You know what they say; an owner sometimes looks like their dog? While I don’t know about the looks part, we definitely have the temperament of our English Shepherd breed- loyal, affectionate, protective of their own, etc. They, whoever “they” are, also say you can’t teach old dog’s new tricks. ES love to learn their whole life through, and so do us two ‘old dogs’! Enter the puppy Adventure Box.

We want to raise great puppies so are always open to new practices that can further aid our puppy’s health and development. Last year a fellow ES breeder introduced us to Avidog™. Their team collectively has over 50 years of breeding, training, and competing with dogs under their belts. They’ve come up with an amazing science-based early-puppyhood learning tool called an Adventure Box. We will begin using it with our puppies and boy, are we ever excited!

What exactly is an Adventure Box? Technically, it’s a square frame constructed of PVC pipe from which puppy-safe items with different textures and colors are strung. Things like lengths of hose, un-used paint cans, plastic funnels, etc.

Why an Adventure Box? From about 3 ½ to 16 weeks of age is generally referred to as the “sensitive period”. Puppy’s brain is growing incredibly fast! The breeder has the puppy for most of this period, so the things they do or don’t do greatly influence the kind of dog the puppy will become. The new owner then carries on once they get the puppy until 16 weeks old.

During this period in particular puppies are gaining confidence as they experience the sometimes scary new things in the big world around them. While they are with their mother and siblings they are less afraid so gain confidence and mental/emotional stability by leaps and bounds. We already do a great deal to stimulate and socialize our puppies through various means. The Adventure Box is a fun-for-them (and us!) way to introduce them to even more along the lines of touch and motion. As the puppies move in and out of the Adventure Box, eating or playing, the long-time breeders at Avidog™ found it helps develop stability in their pups, growing the size and complexity of their brains, helping them become more confident for life and develop problem-solving skills.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it!

The Adventure Box is not meant to be a long-term play toy however. Avidog™ recommends watching puppies closely to know when to remove it. Knowing our raw fed puppies, it will likely need to come out at around 8 weeks. Those especially sharp teeth and strong jaws can do a lot of damage in no time flat to dog toys that are supposed to be “indestructible”!!!

Avidog™ generously shares the instructions for building your own Adventure Box via free PDF on their web site . For those not DIY-inclined, they also have “Fully Dressed” or “Naked” kits for purchase. Just go to the products page.

We are truly excited to watch the puppies’ have fun with and take note of their development using the Adventure Box!

Photo: Poetic Gold Photography; Avidog