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How Our Puppies are Different

You've decided to add a new puppy to your family.

Why choose Schnickelfritz Hounds?

During the weeks that your puppy is in our care, we have a huge responsibility. It is our job to give your puppy the best possible start in life, which begins with choosing the breeding parents, lasts through the mother's pregnancy, and becomes a 24/7 job as soon as puppies are born.

We consider this role to be our calling, and cherish these first few weeks, during which we can have the maximum impact on the future lives and behavior of these creatures.

Here are some of the things that set us apart as an

AKC miniature dachshund breeder.

  • We faithfully use the Puppy Culture protocols, which exploit the malleability of puppies during the first 12 weeks of life. We ask our puppy parents to watch the full Puppy Culture film in order to follow along with their puppy’s progress and continue their puppy’s training once he/she goes home. (Find us on the Puppy Culture Worldwide Breeders Map!)

  • Continued education is our passion! We are always reading and watching in order to stay abreast of dog training, nutrition, breeding, and socialization norms. We aim to be a leader for other breeders, and a wealth of knowledge and application for our puppy families!

  • Our dam begins sleeping in our bedroom about a week before her expected due date. She and the puppies stay in our room until they are about 4 weeks old, when they move to the puppy pen in the living room!

Puppy Health
Puppy Health
  • We begin ENS protocols (early neurological stimulation) at 3 days old, and continue through 16 days old. ENS consists of 5 short exercises that gently stress the puppies’ neurological systems, supporting a healthy heart-rate, more responsive immune system, and greater resistance to stress later in life. (If the puppies are exposed to unexpected stressors in these first few days, ENS is delayed or skipped.)

  • Puppies are microchipped prior to leaving our home, at no cost to you. The registration will be transferred into your name, and we will remain a permanent back-up contact in case your dog is ever lost and you can’t be reached. There will never be any fees for you to update your contact information or maintain your registration.

  • Because our dogs are covered by Trupanion Pet Insurance, all of our puppies receive a complimentary 30-day insurance policy with no waiting period.

  • All of our dogs are fed a high-quality raw diet.

  • Puppies are gradually weaned onto the same raw food that our adults eat, with the addition of raw goats milk and meaty bones.

  • All of our puppies go home with 3-4 weeks worth of food, packaged into individual servings. This eases the transition to the puppy’s new kibble, or allows time for families to decide on a source for raw feeding.

Socialization & Enrichment
Socialization & Enrichment
  • Puppies receive their first nail trim at about a week old. We continue weekly nail trims through the time they go home, keeping the experience positive in order to avoid fear later in life.

  • Generally, we give puppies a water-only bath at about 3 weeks old, and continue with regular bathing until they go home. We want them to see bath time as something to look forward to! Throughout their time with us, we will periodically put the puppies’ carrier on the kitchen counter while the faucet is running, and give the puppies lots of pets and treats so that the sound of running water isn’t scary for them.

  • While their ears are still developing, and after they’ve opened (around 3 weeks old), we expose the puppies to as many loud and novel noises as we can. This includes dropping dishes, closing doors, clapping, shouting, television, thunder, doorbells, vacuum cleaners, birds, etc. This is an intentional process, in which we observe the puppies’ reactions and practice creating a positive conditioned emotional response (+CER) as needed.

  • When the puppies are about 4 weeks old (or once they start taking an interest in mama’s food), they move to the weaning pen in the living room. This is where they’ll live until it’s time for them to go home.

  • We try to introduce at least one “novel item” to the puppy pen each day, teaching the puppies to enjoy exploring new things.

  • We partner with a Fear Free Veterinarian, ensuring that puppies’ first vet visit is positive for all of the puppies. We have usually given vaccinations one or two days prior, but microchips are implanted during the vet visit. Our vet and his staff expertly greet, treat, and socialize with our puppies. There is no force or fear, but plenty of yummy treats to distract the pups from the little bit of necessary poking. We visit a Starbucks or Chick-fil-a on the way home to get a puppy treat, further cementing the idea that car rides and vets are exciting!

  • Puppies go on several short car trips with us, visiting drive-thrus and pet-friendly (but not pet-specific) establishments. We carry them in a carrier or push them in a stroller for their safety. They have lots of opportunities to adjust to the sounds and smells of the car and new places!

  • Since we focus on early socialization, we aim for our puppies to meet and interact with as many different people as possible during their time with us, within the safety of our home. We encourage visitors (whether or not they’re adopting a puppy), and particularly appreciate men and children! Every positive exposure solidifies the puppies’ appreciation of new people and new experiences.

  • As soon as mama is comfortable, we allow our older dogs (“puppy nannies”) to begin interacting with the puppies. All of our girls are good with puppies, but Jack is our #1 puppy nanny! He is gentle, tolerant, and playful with them, even though they haven’t generally learned to be respectful yet. The older dogs are able to “shape” puppy behavior in a way that we as humans can’t do on our own, and we are so grateful for our herd! Puppies learn so much by following the “lead pony.”

  • Puppies learn to overcome obstacles in a positive way, using their brains to meet challenges and respond to frustration. Research suggests that frustration and aggression are processed in the same part of the brain, and that puppies who learn to react positively to frustration can be less prone to aggression as well. (Examples: barrier challenge, climbing puppy stairs, eating out of chew toys, learning to go through a door or walk on a new surface.)

  • We use real grass to potty train our puppies. As soon as they start learning to walk, puppies naturally want to leave their bed to potty, so we keep their whelping box very clean to support this instinct. Once they move to the weaning pen, we praise and treat the puppies for going potty in the grass, and while it takes some practice, they gradually get more and more accurate! Accidents still occur (especially if we’re not closely supervising play time out of the pen), but the puppies never potty in their bed.

  • Crate training begins by giving the puppies an emotional connection to their crate. We use a heating pad in the weaning pen crate, which entices the puppies to sleep there. We don’t start closing the crate door until later, but from an early age, the puppies associate a crate with a feeling of comfort and safety.

  • We work to “give our puppies a voice,” as described in the Puppy Culture film. Beginning around 5-6 weeks of age, we start working on “manding” (asking politely). While your puppy will have many of the habits that we associate with puppies, he/she will have plenty of practice with this “automatic sit” for greetings, attention, treats, etc.

Going Home
Going Home
  • Our primary focus is the health, well-being, and temperament of our puppies, and that includes educating potential puppy parents as well. When you visit our home to meet us and/or the puppies, we’ll give you a copy of Dr. Ian Dunbar’s book Before You Get Your Puppy. (If you can’t visit right away, we can mail this book to you instead.) When you pick up your puppy at 10 weeks, we’ll give you the companion book, After You Get Your Puppy. These two books, and Dr. Dunbar’s other resources, are the most thorough and concise items we can provide to ensure that you and your puppy have as smooth a transition as possible, and that your puppy grows up into a well-mannered, beloved family companion.

  • All of our puppies go home with a Puppy Pack, which includes: 3-4 weeks worth of raw food (packed into small containers); the two Dr. Dunbar books; a blanket that smells like mama & littermates; plenty of treats for bonding & hand-feeding; a chewable treat (bully stick, yak cheese, cow hoof); several toys (different for each litter, depending on what they most enjoy); a Tug-a-Jug food-dispensing toy; a Kong or Toppl stuffable toy; pre-dosed Children’s Benadryl for future vaccinations; microchip registration information; vet & vaccination information; a piece of grass (if you’re traveling a long way); and whatever else we find to add!

  • As a member of the Schnickelfritz Hounds family, you can reach out to us any time for guidance, support, or a shoulder to cry on. (Raising a puppy can be hard!) We love getting calls and texts from our puppy parents, and get so excited to see updates and pictures on social media! Whether you have questions about training, feeding, or a particular behavior issue, we will partner with you for the success of your puppy and your family as a whole.

  • We will always take back any of our puppies for any reason, if you find yourself unable to keep him/her. (Do not buy a puppy from any breeder who doesn’t have this guarantee in writing!)


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Welcome to our Puppy Pen

Our Weaning Pen
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