why our price went up

October 16, 2020

I notice most breeders do not post their prices. I do because it is the number two question I get so why not post it? I don't charge different amounts for any puppy out of a litter and I don't have multiple litters at the same time so posting a price is not hard to do.

So why has the price gone up? The only prices I can really find are on Kijiji and taking that into consideration I looked at my costs and increased my price.

For my last litter, after paying for progesterone testing, stud fee and a c-section - I was out of pocket. This upcoming litter I expect maybe 4 puppies (going from past litters) and I am doing an automatic c-section so there will be still be very little profit. I'm not out to make a profit, but I do like to cover my costs and invest some dollars into the next litter or my dogs in general. This week the price of my food increased 35%.

The dogs I'm breeding are both IPO 3 titled, thoroughly health certified and breed surveyed. Compare apples to apples.

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the best laid plans

October 14, 2020

If by chance you were watching the puppy page you will notice that the breeding I had planned has changed.

My plan was to breed Kew to a dog named Emerik who resides in Southern California. I met this dog a few years ago and really thought it was the right fit for Kew. I did try a breeding with him (using a process called TCI - transcervical insemination) in 2019 but the breeding didn't take. TCI is an expensive process where you use a very expensive scope to find the dog's cervix and inject the semen directly into it.

When Kew was ready to be bred last time, it was at the height of the pandemic and I couldn't cross the border to bring her to SoCal (which was my plan). I ended up breeding to Irck and keeping Fredi. Now I'm trying to breed to Emerik again but it's not going to work. I still cannot bring Kew to SoCal and after finding a reproductive specialist near Montreal and hoping we could do a TCI with her, it turns out her scope is in the shop for repairs and won't be fixed until the end of November! Even going to Montreal might not be easy if there is a "red zone" between here and there.

So after considering all the options, I decided to repeat the F Litter and breed Kew to Irck again. Fredi is a great puppy so far and is exactly the type of dog I want to produce.

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public tracking

October 8, 2020

Today we went tracking in a public park. The park itself is huge - the field we use is probably about the size of 6 soccer fields. We were preparing to lay a track for Fredi when a woman pulled up and proceeded to let her two flabradoors (Fat Labradors) loose. No acknowledgment to us at all. We watched as she walked around the large field with her dogs at least 100 yards behind her (no idea how she could have picked up after them because she wasn't paying them any attention).

I laid Fredi's track far from the edge of the field and when she came back around, her off leash out of control dogs ran all over it and ate some of the food I had put down.

My teammates asked her to call her dogs - she couldn't get them back and her excuse was that she'd been going there for SEVENTEEN years!

I will never understand how people can claim public land as their own. Yes we use public parks, we lay tracks, we run tracks, our dogs are on-leash and we always pick up after them. We don't leave tracking flags or articles or markers or anything else when we leave. We will leave if something else is going on, we will nicely ask people if they can keep their dogs away from our tracks, we won't run a track when a loose dog is out, we will happily converse with strangers about what we are doing and why we do it. It's a public space and we are just borrowing it - as is everyone else.

Unless it's a designated off leash dog park (which I would NEVER go to) - you must keep your dog leashed. I wouldn't even care if you have your dog under control and can keep it from getting in the way of what other people are doing. But using the excuse that you've always done it is ridiculous.

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are you kidding me??

September 30, 2020

Someone called me yesterday to ask about an ad on Kijiji for a GSD. They were apprehensive about buying the dog because of the attitude of the seller. They were correct, they shouldn't buy the dog and I think they are glad they talked to me about it first.

I looked at the advertisement and I noticed the other ads for German Shepherd puppies. I couldn't believe what people are charging! $3,000.00 for a puppy! Yes, that is only $500 more than my next litter, but the puppies they were selling were not nearly the same quality as mine will be. Extensively health tested, titled, breed surveyed parents versus....pets... Pets are great and all dogs should be pets, but if you breed, you must jump through breeding hoops that are costly and time consuming. This is why you charge a decent price for the puppies you are producing.

If I stayed home every weekend, never trialed (hotel bills, gas, entry fees, club fees, training fees etc...), slept in every morning instead of tracking, and spent all the money I pay in health testing certifications.... THEN charged $2K + for a puppy I wouldn't sleep at night. But I guess some people have no problem doing that.

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happy 6th birthday

September 24, 2020

Six years ago today I was waiting to see Emmy go into labour with her first litter. I was excited, but I was very nervous and scared that I'd lose her. When I noticed some green discharge, straight to the vet she went. My great vet (Dr. Kelly Ferguson) did an ultrasound on the puppies to see if they were contracting and then she did a c-section on Emmy.

I was happy that Emmy was having the c-section since that meant she was in great hands and nothing could happen to her! I had my "mid-woof", my vet and lots of vet-techs around us and I felt so much more confident.

I think that was at about 5:30. The first puppy in the horn was dead and he was the cause of the green discharge and the reason for the section. The other 5 puppies were just fine and were soon all cozy in a box waiting for Emmy to wake up and feed them. Emmy didn't wake up. They kept telling me everything was fine and she'd wake up any minute and be on her feet ready to go home. We fed the puppies. She still didn't wake up. We flipped her over and fed the puppies again. She still didn't wake up. After the third feeding and everyone telling me she'd wake up soon I was starting to get anxious - but they all knew what they were talking about so I tried not to show it.

The good part - Emmy finally woke up around 8:30. The bad part - she wanted nothing to do with the puppies. I slept next to her and made her feed them every hour or so. She growled at them until about 5am and by 10am I was comfortable enough to leave her alone with them. I was prepared for her reaction and true to form, she was the best mother.

My vet told me she was really surprised to see how relaxed and calm I was when Emmy wouldn't wake up. I said "but you kept telling me there was nothing to worry about!"

She was worried!

Happy 6th Birthday to Axis, Axel, Askew, Athena & Anthem

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more of the same

September 15, 2020

Puppies make you busy, but I'm also someone who "sells puppies" and I know what it's like to buy one so I really try to get back to people who ask me a question.

Over the weekend someone filled out my questionnaire, they replied to the auto reply and sent me a message through my contact page. They didn't ask me anything specific, but it does say on the questionnaire that if my dogs are not what you're looking for, I will let you know. So I did.... LOL

I will admit that I mostly wait until I'm at my computer because it's much easier to type. I usually won't write out more than a sentence on my phone because it's difficult and I never have my glasses on.

My questionnaire comes with trick questions - if you read the FAQ page you would easily see them. I have no interest in selling puppies to go to the dog park and I will not sell them as ESA dogs (Emotional Support Animals). If someone replies and ticks off those boxes (especially if they tick off more than one) - I will let them know that my dogs are not suitable. I have my reasons (mentioned on the FAQ page) and really, I don't need to have a reason - they are my dogs and I can sell them to whoever I want just as anyone can buy from whoever they want.

So the point of this rant... I mean news - is that if you want one of my dogs to use as a personal protection dog, when you have ZERO experience with a working dog, you have young children and you also want that same dog as an ESA and to go to the dog park - chances are I'm not going to sell you a puppy because you haven't got a clue! I will nicely tell you that my dogs are not suitable...but it really isn't what I mean.

This same person repeatedly spelled shepherd; shepard and sheppard, but when I made a typo on my reply (see above about the phone and the glasses) and said "chicken" instead of "children" (how they wouldn't realize it was a type is beyond me!) I was pretty much yelled at.

I may start not even replying - or I could do what a rescue I've heard of does - charge $10 for every questionnaire! Then I will take the time to really tell you what I think ;-)

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the right thing

September 15, 2020

I got a call today from a previous puppy buyer who has had a change of circumstances and has to return the dog he purchased from me. He was in tears on the phone.

I hate to say this, but I was glad he was so upset. This tells me that this is the last thing he wants to do. He loves that dog so much that he's that upset that he cannot keep her. It wasn't fake, it was genuine and he was very apologetic about the situation.

As a breeder, I feel like it is my job to take the dog back and find her a great home. We can never predict where our lives will lead us, but it is my duty to make sure all the dogs I produce end up in great homes and are never in rescue or a shelter.

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directness is a sin

September 3, 2020

I was contacted this morning about "lending" out my puppies for a yoga class. I can't think of any reason why any breeder would ever "lend" out puppies. I guess I could require I be with them, but even then I can't see it. There are so many reasons I'd never do this. Take out of the whole thing that I don't even have puppies (except Fredi who would just bite people LOL), I would never let a bunch of strangers handle my puppies. I honestly don't know anything about having a puppy yoga class, but the request stated that this would help socialize my puppies before they went to their new homes. Thank you so much for that... I wonder how much of the takings I'd be getting? The other listed benefit for me as a breeder is that this will give exposure to my "puppy inventory". Puppy Inventory??? I guess if I were a puppy mill and was trying to unload my inventory at a special "puppy yoga" price I'd be in!

Now to the point of this rant. My reply to the request was "nope". I always think "nope" is a litter lighter than No, or NO, or "are you fucking kidding me??" It's simple, direct and kinda fun... nope? Well the email I got back was "That's a nice response, could you elaborate?" I can read sarcasm, they don't like my response and want me to give them reasons why my reply was negative. I decided not to answer because things like this just make me angry. You are asking me for a favour (because yeah, I doubt I'd get any of the class fee to put in my bank account LOL) and now my "nope" isn't to your liking? You want me to give you reasons??


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are they good with kids?

September 2, 2020

I get asked often if my dogs (the dogs I produce) are good with kids. I don't have kids. I can't rent kids. I don't really like to borrow kids because of the return policy.

Why wouldn't my dogs be good with children is the question you need to ask. Well bred dogs are great with kids.

Is this breed good for kids?

Are your children good with dogs is an even better question.

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August 31, 2020

Many breeders, many, many breeders work on a non-refundable deposit system. I'm not sure if any other types of businesses use this method but I think it's ridiculous. There are definitely times when giving back a deposit is not warranted but in my opinion, why do I want someone who doesn't want my puppy to have it? And why do I think I'm entitled to keep their money?

In this pandemic puppy situation there is absolutely no reason to keep someone's deposit. I doubt there is a breeder out there who can't sell a puppy! Even the crappiest of breeders is probably swamped with inquiries. Not putting myself in that category I had 3 phone calls, two emails and a website 'chat request' just this weekend.

Sometimes I can understand a breeder keeping a deposit. They held onto that puppy for x number of weeks and turned down a bunch of people because you said you wanted the dog, but then you backed out and they lost those potential homes. But did they? Did all those people find a puppy that quickly? And when people back out of the deal, why did they? What if they thought "I'll take that puppy so I don't lose my $300.00 and then just re-sell it." Oh maybe you have a contract that says they can't - but be realistic, most people don't have $300 to just give away. I highly doubt the breeder is going to lose a single penny selling the puppy to someone else. So they are going to keep your $300 because they didn't have a waiting list? But for some reason we let breeders get away with this like it's normal...

And what about the breeders that take deposits on litters not yet born or even conceived? They usually don't hand you back your deposit when they don't have a "black female" that you wanted, or even if the bitch didn't get pregnant. They will hold your deposit for the next litter! I don't even breed enough to do that and unless I am repeating the exact same pairing, how is that fair?

I think most breeders who do this are bigger type breeders and selling puppies to just anyone - but maybe that's just how I see things.

I will return deposits - I don't even like taking deposits but it is a necessary evil I guess. In my opinion, I want to be able to change my mind just like you want to be able to change yours.

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do I look desperate?

August 20, 2020

I received a message last night asking if the price of my puppies would be lower. I'm not sure under what circumstance they think I'd lower my price and right now I swear I could take an unlimited number of deposits and charge double. There is a shortage of puppies out there so even though I have no plans to increase the price, I'm definitely not going to lower it.

I didn't get into it with the person asking. I simply said "nope" and they came back and schooled me on the going rate for a German Shepherd puppy. I think I did what most people would do, told them to go buy one of those cheaper puppies! I had to throw in that they will get what they pay for - well, because that's just who I am!

I've added an Kijiji ad for a litter in London, ON that advertises purebred dogs for $2500 plus tax - these dogs are not purebred as they are not registrable with the CKC, they have no titles, the "breeder" has lied and said the mother "She has all her papers and has been hip and elbow checked." - but according to the OFA website she only has certified elbows. This is a clear red flag that her hips failed. She no doubt has papers, but they are probably non-breeding. The sire has no papers but comes from "A combination of German working stock and North American Police Dog stock." - No idea what the hell "North American Police Dog stock" is!

When I see that kind of crap being sold for the same as I sell my puppies for it makes me want to raise my price - but that isn't who I am.

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why bother?

August 17, 2020

I've received more than one puppy questionnaire or just a question through the contact page of my website and when I reply I get an "undelivered mail returned to sender" message.

Why would you go through the trouble of asking a question or filling out a form and then not use your real email? I know that sometimes people don't really want to know the truth or they don't want to hear what they don't want to know...but seriously why waste your time and mine??

After writing out replies that were more than a sentence, I've learned my lesson! Short and to the point - and if it doesn't bounce back I'll be happy to engage you with never ending dog conversation.

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canadian kennel club

August 11, 2020

In Canada we have a law regarding the selling of purebred dogs. You cannot sell a dog as purebred unless it is registered with the CKC (Canadian Kennel Club). Makes sense - especially when you read my other news (rant) articles.

I think it was last year when the CKC implemented a new software system. Pretty sure they used the same company as the Canadian government's Phoenix Pay system because there has been nothing but issues since. I have been fortunate that I haven't had a litter since they changed over - until now.

On February 26th I ordered two printed pedigrees from the CKC. On February 26th they charged by credit card for these pedigrees. I probably sent at least 5 emails asking when I'd receive them and made two phone calls. I finally received them late last week. Five months it took them to print 2 pieces of paper and mail them. Nothing complicated at all.

Their excuse was COVID. I asked how the pandemic prevented the printing of the pedigrees or mailing them since printers and Canada Post are both still in operation. It turns out they do their own printing and they are all working from home. As of today, the CKC is still temporarily closed.

The pedigrees were ordered FEBRUARY 26.....

I work in an office and have not had a single day off since the plague started. The CKC does not need to be closed and after the set back with their software upgrade, you'd think they would be doing all they can to get caught up...nope, instead breeders who had litters last year are just getting their paper work. Paperwork that, by law, has to be given within six months of purchasing a purebred dog.

As a breeder, it's embarrassing, as a buyer, it's frustrating. They are still posting on Facebook yet I don't see anyone commenting about the poor service they are providing. I think most breeders have just given up. the CKC has a monopoly on breeding in Canada and there is no one to complain to about them.

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it's still not a purebred

August 9, 2020

Yet another "do you think my dog is purebred" post on Facebook this morning. Some of the replies are hilarious:

"did you see the parents when you picked them up, thats usually a good indication if they are purebred"

"They could be pure bred only time will tell"

I did reply and state that the dog is only purebred if it is registered with the CKC (although these days CKC registration is next to impossible - see my next rant!) and it is not subject to opinion.

If you want a purebred dog, especially if you want one where you don't have to ask anyone's opinion about it....just find a decent breeder.

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negative five

August 7, 2020

Five von Tighe Haus left to go to his new life in Nova Scotia today. Sad to see him go, happy that he will have a great home where be will be cherished and loved. Happy to be able to spend a bit more time with my own dogs (although we have one more now) and happy to get back to training.

No one cares that he's gone - Kew won't miss him, Emmy and Rico are probably oblivious. Fredi might miss her sparing partner, but dogs live in the moment and don't pine for what they don't have. It's now time to direct Fredi into finding out what the best thing ever is....me!

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more 'adopt don't shop' crap

July 30, 2020

Just reading comments this morning from the 'adopt don't shop' misinformed idiots and came across a great quote: “I don’t believe a dog has to suffer to be worthy of having a good home”

I think most people who advocate for rescue are genuinely animal lovers and think that this is the best thing for dogs. Unfortunately there is so much more to it than the poor "abused" dog in the shelter. There are many things about rescue that bother me - but I will list just a few:

Rescue isn't free - you are actually purchasing a dog.
Most all of the dogs available for rescue are not what you think. They aren't 'rescued' - they are dumped by their owners.
Rescues are bringing in dogs from other countries and spreading disease. (and if we haven't any dogs needing a home, why are we shipping them in from other countries?)

You will hear great stories about horribly abused dogs in shelters. Mostly because these animals are very poorly bred so they have thin nerves and horrid temperaments. They were never abused, they were born that way. But the better the story, the more interest the rescue can generate for the dog and the more $$ they will make.

I always tell people that if they don't want to spend the money on a well bred dog to go adopt from a rescue, but good breeders are not the reason we have dogs in shelters.

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puppies are a lot of work

July 29, 2020

As you can tell by the infrequency of these articles, puppies take up a lot of time and we only have TWO!

Five and Fredi are doing great! They were separated last night when Fredi went to her first 'Fit Paws' session and Five stayed home. Both did well and tonight they will take another car ride to my schutzhund club. I think this litter has been for more car rides than any of the others. When there are only two some things are easier!

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they are just too cute

July 21, 2020

The pups are almost six weeks old now and just adorable (when they aren't biting you!).

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July 16, 2020

The puppies are growing fast and for the next few weeks it's my job to provide a lot of "firsts" for them. They already had quite a few, a pool (the water was shallow), they've met Rico and Emmy, different toy materials, surfaces etc... I also have a very annoying musical mat that I forget to turn off and then the bigger dog walk on it and play me non-stop tunes like "Do-Re-Mi" and "Row, row, row your boat"

Last night they had their first car ride. It takes some planning - you need to make sure their stomachs are empty and you have a lot of cleaning supplies in case they aren't! They did great. Quiet and no drool or vomit! Big accomplishment! Then they got to meet new people and play with new toys. Exciting when you're only 5 weeks old.

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ever changing

July 10, 2020

For some reason the puppies are different this morning. I was able to walk around without them underfoot but this morning they can now keep up to me and chase me around the yard. They are more alert, feisty, playful, bitey and of course cute!

Now is when the fun (and the work) begins. They have already been exposed to noises when they eat (like cars, trucks & motorcycles) and some surfaces (grass, gravel & patio stones) but now they need more stimulation to prepare them for life.

This is the part I don't want to miss!

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the calls keep coming!

July 8, 2020

The pandemic puppy calls keep coming. The "I'm just too lazy to look at the website" calls keep coming. The "I Googled 'breeder' and then clicked on your phone number" calls keep coming.

So far I've had people ask me for husky puppies, doodles, mix breeds, rescue dogs and now miniature German Shepherds and at least one or two a day "do you have any puppies?".

Maybe I'm just not a phone person? One thing I would never do is call someone at 11:30pm or before 8am or 9am. But yeah, they do that too. I answer the phone at work as well and I am astounded at how many people can't properly make a phone call. Focus on the call, listen and know what you want before you make the call. No one can pronounce my kennel name (and I get that), but "Hi, I'm looking for a German Shepherd puppy" isn't too difficult.

But even better, look at the website. I'm a bit proud of my site as I do it myself and I sometimes wonder what questions anyone could possibly have!

F litter are 4 weeks old today and getting more active and cuter by the day!

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July 4, 2020

There is so much advice being dispensed on Facebook and other social media sites it's sometimes amazing that dog trainers, behaviourists and vets can stay in business. But then again, I think it's because of all this advice that they do. I get why people ask for advice, it's what we do when we don't know something but asking on a public forum isn't a great idea IMO.

I belong to one obedience group that requires you to list your highest obtained title after all your posts. This is a great idea so you can decide if the person posting is worth listening to! I'm not going to take advice about a utility exercise from someone who has never achieved that level. And most of the time they shouldn't be offering the advice. There are people who haven't done 'that' who could definitely offer insight into something, but they are probably few and far between.

There is a local 'dog trainer' who does appearances at pet stores who, according to his website, is self taught. So no qualifications at all. I guess when the advice is free, you get what you pay for!

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they're so freaking cute!

July 2, 2020

Yesterday being a holiday, and the pups being just old enough to take outside - that's exactly what we did. GSD puppies go from blobs, to cute to piranha pretty quickly so you need to enjoy the cuteness while you can!

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go fund me

June 26, 2020

As a society we are never held accountable for anything we do. The irresponsible choices we make, the advice we don't take, the due diligence we don't do...none of that is our fault. And when things don't go as planned we have those 3 little words "go fund me!" to rely on.

As they say - "Sh*t Happens" and it happens to all of us. I don't expect anyone else to pay for my misfortunes. And when it comes to dogs, I'm not sure I know anyone who hasn't faced a huge vet bill. Mine come from breeding and from accidents. In 2012 Emmy aspirated some vomit which turned into a lung infection and ended up having to have part of her lung removed. The total bill in the end was close to $12,000. I'm not sure if there was even such a thing as GFM back then, but even if there was, I wouldn't have set up an account or let anyone do it for me. The bill was mine to pay. When we have really large vet bills we have to make a difficult choice sometimes between the life of our pet or our financial situation. The amount that you can/will pay depends on many things, but it is your decision to get the pet, your decision to have the service done and your responsibility to pay the bill. I definitely have more empathy for those who purchased their dogs from reputable breeders and through no fault of their own end up with a huge bill, but I'm still not paying for it.

If you go out and buy a dog off Kijiji or a back-yard breeder for a fraction of what a well bred dog costs, don't expect sympathy when your dog ends up a genetic nightmare and you want $10K - $20K "go fund me" donations. If your roof collapses, you don't ask your friends to pay for it because you have insurance. Not having insurance on your pet is also your decision.

My biggest regret is I didn't come up with the idea of GFM....I'd make a fortune and never have to worry about my vet bills again!

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but I LOVE the breed!

June 24, 2020

I belong to a number of GSD message boards and Facebook groups. I love to discuss dogs, training and learning things about the breed. Other people on these groups are, or are supposed to be, German Shepherd Dog lovers. Unfortunately what I mostly see are people who say "but I Love the Breed"  and are constantly trying to defend something besides a GSD.

Today someone wanted a 145lbs "panda face" (?) dog like they had as a child. By the look of the photo, the dog was fat and had horrible pigment. I realize emotions are going to drive them to a shitty breeder to try and get a dog that looks exactly like the one they had in their childhood, but if you say anything.....here come the "I love the breed, but..." people. They will say it's ok for dogs to be out of standard (50+ pounds??), the wrong colour or anything else they want it to be because they are dogs and we love them! Yes, we love them...but what about the breed you say love?

Either you love the breed or you love something that resembles the breed and you leave the breeding and the expertise to others. Don't try to defend your blue, liver or panda coloured dogs to me. They are not part of the breed. Neither are the 145lbs dogs. Neither are the couch potato dogs or the nervous wreck dogs.

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ridiculously overpriced

June 22, 2020

On the weekend a few friends sent me a Kijiji ad from a 'breeder' selling an upcoming litter. Their price for a puppy is $2,250.

The mother of this litter has nothing, no titles, no health testing - nothing. The sire has a BH which isn't considered a title and a-stamped Hips/Elbows (he was purchased with these). This is a repeat breeding - very selectively bred by breeding together, again, the same dogs you already own.... Puppies are sold on a limited contract. Not exactly sure why breeders who breed with nothing limit their buyers from doing exactly the same thing.

From the phone calls I've received in the last two months, they will have absolutely no problem selling these overpriced puppies at all because no one cares about proving your breeding stock or health testing. The asking price is ridiculous but they'll get it because basically people are stupid. "Do you have puppies? Yes? Ok, take my money!"

Photo of our upcoming litter. Emerik is located in Southern California and as you can see, BOTH dogs have titles and health clearances.

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good mothers

June 19, 2020

An important part of breeding is having dogs that are good mothers. So much rides on them - conceiving, whelping and raising the litter. As much as I spend on progesterone, stud fees, equipment, vet bills and food/supplements, it's still up to the bitch to do 99% of the work.

I watch my females all day when they have a litter. I have a camera on them 24/7 just in case. There was an incident with Emmy and the B litter where I stupidly fed her something new (I think it was horse meat?) and it didn't agree with her. She tried to get out of the whelping enclosure but was unable and ended up getting caught in it and pulling it down. Thankfully I had the camera going and was alerted to this by others watching and was able to rush home to her. There was a mess to clean up, but everyone was safe.

Some females are not good mothers, they don't want to feed or clean their puppies and raising a litter like that is incredibly difficult. I am lucky to have good mothers.

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do you have anything cheaper?

June 17, 2020

I was asked this last night when someone called me to find out the price of my puppies (yeah, they didn't bother looking at the website).

I was also asked the other night why my puppies are so expensive if they aren't even "King Shepherds". When I said that "King Shepherd" isn't a breed, the caller started to chuckle like I didn't know what I was talking about. I quickly added that they are not recognized by the CKC, AKC or FCI. They are like GoldenDoodles... I had to point out the quality of my dogs and the quality of the stud dogs I am using.

There is a quote on the home page of this website that says

Breeders with no standards sell to buyers with no standards

and it works in reverse too - breeders with standards won't sell to buyers with no standards.

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the hardest part

June 15, 2020

I spent all weekend at home with the new mom and her remaining 3 puppies. They were all thriving and Kew's incision from her c-section was looking great. We weigh the puppies often when they are this young because it's important to make sure they are growing.

I got out of the shower this morning to my husband performing CPR on Foyle as he had found him unresponsive in the whelping box. I have a camera on them 24/7 and looked back at the images. He was alive at 6:47am and belly up at 6:50am. He was not crushed or killed by Kew, he may have had a stroke or heart attack ... something quick as he was not fading.

It is heartbreaking. I have never had to experience this before and now I've lost 2 in this litter. The small female not making it 24 hours was not unexpected, but Foyle was a thriving puppy and I don't know why this has happened.

RIP Foyle von Tighe Haus, 06.10.20 - 06.15.20

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night of hell

June 11, 2020

I felt like I was more prepared for this whelping than any previous. I have all my supplies together, room was set up, I knew when to expect them, my "mid-woof" was in town....everything would go great!

Lesson 1, things never go well when you expect them to go well!

Around 9:30pm I noticed Kew was not around and found her up on the bed. This was not like her so I knew something was going on. I found some green discharge on the ground so I knew things were starting. Got my friend Annette over to assess the situation and we waited...

Around midnight she suggested I let Kew outside to pee. I opened the front door and right on the step was a skunk! I don't even know if she noticed it before I screamed. She then promptly bit it, got a full blast in the face and came inside. She was dripping discharge and desperately trying to get rid of the taste and smell of the skunk by running around my livingroom and kitchen. Spreading the skunk odour and rubbing her face on the floor. She was trying to vomit and I was frantically trying to clean her eyes and face.

There wasn't much we could do since the room we were using faced out the same side as the skunk spray had occurred. We were trapped in the room with a freshly sprayed dog and unable to really open a window.

The first puppy, a female, was born around 4:30am. She was incredibly tiny. Three hours later we still couldn't get the tiny puppy to nurse and no others had showed up so we decided to take them into the vet. My vet is wonderful - Dr. Kelly Ferguson at Cranberry Hill. Her whole team is so caring and so competent, I always feel like I have the best care I could ask for. After some oxytocin injections, we finally got a male out of her. After another hour the decision was made for a c-section to get the last two out (one male and one female).

I'm not sure how long I went without sleep but I was so tired the skunk smell in my house was almost unnoticeable when I got home. I did everything I needed to do to be able to have a snack and then fall asleep on the couch. It was a very long whelping, but in the end Kew is doing great and that is the most important thing to me.

Unfortunately the tiny little female didn't make it through the night. I tried getting up every 2 hours to help her feed, but she didn't have the strength.

Welcome to Fredi (F), Foyle (M) and Five (M) von Tighe Haus.

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is she or isn't she?

June 9, 2020

Waiting for Kew to have her puppies is stressful. I'm not sleeping well, she's probably not sleeping well (she's in my bed because I don't want to be far from her should her labour start) and poor Emmy has been displaced to the living room because one dog on the bed is more than enough.

It's nice to be able to feel the puppies moving in her belly, and for such an active dog she is a bit quieter than usual.

I decided it's too stressful to be at work and her at home so she will be coming with me until she has them....and she better not have them here!

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careful what you wish for

June 8, 2020

I receive quite a few questionnaires where people tell me what they're looking for in a dog. As I mentioned in the last 'news' article, if their wants don't fit my dogs I simply reply that my dogs are not what they're looking for. A lot of people take offence to this as though I'm saying that they are not a home I would approve of. I know I would be offended too if someone told me I wasn't good enough for one of their dogs, but this isn't what I'm saying at all.

Imagine you are in a restaurant and you ask the waiter to bring you a grilled cheese sandwich. You'd like swiss instead of cheddar, brown bread not white, you'd like it very well browned and you would like to add tomatoes to the sandwich. The waiter brings you a very lightly done sandwich with no tomatoes, made with gouda and it's on rye bread. That wasn't want you wanted at all. Maybe the waiter brings you a bowl of soup!

I think a lot of people like the idea of a German Shepherd, but many really don't want one - and many don't want the high drive type of dog I'm selling. It doesn't mean they aren't great homes, it just means my dogs are not the sandwich they wanted!

I don't hear back from most of the people I reply with this information, but the odd one who is offended will reply with a question or a "well fine, I don't want your dogs anyway!". I have to wonder, would you really like me to sell you a puppy when, according to you, it's not at all what you want?

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June 4, 2020

What is drive?

There are different opinions on what drives are present in dogs. Most working people talk about 'prey' drive, 'food' drive, 'hunt' drive, 'pack' drive and 'sex' drive. These are the drives necessary to make a successful working dog.

On my puppy questionnaire it asks: "What level of prey drive are you looking for in a dog? (Prey drive refers to a dog’s desire for chasing and capturing prey. It's a trait that makes many dogs successful in dog sports.)". It is a mandatory question because all GSDs are not created equal. The question is also a big indicator of the respondents dog IQ. Some of my favourite replies are:

none is likely better for now :) we live in the city.
None. While we are in active family in that we exercise daily by jogging and walking, we have no intentions on raising this dog to be a hunting companion.
Very important to train your dog  not to chase everything and control that he will listen. But make sure that it is in a fun way so we can both enjoy !
Don’t want be used to hunt
We are good with all of the levels of prey drive except kill.
Medium. I want to be able to play fetch and use the dogs prey drive as an advantage to continued training, but I definitely don't want a dog that is primarily focused on prey. they can be annoying and difficult to manage.
We appreciate the high level of prey drive of a Shepherd to keep critters away from the house and gardens.
It doesn’t matter to me, I hunt myself the dog will not hunt with me. And the dog will be around squirrel and rabbits all the time.

and my very favourite:

Very low Prey drive
this will be a family dog and id want his diet to be more dog-food based

These people get the standard "unfortunately my dogs are not what you're looking for"

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I said what??

June 3, 2020

So for some reason I was Googling myself and then noticed my reviews. I wasn't actually Googling myself, I was wondering if I could add something on Google that says "for the love of god, LOOK at the website" before phoning and waking me up to ask me where my kennel is located! (it's listed THREE times alone on the home page!)

So I see someone gave me a 1 star review because he didn't understand what I told him. He asked if I had any sable puppies and I replied that good breeders don't sell by colour. He didn't understand that concept (I remember the conversation) because he then asked if I knew anyone who did have sable puppies and I told him that all reputable breeders that I know do not sell based on colour. Well, the review he wrote says this "Poor customer service when I asked if they bred sable shepherds she said “ good breeders don’t do that” - I replied to the review but I seriously can't believe that anyone would leave a negative review when they didn't understand the reply they got. How could I have told him good breeders don't breed sables when my dogs ARE sable! No logic there!

So I have now asked some of my puppy buyers to leave a good review (or honest one I guess!) to negate this stupidity.

UPDATE: The review has been removed

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Four 4 Four

June 2, 2020

Kew had her x-ray to count puppies this morning. She was quite vocal about it (she is vocal about everything!). Turns out the my vet was right again. There are four puppies growing in that belly!

8 days to go!

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why have a website?

June 1, 2020

I probably get at least one call a day now about puppies. When you Google Ottawa German Shepherds or anything close to that, my kennel pops up on the right and my phone number is listed. I don't mind having it on Google but I really wish these people would at least look at the website before calling. They would save us all some time!

When you get to the website, the first thing you should see is a chat pop-up that tells you we do not have puppies and for more information, see the puppies page and read the FAQ page. But no, they didn't even get that far before they call and ask if we have puppies. I used to be quite chatty and explain that I might not currently have puppies but I usually have a litter planned. I don't bother anymore. They want a puppy now, they don't care about anything else. I don't even think they would want to wait the 9 weeks before my litter will be going home! They don't care about what kind of GSDs we breed, what the health clearances are on the parents, titles, pedigrees ... nothing except maybe colour. They just basically want a puppy now.

And this is why bad breeders and puppymills stay in business.

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Same sh*t, different pile

May 30, 2020

Just read a post by someone concerned about the size of their dog. Like in another one of my news articles (which are actually rants if you haven't noticed!), they want a huge dog and their puppy isn't huge so therefore they are concerned. When someone pointed out that they've purchased their puppy from what looks like a backyard breeder or puppy mill, that isn't the concern...it's still about size.

To quote the breeder's website about hip dysplasia "Hip Dysplasia is a painful condition usually affecting older dogs of pure-bred large breeds where the hip joints loosen. The condition is thought to be genetic but also triggered by environmental factors such as nutrition and activity level. While German Shepherds are affected by the condition, our dogs have not had issues with this condition. The breed has drifted into two segments - show dogs and working dogs. Show dogs have the sloping back and look as if the dog is squatting while posing. These genetics seem to put additoinal pressure on the hip joints and therefore have more issues with the condition. On the other hand, working dogs have a boxy frame and a level back while standing. These genetics are not favorable in the showing community, but make great family pets with less incidence of hip problems. Our dogs are the working dog variety and have never had hip issues."

Just to clarify, that is a bunch of crap. Showline dogs have no greater risk of hip dysplasia than working line dogs that I know of. The angle of the dog's back in a stack has no bearing on dysplasia. So basically this breeder does nothing to test their dogs and they don't even address elbow dysplasia or any other medical conditions. But how could they have time? Notice the number of breeding females they have!

This rant isn't about the breeder, because there will always be bad breeders, it's about the people that buy from them. Please read this great article.

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girls update

May 29, 2020

As Kew gets bigger, Emmy gets smaller! Exactly the way it should be.

Below is a photo of Kew at day 50 of her 63 days of pregnancy. As it's a small litter, I don't expect she will get that large but dogs always seem hungry so I'm always worried I'm not feeding her enough. She gets breakfast, dinner and a decent size snack before bed and I will increase her food a bit more in the last 10 days or so. If she gains too much weight I'm not worried as it will come off easily.

And speaking of coming off, Emmy is looking better every day. I have here at the marina swimming every day, playing a bit of ball to dry her off and her undercoat is FINALLY coming off! Her coat has changed after her spay and is much more dense.

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New Breeding

May 27, 2020

Today and this past Monday I helped a friend breed her Malinois. This is a very important and special breeding as they are both her dogs that she has trained from puppies and highly titled. Her male has competed in 3 world championships and qualified for a fourth. Her female was set to take on world competition this year but unfortunately that won't be happening due to the plague. Both these dogs are incredible - powerful, driven, but happy friendly dogs that are wonderful to train with.

These puppies will not be for beginners and will only be going to experienced working dog homes.

If you would like to see more - I've made logo and webpage for the info.

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195lb dog

May 22, 2020

There is an obsession with the weight of our dogs. It's exactly the opposite of our human weight obsession. We all are concerned with our weight, our fitness our clothes fitting but for some reason we are happy to have overweight dogs. Every post I see being made by a GSD owner in the pet community mentions their weight like a badge of honour. "His passion for water is unreal.lol 7 months 100 lbs" A ONE HUNDRED pound 7 month old dog and you're so happy about it you are advertising it? I also have to wonder how you know your dog is 100lbs when vets are essential services only so how are you weighing your dog (and at that age it changes quickly).

And they will all say the same thing - the dog is not fat, the vet said so! Yes, most of the time the dog IS actually fat. It is also out of shape. But it's almost a "my dog is bigger than your dog" contest out there! And if you point out that the breed is not supposed to be that large and dogs that are that large are out of the standard, well then - you don't know what you're talking about or my favourite "they used to be like that". The breed was never a large size. Yes, some well bred dogs will just be larger, but it's not something good breeders want. Bigger is not better!

Right now I'm trying to get Emmy's weight down. I don't actually know what she weighs, but since her spay last August, she has thickened and put on weight. Her coat also seems to have changed into a denser type of fur that doesn't seem to want to shed the way it used to. I've reduced her food and put her on a more regular exercise plan and we do some Fit Paws training, it's working slowly.

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May 21, 2020

All over GSD message boards are people asking if their dog is purebred. They ask if the dog is 'full-bred', 'pure-bread', 'thoroughbred' and a few other funny terms. The definition of purebred is "bred from parents of the same breed or variety" - so by the very definition, you have to know where your dog came from to know if the dog is purebred or not. Otherwise, it's basically a guess. Nowadays you can order an DNA kit and send away to find out if what breed your dog is. It's not that accurate, I've heard it only goes back about 3 generations and even if the results come back 100% you still can't register the dog with a reputable registry.

In Canada, we have the Animal Pedigree Act which states "offer to sell, contract to sell or sell, as a purebred of a breed, any animal that is not registered or eligible to be registered as a purebred by the association authorized to register animals of that breed or by the Corporation." So your unregistered, DNA tested dog is still technically not a purebred dog.

What people do on message boards is post a photo of a dog/puppy and then you get an endless number of people commenting. It is almost insulting if someone says the dog isn't "pure". Not sure how anyone's opinion matters but I have a feeling that the poster will go away with the "yup, I knew my dog was purebred" if anyone comments it is.

If they wanted a purebred dog, why didn't they buy a registered purebred dog? That is the question of the day!

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Stealing Pedigrees

May 20, 2020

This past weekend I was told by a breeder that they didn't post their dog's pedigrees on their website because they might be stolen. When I asked how someone steals a dog pedigree they conveniently ended the conversation. Dogs are not people, they don't suffer from identity theft. You cannot steal my dog's credit rating, take out a loan in their name and then default on it leaving me with the debt. My dogs are registered, they are microchipped and their pedigrees are public. As breeders, we have wonderful online pedigree databases where we can look at any dog's pedigree we want. Steal them?? And do what with it?

I have heard of scams where people steal photos of litters and pretend they are selling them. They could probably also say my dogs are their dogs... but they wouldn't be able to register the puppies. Just another instance where buyer beware comes into play. Make sure the breeder you buy your dog from is legit...not just someone on FB taking deposits.

Why would a breeder hide a pedigree or registered name? Why would a breeder make it so difficult to check on health testing? What kind of breeders don't post their dog's registered names and pedigrees? I think we can all answer that question.

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Adopt don't shop?

May 19, 2020

Have we become so politically correct that we can't buy dogs anymore? I know Facebook has practically put a stop to it, but I still get inquiries asking to adopt a puppy. I SELL dogs and I am quite proud of my breeding program. Every time someone asks to adopt one of my puppies it's like nails on a chalkboard. I am not running a rescue, my puppies are sold - end of.

The other thing that I hate about that word is that rescues do not adopt out dogs either - they sell them. You pick your dog and you give them money for it. That is shopping - period.

I have two adopted sisters and I'm pretty sure my parents didn't pay for them!

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Pandemic Puppies

May 15, 2020

I can attest to the ridiculous number of puppy requests that I'm receiving since this plague started. Some breeders have put off breeding because of the virus but dogs cannot be bred at any given moment (the general public doesn't even realize this) we have to wait for a heat cycle which can be anywhere from 4 months to over a year for some breeds. Kew went into heat earlier than expected but my plans were about MY next dog, so virus or not, she was being bred.

I'm not entirely sure why everyone and their mother wants a puppy. As a dog person, it would be a great time to get a new puppy - but if I was concerned about my income it would not. I have not had any time off because of COVID 19 and don't expect to. So life has carried on completely normal for me. Work, home, train... even ordered a pizza last night. I miss going to the occasional movie but besides that nothing is different.

What I've seen on FB and from the calls/emails I've received is that people just want a puppy - they really aren't dog people. I have very little patience when it comes to inquiries... "do you have any puppies?" and when I say "no" they will say "oh, you don't have any?" Like I should take a second look because maybe I missed one? These "shoppers" think breeders are puppy mills and we have so many dogs that we have puppies 365 days a year! If I was smart, and saw this pandemic coming, I should have bought a few female dogs (and the breed wouldn't even matter to most!) and pumped out a sh*t load of puppies and retired. They haven't looked at my website, they don't care about anything except getting a puppy now (or maybe in a week!).

Sorry, I don't sell pandemic puppies.

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Pregnancy Confirmed

May 14, 2020

Kew had her ultrasound this morning at Cranberry Hill and she is now confirmed pregnant with our F Litter. I was, as usual, pretty sure she wasn't pregnant. It is very hard to tell if a dog is pregnant until it is obvious they are. It's a difficult wait sometimes depending on your plans. If you trial your dogs you want to hold-off anything stressful but hate to give up training time if they aren't expecting. If you are counting on the pregnancy to produce your next puppy, it's agonizing! That is what this pregnancy means - my next dog. So because of that, this is a very special litter for me (well, they all are and if I wouldn't keep a puppy back from all of them I wouldn't breed them) as my next sport dog is now officially in the works.

Now I will just wait and hope that she will have at least one female. The ultrasound only showed 3 or maybe 4 puppies but it was difficult because she is.... can't remember the term the vet used, but something about being very narrow.

Below is a photo of the tie, the ultrasound image and the latest photos of Kew.

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Start of a news page or blog

May 5, 2020

I try to keep Facebook updated but thought I'd start a news page anyway. I used to have a blog but lost it when I switched website platforms. It's probably only for my own amusement but I will see how it goes.

This entry is basically just a test!

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