Re: 6 weeks & on.... ideas wanted.
6 weeks is the time to really start ramping up socialization and exposure to different things, and continue until the pups go home. Things we would be doing with our own pups during this time:
LOTS of socialization with all sorts of different people of different ages and ethic backgrounds.
Social/play time with older dogs who are good with pups, not just the dam.
Exposure to other animals (cats, horses, etc...)
As many different flooring/footing surfaces we can get, both walking over and playing on top of: carpet, hardwood, vinyl, wet (IOW *slippery*) vinyl, wood decking, concrete/pavers, gravel, loose rock, sand, grass, dirt, plastic tarp on the ground, e-pen laid out on the ground, plastic baby gate on the floor.
Different obstacles, taking advantage of ordinary household things, plus a few designed specifically for pups: climbing up and down the couch, in and out of showers and bathtubs, up and down stairs, walking a plank/dog walk, up and down the a-frame, in and out of enclosed spaces (a trash can laid on it's side, bucket laid on it's side, cardboard box laid on it's side, behind the furniture, under bushes, etc...), walking across a ladder laid on the ground.
Heights: dog walk, on top of a table, kitchen counter, stack of hay bales, etc...
Sounds: gunshots, whip, cars, car horns, lawn mower, vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, washing machine, TV, radio, dropped stainless steel bucket, pots and pans clanging around in the kitchen, etc...
Lots of ball and rag play, both individual and in groups.
Scent work (puppy scent pads), both individual and in groups.
That's about all I can think of for now.
All of these things not only help the development of the pups, but also serve well as a means to evaluating them. Observing each pup's reaction to all those new things sheds a lot of light on each one's temperament and nerve.
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