The Holidays are normally not the best time to get a new puppy, there is so much going on, so many expectations and the rhythm of life is generally just out of balance. A puppy is also not really a great “surprise” gift since puppies are a big commitment of both time and resources.
But if you have planned to add a dog to your family do your homework. Both you and the dog will be happier. If you have a certain breed in mind, make sure you research to make sure that breed is a good fit. If you don’t have a certain criteria other than a new buddy, think about a shelter/rescue dog. But if you have certain traits in mind make sure you are doing your homework.
Internet sites are a wonderful way of doing your homework and locating a breeder whom you can work with to find that perfect puppy. Be warned like everything else you see on the Internet things are not always what they seem. When you find a breeder on the Internet you should check their site for some of the following information:
If a breeder states they have a large number of dogs and puppies are always available it is a good bet you are looking at profit breeder. Breeders are not like Wal-Mart and shouldn’t always have puppies “in stock”. Ask how many litters they have had this year and do they have multiple breeds. Breeders who have more than a couple of breeds and many litters are normally breeding for profit. Raising puppies’ right is expensive and time consuming so look for quality and not quantity. A responsibly bred dog will cost you money but it may not be as much as you think or as much as a profit breeder would change, you get what you pay for right? Remember the cheapest part of owning a dog is the purchase price.
Does the breeder do health test on their dogs. If so what tests? Look for things like OFA for hips and elbows, cardiac test, CERF for eyes or DNA genetic test for specific problems. Most responsible breeders will list these tests and the dogs’ scores or clearances. There will often times be numbers after the name of the test, using these numbers you can verify that the tests were actually performed on the dogs in question. So if it isn’t listed on their site make sure to ask about what test the do on their dogs and testing for worms isn’t enough! You want a puppy with the best possible chance of being healthy and happy and testing the parents for problems is the best way to work towards that happy healthy pup.
Does the breeder breed to their parent club’s breed standard? The standard, you ask, what is the standard? The standard is what makes a GSP a GSP and not a Pointer or a Cardigan a Cardigan and not a Pembroke. Each breed has a standard that is written by the people who developed the breed. Every AKC breed standard can be found on the AKC Web site. Make an effort to check it out and see what is written and what isn’t. Don’t be fooled by claims of a “rare color” check to see if it is an allowed color if it isn’t in the standard then you might not be getting what you thing you are getting. This goes for size and markings. The standards were written for a reason. Another way to tell if a breeder is breeding to the Standard is if they show their dogs to their Championships. Champion dogs are dogs that have been rewarded for fitting the standard. Breeders have many reasons for breeding one dog to another, if the dog isn’t a Champion or have some other working titles ask the breeder why they chose to do this breeding. They should have an answer. Sometimes they breed a dog that has superior working skills such as obedience or agility herding or hunting ability but remember they should still look like the breed you are asking about.
Hopefully the breeder belongs to their national breed club (National Parent clubs were formed to protect and serve the breed) and as such abides by their national club’s code of ethics. If they don’t belong to the club ask why. Some parent clubs have requirements that have to be met prior to membership.
Does the breeder offer the buyer a contract and some kind of guarantee? Most responsible breeders not only guarantee the health and temperament of their puppies but also guarantee to take the puppy back no matter the age or reason. Contracts are written to protect the buyer and the seller but mostly to protect the dog. Some contracts are simple and some are complex make sure you can live with the terms because you and the breeder are tied together for the life of the dog. Most responsible breeders stay in contact with their puppy buyers and many become good friends. A good breeder is a great resource for your puppy’s whole life.
On many responsible breeder’s web pages you will see a statement that “pet puppies are sold on limited registration and with a spay/neuter agreement”. What this means is that only the breeder can make the decision to breed a dog and if the dog is bred by another party the puppies cannot be registered. The spay/neuter agreement just means that part of the deal is that the puppy be spay/neutered. Again, as guardians of the breed they are in a better position to know if the dog will contribute to the betterment of the breed. This helps to stop “oops” litters from folks who may not have experience managing intact dogs. We don’t need more puppies we need better puppies.
So if a puppy is in your future, ask question and demand answers and don’t just whip out the checkbook! A dog is for life not just for Christmas.
After Thanksgiving I like to look back on our dog year and reflect on the fun and success I have had with my gang. This year is no different on reflecting but it is certainly a different view. By this time of year we are generally looking forward to the long dark winter of no dog events but not this year! Now that we live in Georgia a whole new world has opened up for us. But before I move forward I want to reflect on our doggy year. It has been a good one.
In 2013 we had lots of changes but lots of FUN! We started the year at home raising Baby BB and getting him ready to go to his new family.
I got to go the NYC to attend the superbowl of dog shows with my best friend, Leslie, what a special whirlwind trip.
Cody and Charlie finished their RAE title with style, making Charlie Solstice Flying ACE, CD, RAE, CGC. Now they are working towards their Open title.
We also had a fun trip to the CWCCA Nationals, we came home with no ribbons but lots of fun.
The 1st quarter of 2013 was pretty exciting. But life just got more exciting when my job transferred me to Atlanta, GA. We packed up the gang and moved at the end of May.
Lots of plus in the move, a big plus was the proximity to my friends and the explosions of dog event opportunities!
In July, Bailey finished her Championship (again, after one of the majors broke when she had finished 18 months before) under Judge Nancy Simmons.
We attended several more shows and Frosty picked up the points she needed to complete her Grand Championship.
Both Bailey and Frost picked up several Best of Breeds over the late summer and early fall. Bailey was in the top 25 for the Owner Handler series and needs a few single points for to complete her Grand Championship.
We convinced Cody that she needed to move to Georgia too and she, Charlie and Bonnie made the move in July.
Cody and I both joined the Atlanta Obedience club which is conveniently located 4 minutes from my house. They have lots of classes and Frost and I have been going to the beginning Agility classes and Cody and Charlie have 2 legs on their Graduate Novice title. Bailey is working on her Rally Novice.
There was a plan to breed Banner to the handsome Rush but life just wasn’t in the right place to properly raise a litter of puppies so I postponed that breeding until the spring, but it is still in the works.
So we have just a month left of 2013 and we have one more big event to attend. We are headed to Orlando, Florida for the Eukanuba AKC National Championship. Leslie and I along with our new Champions Bailey and Dori are entered in Best of Breed representing both the Wag (Cardigan) and the Wiggle (Pembroke) Welsh Corgis. Additionally I am working the Cardigan Meet the Breed the booth and I’m excited to introduce our great breed to the public.
What does 2014 hold for the Solstice gang? We shall see but we are planning a litter of puppies, Agility trials, Rally trails, Grand Champion points for Bailey and PJ and lots of fun with my friends. I can’t wait to find out!
$50 in Gas
Waking up way before dawn….
Driving through the fog to South Carolina
New (First) Grand Champion…. PRICELESS!
Today Frost completed the requirements for her Grand Championship and pending AKC approval she will be GCH Rockie Top Flying Snow, RN. The requirements for the GCH are 25 points including 3 major wins and 3 wins over other Champions.
I’m sure she is now lording it over the other just Champions in the household and of course she hopes it translates into more food (not happening!).
Frost will now start some serious training in Agility and maybe some additional Rally.
We are awful proud of the Fabulous Frost!
I don’t think of myself as creative, I can clever but no really creative. I really admire those who are creative. I think that is why I like reality shows like Project Runway and Top Chef, they have to create something organically in a brief period of time. I like watching it develop.
I have a very creative friend who is making custom dog show equipment and I’m excited to watch what is being created by Kathy and Larry Davis of Dwysan Designs. Kathy, a successful ownerhandler, knows what works and what doesn’t for real dog show people and her husband Larry is a wizard with tools and the design work. Their custom graphics and very cool designs can been added to any of their custom build folding stacking boxes or grooming table and Toppers along with vehicle decals, spray bottles and anything you can think to put a graphic on (my cell phone has one). They also have added agility equipment and training ramps to their design catalog.
This is like where’s waldo, there are six Dwysan Designs in this photo
So if you need cool custom stuff check out their Facebook page Dwysan Designs, check it out even if you don’t need anything the stuff is too cool not to admire.
Isn’t PJ handsome standing on our Solstice Folding stacking box by Dywsan Designs.
Here it is the official confirmation:
No more stalking the AKC website!
Bailey’s championship rounds out the Cardi household and now we are a house of Champions!
Champion Arylan Flying Start – Lindy
Champion Mariels Flying Spirit, RN – PJ
Champion Rockie Top Flying Snow, RN – Frost
Champion Arylan Flying the Colors at Solstice – Banner
and now Champion Solstice Flying Circus – Bailey
PJ, Frost and Bailey all have points toward their Grand Championships so we will be working on those during the fall and winter and we are also starting some classes to work on some of our companion titles. Mostly we are having a good time and there are so many doggy activities around our new home that we can stay busy with new things like CAT lure coursing and Barnhunting and Tracking, along with Agility, Obedience and Rally.
I am so enjoying living 4 minutes from the Atlanta Obedience club where I have recently become a member and just 15 minutes away from the Lawrenceville Kennel Club building (where I am applying for membership) so that there are year round classes available.
Just in case you are wondering, all of my cardigans have some “flying or flight” reference in their name. I love airplanes and flying. I had the great privledge of working for the Amigo Airsho in El Paso, TX for about 10 years and it afforded me lots of opportunity to enjoy the world of flight. I traveled to some wonderful place and watched some very talented flyers and because of that I like remember them and keep my Cardigans flying.
So our first “local” shows are in the record books and Solstice had a real good time. On Friday Judge Nancy Simmons awarded Bailey winners bitch for her final major to complete her championship.
Saturday the judging was a bit of a wildcard, I will just say he had a hard time telling boys from girls. But we did have success, team Charlie once again captured a first place in the obedience ring for their first Graduate Novice leg.
Sunday was more fun. Team Charlie once again earned a first place and their 2nd leg. Bailey was awarded Select Bitch for her first Grand Champion major. To add more to our fun day Leslie of KeelMtn Pems also picked up a Grand Champion major.
It was a fun weekend at home!