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Best Friends: My Sweet Silvers

November 17 will mark the one year anniversary of Jake and Polly coming together and forever changing our lives. From the beginning these two have been the best of friends. It did not take Jake long to love his Polly. They were apart last weekend and when they got back together they were so happy […]

Polly is 1!

IMG_2016

Polly 2012

 

IMG_2043I can’t believe it is fall again and Polly has turned a year old. She is such a solid hunk of love, I do not know what I would do without her. She is my sweet buddy and is such a cuddle bug I am sure she has no idea she is 70 lbs of lab lap dog. She is less of a licker than Jake, but she is still all lab. I trip over her when I am cooking and snuggle with her on the couch. She has a nose that is out of this world. She is constantly sniffing something. She loves to swim and is getting better at jumping off the dock. She loves a boat ride and a car ride and hates to be left behind. 

Our Polly is beautiful and smart, she can chase the gator at almost 20 mph, she will heel and sit, but we are still working on the fetch. My goal for Polly is to be a Canine Good Citizen and complete all training so when I teach she can be in the classroom with me. We are starting training soon.

I know when it is time, Polly will be a wonderful, caring and attentive mother to her pups.

Polly Fall 2013

Polly Fall 2013

Adolescent Angst

We made it through the first heat cycle with Polly.  It was “hell on a stick” quite honestly.  Between Polly becoming quite a honey badger, she was causing Jake great angst.  He never has accidents in the house but could not help himself in marking the spots Polly had left her scent.  It was quite a time and I am so glad we have survived it.  The experience has made me all too aware that not spaying or neutering your pets is a huge responsibility! As a new breeder and a responsible dog owner we were diligent in our separation tactics.  I am already considering the next occurrence.  I believe we may have to find a puppy vacation for Jake for at least part of the cycle to save all our sanity.  Not breeding? I don’t think quite yet.  We are still discussing it, but I know we will see when it occurs and if we have healthy dogs that are ready to be bread.

A Serious Problem

Well, we are not having puppies yet…but we have Ehrlichia. What is Ehrlichiosis? It is a tick borne bacterial disease that can affect both animals and humans.  Our poor Polly had been lethargic and not eating well.  We took her in to the vet to see what was going on. After X-rays and blood work, including a tick panel, she was diagnosed with Ehrlichia.  Her spleen was enlarged and she tested positive for the disease. We love the vets at Lake Pet Hospital in Eldon and they were wonderful again this time. We were sent home with Doxycycline and Pepcid for two weeks and a follow-up appointment.  She will likely have to be on antibiotics for a month.  But at least we caught it early.  It has the propensity to be quite severe if not caught early.

The vet has been very open about the increase in tick disease this year.  Since March there has been a marked increase over other years in the number of infections reported. Missouri is a red state for tick disease, meaning that we are especially high risk due to cases reported.  The main tick responsible for transmitting the disease is the Lone Star tick, it is usually found in the plains states between Texas and Canada.

I am thankful we caught this infection early in Polly and wanted to share the information so others are aware and can understand the threat and symptoms. I will attach some links for further reading.

http://www.aldf.com/Ehrlichiosis.shtml

http://www.cdc.gov/ehrlichiosis/

http://vetmedicine.about.com/od/glossaryterms/a/CW-Ehrlichiosis.htm

Why chew a bone when you can chew a shoe…

I just found this as an unpublished post from April and decided to go forward and publish it because it still has relevance.  …

Having two puppies has its challenges, and the chewing phase is definitely one of them. There was a time, a few months ago when I thought I had such good puppies that only chew their toys and bones. Then, as if overnight, it changed.  I am not sure if it is more Jake, since he is almost 8 months, or the fact that they love to find our things and fight over them. But I know they definitely feed off each other’s energy.

We bought more toys thinking that would solve the problem. But it was not an easy thing to overcome. If left alone for even a short time they would find something to chew, a hat, a shoe, a paper towel. They ate at least one shoe of three pairs and at least two of my husband’s hats.  At the point that Polly started to eat the deck we really realized what a wild ride two lab puppies could be. They chew each other, they chew us if we let them. They even chew their toys and bones.

And now, five months later…we are still dealing with the chewing.  The puppies are wonderful and for the most part do not get into things not for them, but much of that is because of our watchful eyes.  We have learned that we have to keep tabs on them. The adolescent phase is not time to be lax and believe that just because they look like full-grown adult dogs that they are really capable of resisting temptation.

A few moments of turning a blind eye or getting caught up in what we are doing can net clean up duty and the “poop watch”. The “poop watch” is the time after a chewing incident when we have to judge if they are going and if so, we have to be sure it is not “sick poo”, meaning diarrhea especially containing blood or foreign objects. Not fun, but necessary!

Not long ago we had the Coke can incident. This was a time I was on the computer and thought I had puppy proofed the deck. Well apparently not! One of the pups decided that it would be a good idea to shred, and I mean shred a coke can. There were many tiny shreds and pieces I could not find to piece the can back together, quite like a Humpty Dumpty story. There would be no putting this back together.  So the watch began. We seem to have come away unscathed.

Next was the flip-flop morning when we had not put them in the crate before bed and they (I believe Jake, and I will explain) chewed/shredded a white flip-flop. It too was as if it exploded all over the floor. I am fairly certain it was Jake because of his propensity to bring us items when we are not paying enough attention to him. He will walk by with a sandal or a flip-flop and if you look at him, he offers it as a gift and accepts your praise for “giving it” as his prize.

And last but certainly not least, we are now on watch for the tiny pieces of a screw driver.  The pups were left alone for a couple of hours and not crated, once again, and the only thing they chewed was a small screw driver with parts that can be inserted to change the end to varying types of jobs. Well, the screw driver was on the floor, end chewed, and no small parts to be found.  Since that time, Polly has had two X-Rays and we have not witnessed any distressful diarrhea, so I am starting to believe we are in the clear from this one and we will find those pieces later under a piece of furniture we have not moved yet.

Although this is a bit funny as a story, I share it as experience and a message to myself and others to remember that your puppies are safer, and so are you things, if you crate them when you are not able to watch them.  You are not being mean, you are being a responsible pet owner.  I am getting a bit tired of the “poop watch” and think going back to the crate for sanity and safety is the way to go.

 

Polly feels the heat

We have been waiting and watching for the signs of Pollyanna’s first heat cycle.  I have read forums and books about breeding and heat cycles. Of course, while we had a house full of family, we noticed she came into heat. I am relieved and know she is a normal 10 month old lab. We are also enjoying the challenge of keeping the pups apart and exercised. Jake is definitely interested in Polly and she is not as interested in him-yet. I am sure that will come this week. Each day is an adventure. 

I think it is really hard for these besties to be separated. They are so used to playing and cuddling.  I am glad this will all be behind us in a couple weeks for another few months. 

As a conscientious new breeder I am always calling our wonderful, and understanding vet, reading articles, forums and books about raising and breeding labs. We are enjoying the challenge of these wonderful dogs and look forward in the future to our first litter. 

We want to do the right thing by our dogs, they are our family. We are educating ourselves about good breeding practices and contracts. We are not in it for the money but the experience with our dogs. We do not intend to over breed or have a large kennel of breeding dogs. We will care for each dog, from puppy to adulthood if necessary, as our own. We chose our pups carefully and learned from our experiences with other breeders. When I see posts from other breeders about not wanting new breeders or hobby breeders to start breeding dogs I wonder how they got started? Did they start as large, well established breeders? Did they know everything when they had their first litter? I would venture to guess not. I understand the fear of reputable breeders of having people breed dogs who are not prepared to ensure the highest possible health standards, take pups back if necessary, or not place pups in questionable environments. It is a delicate balance of breeding quality dogs and understanding that you are responsible for the puppies and outcomes. 

However, I hope I can show that a new breeder can be educated, reputable, and honest. We have worked, and continue to work closely with our vet to ensure the highest quality labs in health and DNA. We had preliminary xrays of Polly at 6 months and Jake at 8 months. They are both doing well. We will recheck Polly at 1 year, 18 months and 2 years for OFA Cert before breeding. We will check Jake at 18 months and 2 years for OFA Cert. If our dogs are not healthy and pass the certifications the vet feels are important, we will not breed.

We will offer all pertinent health tests and vaccines for our pups before they go home. We will microchip, socialize and start to crate train pups. We will continue to research and reach for the highest quality dogs. They are not only our dogs and pets, they are our family. 

Jake’s 1st Birthday

Our super silver sweetheart, Jake, is a year old today. It hardly seems a year since we drove to Iowa to pick him up. He was a little timid at first but quickly warmed up to both Rob and I. It was an enjoyable trip home. We stopped first at a nearby park and ran around with him. He was so excited to follow and play. It was all new to him.

On the way home from Iowa we stopped several times to run, play, and do his business. Each time he became a little less timid and ready to follow.

He had a couple months of our full attention before we road tripped again to get Polly. Jake was easy to crate train and loved to cuddle.

He is still a cuddle bug today and does not realize he is a big boy. Jake spent a couple months at hunt camp and is very obedient now. He has learned to swim and it is one of his favorite things to do. He is following in his grandfather and father’s footsteps jumping off the dock with full gusto. Jake’s grandfather was a Cabella’s dock jumping champ. We plan to take him to the Canine Cannonball here at the Lake of the Ozarks next summer for our first dock jumping competition. If you go, look for Ozark Silver Labs.

Jake is one of a kind. He is attentive, loving, loyal, and definitely a great dog and friend. He happens to be a lab and a beautiful silver at that.

Photos to follow.

Jake on pick up day

Our drive home with Jake at 10 weeks

Jake at Play

Fall 2012

Jake's First Birthday

Jake today! His 1st Birthday!

Jake loves to smile!

Jake loves to smile!