We Raise Quality Pups, Starting Before Birth
Randall Glen is a working farm and our Great Pyrenees are working dogs. We do not kennel our dogs. They live the guardian life they are bred for, patrolling our farmland freely and protecting their livestock from predators. When one of our mama dogs is expecting puppies she keeps on with this work—it’s the purpose of her life and it brings her joy. While she does her work, we carefully monitor her health and diet. We give her maternity vitamins rich in antioxidants and whole vegetable super greens. We add extra supplements to her regular diet, including fresh eggs from our own hens for healthy calcium, fat, and protein to help mama grow her pups.
The Pyrenees is an outdoors dog. Even when she’s expecting puppies we do not lock mama up. When her delivery time is very near, we install her in the “delivery suite” at our central barnhouse, a snug stall deep with hay for nesting and a grassy yard for exercise. Her maternity stall is cooled with fresh mountain air in summer, insulated and heated in the winter, and monitored by audio and video camera. We give her privacy for birthing her pups but keep a close watch in case she needs assistance. We have a vet tech on staff to help her and the pups if needed.
After the pups are born we examine each one for health and make sure they’re nursing well. We monitor the pups round the clock, in person and by video and audio. We make hourly checks by night and day until the puppies’ eyes are open.
Great Pyrenees are good mothers and are very caring with their puppies. Mama spends the first days close by her pups. When she feels confident that they’re stable, she starts going back to work for a little while at a time. The maternity stall is set up so that the puppies are safely contained but mama can come and go during the day. For everyone’s security, mama spends nights with the pups. We continue to monitor the family in person and by camera throughout the day and night.
We are conscientious in raising our puppies. We photograph and weigh the pups regularly for the first 6 weeks, and record milestones like the day they open their eyes, when they first walk and eat solid food. They’re fed a nutritious puppy diet and kept on flea and parasite control programs. They receive their first two series of vaccinations, they’re microchipped, and at 6 weeks they’re given a thorough veterinarian exam. When you come to bring your pup home you’ll receive a comprehensive puppy record, your pup’s milestones, baby photos, vet report, and papers for registration. You’ll get copies of both parents’ registration and DNA certificates. You’ll get a “starter” dog bowl and sample of your pup’s current diet. You’ll also receive the booklet we’ve written, “Raising Your Great Pyrenees”, with advice and tips for bringing up your pup.
Most important, we are transparent in raising our pups. From the day it’s born, you are welcome to visit your puppy any time. Whether you schedule a visit or drop in unannounced, we are delighted for you to spend time with your pup and see our raising practices firsthand. This is true, too, if you’re thinking about reserving a puppy and want to meet our pups and parents.
We handle our pups and talk to them from the time they’re born so that they’re well socialized. Our Great Pyrenees grow up very social and interact wonderfully with families and children, while still performing their primary work as guardians. We like to say that they’re super laid back until the predators come, then they go from zero to scary in nanoseconds! Once the threat is taken care of, it’s right back to “relaxed gentle giant”.
Our Great Pyrenees are real dogs. From the time they’re born, long before their eyes open, our pups hear chickens roosting in their stall, goats in the barn, horses and cows, sheep and pigs nearby. When they start moving around, their first playmates are the chickens nestled with them in the hay. When they begin to play, we introduce them to the puppy paddock. In this big grassy paddock they can run freely and interact with goats, ducks, chickens, and guineas.
Through the fence they get to know bigger animals like horses and cows. They even hang out with the barn cats! Visitors often remark on our Pyrenees’ friendly relationship with every animal. This is their inborn guardian nature, and we foster it from birth.
The gate to the puppy paddock has a 2-foot barrier across it. Mama can freely jump over it to do her guardian work and come back to nurse her pups. When the pups are old enough to climb over the barrier—about 8 weeks—we figure they’re ready to join in on farm life and start helping the big dogs.
Many breeders adopt out their puppies at eight weeks, and at that age they’re certainly grown enough to go to a new home. But we prefer to raise our pups to at least twelve weeks so they can start to “learn the ropes” from our grown dogs. Through thousands of generations, guardianship is hardwired in a Great Pyrenees. They need no training to take care of their livestock. But any job is better when you’ve had some apprenticeship. Our pups spend several weeks in the company of our working adults so they have a good grounding as guardians. They get real experience–recently, in fact, some of our 11-week pups helped the big dogs harass a bear in the barnyard and send it back up the mountain.
We also make use of this extra time to begin teaching our pups basic manners, to respect the people they interact with, to know “Come” and “No” and, of course, “Good dog!”. The Great Pyrenees is an exceptionally intelligent breed and quickly learns the basics. You can continue this training when you bring your pup home. Our puppies go to their new homes more confident and more mature than most young pups. Instead of a frightened 8-week infant suddenly separated from mama, you’ll bring home a playful, cuddly youngster who is ready to bond with your family and your farm.