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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Almost a Week Old!

I can't believe that the puppies are almost a week old!  It's been extremely busy since they arrived.  Feeding Mr. Yellow every two hours 24 hours a day has taken it's toll on me.  And despite my best efforts, Mr Yellow did not make it.  I believe I should do the best I can do but I won't pull out all the stops to save a puppy that will not have a good life.  This is what makes being a breeder so difficult.  I become very attached to the pups who need a little more TLC to get going.  Mr. Yellow was one of those pups.  He fought and fought and as long as he wanted to live, I was going to help him.  But yesterday the light in his eyes had faded and I knew he had given up.  Despite that, I continued to feed him until he no longer had the strength.  At that point, I made him as comfortable as possible and waited for the inevitable.  I cry like a baby for every life that dies in my arms.  I will never get used to that.  And if I do, that's when I should no longer be a breeder.

The first puppy arrived at 10:30AM and the last arrived at 5:00AM.  That makes for a very long day and night.  We  have 7 males and 1 female.  There are 4 sables and 5 blacks.  They are averaging about a 25-50 gram weight increase daily.  Their weights range from 386 grams to 692 grams.  A larger than normal range.  We have Mr.(s) Red, Blue, Light Blue, White, Light Green, Navy Blue, Dark Green and Miss Pink.  Pictures to follow soon!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Guardian Angel "Angus" needs a new home. Can you help?

Angus can…


Sit – Angus is encouraged by primary trainer to sit whenever he wants anything: to go outside, to get dinner, to get into the car.  He must hold that sit until told “let’s go.” Works for primary trainer like a charm at home and if walking outside Walmart and parking lots. No treats needed now. Does super with hand signal. We use it more than the word “sit.”

Harder if excited like at doggy daycare but will do it before entering and leaving daycare! My rule is I get to go first through door. Sometimes we do fun “sit games” with treats like walk/run backwards quickly around island, acreage, halls etc so that Angus follows. When I stop, he stops and sits in front without being told. Treat. Great fun.

Relax – This is his “down.” He knows the word well and it works even better if saying it quietly. He knows the hand signal (same as ‘down’). Relax is his default position…if in the kitchen while supper being prepped,  if waiting for the older dog to come inside the house with the door open, if waiting outside Walmart watching scads of people go by, if  I ask him to take a break and “relax” while playing with a friend’s dog,  if politely waiting for me to get to that last cheesie so I’ll share it….

Trade – If he takes something he shouldn’t he’s very good at trading if you don’t show him the trade item first (eg keep behind your back). Quite often I just call him to me for the trade and I get excited when he brings me whatever he has. If someone has yelled at him that day for taking things, then I have to go to him to get the trade. Such is life with inconsistent training.

Break – When he and the other dog are playing and I want peace or just to have them calm down, I say “break” and calmly head to the kitchen. He looks up and comes flying to be with me. This breaks their play and brings them to me for a treat.  Only on occasion do I have to pick up the pace and jog to the kitchen.  (I jogged originally when training him for this as I had to be at least as fun as the other dog. Now it is just conditioning in our home for both dogs to stop and look up and follow me when they hear “break”.)

Leave it –  I use this extensively as it seems to boost his impulse control. Standard method:  food in hand or on his paw while laying down “relaxed”.   Say “Leave it.” He has to make eye contact and depending on the level of the distraction, hold it for a few seconds.  This is or was done in the following circumstances:

·      To train him to stay in a relaxed down a few feet from to our other dog who was eating (so Angus wouldn’t steal other dog’s food despite having his own full bowl). After a while, he’d just come lay in front of me whenever the older dog ate and remind me to train him. Now he just ignores the older dog’s food when he eats. Rarely do I need to do a one-time reinforcement with this.

·      To stop his  puppy petulance if he is jealous of other dog suddenly with a toy or something. 

·      To distract him before he gets over aroused if there is something of interest downstairs (extended family living there).  

·      Originally to train him to stay down and relaxed in front of open door while older slower dog came inside (so Angus didn’t pounce on older dog). No longer need  to use “leave it” for this as we just point to where we want Angus to “relax” while the older dog comes in. 

·      To distract him early if there is someone on front porch with visitors. This may an take 30 seconds then he’s bored or sees as no big deal or…during the flood there were angry yelling visitors upset with MD on our doorstop so we’d have to use longer and then when truly relaxed, move to playing ball etc.

·      While his open mouth hovers over my cheesies….he listens he knows he’ll eventually get one.

·      Lots of times do “just because” it is fun and he sure makes more eye contact.


Variation of “leave it” we sometimes use. On short leash with Angus sitting I toss a high value food out of reach of leash. Used to be that he went to the end of the leash to try to get it and would have to turn and make eye contact with me prior to me rewarding him with another treat. Now, the times we occasionally use this variation, Angus usually doesn’t go for the treat. He usually makes the eye contact for the reward, which may or may not be what is on the floor. 

Come – With a whistle and “Angus come.”  But don’t plan on it working if he is heading to the barn for the cats. Comes like a bat out of hell if in the house or playing “find me.” If outside and he doesn’t come, I  run away from him when I call him, not towards him and/or throw ball away from  him (eg. To get him to come if he’s too interested in the horses that day.)

Go to bed – Point to the bed or towel and give command. If a new towel, give reinforcement with voice or treat so he gets the idea with the new item. We used to uf

Walk – He can wow people doing loose leash in public parking lots (we’ve done parking lot socialization everywhere). Usually have a body halter on him but will take advantage of socializing opportunities like stopping at truck stop on way home from daycare with is normal collar. Walking in park, he needs more reminders to heel given the lure of smells (very scent oriented and will track cats). He knows the command “heel” and was taught by using a version of “touch it” but we don’t use it often.  (While on left side say “touch it” he touches my left hand, I treat.) In the past he had stopped behind my left heel and sat if I stopped walking; I haven’t reinforced lately.  I use a knot on end of leash (horse lead rope) as his “toy” if he needs distraction while on walk. He likes to carry in his mouth or chase if I Scooby it on the grass in a circle.

Enjoy noises – He loves noise. He is not afraid of any except for the marching band. He is rather attracted to noise and needs to check things out. Otherwise cares nothing about thunder, gunshot, pots dropping on floor  etc etc.  Easily sleeps in front of open window during our loudest thunder storms. 

Love Cars – He loves car rides. He falls asleep like a baby the ride is long (or earlier in the morning like to daycare).  Not fearful walking amongst them or crossing with loud traffic.  He is reactive with people and dogs outside the car unless given “good treats.” However, this did not work when he was in the car waiting at the kennels or if person is walking directly towards car with attention on Angus. Drive throughs were mastered with chicken when the voice came through box, chicken when paying person and chicken when collecting coffee. Took one week.  Then primary trainer could do it without treats.  However, behavior quickly reverted to growling or barking when addressed differently by others. 

Love kennels (once gets doggy friends) – he had a hoot at Kelly’s Kountry Kennels for 2 weeks.  See photos.  You can call Art to ask about him.   

Love doggy daycare – he’s been going 1-3 times a week since young and loves, loves, loves it.   

Ignore most unusual objects – He doesn’t much care about strange things or is oblivious to them. Occasionally a stare before dismisses the object. Quite frequently surprises me by not caring about things such as a 4 foot dealership flag flapping loudly in wind directly in his walking path one day. He just walked under it without caring it was there.

Sleep extremely well – Like a baby! He has been crate trained and sleeps like baby in it (by the bed).   The occasional night he sleeps beside the bed if the we need the kennel for our old dog (to calm our old dog during thunderstorms).  Angus doesn’t care about storms. Given the opportunity, he will sleep late in his kennel (eg. If you pee him once in-between he can sleep from 10 pm to 10 am if you are being lazy!!)

Ring bell to go outside -  He’s definitely house trained. No issues. “Go pee”  “Go poo” There is a bell rope on our back door he rings if desperate to get out. No house accidents since he’s been very very young before fully house trained with crate.

Look up for eye contact with a quick whistle:  He usually gives his attention if hears a short whistle or “shht”  if not overaroused.

Enjoys his favorites – belly rubs,, playing with our other dog, training, visits to walmart (not surprisingly as it was associated with Chicken), hide and seek “come” game inside and out (less outside now as he is too distracted and goes to barn to find cats), ice cubes (he can hear the freezer open in his sleep, I’m sure.), ball (alone, as possessive of this toy with other dogs).

Why Angus needs a new home:

Cats –  Angus needs a home either with no cats or one with cats and a consistent trainer.    Currently, his home has 4 cats  – two of the barn cats stalk and antagonize him. One barn cat has run down stairs to attack him. This increased his drive for the two house cats as well.  I normally spend considerable time in the barn but I have been unable to, despite continued tries and bringing in a home trainer. The barn cats antagonize him from the other side of the glass doors (smack and hiss at the doors, walk in rafters to jump on him) making the job worse.  Living with many adults and inconsistent expectations/training and access of barn cats to barn and house has increased the challenges and decreased the safety. At the vets, he has had introductions with their cat who sauntered over, let Angus smell him, and sauntered away. This bolstered my hope thinking it is just his relationship with our cats.   However, I do not have the skill, nor the consistent support, to address this at home.  There have been 3 cat incidences where Angus was the initiator (and yes, us humans could have done better; I’ll explain on phone if you are interested), and we are seeking to avoid more.

Strangers – From 14 weeks to 20 weeks Angus met about 100 people face to face (including 20 4H kids) with petting in our home or in doggy daycare (he still attends) or dog classes. At around 5 months of age he became very protective and reactive to strangers entering his home. I could have done more socialization and realized later that other adults in the house had used different techniques.  At this point, with different approaches used by extended family in the house (including seniors with new medical conditions), visiting “stranger” seniors bringing furniture and house items from the flood to store at our place,  and myself not always home, we have avoided face to face home introductions. Instead, if home, I take him to another room where he can see and hear the stranger and train until calm. This can take 30 seconds of something simple like “leave it/take it” (watching woman on front deck) to many minutes (angry man yelling upset with MD and government regarding flooding, not watching but hearing through open window).  I clearly could have done a better job socializing him earlier and he would have benefited from a more consistent approach.  He has not bitten. He is a puppy who needed more socialization earlier and who needs more training for this now but with consistent training that I can’t provide in the current situation.

 In public, Angus has been exposed at a distance to over one thousand people and is calm if walking in busy parking lots  (polite distance kept from strangers), truck stops, and laying relaxed on ground 14-20 feet from Walmart door with constant people, cart and car traffic.  Walking on the street we usually just pass on the grass if the person has no dog (he’s happy if he gets the knot of the leash/lead rope in his mouth to carry).  We do not do 1:1 greets with petting in public (unless a friend, see paragraph below.) If people ignore him, he can ignore them if they are walking by as close as 2-4 feet (this just happens, I don’t aim for the distance). That is too close if people stop to give him attention or talk to me and he gets reactive. Originally I associated  looking at strangers with “something good” (chicken while looking at person, chicken removed when not looking at person).  He no longer needs food, just rubbies works fine or quite often nothing for this distance socialization.  

 He is reactive on leash seeing another dog  (out of frustration) but is made to sit anyway before greeting (only if it’s a friend as strangers are quickly turned off with his reactivity). He quickly greets new dog and socializes like its puppy daycare. He’ll usually follow commands “break” from play, sit, relax (down) etc and charm my friends once he’s into the play. However, strangers don’t let us get to that stage given his reactiveness and my concern for them. (I think I’ve unconsciously fostered some of his concern regarding strangers).

 When in the car, he is reactive to dogs and with some, but not all people.  It is usually easy in a busy parking lot to just give him treat a few times when seeing a stranger and he settles and ignores people.  This won’t work at kennels or if attention is directed toward him.

He is more reactive with me than with my hubby. Hubby easily has long conversations standing at the open window of others' pickup trucks with Angus sitting beside him. I think I am unconsciously making things worse, reacting physically while he senses my worry.  I am no trainer – just a middle aged frau trying what I can. Again, I'd be willing to do more with cats and strangers if the home circumstances were different.  

  I cry thinking about the time and hours we’ve spent together but realize that with 4 cats,  inconsistent training in an extended family and new lack of conviction with some family members now that they have new health problems, that frequent “two steps forward, four steps backwards” will continue to occur at the expense of cats’ and Angus’s safety. 

Please consider calling me to discuss Angus. I greatly appreciate your time in reading this email and watching the video (it is an unlisted video). 

Many thanks,



9 Puppies, 1 Migraine & 1 cracked rib!

Things are still crazy here.  The puppies are doing well except 1.  He was the last one born and endured labour for over 24 hours.  That can play havoc with a little body.  He is continuing to lose weight even though I'm trying to bottle feed him.  Today I tube fed him and will do so every 2 hours for the next 24.  That should either make it or break it.  I may be imagining it but I think he's looking just slightly better. 

And the cracked rib?  During the whelping process, I was lying on a futon beside the whelping box waiting for the next puppy to appear.  Every time Cruz got up, I had to run interference to make sure she didn't step on the puppies already delivered.  I was lying on my right side and stretched into the box to move some puppies.  Thanks to the removal of most of my stomach muscles via surgery last year, I could only suspend myself for a short time.  I was extending my stretch much longer than I could, and fell back onto the futon to save myself from landing face first in the whelping box.  Unfortunately the metal handle used to pull the futon out was no longer covered by the mattress and I came down with all my weight right on top of it.  It felt like somebody had stabbed me in the front and the knife came right out the back.  I've never had any broken/cracked ribs before but I'm 99.9% sure this is what a cracked rib feels like.  Hurts to breathe, hurts to bend, hurts to twist, etc.  I've had broken bones before and this feels like bone pain as opposed to muscle pain.  But enough about me!

I promise when things settle down, I will give you all the details of the whelping.  And update you on the progress of the weak puppy.  I won't give him a name because it makes it harder if we lose him.  But we'll keep trying and hopefully we'll be successful!

The following post will be from a lady who can no longer keep her Guardian Angel Shepherd due to the fact her elderly parents moved in with her.  The next post is her letter hoping to find a good home for Angus.  He is an all black 8 month old male.  I cannot bring him here as all my kennels/yards are full and I cannot have a new dog in the house with my newborn puppies.  Please read the following post.  There is also a video to go with it.  If you can help Bev, please give her a call.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Oh what a night! And day!

9 puppies, a maiden bitch with only a little milk and a migraine. I'll update when I can.


This msg was sent from my phone so please excuse the brevity & if there are any errors. Thank you.

Friday, 16 August 2013

7 so far

6 males 1 female

Are there any more coming? Hard to say at this point. I'd be happy if this was it.


This msg was sent from my phone so please excuse the brevity & if there are any errors. Thank you.

We are having puppies!

3 pups so far. 2 males 1 female.

I'll update when I can.


This msg was sent from my phone so please excuse the brevity & if there are any errors. Thank you.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Ever wonder how much dog food I go through?

That will take about 3 weeks. Guess how many bags are there? The first person with the right answer gets a pat on the head!