Each of my litters is born inside my home, rather than a kennel setting. This allows them to hear the sounds and smell the scents associated with a household from the very start. They are continually exposed to the everyday sights and sounds of a family home. This includes potentially scary sounds such as vacuum cleaners and blow dryers, which allows them to learn they are normal and non threatening.
When the puppies are old enough, and weather permitting, they get some time outside in a nice doghouse. This enables them to learn how to go in and out of a dog door, and become familiarized with typical outdoor noises. These include sounds of children playing, bells ringing, and bus and traffic noises from a nearby school. My home and yard are both designed to give the puppies ongoing opportunities to experience as many different textures, sounds and places as possible.
I am a proponent of Jane Killion and I utilize her techniques, described in “Puppy Culture”, to raise my puppies from a very young age. These include early neurologic stimulation, emotional resiliency exercises, and safe early socialization among other things. The techniques also incorporate puzzles, games and problem solving. In fact, one of the more important training exercises is teaching them there are solutions to problems. This helps them learn to solve problems for themselves, which helps reduce frustration in older dogs. Positive reinforcement and consistency are keys to their training. I believe this approach helps the puppies learn to think outside the box, and become happy, successful adult dogs.