Training decisions

If you know anything at all about dog trainers the one thing they all seem to agree on is that the other one is wrong. I know, its an old joke but sometimes so true. If you are on FB you will see long divisive threads on the topic of dog training. Just like in politics lately – it seems as though you must take one side or the other or be damned. There is no respecting those who do things differently. I feel strongly that having the respect of your dog, listening to their needs, learning their body language and giving them a voice is super important in the long term relationship. I don’t think the use of shock collars, prong collars or choker chains are needed. I have Made those mistakes in my past before I knew better. We all learn and evolve . . . well not all of us. But all that being said – if that is how others wish to train that’s their business not mine. I can only concern myself with what is in front of me, my responsibility, my own values.

Training dogs the way I have been evolving to over the years has also taught me much patience. Using positive methods takes longer but its kinder and lasts forever. The dog doesn’t fear me – they aren’t ‘obeying commands’ but rather working with me and communicating a desire to learn and do things together. You can see it in their expressions and body language when they see me get out training equipment. They are eager to begin a session. There is no fear. Instead there is excitement!

I’m no expert. I don’t claim to be a trainer….or a behaviorist….or anything other than a student. I enjoy watching the dogs learn. I enjoy watching them interact. I have learned to let the dogs just be dogs. Accepting them for what/who they are instead of trying to ‘train’ them into being little obedient doormats. Work with the dog in front of you. They are individuals. Accept their quirkiness and their habits and work with that – see if you can live with one another respectfully. Maybe adjusting your expectations will allow you to have more success and a more enjoyable life with the dog you have.

What goes into the cost of a puppy from a responsible breeder?

Once you choose to get a dog from a breeder, it’s helpful to arm yourself with facts so you understand the cost of raising a litter of responsibly bred puppies.

The price varies from program to program, but paying more money for a puppy that comes from a thorough and ethical breeding program can help save costs down the line. Additionally, it’s important to support reputable breeders in order to weed out puppy mills, scams, and irresponsible programs. Not only will you ensure the health and safety of your own puppy, you’ll be supporting an ethical program that truly cares about the well-being of their dogs.

The expenses can add up quickly for a reputable breeder — the average cost of a responsibly bred litter is nearly $16,000. That number can fluctuate, but being a responsible breeder takes a great deal of money, energy, and time. Many breeders begin by traveling to AKC events where the quality of their dogs is ascertained; this process can range anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000. 

Following that, stud services can cost up to $1,500 if breeders don’t have a stud of their own. This can also involve travel, overnight stay in hotels, gas, meals, driving, flying, or semen collection. Collectively, this entire process can add up to $4,500. Factor in that many breeders are taking time off of work to travel to a stud or take their bitch to the vet, and those lost wages can max out at $1,200.

A great deal of maintenance is required to make sure the mother of the puppies is comfortable and in good health. OFA and CERF certifications for health can cost around $430 for each prospective dam that will produce puppies. Getting several progesterone tests done is essential as well so the breeder can pinpoint the accuracy of their timing for conception — these tests average out around $400. 

Regular health checks are required for the bitch as well, in addition to a Brucellosis test. Brucellosis is a disease that can affect all kinds of dogs and livestock — it can even be transferred from dogs to humans. Signs of the disease are late term abortion, still births, and conception failures. It cannot be overstated how important it is to test both dogs, male and female, for this disease before beginning to breed them. This test, along with a health check, can cost anywhere from $80 to $175. 

If implantation or insemination is needed after collecting sperm, this can cost up to $1,000. An ultrasound will be needed soon after all these steps are taken to check in on the status of the pregnancy, which can max out at around $150.

Considering all goes well with the first attempt at breeding, implantation, or insemination, the total cost of breeding before the litter even arrives averages out at nearly $10,500.

In anticipation for the puppies’ arrival, a breeder will have to accumulate all the necessary supplies — including things like a heat mat, siphon bulb, clamps, heat milk, and a whelping box. The cost of this kind of preparation averages out at about $150 as well. 

Throughout the pregnancy, breeders invest in extra food, prenatal vitamins, and x-rays to confirm the pregnancy — all of which average out at around $250. The actual cost of birthing can get up to $3,000 depending on whether or not there are complications or if a c-section has to be done. 

Once the puppies arrive, AKC litter registrations are $25 initially and then $2 per puppy. Premium food for the nursing mom and weaned puppies who are starting on solid food will cost nearly $600. Essential vet visits for the puppies can add up quickly as well — worming puppies costs around $250 when you factor in stool samples and medication. Shots for Parvo, distemper, and a regular vet visit will land around $400 depending on how many puppies are in the litter. 

Additionally, puppy care packages with food, collars, and toys for new owners to take home can land around $160.

Other costs include emergency vet visits, missing work to deliver the puppies, replacing puppy toys and towels, home destruction, utility costs for added laundry and heating, communication with new buyers, and the 24/7 job of looking after a dam and her puppies — all of this can accumulate to nearly $1,600. 

Ultimately, the total cost of responsibly breeding a litter of puppies can range anywhere from $7,700 to $23,900. Although it’s an expensive and time consuming undertaking, the energy and thoughtfulness reputable breeders put into their puppies is the foundation of what will be a better world for dogs.

It’s important to note that a high price tag does not always equate to a responsibly bred puppy — scammers, puppy mills, and backyard breeders come in all kinds of sizes and prices. This is why it’s key to make sure you’re connecting with a good source and communicate at length with your potential breeder. At the end of the day, investing a little more money into your puppy now could save you both in the future — and you’ll be supporting a breeder that pours a great deal of money, energy, time, and love into each puppy that comes out of their program.

Article courtesy of good dog.com

Greetings

How many of you reading this blog have experienced sending an email, PM/DM, making a phone call or text and not having it returned? Frustrating isn’t it?

How many of you make a second attempt? A third? Not many Ill bet.

Now imagine if you are looking for a new puppy for yourself, your family and you have done all the research you know to do. You did a Google search, you read about the breed on AKC, you read breeder websites, you may have even attended a trial, show or meet the breed booth…or maybe you have not done any of those things but you saw what you think was a breed you have interest in and just want to learn more about them. Naturally you would try to reach out to breeders or clubs or rescues, right? Think about that for a minute . . .

Every morning while I have my coffee I sit at my desk and catch up on news stories, social media posts, emails and other messages. On Social Media I see breeders spouting off about how can we distinguish ourselves from ‘people making puppies’, ‘back yard breeders’, ‘puppy farmers’ – basically – how can we help the general public who just wants a puppy see the work that goes into breeding for preservation and passion of a breed and give that work value vs those selling puppies to pay their bills? How do we differentiate ourselves? How do we help the public see the difference in breeders who put in all the time, money, energy, work for decades just to produce healthy, sound dogs? How do we show them that we are willing to be there for the life of that dog for any reason? (As I type this, I understand of course the many levels of breeders, both good and bad…but this applies to us and our respected fellow breeder friends with similar goals as us) I will tell you one great place to begin!

COMMUNICATION!

Look at it from the other side for a minute. In order too educate and get through we must respond to emails, calls and yes – sadly – even texts! Now, don’t get me wrong – I detest getting a text which simply says – ‘any puppies for sale’ – its an awful way to begin dialog. I prefer a nice introductory email from someone who has seen this website and understands what we do here…..but that isn’t always how it goes. I answer every single email, call, text, PM that I receive even the ones that are rude…because maybe, just maybe, I can help educate that person and explain to them more about this breed. Maybe I can explain to them why it is important to be polite and use words – not just – ‘how much for a puppy’ type inquiries. Trust me, I get some ridiculous messages – some are rude, some are ignorant, some are clueless and some are just uneducated on how the process should go in order to find the right breed, the right breeder and hopefully the right puppy for them.

Guess what those other ‘puppy makers’ (I refuse to refer to them as breeders) are doing? Yep, you guessed it. They return messages because to them – that’s a sale they can’t afford to miss. If we do not communicate in the same manner we risk losing the opportunity to educate. It won’t always be heard – in fact – most of the time it is not…but we must change our ways and COMMUNICATE the same as those people putting dogs together and $elling puppie$ to anyone who call$.

To me, that’s part of what a responsible breeder does. We educate. We mentor. We support. I almost never have a puppy for sale that I already don’t have many people waiting for – but the opportunity to educate is always available.