Little Steps

Back in January my friend Robin who has one of the pups, Banner, entered him in the Livonia Kennel Club show in Novi, MI. He was six months old and his very first show. He did pretty good for his first time out and received a Reserve Winners ribbon. You can learn more about Conformation Shows here.

Banner..

Last Saturday she entered him in the Ann Arbor Kennel Clubs Sanctioned B-Match. These are great educational and informal settings for novice dogs and people who are just getting started in showing, getting a puppy socialized, meeting other people who have a similar interest in dog shows, but most of all they are fun. There are no Championship points or titles awarded at these events, they are simply for one to gain experience for the licensed shows. You can learn more about these events here.

I was very excited when Robin texted me to say that Banner had received a Group 2. Dogs make it to group when they are chosen Best of Breed in their specific breeds. There are seven groups, Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are in the Sporting Group. The dogs in the Sporting Group were bred to hunt game birds both on land and in the water. The breeds in this group include Pointers, Retrievers, Setters and Spaniels.

She said he needed the practice as he was a bit nervous about standing for inspection, but all in all I say he did pretty good.

 Banner Banner._thumb.jpg

Looking forward to watching this boy mature and see what he accomplishes.

Tina & the Brown Dogs

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Senior Dogs

I find myself thinking more and more about my senior dog and her brother; Riva and Reveler will be 13 this July.

It is hard to wrap my head around that! How could it be almost 13 years since we saw these little burr heads come into the world??

Riva came home with me when she was 8 weeks old and I knew immediately she was going to be very special. At 8 weeks old she looked at me and gave me a huge Chessie grin as if to say, “you better hang onto your hat because I’m going to be a handful”!

Riva puppy2  Riva puppy (2)  Riva & Jimmie puppy1

My niece, Hailee, grew up with Riva. She is her dog for sure. Hailee doesn’t like to talk about Riva getting old, she’s a very emotional girl when it comes to the dogs. She was the first dog she showed, albeit only once, but they had a good time and did very well with each other. Hailee has always been my dog helper.

Hailee & Girls

Hailee & Riva  the retrieve    Hailee and Riva    Hailee and Riva first show

In my 25+ years having this breed and eight dogs I have only had two that were true counter surfers, but Riva holds the title of “Counter Surfer Elite”. This girl can manage to get to things you thought you had well-hidden and pushed back out of reach. Over the years she has eaten half pans of brownies, ate half my special apple pie that was for my Smiling Rivafamily reunion, cinnamon rolls, and breads just to name a few. One of the most memorable counter surf incidents was when I was visiting my friends for the weekend and Riva stole the butter.  My friend Michelle’s father was preparing dinner for all of us and the dogs were roaming around. He placed a stick of butter on the counter, turned around to stir something on the stove, turned back around and the butter was gone (wrapper and all), he had his hands on his hips and a look like “I could swear I just put a stick of butter there”. This was years ago and we all still laugh about it to this day. She never has any true guilt or shame about what she does, oh yea she gives you a sheepish grin with the ears back because she knows she looks cute and you will just laugh and say, “well I should have done a better job putting things away”. Even at almost 13 she still steals things off the counter.

Riva also has selective hearing. Now according to my nephew when he was about eight years old this is a real disease, lol. There was one time we were camping at the same friend’s house for a big Chessie event; another friend, Jan, was in her camper right next to our tent. Well somehow Riva got out of the tent in the late evening, so it was starting to get dark. Here I am out there with food trying to get her to come just close enough I can grab her collar. Not even once did she acknowledge me and look back, she just kept sniffing around making sure to keep just enough distance between us. You would think this food motivated dog would be easy to catch with food. Finally, after about 15 minutes I managed to wrangle her. The only comment Jan had to say, “only a mother could love Riva”. So,  from that day forward that comment has stuck.

She also thinks if the door opens she must exit! I can’t tell you how many times this girl has taken herself for a walkabout around the neighborhood with me and sometimes others following. One particular incident that stands out in my mind was just a couple years ago. I came out of my bedroom to the living room and I just knew immediately she was not in the house. So, I grab my shoes, a leash and treats and rush out the door only to see my brother rounding the corner with no shirt or shoes, Riva in his arms, yes, he was carrying this 75-pound dog back home.

Riva had one litter of pups, which is where Maia and Titan came from. She wasn’t a bad mother, but she wasn’t what I would call maternal. She would feed them just fine but Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppies (1)when it came to cleaning them she looked at me like “I am not licking their butts”, so that job was left for me for the most part. When they were old enough to be weaned I could tell she was glad to be relieved of that duty. She never even noticed when they started leaving for their new homes. I think she might have been a little disgusted when two of them stayed behind.

I tell you about all this, so you can have a sense of who she is; a dog with her own agenda! Some of you might say, “well you should have trained her better”, believe me I did my best with her. But honestly after several years I just resigned myself to this is who she is. You all might think this is strange, but I find these qualities endearing because at the end of the day I knew she loved me when she would snuggle up close to me and want me to put my arm around her while she slept. It’s Riva’s world, I just live in it!

When I look at her now graying face and watch her moving a little slower and stiffer, I remember all the antics she has done and how I would be so frustrated with her at times and think, what I wouldn’t give to have that young dog back and do it all again. It’s these memories that really fill my heart with joy even though I know her days, months and maybe even another year or two or waning. Dogs live in the moment and I would like to be like that with her, not thinking about the future but just enjoying the here and now with her. Living each day in the moment with my special Riva Diva!

Riva Fall Photo Shoot 2016 (3)

Riva Fall Photo Shoot 2016 8-3

Tina & the Brown Dogs

Raising Puppies the Puppy Culture Way

 

I have been interested in the Puppy Culture program for several years now. My friend, Deb, let me borrow her DVD “The Powerful First 12 Weeks That Can Shape Your Puppy’s Future,” so I could watch the program prior to the birth of the pups. I watched it a dozen times, took notes, wrote a complete outline that I shared with my niece, Hailee, who would be my whelping partner.

Now for Riva’s litter I didn’t know about Puppy Culture but I was aware of Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) by Dr Battaglia. I did this with all the pups in Riva’s litter. This is a great method that has a lasting effect on a dogs ability to handle stress, it is also a great way of bonding with each puppy. When I discovered Puppy Culture I was delighted that the ENS is part of the program.

So on day three we started the ENS and continued it every day through day 16. It was fun to watch how each pup responded. Then we continued with each week of the program as it is laid out. My favorite part was obstacle training. I used an x-pen to block off the doorway to the outside, each one had to figure out they simply needed to walk around the barrier and they were outside. I only had one who took a little time to figure it out. It was hard to restrain myself as I watched her go back and forth and whine but I held out and she soon figured it out.

Using Jane Killion’s Puppy Culture Program I feel gave my pups a great start by building strong confident puppies that do not get overly anxious or stressed by things they encounter in life. Not to mention how much fun we had and what a great bonding experience.

As I had potential puppy buyers, family and friends visit the pups the one thing they all commented on was how confident they were. I think my biggest compliment came from my vet when they went for their first check up and vaccine. I took all nine but we only took three in at a time. My vet, Dr. McAllister, just could not get over how calm and relaxed they were. She commented “what great temperament, so well behaved”. While temperament is genetic it is also in how a pup is raised. I told her about the Puppy Culture program, she made a note of it in my chart as well as noting the temperament. The techs were pretty pleased as well, they told me of other breeders who would bring their pups in and just let them loose and they were all over the clinic, barking and carrying on.

We used different stuffed toys, baby items, a trash can lid (this served as my unstable floor), an agility tunnel, crates, noise makers, a kiddie pool with balls and many other things to provide daily stimulation. I didn’t do all the things I had planned but as I did this program I learned as well as the pups. So the next litter we will try some of the things I didn’t get to this time.

Did we do everything perfect, no, but we learn as we go. I am just so pleased with the outcome from using this program, I highly recommend it to any breeder.

Now for some fun photos.

Their first home.

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (7)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (9)

The girls!

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (10)

The boys!

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups   ..

Our outdoor pen, I added more toys as we continued to get things set up.

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (2)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (4)All of the pups loved this big stuffed tiger!

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups

This was great fun! One of the cheapest large activities I had for them. Two huge net bags full of these balls from a yard sale, $5 and the pool was $6. They would stand on the side and dive right in, chase each other around the pool and then jump in. Entertained them for hours!

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (3)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (13)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (1)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (18)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (20)

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (5)Introducing them to water.

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (22)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (23)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (24)Being a retriever breed we bring out ducks and wings to check for birdiness and see how pups react. I thought this still fell in line with Puppy Culture for introducing new things to the pups.

Click to watch 3 short videos

Puppies at Play

Puppies, Pool, Balls = FUN

We Love Water

Tina & the Brown Dogs

Pesky Pests

Once the pups were old enough they moved to the living room to their big indoor pen and we also had a big outside pen on the porch. The set up was nice as I had the pens set up on either side of each other with a door between to let them in and out.

The biggest struggle I had with the outdoor pen was with those pesky yellow jackets. They were everywhere, so I had to watch the pups with an eagle eye to make sure no one got stung. I tried several different things to get rid of them. I cut a whole in the top of a few 2 liter bottles and filled them with apple juice and cut apples with added liquid sugar. I thought for sure this would attract them and they would crawl inside and be trapped. I think I only had about 5 total between the three bottles that fell for that. So I sat on the porch with a fly swatter warding off these pests.

Then one day I noticed that there were a dozen or more yellow jackets trapped in a partial bottle of flavored tea someone had left sitting on the porch. This did not totally get rid of them but it sure did make it more manageable. I could not find the nest, so I continued to spray around the porch when the pups were inside, but I hate using chemicals so I had to be very careful to make sure the spray did not go up on the porch and it was dry before letting pups outside. I managed to keep pups from getting stung but I was not so lucky.

Around November I received an email from a gentleman regarding one of my blog posts I wrote about Maia getting in some trouble with yellow jackets, you can read about it here. He asked if I could take a look at an article about yellow jackets and link to it. I have read through this very carefully written and thorough article written by Candace Osmond. I sure wish I had this information back in August but I have it for the future. If you have a problem with these Pesky Pests, take a look at this article, it just might help you out!

Photo from article backyardboss.net/how-to-deal-with-yellow-jackets/

Little Treasures

So I thought I would introduce you to the two newest members of the pack. These Little Treasures came about from breeding Maia last May to a very nice boy!

Maia had nine live little beauties, sadly we had one stillborn very small girl, but the nine were very healthy. Five girls and four boys. Misty-Shores-Maia-20_thumb.jpgMisty-Shores-Maia-17_thumb.jpgMisty-Shores-Maia-18_thumb.jpg

My niece, Hailee,  stayed the whole summer with me to help with the whelping and rearing of the pups. Maia’s pregnancy was very normal with no real problems. On July 12 Maia went into hard labor about 1:30pm and had the first pups, a little girl at 2:00pm. She continued to have pups between 20 minutes – 1 hour through the first five, then she took a break until 8:50pm delivering four more pups by 12:30am. We watched her for a few more hours just to make sure, by 3:30am we figured she was done since my vet had seen 9 on the x-ray and she wasn’t in active labor any more. We were all exhausted, Maia had settled in with her new family, all were doing great. So my niece and I decided we would get some sleep…Maia had other plans! At 4:06am number 10 was born, a big beautiful girl. Hailee’s girl!

The next several months were very busy caring for Maia and her babies. The whole time I could see that Hailee had a very special bond with the last little girl, who was called Orange (collar color) and she with Hailee. So she was going to be our keeper.

The plan was we were keeping a girl, and my friend was keeping a girl. However, what you plan at the beginning is not always how it ends.

As the pups grew and developed their own little personalities I saw something in one of the other little girls that grabbed my heart, Green girl. My friend, Robin, came pretty regularly to watch the pups and try to narrow down which girl she wanted. But as the weeks went on she started thinking she liked some of the boys as well. She has an older dog, Reveler, Riva’s brother., and wanted a pup that would fit in with a very senior dog.  So in the end she went with the pup that worked best with Reveler, little Dark Blue boy.

Please meet our Little Treasures

Misty Shores Dancin In The Moonlight

“Zelena”

Misty Shores Dancin In The MoonlightMistyShores-Zelena_thumb.jpg

Misty Shores Lil Blossom

“Thalia”

Misty Shores Lil Blossom..MistyShores-Thalia_thumb.jpg

We are looking forward to having a lot of fun and adventures with these two!

Tina & the Brown Dogs