Georgia Shih Tzu Puppies

About Us:  Mike and Cindy
Georgia Shih Tzu Puppies Head Start Program is a systematic program that best prepares young puppies for a super start in life. This training stimulates the puppies muscular system, mental aptitude, social life, memory system, emotional stability. 

For centuries people have been trying to breed better animals - cattle, horses, dogs, cats. They knew genetics alone won't make the best animal or why one animal might perform better than another similarly-bred animal. This is pretty much what a 1991 study by Cunningham concluded. By studying racehorses he found that speed was only about 35 percent heritable. Or in other words, a horse's speed depends as much as 65 percent on other factors such as training, management and nutrition.

Findings such as this have led other researchers to explore how changing the way an animal is raised can affect them as adults. These studies often focused on early stimulation.

One study with mice and rats found that by removing the babies from their nest for three to five minutes each day during the first few days of life that caused the animal's body temperature to fall below normal. This mild form of stress stimulated hormonal, adrenal and pituitary systems which allowed these animals to better withstand stress later in life. They also performed tests better than their non-stressed littermates. Other effects included earlier sexual maturity, more disease resistance, and better problem solving abilities.

Studies with other species, such as cats, dogs, and chimpanzees, found similar results. Animals that were not given the early stimulation were less able to cope, adjust and adapt. Although they have yet to determine an optimal amount of early stress, they do know that some stimulation is good, but too much can cause problems, nervousness, lack of trust. 

A non-handled caged pup is comparable to a human baby that is rarely taken out of it's crib which has life long effects.  

One of the most well known studies is the​​ US Military Early Neurological Stimulation in their Super Dog Program.  Please continue reading to know the details of this study which we've adopted for our Shih Tzu babies.

The video below is an example of our litter activity and pen set up.  They are given ample space to run, climb, play, sleep and eat.  They are trained to go potty on one end (on dri-dek tiles).

​​As the breeder, this is a lot of work to keep the areas clean and dry.  It is much easier for the puppies to stay in a wire-floor pen where the pee and poop goes through the wire.  But that does not give the footing, play space and comfort that our pen and set up does.

These puppies are 6 and 5 weeks old.  They play hard then sleep for 2-3 hours then play hard again.​​  

Days 3-16 Early Neurological Stimulation described

​Early neurological stimulation was developed by the U.S. Military canine program to give puppies an advantage in life.  Their programs were also called
"Bio Sensor" or "Super Dog" program. We use these techniques on our puppies here at Georgia Shih Tzu Puppies because we think that it helps our puppies in the future.

​​Dr. Carmen Battaglia endorses this program on his website "Better Breeding Dogs”, and a full article on Early Neurological Stimulation can be found at  

​​This series of exercises is their conclusion of what to do in a puppy's early life for it's best start.  
Each puppy undergoes this handling once per day for the two weeks. All five exercises are completed with one puppy before handling the next puppy.

1. Tactile stimulation
While holding the puppy in one hand, the handler uses a Q-tip to tickle the puppy between the toes on one foot. The tickling should last between three to five seconds. The puppy does not have to show a reaction.

2. Head held erect
Holding the puppy in both hands, the puppy is positioned so its head is directly above its body. This position is held for three to five seconds.

3. Head pointed down
Holding the puppy in both hands, the puppy is reversed so its tail is uppermost and directly above its head. This position is held for three to five seconds.

4. Supine position
Hold the puppy in the palms so it is resting on its back with its face pointed upward. This position is held for three to five seconds.

5. Thermal stimulation
Before starting the exercises, place a damp towel in the refrigerator for at least five minutes. For this exercise, place the puppy on the cool towel, belly down. Allow the puppy to wriggle off if it desires. Remove the puppy from the towel after three to five seconds if it hasn't moved itself.

The researchers found that these exercises started the puppies' neurological system earlier than was normally expected. The benefits that they noticed over non-stimulated puppies included:

Improved cardiovascular performance (heart rate)
Stronger heart beats
Stronger adrenal glands
More tolerance to stress
Greater resistance to disease
More active and more exploratory​

In simple problem-solving tests using detours in a maze, the non-stimulated pups
became extremely aroused, whined a great deal, and made many errors.
Their stimulated littermates were less disturbed or upset by test conditions, and when comparisons were made, the stimulated littermates were more calm in the test environment, made fewer errors and were only occasionally distressed when stressed.​​

Although the stimulation proved beneficial, over stimulating had detrimental results.  There is a delicate balance in producing a smart puppy.  Here at Georgia Shih Tzu Puppies, we put extra TLC, stimulation and training into each little puppy.  We do it for the puppy so he/she can be the BEST she can be!!!!

Puppy Stimulation From 2 weeks - 10 weeks

​​Studies by Scott and Fuller pinpointed several critical periods in a young puppy's development. These periods occurred between four and sixteen weeks of age. If a puppy did not interact with other dogs (at least his mother and littermates) and with people during this time period, he would never be able to bond to other dogs or to people. 

In addition to socialization, exposing puppies to various sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches allows them to better cope as an adult dog. Enrichment activities can begin at a very early age and continue for the rest of his/her life. Some ideas include providing toys of all shapes and textures; providing a variety of footing such as newspaper, carpeting, plastic, concrete, gravel; providing a variety of sounds such as radio, vacuum cleaner; providing a variety of challenges such as climbing steps, jumping off short platforms, playing hide and seek, playing with littermates, etc. We have to be sure the enrichment activities we design won't hurt or scare the puppy.

Once puppy is home it is best to continue advancing your puppy providing plenty of socialization and enrichment activities.  

After your puppy has had it's last immunization shot around 15-16 weeks of age, you can start walking him/her around the neighborhood, shopping mall, taken to the groomers, play in the yard, enrolled in a Puppy Kindergarten class, taken on car trips, allowed to watch older, trained dogs. All of these experiences will give the puppy a chance to experience new things and to meet new people.

Puppy Growth Stages of Life -  For the new owner, the 9 weeks to 18 months information below is great in knowing what to expect and how to care-train for your puppy after he/she goes home.  

There are 7 distinct stages of growth for a puppy, during each of these periods it is important to know how the puppy develops mentally as well as physically. The stages are typically broken down like this:

Newborn to 3 weeks
3 - 7 weeks (much happens during the 3rd week so I have separated it)
7 - 12 weeks
12 - 16 weeks
4 - 8 months
8 months - 1 year
1 year - 18 months

Here are a few things that apply to all puppies:
Born Blind
Born Deaf
Born Toothless
Born not being able to produce it's own body heat
Will cry, whine, grunt, or make any number of noises when they are hungry, cold, uncomfortable, or just plan not happy.
Rapid mental and physical growth during the first 8 weeks

Birth - 3 Weeks
During its first three weeks most of a puppy's time is spent sleeping, allowing it to grow. This break down is about 90% sleep and 10% eating.
They are only able to crawl or scoot.  We call them inch worms at this stage.
Bio Sensor stimulation starts on day 3 and continues until the puppy goes to its new home
Eyes will normally open between 10-14 days, allowing it to see shadows.
Many puppies eyes will appear foggy when they first open. This is because though the eyes are open, it takes a few more days before their vision is fully in.  
Ears will normally open between 12 - 17 days.
You can usually tell when the ears start to open because the puppy will start to look toward noises and even bark back to when he hears himself bark.
3 Weeks
Teeth will start to appear
Puppies take their first steps
Puppies will begin to discover their littermates and start to paw at them.
Puppies will start to develop a sense of smell, start to bark and growl, and look happy to see you around 3 weeks
Puppies will be stronger nursers so mom will not have to spend as much time in the pen. 
Mom still cleans the puppies well which encourages them to pee-poop.​

4 to 7 Weeks (1 month - almost 2 months)
Mother will start to teach puppies correct dog behavior
At 4 weeks the mother will start leaving the puppies more
Puppies are walking very well and playing well with their littermates.  This is the time we introduce various stimuli with toys, flooring, socialization.
Weaning should start no earlier than 6 weeks
Dominance is being established and will continue until the puppy leaves its litter mates
Learns how hard to bite, what is allowed and what is punished by mom and litter mates.
This is why it is so VERY important NOT to take a puppy home before it is at least 7 weeks old.
First exploration period
7 to 9 weeks of age (2 months) Stimulation cont'd with the breeder
First fear period starts around the end of week 7 and will continue based on the puppy's personality, but not typically past week 12.
A puppy starts to learn to come to human voices. At 9 weeks puppy starts to recognize his name.
First immunizations are at 8 weeks.​

​​9 to 12 Weeks (almost 2 months - 3 months)  Training at new home

Short attention span. Training should be conducted in 5 - 15 minute intervals.
Start house training upon arriving home.
Motor skills improve
Explores for longer periods
Second Immunizations​ at 12 weeks (every 3-4 weeks after the previous one)

We encourage to keep your puppy home in a protected environment until it has had his puppy shot at 15-16 weeks of age.  No obedience training, walks in the neighborhood or visits to Pet Smart.
12 and 16 Weeks (3 - 4 months)
This stage is equivalent to the terrible twos and you will need the patience of Job. Remember, your puppy only wants to please you it is just growing and learning about its environment.
Some permanent teeth will start to break through, many toys with different textures are a must
Gums will be sore
Puppies that have a dominate personality will try to establish themselves as alpha and will challenge your authority.
Obedience training will help deter this.
Third immunization at 15-16 weeks.
4 and 8 Months
Think of this time as the beginning of the teen years, you will be challenged and ignored often. The key is patience and consistency in training. Don't give in to them, make them do what you want them to do, but pick your battles.
Provide them with items to chew, or they will chew on what ever they can get their little mouths on. Thankfully all permanent teeth will be in place around 6 months
Confidence increases
Puppies will want to play more independently, without you, but with other puppies.
Second fear period can start at 6 months and run until 14 months.  Teach them they are in a secure, nurturing environment.
Rabies immunization at 20-24 weeks or at the time of spay/neuter.
8 Months to 1 Year
True Teen years
May challenge you for dominance (alpha)
Watch for sexual maturity
Growth plate (joints) will stop growing and it is now safe for your puppy to jump off of things.
Looks like an adult, but acts like a puppy and will often forget what you taught at 3 months. Use a firm voice in training and always correct bad behavior.
Almost full grown in height, but will continue to fill-out in the chest, back, and legs
12 Months - 18 Months
Viewed as an adult dog.
A dog usually does not attain full growth until at least its first birthday and many continue to grow until 2 years old.
Most dogs will go through an "I forgot everything you taught me stage" between 12 - 18 months. This can be very frustrating, but be patient they will eventually grow their brain back.

Georgia Shih Tzu Puppies Head Start Program includes the following:

​-Early Neurological Stimulation for days 3 - 21 as described on the previous column.
-​Puppy Stimulation from 3 weeks to 8 weeks in which the puppies are given ample exercise and given various stimuli for the best head-start in developing muscles and keen awareness.

​​-We provide various specific stimuli at appropriate ages.

​-Special flooring and different kinds of flooring encourages strong leg development and stimulates blood circulation which overall develops a healthier pet. ​

​-​At appropriate ages our puppies will change to a new pen. This better prepares them for the stress of going home to another new environment. But too early of a change can make them a nervous puppy. It has to be the right age for change.

​-1 and 2 level platforms are put in the pen starting at 5 weeks old so they can begin to use more muscles and to learn to climb. This will make their front and back legs and chest muscles much stronger over a caged pup which only has a wire or slick linoleum flooring. Puppies raised on wire and linoleum are more likely to have knee and hip issues later on because they didn't have an adequate footing as a young puppy.​

​-Our puppies have various toys and enrichment activities to stimulate their senses and aid with their teething.

​-Statistically, all of this produces a stronger immunity, smarter, more well adjusted pet at an earlier age.​​