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All of our puppies are raised with the "Puppy Culture" Program so that your puppy can be raised with the most skills and potential he or she can have to lead the best life possible. Puppies raised on Puppy Culture have been proven to have greater resistance to both stress and disease, have stronger heart rates and stronger heart beats along with a stronger adrenal system. We provide Exercise, Enrichment, and Stimulation (which are more than just entertainment!) Scientific Studies have shown that  animals who are raised in a stimulus rich environment (such as this), with lots of toys, exercise, and challenges, have larger brains, with more neuro-connections than animals raised in a stimulus poor environment. The stimulation actually causes animals to grow up to 5% more brain (and within that 5% more brain, are anywhere from 25 - 200 neuro-connections!) Studies have shown that the area of the brain where these new brain cells form is actually the area related to learning, memory, and emotional response. This is consistent with the findings of scientists that animals raised in enriching environments demonstrate increased learning ability, with better retention, and appear more stable, less fearful and better able to cope with and recover from frightening or stressful things.  So, by going above and beyond with our puppies (and especially between the puppy's 3rd and 16th days of life by providing early neurological stimulation aka Super Dog Trainning), we can shape our puppies futures to be the best that they can be so that they can be the dog that everyone would want to own.

In addition, by following the Puppy Culture protocol through the first 12 weeks of age (and even better, for the rest of the puppy's life) you can and will, greatly limit the potential for behavioral problems to arise! Our puppies leave us here at Lyon Hills at 9 weeks of age. Our puppies stay here until this age, because there are 2 sets of fear periods that all puppies will go through. The start of a fear period is at 5 weeks old and again much stronger around 8 weeks old. This major fear period can greatly affect your puppy and the rest of its life, should a bad experience happen during this time. By keeping our puppies until the age that the fear imprint stage levels off, which is right around 10 weeks, we can help ensure that our puppies will not experience any negatively affecting traumatic experiences before the level off period.

Puppies leaving to their new homes at this age is less stressful, and better for their mental health.   The first 12 weeks of a puppy's life is the MOST IMPORTANT time in shaping the way that puppy will live and cope with its life. It is HIGHLY recommended that you get out with your new puppy  and allow him or her to experience as many different things as they can. You have 2 weeks left within this critical time to help create the puppy you will love for the next upwards of 13 years. This means getting your dog out and meeting new people (of all races, heights, genders, ages, with different objects such as hats, high heels, boots, coats, crutches, canes, etc), meeting new dogs (of all shapes and sizes, long hair, short hair, floppy and prick ears, puppies, adults, disabled, etc) and as many experiences as you can, especially if your puppy is going to be partaking in them when he or she is an adult (such as camping, boating, car rides, etc)  Be cautious but get out there! By continuing this program for the rest of your puppy's life, you will create a puppy that will be happy, carefree, and a joy to live with and allow the puppy the life he or she was destined to live. Both you and your puppy will enjoy your many journeys through life together , with very few, if any, behavioral problems.


A program trusted and practiced by Lyon Hills

The U.S. Military in their canine program developed a method that still serves as a guide to what works. In an effort to improve the performance of dogs used for military purposes, a program called "Bio Sensor" was developed. Later, it became known to the public as the "Super Dog" Program. Based on years of research, the military learned that early neurological stimulation exercises could have important and lasting effects. Their studies confirmed that there are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has optimum results. The first period involves a window of time that begins at the third day of life and lasts until the sixteenth day. It is believed that because this interval of time is a period of rapid neurological growth and development, and therefore is of great importance to the individual.

The "Bio Sensor" program was also concerned with early neurological stimulation in order to give the dog a superior advantage. Its development utilized six exercises which were designed to stimulate the neurological system. Each workout involved handling puppies once each day. The workouts required handling them one at a time while performing a series of five exercises. Listed in order of preference, the handler starts with one pup and stimulates it using each of the five exercises. The handler completes the series from beginning to end before starting with the next pup. The handling of each pup once per day involves the following exercises:

  1. Tactical stimulation (between toes)

  2. Head held erect

  3. Head pointed down

  4. Supine position

  5. Thermal stimulation


Puppy Culture is a program used by Breeders and Puppy owners, all over the world to improve the lives of their puppies and to limit behavioral issues by helping puppies to cope with and move past things that would otherwise cause issues as adults. We believe Puppy Culture is a valuable resource for caring and ethical breeders, along with new and old puppy owners, rescues, and is a fantastic add-on to attending a good puppy preschool.  Breeders especially, by using Puppy Culture, you can improve the lives of your puppies with just a few minutes each day and it dramatically makes a difference when comparing a puppy raised by Puppy Culture vs a puppy raised the alternative (non puppy culture) method. Less issues, more brain development, more bonding, more balance and the ability to adjust better, why wouldn't you!

Puppy Culture represents a unique synthesis between breeders and puppy owners and provides guidance and continuity from the whelping box to 12 weeks of age and beyond. The first 12 weeks of a puppy's life is the most important stage, as its their most impressionable time. Puppy Culture helps form and shape the behavior and personality of your puppy for the rest of his/her life!



How We Do Things


  • Early Neurological Stimulation

  • Weaning Set Up and Suggestions

  • Developmental and Fear Periods

  • Harnessing the Enrichment Effect

  • Puzzles, Games, and Problem Solving

  • Safe Early Socialization

  • Holding a Safe and Effective Puppy Party For Your Litter

  • Emotional Resiliency Exercises

  • Anti-Aggression Protocols

  • Bomb-Proofing Puppies

  • Placement Options

  • Preparing Your Puppy Buyers

For Puppy Owners:

  • The Critical Socialization Period

  • Holding a Safe and Effective Puppy Party For Your Puppy

  • How To Find a Good Puppy Class

  • Vaccination vs. Socialization

  • Handling Fear Periods

  • Leash Walking, Recall, Crate and Potty Training

  • Training Markers

  • Manding

Preventing Common Behavior Problems:

  • Resource Guarding

  • Separation Anxiety

  • Biting and Jumping


To help you get the dog you want and most well matched, we use the Volhard devised simple test which is amazingly accurate in predicting inherited behavioral tendencies and how the puppy will turn out as an adult. We do this test at 7 weeks of age as recommended. At 8 weeks we do a formal evaluation of structure. After that, the results and recommendations are made available to those waiting on the puppy list and then we individually pick out each puppy with each owner.


Some of the tests used were developed as long ago as the l930’s for dogs bred to become Guide Dogs.  Then in the 1950’s, studies on puppies were done to determine how quickly they learned.  These studies were actually originally done to identify children’s learning stages, but found to adapt perfectly to puppies.  

Volhard took these tests, added some of their own, and put together what is now known as the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test, or PAT. PAT uses a scoring system from 1-6 and consists of ten tests.  The tests are done consecutively and in the order listed. Each test is scored separately, and interpreted on its own merits. The scores are not averaged, and there are no winners or losers.  The entire purpose is to select the right puppy for the right home.  

The tests are as follows:  
1. Social Attraction - degree of social attraction to people, confidence or dependence.    
2. Following - willingness to follow a person.  
3. Restraint - degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
4. Social Dominance - degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.  
5. Elevation - degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or groomer.  
6. Retrieving - degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with Social Attraction and Following a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
7. Touch Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
8. Sound Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms.  
9. Sight Sensitivity - degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
10. Stability - degree of startle response to a strange object.  

During the testing make a note of the heart rate of the pup, which is an indication of how it deals with stress, as well as its energy level.  Puppies come with high, medium or low energy levels.  You have to decide for yourself, which suits your life style.  Dogs with high energy levels need a great deal of exercise, and will get into mischief if this energy is not channeled into the right direction.

Finally, look at the overall structure of the puppy.  You see what you get at around 8 weeks old.  If the pup has strong and straight legs, with all four feet pointing in the same direction, it will grow up that way, provided you give it the proper diet and environment in which to grow.  If you notice something out of the ordinary at this age, it will stay with puppy for the rest of its life.  He will not grow out of it.


Here are the ground rules for performing the test:
•    The testing is done in a location unfamiliar to the puppies. This does not mean they have to be taken away from home.  A 10-foot square area is perfectly adequate, such as a room in the house where the puppies have not been.
•    The puppies are tested one at a time.
•    There are no other dogs or people, except the scorer and the tester, in the testing area
•    The puppies do not know the tester.
•    The scorer is a disinterested third party and not the person interested in selling you a puppy.
•    The scorer is unobtrusive and positions him or herself so he or she can observe the puppies’ responses without having to move.   
•    The puppies are tested before they are fed.  
•    The puppies are tested when they are at their liveliest.  
•    Do not try to test a puppy that is not feeling well.  
•    Puppies should not be tested the day of or the day after being vaccinated. 
•    Only the first response counts!
 Top Dog Tips: During the test, watch the puppy’s tail.  It will make a difference in the scoring whether the tail is up or down. 

The tests are simple to perform and anyone with some common sense can do them.  You can, however, elicit the help of someone who has tested puppies before and knows what they are doing.

1. Social attraction - the owner or caretaker of the puppies places it in the test area about four feet from the tester and then leaves the test area.  The tester kneels down and coaxes the puppy to come to him or her by encouragingly and gently clapping hands and calling.  The tester must coax the puppy in the opposite direction from where it entered the test area.  Hint:  Lean backward, sitting on your heels instead of leaning forward toward the puppy.  Keep your hands close to your body encouraging the puppy to come to you instead of trying to reach for the puppy.  

2. Following - the tester stands up and slowly walks away encouraging the puppy to follow.  Hint:  Make sure the puppy sees you walk away and get the puppy to focus on you by lightly clapping your hands and using verbal encouragement to get the puppy to follow you.  Do not lean over the puppy.  

3. Restraint - the tester crouches down and gently rolls the puppy on its back and holds it on its back for 30 seconds.  Hint:  Hold the puppy down without applying too much pressure.  The object is not to keep it on its back but to test its response to being placed in that position.  

4. Social Dominance - let the puppy stand up or sit and gently stroke it from the head to the back while you crouch beside it.  See if it will lick your face, an indication of a forgiving nature.  Continue stroking until you see a behavior you can score.  Hint:  When you crouch next to the puppy avoid leaning or hovering over the puppy.  Have the puppy at your side with both of you facing in the same direction.  
Top Dog Tips: During testing maintain a positive, upbeat and friendly attitude toward the puppies.  Try to get each puppy to interact with you to bring out the best in him or her.  Make the test a pleasant experience for the puppy.  

5. Elevation Dominance - the tester cradles the puppy with both hands, supporting the puppy under its chest and gently lifts it two feet off the ground and holds it there for 30 seconds.  

6. Retrieving - the tester crouches beside the puppy and attracts its attention with a crumpled up piece of paper.  When the puppy shows some interest, the tester throws the paper no more than four feet in front of the puppy encouraging it to retrieve the paper.  

7. Touch Sensitivity - the tester locates the webbing of one the puppy’s front paws and presses it lightly between his index finger and thumb.  The tester gradually increases pressure while counting to ten and stops when the puppy pulls away or shows signs of discomfort.  

8. Sound Sensitivity - the puppy is placed in the center of the testing area and an assistant stationed at the perimeter makes a sharp noise, such as banging a metal spoon on the bottom of a metal pan.  

9. Sight Sensitivity - the puppy is placed in the center of the testing area.  The tester ties a string around a bath towel and jerks it across the floor, two feet away from the puppy.  

10. Stability - an umbrella is opened about five feet from the puppy and gently placed on the ground.  


Following are the responses you will see the score assigned to each particular response. You will see some variations and will have to make a judgment on what score to give them. 

Response, Score

Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands 1 
Came readily, tail up, pawed,  licked at hands 2 
Came readily, tail up 3 
Came readily, tail down 4
Came hesitantly, tail down 5
Didn’t come at all 6

Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot, bit at feet 1
Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot 2 
Followed readily, tail up 3 
Followed readily, tail down 4   
Followed hesitantly, tail down 5   
Did not follow or went away 6   

Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit 1
Struggled fiercely, flailed 2   
Settled, struggled, settled with some eye contact 3   
Struggled, then settled 4   
No struggle 5   
No struggle, strained to avoid eye contact 6

Jumped, pawed, bit, growled 1   
Jumped, pawed 2   
Cuddled up to tester and tried to lick face 3   
Squirmed, licked at hands 4
Rolled over, licked at hands 5    
Went away and stayed away 6   

Struggled fiercely, tried to bite 1   
Struggled fiercely 2   
Struggled, settled, struggled, settled 3
No struggle, relaxed 4   
No struggle, body stiff 5  
No struggle, froze 6   

Chased object, picked it up and ran away 1   
Chased object, stood over it and did not return 2   
Chased object, picked it up and returned with it to tester 3   
Chased object and returned without it to tester 4   
Started to chase object, lost interest 5   
Does not chase object 6   

8-10 count before response 1   
6-8 count before response 2   
5-6 count before response 3   
3-5 count before response 4   
2-3 count before response 5   
1-2 count before response 6   

Listened, located sound and ran toward it barking 1   
Listened, located sound and walked slowly toward it 2   
Listened, located sound and showed curiosity 3 
Listened and located sound 4   
Cringed, backed off and hid behind tester 5
Ignored sound and showed no curiosity 6  

Looked, attacked and bit object 1  
Looked and put feet on object and put mouth on it 2   
Looked with curiosity and attempted to investigate, tail up 3   
Looked with curiosity, tail down 4   
Ran away or hid behind tester 5   
Hid behind tester 6   

Looked and ran to the umbrella, mouthing or biting it 1   
Looked and walked to the umbrella, smelling it cautiously 2   
Looked and went to investigate 3   
Sat and looked, but did not move toward the umbrella 4   
Showed little or no interest 5   
Ran away from the umbrella 6  


The scores are interpreted as follows:

Mostly 1’s - 
Strong desire to be pack leader and is not shy about bucking for a promotion
Has a predisposition to be alpha.
Should only be placed into a very experienced home where the dog will be trained and worked on a regular basis 

Mostly 2’s - 
Also has leadership aspirations  
May be hard to manage without an experienced home.  
Has lots of self-confidence
Should not be placed into an inexperienced home  
Too unruly to be good with children and elderly people, or other animals  
Needs strict schedule, loads of exercise and lots of training  
Has the potential to be a great show dog with someone who understands dog behavior  Tips: A lot of 1’s or 2’s-  It has lots of leadership aspirations. This puppy needs an experienced home.  May not be the best with children. 

Mostly 3’s     - 
Can be a high-energy dog and may need lots of exercise 
Good with people and other animals 
Can be a bit of a handful to live with  
Needs training, does very well at it and learns quickly  
Great dog for second time owner.

Mostly 4’s     - 
The kind of dog that makes the perfect pet 
Best choice for the first time owner.   
Rarely will buck for a promotion in the family  
Easy to train, and rather quiet.  
Good with elderly people, children, although may need protection from the children 
Choose this pup, take it to obedience classes, and you’ll be the star, without having to do too much work!

 Tidbits: The puppy with mostly 3’s and 4’s can be quite a handful, but should be good with children and does well with training.  Energy needs to be dispersed with plenty of exercise.  

Mostly 5’s     - 
Fearful, shy and needs special handling  
Will run away at stress in its life  
Strange people, strange places, different floor or ground surfaces may upset it  
Often afraid of loud noises and terrified of thunder storms. 
When you greet it upon your return, may submissively urinate.  
Needs a very special home where the environment doesn’t change too much and where there are no children  
Best for a quiet, elderly couple  

Mostly 6’s     - 
So independent that he doesn’t need you or other people  
Doesn’t care if he is trained or not - he is his own person  
Likely to bond only to you, since he doesn’t need humans.  
A great guard dog.   
Do not take this puppy and think you can change him

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