I don't know what I'm talking about.......but that isn't going to stop me!

May 17, 2021

Just happen to sit next to someone with a GSD on the weekend and naturally I asked about the dog. It was a small black female. I thought because of its size it was a puppy at first but then realized it wasn't. Anyway, I asked the owner how old she was and I got much more information than that. The dog was 3 year old long coat, bought with full breeding rights and was the runt of the litter!

After correcting the "long coat" (it was just a stock coat dog...and there is no such thing as a "plush" coat!), and thankfully missing the part that he was arranging a breeding, it reminded me of how many times people tell me things that are just not true.

The list is endless, but some of my favourites are that in Germany, they call black GSDs Alsatians and Spots on tongues mean the dog is purebred LOL

Sometimes when I repeat something someone tells me I think to myself "Hmmm...did I verify that information?" or "are they really a credible source?" Sometimes when you think you know something - maybe because you've "known it" for years and years, you should just check again to make sure it wasn't something you heard somewhere. Because when you repeat it to someone who does know...you look pretty silly.

So lets start with the word "runt" - I guess it can, by definition, mean the smallest in the litter - but it usually means a puppy that is significantly smaller than the rest. So technically there is a runt in very litter - Kew was the smallest at birth in my A litter. She was only 20 grams smaller than the next puppy and she didn't end up as the smallest in the litter. I've never referred to her as the runt. The puppy that ended up the smallest in the litter was actually the pup that was the largest at birth and who we called "fatty Mc Fat Fat".

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eleven months

May 10, 2021

Today is Fredi & (Larry) Five's 11 month birthday. Not a huge milestone, but it means it is only one more month until they are a year old.

Why is a year old important?

Usually I have my dogs x-rayed at 8 months when I do PennHip and have a look at their elbows. But this year my vet cut off the end of her finger and wasn't able to do the x-rays at that time so I've put it off until Fredi is 12 months. At that time, I can do her PennHip and her SV (a-stamp) at the same time. I have an article about why I do this called "Mercury's Hips". I believe this is the best way to look at the orthopaedics of a breeding dog. I use both systems because I like the different things they both contribute to the information I have for breeding and working my dogs.

This time, because I have my act together, I will have her dentition certified by OFA (Kew knocked out our front teeth before I had them certified and it was a lot more work to have her breed surveyed), Thyroid test and general wellness (blood, lyme, heartwork) done as well.

Can't wait to see the bill!

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gelly gelly gelly!

April 29, 2021

Gelly von Tighe Haus - now called Mia - is starting her Schutzhund journey!

Mia is working with the very talented John Bonello and hopefully will be joining the Scarborough Select SchH Club once the plague is over. She is just over 4 months and teething, so protection work is done without a lot of tugging, but she looks to be coming along great!

Very grateful to her owner and those helping her! It takes a village to SchH train a dog when you're new - hopefully Mia will be everything she was looking for in a dog!

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websites

April 20, 2021

A great argument always puts me in the mood for a "news" post!

I have a FB group for GSD owners/breeders in Ontario. Someone asked for an opinion about a kennel. I quickly looked at their website and posted that it had no basic information "dog registration names, health testing results or any accomplishments" so I would personally avoid it (I think my actual word was "run").

This triggered someone who had a dog from the kennel and assured everyone that the dogs were health tested. So I pointed out that if this is true (and I don't believe it), the information should be on the website. I mean why have a website if you aren't going to put basic information on it? And if your dog passes a health test or earns a title....as a breeder, you are damn proud of that! Then they had someone else who owns a dog from them join to argue with me and accuse me of bashing said breeder. Seriously, it would have taken a "yeah, they should post basic info" and that would have been the end of that conversation!

But nope, I'm mistaken and if I had just taken the time to CALL the breeder I would be corrected (not sure how their assurance they do these things is enough...wouldn't be for me!).

I try very hard to be transparent, to be up to date, to include every single detail I can think of about my dogs so that someone can shop and compare. I must be nuts! LOL

And truthfully, I use my own website to look up things I forget (scores, dates etc...) - which is getting more often all the time!

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she swims!

March 29, 2021

This past Saturday after obedience and protection training, Fredi was invited to try some hydrotherapy at Hero K9 Wellness centre. We rent their facility to train in the winter and this is where Emmy goes for her weekly swim. Neither Emmy nor Fredi need hydrotherapy, Emmy needs to keep in shape and because of her age, swimming is probably the best exercise she can get.

Fredi did a bit of swimming late last summer with Emmy when I would bring them both to work. Emmy would dive off the dock and Fredi would stalk her while she swam back up the boat launch and then pounce on her.

Although neither dog has an injury and needs hydrotherapy, It is great to know that a facility is close by to help.

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I'm not very nice...and I'm ok with it!

March 24, 2021

Got a call last night.... Started out with "Hi, I have a King Shepherd"

(can you hear my eyes rolling??)

I immediately corrected the caller that "King Shepherd" isn't a breed of dog. He seemed a bit confused because he had some paperwork... I explained that it's not a registered breed, not by the CKC or the AKC. He thought I was arguing semantics. He continued that his 5 year old KS wasn't neutered so he was thinking about breeding him. He wanted to "continue his lines".

I replied with the truth....You don't have "lines" - you have A dog, a dog that is not a registered purebred, who hasn't accomplished anything and no doubt, doesn't have the appropriate health testing for breeding but you can definitely find unethical people who will breed with your dog.

He didn't like that at all.... His reply was "I just 5 minutes ago thought about breeding my dog so I made this call and you obviously have no interest in answering my questions so goodbye!" and he hung up.

Another case of "don't tell me the truth because I don't want to hear it!"

Even funnier is that I once had a call from a doodle owner who thought I would want to use his male for breeding....I thought it was a prank call!

Happy Puppy Day!

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cancel culture

March 17, 2021

Just like everything else in the world, the sport of Schutzhund (IPO, IGP) is being cancelled in many countries. Bite sports, which have been around for over 100 years, are in danger of being outlawed because of animal rights activists and the ignorant public.

Ask anyone - everyone will tell you that "shock" collars and "prong" collars and "docking" tails, "cropping" ears, "corrections" - it's all cruel and should be against the law- regardless if they have ever even owned a dog. Over the last 20 years, I have run into so many people who think they know so much about things they actually know nothing about at all. Yet these same people are the ones who will demand laws to rid the world of horribly cruel bite sports and the tools we use to breed, train and title our dogs.

Dog trainers can never agree on everything, and there are plenty who think e-collars are not needed.....until they are. I myself have seen things done in training that I thought were unnecessary, over the top, cruel etc... and yes, I kept my mouth shut - why? because someone might see the same thing if they watched me train once. When you don't know everything (or at least a lot about what you are looking at) you should try to learn before opening your mouth.

Wouldn't that be nice if more people shut their mouths and learned instead of opening them and and spouting off about something they know nothing about?

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you have to take it now...

February 28, 2021

I've seen two different social media posts today that show very young puppies that have already left the breeder. One didn't look much over 5 weeks. The other was supposed to be 6.5 weeks. The first was a "breeder" who lied and said the dog was older and the second was from a breeder who had something come up and had to send the puppies home early.

Really?? There is no way I would send a puppy home before 8 weeks (yes sometimes mine go home a day or two before that because of what day of the week they were born) - but a week or two early?? No way. IF something were to happen to me, I would have a friend take the litter for the last couple of weeks to make sure the puppies got the best start possible.

I'm not sure about Canada, but many states have laws about puppies leaving before 8 weeks.

When puppies start to eat real food (around 4 weeks) and their mother no longer cleans up after them, they become a lot more work. The older they get, the more work they become. It doesn't surprise me that crappy breeders are getting rid of them as fast as they can. The scams keep coming!

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they're still coming....

February 18, 2021

The phone calls are still coming. A little less frequently (maybe one per day) - but they haven't changed at all.

I see many people on Facebook who will ask breed groups if they should start to shop now even if they don't want a puppy for a year or two. People answer and tell them that "yes" you should be shopping now and building up a rapport with a breeder.

A rapport definitely doesn't happen from NOT looking at their website, asking only if they have puppies now and if not, will you be having them shortly. There is always the same sound on the end of the call....a mix on confusion and "you suck" - like my customer service is so horrible because I won't tell them exactly when I will next have puppies (even though that information is on the website).

But yeah, I don't think these callers are trying to build a rapport with any breeder - they just want a puppy.....now (or maybe next week).

Below are some photos of Gelly who went to her new home last weekend!

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gelly

February 4, 2021

Our little singleton is advancing at the usual "I can't believe she is that big already" pace!

I combined some of the video I had of her so I though I'd share it here.

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eleven years

January 26, 2021

Today is Emmy's eleventh birthday!

Emmy is my golden child - she will be the standard that I measure every dog I ever own against. She is perfect, she is beautiful, she is smart, she is everything I think a GSD should be. Ok, she isn't perfect, but she is everything I will ever want in a dog.

I have done so much with this dog, gone so many places, learned so much from her and she has given me the opportunity to do all of that. On top of everything, she has given the world 19 of her offspring to hopefully help carry on her genes.

Her birthday is always bittersweet - I love to celebrate her long life, but I know that with every passing year it shortens the time I have left with her.

Tonight she will be treated to some steak and her weekly Fitpaws workout. Along with that, she was gifted a new orthopaedic bed and 10 weeks of swimming "lessons".

I love this dog!

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reputable?

January 25, 2021

In May I wrote an article (rant) about someone on FB claiming they didn't post their dog's pedigrees on their website because they could be stolen. When I questioned it, I was conveniently removed from the conversation. It's very much like things are now-when you question things, you are censored.

So yesterday someone posted on FB in a "GSD breeders and buyers beware" group about how they had been scammed for $600. They had put a deposit on two female littermates. Besides the whole "you didn't get scammed because you didn't spend more than five seconds looking into the credibility of this breeder" the thing that struck me first was that NO reputable breeder would ever sell someone littermates.....especially two FEMALE lttermates!

Someone on the group disagreed. They said that selling two female littermates was perfectly acceptable. I replied that no reputable breeder I knew would do that and maybe my definition of reputable was not the same as theirs.

I was then removed from the group because I wasn't aware that she was part of the admin and I must have missed the rule that said you are not allowed to disagree with the admin!

I looked up her kennel this morning and sure enough, my definition of reputable is quite different. Her dogs are overwhelmingly not from her own breeding and many of them do not have hip/elbow certifications. Even worse, some say they have OFA H/E yet when I checked, they are not listed (so either they do not have certification OR they failed and are not listed). I searched the kennel name in OFA and found 11 dogs. The most recent was 2017 and the dog had hips only and was rated "Mild" (mildly dysplastic). She also has THREE litters due this month alone.

No titles (except on some she has purchased) - but in her own words on a message board from 2013 "titles don't me shi*t"....

Sorry, this breeder is as far from reputable as they get. After I was removed, they posted the message below. I absolutely agree with the first line. Bashing breeders?....it seems like 'bashing' is now the new word for "pointing out facts" - and if you can't stand the heat....oh yeah, you just delete any opposing opinions.

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customer service

January 22, 2021

A little over a week ago I ordered a new collar for Fredi. She is getting to the age where she thinks she can do whatever she wants so it would be nice to have a collar on her more often. A very pretty collar with an $10.00 upgrade for a metal buckle was purchased from Woof Concept. Total was about $35.00.

I put the collar on her Tuesday at "FitPaws" night and did her training and also had the leash attached to the collar to hold her and cut her nails. She really isn't happy about nail cutting so there was definitely pressure on the collar. She slept with the collar on and when my husband let her out in the morning she still had it on. When I went to put her in the car to come to work after about an hour, the collar was no longer on her. My husband found it on the picnic table in two pieces.

My dogs are very talented and smart, but NONE of them can undo a metal buckle I assure you! Yes, Fredi has obviously chewed the collar in two, but I'm pretty sure she wasn't able to do that while it was on her neck. The buckle obviously came undone and after the collar came off, she chewed it in half.

I contacted the company right away and was told to contact Canada Post?? They didn't actual read my email very closely. I replied and explained that it didn't arrive this way but that the buckle had obviously come undone. Their reply "by the looks of the damage we wouldn't be unable to process this as warranty or be qualified for replacement. Our webbing can withstand a pull pressure of up to 600 lbs so I'm not sure how it may have ended up in that condition, but from the image that you sent we would not be able to process any warranty or replacement. "

I sent them a reply and pointed out again that the buckle undid... no reply

I am clearly disappointed with this company and the quality of their product.

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hypocritical breeders

January 15, 2021

Started reading another breeder's website and (I won't name them because I'm not here to breeder bash) found a page that excuses why their dogs are not CKC registered. Now probably all breeders will tell you they have had issues with the CKC - especially now. They are slow, they have a monopoly and they can be hard to deal with. First, the CKC is only a registry, they are not breed wardens and it is very well known that although they do have some breeding rules, they leave the details to the breed clubs. The CKC is also not run by dog people - I'm sure many of them do not breed dogs!

This breeder states that "it's not the registration, but the pedigree that matters". That is partly true - a great pedigree is more important than whether the dog is CKC/AKC or SV registered. But they are breeding dogs that are NOT registered with ANY registry. They also state that it's sad people think that only ethical breeders register their dogs with the CKC. It's not sad, it's true. According to our Canadian laws, if a dog is not registered with the CKC it isn't purebred and if it isn't purebred you are not an ethical breeder.

They go on to say that the ONLY reason you need CKC papers is to show or to title a dog. One big reason you do need papers is to show you have a purebred dog. Another is ownership and yet another is to BREED. One thing I do agree with is that CKC papers do not equal quality. But NO papers doesn't mean it either! CKC paperwork is not expensive but it is an added expense for breeders, but when you are charging thousands for a puppy it's negligible. The only reason to not have them is because you are too cheap, lazy or your dogs do not qualify (which they actually state on the page - they are importing dogs from none FCI countries).

They then go on about how difficult the CKC is to transfer papers from another country. First they complain that the CKC are too lax and now they are too stringent by making sure the dog you imported matches the paperwork by checking the microchip...

The next point is the best one! They point out the SV breeding regulations are much more strict but yet they don't breed by SV standards OR even CKC standards!

The last incorrect statement made is that a CKC registered breeder simply means all their dogs are CKC registered. First, there is no such thing a CKC registered breeder. The CKC registers our Kennel Names - that's it. This just means that someone else can't register their dogs with my kennel name.

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blessed

January 12, 2021

German Shepherd Dogs are not always the best with other dogs. This is why I will not sell to anyone who thinks going to the dog park is a good idea. But within their pack they do well - unless you have same sex aggression. This is quite real and can make living with these dogs inconvenient and expensive.

If I have a dog returned, I never introduce it back into my pack. I will introduce a female to Rico as he is very good with other dogs, but never back in with my females.

But within my pack of Emmy, Rico, Kew and Fredi, I am very blessed that my females get along. Fredi is still very young and this could absolutely change in the future, but for now, she not only gets along with her mother and grand-mother, Emmy constantly plays with her. It melts my heart to see my 11 year old play with her 7 month old grand-daughter!

Fredi and Kew have been apart quite a bit lately because of Kew's pregnancy and now with the new puppy around. Kew just got her stitches out so things will slowly get back to normal and hopefully my pack will all be able to be together.

Fredi has just recently met her sister Gelly and that is going even better than expected!

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happy holidays

December 23, 2020

Every year for the past 19 or 20 years I have sent out cards (mostly always handmade) with a Christmas photo of my dogs inside. Because of the plague, I haven't had time this year.

Here are some photos from the past...

Happy Holidays!

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puppy prices

December 21, 2020

I just read this post on a message board:

As many of you know, health testing is super important to me. What is blowing my mind currently is the huge influx of backyard breeders charging huge amounts for puppies - with no health testing of the parents, no titles, no nothing. And in many cases the breeding stock...well, it leaves something to be desired, let's just put it that way.

Yet somehow people get sucked into buying puppies at enormously inflated prices from these people. Meanwhile, actual reputable breeders charge much less for higher quality animals. I will just never understand it.

Of course I totally agree with it, except for one part.... "people get sucked into..."

Do they? Are they sucked into buying an inferior quality puppy? I haven't purchased a dog in 11 years, but as a breeder I can tell you that people are not getting sucked in, they don't actually care about what is important (until it is). Like I've said before, most of the inquiries I get are simply "do you have any puppies?" - or I may get someone asking about a specific colour. I NEVER get anyone asking about health testing or titles (and yes, it is all laid out on the website) but I know ALL the phone calls I get are from people who haven't bothered to even look at that. I would say that 99.9% of the questions I'm asked have nothing to do with the quality of the dogs I'm breeding.

I used to think bad breeders were the problem - they aren't. It's simple supply and demand. No one is getting suckered.

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g litter

December 18, 2020

I thought nothing could have been worse than having your dog skunked during whelping and then ending up with a c-section anyway - I was wrong.

Last Saturday Kew had some discharge so off to the vet we went. We did an ultrasound and it showed one puppy had detached and was dead but there was still at least one live puppy inside her. Progesterone testing showed her level had dropped so she was probably going to go into labour prematurely and lose any remaining puppies. I called numerous vet practices looking for progesterone with no luck. Finally we got her a prescription for human progesterone pills and, along with antibiotics and crate rest, we waited to see if she could hang on.

I watched her day and night anticipating the inevitable but she hung on and we did a c-section yesterday. There was one surviving puppy out of 3.

The stress of the week is almost over. After losing one of the F litter at 5 days for no apparent reason, I'm not counting my chickens just yet!

Welcome to the world Gelly von Tighe Haus (sable female). Gelly is named after my incredible vet Dr. Kelly Ferguson.

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the making of a BYB

December 11, 2020
I am trying to find out more about my dogs pedigree to understand more of her lineage and also for potential breeding (finding a Stud - we are planning it but still have a lot of questions before doing anything). Her name is blah blah Von blahblah. She is a Sable German Shepherd, just a little over 2 years old. Fantastic dog, and lives up to the German Shepherd heritage. She is really my 11 year old son's dog and he is an animal lover (one of our barn cats was having babies and he helped save one of them during labor). So I know he will do great with Blah if she has a litter (with some coaching). We got her from a local family that bred their 2 dogs and they were not "professional" breeders. I have been trying to research, but it is difficult and do not know the names in her lines makes it difficult. I cannot tell if she is East German, DDR, Czech, or a mix.

1. Blah's Pedigree is on here (put it here myself). Could you look at the pedigree and see if you can make out her general heritage (DDR, East German, etc) and what you would expect her to be like (I know what she is like, just want to know if she is following the rules...)? I looked at some examples and she might be more East German??? Her back does not slope as much as some of the other lines.

2. After seeing her pedigree, what would you suggest looking for in a stud dog? I mean lines that would work well with her. She is an excellent trail dog, she keeps right by us and if she does chase something she can be called back easily. She will run beside the horses from front to back constantly like she is counting and making sure all of us are still with her. We live in east Mainville, and will be trying to find a stud fairly close.

3. She is a sable, and a beautiful one. We have talked about trying to get a little more brown on her. I know that you don't get to choose the colors of the pups, but we also know that certain color mixes can GENERALLY give an idea of what the pups will look like. Any suggestion on what we should look for?

4. I am researching the testing we need to do. We haven't done any bone or hip testing or certification yet (and I don't think her parents had the testing done either), but after I understand it better we expect to do the testing. That is of course if it would be worth it. I can face it - if her lines are not that great, then it might not be worth the extra cost. As a side note, we picked a good dog from great people - even if they didn't do all of the normal testing). So, In your opinion, it is worth it to get all of the tests done? If so, what would you recommend (remember I am still researching)?

5. If there is anyone out there with a stud dog that would be a good fit with Blah, please contact me!

This is a post I saw on a popular message board. It is the very definition of how to become a Backyard Breeder! I don't think I've ever seen a post from someone that screams "I shouldn't be doing this!" more than this one!

  1. Has no idea about the pedigree of the dog they want to breed
  2. She "lives up to the German Shepherd heritage" - not sure how they know this? The dog is a pet and has never been tested for anything. And what do they know about the breed? They don't know anything genetically about their dog, but it lives up to the standard?
  3. The dog really belongs to their 11 year old! Eleven year olds should not be whelping puppies "with some coaching". How will this kid feel if his dog dies in front of him? I think one of the main "you're a byb" reasons is "my kids need to experience this!" Whelping a litter can take 24 hours! It's messy, it's stressful and it can be terribly heartbreaking....yeah, good plan for an 11 year old!
  4. They comment that their dog isn't from "Professional" breeders - professional actually mean "for money" - what kind of breeder do they think they bought their dog from? Exactly the type they are aspiring to be! I never understand why people classify breeders as registered (there is no such thing) or professional instead of "bad" or "good" LOL
  5. They can't tell what lines their dog is - because it isn't. The pedigree doesn't show a title or health test for 4 or 5 generations. So they basically have a BYB / pet dog they think needs to be reproduced.
  6. Thinks their dog is DDR because her back doesn't slope (insert face palm emoji here!) and they keep saying DDR or East German like they are two different things.
  7. They are looking for a stud dog based on her pedigree and not the dog in front of them. I think the whole reason for the post is to have someone jump up and down and say "use my dog!" - but maybe I'm wrong. Breeders don't but posts like this on message boards. They might ask if anyone knows of a stud that meets their requirements, but they already know what they are looking for - that is what breeding is!
  8. "She is sable, a beautiful one" - what shows has she been entered in? They want a little more brown on her?? Translated I think that means pigment - but they are putting colour second after pedigree - which is quite common with bad breeders.
  9. "Is it worth getting all the test done" - good grief! "I don't think her parents had the testing done either" - they have no idea what tests to do, they purchased a dog from a bad breeder who did no health testing (and probably generations of the same) yet the only thing they think is important is finding out what lines she is and how to produce different colours.

I'm sure people like this have good intentions but it's really sad for the breed. The replies were well thought out and polite and the original poster didn't have a fit (like most do) - I would bet they still breed the dog.

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these are german shepherds!

December 9, 2020

One of the questions on my questionnaire is "Why a German Shepherd Dog and not a Golden Retriever or a Boxer? (please be specific in regards to the traits found in the GSD and not in other breeds)". This is not a difficult question (I added the part in parentheses after I noticed the replies were not very specific.) but maybe I'm wrong.

The number one adjective I get is "loyal". Now, I've never owned another breed of dog but I have met a few and I have friends who own other breeds and I've yet to meet a dog that wasn't faithful to their owner.

I ask this question for a reason - a very important reason - because if you want a Golden Retriever that just LOOKS like a GSD, my dogs are not for you.

The other adjectives that are most commonly used are active, intelligent and protective. The first two apply to many breeds, the last is something that you train. When I scroll down to the "how much formal obedience are you planning to do" it is usually very vague. People think GSDs are naturally protective. This is a subject for debate but I know my dogs and they aren't going to protect my property because I've never trained them to and to me, they are much more important than my television. As per my FAQ page, they will definitely bark if someone knocks on the door!

The same people who want a dog that is protective will return it in a second if it ever growls at another dog or person.

Next time, buy a doodle!

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are people that desperate?

December 3, 2020

I was looking at the Kijiji advertisements for German Shepherd puppies and this is what I found.

  1. Mix puppies selling for $2700! Mother is "full king shepherd" and father is half lab half shepherd.... $2,700!! wow!
  2. $1500 or $3000 depending on what colour you want (for some reason the black puppies are DOUBLE the price! No mention of anything but price and colour.
  3. $2300 - unregistered
  4. Czech/DDR "lines" - no mention of titles or price
  5. $2000 - very fuzzy photos, no info and the male is $200 more
  6. $1950, no papers. The mother and father both love to ride in the car! The father is working on the first level of scent detection but the ad says the puppy comes from titled and health tested (no mention of what) dogs.
  7. $3500 Poland imports. I'm not sure you can register a dog with Polish paper with the CKC
  8. $1700 mix...mix of what? "awaiting DNA results" - serious inquiries only!
  9. $2500 - no papers
  10. $1500 - mixed with terrier...pit bull is not mentioned, but that is the mix
  11. $3500 - Import, no other info

I have no words!

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service dogs

December 1, 2020

I listened to a podcast on the weekend about fake service dogs and I've also seen many discussions about all the uses for dogs on Facebook. The podcast had some glaring mistakes in it (wondering why they were never corrected?) about service dogs and I think that goes right with the whole situation surrounding them.

There are 4 terms that get confused or cross over with the general public - Service dog, therapy dog, guide dog and ESA (Emotional Support Animal). These are 4 completely different types of dog "jobs". A guide dog is used to guide the visually impaired, a therapy dog provides therapy to ill persons (by being petted, read to ect..), an ESA dog provides emotional support to someone who has a mental health issue and a service dog provides a service for someone with a disability.

I am very weary about selling a puppy for any of these jobs and I will explain why. In my opinion, a guide dog is the most important of these jobs and if you look into the success rate of dogs in this field you will find out that it's not high. This is completely understandable because it is a very stressful job for a dog. Guide dog training is usually done through an organization and dogs are sent to a puppy raiser before starting to train. You need the right type of dog for this job and although I think my dogs are qualified in many ways for this type of work, I won't sell them to an organization. Guide dogs are allowed everywhere by law.

Therapy work is not hard to train for (Caper from my C litter passed this test - I don't think any others have even tried) but therapy work is not for high drive, high energy dogs. Therapy dogs are not allowed everywhere.

ESA - as per my FAQ page, I will not sell a dog for this purpose. Again, high energy, high drive dogs are not the type of animal to provide emotional support. I also think that 90% of the animals I hear doing this "job" are just basically pets that are being taken places for fun. ESA animals do not have access rights to public spaces.

This leaves Service Dogs. Again, I don't want to sell a puppy to be a service dog. The 'job' of service dog represents so many things - detecting an oncoming seizure, picking up objects, moving a person out of a situation that will cause a panic attack etc.. Are the dogs I produce able to do these things? Probably? But when you need a dog to live, guide dog or service dog, you shouldn't start out with a puppy that is a crap shoot. I have purchased two different dogs for the sport of Schutzhund that didn't work out. One didn't work out in the sport, the other's temperament was not conducive to my home life. The realization that these dogs were not going to fulfill my requirements was devastating. Both dogs were over a year old so all that time that I had put into them was wasted. The desire to compete in SchH is nothing compared to needing a dog to live. When I read FB pages it sometimes looks like the majority of the population needs a service dog! Service dogs are granted access to public spaces.

The fake service dog situation is not as apparent where I live. Then again, I haven't been anywhere in a long time so maybe it is on the rise. The podcast was basically about people just slapping "SERVICE DOG" patches on their dogs and then taking them everywhere. One of the big mistakes on the podcast was they said you were entitled to ask the service dog handler what their disability was. No, you are not ever allowed to do that! That is against our human rights. You are allowed to ask the handler IF they are disabled and what service the dog provides. Most of the podcast was about flying dog inside the cabin. I have flown with a dog many times, and the last place I want them is in the cabin with me. They are better off in their crate. They probably have more room than I do! The host of the podcast suggested airlines remove a row of seats to provide kennels for dogs in the cabin!! I found that part hilarious! He must not know what airlines charge for their seats  (because he wanted to charge about $200 for the dog) and I'm not sure exactly how this would keep the other passengers from having to listen to barking dogs or smelling them either. I think he mentioned putting up a curtain LOL

Below is a photo of Emmy in the Vancouver Airport. I took her to California years ago to breed (it didn't take) and we had a 5 hour layover in the airport. She was probably 4 at the time and made me so proud handling it all in stride. I took her on the escalator, into the washrooms and around thousands of people - no issues. The second photo is her in a hotel in Syracuse.

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here we go again

December 1, 2020

Kew had her ultrasound last night and is now confirmed pregnant. Small litter of maybe 3 or 4 (very hard to tell and that wasn't the focus of the ultrasound). We got to see the puppies actually barking in there!

The 'G' litter will arrive December 18th and be ready to go home around February 18, 2021.

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off switch

November 26, 2020

Many puppy buyers talk about an "off switch".

I recently posted a photo on my Facebook page of Fredi napping on my couch and a breeder commented that her dogs would never do that. Is this an off switch? My dogs have always curled up on the couch, on a dog bed or on the floor in their favourite spot. They do not need to be crated to switch off.

I just skimmed through the GSD bible 'The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture' and what I find from the breed creator is that the GSD should be given a place to rest, out of the way and taking into regard their desire to chew things. Most of us use crates now because they are safer, but a working dog should settle when the work is done for the day.

As you can see from the photos, they all seem to gravitate to the same spot.

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hate to tell you....

November 23, 2020

I saw an advertisement on Kijiji over the weekend...

"She is an 8 week old purebred German Shepherd puppy who carries the recessive white spotting gene, causing a discolouration making her a Piebald shepherd (also sometimes refereed to as a Panda Shepherd). the gene is rare making her a one of a kind puppy."

$3,600.00! There is absolutely no mention of the parent's health testing / titles, registered names...nothing....

I can just imagine the sucker that buys this incredibly rare puppy! For its whole life, he/she will be trying to convince people that the dog is a purebred GSD.

As you can tell from the photos (although I'm guessing someone won't be able to tell) - the dog is NOT a German Shepherd.

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finding littermates

November 16, 2020

I belong to a few Facebook groups that are - surprise.... all about German Shepherd Dogs!

I constantly see people posting their dog's photo accompanied by their date of birth and asking if anyone else has one from that litter.

These dogs are most likely from litters posted on Kijiji or maybe from a sign on a front lawn (or the back of a pick up in the Wal-Mart parking lot?). They most likely are not registered pure-bred dogs or it would be fairly easy to post a kennel name or look up siblings on an online pedigree database.

One thing I do for my puppy buyers is invite them to join a FB group solely for other von Tighe Haus buyers. You can see your puppy's siblings grow and talk to the other owners about milestones or issues. It also lets me see my dogs as they mature and alerts me to anything I should know about.

Pick your breeder wisely!

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new titles and accomplishments

November 14, 2020

Big breeder brag for me!

Cia von Tighe Haus (Checker vom Speedteam Bodensee x Phyre vom Patiala - our C Litter) achieved her IGP 1 with her handler Paul Novosad. Title earned at the New Tec Working Dog Club under judge Lisa Little 96-85-88. This is definitely the hardest title to achieve in the sport - very proud of them both!

Not such a huge accomplishment is to Fredi who won (3 way tie) the Ottawa Working Dog Club second annual fall tracking competition with 17 tracks in October. The best part is that they were all really nice tracks! (Second best part were the awesome prizes!!)

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pandemic puppies continue...

November 12, 2020

The phone calls keep coming, the emails, the "chat" messages.... Everyone wants a puppy!

Had a couple of favourites lately. First was someone who messaged me through the website and wanted to be put on the list for a black or chocolate Labrador! Now most of the time I think these inquiries are just my friends playing games with me, so I replied "LOLOL". The reply came back "oops, sorry, any colour german shepherd". No joke! I replied back that they were too picky!

Another favourite was the person who used the contact form on the website to ask me no less than THIRTY questions! Instead of answering any of them (because the answers can all be found on the website), I replied back "let me ask you a question....have you read ANY of the website?" They answered back apologetically that my website was not loading properly and they were having computer issues. I'm not sure why anyone would want to buy a puppy from a breeder they think is that stupid??

Luckily most of the phone calls are short and sweet. "Do you have any puppies, no? okay thanks"

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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 the same as 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??

Nope!

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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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deposits

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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firsts

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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qualifications

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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drive?

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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Purebred?

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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