups are sent home with a small towel that has their litter mates' and mom's scents on
    it. This helps the transition when placed in the puppies crate to comfort them during the
    first few nights in their new home.
We begin crate training early in the puppies’ life. This starts out with doors left open and
    the puppies just naturally all pile into one crate to sleep. We encourage owners to drop off
    their crate so the pup can be exposed to it.
Our puppies are temperament tested but informally. We've given up attempting to use the
Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test. Our litters tend to be very uniform with little variance
    between top and bottom. For the test to be valid it should be done on the 7th week, generally
    by this time all our pups have long been sold. Since these puppies live in our home, we can
    tell you which ones have character traits you might want without a formal test. It doesn’t
    take much experience and just a bit of careful observation tells us which pup is the most
    aggressive well before their eyes are open. Other traits are easily discovered during the
    care and handling of the puppies as they grow.
Puppies receive age-appropriate vaccinations (beginning at 6 weeks of age) and are fecal
    tested and wormed as needed.
Puppies remain with us until they reach 8 weeks of age. The reason we will not release a
    puppy sooner than 8 weeks is for your benefit. Most purchasers' would like to have them
    sooner and some worry about bonding. (Don't be concerned with bonding, animal behaviourists
    know you have till 16 weeks to get that done) Our concern is that the mom must have enough
    time to fully wean her puppies. During this time she teaches them lessons only she is able to.
    Puppies who are fully weaned by their mothers learn not to bite, Mom does not tolerate
    biting/mouthing puppies as humans do. Letting her teach them not to nip and bite saves
    you work. Secondly, they learn patience and self control. Mom teaches them that she is not
    always available. She will pounce on them quite forcefully to make them understand if
    needed, they learn they don't always get what they want when they want it. As a result they
    learn a third lesson: submission and humility, after Mom puts them in their place and chews
    on them a little bit, they quickly learn to lie down and show their belly when the Alpha
    dog speaks. This makes for a much more pleasant dog for you.
Each puppy family is given general puppy care information, and enough food to either
transition to your own quality food or to allow enough time for you to purchase some of our