Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Welcome Home

The much anticipated arrival of your new puppy is an exciting event--  especially if you have never owned a dog before.  There are many different things to be considered before Spot comes home. What food should I get for him? Which toys will hold up to a vigorous chewing puppy? Should I get a crate? Collar style? Hopefully this post will answer some of those pressing questions.

Food:  Each breed and size is going to have a different required amount of food.  However, there are some guidelines that apply to all.  Don't leave the food down for your dog to graze on all day.  Feed your dog his portion in his crate (this helps to associate positive feelings with the crate) and leave him there.  After thirty minutes to an hour, take your dog directly to his spot and give him the elimination command.  This helps cut down on accidents as well as helps your dog to be regular.  We feed two times a day (three when they're younger).  Our favorite foods are either Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice, or one of the Kirkland Signature Natures Domain.

Toys: There are SO many different choices and variations for dog and puppy toys on the market. First of all, Many vets and pet stores will do their best to convince you that rawhide chew toys are healthy for dogs. This is majorly incorrect! Dogs are not able to digest rawhide.  The process that is used to make rawhide is highly toxic for any animal. Here is a link to a cute video about how rawhide products are made. We would recommend any Kong toys. Another natural alternative to rawhide are antler chews. They are completely natural, and the dogs love them! They are very clean, and don't have the mess that some natural dog toys have.  We also sometimes will get knuckle bones from the grocery store for a very special treat.

Crates: Dogs are den creatures.  We believe that crate training is highly important in a young pup's life. A crate gives them a place to call their own, and somewhere to go when they need time to themselves. It is also a place for them to sleep at night that keeps them out of trouble. While they will whine the first couple nights, stick to your guns and don't let them sleep with you. This will begin to teach the dog to settle, and prepare him for car trips in the crate or time at the kennel while you are on vacation.

Collar & Leash: Just like everything else, there are many different variations in collar and leashes. Our favorite collar style is called a martingale collar. This style provides more control over your dog without the choking effect of a slip collar. First choice for us in the leash world would be a multifunctional leash. They are very versatile and handy to use.

Beds: Soft cushy dog beds look so comfortable for your dog. And they are! But we've found that if you pair a puppy with a stuffed bed it often results in room that looks like it's covered in snow! The best choice we have found is what is called a Kuranda bed. Orthopedic, chew proof, and super easy to clean it is by far the best bed we have found for our dogs. This bed is what we use to teach place. It works perfectly because it is raised off the ground so the pup is either off or on the bed. No more slowly creeping away.

The addition of a puppy to your home is sure to bring much joy, laughter, and fun. But don't forget to be prepared for your new fur ball before he arrives! Everyone will be much happier if you do.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ten Things Only a Lab Owner Would Understand

Here are 10 things that we think make the Labrador the most popular dog in America. If you own a Lab, you will completely understand what we are talking about.

1. Your Lab lives for chasing a ball or toy. He will constantly bring to you anything he can get his mouth around so you can throw it for him. 

2. You don't have to worry about having a "picky eater." More than likely your lab will be happy to eat anything and therefore you know better than most how to teach the "leave it" command! 

3. Your Lab may be half the size of you! Yet he still is convinced he is a lap dog. 

4. You have the most loyal sidekick ever; he'll go everywhere and anywhere with you. 

5. You're no stranger to doggy kisses. In fact your face is probably covered in them constantly. 

6. There is no keeping you Lab out of nearby water. Whether a clear lake, a stinky cow pond, or his water bowl, your dog thinks he must be in it. Better hope you have a mud room! 

7. PLAY PLAY PLAY! Your Lab probably wants to play with you constantly! No matter how you are feeling. 

8. Your Lab has no concept of his cold nose, he loves to poke your bare skin whenever he can! 

9. More than likely your lab loves to make friends. You better make sure he never tries to say hi to a grumpy puppy! 

10. Your lab is a cuddle monster! He would get under your skin if he could! 

Any thing I have missed about a Labrador? Let me know in the comments! 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Service or Cuddle Buddy?

"How do you decide if a pup is going to be a service dog or a companion dog?" This is a question we frequently receive from potential clients who are considering purchasing a dog from us. While all the dogs that we produce are incredible creatures, not every dog is perfect for the working life. The standards are so high for service dogs going through our program that we carefully identify pups with temperaments conducive to service dog training, detector dog training or those
better suited to in a
family dog life.

At seven weeks of age, we do what is called PAT testing, (Puppy Aptitude Test). We use a combination of the Volhard test and our own tests to determine if a pup has service potential or not. In addition to the Volhard test, we have added a couple problem solving and curiosity evaluations. Two of which are sound and smell tests. All of the tests are done in a room that the pup has never before been in, and the evaluator is a person the pup has never met. This helps to give a truer evaluation of who the pup is, and what his/her potential could be.

The Volhard test is a combination of tests that evaluate many different aspects of the puppy. Rated on a scale of one to six, they are tested on social attraction, social dominance, retrieving, as well as other things. Here is a video of one of our pups going through the Volhard section of the PAT test.

The expectation for a cuddle buddy is not nearly as intense as it is for a service animal. Since they don't have to be constantly working, and they don't need to have an incredible sense of smell, picking companion dogs is a much easier process. When we have puppies that have shown that they would better fit as a family dog, we will then look for a family, couple, or individual that best suits that particular puppy. Some pups have lots of energy and exuberance! Others are snuggle bugs and love to relax. We do our best to place pups with a family that matches their personality. Energy and wiggles thrives best in a busy family with active kids. The more relaxed calm puppy may do better with an elderly couple.
Sometimes we will have a puppy come through our program that is a bit higher drive. In those instances, we will do our best to place those pups in drug or explosive detection work. Detection dogs need to have an incredible sense of smell, while oozing confidence and work ethic. We have found our pups to excel in this line of work.

As you can see, there is much forethought, time, and energy expended as we do our best to place our Dutydog puppies and dogs in their ideal home.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Genetic Testing

Diseases. Sickness. Genetic problems. Dysplasia issues. There are so many difficulties and complications that can arise in the dog breeding world.  Thankfully, with the incredible growth of technology over the past decades, breeders have had the ability to control more and more genetic issues in the dogs they produce. Through selective breeding, genetic testing, and thorough research into pedigrees, many of the genetic diseases common to Labradors can be eliminated completely in a breeder's lines. If you are considering purchasing a puppy from anyone, be sure and ask if they have done genetic testing ,and if so, which tests. Whether they have or haven't should give you a better idea of the breeder's integrity and ethics.  A dependable trustworthy dog breeder will be striving to provide the most quality dogs possible, and doing everything in their power to better their breed.

Here are some of the genetic diseases and concurring tests common to the Labrador breed:

Exercise induced collapse (EIC)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Centronuclear  myopathy (CNM)
Retinal dysplasia/Oculoskeletal dysplasia (RD/OSD)
Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosi (HNPK)
Dwarfism (SD2)
Degenerative myelopathy (DM)
There are many more, but these are the core tests a Labrador breeder should be testing for. 

There are also exams that can be done by a certified veterinarian that will show a tendency towards hip and elbow dysplasia. These can be done through PenHip or Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Top Rookie Drug Dog!

We're so proud of one of our dogs that was trained for narcotics detection. On top of MANY busts, she has placed top rookie drug dog in the state of Texas! She aced all the tests with flying colors!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jackie's Puppy Pictures

Jackie has done it again! She had seven beautiful pups on Feb 22.  Four of them are chocolates and three are black.  They are going quickly, so be sure and contact us if you are interested in one of Jackie's pups.