Wednesday, July 29, 2009

ELGIN (BLEVE) and his new family

Today the first of the pups went to their new home. Elgin's new family Jeremy and Erin were well prepared for the new addition. Elgin's new name is BLEVE a firefighter's term. We have been working on teaching him his new name and what a smart boy he is. By the time they left Erin had him well on his way to learning a proper sit. He even tried one of his dad's famous "sit pretty" poses. Some things just seem to be passed on!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How Far We've Come

In just these 8 short weeks the pups have grown and become wonderful puppies ready for their new homes. It is a very labor intensive process...raising puppies the right way but so rewarding. As sad as it is to see them go we are so proud and pleased with how this litter has turned out.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Name Game and Staying Safe

As puppies get ready to go to their new homes it is important to remember that puppy must always be kept in a safe environment. Crates are an excellent way to keep puppies safe while you are unable to watch them. It is kind of like having a toddler in that you must think of things that puppy may get into and protect them. Baby gates are another good solution to keeping young pups safe. Puppy will come to understand that by your keeping him safe he then develops trust in you. Life-long connections with your puppy develop at this stage.

One important aspect of keeping puppy safe is making the connection with their name and learning that when you call them and they come to you wonderful things happen. For those pups that have their real names now we have started imprinting that. At this age puppies are underfoot and want to follow and be with you. We take them individually for walks in the yard and let them get a bit ahead or behind us and call their name and the instant they turn and look at us and start to come toward us we reward them with excited praise and when they get to us they get a tasty treat. It doesn't take long for puppy to learn that his new name is associated with wonderful things (you and a treat). That is why we NEVER call a puppy to us and punish or scold them. We only use positive reinforcement in training puppies. It is so easy to train a solid recall at this age and can save the life of your puppy in the future.

These pups are very comfortable napping in a crate.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Yesterday the puppies went to the local vet's and received their first shots. This was a "3 Way" vaccine, containing only the vaccine for the diseases that are deadly for puppies and adults alike - Distemper, Parvo and Hepatitis. While there are vaccines for other diseases, they are not considered life threatening and can how potential side affects. The puppies will need to receive a second booster shot on THURSDAY AUGUST 20th. Again, we would recommend the 3 Way vaccine, but please consult your own veterinarian for their recommendation.

And, then, here are some pictures of Spring! starting her first tracking lesson. AKC Tracking is a modified version of search and rescue work. We only do this for fun, the pressure of real work is very demanding on both the owners and dogs.

The first photo is her getting her puppy harness on and being shown that there are food drops hidden in the grass. Within 3 steps she has learned to bury her nose i n the grass and search for food. Over the course of the next couple of lessons she will quickly make the transition to the food being where the person walked. Food drops will become further apart as she figures the game out.

And, at the end, she finds the GLOVE! Of course, she doesn't understand that part at all on Day 1, but we will work on tugger games seperately and really encourage her to play rough with gloves, socks, belts and other things she finds on the ground. Means that at home we have to keep things picked up. Corey will grab winter gloves off the table and run through the house to show what he has found. Just means housekeeping has to be done or WE accept responsibility for destroyed gloves and socks.

And the last picture is Spring! tracking on pavement. Urban tracking is definately in her future and we will be introducing a variety of surfaces right from the start.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Puppy Shots

Today the puppies are scheduled for their first set of puppy shots. Ideally it would be closer to their 8 week old birthday, but making arrangements with the local wholistic veterinarian and having people pick up their puppies made the timing difficult. Linda did much research on the latest in vaccination protocols and then luckily our local vet had the recommended vaccine available. The Merck 3 way combination shot that cover the core diseases. There should be a minimum of 3 weeks, preferably 4 weeks before the next shot is given. Rabies should be given separately, at least 4 weeks after any previous shots Remember, rabies should NEVER be given in conjunction with another vaccination.

These puppy shots are crucial steps in assuring it will have a healthy and happy life.

The protocols for what to vaccinate for and when to administer the shots are very controversial. Many vet practices are still administering vaccines that are designed to cover a wide spectrum of diseases. Many people are now questioning the frequency of vaccination, some safety vs. efficacy concerns, whether to vaccinate at all, and what does the vaccine actually contain. So when you ask your vet when to bring your animal back for its next shot, be aware there is no one correct answer.

Core vaccines are designed to protect against diseases that are more serious or potentially fatal. These diseases are found in all areas of North America and are more easily transmitted than noncore diseases. The AAHA guidelines define the following as core vaccines: distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and rabies. All puppies should be vaccinate these diseases.

Noncore vaccines are those reserved for patients at specific risk for infection due to exposure or lifestyle. The AAHA guidelines classify kennel cough, Lyme disease and leptospirosis vaccines within the noncore group.

Optional or “noncore” vaccines are those that should be considered only in special circumstances because their use is more dependent on the exposure risk of the individual animal. Issues of geographic location and lifestyle should be considered before administering these vaccines. In addition, the diseases involved are generally self-limiting or respond readily to treatment. This group of vaccines comprises distemper-measles virus (D-MV), canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV), Leptospira, Bordetella, and Borrelia.

Lyme disease vaccinations give highly unreliable protection, and can cause arthritic disease Neither Lyme vaccinations or leptospirosis vaccinations should be given close to the time that any other vaccinations are given.

Another source of controversy is the recommended frequency of vaccinations. Although yearly boosters are recommended by most vets, for many diseases the yearly booster really is not obligatory. However, a yearly checkup is necessary for the same reasons you would have one yourself. For the low-risk pet, once the initial puppy series is completed, a booster at one year and another at three years should suffice until your dog's senior years.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Temperatment Testing

A couple of my favorite pictures of Carina - whose puppy temperament test 7 years ago was "It's all about me". Work, training, socialization, and persistence paid off!

Yesterday we had our very good friend Marie Gagnon come over and temperament test the puppies. Marie has been doing this on all our litters for many years. Because we spend so much time ever day with the puppies we have a pretty good idea of their temperaments, but it is very helpful to have a set of “fresh” eyes evaluate the litter.

Marie makes sure the puppies are in a new place and she is a new person. Seven years ago Marie tested Carina, the puppies’ grandmother, as having great obedience potential, if convinced she had to. Carina tested independent – that the world was all about her. To this day that is Carina. And my whole training has been about working with her individual personality and developing her working for ME! One of the puppies tested the same way – we’ll see if Amy is up to the challenge!

The puppies tested pretty much as expected. This test give us, and the new owners, an idea of the puppy’s individual personality and what areas could use work to develop them to their full potential. While not perfect, it does help us gain insights into a puppy's character.

One VERY important factor to keep in mind is that the puppy's behavior as an adult will depend on many factors, including his life experiences and the socialization and training he receives from his owners. Exposure, socialization and training can not be overemphasized. The best natured puppy will develop severe issues if kept home and never exposed to the rest of the world. And a shy puppy can blossom into a social butterfly with positive experiences and socialization. Adult dogs with temperament issues USUALLY were not given a solid socialization start in life.

There are five general tests that were performed on puppies that test 1) dependence versus independence, 2) submissiveness versus dominance, 3) prey drive, 4) retrieval drive, and 5) sensitivity to sound.

Two other tests were also done: 1) touch sensitivity, gently squeezing the puppy's toes to measure if he yelps and jerks his foot back wildly, pulls his foot back calmly, or growls and tries to bite. Of course the preferred response is that he pulls his foot back calmly while giving kisses. 2) Prey drive, testing how likely the puppy is to chase moving objects – which could include things like cats and small critters.

Because we know what characteristics that owners want in a puppy, these tests help us line us the puppies wiht their new owners.

Just remember that in new situations dogs may act timid and submissive, but it does not necessarily mean that is their normal temperament. It just means that the dog needs more socialization. These tests are not definite, but they give us some idea as to the general temperament of the puppy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Playing with Mom

While Maeve is no longer actively nursing the puppies, she is still given lots of access to them.

From their sixth through eighth week the puppies learn many lessons about discipline and learning to play nicely. Maeve will play games of tugger and play fights, and be very, very gentle. BUT, let one of the puppies get too rough or bite too hard and she will be quick to discipline. The lesson here is that she will play nice if they place nice, they bite too hard, and she will make them cry. NEVER any damage done, just a quick, firm "I'm in charge". This is such an important part of their lives and why puppies need to spend these important developmental weeks playing and interacting with their mother.

They are learning to accept discipline, admit that the world is NOT about them, and then get on with just being a puppy. These basic lessons in life will make training your puppy so much easier.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Puppy and Bones

While the puppies continue to receive a standard dog "kibble" once a day, they are getting two meals that are a more natural raw diet. And, to help them grow strong bones, they are getting bones. Here are a couple of pictures of them eating raw beef bones. Of course, for those who decide not to feed raw the puppies are currently getting Merrick Puppy food - a brand we would recommend for puppies and dogs alike. Their canned varieties are even great for raw feed dogs on on road trips where taking frozen food it troublesome.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Puppy Photo Shoot

Today the puppies had a big adventure. They went to the New Gloucester fire station for a picture taking session with a professional photographer, Angela Schwartz. She is doing the photography for a fundraising calendar to benefit the fire department. She will be posting some of the photos on her website/blog at http://www.angelaschwar

There were many, many pictures taken with the firemen and a 1928 fire truck. The puppies
were great ambassadors, giving kisses to anyone who wanted to hold them. Trying to get active puppies to actually stay in one place was quite an undertaking, but everyone was patient and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the pups. The puppies' father, Corey and grandmother, Carina were also active participants in the process. It was so nice to see how gentle Corey was - this was his first opportunity to see and play with the youngsters. Carina offered her many tricks, and was also very good with the little spots.

There should be some great shots - I can't imagine how many pictures Angela took in the 2 hour session. The shot above shows how tired the pups got - and what happens when puppies play hard and long!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


The puppies are going to be used in a photography shoot tomorrow for a fundraiser calendar for a fire department. This is not the first time that our Dalmatians have been stars. Over the years our Dalmatians have been used in movies and various photo shoots for educational purposes as well as for fund raisers.

They were featured in the movie, The 12 Dogs of Christmas which was produced in Bethel, Maine. You can see more about this movie at .

The photo above is of our puppy Lucy. She has been photographed for's corner dog bed. You can see her in the red dog bed at their website .

Our dogs have also participated in educational events related to the release of the Disney movies 101 Dalmatians. The purpose of these meet and greet events were to educate moviegoers about Dalmatians.

Of course, our dogs and puppies are always in demand for photo opportunities at fire stations and departments. Pictured below is Bridgetown Nova Scotia Fire Department mascot, "Spencer" with owner Janice Dorey at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new fire station.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gate Respect

While there are still people who think you can't teach puppies until they are several months old, they really start to learn from the day they are born. One lesson we are working on is respecting pens and barriers.

Go to an agility trial and you will see many, many dogs waiting patiently inside 24 inch high wire "exercise" pens. Yet when brought out for their turn these same dogs sail over jumps with room to spare. The difference is taught at a very young age. Corey will drape himself over the porch railing while I'm in the yard, but knows the consequences if he should jump out.

As the puppies clamor up the side of the pen they are learning whether climbing is acceptable or not. While it is cute that they want to be with us, and watching them learn to climb is interesting, the long term effect is that they know they CAN and then they WILL climb and escape from everything.

We start by simply tapping their toes, forcing them to pull their paws back in off the fence. Not enough to hurt - but enough so they don't want it to happen again. Within 3 or 4 times they will back off, sit in the middle of the box and think about what just happened. Our next step will be to rattle the pen, causing them to "drop" off as they climb up. The catch here is that no words are spoken or verbal correction given. We want them to think the correction comes from the gate/pen, not from us. I want them to respect the gate even when I'm not around. Doesn't usually take many lessons to get the point across. Wait and I will open the gate, jump on it and it will be uncomfortable. Pups are sure quick learners and these lessons will last their lifetime unless you specifically "untrain" them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Well, we did the BAER testing on Tuesday. There were no surprises there. ALL breeds of dogs have some genetic problems, some with far bigger problems than Dals. Deafness is a continuing problem for our breed and genetic testing seems to indicate that as long as we having spotting deafness will occur. Puppies can be Bilateral Hearing in both ears, Unilaterally hearing (only one ear hears), or unilaterally deaf. Even breeding many, many generations of Bilateral Hearing puppies we will still produce deaf and unilateral hearing puppies. The good news is that while bilateral puppies are what we hope for, unilaterally hearing puppies will make GREAT pets - they just should not be used in a breeding program. Unilateral hearing puppies/dogs are virtually indistinguishable from their bilaterally hearing litter mates. Many breeders can't distingush the different puppies, even after closely observing them for several weeks. Experienced observers MAY be able to tell which puppies/dogs are unilaterally hearing; although it's much more difficult to tell which ear is affected.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The pups had another good day with new experiences. Here are some puppy face shots that we took today. We are very pleased with their head types and nose and eye trim. They all have nice dark eyes which is what we hope for.

How cute is this? They all have lovely face markings.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Today the puppies had a new experience. We had a pool party and had several youngsters and their parents over. The puppies got to meet 3 year old Timmy, 6 year old Ben and pictured here is Grey who is 5. He comes from a sled dog racing family and he has 23 dogs at home. At age 5 Grey already has a real love of dogs and was very good with the puppies.
My grandson Teddy who is 16 months is also with us for the next two weeks so the pups are getting good, positive exposure to children.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


The puppies had a busy day today with some new adventures. They got to eat their breakfast of goat's milk, ground chicken and yogurt outside in the big dog yard in the sunshine. That was the first time they were in that setting and it didn't phase them a bit. They are getting very adventuresome and much braver.

They had lunch of Merrick Puppy food outside on the grass and them some outside play time. It was warm and sunny and they enjoyed being outside.

Now they are interested in climbing on things and we encourage that! Hopefully there will be some agility stars in this group.

Speaking of agility stars, grandma Sara took Carina, Violet and Corey to an agility trial for the weekend. Violet is an aunt to the pups. Sara and Violet qualified in the Open Jumpers Class with an entry of over 20 and Violet got a 1st place. Corey also qualified in his Novice Jumpers class to finish his title. Hopefully they will do well tomorrow as well.

Friday, July 10, 2009


The puppies are enjoying many new experiences each day. Their play time is more interactive now and they will often play together two or three at at time. Their favoirte toys right now are a tugger toy and this new large ball. They like carrying the smaller toys around in their mouths. We also include some metal toys for those pups that may be headed for performance homes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Meeting a toddler

Early this morning the puppies got to meet their first "small person". Linda's daughter Christie and grandson Teddie are visiting for 2 weeks. The timing couldn't be better. The pups will get lots of great children interaction time and meeting many new people as Christie's friends and their children come for visits. Maybe the weather will even hold and the pups can meet people while out and about in the yard.

Another agility trial this weekend so posting might be up to Linda. Fingers cross that the puppy's Grandmother Carina, daddy Corey and aunt Violet actually listen on the course and earn some green ribbons! Of course, other colors to go with the green ones would be a nice addition, too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Puppy Bonding

Linda hasn't had a chance to download cute puppy pictures today, so here is a cute picture of Daddy Corey at about 8 weeks. I think a couple of the puppies have his very nice head type, but I don't remember those BIG ears!

More on how to help form your puppy's personality from Day 1. Ever wonder why they bond with one person more than another? I think that sometimes they just "pick" us out, but more often we on purpose or by accident develop that sense.

When Saturn was born he sat at the back of the box and said "I get to stay". Because my husband wanted his "own" boy and because I was very busy with Saturn's dad Dusty, we helped that happen. How? Well, I of course, fed and trained everyone. BUT, real interact was with Don. When Saturn wanted to play the tug was given to Don. When he was tired and wanted to snuggle, it was in Don's lap. All really "fun" things were done with Don. I set the rules, did the training and fed him, but Don took him for fun runs in the field, car rides, and play times. At 12, Saturn will spend time with me, but given his choice, Don will always win out.

Corey was to be my boy. I spent the fun times with him, starting with tracking, tugger, classes, play times, snuggle times. While he will snuggle with Don if I'm not available, have no doubt who his "real" person is.

So - who is suppose to be your puppy's "person"? Remember all the little things that will help that puppy bond with their one special person. While Dals are great with families and will listen to and respect everyone they are taught to, there will be that one "special" person that they would RATHER be with. Part of that great loyality with love in our breed.

Oh - and Carina is a "joint" person dog. Will go with either of us just about the same - we must have trained for that without even realizing it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Creatures of Habit

Dogs are creatures of habit. This was demonstrated - again - at my house last night. Every night I go upstairs to read about 8:00. Corey and Carina come up with me and have very specific places on the bed where they lay down. Corey is at my feet and Carina is at my waist, about the middle of the bed. Dusty - now gone - was at the head of the bed. No one has moved into this position. Let something happen, like a pillow in the wrong place, and NO ONE is happy. Corey couldn't possibly lay down on the pillow - he will just move around, stare at me and be restless. Move the pillow and he sighs as he lays where he belongs.

Then, come bed time and I turn off the light. Corey immediately jumps off the bed and goes into his crate, whose door is blocked open. Carina stands up, moves so she can get under the covers, snuggles with me and goes back to sleep.

These routines start the day the puppy comes home - or make the move from the puppy pen to the bedroom. Remember - what you start doing on Day 1 will remain with your puppy for life. If you don't want her to sleep on your pillow for the next 15 years, don't let her do so starting at 8 weeks. Gently place her by your legs every time she is on the bed and soon that will be where she expects to sleep. Have her sleep in the crate starting on Day 1, KEEP IT UP, and that will be where she is happiest sleeping.

Don't get up and feed your puppy at exactly 6:00 every week day morning and expect them to sleep in on the weekend. Their week long calendar all looks the same. Get up, put the puppy out, bring her back in, take a shower, drink your coffee, and THEN give her breakfast. They won't wake up expecting a meal, and maybe they will learn to go back to bed on weekends. They will, however, still need to go out at the same time everyday.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Finally Summer

Here are a couple of puppies practicing their stands over the weekend. Amazing how much they grow in a week.

And, finally, MAYBE summer is here in Maine. While it did cloud up yesterday, we made it through the whole day without rain. Of course, thunder showers are predicted for this afternoon.

Here is an article on dogs and hot weather.

Avoiding Heat Related Injuries in Dogs
by Nate Baxter, DVM

The first thing that needs to be understood is that dogs and people are different enough that most of the info cannot cross lines. Dogs do not lose enough electrolytes thru exercise to make a difference, but if the dog gets truly into heat stroke, the physiology changes will make them necessary. BUT oral replacement at that point is futile, they need intravenous fluids and electrolytes and lots of it.

Cooling: Evaporative cooling is the most efficient mean of cooling. However, in a muggy environment, the moisture will not evaporate so cooling does not happen well. I cool with the coldest water I can find and will use ice depending on the situation. The best way is to run water over the dog, so there is always fresh water in contact with the skin. When you immerse a dog in a tub, the water trapped in the hair coat will get warm next to the dog, and act as an insulator against the cool water and cooling stops. If you can run water over the dog and place it in front of a fan that is the best.

Misting the dog with water will only help if you are in a dry environment or in front of a fan. Just getting the dog wet is not the point, you want the water to be cool itself, or to evaporate.

For MOST situations all you will need to do is get the dog in a cooler environment, in shade, or in the cab of the truck with the air conditioning on (driving around so the truck does not overheat and the AC is more efficient). Up to a couple of years ago, I was very concerned about my dogs getting too hot in the back of my black pickup with a black cap. New white truck fixed a lot of that problem. When I had one dog I just pulled the wire crate out of the car and put it in some shade and opefully a breeze. But having 2 dogs and running from one stake to another, that was not feasible.

So I built a platform to put the wire crates on, this raises the dog up in the truck box where the air flow is better. Then I placed a 3 speed box fan in front blowing on the dogs with a foot of space to allow better airflow. I purchased a power inverter that connects to the battery and allows the 3 speed fan to run from the truck power. It has an automatic feature that prevents it from draining the battery. When I turned that fan on medium I would find that the dogs where asleep, breathing slowly and appeared very relaxed and comfortable in a matter of 20 minutes or less, even on very hot muggy days.

Alcohol: I do carry it for emergencies. It is very effective at cooling due to the rapid evaporation. It should be used when other methods are not working. You should be on your way to the veterinarian before you get to this point. We recommend using rubbing alcohol, which is propylene alcohol, not ethyl, for those of you not aware. So do not try to drink it. Alcohol should be used on the pads and lower feet area where there is little more than skin and blood vessels over the bones. Use a little bit and let it evaporate, you can use too much as some is absorbed through the skin. There are concerns about toxicity, but you have to get the temperature down.

I purchased those cooling pads that you soak in cold water, but found that the dogs would not lay on them. I would hold them on the back of a dog that just worked to get a quick cool, but have not use them for years. I also bought a pair of battery operated fans but found them pretty useless. Spend your money on the power inverter and get a real fan.

Watching temperature: If you feel your dog is in danger of heat injury, check its temp and write it down. Keep checking the temp every 3 minutes. I recommend to get a "rectal glass thermometer. The digital ones for the drug store I have found to be very unreliable, Don't forget to shake it down completely each time, sounds silly, but when are worried about your companion, things tend to get mixed up. This is VERY
IMPORTANT**once the temp STARTS to drop, STOP ALL COOLING EFFORTS. The cooling process will continue even though you have stopped. If the temp starts at 106.5, and then next time it drops to 105.5, stop cooling the dog, dry it off, and continue monitoring. You will be amazed how it continues to go down. If you do not stop until the temp is 102, the temp will drop way too low. I cannot emphasis this point enough.

When the dog is so heated that it is panting severely, only let it have a few laps of water. Water in the stomach does not cool the dog, you just need to keep the mouth wet so the panting is more effective. Do not worry about hydration until the temp has started down. A dog panting heavily taking in large amounts of water is a risk of bloat. Due to the heavy panting they will swallow air, mixed with a large amount of water they can bloat. Once the temp is going down and panting has slowed to more normal panting then allow water. The dog will rehydrate it self after temp is normal. If the dog has a serious problem and even though you have gotten the temp normal, get the dog to a vet, as it can still need IV fluids and some medication. Also, a case of heat stroke can induce a case of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (not
parvo), with a ton of very bloody diarrhea and a lot of fluid and electrolyte loss. These cases need aggressive treatment.

The best method of treatment is prevention. Learn to watch your dog, and see the changes in the size of the tongue, and how quickly it goes down. Learn your dogs response to the different environments, and be careful when you head south for an early season hunt test or trial. I have been to Nashville at the end of May, only 5 hours away, but the difference in temp and humidity did effect the dogs as they were used to more spring weather in Ohio. Try different things in training to help the dog cool and learn what works better. Another very important point=> Do not swim your hot dog to cool it then put in put in a box/tight crate. Remember, evaporation can not take place in a tight space, and the box will turn into a sauna and you will
cook your dog. Carry a stake out chain, and let the dog cool and dry before putting it up. I demonstrated this lesson this spring with my 10 month old pup. After doing a 15 minute session in yard drill on a warm 70+ degree day, she was panting pretty hard and was pretty hot. She was OK but it was time to stop. Just for the heck of it I took her temp. She was 103.6, above normal but too bad for a dog that had just finished working. In my back yard I have a 300 gallon Rubbermaid tub filled with water. I took her to it and she jumped in and out 3-4 times. She appeared totally improved, tongue was much smaller, and eyes brighter and her full spring was back into her step.

So I re-took her temp and it was 104.2, so even though she looked better she was hotter. This is a perfect lesson to show not get a hot dog wet and then put them in a box. The water on her skin caused the blood vessels to constrict, decreasing blood flow to the skin. Therefore the hot blood was shunted back to the dog's core and retained the heat. You may have felt the same thing, after exercising but still being very warm, take a shower and get cooled off but as soon as you turn the shower off you start sweating again.

I know this is a bit log, but hopefully this is easy to understand and helps provide some useful information. Remember: Prevention, learn your dog. It is worth the time and effort.
____________ ______
Nate Baxter, DVM

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunny Sunday

Here are a couple of pictures of the puppies learning about toys. At this stage they are more collectors than players. They grab a toy and run to the dog bed, and then go look for more.

And because it was FINALLY a Sunny Sunday in Maine their Grandma Carina got to go for a long trail ride. Roxie the paint mare took an hour to reach the mountain top, but can back down in 40 minutes - she walks so much faster when headed home. And what I really love is letting Carina do what Dals were bred to do - go out with "her" horse. What a fun way to spend the morning.

And then we visited pups and spent time evaluating them. Always a learning process for all involved. Visiting the puppies is not a quick trip and I spend hours just playing and watching them grow. Amazing how they can change even over a few days time.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

We ate - we played - now we can go so sleep on the doggie bed - except for

Cartier - who insisted she MUST go to sleep in Grammy Sara's lap. She is such a cuddler - and is learning to give sweet kisses - too!

Here are a couple more books suggestions:

Building Blocks for Performance by Bobbie Anderson - to help develop those future obedience and agility stars.

Highly Recommended - Puppy Possibilities A positive approach to a well behaved family pet, by Kathleen Goodman. This book can be obtained directly from the author for $25. Contact her at 111 Spring St, Hopkinton MA 01748 or at

And in Linda's search for puppy kibble, Merrick brand won out. Top ingredients are organic chicken, turkey, and oatmeal. We can obtain this brand at our local Paris Farmers Union, but you should be able to find a supplier by search Google. Merrick also makes a variety of dry and canned dog food that we would recommend.

And - don't forget about mushrooms! Corey was "off" the other night, and I was very worried. He refused his supper and just seemed unhappy. Then I watched him sniffing the grass in the dog yard and investigation revealed mushrooms. Then when I took old man Saturn for a walk around by the flower beds he headed toward some mushrooms. So, I now have a bucket full of mushrooms and will be monitoring the yard until summer actually arrives in Maine and things - including mushrooms - dry up. BTW, Corey is fine, some Peptobismol and no breakfast soon put his tummy back to normal.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The weaning process

The weaning process continued. We used to start puppies on soaked puppy food as soon as 3 weeks. My neighbor has a litter of Bernese Mountain Dogs only days older than ours and they are almost completely weaned. We have just started! New evidence is that puppies really should be on their mother's milk for as long as is practical. As Maeve starts to be harder to keep weight on, the more food will be fed to the puppies. This process will continue until the puppies are ready to go to their new homes. Maeve will tell us when the time is right to quit nursing, and we will not force her to stop nursing them until then. Maeve has wonderful mothering instincts and does her job well.
Today some ground raw chicken was added to their egg and goat's milk. Over the course of the next few weeks raw food, fresh vegetables and puppy kibble will all be rotated through their diet, helping their systems prepare for the food at their new homes.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Tuffy’s Toys are the most durable toys available. Google Tuffy Toys and you will find hundreds of links. They are our dogs favorite toys. Long lasting, I have a couple that have withstood several years of fierce tugger battles and while they be a little shredded on the edges, they still squeak! They get my 5 Star rating. I personally plan to add a couple to my new puppy box.

And Kong toys also make a great addition to your puppy play box. They are puncture resistant and chewer friendly. This toy can be filled with treats, cheese or peanut butter, great for keeping the puppy occupied for part of the day while he is home alone. They even have a dental line that assist with helping your puppy’s gums and teeth clean. Kong's Wubba Dog Toy line is an interactive play toy for dogs. The Wubba has a squishy head on top with 4 tendrils (this toy looks like an octopus) flowing down. Dogs can grab the tentacles and shake this toy and will enjoy the squeaker inside.

Vinyl toys are NOT recommended. They will only last seconds and the parts left over can easily be swallowed. The same can be said of most squeaky toys sold in Walmart and at pet stores.

Ropes toys can easily be torn apart and the fibers ingested. If you want to encourage tugging, make your own by braiding fleece strips, and then ONLY allow access to this toy when you are there to supervise.

It is a rare Dal that doesn’t delight in seeing how quickly they can destroy their new toys. And all those pieces can then be ingested. I have personally known of several Dals that had to have surgery to remove blockages caused by toys.

While Tuffy Toys and Kong Toys can be pricey, they are virtually indestructible and will last for many years. And don't forget - please supervise your puppy with all new toys until you are sure it is safe and won't be destroyed and/or swallowed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Book Recommendations

Because some of the pups might be traveling by air we like to acclimate them to airline crates or Vari Kennels. This is the bottom half of an airline crate filled with a soft blanket . After playtime the pups discovered the new experience I planned for them today. Tired from play, a few of them crawled in and fell asleep. After several days we will add the top to the airline crate to get them used to the entire picture but for now it is just another very comfortable place to snooze when their tummies are full and they are ready for a nap.

There are as many training methods as there are dog trainers. It is possible to watch television programs that give 2 very different sides of the dog training picture. Both offer spectacular results on TV, but like ALL TV viewing, don't believe everything you see. Do you think they would show their failures? That wouldn't do much for their ratings. Dog training use to be very harsh and I will ALWAYS feel guilty that I trained my first obedience dog using less than positive methods. Crystal - will you forgive me and know how much I have learned?

Here is a short list of my recommend books. I know Linda also has some she recommends. Maybe I'll add those at a future blog. Check out the many books at Be prepared - you may want to order lots!

HOW TO RAISE A PUPPY YOU CAN LIVE WITH, 4TH EDITION by Clarice Rutherford & David Neil

BEFORE & AFTER GETTING YOUR PUPPY by Ian Dunbar (one of my favorite and eye open seminars was YEARS ago by Mr. Dunbar)

LIVING WITH YOUR DOG DVD by Jack & Wendy Volhard

WHAT ALL GOOD DOGS SHOULD KNOW, 2ND EDITION by Jack Volhard & Melissa Bartlett