I’ve had it suggested to me that I set up a page specifically to answer questions I’m asked most frequently about Labradoodles and puppy and dog ownership in general. So here is my attempt to meet that request. I am not a veterinarian, nor am I a dog trainer, but I have practical experience with dogs that I will draw from and give you what I believe to be the best answers.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me and I can add them here. I’m sure this will be an ongoing effort.

  1. What is fading puppy syndrome?
  2. What common yard/garden plants are toxic to puppies and dogs?
  3. Why are dog breeders so afraid to speak out?
  4. What’s the advantage to hybrids rather than pure bred dogs?
  5. What is meant by multigeneration Labradoodles?
  6. Why are hybrid dogs priced just as high as purebreds?
  7. How do I choose dogs for breeding?
  8. What advantages are there to DNA testing dogs?
  9. How do I know what type of personality and temperament my puppy will have?
  10. Why do some breeders let pups go at 6 weeks and others not until 8 or more?
  11. How do I teach my puppy I am the boss without being mean to him?
  12. Isn’t it cruel to put a puppy in a crate?
  13. What kind of chew toys are best for a puppy?
  14. What kind of puppy chow or dog food is best?
  15. What can I do to help my puppy adjust to their new home?
  16. At what age do puppies lose their baby teeth?
  17. At what age do puppies eyes open?
  18. What vaccines should my puppy have?
  19. How do I know when to worm my puppy?
  20. Which flea/tick medicine is best?
  21. Are all Labrador retrievers hyper?
  22. Why do some poodles have such funny “fru fru” haircuts?
  23. How long is a dogs heat cycle?
  24. How long is the Dog Gestation period?
  25. What special care do newborn puppies need?
  26. What “people foods” are poisonous to dogs?
  27. How do I make my dog throw up if he ate/drank something poisonous?
  28. What are the outward sings of a healthy dog?
  29. What’s that Ivermectin stuff I give my dogs?
  30. What is canine hip dysplasia?
  31. Canine von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD)
  32. What to do about flies biting my dogs ears?
  33. Training a Puppy Not to Jump on You
  34. My 6th of the month maintenance plan
  35. Weekly maintenance
  36. Daily dog care
  37. Leasing out my stud to outside females

What is “fading puppy syndrome”?

Until it happened to me, I had no clue what this nasty problem truly was. Now that I’ve experienced it, I will never forget.

Some puppies, regardless of good care, do not thrive. In many cases, as with mine, they only live a few days. Sometimes the failure to thrive can affect a single pup in a litter, or, in more severe cases, a number of puppies will develop what is often termed “fading puppy syndrome”, and die within 5 – 10 days. I lost 40% of a litter in less than 48 hrs.

These puppies were vigorous and healthy at birth, but within 2-3 days, became lethargic and lost interest in nursing. They lost body heat and weight, crawled off away from the rest of the litter and died, despite my attempts to save them. I had these pups in my kitchen directly above the heat ducts running under the floor, so I know they were plenty warm. I syringe fed them liquid electrolytes with added sugars, and started them on antibiotics. I held their little mouths open and squirted their dams milk into them hoping they would respond. Nothing helped, as they seemed to simply have given up the fight. I could not fully warm them once symptoms began. They continued to feel cold to the touch.

Most puppies will nurse, sleep and crawl over each other during the first couple weeks. These pups laid on their sides and wanted to be left alone. Most new born puppies up to 3-4 days of age, will curl up when placed belly up on the palm of the hand; these pups will stiffen and throw their heads back, stretching out flat in a very unnatural way. After this time and up until about 3 weeks of age, a healthy puppy will stretch out when picked up and lift its legs up. Any puppy that does not show this response, should be suspected of having some sort of nervous condition, or likely to have “fading puppy syndrome”.

The common term, “fading puppy syndrome”, describes the symptoms, rather than an actual or separate disease, in young puppies. Affected young puppies are generally less active, lack vitality, and often fade away, and finally die. In most cases, fading puppies will suffer a low-grade infection with a virus or bacterial germ. Puppies that seem normal at birth but rapidly deteriorate within the first 2-4 days, (like mine did) are most likely to have a bacterial infection, which can cause them to lose interest in nursing and deteriorate from the first day of birth. Usually, these puppies die within the first 2-5 days after birth, although some may linger on, regardless of the amount of nursing and any other type of therapy that is given.

The puppies that suffer from this syndrome die. The litter mates that survive are perfectly healthy and normal; which even veterinarians cannot explain. What’s frustrating and heartbreaking is that there is nothing known to prevent or successfully treat pups from fading puppy syndrome.

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What common yard/garden plants are toxic to puppies and dogs?


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Why are dog breeders so afraid to speak out?

Between PETA and other various animal rights organizations, dog breeders are painted to be some cold-hearted money-grubbing bottom feeders who make a living off the abuse of animals.

Farmers raise cattle, pigs, chickens, and so on and are seen as the “salt of the earth” types. Their lifestyles are glorified in movies and most often they’re portrayed as humble, honest, loving folk. Horse breeders can sell their animals for huge prices and gain world wide acclaim for it. Not so with dog breeders.

So why is it different for dog breeders? PETA’s goal is to eliminate pet ownership entirely. If they can convince people that breeding dogs is shameful, their battle is half won. If they had their way, no one would own a dog… no dogs would exist! Does that sound like a group that loves animals?

They scream about the huge number of dogs that are in shelters and have to be euthanized each year… but don’t advertise the fact that their shelters are among the highest kill rates known. They’ve been proven to kill dogs before their owners have time to even pick them up or anyone has a chance to adopt them. Their kill rate is over 90% in many areas!

A responsible breeder health tests their dogs, carefully chooses the parents for health, temperament, personality and intelligence. If you’re looking for a puppy, isn’t that the kind of effort you WANT put into their breeding?
Most dogs aren’t show dogs or working dogs. Many more are simply beloved family pets .
The dogs in shelters aren’t there because of over breeding, they’re there because of careless, thoughtless owners who either haven’t trained the dogs so can no longer stand to live with their bad behavior; who have neglected to spay or neuter their pets so end up with unplanned litters; who’s life has taken an unexpected turn so they can no longer keep the dog; etc. HAD they gotten the pup from a reputable breeder who always takes back any dogs produced in their kennel, they would never have gone to the shelter. The responsible breeder would have gotten the dog back and found a decent home for them or kept them themselves.

Dogs have been family companions for longer than any of us can remember. When properly cared for, they live happy lives with people who truly care for them.

So what happens when responsible breeders are afraid to speak out? Puppy millers flourish! They do everything on the cheap, including the food and medical care the dogs need. They crowd the dogs into wire pens and treat them like items rather than beloved beings. They sell to pet shops and other mills so they never have to deal with the public reaction to their way of raising dogs. For each responsible breeder that hides, a puppy miller is able to grow their business.

I don’t work my dogs; I don’t show them; and I am a responsible breeder. My goal is to produce healthy, well tempered animals that can be therapy dogs, and wonderful family pets. I SELL them and try to make a bit of income because I put a lot of time and effort into doing things the right way and deserve to be paid for that. I refuse to hide and am proud of what I do. I encourage others who have been shamed into hiding to step up and speak out too. We do provide a valuable service that can change lives and improve a system that’s really fallen into bad hands.

Stand tall beside me. Be proud when you do the right thing . Lets work together to educate and correct the MISinformation that’s being stuffed down peoples throats. It’s high time the record was set straight.

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What’s the advantage to hybrids rather than pure bred dogs?

As evidenced in MANY pure breeds, there has been a lot of careless and thoughtless breeding that has led to a lot of genetic problems being rampant. Liver shunts, renal disease, blindness, deafness, bad backs, elbows, hips and so on are often the result. The dogs suffer, the owners are heartbroken, and everyone loses.

Since many genetic problems require that both parents carry the faulty gene in order to pass it on, if you’re breeding 2 distinctly different breeds you can eliminate a lot of that. For example with Juvenile Real Disease… which is what stole my poodle Moses; JRD requires both parents to carry the gene to pass it on and thank God Labradors don’t get it. So even though Moses died of it, his pups are safe. If I had bred him with a poodle it could have been devastating.

This is one reason why I require my pups to be spayed or neutered before they can breed. With them being half poodle, they might carry the disease but won’t get it. They could however, pass it on to their pups if they were bred with a poodle who was also a carrier. Sadly, there is no test yet to prove who carries it and who doesn’t, so we must act on the side of caution.

The same is true of other genetic issues, so in eliminating them through hybridizing we can guarantee healthier dogs who will live longer and happier lives. This is what’s known as “hybrid vigor”.

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What is meant by multigeneration Labradoodles?

When first introduced to North American breeders, multigeneration Labradoodles were given this Lab-Poodle breeding program as the breeding model. It suggested that Poodles should be reintroduced into the early generations:

Original multigeneration program (Standard terms)
Poodle X Lab = F1 Labradoodle

F1 X F1 =F2

F1 X Poodle =F1b (b means they were bred back to poodles)

F2 X F2 = F3

F2 X Poodle =F2b

Above this are multi-gens…

In Australia where Labradoodles originated, they were infused with several different breeds. The Austrailian Labradoodles are quite different from the American Labradoodles, which include only Lab and Poodle lines. It can get very complicated once you get past the first few generations and that’s where controversy can start, so I will just stick with those. It’s unlikely most will ever need to know more, but if you do there’s plenty of information online to check out; unfortunately, according to Beverly Manners, one of the original Australian Labradoodle breeders and the woman who was instrumental in getting them recognized as a breed therre, much of the information is false or inaccurate..

Most North American breeders stick with only Poodles and Labs, but a few are venturing out into the multigenerational breeding. Of course as the generations rise, so do the prices of the pups since it takes many years to breed more generations into them.

I personally prefer to stay with the original generation, so offer only F1 Labradoodles.

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Why are hybrid dogs priced just as high as purebreds?

It takes 2 purebred parents to produce a purebred pup. It also takes 2 purebred parents (even if they’re of different breeds) to produce a hybrid. Since hybrid breeders like myself are on a mission to eliminate a lot of what we object to in purebreds, it costs us to do the testing, we have to learn a basic knowledge about genetics and be able to screen out any dogs that don’t fit the criteria. I don’t take “just any” purebred dogs and put them together like some opponents of hybrid breeding believe all hybrid breeders do. I take this business very seriously and put my heart and soul and long hours into doing it the right way.

In the past year I’ve gotten 2 pure bred poodle males… one had to be put down because of a genetic defect.
I’ve bought 4 pure bred lab females… One was barren, 2 were not old enough to breed yet. After purchasing and caring for all these dogs I’ve had one litter to show for it.

I still need to feed them, vaccinate and worm them, house and care for them, am in the process of DNA testing them and have to keep learning all I can about them to be sure I’m doing the best I can to make this a good life for the dogs while providing quality pups to my buyers. I offer LIFETIME guarantees so if I mess up I will be paying for it. The majority of pure bred hobby breeders don’t go to the lengths that I do to raise good pups. It all comes with a price, and still I charge less than many for pups out of health tested parents; and don’t know of any others offering the lifetime guarantee that I do.

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How do I choose dogs for breeding?

I used to own Chips half brother, Moses. Moses was my best friend and constant shadow, as well as being a very handsome apricot boy. Moses had been my birthday gift to myself and was one of those dogs you absolutely bond with and sob over when they’re gone. Moses fathered 24 very nice F1 Labradoodle pups in his lifetime. Many of them got his smile, and his silly loving nature. They had a wonderful wide range of colors and all got a big wavy fluffy coat.

I got Chip because I knew I was losing Moses to kidney disease. I was aiming for another male with similar temperament and intelligence. Lucky for me, Chip is even more mellow than Moses was. He’s comical, patient, loving, and cuddly; is never rough or pushy and rarely gets upset or excited about anything. While he’s cafe au lait, he has the potential to create pups with a wonderful color variety just as his brother did.

I am so enamored of Chip, that I decided to make him the basis of my breeding program and search out dams that would compliment him. I plan for all of my pups to be sired by him because in my opinion he is just such a super dog. I want my buyers to be able to meet both parents and can’t imagine finding a male I like better than him.

I have bought and traded several females this past year in my effort to find just the right females to compliment Chip. Some were too hyper, some too big, some too rough, or had a physical trait that I just didn’t care for. It’s been a trying time, but am now content that I have the right dams for the job, so it’s been well worth it.

My first dam that I decided to keep was Hickory. She’s a small muscular chocolate female that’s had a rotten history. She was badly abused and neglected in a previous kennel before my getting her. When she first arrived she was thin, terrified, and convinced that all humans were barbarians. Even though she was so scared, she never once showed an ounce of aggression or hyperactivity. She has now blossomed into a lovely girl who runs up to offer kisses and get her head scratched. She’s a compromise between a field lab and English lab type. She’s got a nice blocky head, a broad chest and shoulders, yet looks more athletic than stocky. In my opinion she’s a very nicely put together Lab. She and Chip together produce litters that are either yellow or chocolate with the potential to turn cafe au lait with age.

Ava is my second “keeper”. Ava is a typical English type lab; very square, blocky, short and stocky with large muscle and a calm demeanor. She’s chocolate, totally self-assured and has an awesome presence. People who really know Labs often comment on how beautiful and well put together she is. She loves everyone, but when she barks an alarm that a stranger has arrived she truly can make the hair stand up on the back of your neck unless you see her tail also wagging wildly. Ava had spent her first 2 yrs of life in a 5 x 10 kennel; the pet of a young man who simply lost interest in her. When she came to me, she decided she enjoys being with other dogs and being a beloved pet, so is a very happy girl. She and Chip together produce litters that are all chocolate with the potential to turn cafe au lait with age.

Dazy is a yellow Lab. She’s taller and leaner than the English labs, but is well muscled and very easy going. She is an athletic girl who loves babies and children of all ages and is happiest when outside fetching a tennis ball. I find her to be a nice house dog and a loyal companion. She learns quickly and obeys well. She and Chip will have yellow and black pups.

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What advantages are there to DNA testing dogs?

DNA Fingerprinting
A DNA fingerprint is literally your pet’s genetic serial number.
Having a record of your dog ‘s DNA fingerprint can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your pet is “your pet”. Even if your pet is a mutt, DNA testing can tell you many of the breeds in it’s ancestry.

DNA testing can screen for dozens of inherent, genetic diseases.


  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Hypothyroidism with Goiter (HTG) (Congenital Hypothyroidism)
  • Cystinuria (CYST)
  • Globoid Cell Leucodystrophy (GCL)
  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL)
  • Phosphofructosokinase Deficiency (PFK)
  • Von Willebrand Disease (vWD)
  • Narcolepsy (NARC)
  • Cone degeneration (CD)
  • Canine Leucocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD)
  • Hemophilia B (HmB)
  • Muscular Dystrophy (MD)
  • Myotonia Congenita (MC)
  • GMI Gangliosidosis (GMIG)
  • Retinal Dystrophy (prad)
  • SCID (DNA-PKc & DNA PKc2)
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VII (GUSB_NOSVVIII)
  • Thrombasthenic Thrombopathia (THROM)

Most dogs will test negative. This means they don’t carry the gene that causes a particular disease. Obviously, this is good news. Its also good information, particularly if you are a breeder, to know absolutely that your pet will not get the disease in the future.

Unfortunately, some pets will test positive or as a carrier of a bad gene. A positive result means your dog definitely has or will develop the disease in the future.

A carrier means that your pet does not have the bad gene(s) but could pass them to future offspring if bred with an animal also being a carrier of the particular disease.

As a breeder these are things I need to be aware of to be able to offer healthy pups.

DNA Color Traits
DNA tests can also show me for certain which color traits each of my dogs carry. With this information, I am able to take the guesswork out of producing litters with a good range of color. Some prefer white dogs, some chocolate, or apricot, etc. With this information I can better predict whether my black dams will produce anything other than an all black litter and whether my male is a good genetic match for my females.

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How do I know what type of personality and temperament my puppy will have?

I interact with and spend a lot of time observing each litter from birth. I handle them every day and I watch them closely so I know which ones are more dominant, passive, playful, rough, affectionate, etc. I also usually see one or 2 that are the quickest learners and tend to reach all their milestones first and often lead the others into new things.

In our fall 2007 litter there was a single pup out of the 12 that always stood out from the rest. He was more curios, reasoned things out days before his littermates, and was by nature a leader. There was also a female that wanted nothing more than to cuddle and be pampered. She needed a bit of extra help when it came time to start eating puppy food because she was constantly pushed out by the more assertive pups. Both pups loved people, yet their basic personalities were very different. Only because I spent so much time with them was I able to see their place in the pack pecking order and help the correct families get the specific type of pup that best suited them.

Some breeders will tell you that’s it’s impossible to determine the basic personality type of a pup at this age… but I’ve had very positive feedback from those who’ve gotten my pups that what I saw in their pup is what they got. So I’m convinced it can be done… you simply need to spend the time with them to see it. This is one of the big reasons why I limit the number of litters I produce. I want to be able to spend this time with all of them and help to direct them into the right home where they’ll be enjoyed and spend their entire life. If their basic temperament and personality are a good fit, that is much more likely to happen.

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Why do some breeders let pups go at 6 weeks and others not until 8 or more?

In some states it is illegal to take a pup away from it’s dam before 8 weeks of age. They start eating gruel at 3 weeks, but most will still be sneaking a sip off mom for a good month after that. So for proper nutrition, and to maintain their immunities (which they get from Moms milk) until they can be vaccinated, allowing them to nurse is essential. Shots shouldn’t be given before 6 weeks and it takes time for the pups body to respond to the shots after they’re given.

Another major factor in my opinion is that during that extra 2 weeks, the pups are learning from mom how to be decent well adjusted dogs. If you’ve ever watched a pup attack it’s mother too roughly and seen her reaction you know that mother dogs will discipline their pups. They teach them when to back off, that they are NOT in charge and they have limits and expectations. After the pups leave mom they already understand when you say no to them that they must accept that. They have a good foundation to deal with the natural pecking order between themselves and other animals, and are more willing to be submissive when needed rather than become little bullies.

My pups don’t leave mom before 8 weeks and she decides when it’s time to wean them. The result is happier, healthier dogs. Usually toy breeds are older when leaving Mom because due to their size they’re more fragile and need that extra time.

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How do I teach my puppy I am the boss without being mean to him?

What a puppy understands is consistency and leadership. In a pack you will always find a leader and a pecking order from the leader on down. Dogs expect this and if you’re not the leader, they will try to be.

The perks of being a leader are that you get the best spot to sleep in. (Keep your puppy off beds and couches); you get the best food and eat first (never feed your dog off your plate or while you’re eating); the leader walks ahead of the pack through doorways, down halls, or anywhere that they cannot walk side by side. Once you show your dog in terms they can relate to that you are indeed the leader, they will happily follow your lead and instructions. If you slip up and let them think they need to be the leader because you aren’t acting like one, they will try to lead, and you will not like the results.

Puppies like children, need you to define their boundaries for them and to enforce the rules so that they feel safe and cared for. Please don’t confuse and frustrate them by failing to do your part.

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Isn’t it cruel to put a puppy in a crate?

When your puppy takes a nap… chances are they crawl off into a quiet corner out of the way and where they can feel safe from being attacked from behind. Getting them used to being crated provides just such a spot for them. It keeps them safe when you can’t be watching them so they don’t chew on electrical cords, or swallow a Barbie’s head and choke on it. It prevents anyone or anything from sneaking up on them or hurting them so they learn to feel safe in their crate which is why many older dogs will choose to rest in theirs.

When house training, a crate provides a limited amount of space for the puppy to soil, and no self respecting dog wants to wet and then lay in it, so they will generally accept the idea that outside is the place to do that so they don’t have to lay in it.

Crates are very effective means for protecting a pup and your home at least until the training has been done to teach them what they can and cannot do.

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What kind of chew toys are best for a puppy?

My personal favorites for puppies to chew on are knotted ropes, bully sticks or Kongs. I avoid rawhide chews because I’ve had to stick my hand down too many dogs throats to pull them back up when a dog choked on them. I avoid stuffed animals because they’re too easily ripped open and the stuffing can get lodged in the throat. I avoid balls too because of choking hazards. Anything smaller than your fist can be a danger.

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What kind of puppy chow or dog food is best?

I know there’s a lot of controversy about dog foods. I’ve read the reports, have checked into different raw food programs, and have had long winded discussions with vets, other breeders and pet owners. I’ve tried a lot of different foods over the years and for several reasons I always return to feeding Purina.

The recent dog food scare with products from China had no effect on Purina, but many other dog foods from the cheapest discount brands to the most expensive specialty foods were actually killing perfectly healthy dogs. Price was no guarantee of safety. So Purina proved to be a good choice during this crisis.

With Purina, my pups are strong, energetic, healthy and have a shine to their coat and eyes that speaks volumes to me. A Lab should shine like velvet. On Purina foods, mine do.

Purina is a mid-priced product, is easily found, and is tried and trusted. I start my pups out on Purina puppy chow at 3 weeks of age soaked in puppy formula. At 6-8 weeks they’re eating dry puppy chow and when they turn 18 months of age I switch them to Purina adult dog food.

My breeding dogs eat Purina. While pregnant my dams get beef liver a couple times a week, they get a daily Osteo-Form vitamin, and all the clean water they can drink. While nursing they’re fed Purina puppy chow, their daily vitamin, liver, and their food is top dressed with puppy formula powder. My dogs can feed a litter of 13 pups and never get thin or run down. I swear by Purina.

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What can I do to help my puppy adjust to their new home?

I ask my puppy buyers to bring a blanket or towel with them when they come to get their puppy, so that we can rub it on Mom and litter mates to allow them to take that scent home with them. Placed in the pups crate with them, it usually has a calming affect on them when they’re able to cuddle with it so they don’t feel so alone.

Another good thing to do is to spend as much time as possible with the pup so they aren’t alone. If you work full time, consider getting your pup during your vacation or on a Friday so you will be there for them the first couple of days at least. They settle in much quicker if they’re not scared and alone.

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At what age do puppies lose their baby teeth?

At around 4 months of age pups begin loosing their milk/puppy teeth. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t find any laying around as it’s normal for them to swallow them and pass them without you ever knowing. Unless the baby teeth refuse to come out so the adult teeth are coming in along side them, there’s no need for concern. Your pup will very likely be doing a lot of chewing during this time, so provide things they can chew on to save your shoes and furniture legs. A small amount of bleeding is normal when they lose a tooth, just like when a human child loses theirs.

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At what age do puppies eyes open?

I have a litter of pups that are 13 days old today. A couple are getting up on their feet and starting to walk with their bellies up off the floor, and several have their eyes about half open today. It’s so fun to watch the changes in them. They’re right on schedule with both milestones.

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What vaccines should my puppy have?

A large breed pup like a labradoodle can have their first vaccine at 6 weeks of age. Toy breeds are usually held off till a bit older simply because they’re so tiny. I give my pups a 5 way combination vaccine at 6, 8 and 12 weeks. At 16 weeks they get a lymes vaccine and their first rabies shot. Depending on whether they’re around other dogs and what part of the country you live in, you might also consider Parvo, corona virus, and any other dog diseases that are common to your area. Your local vet can suggest for you what should be given and when. Please don’t take your pup to a dog park, doggy daycare, a pet store or any place they could possibly become infected with disease prior to vaccinating them. It’s NOT worth the risk.

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How do I know when to worm my puppy?

As a breeder, I automatically worm all my pups at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks. I purchase a liquid wormer from my vet so I can be sure they’re parasite free. After this, you might want to take a stool sample with you when you take your pup to the vet for his vaccines so it can be examined for worms. A pup with untreated worms can go down hill quite quickly, so it’s always best to catch them early. I worm my adult dogs once a month when I give them their heart worm preventative.

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Which flea/tick medicine is best?

I like and use Bio-Spot. The reason I prefer it is that it helps for fleas, ticks AND mosquitoes. Most are only effective against fleas and ticks. Last summer my vet saw several very sick dogs and cats coming into the clinic from poisoning and bad reactions to some of the cheaper discount store brands. Please don’t risk this. While it might save you $10 at the time you give it, if you have to take your pet to the vet and pay for treatment to save it’s life, you will wish you had bought the better choice in the first place. Remember to use the right size dose for your individual dog and check with your vet as to what age a puppy needs to be before you give the first treatment. BioSpot has a special puppy formula.

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Are all Labrador retrievers hyper?

Labs can be quite hyper and bouncy dogs. They’re often thrilled to find someone who will throw a ball for them so they can retrieve it over and over again. There are many labs that are hyper and absolutely need a lot of exercise. They usually come from hunting lines where they’re bred to be able to go all day without wearing out. If you prefer not to have a dog with life-long puppy energy, these are not the dog for you. If you run several miles a day for your own health and enjoyment, one of these dogs could be your ideal running partner.

Show type Labs on the other hand, can mature into real couch potatoes. They’re bred to be calmer, less needy of daily runs and can actually be very content as house pets. It is the more calm type of labs that I have and breed. I’m too old to be trying to keep up to a hyper dog. Mine can certainly enjoy a good run and love to play fetch, yet if they don’t get to do it every day they’re quite content to lay at my feet and follow me from room to room in the house instead.

Knowing up front what type you want and the energy level you can enjoy living with is a major factor in the selection process. Labs are wonderful dogs, but you do need to consider their energy level to get one that best suits you. A high energy dog in a low energy setting will quickly become noisy and destructive through their frustration. It is as predictable as if you were asking an active toddler to sit still all day and not act out. Neither of you would be happy with the results.
So do your homework and observe the parents… ask questions before you buy and be honest with yourself if you’re not going to provide the opportunity for the exercise they might need.

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Why do some poodles have such funny “fru fru” haircuts?

Because most of us only see standard poodles in a dog show on TV or at the end of a leash in an old movie, we’ve developed a faulty perception of poodles. I’ve heard of many men who refuse to have a poodle because they’re viewed as a feminine dog; when in truth, they’re wonderful water hunting dogs. Can’t get much more manly than that!

The “fru fru” haircut, began when hunters wanted to remove some of the heavy coat from their dogs so that when wet, they weren’t so weighted down. The hair trimmed from the torso helped them not to hold as much water and to be more streamlined swimmers. The hair was left in places where the dog needed more protection and warmth. So the chest and back, brain, and joints of the legs were usually left untrimmed. The tuft on the end of the tail was left so that a ribbon was tied to it to be able to identify individual dogs when they came together for hunting events. With a raised tail, the ribbons were easy to spot so you could see which dog in a sea of poodles was your own even from a distance.

Since poodles have very little if any doggy odor, even when they get wet they’re more pleasant to be around than breeds that smell like a “wet dog.” Because their mature coats are wooley, poodles can shake themselves fairly dry and remain quite warm even when fresh out of the water. In Europe, Poodles are quite widely used as the hunting dogs they were bred to be. They make wonderful pets, but that’s not what they were bred for and not how they got their hair cut style.

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How long is a dogs heat cycle?

Dams (female dogs) are in season (heat) for 3 weeks, but are usually receptive only during the 2nd week. Because there are individual variations, she must be kept confined from male dogs for the full 3 weeks unless you’re planning to have her bred.
Dogs generally have 2 “seasons” per year. If you want a litter, they’re usually bred on the 9th, 11th, and 13th days of their season. There are no reliable early tests for pregnancy in dogs, so it’s a wait and see situation. You may see no outward signs for the first 5 weeks.

Some dogs are very obvious about being in heat and leave small blood spots behind when they’ve been sitting. Others hide it very well and if you’re not watching closely for it, you might miss it altogether. Male dogs however WILL KNOW. So if you’re not planning to have pups, you can save your dog from risk to gender specific cancers and accidental litters while making her an easier dog to have around by spaying her at 6 months of age.

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How long is the Dog Gestation period?

Once bred: The average gestation period is 63 days. Some will deliver healthy pups a few days early, some will deliver a couple days late… but if she goes past the 65th day, you need to have a vet examine the dam to see if there is a problem. Days are counted from the first hook-up with a stud.

1st week
2 cell embryos are in the oviduct.

2nd week
Embryo will be 4 cell at start of week and 64 cell by end of week.
Embryo enters the uterus.

3rd week
Embryos implant along uterus wall.
The main organs begin to develop.
Morning sickness may occur.

4th week
Morning sickness should improve and appetite increase.
The dam may need twice the usual amount of nutrition from this point on.
Development of eyes and spinal cord and faces take shape.
Moms may begin to shed some belly fur and crave more attention than usual.

5th week
Vet may be able to detect pregnancy (85% accuracy) by feeling the abdomen.
You may be able to feel the little puppy heads
Development of toes, whisker buds, and claws.
Eyes now close and gender can be determined.
The puppies are now considered fully developed miniature dogs.
She may be showing… She may gain a little weight particularly if she is going to birth more than 1-2 puppies..

6th week
You may need to feed small meals several times a day.
We feed puppy food through the end of lactation (nursing) and have it available full time.
Increased water consumption.
Enlargement of mammary glands as nipples darken and enlarge.
Diagnosis by x-rays is usually possible after 45 days (95% accuracy for determining the number of puppies).

7th week
She may shred papers, blankets or bedding in an attempt at “nest building” in the last weeks.
During the last 2 weeks, Mom may become irritable and should avoid contact with small children “just in case”.
Neither forced rest nor strenuous exercise is a good idea. Short periods of gentle play and short walks are good.
You may feel the puppies now but counting them may be difficult.
You may feel only a very big, hard stomach that gives few clues as to how many are inside.
There should be definite abdominal enlargement.

8th week
Dam begins to spend more time grooming herself.
Her breasts become swollen as her milk forms. She may leak milk as early as 9 days prior to delivery.
Nesting begins as she looks for a place to have her puppies… Make sure you have her birthing spot ready and start getting her comfortable with it.
Appetite may decrease as her belly can be too crowded with puppies to have room for big meals.
You can feel the puppies move now.

9th week
Dams are wormed again.
She may leak milk from her nipples.
Watch for her temperature to drop. You may take it rectally if you want, but she’s just plain old cool to the touch compared to what she has been the last 8 weeks.
She may also become restless, seek seclusion and in the last few days, or even soil in the house.
She will be ‘nesting’ .

Shortly before starting labor it’s common for a dam to have loose stools to clean her system out. She may throw up and refuse food. She should be drinking more water than usual to build up her milk supply. She will be tired and restless. Once she’s in active labor someone should monitor her in case she has complications even if she’s an experienced dam. Pups can get stuck in the birth canal or she may bleed profusely and need to see a vet. While birth is a natural event and it’s best to leave her to her own devices as much as possible, you also need to be aware if there are complications or you could lose your dam and the litter.

Delivery usually takes several hours. Most dogs do not seem to be in extreme pain during labor or delivery and instinctively know what to do.

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What special care do newborn puppies need?

Most dams will give them the care they need without hesitation. At birth they need to have the birth sac removed, and be rubbed to stimulate them to start breathing on their own and to dry and clean them. If mom doesn’t do this, you may help by rubbing them with a towel. Mom will also chew off the umbilical cord. In rare instances it will continue to bleed and a newborn can bleed out quick, so if you must stop the bleeding, simply dip the cord in a bit of flour to help it clot.

Once the pups are born, they should be seen by a vet and have dew claws removed on the 3rd day.
Provide twice as much food as usual to Mom and have clean fresh water available at all times to help her in her milk production.. I keep my dams on daily vitamins, puppy chow and give them raw beef liver a couple times a week to keep their iron levels up. If they start to look thin, I top dress their food with puppy formula powder to help them.
The first 3 weeks, the dam will spend most of her time taking care of her puppies. She will lick them to stimulate urination and bowel movements and cleans up after them for this time frame.
Check the pups nails and trim them if they are scratching the dam during nursing.

For the pups:
Check on the pups several times a day to see that they are round, nursing, and seem content. Noisy puppies are generally hungry puppies. If they spend a lot of time crying you need to figure out why. Keep the puppy nursery warm, draft free, and dry for the pups’ optimum health. Don’t let a lot of people come in to see them until later as this may make mom nervous which can affect her milk production and how well she cares for her pups. She may also feel the pups are threatened by people she doesn’t know well and become aggressive to protect them. They should be seen by a vet and have dew claws removed on the 3rd day. The umbilical cords should fall off in a matter of days. Puppy eyes are closed at birth, and generally open between 10 and 14 days.

At close to 3 weeks you can offer a bit of puppy chow soaked in puppy formula to make it form a gruel type consistency. Make sure they’re getting plenty of liquid with it so they don’t become dehydrated and develop urinary tract infections while adjusting to the new diet. I worm the pups at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks with a liquid wormer I buy from my vet. Parasites can be devastating to a pups health, so it’s money well spent.

I strongly believe they should be allowed to nurse until their dam decides to wean them. I’ve had many pups still sneaking occasional snacks off mom at 7 weeks of age. It’s easier on her and the pups if this process is as gradual as possible. This is just one of several reasons why my pups don’t leave Mom until they’re 8 weeks old.

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What “people foods” are poisonous to dogs?

The food humans eat is not always the best choice for our canine friends. They tend to make them fat and don’t fulfill their dietary needs like a canine diet does. Even giving treats off the table is a very risky proposition. There are several things we enjoy that can actually poison your pup. They include: Raisins and grapes; macadamia nuts; yeast dough; onions or onion powder; mushrooms; chocolate; coffee and cocoa; sugarless candies sweetened with xylitol; alcoholic beverages; raw salmon; avocado; and broccoli. If they’ve eaten any amount of any of these things you should call your vet immediately. Or call: Animal Poison Control Center 1-900-680-0000

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How do I make my dog throw up if he ate/drank something poisonous?

First of all, call a vet or the poison control center and ask if you should make them throw up. Some substances do as much damage coming out as they did going in… you don’t want to make the situation worse. A caustic product or substance being thrown up can cause internal tears that will make them much worse off if they vomit than if they didn’t.

If convulsions, seizures, shock or lethargy are present as symptoms, do NOT induce vomiting regardless of what they’ve ingested.To induce vomiting, give one teaspoon of Syrup of Ipecac, or two teaspoons of Hydrogen Peroxide. In a desperate pinch, a teaspoon of table salt will also have the desired effect. Vomiting only buys you more time to rush to the vet… it’s not a cure for the poisoning, so you still need to take them in.

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What are the outward sings of a healthy dog?

A healthy Lab should have a shine to their coat that resembles velvet under a lamp. Their eyes should be clear and sparkle, their tale should act as a rudder while they trot. They should appear well muscled, look interested and excited about the world around them. You should never be able to see a labs ribs. Obesity isn’t healthy for them, and many do tend to be chow hounds, so you might have to watch for that. You should see some definition where the ribs end, and be able to find the ribs with your fingers by pressing on the dog.

A healthy Poodle has sparkling eyes, a bounce to it’s gait and seems to float when it trots. A poodle coat will not shine, but should be wool like in texture and free of mats and snarls. Their gums and tongue should be pink and ears clean and without odor. Their tale should be carried high and point toward the sky.

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What’s that Ivermectin stuff I give my dogs?

Ivermectin is a very strong antiparasitic. It’s the active ingredient in many heartworm preventatives and is used to rid dogs of mites (mange). Given in the right dose on a monthly basis, Ivermectin is a very effective prevention of heartworms, intestional parasites, fleas/ticks/ mites and mosquitoes. It can be given orally or injected. It is not approved for use on dogs other than as prescribed by your vet, but is commonly used on sheep, goats, cattle and pigs.

Given in too large a dose Ivermectin can be toxic and fatal to a dog. It often does not work well on herding breeds, which can actually die from it. In short, it’s not something to mess around with if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Your vet can tell you if Ivermectin would be a good choice for your dog and what would be the proper dose for their size. Used correctly it can save you a considerable amount of money by treating several issues at once and keeping your animals pest free. Given incorrectly it may not work at all, or can kill them. Having been a country girl my whole life, I’ve used Ivermectin for many years with good results.

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What is canine hip dysplasia?

This site describes it better than I can… so please check it out. With these larger breed dogs it is something you need to know about.


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Canine von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD)

Von Willebrand’s disease is a bleeding disorder that prevents normal clotting and control of hemorrhage. This disease occurs with varying frequency in many different breeds of dog (including the Poodle), as well as other domestic animals and human beings.

Cause…The bleeding tendency of vWD is caused by a GENETIC deficiency of von Willebrand factor protein (vWF).

Inheritance…The gene for vWF is carried on an autosome and both males and females have two genes for this protein, one inherited from dam and one from sire. In other words, BOTH parents must carry the gene for your pup to be affected by vWd. Pups who have one affected parent can still be carriers although they will never have the disease themselves. So unless both parents are tested as clear of vWd, these pups should never be bred unless they themselves are tested. My stud and both of my black females are tested clear of vWd, so their pups and the offspring of their pups will be free of it. My 2 chocolate females are not yet tested for it, but since they are only bred to my tested male, their pups will not develop vWd, but might be carriers of it if used for breeding.

Signs…Severity of bleeding is highly variable in dogs affected with vWD. In general, spontaneous bleeding tends to occur from mucous membranes lining the nose, mouth, urinary, reproductive, and intestinal tracts. Excessive bleeding in puppies may be noted after tail docking, cropping, dewclaw removal or tooth eruption. IN some dogs, abnormal bleeding is only seen after surgery or trauma. Concurrent stress conditions such as viral and bacterial infections, hormonal fluctuations associated with heat cycles or pregnancy, and endocrine disorders causing deficiencies of steroid or thyroid hormone can all exacerbate signs of hemorrhage in dogs affected with vWD.

Canine breeds most commonly affected…Von Willebrand’s disease is the most common inherited bleeding disorder in dogs and has been described in over 50 breeds. The trait is most widespread in Doberman pincher, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Scottish terrier, Shetland sheepdog and Golden retriever; however, certain lines or families within many breeds have a high proportion of carriers of the vWD trait. There are differences between the breeds in the proportion of carriers that actually express the trait by showing the abnormal or excessive hemorrhage.

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What to do about flies biting my dogs ears?

A coat of Vaseline often helps… the flies don’t like it and it helps the ears to heal if they’re kept moist.
Some dogs will get hundreds of bites a day for weeks at a time. Anyone that has ever been bitten by a horse fly knows how painful the bite is! The bite wounds attract flies which may lay their eggs in the damaged tissue. These will later hatch into maggots… so you surely want to prevent that!

Clean the ears with warm soapy water on a cloth… don’t get water IN the ear… a cotton ball in the ear will prevent water from running in. Water in the ear can cause an ear infection. Wipe dry and put antibiotic cream or petroleum jelly on the parts the flies are bothering. You might even need to remove the dog from the area if there is other livestock or dumpsters in the area attracting the flies. Since the flies are the worst during the hottest part of the day, bring them indoors during that time if possible.

You definitely want to deal with it before you have maggots… once those occur it’s time to visit the vet.

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Training a Puppy Not to Jump on You

Adapted From: Puppies For Dummies, 2nd Edition

Training a puppy not to jump on you when you get home requires discipline — from you. First, you need to understand why a puppy jumps. Eye contact is a top method of canine communication. Our eyes are above theirs, so to greet us properly, dogs jump up to meet our eyes. The first time this happens, a hug follows. “Isn’t that cute?” After about the tenth jump, it’s not so cute, and you gently push the pup away. But to a dog, pushing means confrontational play. The puppy jumps higher and harder the next time. So you try a little toe stepping, paw grabbing, and yelling — all with the same effect. Your dog thinks jumping is very interactive and very fun.

Dogs that jump need to learn the four-paw rule — they will not receive any attention, at all, until all four paws are on the floor.

The best way to remedy jumping when you arrive home is to ignore your pup. Try it for a week. Don’t give in!
Come home and ignore your dog until he’s given up the jumping vigil.

Keep a basket of balls or squeaky toys by the door. When you come in, toss one on the ground to refocus your dog’s energy. If your dog’s crated, don’t let him out until he’s calm.

If you have a big puppy or a super persistent jumper, you have two options: Fill a plant mister with 50 percent vinegar and water to spray a boundary in between your bodies, or put on an overcoat to protect yourself, and calmly look away. Whether it takes 2 minutes or 20, go about your business until your dog calms down.

If you have kids, tell them to “look for rain” by crossing their arms in front of their chest and looking to the sky. You do the same. Don’t look down until the coast is clear. Consistency is key. If one family member follows the program but the others encourage jumping, your dog will jump-test all visitors.

If your dog still insists on jumping, keep a lead (short or long) attached to her collar. When she jumps, grasp the lead and snap her sideways quickly as you continue to ignore her (give no eye contact, body language, or verbal corrections).
Puppies mimic their leaders’ energy levels. If you come home to an excited dog and you get excited, you’re sending the message that his excitement is acceptable. Instead, come in calmly and wait to greet your puppy until he’s settled down, too. Then get a toy and play with him.

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My 6th of the month maintenance plan

Some dog care needs to be done on a monthly basis. For me, this happens on the 6th of every month.
So today was a busy one here.

All 5 of my dogs got their Ivermectin injection for heart worm prevention and worming today.
All got flea/tick/mosquito repellent applied.
All were given a thorough going over to make sure they don’t have any bald or hot spots; their nails are a good length; their coats and ears look healthy; and that they’re all at a good weight. Yes, I try to watch for these things on a daily basis, but once a month I make a concerted effort to really study each dog.
I moved the dams out of reach of my stud so we won’t have any surprise breedings that would result in winter puppies.

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Weekly maintenance

Every Saturday I give each of the dogs a good brushing.
I check their collars to be sure they’ve not gotten tight, and are in good usable condition.
I bleach the food dishes and wading pools in every run.
I make sure each dog has a name tag still on their collar with their name, my address and phone number on in case they should ever get lose and wander off.
I clean/change their bedding and inspect each run for safety and security issues.

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Daily dog care

I go out each morning and check that all food and water dishes are full. My dogs are grazers, having a constant supply of food and fresh water so that they never have to wait for a meal and risk a feeding frenzy that might cause stomach problems.
I rotate the dogs in and out of the house so that they all get individual attention and handling to keep them well socialized and content.

I clean up the piles, spend a bit of time playing with them, and just sit with them for a while cuddling.
Most days I give them turns in the large exercise pen where they run and play and just enjoy being part of the pack together.
In the evening I check the food and water dishes again, clean any dishes or pools that might have gotten filled in a digging spree, and make sure they’re all safe and back in their own runs before dark.

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Leasing out my stud to outside females

I’ve had several inquiries from people wanting to lease my stud to breed their dam. If certain criteria are met, I am open to letting him breed outside dams.

My first concern would be that the dam be fully up to date on shots, worming, and any breed specific testing for genetic issues that might apply. I can’t allow my studs name to become involved with poor quality dams or sub standard pups, so I will be choosy about the temperament, personality, conformation and health of any dams he comes in contact with.

I insist on the dam having a recent Brucellosis test that proves she is clear of this bacteria.

General Information of Brucellosis:

Brucellosis is caused by bacteria known as Brucella canis. The disease spreads from one dog to another during breeding or oral contact with vaginal discharges, aborted fetuses and placentas, semen or urine. It occurs most frequently in breeding kennels, though family pets may become infected also.

Pregnant females with brucellosis abort their puppies, while non pregnant bitches may fail to conceive when bred. Males develop swelling of the testicles and usually become sterile. Some dogs appear to be in excellent health yet are infected and capable of spreading the disease.

Diagnosis is by blood culture and/or blood testing. More than one blood sample is usually required.

Obviously I won’t risk my stud coming near an untested dam.

Anyone interested with a dam able to meet my criteria, please contact me and we’ll discuss it.

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Wisconsin has unanimously passed “AB-250/SB-208, the Commercial Dog Breeders Licensure Bill”. ANYONE breeding, rescuing, selling, or otherwise involved in a canine related business must be aware of the new laws coming into affect. The hope is that this will put an end to Puppymills in Wisconsin. You can read the bill in it’s entirety at: http://www.nowisconsinpuppymills.com/LRB-2448-2-Smith-Kreitlow.pdf


While I have never sold so many pups in a year that I will need to be registered as a breeder, I am glad to see this finally coming into action. I cringe every time I think of the poor conditions and rotten treatment many dogs live with. Sadly, when people refuse to regulate themselves, others do need to step in and do it for the animals. Thank you Wisconsin for taking this step.