Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's All In How They Were Raised - Wrong!

No, it's not in all how they were raised!  How they are raised can influence how they turn out, but the way pups are raised can only modify the genetics the pup was born with.  It's truly a combination of Nature and Nurture.  Only by breeding from dogs with appropriate dispositions, socializing the pups correctly, and being sure that the new owners continue the process, will we end up with puppies who display optimum dispositions.  I've mentioned this many times, but just read a blog post that says it perfectly.  Please take a minute to read this excellent post.

It's All In How They're Raised


Friday, January 17, 2014

Microchipping Your Dog - FAQs

I came across this article yesterday and thought it was worth sharing.  Although my dogs always wear buckle or snap collars with tags, they are also microchipped since collars can become lost.  Please use both methods to protect your dogs!

Microchip FAQs

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Things To Do With Your Dalmatian - DCA Distance Log

Looking for an activity to share with your Dalmatian?  Why not check out the DCA Distance Log Program?    DCA Distance Log

As you undoubted know, Dalmatians love to walk and are great companions for hiking.  They have incredible stamina, endless enthusiasm, and are cheerful companions.  They won't argue about the route, never get caught up in political arguments, don't talk all the time, and never sulk or whine "I'm tired, can't we go home?"  If you want to walk, they want to walk, for as long as your feet hold up.

I've always been a walker, using it as a way to keep both me and dogs in shape.  Because I live in the city and have a small yard, the dogs NEED to walk.  When Argus retired from the show ring, after being extensively campaigned for several years, he needed an activity that we both enjoyed.  Nature hikes were just the thing and we started walking the river parks, dog parks, county and city walking trails.  So many interesting places to walk!

Last year because we were not showing very often, and because I had two enthusiastic young dogs in Max and Fern, they were added to the mix.  Normally just one dog at a time, but sometimes both Argus and Fern.  We did a lot of exploring, found interesting trails, and covered a lot of ground.  And I never kept a record of it.  How many miles did we walk last year?  Many, is all I know for sure.

This year I'm doing it differently, keeping track of the miles covered.  That's actually fun, and has added a new dimension to walking. Fit Bit offers a variety of mileage trackers that are lightweight, fun and easy to use.  What I really enjoy though is Motion X GPS which is available as an App for my iPhone.  It tracks mileage, average speed, current speed, and maps your path, while announcing every 5 minutes how far you've walked and your current speed.  Fun!  You can view maps of your tracks and save them.  I find that I tend to compete with myself from track to track which keeps me moving briskly.

Last night I walked the three dogs on snowy streets, listening to a book on my iPhone while the MotionX was working in the background, tracking my progress using GPS technology.  The Fitbit was clipped to my pocket tracking my steps, converting steps to miles and calculating calories burned.  Such fun.

We're off to a rather slow start this year as the weather has been difficult.  On the coldest nights the dogs only get about half a mile apiece, but when the weather is better we cover a lot more ground.  It's been fun keeping track of the distances, especially with such fun gadgets to play with.  My goal for the year is at least 1,000 miles, hopefully a lot more.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pup-Less, At Last

My first weekend without an extra dog. Nena has gone home, and the pups are all in their new homes.  Nope, that's not my current household - that would be too many dogs!  The picture was taken about 20 years ago and includes left to right Rob, his son Morris, Mo's mom Eloise, Rob's puppy grandson Sidney, Mo's son Edgrr, Rob's daughter Erin, and Rob's granddaughter Hilary. All but Hilary (who went to live in a pet home) were champions.  Rob, Mo, Eloise, and Sid lived their entire lives with me, and I miss them all.

The last pup departed on Friday, when the weather finally warmed up enough to ship her to Texas.  Summit/Abby was looking extremely good and it was tempting to keep her, but I'm really not ready for a puppy right now and my next pup has to be liver.  It was a very good litter, good structure with exceptionally nice dispositions.  Abby was such an easy puppy, quiet in a crate and riding in the car, super easy to housetrain, not a whiner and very self confident.  Hopefully the next pup I keep will have a personality like Abby's.

The basement is finally back to normal, whelping pen down, whelping box cleaned and put away, floor scrubbed, rugs back on the floor.  Max has his training area back and was thrilled when I put his tunnel down again - he ran back and forth through the tunnel chasing a tennis ball, and acting like a little kid at recess.

Laurie reports that Amery is currently in season.  Still don't know who I will breed her to next summer, but hopefully there will be a pup for me to keep.  She still needs to finish her health testing, hips, elbows, eyes and thyroid, but assuming she passes everything, she's next in line.  No pups in Paisleyland until then.

After weeks of incredibly cold weather that limited my dog walking, we finally had a warm up.  I've joined the DCA Distance Log Program, and am recording the miles the dogs and I walk each day.  Should have been doing that last year when we covered so much territory!  At the suggestion of a Dal owning friend, I downloaded MotionX GPS on my iPhone, and am getting the exact distances, average speed, and a map of the walk.  It would be fun to attach the phone to the dogs, who cover so much more territory than I do!  The program tells you every 5 minutes how far you have walked and what your speed is - which tends to make we walk faster.  It's like being in competition with yourself, and adds a dimension to walking.   

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Missing In Action

All  is well, I'll post later today.  Just not enough time in the AM when I have 9 week old Summit to keep an eye on.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Welcome Back, Fern

Fern finds Max's greeting just a bit boring.

Fern Louise is home after a three week absence while she was in season.  I don't normally send the girls away, but there was just too much going on here during that time.  She came home looking perfect, and in a good frame of mind.  Karen says Fern was a good girl, and Aussie Talley will miss her running buddy.  We'll be sure the girls get a chance to say "Hi" at the January shows.

I was surprised at how pleased Josie was to see Fern, and how quick she was to remind Fern that she Josie was the Queen.  Josie has never been much into pack structure, preferring to sit back and let the others work things out, but she seems to understand that pushy Fern has aspirations of being Queen and needs a reminder from time to time.

The boys gave Fern the Royal Sniffover, and Argus is not quite convinced it's too late.  I'll keep them separated for a few days when I am not around to supervise.  Fern is still flirty, which doesn't help things either.

Fern was thrilled to see the puppy, and has had a fine time herding her around and explaining that all toys are hers!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winding Down

One puppy left and I'm playing catch up.  No visitors scheduled, no road trips with pups, no vet visits, or interviews on the agenda.  One of my Christmas trees is finally decorated - the small live spruce in the living room has red lights and Dal ornaments.  The artificial "Charlie Brown tree" on the porch has lights and I'll add all the fish ornaments that were given to me by a friend with a strange sense of humor.  I've still got a few gifts to buy, but we're not exchanging many this year so there should be plenty of time to get that done.  Christmas cards were completed yesterday. My brother Al arrives from Costa Rica this evening, and my friend Laurie arrives from Virginia on Tuesday.  It's time to get ready for Christmas!

Stephanie picked up Schelly yesterday morning, and they will be moving to Texas after Christmas along with Tate who is a Josie son.  She's raised two Dals, but Nena was 4 months old when she arrived, so this is her first puppy.

Fulton left yesterday as well, and will be part of a family that includes three kids and one of his "Uncles", a liver Dal boy called Mojo.  I know they will do a great job with this special puppy.   If he turns out well we will show Fulton, and if not he has a wonderful forever-home.  Totally a win-win situation for all.

Summit remains with me for now.  She has a show home waiting, but I just want to be sure she's as good as we all think she is.  Summit was the one with the fuzzy spots, but they are clearing nicely now and her spotting is looking better than I had expected it to look.  She's got so much angle, I just need to be sure she can handle it all and trot smoothly.  Fortunately she has a beautiful front and shoulders to go with all the rear angle.  Love the front and topline, the way she carries herself, her perfect tail and the charming disposition.  It's temping to keep a puppy this nice, but she will be in good hands if she goes to Sharon.  It's so nice to have good show homes waiting for special puppies.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Is For Children And Dogs

Penny's brother Charlie and his "little sister".  Good dog, Charlie Brown.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Another Road Trip

We did it!  Everything that needed doing got done, although I wondered if we could get it all fit in, along with a busy week at work.  Yesterday was our trip to Rochester for BAER testing.  I was late getting out of my own eye exam so had to deal with rush hour traffic and was half an hour late for our appointment.  Because the pups behaved so perfectly, we actually finished up on time.  Good dogs!

Again not a peep from anyone while traveling.  Can't believe how good they are in the car.  They rode quietly, sharing a bone or sleeping.  We used a solid crate again as they are warmer and more secure, and a lot safer when traveling in bad weather with pups in the car.  No accidents in the crate and they waited until we set up their pen in the exam room.  All three pups were great about the restraint required to insert the little electrode needles, and sat without fussing for the test.  So glad we have options for getting this done without having to sedate the pups.  Results were as expected, pups were bilateral hearing.  All working ears.  I knew this from hometesting, but it's always nice to get it confirmed.

Tango (was Jack Pine) has his BAER appointment and checkup on 12/27 at Meg's wonderful Vet in Northern Illinois.  He's got two Cavaliers as roomies now, and Meg says he is doing well.

Stephanie wanted to take Schelly as soon as possible, but I suggested waiting until Saturday since the pups have had such a busy week.  Next week Schelly will be moving to Texas with Stephanie and Dal Tate.  Good thing Schelly seems to be a good traveler!  Fulton leaves on Saturday too, so poor Summit will soon become an only child.  She'll stay here for awhile before departing for a new home as it's not safe to ship pups over the holidays, even if the weather allowed for it. 

And on Sunday Fern Louise comes home from camp.  Max will be so happy to have his wrestling buddy back!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Road Trip

Pups had their Vet check yesterday, and were such good travelers.  Never a peep from any of them, although someone DID get carsick on the way home.  Hopefully it was not Schelly who is scheduled to leave for Texas with Stephanie next week.  It could be a long trip with a car sick puppy!  Pups were brave and friendly and got handled by many new people.  Dr. Valenti checks EVERYTHING.  Eyes and ears, bites and mouth, hearts and lungs, and even patellas (knees).  She takes their temperatures, examines them thoroughly, checks testicles on boys, vulvas on girls (looking for vaginitis), and weighs them.   Don't recall ever having pups that traveled so quietly.  Good puppies!

Tonight we go for BAER testing.  I can hometest my puppies and know that this group has bilateral hearing, but we always confirm it with BAER testing.  Hopefully the weather cooperates as I'm not keen on driving in snow with puppies. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Reclaiming My Life

The Oldsters, Watson (13+) & Josie (10+)

Somehow I need to get caught up around here.  The cold weather that kept us home, the pups that kept us busy, and all the company we enjoyed so much have put a major roadblock in my preparations for Christmas.  The cards were finally ordered last night (I always send cards and do not resort to the on-line ones), and the tree I purchased last Sunday is sitting in water but has no decorations (yet).  I do very little Christmas baking, but this year I've done none at all, not even the Harvest Loaf Cake (a wonderful pumpkin bread) that I normally make this time of year.  No lights up on the porch, and minimal decorating indoors.  We're exchanging very few gifts as a family this year, and Ron & I purchased a new TV as our gift to one another.  Donations to Salvation Army, Great Harvest Food Bank, and Union Gospel Mission will take care of much of the rest of my "shopping".  It's not that I feel "Scroogey", it's just that I haven't had time for much else yet.

This noon the pups go in for their health check ups.  My Vet does very thorough exams, and the pups will get lots of handling from all the Vet Techs.  Tomorrow evening they get their BAER hearing tests, and on Friday night they get their last visitors.  Friday's visitors owned two of our dogs in the past and are on the waiting list for a pup from my next litter, but it has to be a boy.  They owned a lovely black spotted dog of ours that looked very much like Max, so I know they will really enjoy meeting him.

On Saturday Fulton and Schelly leave for their new homes.  Fulton will stay in the area and live with another liver Paisley boy.  Schelly will be leaving for Texas next week with Nena's owner who is relocating (Nena is the dam of the litter.)  That will leave me with Summit, at least for awhile.  Plenty of people who want her, I just have to decide who will eventually get this lovely puppy - and I'll have a chance to enjoy her for awhile longer.

Next week I will get ready for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winding Down

Love this little brown boy, and it was soooo tempting to keep him.   Max would certainly have enjoyed it as he's had a great time playing with the pups.  Such a sweet puppy this is!  Hope when I am ready for a puppy I have a top quality pup (hopefully a brown boy) with this type of personality!  We're making plans for Fulton to join his forever family, probably this weekend.  They are waiting to do their Christmas picture, so Fulton can be in it too!  Fulton will come back later for show training, and will join us on some dog show weekends next year if everything goes well. 

Fern is on her way out of season and will be rejoining the family this weekend.  We've missed her, but it's been a lot more peaceful without her as she keeps things stirred up (even when she's NOT in season).  Max will be delighted to have his best friend back.  He's enjoyed all the company we've had for the past month, and is doing a good job of being Official Greeter.  Watson has aged out of that position, but Max seems to be a worthy successor.  I'm so pleased with his temperament and personality, and hope the new pups bring their families as much joy as Max and his siblings have brought theirs.

Lots of plans for spring including dog shows, as I want to finish Max and Ferns' AKC Championships.  Both are UKC Champions and have the two majors required for their AKC titles, so it's a case of picking up the additional points they need.  Weather permitting, our dog show trips will include Indianapolis and St. Louis where the entries are generally good for the Specialty weekends.  When Max finishes, he goes back to obedience as I want to show him in Rally and Obedience.  Fern will start her Lure Coursing career at the coursing events next year.

Assuming Amery passes her health testing, a litter is planned from her next year too - and maybe there will be a puppy for me in her litter.  Jess will be breeding Amery's sister Gemma (last year's DCA BoW) too, so I'll have a couple of litters to pick from.  If you're waiting for a Paisley puppy too, I hope we'll have one for you next year!

Monday, December 16, 2013


Saturday was The Day.  Donna flew in from St. Louis and Meg drove in from Chicago on Friday, and on Saturday Jess joined us for puppy evaluations and pictures.  We find that taking "stacked" shots on the table and watching Jess stack the pups while I take pictures from all angles gives us a lot more information on each puppy.  We can see the proportions, angles and the way the puppy "fits together", and also the way each puppy handles the situation.   Puppy pictures are a LOT of work, but provide a great record of each litter, since we always take pictures between 6 & 7 weeks.  We've found that most pups eventually go back to the shape and proportions they displayed at that age - although many of them go through a lot of stages along the way!

No real surprises here, and the pups were as good overall as we had expected.  Some litters have nothing I would be interested in showing  (we call them "learning experiences") but as long as the pups are healthy and have good dispositions, that is fine.  Most of our litters have a couple of show potential pups.  We're more critical than many breeders because you can actually show any registered dog that does not have a disqualification according to the breed standard, BUT a "show potential" pup is one that is worthy of being shown and has a good chance of winning if it lives up to it's potential.  I kept waiting for something to go wrong with these pups.  It didn't. 

As of now I have nothing to place in pet homes this time around.  Sorry to all the people who have been waiting to find out if there was a puppy for them.  Fulton is actually going to a pet home, but with the provision that I can show him.  I may eventually do that with one of the girls, but there's nothing for sale outright, at this time.

That's Donna pictured above, holding the puppy Jack Pine who is now "Tango".  Tango looks and acts so much like his sire Henry who is Donna's dog. 

The pup on the right is Summit, who is absolutely spectacular in a stack.  We have to wait to be sure that her spots continue to clear (they are still rather fuzzy) but sire Henry went through that as a pup, so we assume she will be fine.

I will check with everyone on my list to find out if the have found a puppy elsewhere, need some referrals, or want to wait for our next litter(s).  Both Jess and I will probably do a litter next spring/summer, and with the way it goes in dog breeding we may end up with only companion pups next time!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Decision Time

Time to decide which pups will go where.  The decision has been made on Fulton (he will go locally and I will co-own and possibly show him).  Meg & Donna who own the sire Ch. Henry will be here this weekend and decide whether or not to take Jack Pine.  I paid a stud fee, but they retained an option to purchase a puppy boy.  If he does not go home with Meg, he will be available - preferably to someone who will show him.  He's a nice pup, but I don't need another lively black-spotted boy!

Stephanie is still hoping to take one of the girls, but it looks as if her life may get in the way.  Both girls still look very nice and look as if they should go to show homes, but we may change our minds this weekend when we do stacked shots.  We rely a good bit on the profile shots we take at 6-7 weeks, as they give us a better feel for how the pups will look in outline as adults.  I know there are a lot of readers hoping that one or both girls are available as companions.

Won't be long now!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Nope, not a puppy - they don't grow THAT fast!

Fern is staying with a friend while she's in season, and when Karen was taking Christmas card pictures of her Aussies, she got this cute one of Fern as well.

Pups are doing great, just haven't taken any new pictures.  Company the next two evenings, so I'll try to get some pictures.  They are doing just fine without Nena who has gone home, and Stephanie reports that Nena never looked back.  She was definitely tired of motherhood.  Max goes down with me in the evening to help with puppy chores, and they all enjoy that.

Two day retirement seminar starts today.  It's starting to seem real now.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Busy Busy

Pups had a busy weekend, with LOTS of company.  They are all very social and fell asleep in many laps.  Mama Nena went home to her family yesterday, glad to get away from all the sharp little teeth I am sure.  She practically dragged Stephanie out the door!   Max will be their fillin puppy sitter this week, assisted by Josie & Argus.  Watson says he wants nothing to do with this litter - he's helped with many litters in the past and considers himself retired.

Company scheduled for two evenings this week, the sire Henry's owners Meg & Donna come to visit this weekend.  BAER testing scheduled for the 19th, a Well Puppy Vet visit sometime that week as well.

Dad Henry like to cuddle too!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Another Doggy Weekend

Another doggy weekend, mixed in with lots of housework.  Have spent the last couple of weekends playing catch up with organizing cupboards and fighting the dust, taking down knick knacks, cleaning them and redoing the shelves.  Also the shelves with the Armetale.  Anyone who hates dusting as much as I do should NOT have things sitting out to collect dust - but I do, and occasionally the layers of dust bother even me!

Our friend Sue came over to play with pups yesterday and I got some cute shots of them.  Just love the boys, but the girls are both very pretty too.  When Stephanie decides whether or not she is taking Schelly, we'll decide on where they will both end up.  Because Stepanie is moving to Texas, the decision is a major one for her.  Fulton's future has been decided, but things are still up in the air with the others.

Today my daughter Jess comes over with her co-owned pup Tanner.  Max will be delighted to have someone to play with!  Heather and the girls will also be here to play with pups, and later on old friends Skip and Gia arrive with kids in tow for puppy socialization.  Housework is done, today we play!
Schelly is looking very nice too

Friday, December 6, 2013

Puppy Buyer Etiquette

A very well written article.  Hope it formats correctly!

Puppy buyer etiquette

by Joanna Kimball on April 26, 2009
I am posting this specifically because I do NOT have any puppies here now, and don’t anticipate any for a while. So you know that I’m not singling any real person out. This is because it seems that there’s a lot of confusion about the whole “proper” way to go about things. So, puppy buyers and anyone else thinking about maybe someday approaching a good breeder about a puppy, here you go:
1) STOP LOOKING FOR A PUPPY. The classic mistake puppy buyers make is saying “I need an xx breed puppy at the beginning of the fall” or whatever it may be. So they go out looking for litters due in August. BAD IDEA.
Puppies are not interchangeable; one is not the same as the others. This is largely because every breeder has their stop-the-presses criteria for breeding or not breeding, and each has preferences for size, personality, working ability, etc. Breeder X’s “perfect puppy” is not the same as Breeder Y’s. Stop looking for a puppy; look for a BREEDER. Make a personal connection with a breeder you feel shares your top criteria, and then wait for a puppy from them. Maybe they even have a litter on the ground, which is wonderful, but maybe they’re not planning anything for a few months. Or maybe they’re not planning anything for a year; in that case, ask for a referral to another breeder that shares those same priorities and has a similar (or just as good) personality and support ethic. However it works out, screen the breeder first, then ask about a puppy.
1b) EXPECT TO WAIT FOR A PUPPY. It’s VERY rare to wait less than a couple of months; four to six is normal. I’ve waited a year on a couple of occasions; no, even we breeders don’t walk through the field, able to pick puppies like tulips. We ALL have to wait, and we ALL have to get matched up by the puppies’ breeder.
2) INTRODUCE YOURSELF THOROUGHLY. The initial e-mail should be several paragraphs long; block out at least an hour of quiet for the first phone call. When you initiate contact, clearly communicate three things: You are ready for a puppy, you are ready for a puppy of this breed, and you understand what sets this breeder apart from the others and you share that commitment. Specifically describe your plans for this puppy; be truthful. If you are not going to be able to go to four training classes a year, SAY SO. Don’t say “Of course, training is a huge priority around here,” or you’re going to end up with a puppy who’s flushing your toilet sixty times a day because he’s so bored and you’re not challenging him.
The ideal first contact e-mail usually goes something like
“Hi, my name is X and I’m writing to inquire about your dogs. I’ve been doing a lot of research on [breed] and I think they’re the right one for me because of [these four reasons.] I know puppies are a huge commitment, and I am planning to [accommodate that in various ways.] I’m approaching you in particular because of your interest in [whatever,] which is something I feel is very important and plan to encourage in [these three ways.]”
That’s the kind of e-mail that gets a response, and usually pretty quickly. If I get something that says “I hear you have puppies on the way; how much?” it goes in the recyle bin before you can blink.
2a) Bring up price either at the end of the first contact (if it’s been successful and you feel a connection to this person) or in a follow-up contact. It’s nice to say “If you don’t mind me asking, about how much are [breed]s in this area, if there is a typical price? I just want to be prepared.” The breeder will usually give you two pieces of useful information: Her price, and the median prices around you. That way, if you decide to go a different way, you know about what to expect. If the second person you contact names a price that’s double the median, try to discreetly find out why. A very difficult pregnancy, nationally ranked parents, a surgical AI, c-section resulting in very few live puppies, those are some reasons a breeder could be asking more and it’s reasonable. If there’s no real difference from the other breeders except price, think carefully.

3) BE WILLING TO BE TOLD NO. Not every person is the right match for every breed. That’s just fact. There is no way on earth I could make our home appropriate for a Malamute puppy, and I’d have to lie through my teeth to get approved for one. And I have my entire life devoted to keeping dogs happy. I don’t expect you to have anywhere close to the obsession I have, so that means there will be some dogs that are just plain wrong for you. If a breeder says no, ask why. If the answers make sense, don’t keep calling people until you finally get one who will sell you a puppy of that breed. Go back to the drawing board and be very humble and honest with yourself about what kind of dog really would be right for you and your family.

4) PLEASE DO NOT GET ON MORE THAN ONE WAITING LIST unless you are VERY honest about it. This goes back to rule 1. You need to understand that we think our puppy buyers are just as in love with the puppies as we are. We’re posting pictures, writing up instructions, burning CDs, researching everything from pedigrees to nail grinding, all so we can hand off this puppy, this supreme glorious creature of wonderfulness, with the absolute maximum chance that it will lead a fabulous life with you, and we’ve built all kinds of air castles in our heads about how happy this puppy will be, and what it will do in its life with you, and so on. Finding out that you had your name on four lists shows that you don’t realize that puppies are not packages of lunch meat, where getting one from Shaws is basically the same as getting one from Stop and Shop.

Also, as soon as your name is on one of our lists, we’re turning away puppy buyers. If we’ve sent ten people elsewhere because our list is full, and then suddenly you say “Oh, yeah, I got a puppy from someone else,” it really toasts our bread. So just BE HONEST. If someone came to me and said “I’m on a list with So and So, but she’s pretty sure she won’t have a puppy for me, and I’d love to be considered for one of your dogs and I’ll let you know just as soon as I know,” I’m FINE with that. I understand how this goes. It’s not a disaster for me to have a puppy “left over” at eight weeks because you ended up getting that So and So puppy; it’s just frustrating to have the rug yanked out from under me.

5. PLEASE DO NOT EXPECT TO CHOOSE YOUR PUPPY. This one drives puppy buyers CRAZY. I know this, trust me. I have a lot of sympathy because I’ve been there. But the fact is that when you come into my house and look at the eight-week-old puppies and one comes up and tugs on your pant leg and you look at me, enraptured, and say “THIS IS IT! He chose ME,” I’ve been looking at people coming into the house all week, and every single time this same puppy has come up and tugged at them and every single one of them have said to me “THIS IS IT!”

What you are seeing is not reality. You are seeing the most outgoing puppy, or you’ve fallen in love with the one that has the most white, or the one that has a different look from the rest of the litter (when I had one blue girl puppy in a litter of black boys, every human that came in the house wanted her; when I had one black girl puppy in a litter of blue boys everyone kept talking about how much they loved HER), or the one that’s been (accidentally) featured the most in the pictures I’ve posted. Or, sometimes, you have a very good instinctive eye and you’re picking the puppy that’s the best put together of the litter. And that puppy, of course, is mine, and you’re going to have to pry him out of my cold dead hands.

My responsibility is not to make you happy. And that, dear friends, is why I am posting this now, and not when I have a bunch of actual puppy buyers around . But it’s the truth. My responsibility is to the BREED first. That’s why my first priority in placing puppies is the show owners, because they are the ones that will (if all goes well) use this dog to keep the breed going. It’s not that I like them better than I like you; it’s that I have to be extremely careful who I place with them so that they can make breeding decisions with the very best genetic material I can hand them. My second responsibility is to the PUPPY. I will place each puppy where I feel that it has the best chance of success and the optimal environment to thrive.

So while I do care, and I will try to take your preferences into account, do not expect to walk into my living room and put your hand in the box and pick whatever puppy you want. And do not expect to be given priority pick because you contacted me first; conversely, do not expect that because you came along late you somehow won’t get a good puppy. Sometimes the person who calls me when the puppies are seven and a half weeks old ends up with what I’d consider the “pick” for various reasons (sometimes because somebody called me up and said they’d gotten a puppy from someone else; see rule 4 above). I am going to try to do my absolute best to match puppies to owners as objectively as I can, not according to who called first.

When I was waiting for Clue, I think I initially called Betty Ann six months before she was born. I waited through two other litters, where Betty Ann thought she might have something for me but then in the end told me no. Then I waited until 8 weeks when she thought this one might really be the one, and then another two weeks until she made her final picks and sent me a puppy. I was about ready to vomit with the tension. I UNDERSTAND. But the rewards of waiting and being matched with the right puppy are greater than any frustration with having to sit with an empty couch for a few more months.

6) ONCE YOU GET YOUR PUPPY, THERE WILL ONLY BE THAT PUPPY IN THE WHOLE WORLD. If you’ve been sitting around with your fingers crossed saying “Please, Molly, please, Molly, I only love Molly,” and I say “I really think Moe is the one for you,” you’re probably going to feel disappointed. But take Moe and go sit on the couch, and put your finger in her mouth, and realize that she has a really cool white toe on one foot but none of the other feet have white toes, and let her try to find a treat in your pocket, and I guarantee you by the time you’re five minutes out of my driveway Moe will be YOUR puppy. And a year later you may remember that you thought Molly was so pretty, but Moe… well, Moe could practically run the Pentagon she’s so smart, and her face turned out MUCH more beautiful than Molly’s did. And so on.

7) PLEASE FINISH THE ENCOUNTER WITH ONE BREEDER BEFORE BEGINNING ONE WITH ANOTHER. If you end a conversation with me saying “Well, this just all sounds wonderful, and I’m going to talk it over with my wife and we’ll call you about getting on your waiting list,” and then you hang up and call the next person on your list, that’s not OK. If you don’t feel like you click with me, or you want to keep your options open, a very easy way to say it is to ask for the names and numbers of other breeders I recommend. That way I know we’re not “going steady,” and I won’t pencil you in on my list. If you are on my waiting list, and you decide that you don’t want to be anymore, call me AS SOON AS YOU KNOW and say “Joanna, I’m so sorry, but our life has gotten a little crazy and I need to be taken off the puppy list.” And I make sympathetic noises and take you off. If, then, you decide you want to get a different puppy, be my guest. Just keep me apprised and let me close off my commitment to you before you open it with another breeder.

…Which brings us to something that is super important and most puppy people don’t realize:
8 ) EVERY BREEDER KNOWS EVERY OTHER BREEDER. Now of course I don’t mean the bad breeders, but the show breeding community is VERY small and VERY close-knit. If you’ve been on my list for three months, I’ve kept in contact with you, I think you’re getting a puppy from me, I’m carefully considering which one to sell you, and finally I match you with a puppy when they’re eight weeks old, and THEN you e-mail me and say “Sorry, I got a puppy from Arizona, bye,” my instant reaction isn’t going to be “Oh noes!” My instant reaction is going to be “From Jill?” I probably e-mail Jill several times a year, if not several times a month, and I’m probably going to pick up the phone in the next sixty seconds and say, “Did you just sell a puppy to Horace Green from Topeka? Did you know that he put himself on my waiting list three months ago and has been saying all along how excited he is?” And two minutes after that she’ll get a call from Anne in Oregon and Anne will say “Did you just sell a puppy to Horace Green from Topeka? He’s been feeding me lines for eight weeks! I had a puppy ready to go to him next week!”
And we will take your name in vain, Horace Green from Topeka, and Jill will feel bad that she sold you a puppy, and oh the bad words we will say. And Horace Green from Topeka will be a topic of conversation at the next Nationals, and t-shirts will be made that say “DON’T BE A HORACE,” and someone will name their puppy Horrible Horace and everyone will get the joke and laugh.

In the end, “Be excellent to each other,” as Bill and Ted so correctly ordered us, is pretty much the paradigm to follow. If you err, err on the side of this being a relationship, not a transaction. Try to act the way you would with a good friend, not with an appliance salesman. And the ending will  be as happy for you as it is happy for us.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Horizons

Pups came upstairs last night to explore the family room and meet the other dogs.  Everyone was quite confident about the experience.  They'll be up every evening from now on, and I'll take them one or two at a time upstairs to explore the bedrooms and bathroom as well.  It's important for the pups to have a variety of new experiences at this age.  Lots of people, new places, new toys, new sounds.  Because it will be too cold for them to play in the yard, we'll have to find adventures in the house.  Tonight they get to explore my fish room.

All of the adults were loose with the pups for awhile, but that gets to be a bit overwhelming.  At the age of 13 1/2 Watson doesn't much care for pups, so he was first in his crate - he hates to have them sniff him or touch his feet, although he was wonderful with pups as a younger dog.  Josie is great with pups but after a few minutes of them trying to nurse she hopped up on the sofa and stayed there.  Argus loves pups but gets jealous and keeps climbing in my lap when I am trying to play with them.  That left Max who was assigned the job of official puppy sitter and performed beautifully.  Other than needing a couple of reminders to be careful, he was perfect with the pups and kept them entertained. 

Jack and Surly were the most interested in Max and they spent most of the time wrestling with him.  Fulton and Summit got into the games part of the time, while Schelly preferred to play with toys, explore, and sit on Ron's lap.  All of the pups were quite confident about their surroundings, and Schelly was the first to go through the bars in the dog gate and check out the dining room.

Pups were wormed for the first time as a precaution, and will get a dose of Baycox tonight to insure that they don't have coccidia either.  Nails get trimmed regularly.  Weaning is coming along well and they are finally slimming down.  Nena's food got cut way back (which did not make her happy) and she's finally producing less milk.  Pups will start getting a third meal today.  They are eating some raw food, and some kibble - Pro Plan Select Turkey & Barley and will be able to eat either a raw diet or kibble in their new homes.

Time to make an appointment for Well Puppy Check Ups and their first vaccinations.  We'll do that at about 7 weeks since none of the pups will be leaving until they are at least 8 weeks old unless Jack Pine goes home with Henry's owners Donna and Meg.  Need to firm up the date for BAER testing too.  Time goes by so quickly!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Bit Quieter Around Here

Things are a bit quieter around here this week as Fern is off on a "camping trip".  She came in season last week, bad timing on her part.  Girls in season normally move to the basement and get four walks a day, but things are too busy for that right now and the snow and cold really make that a chore.  Instead she is staying with a friend who has a huge fenced yard and an Australian Shepherd girl about the same age as Fern.  There is nothing that Fern enjoys more than Chase Games, so she and Tally are having a blast.  Tally lives with an elderly Aussie, so normally has no one enthusiastic and active to play with.  A good experience for Fern to adjust to a totally new situation.  Sounds as if she is doing well.  A variety of experiences are very useful for young dogs, and help to make them adaptable as well as self confident in new situations.

Max sure misses his buddy Fern.  Although Argus and Josie will play with him for awhile, they won't play endlessly like Fern does.  Good experience for Max too, and a perfect chance to separate the two of them for awhile. 

Not a very sharp picture, but the shot below is Max with his winnings from last Saturday when he went to a couple of UKC shows and won the Companion Group at both of them.  He finished his UKC Championship earlier this fall, so was entered in the Champions class this time.  UKC Championships are much easier to win that AKC titles, but the shows are fun and it's good experience for a young dog and I was pleased with how he showed.  Also had a good time catching up with long time friends.

Pups are doing well on their weaning, but I do wish that Nena would stop producing so much milk!  I want to send her home soon and would like to get the pups on four meals a day, but if I do that they will look like Walruses as Nena is still providing them with a LOT of milk.

Max got to come downstairs last night and play with the pups.  He was SO GOOD!  Very careful with them, and he got down to their level to play.  They climbed all over him and bit his ears and tail, and he just laid there wagging his tail and smiling.  Need to get some pictures of that this evening!

I worked on stacking all the pups last night, trying to decide if any of them could be promised to pet homes.  Normally most of the pups would be marked as companions by now, but not this time.  Like last year's Argus/Holly litter, the overall quality in this litter is really high.  Was surprised at how good they looked stacked.  Fulton especially surprised me as he's such a chub and appears to be Mr. No Neck.  He stacks up beautifully and has a terrific outline.  Although it is temping to keep him, I'll probably let him go locally on a co-ownership and keep show rights.  He'll live with another Paisley dog, a brother to the pup's grandma Leica, as well as to Penny's dam Nikon.  Because Max is just a year old, I probably should wait a bit longer to add another dog to this family, and I know elderly Watson would be pleased not to have another pup under foot this winter!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Busy Weekend

Pups had a busy weekend!  Lots of company and lots of handling.  The more people the puppies meet, the better!  Temperaments are just delightful, and all pups are outgoing and super friendly.  Schell(y) went through the "don't hold me or breathe on me" stage for a couple of days but is now the pushiest, most friendly pup - which is really saying something with this sociable group.

They continue to look very promising, although a couple of tails are carried higher than I would like to see at this age.  Faces, spotting and structure look really good.  Although Surly was one of the first to respond to sounds, his responses are less consistent now, and by the time they are old enough for BAER testing he will probably be functionally deaf.  Most deaf Dals never respond to sound, but some have some residual hearing at 2-3 weeks.  We've had a couple of these over the years.  Always a chance you take with a litter of Dals.  The last four Paisley litters have been all hearing, but our luck seems to have run out.  Fingers crossed that I am wrong, but . . .

Still not sure that I have any pups for pet homes, though I may place Fulton the liver boy locally on a co-ownership in a pet home.  Then I can show him, but he'll have a home of his own.  We've finished many dogs out of co-ownership home.  The owners get a quality dog, and we have one less resident dog to deal with.  Gemma who was Best Of Winners at the National last year lives in a co-ownership home, as does handsome Charlie Brown who we finished several years ago.  The co-owners just raise a well socialized pet dog, and we take care of the show training and all show-related expenses.

Weaning is going smoothly and pups are eating well from a bowl, although they still want Nena who continues to produce vast quantities of milk.  Needless to say, this is a chubby group!  Tomorrow they will be 5 weeks old and their horizons will expand as they come up into the family room for awhile every evening.  So far they have just been exploring the basement, but they are definitely ready for a new playground.  All the adults have been down to meet the pups except for Watson who can't manage the stairs anymore.  Watty will NOT be impressed with the pups as he has very little patience with them now, although he delighted in playing with them when he was younger.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Little Dogs

The pups will be 4 weeks old on Tuesday and are starting to act like little dogs now.  They wag their tails to greet me, wrestle with one another, have started playing with toys, and are leaving the whelping box to pee on papers.  Keeping the nest clean is an inborn response, so if you give the pups a chance to be clean, they will.

Lots of company now as the pups are so cute and really benefit from being handled by new people.  Individual personalities are showing up too and each of the pups is a bit different already.  Jack Pine is very silly and outgoing, the life of the party like Max was.  Fulton is more laid back, brave and friendly but not quite as busy.  Surly is a very quiet pup, sleeps hard and is the least active.  Summit acts much like Fulton, an average pup, while Schell(y) is more active and playful, but the most inclined to startle if you reach for her too fast.  She'll get lots of extra handling over the next couple of weeks.  That's Surly and Schell(y) in the picture above.  They were both fascinated with the rubber chicken.

Pups also had their first meal.  Just goats milk today, but I will gradually start adding eggs and turkey over the next few days. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Do I Really Need Another Dalmatian?

Can I MANAGE another puppy?  The little brownie boy is looking very nice, but of course there's still lots of time for things to go wrong.  His bite could be off, his tail could be too high, he might not have two testicles descended, he might not be a sound mover, he could add ticking and screw up his markings, on and on.  I had originally hoped he would not be show quality, so I wouldn't be tempted to keep him, but now . . .

I could wait until Amery's litter next year, in case the right brownie boy was there, or I could keep Fulton until then, and make the decision later.  I've raised a lot of pups that I didn't keep permanently and could do it again.  I really enjoy taking pups through Puppy Classes, and there's something so cheery about having a pup around - but it's so much work, and Max is still a puppy - even though he just celebrated his first birthday.

Visitors scheduled for this weekend.  The pups are REALLY cute now.

We'll see how it goes.