How I decide to write on something

I just got asked why I write on a subject.  Usually it comes through the questions I get via email.  I have a couple of ideas coming up and then the next few months will probably be devoted to Pupdates.

I did want to pass this on - this is a GREAT website on the various colors and color variation of the Aussie.  I find it interesting and hope you do as well.

Talking to a breeder

Yesterday we talked about what to look for on a website - today I wanted to talk about the actual conversation.  If you are at a show or an event the breeder may be busy, ask for a business card (or give them one of yours) and set up a time to discuss.  Or pick up the phone and give them a call.

Have your list of questions are some basic ones:

1 I am looking for a (insert breed), my family consists of (fill in family members), we are looking for a (puppy/older dog) with these qualities (running partner, competition dog, service dog, couch slug etc).  Our house is (active, quiet) . BE HONEST.  Do you feel your dogs are a good fit for us?

Breeders note - the good breeder will explain the virtues of their dog and assess if their breeding program fits your lifestyle.  And if it does not, will refer you to another breeder.

2 Ask the breeder why they chose (insert breed) and what are the characteristics that they strive for.

Breeders note - you know if they are a good breeder if your eyes begin to glaze over as the person goes into a long animated chat without a breath of air starting with their first dog (usually prior to the invention of electricity) to today.

3.  Ask the breeder why they chose to breed Dog A to Bitch B

Breeder's note - see above.  Make sure to have caffeine handy.  If they are a BYB you will get no real information about anything other than pretty puppies

4.  Ask the breeder what they do to stay up with current health trends and what clubs they are members of

Breeders note - this is a very telling answer.  A good breeder will be active in a local and usualy a national club as well.  A good breeder is constantly learning not just putting two dogs together.

5.  Ask the breeder about their current activities with their dogs

Breeders note - not what they did one Saturday 6 years ago, not what the dogs great grandfather did in the 90s...what THEY as the breeder are doing.  If they are not active in SOMETHING other than breeding huge RED flag.  And if they start giving excuses why they dontlike an activity thats okay too.  But there are plenty of activities to choose from so they should be active in something.

6.  Ask about the activities of the dogs they produce.

Breeder's note - get specifics then verify.  If you are looking for a dog to compete in agility and they say their dogs are then GET THE NAME, then verify.  If they don't remember then it probably did not happen.

Remember YOU are interviewing them as well as them interviewing you.  This is a 15 year (hopefully) relationship.  You want to know about food, crate training, puppy classes, heartworm prevention, etc  This is a member of your family not a toaster from Wal Mart.  You need to feel comfortable with the breeder being someone.




Before Talking to Breeders

People ask me all the time - what kind of questions should you ask when looking for a puppy.  Here is some feedback that I can get just looking at websites - before you actually call.

1.  Make sure that they do not send puppies home before 8 weeks.  Why?  Because at eight weeks puppies have gotten the socialization from their dams and siblings.  When you get a puppy at 6 weeks (basically weaned) you are missing out on ALL of the sibling socialization.  That is the esential environmental time that a puppy needs.  It is learning how to be an adult and puppies taken before that never get it and many end up with issues later in life.

Breeders note - at six weeks puppies go from adorable fur balls to PITAs - less time with Mom in charge leads to FUN for them, they start becoming demanding and you dream of sending them away.  While you love them to pieces they start doing naughty things.  Sugar and Stinger started realizing stacking toys at the pen fence could become stepping stones and would stage jail breaks all day long LOL.

2.  With and without breeding rights.  When the only difference between full and limited registration is money...RUN.  Any responsible breeder who sells with full breeding rights has a litany of terms attached.  Full registration should not just be an ad on to make more money.

3.  Registration - NSDR, ASDR and CKC (Continental Kennel Club) are paper registries.  Meaning you pay some money and get a piece of paper.  Any Aussie looking dog can get that piece of paper.  ASCA and AKC are bloodline registries meaning there has to be bloodline proof of ancestry.  ASCA requires DNA on all sires and dams prior to registration, AKC requires DNA in some circumstances. 

4. Health testing - you should see at minimum OFA Hips and Opthamology cleared eyes on ALL breeding stock.  I also do Elbows, Hereditary Cataracts and MDR1 screening.  If they do not have those ASK why - there are many valid reasons people do not do the optional ones.  But they need a reason better than "Oh I have a closed kennel I know they are healthy" or my favorite "Mine are healthy because I give them Trifexis"

Breeders note - I do NOT recommend Trifexis for Heartworms, I am using Heartguard based on research and breeder/vet and my vet's recommendation.

5. Make sure they have pictures of the sire and dam and at least minimal pedigree information.  If all they show are adorable puppy pictures there is a reason.  Aussie puppies are adorable...then they grow up ha ha ha.

6.  If you want a dog for a specific task make sure this breeder does it or has knowledge. I always love to ee a breeder put a dog with noticeable structural issues as a performance prospect.  If they cannot go around a ring soundly how in the world is it going to work stock or do agility?  Form and function go hand in hand.

7.  Rare colors - yes Aussies have dilutes, sables and yellows (personally I love yellow Aussies and if they were legal that is all I would have) but they are illegal for a reason (if you are interested PM me and I will explain) they are not rare because they are cool they are rare because good breeders atempt to breed the colors OUT.  Don't think you are getting something worth extra are getting a dog with a DQ feature - probably a phenominal pet!  But don't pay extra.

8 Homozygous white - if you see these puppies being sold PLEASE run and run quickly.  A homozygous white puppy should bever be sold to anyone or given away.  The percentage of homozygous white puppies in rescue is horrifying and any breeder who raises them is a BYB or an idiot.  Responsible breeders do not raise these poor pups.  And the good samaritans who take them in (bless you) are in for a long road).


Officially Closed

It is always nice to know you have a group of puppy owners who will love the puppies that you so carefully raised.  It is even better when you have it all in order a month before the litter is born is even better.  Depending on if we get more puppies then expected there may be room for a few more available spots but at the moment we are FULL.

In a time where people are lamenting the fact that they struggle to find good homes my heart is over whelmed that I have such WONDERFUL buyers who educated themselves early on and are willing to wait for the right puppy.  Bringing a puppy into your home should not be an impulse purchase - and each of you on my list are the kinds of people I want for one of my pups.

Now we wait...less than four weks to go!

Home Visits

We had a super nice couple come over yesterday to meet the dogs.  They had lost their Aussie from cancer and were trying to decide if they wanted to go with another breed or go back to an Aussie.  It warms my heart when people take the time to make sure it is the BREED they loved not just one specific dog.

All of my dogs have great temperaments but the boys get really excited when a new person comes so I was trying to figure out how to get the meet and greet done without them mauling the new victims....I mean visitors.  Luckily my fears were erased when their eyes lit up at the prospect of being jumped on and licked.

Memphis was the worst he does not get the nickname "Dr Lick" by accident.  It was a great visit I got to see their very much loved dog's photos and the dogs were so happy to have new and exciting people (so much so they stood at the window and watched them leave like "HEY Don't Go!").

But the best part is seeing people who want to actually make a well thought decision.  I cannot tell you how many people just want a puppy any puppy.  Like the first person that has one available will do.  When you breed dogs and raise them as I do I do not want an "any puppy will do" person.  I want someone who wants MY puppy, that the puppy they are getting is the only puppy in the world for them.

I don't factory breed - I breed a dog for a puppy for me.  It is so much work and so much responsibility that I do not take it lightly.  So for me I want people for my puppies to be like that.  I want the puppy to be their universe.

Speaking of less than a month for the Stinger x Gemma pups I so cannot wait.

Calabrone Australian Shepherds and Pekingese
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