Below is an excellent video of Annabelle feeding her litter of 12 puppies. What an incredible mother! The puppies are nearly 8 weeks old. However, Annabelle remains patient as all 12, plus one from another litter, strive to obtain access.
The average litter size for all breeds of domestic dog is 5.5 puppies. However, the average size of a litter depends upon the breed. Smaller breeds tend to have smaller litters, usually 3 to 4 puppies, whereas larger breeds average 7 puppies. Average litter sizes by breed range from the Pomeranian and Toy Poodle (2.4 pups per litter) to the Rhodesian Ridgeback (8.9 pups per litter). Therefore, Annabelle’s health and equanimity handling 12 pups is tremendous!
The video was taken during a litter evaluation. CPT was evaluating the litter to determine whether one of Annabelle’s puppies is an optimal service dog candidate for a minor recipient with Asperger Syndrome, Acoustic Sensory Processing Disorder, Executive Management Processing Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder.
We selected the male puppy with the lime collar. During the evaluation, the puppy received excellent scores in the areas of Sociability, Tolerance to handling and restraint, Environmental tolerance, and Trainability. He also exhibited an optimal energy level and dominance level when interacting with his littermates.
Moreover, we were highly impressed with the temperament and structure of the mother dog, Annabelle. The mother is a 50% genetic contributor to the puppy and also the puppy’s most important initial environmental influence. Therefore, we vastly prefer obtaining progeny from a dam with exceptional physical structure and steadfast comportment.
The client will next purchase the puppy from the breeder, name the puppy, and bring the puppy to CPT, whereby he will begin his journey as a service dog candidate. The process begins with a 30-day housebreaking, household manners, human/dog/cat socialization, environmental socialization, and imprint obedience board train. The puppy will then enter group classes until commencing a second 30-day board train when he is approximately 7 months of age.
The second-stage board train will focus on basic obedience, problem solving, and continued socialization with humans, animals, and the environment. The puppy will then return to group class until he is 14 months of age, when he will enter his final board train stage.
During the final board train, which requires a 3 – 5 month period, we will teach the formal assistance behaviors specified within the recipient’s customized CPT Service Dog Contract, fix remaining problems, and generalize all obedience and assistance behaviors to multiple public, private, commercial, and residential environments. The program concludes with handler training to educate the recipient how to advantageously utilize and handle her dog when in both a private and public setting. Ultimately, the dog’s job will include the ethereal role of becoming her best friend and constant companion and the more serious, specialized role of mitigating the effects and limitations posed by her disability.
Nevertheless, everything starts at the beginning. For this prospective service dog, the beginning is a healthy birth, optimal treatment from a vigorous mother, and ideal experiences accompanying a dam that remains calm amidst multifarious environmental exposures. One only needs to look at the above video to realize that Annabelle fits the bill.