Puppy Evaluations

Puppies Off To Their New Homes…

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Puppy evaluations… otherwise known as “eenie, meenie, miney, moe”! Puppies were stacked on the grooming table last night (7/29/18) by my friend and fellow Golden Retriever club member, Terri, while we all went over “parts”. What we are looking at is how does each puppy, on his or her own, compare to the Golden Retriever standard on exactly WHAT a Golden Retriever should look like!  (The standard for the Golden Retriever was part of your “puppy packet”; it has the absolute specifics of what I’m talking about here. It can also be found on the AKC and GRCA web site.)

It was after work (for Terri) when we did the evaluations. Pups were out in the backyard running around as we evaluated one puppy at a time. And we watched as the storm clouds were moving in too! Pups all brought inside just before the rain and hail started and the evaluations continued inside. Pups were getting hungry (we all were) so I’m afraid some of my photos were only so-so. Today, I re-stacked pups on the grooming table to re-shoot all of them in much better light.

Mark is on his way to the airport to pick up Sherry. Once I confirm with Sherry, I will be able to let everyone know for sure who is getting what puppy. And I will email you the health info I have from MY vet for you to keep for your records/give to YOUR vet on your puppy.

I am sure I’ve said this many times but it bears saying again… These puppies ALL are incredibly beautiful puppies and very consistent with each other in “type” and “substance”. They have been from the start! I am VERY PROUD of each and every one of these puppies!

 

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Black Boy (now known as “Trek”)
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Blue Boy (now known as “Ziggy”)

 

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Green Boy (now known as “Finn”)
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Purple Boy (now known as “Eddy”)
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Red Girl (now known as “Vee”)
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Lime Girl (now known as “Charley”)
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Pink Girl (now known as “Gracie”)
Yellow Girl
Yellow Girl (now known as “Zoey”)

 

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Orange Girl (now known as “Westie”)

August 30, 2018

Where did the time go? Oh… crazy busy time with folks coming to pick up their new babies. Puppies getting situated in their new homes, vet visits, and house-breaking/training started. And just like that, my house is back to “normal”! Puppy pen taken down and dining table back in its place.

It occurs to me that while the folks getting their puppies KNOW all of this, others who may be following my blog do not. Sitting in my “drafts folder” is this entry yet unpublished! So for the folks who may want to see how these pups “stacked” up for the evaluation, here they are. These puppies came at a time in my life when I needed a bit of joy and joyful they were! Some litters are just like that!

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Early Neurological Stimulation

Early Neurological Stimulation

This was brought up with me at the “puppy party” last Sunday. One of my guests was telling me how he was interested in “testing” one of his dogs after he brought the dog home (I don’t recall what age he was “testing” this puppy/dog?) I responded that yes, we do do “early neurological stimulation”. Does it make a big difference long term? Is it really worth doing it? Hmm…

My feeling has always been that it can’t hurt the puppies. And if it helps puppies have a better tolerance to stress and a greater resistance to disease later in life, why not do the early stimulation! And because “I breed for myself”, I’m down for anything that will make MY puppy a better dog!

The stimulation I am talking about is from the “bio sensor” program first developed by the military for their canine program. It consists of five types of early tactile stimulation done to puppies to stimulate their neurological system. The stimulations is done once per day from day three until pups are sixteen days old. It is just something we do for every litter.

There are five exercises or stimulations:

  1. Tactile stimulation (between toes)
  2. Head held erect
  3. Head pointed down
  4. Supine position
  5. Thermal stimulation

The benefits of Stimulation:

  1. Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
  2. Stronger heat beats
  3. Stronger adrenal glands
  4. More tolerance to stress
  5. Greater resistance to disease

These early stimulations are then followed up with various socializing activities (many I’ve already mentioned in the puppy packets). The “window of opportunity” for socializing puppy to those various things that he/she will likely encounter during his/her lifetime is relatively narrow but well worth the effort to get puppy exposed to as many of those things mentioned previously as possible.

And as far as the benefits of that early neurological stimulation… I prefer to err on the side of providing it than neglecting to do it. Here’s hoping that all of “my” puppies grow up to be “super dogs”!

(Link below if anyone cares to read more about this… )

Early Neurological Stimulation

Photos:

I’m using one of my favorites lenses for the below photos. This lens gives a velvety soft look to the shot which may not be the best for moving puppies (the lens requires manually focusing!) Still, it was fun to “play around” taking puppy photos!

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Potty box or play box? 
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Pups are playing harder with each other now
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And they are experimenting with their mouths/teeth! 

Health Clearances

2018 Health Testing Done For All The Dogs

Last weekend, we took ALL the dogs to a health clinic sponsored by a local dog club. This health clinic is put on every year and coordinated by a local dog person, Carolyn. Carolyn does a WONDERFUL job organizing it! She even forgives me for changing my last-minute registration which I am sure messes up her timing/organization of all the dogs that attend this clinic. (So sorry for having done that, Carolyn!)

Years ago, we piled all the dogs in our “dog van” that we used to go to dog shows when we didn’t take the RV. Knowing we weren’t going to use it much any longer, we sold the van a few years ago. This makes transporting the dogs to this health clinic a bit tricky!

Fortunately, my son agreed to help us “hold dogs” until it was their turn to be seen by the various specialists. In his car, he took one dog in a crate. I drove taking two crated dogs, and dear hubby drove also with crated dogs.

My changes? While Deja and Doodle were recently at my repro vet having blood drawn for progesterone levels, I had them add-on a heartworm test. Now that I know both of them are negative for heartworm, I can start the heartworm preventative I give throughout the summer. Deja and Doodle still needed their eyes tested though.

And then my very old, very sweet Cavalier had a problem with her anal glands. While not planned to do at this time, we went ahead and had her “senior wellness” done for the year. This included a heartworm test so now she no longer needed to go to the health clinic for this test. It also included a dental where my poor baby had yet another tooth pulled. While under anesthesia for her dental cleaning, we had the vet remove a few lumps and bumps. Cali will be back at the vet this Friday having those stitches removed.

Once we all arrived at the clinic held at a local vet office, all the dogs have their eyes dilated for their appointment with the veterinarian ophthalmologist. As they say, “the eyes are the windows to the soul”. Believe it or not, these eye exams can pick up other problems the dog may have. Last year at this health clinic, my beautiful grand-champion boy, Tazo, had retinal bleeds. He passed his eye certification but we were advised to have him seen by our vet sooner than later. At that vet appointment, Tazo was diagnosed to be in renal failure! We “lost” him four months later when his renal failure became apparent; they don’t do dialysis on dogs which is what he would have needed. It was so hard to believe he had such a serious health problem that was diagnosed from an eye exam!

As you can imagine, all the dogs stayed OUT of the sunlight for the rest of the day after having their eyes dilated. The eye forms filled out by the eye doc are then sent to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) that adds my dogs to their registry of dogs with eye clearances. This is done every year with Golden Retrievers.

Golden Retrievers also need a heart clearance done by a veterinarian cardiologist. They need to be over a year of age for this health clearance. My sweet “puppy”, Pixel, turned one year last August! Time for her to have her heart checked! That form also filled out by the specialist is also sent off to OFA. Pixel still needs her hips and elbows x-rays to be done but they need to be over two for these permanent clearances. She will have them done this August.

And then there is “Beanie”, my little French Bulldog. Beanie had her eyes dilated and was seen by the ophthalmologist also. Having all the Goldens at this clinic was easy compared to having one French Bulldog! Beanie lunged and barked at every dog coming and going; I can’t begin to tell you how embarrassed I was! In true bulldog fashion, Beanie was “running the show”! Now Beanie has had a LOT of socialization so that wasn’t it. She just wanted to let everyone know she was there! OMGosh! It was hilarious! French Bulldogs also need hip x-rays and patella clearances. And hearts after a year. We’ll go back next year to get the rest of her health clearances when she is older. Fortunately, there were other Frenchies at this health clinic that acted just like Beanie; it MUST be a Frenchie thing?

2018 Health Clinic is now in the books. My forms are all scanned that my dogs were seen by the specialists and soon, I will receive the official forms from OFA that they were health tested this year. I am very grateful that this health clinic is put on annually so my dogs can get their health testing. Thank you, Carolyn!! And thank you to my son for helping “hold dogs” as well as helping to transport dogs to the clinic. While it IS a bit chaotic, to get all the dogs to the clinic, it is so important to do this health testing for each and every dog!

 

 

Well Bred Dogs

Breeding puppies to the conformation standard is more than just “pretty dogs”.

I saw this illustration today and knew I just needed to SHARE it! It so perfectly shows how “purebred” dogs can look so different from well-bred dogs!

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Ahhh… My very first golden looked like the dog in the lower left hand corner. We loved her dearly and she was a very sweet dog but… She just wasn’t “pretty”. Fortunately, she had a wonderful temperament and lived a long, happy life with us. This dog started my life-long love for this breed and helped convince me I wanted not just “pretty” dogs but also dogs that were health tested (long before they were ever bred!)

Health testing is major event here held every year at a local health clinic put on by the Cavaliers of The West breed club. Why do I go to this particular clinic? I just love how organized and competent the gal that organizes and works so diligently every year to provide this service for the dog community. Every year, ALL of my dogs have their eyes dilated and are seen by a veterinarian ophthalmologist. They say “the eyes are the windows to the soul”. They can also be the first indicators of other disease processes!

Dogs over a year of age are also “heart tested” by a veterinarian cardiologist. Genetic heart diseases such as “SAS” (sub-aortic stenosis) along with other heart anomalies can be ruled out.

Then, all the paperwork is sent to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of American); the registration organization that provides online access to health clearances.

The other big health clearances done in Golden Retrievers are x-rays of hips and elbows. I usually have my regular vet, who is adept at positioning for these x-rays, do them. Again, that information is sent to OFA. For a permanent “clearance”, dogs must be over two years of age. Another registration organization for hips is PennHip. These x-rays measure slightly differently than OFA x-rays; I usually have these done also. You can’t get too much information regarding “hip health” when considering a future breeding.

Copies of these health clearances are always given to new puppy owners. I just believe in total transparency in puppies I’ve bred.

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Deja (8 weeks old): April 2014

Other factors to consider when considering breeding a litter of puppies: Temperament! I live with what I breed and “good temperament” is a hallmark trait for this breed! By following the pedigree of any litter, I can generally predict the temperament of each puppy. Other factors of good temperament is socialization of puppies. We work hard here providing a LOT of early puppy socialization and send home information to new owners on how to continue that socialization for the benefit of that puppy as it grows into adulthood.

Last but not least is Longevity! Sadly, “man’s best friend” is never with us long enough. But through genetic research of ancestors, hopefully they live a long life for this breed. This is a big goal for us in any litter also.

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Doodle (7 weeks old): December 2014

“Looks”, by this time, that is almost icing on the cake! But by breeding to the Golden Retriever standard and after being evaluated by judges through dog shows, our goal is always to produce the next conformationally correct dogs! Do all of our dogs end up in the show ring? No! But many could be shown! And many live in “pet homes” pampered and loved that attract attention and praise when walking down the street! They are “pretty”!

Lofty goals for any breeding/litter of puppies, huh? This is what we’ve done over our thirty years being involved in this breed. Generation after generation, staying true to the golden retriever standard, improving each generation as we continue our life-long love for this breed.

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Grand Champion Tazo: Gone but never forgotten! Blessed to have had this dog in my life!

 

JEnnifer & MArk ~ Jema Golden Retrievers

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