On Brush Creek Farm, we have different settings to accommodate the different life stages of our dogs and puppies.
Our puppies are born in the house in the utility room opposite the kitchen. They remain in the whelping box and in the house until they are fully weaned. Weaning takes about a week, we start at 3 weeks and by 4 weeks, the babies are ready to move on.
At around 4 weeks, the puppies have their first encounter with the brave new outside world. Their new home is the puppy house, our 2-run kennel building about 150 feet from the house that we use to raise puppies and separate adults when necessary. The small building is surrounded by grass, trees and a covered area with a couple of small dog houses to protect the pups during inclement weather. During the night and very cold, hot or wet weather, the pups are confined to the inside of the building. In confinement, the mom is with the pups but has her own separate quarters not accessible by the pups. Unless the weather is really bad, the pups spend most of the day outdoors.
Our Swissy mothers stay with their pups as long as they want, i.e. we do not separate the mom and the babies permanently after weaning. We let the mom visit and nurse her babies any time she wants to do so between the time the pups are weaned at 4 weeks and when they leave Brush Creek Farm at around 9 weeks for their new homes. This is also the time for socializing the puppies by introducing them to as many visitors as possible.
For the Swissys who stay with us on Brush Creek Farm, we have a wide variety of settings, be it outside chasing squirrels and rabbits and playing with each other or lounging in the house pretending to be a lap dog. Because we live in a rural area without any zoning restrictions, our Swissys enjoy the 6-acre fenced area around the house and barn on their own terms with little restrictions except for a "no access" area around the vegetable garden and the large perennial flower bed in the front yard.
For many years, we have used room monitors to hear what our puppies and adults are doing when we do not see them directly. Many years ago, we added a close circuit TV camera to improve our visual supervision, especially of our newborn babies and when the puppies are inside the kennel building. When not used for the puppies, it helps us to keep an eye on our adult guys when they are not in the house.
For the first time since we started our breeding program almost 20 years ago, our facility was inspected by the AKC. The purpose of these kennel inspections is to ascertain that the breeder is in compliance with the AKC's rules and regulations regarding overall kennel conditions, condition of the dogs on the premises, proper identification of the dogs and maintaining records in accordance with the AKC requirements. Of course, Brush Creek Farm passed the inspection with flying colors. In fact, on the day of the inspection, we were the only facility out of several the inspector visited that day receiving the coveted "AKC Certificate of Inspection" which is only issued if the establishment is in compliance with all 22 inspection criteria.