My thoughts on having restrictions on selling puppies to people many breeders or rescues will not sell to.

This has been a topic that has been brought up a lot lately. I hear often about people that won’t sell a puppy to someone over 60 years old. Or someone with young children. Or someone that has a disability. Or someone that has a job outside of their home. Or someone that doesn’t live in a wealthy neighbourhood. Or someone that is single. Or many other things I have heard over many years.

So here is the thing.

Some of my most amazing families have been the elderly widow in her 80’s who goes above and beyond for her puppy and they are best friends, the young family where both parents have had dogs their whole life and want their children to be raised to respect and love a dog of their own, the child with a disability that has such an amazing unbreakable bond with their dog and are inseparable, the family that works outside their home, but has made arrangements to go home at lunch and have a dog sitter come in during the day for the first few months, the family that while they may not live in the wealthiest neighbourhood in town, they provide everything necessary for the puppy and love and appreciate that puppy, having saved up for over a year just to purchase the puppy, the single person that brings their puppy with them everywhere and is involved in their nieces and nephews lives and makes the rounds at the nursing home they work at.

There are many reasons why I don’t discriminate based on all of these things and the main reason is, I got into breeding dogs because first I love them. They have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Dogs are one of the purest expressions of love that you can have. They love unconditionally with everything they have. I can’t imagine my life without them and I want to not only try to help them have long lifespans and healthier lives, but I want to share them with the world and bring joy through them. This leads into the other reason why I choose to breed dogs. I love people. As a Christian, I believe I am called to care for others. I am called to love others. I believe that providing puppies for families is one of the best ways I love others. One of the main reasons I have picked the breeds I have, is due to their ability to be excellent service and therapy dogs. This means I do everything that I can to help people, while also making sure that I am protecting my puppies.

The reality is, we can’t blanketly say that because of someone’s age, job status, house size, disabilities, marital status or anything else will make them a bad parent. In reality many of these families have made the best pet parents. On top of that, dogs have been shown to be amazing in helping people with alzheimer’s, dementia, people with various disabilities, comfort for children of all ages, mental health in people that are struggling whether it be finances, relationships or work constraints. Not to mention how hypocritical it would be of me to deny someone having a puppy with young children, when I literally have raised puppies through my pregnancies, newborn and toddler stages with my own children. I have had dogs my whole life, through my newborn and toddler stages, school years, in our small first home when we were starting out, through being pregnant, having newborns and toddlers and hope I will still have a dog in my elderly years and any other life circumstance that is thrown at us. Dogs are part of our family and will remain a part of our family.

At the end of the day, if I think that a puppy is going to a loving home that want them as a valued member of their family, I won’t turn down a family based on any of those things. Don’t get me wrong, I will 100% check you out on social media when you submit a puppy application to us and do anything I can to find any red flags that would make me worry about you having one of our puppies. If there is something I am concerned about (which would generally be training related), I would rather talk to the family and help them work through things they can learn, rather then just deny them a puppy. Education always needs to be an important part of dog breeding. If you just deny people without educating them, they will just learn to not say that to the next breeder, but get a puppy anyways. Why not take the time to teach them better methods and educate them to be better dog parents. I definitely have denied people from getting a puppy for very good reasons unrelated to the above things (I even have a 1 star google review to prove it ;p ), but at the end of the day, I have puppies to help produce the healthiest, happiest puppies I can and also to bring joy and love to people because I love my puppies AND I also love all our puppy families.

Exercising Your Puppy – What is Healthy and not Healthy – Our Opinion

Raising a puppy to grow up happy and healthy is very much about balance. Part of that balance is making sure that your puppy is getting enough exercise, without over exercising them to the point of causing damage to the joints.

There is a lot of development happening in puppies from birth until 18 months of age. Their growth plates are open until generally between 8 and 16 months old depending on the breed. When you look at a puppy xray, you can see the difference in the joints compared to a fully grown dog. We also see that weight plays a huge factor in many things affecting joints and overall health. I am going to do a quick and easy summary of what we feel with regards to balancing all the information and creating a safe environment for puppies to both get enough exercise, but not damage their joints at the same time.

We have a few recommendations for our puppy families based on the many studies we have read over the years and specifically relating to Mini Goldendoodles and Mini Bernedoodles.

No high impact exercise, such as agility, jumping on and off things, more than a couple stairs or any exercise that includes fast turns or sliding stops until they are over 1 year old.

No excessive fast jogging like running next to a bike or jogging 5 to 10 kilometers per day until over 1.5 years old. Any running and playing that they are doing on their own in your yard is safe and they will generally regulate themselves.

Walking your puppy on leash, you can start with 10 minutes at a time at 8 weeks old, then move up to 20 to 30min at a time by 6 months old, then working up to 45 minutes to 1 hour at a time by 12 months old. By, 1.5 years old, as long as you have done it gradually, you should be able to walk as much as you and your dog are able to sustain. This means watching for your dogs cues to see if they are tired.

Swimming is a learned skill and should be done gradually over time. Let puppies regulate themselves swimming wise until they are 1.5 years old and can start doing more competitive based swimming, if that is something you are interested in. We also recommend the use of a life jacket for puppies.

Playing with other dogs is something that we recommend your puppy does. You want to first make sure that the other dog is a well behaved dog, as your puppy is learning everything good and bad from the dogs around them. This means that having a well behaved dog around is a great resource, but a poorly behaved dogs can cause more problems then help. Another plus to having another dog around is to help exercise your puppy. This kind of play can wear off some energy off the puppy and provide for some healthy exercise, but try to not let your puppy overdo it as well. You can limit this kind of play as you see your puppy getting tired and overstimulated. Generally, I limit continuous puppy play to 15 to 30 min until they are 6 months old and slowly increase that time to 1 hour by 1 year old. Then after that regulate the same as you would walking based on tiredness level.

Tugging/Pulling games are something that we in general don’t love. I know I will get mixed opinions on this one and some trainers love them. I find that they encourage rough play and that ends up with puppies that are wanting to bite and pull at your clothes, etc. This is one of those things that if done correctly can be okay, but generally for most families, just causes issues.

So in summary, my personal opinion is that you should avoid activities that put a lot of repetitive impact on the developing joints, to avoid causing joint issues in puppies. This means limiting repetitive things like jumping on and off things, agility, fast jogging, stairs and exercises that have a lot of quick turning movements. Any natural play in your yard that they do on their own, should be encouraged unless they look like they are tired. Regular, low impact exercise is healthy and good for puppies.

Ultimately, it is important that you get a puppy that comes from fully health tested parents, with Hip, elbows and patellas at minimum tested to help them have the healthiest joints genetically possible. Then you need to provide an environment that does not cause any issues with the joints by causing damage as they are growing. While you are avoiding damaging exercise, you need to focus on low impact, consistent exercise that keeps your puppy fit and healthy. This will also include having a well balanced diet and not allowing your puppy to get overweight because, the worst thing that you can do for a puppy health wise is to allow them to become overweight.

*These are all our personal opinions based on years of research we have done on our own. We always recommend to speak to your own veterinarian and your breeder for exercise that makes the most sense for your specific breed. Most of this is using common sense and watching your puppies cues.*

My Doodle/Poodle doesn’t eat in the morning? Or doesn’t eat enough? Should I change their food?

This is a question I have gotten many times. The story I am told usually goes something like this:

People notice that as their puppy gets closer to adulthood, their eating changes. They notice that the puppy starts not eating their morning meal at all or they start eating less than they used to and they start to worry. Often families will start adding things to their food here and there to encourage eating. They will often add human food or treats or other things that the puppy/dog will definitely eat. This works for a while and they eat that with their food. Then they notice that the dog starts only picking out the extras that they added and leaving the dog food. This is when the family decides that they don’t like their food, so they want to change the food. This also works for a while, but then the cycle repeats and they end up changing foods several times over the lifetime of the dog.

Now, we completely understand where families are coming from by doing this. They are only doing what they think is best for their dog, but they are actually creating a picky eater and/or potentially causing a weight issue in their dogs, which comes with a lot of health issues.

Dogs that have Poodle in them very commonly as they age don’t eat in the mornings. My 6 year old Poodle often doesn’t eat until afternoon or evening on many days. This is actually a very normal and even healthy thing for a dog and especially a breed like Poodles that is not food oriented typically. Poodles also tend to eat less than many other breeds and we find that many people that have our Doodles often had a breed previously that was a big eater and feel like Poodle/Doodles should eat a lot more than what they actually need.

When you start adding things that are not as healthy or not as well balanced as their regular food, it is like giving candy to your child and expecting them to eat their vegetables. No child is going to pass up candy for vegetables typically. Puppies often go through growth spurts and there will be many times where they eat more one week and a lot less the next week. If you don’t want to be switching your dogs food multiple times and having them on treats and other things that are not as well balanced as their food, then the best thing is to just keep offering the food and not stressing about how much they are eating, unless they are showing obvious signs of loosing weight. A dog will not starve themselves, they will however be very stubborn and not eat for a few days to see what they can get away with with you 😉 Remember Poodles and Doodles often outsmart their owners, don’t be that owner, haha. There are some cases when a food change is needed and there is definitely not one food that is good for all dogs, but more often than not food changes end up happening due to the owners creating the issue.

On another note, many families feel like their dog is under weight when they in fact are a perfect weight. Remember that just like human athletes, you should be able to feel all your dogs ribs, if you can’t feel them, they are overweight and being overweight is probably the single most unhealthy thing you can do to your dog. If your dog is on a healthy food and not treats and human food, it is very, very rare for them to ever get overweight. But, let’s leave telling if your dog is overweight for another blog another time… As always, if you have one of our puppies, you can always reach out for advice any time!

Remember to snuggle up that sweet dog of yours tonight and tell them you love them 🙂

Socializing in the time of COVID-19

I have had a lot of questions about socializing during this time of social isolation. We always tell our puppy families how important it is to spend time exposing your puppy to as many things as possible, particularly in the first 4 months of life. But, what do we do when we are not allowed to do these things during a pandemic?

Let’s start with the things that we still can do:

You can still expose your puppy to lots of stimulus around your home, such as different sounds, flooring types and other surfaces, different day to day items, people, animals, car rides, vet visits, etc. you just might have to modify how you do these.

We live in a time of having so many devices at our finger tips, while there are down sides to this, there are great aspects for socializing your puppy to sounds. Before our puppies even leave here, we will put on thunder storm sounds, different stations of music, jungle sounds, highway sounds, sounds of children, etc. through out the day as background sound. It is also important to note that no sounds at all is important for them to have at times too. We personally use ‘Alexa’ our echo dot, but there are many other devices you can use as well for this.

Different flooring or other surfaces is great exposure and you should be able to achieve this still. Take your puppy onto the different flooring types in your home both on leash and on their own. Also bring your puppy outside to different surfaces. Grass, pavement, loose rocks, sand, water, rubber track, whatever you can get near on your daily walks is all great exposure. Uneven (but safe) surfaces are also great exposure. Exposing your puppy to as much of this as possible also builds confidence going into new situations.

You can also use these technique for things that they will see when in public. Things like bicycles, motorcycles, cars, vans, rakes, shovels, gardening tools, leaves, sticks, balls, frisbees, ropes, lawn mowers, tractors, basketballs and other kids sports equipment or anything else you can think of.

People are an important thing for a puppy to get socialized with. It is good for your puppy to see people of all different ages and looks. While you cannot socialize with people outside your household right now in many areas, you can still go on walks and using proper social distancing can still expose them to people from a distance. You can also use the people in your home to help with certain things. For instance socializing puppies to people with baseball hats on, sunglasses on, different jackets, footwear, beards and other facial hair (I mean why not grow your beard if you are bored during this time 😉 ). You can also sit in your front lawn and watch people and vehicles go by during the day. We realize some of these things are harder to do, but you can definitely get creative with it and your puppy will get more exposure.

Animals are another important aspect of socializing. We recommend that you should expose a puppy to as many other (fully vaccinated, well behaved) dogs as possible during especially the first 4 months (and beyond) of their life. We say fully vaccinated because your puppy during this time is not fully vaccinated and safety that way needs to come first. Only expose them to fully vaccinated dogs, that also don’t frequent places where many unvaccinated dogs go. But, it is also important to note that anything a puppy is exposed to during their critical development time is going to affect them in a large way long term. This means good experiences are great, but bad experiences are really not good during this time. It is worse to expose them to a very badly behaved dog that will potentially give them a bad experience, then no experience at all. But, good experiences with other dogs is good and the more they are exposed to other dogs, cats and other small (or big) animals the better. You may not be able to go visit your neighbour or family members dogs, but you are still able to go on walks where you might see other dogs from a distance. You also can get creative and go for a hike somewhere where you know there are lots of squirrels, chipmunks and other little animals that are also good to get some exposure. If you live near farm land, you can walk past a farmers fields (on the side of the road) and your puppy can see the livestock from a distance. While all these things are not completely what we would want during this time of development, it is better then nothing.

Car rides are one area that shouldn’t be affected as much. We still recommend taking your puppy for as many car rides as possible. Puppies getting sick in the car is most often anxiety and not motion sickness. You want to make the car ride a fun experience, so that there is no anxiety associated with it. This can be by giving a treat or lots of praise when going for a ride and starting with short trips and working your way to longer car rides.

You can even come up with a substitute vet clinic for you puppy, where you put them onto a table and check their ears, lift their paws, etc. to try to simulate seeing the vet. Same goes for grooming. You can put your puppy up on a table and use an electric toothbrush to simulate the vibration of the clippers on their skin. We also recommend bathing and blowdrying your puppy regularly to get them used to this.

You can still focus on crate training, leash training, recall training, basic commands and obedience training. These are all things that should be started very early and worked on regularly. One of the perks of being home much more right now, is being able to spend the extra time working on these things with your new puppy. Recall training especially should be started very young. We start it before they even leave our home and this is a great time to start because puppies naturally want to be close to you, but as they get older and more curious about other things, this is a skill you want them to already know.

It is all about exposure and making it a positive experience each time. Your puppy should be excited to check out something new, knowing good things come from those new things. You can do this by giving them a treat or praise each time they learn something new or experience something new. You will be building a confident puppy through all these experiences.

On top of all of these things, we also recommend getting in touch with a trainer. A trainer is always something we recommend anytime you get a new puppy. We understand that in person trainers are not possible right now, but many trainers are offering online versions of training and we also highly recommend Baxter & Bella training program which is all online and they are trainers that focus on positive reinforcement training and also are well qualified to teach as well.

 

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As always, if you have any questions for us, we are always available to talk anytime. Getting a puppy during this time can be challenging socialization wise, but there are many perks to it right now too.

Take Home Day Information

There are many things that we go over on take home day for our puppies. I wanted to get all of this down in writing what our take home day protocols are and everything we go over, so families could reference it all again as needed.

Crate Training:

All our puppies are used to sleeping in their crates all night in their own individual crates. We find that this makes their transition to their new homes much more smooth, as they are used to sleeping in their own individual crates already, so the crate in their new home will be an easy transition, instead of everything being new all at once. That being said they can still see their littermates in the crates next to them, so there will still be a transition period in their new homes.

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What we recommend for starting crate training off on the right foot is first making sure that the crate is set up properly. You will start this by getting a crate that is the right size. To do this you would take the approximate size that we expect your puppy to be as an adult and find that size, then get the size up from that. So, for example, if you expect your puppy to be 30lbs full grown and the crates are rated for 25 to 40lbs and 40 to 55lbs, I would recommend the 40 to 55lb crate. The reason for this is that crates are a safety measure for our puppies, as well as a huge help for potty training. We like the crates with dividers so that we can block off a portion of the crate so that the puppies don’t feel like they have too much space and potty on one side of the crate while sleeping on the other side of the crate, but once they are fully potty trained it is still important that they still use their crates when not being supervised, so that they do not get into anything that they could hurt themselves with. But, these dogs love to stretch out and use up space in their crates and if they are fully potty trained I like to see them have some extra room to stretch out.

We set up the crate by putting the crate in your home ideally where you want to have it long term. For many this is the livingroom, but this can vary depending on the family. We first adjust the crate by installing the divider. When putting the puppy into the crate, the divider should touch the puppy’s nose and the door should touch the puppy’s bum. This makes sure there is not too much room for the puppy to potty in the crate, as puppies naturally do not want to potty where they are sleeping, so if there is only enough room to sleep, they will not potty in their crates. Once the divider is installed in the right place, we use a crate mat that is designed for the full size of the crate and slide it under the divider, so that it is on both sides. Then we take the blanket that is sent home in the puppy packages and put it on the side that the puppy will sleep on. The blanket smells like their littermates and is a comfort during this transition. Once the blanket is laid down, we get out the snuggle puppy that is also in the puppy package. The snuggle puppy comes with heat packs and a monitor that makes a heart beat sound. I activate the heat pack and the heart beat sound and put them in the pocket of the snuggle puppy, making sure that the velcro is sealed good keeping them inside the snuggle puppy. Then place the snuggle puppy on one side of the side of the crate that the puppy will be sleeping on. The snuggle puppy serves a couple purposes. Not only does it bring comfort to the puppy by having something warm with a heart beat next to them, that they can snuggle with, but it also takes up some space in the crate, as many of the larger crates can still have too much space even with the divider installed. Puppies should only have enough space to turn around and lay down until they are potty trained.

Once the crate is set up, then we go through their bedtime routine. The puppies are used to getting their food and water taken away approximately 2.5hrs before they go into their crate at night. We do this because at this age they have very small bladders, etc. and cannot hold it for very long without going potty if they have just eaten or drank. It would not be fair to them to be in the crate all night if they need to potty, so we always make sure to take food and water away and after that make sure they have one good stool and two good pees before they go to bed that night. Once it is bedtime, we shake the NuVet vitamin bottle and most of our puppies are to the point that they know what the NuVet vitamin is and will head towards their crate. I use this as a training time and get them to sit in their crate and give them the NuVet vitamin. They love their NuVet vitamin as a treat, so this not only helps them nutritionally, but it also makes the crate a positive experience because they are getting something that they love when they go into it. The NuVet vitamin is a large wafer though, so I do recommend breaking it up into a few pieces to give to the puppies. Once I give them the vitamin, I close the door to the crate and walk away for the night. It is very normal for them to whimper the first couple nights for a few minutes. I always tell families if they do, to just ignore it. If they don’t stop and get more worked up, you can go back into the room and what I do is put my fingers just inside the crate and let the puppy lean against my hand and talk to them very quietly, until they settle down and go back to sleep, then again, I get up and walk away. I never let them out of the crate though. This breed of dog is very, very intelligent. This is a wonderful trait for training them to do new things, but it can also be a trait that makes it hard on you if you are not consistent with them, as they easily learn how to manipulate you. If you let them out of their crate at the first sign of whimpering, they will quickly learn that the more they whimper and cry, the quicker they can get out of the crate and each night will only get harder for you, as they will continue to cry and get worse. Having a little bit of tough love the first few nights goes a long ways.

Our puppies are used to going into their crates at between 10:30 and 11:00PM and getting out of their crates between 6:00 and 7:00AM. But, they will easily adjust to your schedule. This is the schedule they are used to because this is our schedule here.

Potty Training:

When potty training we always recommend taking the puppies outside to potty train. We have many families ask if they should transition using the litter training method we use here, but by the time they leave our home they are ready to go outside right away. If you were to use litter in your home, it would prolong the potty training time needed.

We use the litter boxes to teach the puppies to go potty in one place, not where they eat, sleep and play. They will be doing this consistently when they go to their new homes. What you are going to do is translate that to a spot in your yard is now the litter box and your home is the eating, sleeping and playing area.

The best way to get a head start on potty training is to be very consistent from the start. Set a timer for every 45 minutes for the first couple days to go out to potty, so there won’t be any accidents. Then keep extending this time as the puppy is consistent and doesn’t have accidents. Take the puppy to the same place in your yard everytime. They are very scent oriented and if their scent is already there, they will be more likely to use that spot and go potty faster. Don’t make the mistake of picking the spot right next to the step while they are little. I understand that it isn’t a problem when they are a puppy, but when they are older, you will not want them pottying next to the step. Pick a spot you want them to go to long term, even if that means clearing a path through the snow.

Never discipline for accidents, this often just makes things worse and causes more accidents. Just clean the accident up, ideally with something that gets rid of any scent. When they do potty where they are supposed to, always praise them lots and make it a positive experience. This is a breed that catches on quickly, but you want everyone in the house to be consistent.

Another good idea while potty training a young puppy is to roll up all your area rugs. No matter how well we clean rugs, there is always an odor to them and puppies pick up on that. Your rug will be the first place they potty on.

Bell training is also a great practice that we highly recommend.

Puppies Current Schedule: 

The puppies are used to eating three times per day. We feed them 7AM, 1PM and 6:30PM typically, but there is always residual in between feedings. We intentionally fee the puppies all together to try to ward off any kind of food aggression. Puppies should be willing to share their food and have it taken away or put down with ease at any time.

We actually are not stuck on a routine feeding schedule here. Our adult dogs are on completely free choice all day. While this is more difficult for potty training, our puppies potty train so fast, that we don’t generally worry about that too much. You would be able to easily stick to the three meals a day or go to free choice. Decide what makes the most sense for your family situation.

As long as they are used to free choice from a young age and are on a healthy food like TLC Pet Food, free choice is a healthy option. The only thing that would change me feeding this way is if there was another dog in the home that had to be on a different food for some reason or if the dog started to become overweight, as there is nothing more detrimental for a dog health wise then to be overweight. Remember that a human athlete has ribs showing, you should also be able to feel a healthy dogs ribs.

We have many families ask how much to feed their puppy. There is a great calculator on TLC Pet Food’s website. Check it out here: https://www.tlcpetfood.com/dogfood/#calculator This gives a general idea of how much to feed per day, but I would stress to families that it is important to not stick to this strictly, as puppies go through growth spurts and one week they might eat a lot more than another week. If they are easily eating all you give, feel free to give them a bit more. Puppies on a healthy food are not going to be a problem, having a little extra.

Microchip Form:

All our puppies come microchipped. There will be a form to fill out. We will need your contact information and an emergency contacts information as well. Your emergency contact should be someone that you are close to, but has a different email and phone number then you do and ideally not someone you travel with often. The company will contact you first, if they can’t get a hold of you they will contact your emergency contact, then after that they will contact me. All three names are on the form.

The microchips are paid for and registered, they just need your contact info to be added to them.

Health Booklet:

Every puppy will come with a health booklet. There will be multiple things in this booklet you will need. In the center pocket you will find your microchip tag and an extra copy of the microchip number (This number can also be found on the top of the microchip carbon copy that will go home with you, as well as the front of the health booklet). On the front page will be your puppies information including name, birthdate, colour, etc. When you go to the next page, you will see the deworming dates when we gave the puppy Strongid T and the fecal test dates and the results of those tests. You will also see noted the date the puppy was given their first dose of Revolution. When you go to the next page, you will see the vaccine record. It will show all what was included in the first vaccine for your vets record. It will also show the health exam, which will state the date of the exam, the weight of the puppy at time of exam and the health exam results. My vet does all our health exams, microchips and vaccines. For the health exam she checks for things like making sure their bite is correct, ear infections, heart murmurs, luxating patellas, hernias and making sure both testicles are down on the males and more. If everything is good, it will be noted as ‘healthy’ under that section. If there was anything to note, she would also note that there.

On the last page of the booklet will be the vaccine schedule. We currently recommend that your puppy gets a booster at 12 weeks, second booster at 16 weeks, as well as rabies. We are also currently recommending the Lyme vaccine in our area at 12 weeks, with the booster at 16 weeks. The lyme vaccine will depend on your area and I would consult with your veterinarian to determine if that is the right course of action for your area.

Ear Care:

All floppy eared dogs are prone to ear infections. Also breeds that tend to shed less, also tend to get more hair in their ears. This hair needs to be plucked out of the ears for this reason or it blocks air movement from getting into the ear when it needs to dry out. The nerve endings in the ear are not as sensitive as the rest of the body and the hair pulls out easily, so you can just stick your fingers in their ear and pull the hairs out with your fingers. This is something I have already spent time practicing with your puppy. While there is not as much to pull out at this age, we do take time to handle their ears, putting our fingers in their ears and gently pulling the hairs out, to get them used to the feeling. This is not natural for the puppies, so it is important to take the time in the critical socializing window while they are young to desensitize them to this.

When you get your puppy, check out their ears right away. I will have already pulled the hair out of the ears and checked for ear infections. The ear canal should be a nice, healthy pink colour and should not have a strong odor to it. You typically will notice an odor before you see the ear infection, as it smells bad. When you look in the ear canal, you will notice dark substances in the ear. It is normal for a puppy to get some dirt around the ear from play, but it is when it is in the ear canal, that you worry more. There are great ear cleaners out there that you can use for regular maintenance like this one from NuVet Labs: https://www.nuvetlabs.com/order_new2/ear-cleaner.asp. But, if your dog has an actual ear infection, you can go to your veterinarian and treat it easily. Most often we see dogs that play in the water having more ear infections. It is not something to stress about, but just to watch for and treat accordingly.

Socializing:

Socializing your puppy especially in the first 16 weeks is so important. There are many things that you should take the time to socialize them to.

  1. Car rides: Take them on as many car rides as you can. Car sickness for dogs is more often anxiety than anything. They need to get used to the feeling of the vibration of the car. We take them on car rides here before they leave and we recommend you continue this after they leave. Even if it is a small car ride around the block.
  2. Other dogs: We highly recommend socializing puppies with other dogs. There are a few things you need to make sure are in place first though. You want all their experiences to be good at this age because each experience will shape them a lot while they are young. So, make sure that the other dogs are well mannered dogs, also make sure that they are fully vaccinated until your puppy is past it’s core puppy vaccines. This also means staying away from a dog that is vaccinated itself, but frequents places where unvaccinated dogs are (like Pet Smart and Pet Parks). If the dog is fully vaccinated, doesn’t frequent near unvaccinated dogs and is well mannered, then the more socializing the better.
  3. Other animals: It is important that your puppy meets other animals beside dogs too. Bring them to visit your relative with a cat or any other small animal, so they learn to be gentle while they are young. It also helps to expose them to large animals too.
  4. People of all ages, heights, builds, gender, clothing type (glasses, hats, etc.): The more people you can socialize them with the better. Puppies should get used to all different types of people and be able to greet any of them easily. Go out of your way to socialize as much as possible. For example, if you don’t have children, make a point to visit your friend with kids and bring your puppy with you.
  5. Water: These dogs love water typically, but if you don’t socialize them in their first year to water, some of them could be more reluctant.
  6. Different surfaces: Take your puppy to places with different surfaces to walk on. Different flooring types, rocky areas, paved areas, grassy areas, etc.
  7. New things: Expose puppies to everything you can, trucks, cars, four wheelers, bikes, lawn tractors, vaccuums, garden tools, garbage/grocery bags, boats, etc. Basically anything you can think of and particularily things you will want them to be around long term. If you are an avid boater and want them to join you on the boat in the summers, take the time to socialize them to the boat young. Again, always make sure as best you can that these are positive experiences as well.

There are many things that are important skills while your puppy is young to start off on the right foot.

  1. Recall training: Your puppy naturally wants to be close to you when they go home. This is a great time to work on recall training. We start this hear and recommend you keep up with this and work diligently with it. Having a puppy come to you when you call them is probably the most important skill I think they should have. It is a safety thing and easy enough to teach if you start young. We will have one person on one side of the house sit down with the puppy and another person on the other side and say ‘Fido (insert puppy name), come’. You can start with treats, but then work it into praise instead. Keep going back and forth and praising them lots. Make the space bigger inbetween you and everntually move this outside and get further and further apart. If the puppy is stubborn and not always listening, you can get a long training leash (30ft is what we often use) and call them and if they don’t come right away, use the training leash to guide them to you. Praise and repeat. Spending time working on recall now will be a huge life saver later.
  2. Leash training: Your puppy will pick up leash training quickly while they are young. If you wait until they are older to leash train, when they are big enough to pull you around, you will have a lot more work on your hands. Take the time while they are young to focus on proper leash training and not pulling.
  3. Crate training: Follow the guidelines above and be consistent.

Flea and Tick Preventatives: 

All our puppies go home with one dose of Revolution. We have used Revolution for years and really like it and haven’t had any issues with it. It also is a heart worm preventative. There are many other products on the market, but be cautious as many are more harsh and can have high incidence of side effects. Consult your veterinarian about the right preventative for you. Revolution because it has heart worm meds in it is prescription only, so you will need to get it from a licensed veterinarian. We give Revolution on a monthly basis from when the snow starts to melt in the spring, until the snow stays on the ground in the fall/winter.

Ticks are something that is very regional, so something that I recommend talking to your local veterinarian about. In our area we did not have to worry about ticks 5 years ago and now they are an issues, so we use both fleas and tick preventative and give our dogs the lyme vaccine. This could be different depending on the region you live in.

Books we send home:

We send home a training book called ‘The Puppy Primer by Patricia McConnell’. We love this book, as it is all based on positive reinforcement training and falls closely in line with how we raise our puppies, plus it is easy to read for any reading level, so children can be involved and look things up as well. It has a great quick reference table of content for many different issues that could come up with raising a puppy. We highly recommend you use this as a resource.

We also send home a booklet called ‘Puppy Fitness That Fits The Puppy by Jane Messineo Lindquist’. We have had a couple times in the past where we have had families that have don things like take their 6 months old puppy to high level agility work at 6 months old or went jogging for 10 kilometers with their 8 months old puppy. We can do all the health testing in the world on our dogs joints and you could cause damage to those joints purely by over exercising them at too young of an age. It is important for a puppy to get exercise and stay fit, but there needs to be some guidelines and moderation of this. This booklet is great, going through each age and what is appropriate at that age. I would say for this breed that this book is a little on the conservative side and you probably could do a little more than what it is recommending, but it is the best booklet I have found with great guidelines for families to follow.

NuVet Vitamins and TLC Pet Food: 

I would like to take a minute to talk about both NuVet and TLC Pet Food. I highly recommend both. All my dogs are on NuVet and it is the only vitamin supplement that is FDA approved and is human grade, meeting a very high standard in its testing. This is why we have chosen this supplement over all the other supplements that you see out there. Those other supplements simply do not have enough testing behind them to be reliable and I am not willing to risk them with my dogs. I will extend our 2 year health guarantee to 3 years, if you use NuVet vitamins. 

Also, I have used a few different foods over the years and have primarily stuck with grain free foods due to the fact that most food that contain grain, use grain that are essentially fillers and have no benefit to the dogs. But, I was always reluctant with going completely grain free due to the fact that dogs when you remove grains all together can build up an intolerance to them. I just was not happy with the ingredients in most foods that weren’t grain free. After a recall in the food we were using, I went on a search for a high quality food again. This time I found a food that not only was natural and not full of fillers, but did have some grain in them that aids with digestion, but also has a great balance of quality meats, animal fats, vitamins and minerals. It is a very well balanced food and my dogs love it. TLC Pet Foods delivers directly to your doorstep for FREE, offering automatic shipping according to your puppy’s unique eating habits at no additional charge. They will ship anywhere and the bag is very reasonably priced. I recommend the puppy food for the first 7 to 8 months. It is the same formula, but with a slightly higher fat content, that aids in brain development for your new puppy as they grow. There will be a $5 coupon that I send in an email to all the families and will also go into the bag you take home. I also send a sample pack of the TLC biscuit. I really like this biscuit and recommend it, as it is a healthier alternative to many others, but just like any treat, it should be used in moderation. It is large and should be broken in 8 or so pieces. Then just use it when you are teaching a new skill to the puppies. Once you have used treats a couple times and the puppies know the skill, it is okay to use praise after that. This breed responds well to praise, jsut as much as treats. 

Bite inhibition:

We have been working on bite inhibition with your puppy already. They are teething right now and it is important for you to be consistent with not allowing biting. A puppy should never be biting a human. I know that when they are puppy that it isn’t something that bothers most people, but that little puppy, will turn into a bigger dog and play biting will not be okay later. It is so important to sit down and have a family meeting to go over the house rules for training a puppy and make sure that everyone is on the same page, this will mean using the same commands when training, but this will also mean that nobody allows the puppy to bite them, even in play. You need to think about the fact that the puppy does not understand that he can bite at you, but not the toddler next door. This also means you don’t instigate rough play with your puppy.

The first thing we do to teach your puppy bite inhibition is to keep them until they are 8 weeks old. This allows them time to play with their littermates longer and understand that when I bite my brother, he yelps and I better stop because that hurts.

After that, in your home, the number one thing we want you to do when your puppy is biting is redirect with appropriate toys. Your puppy should have a large array of toy to chew on. They are teething and will need to chew on something. So, every time they try to chew on you, give them a toy instead. When redirecting does not work as well, keep continuing with it, but also you can make sure to not give your puppy any attention when they are biting. Redirect and if they are persistent, walk away. Turn your back on them and give no attention at all. Sometimes if you are verbal with them or get worked up it turns into a fun game for them and that is not what we want. Using these methods generally work with most puppies, but they will only work if everyone is on the same page.

Children can sometimes make it hard to be consistent. We understand this. We have children and our children have grown up with puppies and we still have to be on top of them all the time with sticking to the rules, especially when the puppies are young. You aren’t alone and it can sometimes be hard, but it is worth the effort. Make it fun and have family meetings to go over puppy training.

Jumping up:

We have been working on teaching the puppies to not jump up. The biggest thing we do is to not pet them when they are jumping up. When they sit and wait for us, we praise those puppies and the rest of the puppies quickly learn the rules and obey them as well. This is another thing to be really consistent with and the puppies learn quickly. Often puppies will be great with their family, but will jump up on guests. Try to find guests that are willing to help you with you puppy and tell them to do things the way you do, so the puppy learns quickly that they need to listen, even with new people as well.

Parasites:

Before your puppy leaves our home, they will have been given Strongid T. We will also do two fecal tests to verify if they have parasites or not. We do two because it is possible to miss something in one fecal, but highly unlikely to miss something in two fecals. Generally we do these at 6 weeks and 7 weeks old. If for any reason the puppy is not clear of parasites, we will do additional deworming. We don’t however treat for anything above and beyond the Strongid T treatments, unless something comes up in their fecal. We don’t feel the necessity to give puppies dewormer unless they need it. We use Strongid T primarily for roundworms, as many puppies have these when they are born.

Chances are in your puppy’s lifetime, you will deal with parasites/protozoas at some point. They are very easy to pick up in the environment and puppies put their mouths on everything and most dogs can’t resist a stagnant puddle of water, even though they have perfectly clean water at home. Parasites are just part of owning a pet. The best way to watch for them is to watch your dogs stools. Stools should be nice and cylindrical. Once they start to loose their shape, just take a sample into your veterinarian and they will test it, tell you if there are parasites or not and give you meds to treat accordingly. It is very easy to get rid of and nothing to stress about.

On another note, I always recommend to families to watch your dogs stools, as this can often be the first indication of something wrong.

 

 

Straight Coated Goldendoodles!

Straight coats are a topic that keeps coming up more and more. Straight coats genetically have no curl gene on the Cu Locus. Straight coats are very different from improper coats (some people use the term flat coats). Straight coats just leave no curl in the coat. Improper coats have no long hair on their face (No furnishings). For the purposes of this discussion we will assume that these dogs have at least one furnishing gene (Ff or FF), which will give the traditional furnished Goldendoodle look.

The main topic of discussion on straight coats is the natural variation that we see in different breeds that are all FFCuCu or FfCuCu (atleast one furnishing gene and no curl gene).

Here is the example of a Bearded Collie, which is FFCuCu. In the Bearded Collie breed they have full furnishings just like Goldendoodles that are FFCuCu but their coat is almost completely straight with no curl gene.

beardedcollie

 

In contrast here are a bunch of examples of FFCuCu Goldendoodles:

Multigen Goldendoodle Owned by Red Spring Farm, bred by Goldendoodle Acres

Multigen Goldendoodle Owned by Shaw Spring’s Canines

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Multigen Goldendoodle Owned by Jacquard Goldendoodles

Multigen Goldendoodles Owned by Beyond Bliss Doodles

Straight Coated Goldendoodles Owned by Farmer Doodles

Straight Coated Goldendoodles Owned by Fox Creek Farm

Straight Coated Goldendoodles Owned by Silver Creek Doodles
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Straight Coated Goldendoodle Owned by Suwanee Goldendoodles

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Straight Coated Goldendoodle Owned by Goldendoodles by Ellie

Straight Coated Goldendoodles Owned by Cedar Lake Doodles

Straight Coated Goldendoodles Owned by Goldendoodle Acres

As you can see from all these Goldendoodles there is definitely more curl than you see in the Bearded Collie even though genetically they will test out as the same based on the available testing that we have.  This tells me that there are obviously more genes that affect curl than the one that we are able to test for now. Until we can test for those genes, we need to rely on the ones that we have now.

There are many respected breeders that are intentionally breeding straight coats together to get less curly coats. Most straight coats in a Goldendoodles look very much like a wavy coat, with many people unable to tell the difference just by looking at them. There are also some that have a more obvious straight coat but as of yet, I have not seen any that have even close to as straight of a coat as the Bearded Collie for example. If you are wanting to not have any curly coats in your Goldendoodles, this is one way to achieve that look. By having at least one parent that is straight coated, so you get all straight coats or wavy coats, but no curly coats.

At the end of the day though this is all in personal preference. There are breeders that want all straight coats, breeders that want all wavy coats and breeders that want all curly coats and then many that love the variety. Straight coats and the variation within them are very interesting and it is a useful tool when it comes to breeding for certain coat types, but is very much a personal preference either way.

It is important to note that many think that curl directly connects with shedding. We see through many different examples in other breeds where there is no shedding but also no curl that this does not seem to be the case. We see many straight coated dogs that do not shed and get low shedding scores when tested. From everything we know at this moment, the Furnishings gene and shedding locus has a much larger affect on shedding.

HELP!!! What Generation Chart Do I Use?

There are so many different generation charts out there and every breeder seems to call each generation something different. This can be confusing and when there isn’t any consistency it can be misleading using a lot of these labels.

I think what we really need to start with as breeders is identifying what are goals are as breeders. My personal goal as a Goldendoodle breeder is to produce a dog with the stockier build of the Golden Retriever, with the the intelligence of the Poodle and more laid back temperament of the Golden Retriever. Also, long term I hope to have all my dogs have two furnishing genes, like the Poodle, but maintain a combination of wavy coats and loose curly coats. These goals are going to be slightly different for each breeder, but you will find the majority of breeders of Goldendoodles are looking for something along these lines.

One thing everyone can agree on is the first few generations, as follows:

F1 = Golden Retriever bred to a Poodle

F1b = F1 bred to a Poodle

F1bb = F1b bred to a Poodle

F2 = F1 bred to another F1

After the F2 generation there is debate on how to move forward with proper terminology. 

There is a field of thought that we should use proper Mendelian genetics for naming each generation. This would go by the theory that each generation is characterised by one number higher than the parent breeds lowest generation. Ex. F2 to F2 = F3, but also F2b to F1 = F2, F7 to F1 = F2, F3b to F1b = F2, while this works genetically, this was used to identify inheritance of genes and was used with a model of breedings siblings together to identify genes. So a true F1 bred to another F1 producing F2’s would be siblings bred together to produce second generation offspring (F2), which is not what we want to do when breeding. I also feel with the amount of backcrossing to a Poodle that goes on in Goldendoodles would actually make this type of charting not helpful and can in some ways be misleading. 

The other train of thought is to do generations using an algebraic method. By doing this an F1b to F1 = F2b, F2b to F1 = F3b, F3b to F1b = Multigen, etc. The problem with this method is it is not correct filial labeling either and we as breeders don’t want to put things our there that are genetically wrong.

I suggest that we do neither of these methods! Our focus needs to be less on specific generation and more on structure, temperament and DNA’d coat type to make future decision on what to breed to. Genes don’t work on a straight percentage basis. You will get some F1b’s that have taken on a lot of Poodle traits and some F1b’s that have taken on a lot of Golden Retriever traits. We need to sit down with each breeding dog and evaluate all their traits and what we feel they have taken after more to make proper breeding decisions. We also need to DNA test each breeding dog for coat traits, such as Furnishings and Curl (Can also do Shedding locus if wanted). 

If I have an F1b that is long and lean and has a curly coat, that tests as two curl genes and two furnishing genes​, we know that this dog has taken on more Poodle traits than Golden Retriever traits, so making a decision to breed the dog to a Poodle, would not be a wise decision when you are striving for specific breeding goals.

My proposition for deciding on what generation to breed a dog to is to have an evaluation of each dog you wish to breed. Many breeders make these decisions based on mathematical generation and emotional attachment to their dogs. We need to take the emotional attachment away to make objective decisions. Then we need to look at the strengths and weaknesses of each individual dog and pair them with a mate that complements them based on structure, temperament and coat traits.

***Note: This is purely a discussion on breeding generations. We assume in all breeding decision that we are always making sure that each individual dog has passed their health testing thoroughly and is conformationally sound before any breeding every takes place. 

 

The first 8 weeks of puppy life at Kent Family Farms

Newborn puppies are born in our Durawhelp Boxes and raised there for the first 3 to 4 weeks depending on the litter. We usually have our whelping bed in either our bedroom or in our office. This is strategic because it is important for the Dam to have privacy from the other dogs when her puppies are this small, so that nobody gets hurt, but both of these places are places where the puppies still get a lot of interaction as well. We start a lot of socialization at this age as well, including ENS at 3 days old.

Key things in the first few weeks as far as set up are:

Good whelping bed pads:

We always prioritize the type of footing we have in our whelping beds. We personally use durawhelp pads. These pads offer good traction for our puppies, which should lower the environmental factors contributing to Hip Dysplasia and other joint issues due to it not letting the puppies slip constantly when they are learning to get their feet underneath them. We know that joint issues are not all genetic, so we want to give our puppies the best start possible by making sure that the environmental factors are minimized. We have seen a huge difference in the time that it takes for a litter of puppies to learn to walk and get their feet underneath them with this pad as well. It also is highly absorbant, so the puppies always remain dry and clean. Another great feature is that it has velcro on the corners so that it is harder for the Dam to pull the bedding up and potentially bury a puppy.

Puppy rail: 

Puppy rails are important to minimize the risk of the puppies getting accidently laid on by their mom. The rail leaves just enough room for a puppy to get behind mom in the event she lays down close to the edge of the bed.

Toys:

Toys are introduced once their eyes are all open. They don’t pay much attention to the toys at first as eating is usually more the focus at that age, but we introduce new toys regularly to get them use to new stimuli all the time.

Puppy Pads:

I use puppy pads from two weeks old until they move to the bigger playpen between 3 and 4 weeks old. The puppy pads provide a place for the puppies to learn to go to one side of the pen to pee and not just pee anywhere they want. The puppy pads usually take up about 1/3 of the whelping bed at this point. This gets them ready to move on to the pine pellet litter boxes.

Weighing Puppies:

A very important part of raising puppies is to take their weight regularly. We weigh our puppies daily for the first week, then weekly after that. Then we chart their weights based on previous litters. This first helps us to know that each puppy is getting enough from their mom’s milk because they are gaining each day. If they are not gaining sufficient weight we will make sure they get additional time on their mom and if needed supplement them. We also use these weights as they get older to give an estimate of adult size. Through carefully comparing their weight to their littermates week to week, plus what other puppies in previous litters weights were at that age and then compared to adult weight, plus considering the parents weights and grandparents weights, we give our best estimate of adult weight. Unfortunately, we can never guarantee any adult weight. Most of the time this method works, but weights can vary drastically in a litter.

One of our girls in her whelping bed.

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Set up once the puppies are walking around on their own.

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Transitioning to the bigger play pen:

Once the puppies are 3.5 weeks old (or between 3 and 4 weeks old depending on the litter) we transition them to the bigger puppy playpen area. This area is in our livingroom, which is just off our kitchen/dining room area. So it is a busy part of our house that make the puppies a big part of everything that goes on in our house.

Litter Box:

All of our puppies will be introduced to a litter box. We use litter boxes to teach the puppies that it is best to go in one place to potty and that place is not near your sleeping area, play area or eating area. We fill each litter box with pine pellets. Transitioning puppies to a litter box takes time and patience. The first couple days we transition them, I completely clear my schedule. We set up the litter boxes with only a small area for play and the crates and eating area. I put each puppy in the area one at a time directly into the litter box. Then I basically spend most of the day in the living room. Each time a puppy starts sniffing around or turning like they need to potty. I pick them up and place them into the litter box. Doing this consistently for two days, your puppies will get the idea very quickly and you will find they are going in the litter box 90% of the time within a week. A couple tricks I use are to disinfect any area where they have an accident with bleach water so as to remove any scent and to only remove the stools from the litter box for the first few days, leaving the urine smell. After they get the idea what the litter box is for. I remove all the litter boxes once a day and disinfect them thoroughly and replace all the litter. Then spot clean throughout the day. Once they get past the first few days and are going consistently in the litter box, we expand the play area much bigger to give them more room. Litter training has made our puppies understand that they need to go to the potty in the same place and that place is not where they sleep, eat or play, so they transition so much easier to pottying outside in their new homes.

Crates:

We have one crate for every puppy when we transition them to the bigger puppy play area. We start their transition slowly though. They will be introduced to a few crates once they go to their new play area.

At 3.5 weeks : The crate doors will be left open, so they can go in and out as the please and explore the crates.

At 5 weeks old: We will start putting two to three puppies in each crate for a couple hours at a time once a day.

At 6 weeks old: We will start putting two to three puppies in each crate overnight from about 11PM until one of them starts crying to be let out. This usually extends to 5 to 6AM by close to 7 weeks old. It is important to make sure that you take all food and water away from the puppies for at least 2 hours before you put them into the crates at this age, as they have very small bladders and won’t be able to hold it that long, so need their bladder depleted first.

At 7 weeks old: We start putting the puppies into their own individual crates every night from 11PM until 5 to 6AM. We will go out to them if there is any crying in the night and will talking soothingly to them and sit with them, but we do not remove them from their crates unless ofcourse they seem distressed at all. Usually by 7.5 weeks old they are still asleep when I go to wake them up in the morning to let them out and they still go to their crates on their own during the day for a nap.

Food: 

We highly recommend at least a 4.5 star rated food and start them on that food pureed with Esbilac at 3.5 weeks old. Our puppies will slowly transition from their food being mushed up at 3.5 weeks old, to completely dry food at 7 weeks old. We slowly mush it less and less and always make sure every puppy is on their dry food for at least 1 week before they go to their new homes.

Activity Center:

Once our puppy go to the expanded play area (usually around 4 to 4.5 weeks old) they also get introduced to our activity center. We have an activity center made of toys hanging from pvc pipes that holds dozens of toys for the puppies to play with. We make sure to change the toys out often introducing many new toys all the time. This works as a great way to stimulate the puppies but also to have many toys in the area without all of them ending up in the litter boxes and needing to be washed every few hours. I still have many toys loose in the play area that the puppies can drag around and put in their crates, etc. but the activity center is something that the puppies love. We disinfect all toys that are on the floors once a day and the activity center toys every couple days.

Socialization: 

Socialization is one of the most key things we do here. We use many different techniques of socialization, but the primary one with regards to our whelping and rearing areas is proximity to the family. Our puppies are immersed in our day to day activities which is very important to us, as they have such rapid brain development and social stimulation during the first 8 weeks of life, that if they don’t get the proper socialization that they need they won’t be as well adjusted moving into their new homes. We take pride in knowing that our puppies are given the best first start this way. For more depth to our socialization techniques.

Dam has access: 

Our Dams always have access to their puppies at all times. If you look at our puppy play area there is always a place that the Dams can get into the puppy pen. We use a Kuranda Bunk Bed (on the right side of the first picture below) so that our Dams can jump up and go in with her puppies anytime. She freely goes in and out of the pen all day. It is important for our moms to be with her puppies as she sees fit. Once they get to be over 4 weeks old the dams don’t want to be in with the puppies as much and spend a lot more time with the humans in the house, but the puppies still need their mom through the day for periodic meals and for proper socialization.

Desensitizating:

We do a lot of different things to desensitize the puppies to stimuli they will see once leaving our home. This list includes (but not limited to):

Bathing: We bath the puppies twice a week to get them used to the bathing process.

Blow Drying: Every time we bath the puppies, we also blow dry them so that they get used to the feeling of the blow dryer when they get groomed.

Ears: We play with their ears often and intentionally put our fingers in their ears and pull the little hairs out. This gets them used to this being done for the rest of their lives to prevent ear infections.

Nails: All our puppies get their nails trimmed weekly. We do this to get them used to the feeling of getting their nails trimmed. Early Neurological Stimulation also helps with this.

Grooming: We use motorized toothbrush turned on against the puppy to mimic the feeling of the vibration of the trimmer used to groom them, once they are old enough. We also use the actual trimmer to do sanitary trims on their bum a couple times before they go to their new homes.

Car Rides: We take the puppies on a couple car rides before they go to their new homes. This gets them used to the feeling of the car. Dogs don’t get car sick, they more often than not get sick in the car due to anxiety with regards to the car.

People: Our puppies are exposed to all different types of people. Men, women, young children, older children, adults and when we can elderly. This makes them adjust better to different types of people.

Adult Dogs: Our puppies also get time with the other adult dogs in our home besides their mom. We do regular one on one time through the day with each puppy, during that time they get to play with the other dogs and also learn from the other dogs.

Couch Time: If we are watching a movie as a family or having any kind of couch time, we will take turns with the puppies snuggling with us. As much as it is important for puppies to learn in a social dynamic with each other, they also need one on one down time with the humans in our house.

Vacuums, Brooms and Mops: We regularly use the vacuum, broom and mop around the puppies to get them used to the sounds and movements.

Loud noises: It is easy to do loud noises in our house with three young boys, but we also will play different sound tracks with different noises on them to have the puppies learn to deal with loudness or unexpected noises.

Music/Television: We often will have different media on even when we have to go out for a couple hours. We will leave something on for the puppies. We also make sure that the puppies get lots of silent time too, helping them adjust to different households they will go into.

Small set up getting used to their new play area.

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Larger set up once they are used to their litter boxes.

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Puppies in their own individual crates for the night.

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Neonatal Encephanopathy with Seizures (NEWS)

NEWS is a neurological genetic disorder. Most puppies will die within the first week of life with this disorder. If they survive beyond that they will have muscle weakness tremors, inability to walk, wide-based stance and fall frequently. Then will progress to severe seizures and are usually euthanized by weeks of age.

OFA statistics show 22.4% carriers of this disorder in Poodles.

This disease has recessive inheritance, so needs two copies of the disorder for a dog to be affected. Any breedings with Poodle on both sides will need to be tested. Example: F1 Goldendoodle to Poodle.

Two NEWS = Affected

One NEWS gene = Carrier

No NEWS genes = Clear

Examples of Crosses:

Clear to Clear = 100% Clear

Clear to Carrier = 50% Clear, 50% Carrier

Clear to Affected = 100% Carrier

Carrier to Carrier = 25% Clear, 50% Carrier, 25% Affected

Affected to Carrier = 50% Carrier, 50% Affected

Affected to Affected = 100% Affected

Testing facilities that test for NEWS:

Paw Print Genetics

Vetgen

Animal Genetics

Hypoallergenic: Marketing Scheme or Truth?

This is the constant debate among breeders and the general public. Are Doodles hypoallergenic or it is just a big marketing scheme to sell more dogs?

Let’s start with the definition of Hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic simply means it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Hypo meaning less or lower than. This is the place to start because many people are under the false idea that hypoallergenic means will not cause allergic reactions, when in fact it just means less likely to cause allergic reactions.

When comparing a Goldendoodle to a Golden Retriever for instance, the Goldendoodle is absolutely hypoallergenic because it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

There is a big problem with this though. We as breeders need to make sure that we are doing our very best to use terminology that is not only correct but is also understandable and widely known by the general public, so as to not mislead people whether it is intentional or not.

I personally talk to families specifically about allergies in their household and direct them to the litters that are more likely to be good for those with allergies. Many breeders do this by directing them to certain generations. This is also not entirely wrong, but there is a much larger picture to take into consideration that just generation.

Allergies we know are affected by many different genes and some of those genes are not yet identified, but we do have some genes to go off of that are very helpful in directing us to the most likely to not cause allergies.

Furnishing Gene:

The furnishing gene should always be our primary focus when it comes to allergies. Ideally if a family has allergies to dander you want to direct them to a dog with two furnishing genes.

Most Poodles carry two of these genes and all Golden Retrievers don’t carry the furnishing gene. Notice I said ‘most’. In rare cases we have seen some Poodles that only carry one furnishing gene. In these cases not only will they throw improper coats when bred to another dog that doesn’t carry two furnishing genes, but they are also more likely to shed, causing issues with allergy sufferers. We are going to assume any Poodle is tested and confirmed to have two furnishing genes for the following generations.

F1 generation all puppies will carry one furnishing gene, this is not generally recommend for families with allergies to dander.

F1b generation 50% will carry two furnishing genes, 50% will carry one furnishing gene, so if there is a moderate to severe allergy you can test the puppies to see which ones carry two furnishing genes. Families with mild allergies are usually okay with many F1b’s.

Once you have breeders that go past the F1b generation, it is essential that they are testing their dogs coats for whether they carry one or two furnishing genes, if they are going to be placing dogs in homes with allergies to dander.

I hear quite often from families contacting me that they heard that a multigen doodle would be the best fit for their family because they have dander allergies. This is a bit misleading because if the breeder doesn’t coat test, a multigen could be a terrible shedder and could also be terrible for allergies. On the other hand if the breeder coat tests and only keeps back dogs that have two furnishing genes, you could get whole litters of dogs with two furnishing genes and the structure, temperament, coat, etc. that we see in earlier generations without two furnishing genes.

More information on the furnishing gene:

https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/products/tests/details/174/

Shedding Gene:

The shedding locus is a new discovery that came out and it too can have an impact on allergies, but it has a lesser impact than that of the furnishing gene, as we do know that many Poodles carry two shedding genes, even though we don’t see shedding in those dogs. That being said with a family with severe allergies, this would be a gene I would take into consideration too.

More information on shedding and furnishing gene testing:

https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/products/tests/details/194/

Curl Gene:

There is a lot of debate as to whether curl has an impact on allergies. Many believe that the curlier the Doodle the less shedding and the less allergies. From what we have seen a dog can have no curl gene and still be good for those with allergies, having little to no shedding. That being said, this is something that even geneticists are not 100% sure on because they do see some correlation with curl and shedding in many breeds. It is possible that the curl is just catching more of the dander that is causing allergy issues or it has no impact at all, but there is another gene that happens to be in dogs with curl that is causing the variation in dander and allergies. I personally would not take this gene into consideration when placing a puppy in a home with allergies at this point until we have more information to go on.

More information on the curl gene:

https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/products/tests/details/173/

Long Hair Gene:

For breeds that carry a short hair gene, such a Labrador Retrievers, not having two long hair genes can also contribute to not only wirehaired coats instead of the traditional Doodle coat, but we have seen through breeder experience that if a dog does not have two long hair genes, there is an increased amount of shedding and potential for allergy issues. When breeding Doodles that start with a short haired dog, you also need to take into consideration the long hair gene and test dogs for this gene to try to eliminate it in future generations. It is important to note, that this is also based off breeder experience and I do not have a science based article to back that claim up. Breeder experience is very useful and should be taken into consideration and used, but is not as accurate as genetic proof of a claim.

More information on testing the long hair gene:

https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/products/tests/details/172/

Predicting for allergies

Allergies are one of those things that we as breeders cannot at all guarantee. Every person is individual in how their allergies work and even if we use every resource we have we still cannot guarantee that someone will not react to a dog. It is important that everyone understands that. That being said we do have wonderful resources to help in directing people to puppies that will be better for allergies. Knowing each dogs furnishing and shedding results paired with the actual shedding we see in the parents of puppies, can give us very good indications as to what puppies will be best suited for each family.

It is important to also note that this is all referring to people that have a dander allergy, not a saliva allergy. Saliva allergies are not affected by the coats of a dog, but instead every breed will cause allergy issues with someone allergic to saliva.

Breeders

If you are going to use the term hypoallergenic, no problem, just make sure you explain what you mean by that and that it doesn’t necessarily mean that the puppy will be good for those with allergies. If you are selling to those with allergies, please do yourself and them a favour and coat test your dogs. It is worth the piece of mind to know that you have done everything in your power to avoid any allergy issues. Consider using terms like ‘better for allergies’ ‘allergy friendly’ for the generations that are tested better for allergies, instead of just saying all your dogs are hypoallergenic. For the litters you know aren’t going to be good for allergies, make sure you are clear in your advertising and talking with families on that. Honesty as a breeder is of the utmost importance and being upfront from the beginning is going to be best for your puppies, best for the families buying your puppies, best for you and best for your long term success as a breeder.

Puppy Families

Ask lots of questions of your breeder (you should always do this, but especially if you have allergies). Educate yourself on what to look for. Don’t fall for marketing schemes. You will know after asking lots of pointed questions of your breeder whether they know what they are talking about or not.