Many people are
surprised to hear that I did not grow up with dogs - or any furry pets.
Severe allergies kept me away from animals for many years. Perhaps this is
why I don't take my relationship with dogs for granted.
I know that I will never be as good a person as my dogs are but the daily
experience of their unconditional love and loyalty keeps me striving to be.
I want everyone who wants a dog to be able to enjoy the experience as
much as I do and I want all the puppies I raise to be able to enjoy as good
a life as my dogs do. Everything I do as a breeder is based on this.
Not all of my early dog experiences were good ones and not all of the
good ones were easy ones. I suffered through my son's first stray puppy.
I'd made the horrible mistake many parents make of "agreeing" to a dog
rather than wanting one. I'd been suckered by big blue eyes promising
me "I'll walk him and feed him. You don't have to do anything".
I was ignorant enough to think that "walking and feeding" were the only
things involved. That the puppy wouldn't have the first clue what he was
supposed to do on the alleged walk didn't occur to me. Nor was I aware
that when he wasn't walking or eating he would dedicate himself to chewing
my furniture and fingers and destroying my carpet. Lassie was about the
extent of my dog knowledge and Lassie never peed on a carpet or ate a chair
I was more clueless than most people with that first puppy. In the years
since then we - as a country - have come a long way in our awareness and
treatment of pets. Obviously, from the number of animals in shelters and
rescues, we have not come far enough. The majority of animals in shelters
are there as a result of indiscriminate breeding and behavior problems. The
number of purebred dogs that end up in shelters is much lower than that of
other dogs but is still alarming and can't be attributed to indiscriminate
breeding (although some can be attributed to ignorant breeders).
Also alarming are the number of
unhappy or bored dogs living in the houses and yards of unhappy dog owners
as the result of the dogs not knowing how to learn what the owner didn't
know how to teach.
I do not want my breeding to ever result in an unhappy dog or an unhappy
owner and there is no reason it should because I will do whatever is needed
to see that it doesn't.
I will always take back any puppy (or dog) that was purchased from me. I
will re-train it and either find it a good home or keep it with me. I think
it is important for me to offer this but I do so only as a last resort. I do
many other things to create the absolute best foundation for you and your
puppy to become a wonderful part of each other's lives.
We are among the few at the forefront of a new category of breeders;
those who combine the knowledge in health, genetics and sound breeding
practices used by good show breeders with the knowledge and experience of
dog trainers and a fine tuned understanding of puppy development to produce
healthy, well balanced and easily trained family dogs. (Please see the page
on "Types of Breeders...What Really Matters". for more info.)
- Health - My breeding dogs are in the finest health and are from
genetically sound families. The young females are not rushed into breeding
and none of the females are bred during every heat
(which is why you see them wearing baby clothes in some of my pictures).
Our male dogs are completely unrelated to each other which allows us to
keep from accidentally or ignorantly inbreeding. Even though I can spot a sick puppy at 50 paces
puppies are all vet checked before they leave home and we include a health
warrantee. The extreme good
health of our dogs and puppies is mandatory but I consider it a minimum
requirement. This alone will not ensure a good pet.
- Socialization - I spend all of my time with
the puppies and dogs. Unless I'm at the grocery store, the vet or the pet
store, I'm with the dogs. I'm not talking about time spent on the same piece
of property but time spent WITH them. As I type this Austin is on my lap,
Emma is beside me in my chair and Panama is on my feet. The rest are
within a few feet of me snoozing or playing with toys. I spend most of my time in my office
when I'm not directly involved with the dogs. (I am a database
programmer, web site developer when I'm not a poodlaire). The office area
has shrunk considerably as the dog-friendly area grows. I don't take on
new jobs when I have puppies and it's not unusual now for a client to
call and say "I need some work done. Do you have puppies?"
When the puppies reach four weeks they still sleep quite a bit but I
spend every minute with them when they are awake. This is key to
getting them litter box trained but it also provides the opportunity
for a lot of other socializing activities. You'll find a
lot of other info on the site relating to puppy development and socialization because
these are the foundation on which a good dog is built.
Pre-Training - This is the area, where my extra work makes the
biggest difference in the puppies and while there may be other
breeders doing this, they are the exception rather than the rule.
Many people take their dogs to
obedience classes or hire trainers. Why? Because they know that dog trainers
can help them train their puppies. Dog trainers have experience with a lot
of dogs and training while puppy owners generally only raise a puppy every
15 years. Why then shouldn't it be a standard practice to have a dog trainer
raise your puppy from day one? Breeders have an advantage that no owner
or other trainer can match: they can start the puppy off on the right foot
as soon as that foot can take a step. (See the training area for
more info on this.)
Why it's so important - Many people who get puppies - especially
toy breeds - have no plan to teach tricks or "commands" but every puppy
owner expects to housebreak the pup. Some people won't get puppies just
because they'd have to housebreak them. I recently read a book on
housebreaking that instructed owners not to begin housebreaking until the
dog was 16 weeks old. If we had a poodle who wasn't housebroken at 16 weeks
I'd take it in for neurological testing! A person who trains 25 or 35
puppies a year (me) is going to be able to do it a lot easier than a person
who trains a puppy every 15 years (you).
Crate training is another important area. Breeders who keep puppies in
cages for most of their early life and then call them "crate trained" are
doing a huge disservice to the puppies and the new owners. These are the
least crate trained of all dogs. They hate their crates, eliminate in them
and make crate training useless as well as almost impossible.
Without our pre-training here's what happens on the first day for
most new puppy parents: On a day that will be at least somewhat
stressful for the puppy and while it is attempting to adjust to new smells
and voices with none of it's family around the puppy will be stuck into a
strange box it has never seen before and that doesn't smell like home.
The unhappy puppy will fight to get out of this box and when it finally does
it will most likely experience an even stranger sensation of being choked
and perhaps even dragged by some alien force around its neck. The already
frightened puppy will buck like a two pound bronco. The puppy's reaction
will make the new puppy parent a nervous wreck and the parent will not know
what to do because following the "instructions in the book" isn't working.
Eventually the parent will either start yelling out of frustration or will
just give up and take the poor puppy back inside where the puppy will almost
immediately make a mess on the carpet.
This terrible first encounter will scare the dog enough to remind it even
more that it wants nothing at all to do with the crate or the leash. The
parent will be wondering if 1) s/he is a good parent 2) If something is
wrong with the dog 3) If s/he just made a huge mistake that cost a lot of
The result of a day like this isn't just a headache. It's actually
damaging to the puppy & the parent & their potential relationship. The puppy
will very likely want nothing further to do with the crate or the leash and
everything that follows will be much harder than it needed to be.
With our pre-training things are quite different. Pre-training will make the day much easier than it
would have been without it for both you and the pup. Our puppies will be
sleeping in their new home in their "old" crate with the old smells of home
on their toys and/or blankie. The puppy knows the litter box and what it's
for and will use it as long as he does not have too large an area to wander
in. If you take the puppy outside to eliminate he
won't be on a leash for the first time. In fact he may already be a veteran
Your puppy will know how to sit on command which isn't just cute. If you
want to stop him from doing something else, this is the perfect way to do
it. Just tell him to sit. He knows there's a real good chance of getting
a treat if he does so he abandons whatever else he was doing.
All other training that you institute can be done as a continuation of
what we've already done which will save you a lot of time!
I will be available to you by phone to help you when you need it (or just
to listen to you talk about how smart and wonderful your puppy is). Although
I sell puppies I do not think of myself as a merchant. I think of myself as
Grandma. As Grandma I now have a vested interest in your life and I will feel
better about those who call me with too many questions
than those who are never in touch at all.
Welcome to my family,