594 – Temperament Testing for Better Puppy Placements

Temperament Testing for Better Puppy Placements

Hannah Crane, National Puppy Program Manager for Dogs for Better Lives.

Hannah Crane, National Puppy Program Manager for Dogs for Better Lives, joins host Laura Reeves to take a deep dive on temperament testing for better puppy placements for all breeders. While Crane uses the system to test puppies going in to service work for her organization and others, she discusses why all breeders can follow the protocol to help make the best possible matches for puppies and buyers.

“Temperament tests are exactly how they sound,” Crane said. “They help us to assess and identify any temperaments that the puppies are showing us in a litter. Are we looking at a puppy who is confident and calm in any environment? Are we looking at a puppy who is maybe shy or reserved, unsure of their surroundings? It really helps give us a snapshot in time, what that litter is showing as well as the individual puppies.

“We get to look at each puppy and the litter as a whole because that’s great data for our breeders. We can see what’s trending. The particular test that we use helps us to see how the puppy reacts to different environments and how it reacts to different people, different stimuli, novel objects and also different stressors.

“Typically, you wanna do them between seven and eight weeks old. That’s really the prime time to do it. If you’re being really picky, 7 1/2 weeks old is prime. You’re right at their sponge stage. They’re really coming into their own behaviors in the litter, finding their social status as well as right before they go into their first fear period, too. And that’s essential.

“(Temperament testing is) great for private breeders as well. For you guys to be able to identify which puppies will be successful in a private home or a show dog home or a sport home, I mean our ultimate goal both of us, you know, whether you’re a school or a private breeder, the ultimate goal is to set up these puppies for success, to set up our families and our clients for success. We want that puppy or dog to stay in that home for the rest of its life. This is how we do that.”



591 – Breeding Basics LIVE with Laura from Pedigrees to Puppies

Breeding Basics LIVE with Laura from Pedigrees to Puppies

Host Laura Reeves takes the LIVE audience through breeding basics, reading pedigrees, health testing, phenotype vs genotype and more. This journey through the theory side of breeding, covers important topics for breeders from novice and intermediate to advanced.

  • Use the resources of older breeders who knew the dogs and they will also be able to talk about traits that genetic testing and COA does not give you.
  • This is an art and a science, and part of the art is finding your mentors and being able and willing to talk to a lot of different people. Not just the same people all the time. Not everybody has all the answers.
  • One of the things that makes purebred dogs purebred is a level of inbreeding. That’s what makes it purebred. Having a higher or lower level and how you use that and the healthy genes that you’re doubling up on or the unhealthy genes that you’re doubling up on make an enormous difference in your breeding program going forward.
  • We have to think about the process that we intend to follow and it’s ideal if you can create a plan. Is your plan to do consistent inbreeding? Maybe that’s not such a great idea. Consistent line breeding? That’s probably pretty safe. Consistent outcrossing is really safe from a certain perspective. In terms of health, you’re not as liable to double up on a particular recessive, but at the same time, I can tell you from personal experience every single time I go out to get one thing, I get three things I did not want. So, balancing those three breeding theories is absolutely critical to your mission in your breeding program and knowing what you will consider and what you want and how you plan to get where you’re going when you start.
  • We’re trying to build on this concept of “I have a stated goal. I have written it down. I have cemented it in my brain.” And I have had a very careful evaluation of the bitch that I’m working with. My foundation bitch. I know what I want to improve upon in her. I know what I will not give on, what I will give on and what is not a concern. Those are the kinds of questions that need to be addressed as you’re getting started deciding if and when to breed your dog, male or female.
  • Genotype is the pedigree that’s what talks about the actual genetic involvement in each individual dog. Phenotype is what does the dog look like? When you make breeding decisions, whether you breed on a pedigree or whether you breed on dogs that look alike, no matter what their genetics are, no matter what pedigree is behind them, is, in my opinion, sort of a personal decision. I personally am a genotype freak. I am a pedigree guru. I love it. I research it. I live and die by it. And yet I know there are lots and lots and lots and lots of people out there who breed on phenotype. I want a dog that looks like this. And this is what my dog looks like I think this is what the breed looks like I want another dog that looks just like this.

Hear more of this insightful, targeted conversation by listening to the entire episode above.



578 — Temple Grandin to Headline NAIA Conference in Portland

Temple Grandin to headline NAIA Conference in Portland

Patti Strand, founder of the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) joins host Laura Reeves to discuss the lineup of speakers at the conference scheduled for May 26-28 in Portland, OR.

The annual NAIA conference kicks off under the banner “Preserving Our Breeds: Preparing for the looming dog shortage.” Strand shared her excitement about the keynote speaker, Temple Grandin, who has been actively involved in animal welfare for decades.

Strand said that Grandin’s most recent book “really speaks to me. It’s called ‘Visual Thinking, the hidden gifts of people who think in pictures, patterns and abstractions.’ And if you get into this book, she talks about different categories of work that people get into who have these gifts, and animal people are among them.”

Additional topics are focused on preserving our breeds, breeding healthy dogs and raising well-socialized puppies. Dr. Marty Greer, Carmen Battaglia and Dr. Claire Wiley will join the star-studded speakers panel.

“I could say the looming purebred dog shortage or the looming shortage of dogs that are deliberately bred rather than random bred or bred in countries that don’t have the same standards that we have,” Strand noted. “There always will be dogs available as long as there are street dogs in developing countries. We’re going to focus more on the deliberately bred dogs and talk about how we preserve them.

“The big part of the conference is dedicated to helping people breed better dogs, raise their dogs better. You know, the socialization pieces are all about that. The DNA piece, Marty coming in and talking about different aspects of reproduction.

“But again, in order to preserve their breed, a big part of that is breeding dogs. There are so many breeds today where you have a hundred or less dogs in the entire country. Not just 100 dogs that are intact, but just a hundred dogs of that particular breed. We need to encourage people to breed in a way that supports every aspect of animal welfare and so on, but breed dogs. It’s part of this preservation piece, you can’t preserve from if you don’t breed them.”

Remember to check out the NEW PDT Albums today!!

577 — Margery Good on the Deep Character of “Sillyham” Terriers

Margery Good on the Deep Character of Sealyham Terriers

Margery Good joins host Laura Reeves to share her deep love of her beloved Sealyham Terriers, breeding, grooming and the importance of learning.

Good started in obedience with a German Shepherd Dog.

Margery Good with BIS/BISS CH Goodspice Efbe Money Stache

“I entered in obedience, but then I spent my day at the dog show stalking the handlers that were sharing their conformation dogs and trying to learn as much as I possibly could, without getting in their way. Peter Green, Bob and Jane Forsyth. Bill Trainor. People that were at the very top of their careers in those days, and I would spend as many hours as I could watching and trying to learn.

“Well, I watched a lot of their grooming at their setups and how they handled each dog on the tables and putting them on and off the table. how they brushed them, what direction they use or what tools they picked up. Except for the Forsyths, the handlers were only showing like 6-7 dogs in the show and they’d do some trimming the shows.

“So I’d watch how they tweak the  trim before they take them in the ring. And then with like the Afghan hounds and Poodles I watched, how did they brush the hair? How did they pick up the hair they weren’t brushing so that they could get from their skin to the tip of the hair. So I picked up a lot of learning from observing how they prepared the dogs. And then I’d go and watch them actually showing the dog. I actually spent more time behind the scenes than by the rings.

Speaking to the challenge of trimming Sealys, Good said “I do try very hard to breed dogs with coats that normal groomers and average dog owners, if they apply themselves, they can work and have their successful finish to them. I also spend a lot of time helping people at shows or at my place or wherever I am to help them tidy up their trims and show them a new technique that they haven’t tried or encourage them to keep going until they get it right.

“Now that we have things like cell phones, I say take pictures, send me pictures, I will critique your trim. I work with people, they’re 12-15 hours away. If they send me pictures, I will help. And it works.

Sealyham Terriers – Generous, Big Dogs in Small Package

Stache sparring, showing the stand up character of the breed.

“They’re so generous. And all you need to do is ask and they will say what can I do for you. They’re very strong, sturdy, compact little dogs. They are big dogs just in a small package. They have very strong personalities. Their characters are very deep, as opposed to some of the other terrier breeds, whose characters are rather shallow. Which some people like. But it’s not for me. I like the depth of the character that I see in Sealyhams.

Classic Breeding Advice

“(Starting out) I was able to breed forward and not have a lot of faults that I had to breed away from. I had very good virtues to start with. In a breeding program, you need to concentrate virtues and minimize faults when you breed. So, you need to be able to see what a stud dog can give in virtues and what faults you might get and not double on what you have in your female. See what her strengths are and not double on the faults that they have. So, generation after generation, you do that. To the point of Stash, (GCHG CH Goodspice Efbe Money Stache, Terrier Group winner at the 2022 AKCNC) who’s the culmination of 50 years of my breeding.”

Listen to the entire conversation full of passion, insight and charm.

547 – Canine Herpes Virus: Early Detection Saves Puppies

Canine Herpes Virus: Early Detection Saves Puppies

Alaskan Malamute breeder Wendy Corr joins host Laura Reeves to share her story of early detection of Canine Herpes Virus in her pregnant bitch and how she managed the situation to produce healthy puppies. This is the first of a two-part series which also includes an interview with Corr’s lead veterinarian.

November 2021 4-6 Beginner Puppy. Later, breeder, owner, handler Wendy Corr related his story, told here.

Corr said she had never really thought about CHV much, as a long-time breeder, but had recently heard a presentation on the dangers of the disease to pregnant females. On a whim, she asked her veterinarian, Dr. Bruce Christensen, to pull blood a CHV titer test on her confirmed pregnant 3-year-old Malamute.

She was shocked to hear back a couple weeks later that the bitch had titer levels off the charts.

At the direction of Dr. Christensen and his team at Kokopelli Assisted Reproductive Canine Services in Sacramento, CA, Corr started her bitch on a course of acyclovir, a human anti-viral.

Corr, who is a clinical nurse in human medicine, said she was concerned about potential side effects from the drug, which could include cleft palate, but committed to the treatment with that understanding. She also opted for a C-section, rather than a vaginal whelp, in order to limit the puppies’ exposure to the virus in the dam’s body.

Primary among the handling of the four healthy puppies at birth (none with clefts) was incorporating an incubator to keep their body temperature above 99 degrees, the point at which the virus cannot replicate, for the first 2 ½ weeks. Putting the puppies on to nurse every two hours, monitoring temps and keeping mom and puppies content during that time was a daunting challenge, Corr said.

“We had friends who brought us dinner,” Corr said. “We had people who offered to come in and just sit with the dog so I could sleep or take a shower or we could go grocery shopping.”

The entire process took place during the height of COVID lockdowns, enhancing Corr’s challenges.

Stay tuned next week for insight from Dr. Christensen directly on his experience and recommendations on the topic.


530 – Poodles, Professional Handlers and Public Image

Poodles, Professional Handlers and Public Image

Christian Manelopoulos is back with host Laura Reeves for more Pure Dog Talk on Poodles, Professional Handlers and the sport’s Public Image.

“I think really great people are very generous with their time and advice,” Manelopoulos said. “In the end, the thing we all struggle with is having time to do things. And so when people are generous with that time, you really have to soak that in. But the really great people are willing to do that.

Winning the stud dog class at PCA.

“People think of handlers in one way and breeders another way and that they are two separate things. But they’re very dependent upon one another. I do think people don’t realize how much professional handlers actually influence breeds positively. We always get the negative….

“We’ve seen a rapid decline in big breeding kennels. There’s still a lot of people that breed but when you breed one litter a year or one litter every two years, it’s really not enough. As dog show people, we need to pay a little bit more attention to these kinds of things. We do need people to breed litters of dogs. There’s just not enough dogs out there for the people that want them, especially purebred dogs. But we need to market ourselves correctly and we need to promote the breeds, the dogs, in the correct way.

“I mean, we can’t be elitists. When people come to dog shows and you’re rude to people and you talk to them like they’re idiots, they’re not going to want to come back. We need to be encouraging to people about the dogs. We need to breed healthy dogs. People buy purebred dogs because they want dependability. It’s like what Apple is. You buy an iPhone because it works. You buy a purebred dog because you want to get a poodle that looks like a poodle, acts like a poodle, has a temperament and then is hopefully healthy.

“The first poodles that I bred, I have none of that bloodline in my lines today because of health reasons. So you can’t be afraid to start over. You have to eliminate dogs from your breeding programs and move on. That doesn’t mean you need to eliminate all of them. You have to be diligent in what you do and examine correctly ‘what I can work with, what I can’t work with.’

“We need to promote a positive image of the sport. We see people flying with their fake service dogs and they post videos on Facebook and people talk about how cute it is that you are committing a federal crime. I don’t think that that’s the right message we should send people. You could see why that would come off the wrong way to the general public. We need to self-examine.”


508 – Breeding, Training and Socializing Decisions for High Drive Dogs

Breeding, Training and Socializing Decisions for High Drive Dogs

Denise Fenzi and host Laura Reeves take a deep dive into the breeding, training and socializing decisions we make with high drive dogs. Are we removing “hard” dogs from our gene pool in favor of “twitchy,” flashy high arousal dogs?

“So, drive always requires arousal,” Fenzi noted. “Arousal does not require drive. That is a good base. I like to recognize that and to recognize that arousal can hinder the dog’s ability to see the world clearly, so your socialization goes to hell, as the dog is so busy moving, they’re not actually taking it in.

“Then, when they’re three, they take it in and that’s a problem. ‘Cause for the first time they just saw a garbage can on wheels. It’s been there the whole time, they just never slowed down enough to see it. In training, we actually perpetuate that. What we do with these high arousal dogs is we work them. We get the toys and play, we focus on really early and they go for it, because they’re high arousal dogs, they need something to attach it to and so we actually undermine our socialization.”

This in-depth, experience-based discussion between industry leaders asks important questions and offers insight for breeders who want to learn more about breeding high drive dogs in any performance venue.

Laura Reeves: “I think it’s so important, when we talk about these things from the perspective of purebred dogs and doing events and doing sports and doing show, if that’s part of our consideration, all of those things it all is breed specific.”

Denise Fenzi: Absolutely

Laura Reeves: Starting at that instinct piece that you were talking about, the instinct has to be there and then you layer on all the rest of it.

Denise Fenzi: Yes. And then you’ve got your focus and all kinds of other things that are going to come into play. Even the definition. How do you define drive? My definition is “stays in the game under adversity.” So, it doesn’t matter what your game is and it doesn’t matter what the adversity is. It could be weather, could be bad training. There are dogs who are out there in crappy weather, under crappy training and I mean I don’t know how they do it, but they figure out what the trainer wants and they just flat on go forward. To me that’s drive … with a good dose of hardness

Defining and understanding drive, considering the inheritance patterns of drive and arousal, addressing anxiety as a corollary, Denise and Laura dig in to the hard topics, the difficult conversations and the implications of our breeding decisions.

Listen to part one here.

Episode 500!!! Celebration of Pure Dog Talk!

Episode 500!!! Celebration of Pure Dog Talk!

Welcome to Pure Dog Talk! I am your host Laura Reeves…..

These words hit the airwaves for the first time almost exactly five years ago … Five HUNDRED times later, I still have to think about my tone and cadence and inflection. Maybe just a bit less these days lol… Sort of like you guys learning to show your dog, I am entirely self-taught how to do this job and I am eternally grateful that you all have joined me in what has been a pretty incredible journey.

Today’s episode is a pure cork popping, champagne swilling celebration of our tribe. YOU guys shared some amazing stories about how this show has impacted your life in dogs. I dug around and pulled out some of MY favorite guests and interview moments.

Pure Dog Talk is not and never has been *static.* It lives and grows, often faster than I can keep up! As we move forward in the coming years, there will be changes, of course. For example, I’ll once again be podcasting *exclusively* on Pure Dog Talk. I’ve stepped waaaay outside my comfort zone and will be offering more Facebook Live and Webinar opportunities here at Pure Dog Talk (like the K9 First Aid 911 series with Marty Greer that is available on the website now) as well as moving back to more of the pre-pandemic live seminars and panel discussions over the course of the coming year.

But mostly, I wanted to say thank you. To ALL of you. My listeners, my guests, my patrons, my sponsors, my supporters and even the best compliment of all, my competitors. You have all made me better at this role than I could have ever dreamed of being. My goal of offering meaningful education, FOR FREE, to as many people in our sport as I could possibly reach has absolutely come to pass.

Thank you for taking me with you on your drives, your workouts, even your lawn mower… I am deeply honored to keep you company while you bathe, trim, condition and clean up after your dogs. Thank you for caring, so very much, about your dogs, your breeding programs and the sport of purebred dogs. Without your single-minded dedication, they would all cease to exist.

Following are just a few of the hundreds of Stories of impact from our listeners:

Diane Davis

I first heard about Pure Dog Talk when something came across FaceBook about a handler friend of mine being interviewed about the Professional Handlers Association and how to hire a professional handler to show your dog.  I listened to the episode and thought it was well done, so I decided to try listening to a few more.  I was pleased to discover that these were also well done and informative.  I have about a forty-minute commute to work so I began to listen while driving back and forth.  It wasn’t long before I got caught up on the episodes that I thought would be interesting.  But as I started to go through some of the others, what I discovered was that I learned something from every episode.  I began to look forward to the new episodes coming out and would listen to them several times so I didn’t miss anything.

Pure Dog Talk has become a big part of my life.  I love learning about other breeds.  The episode about the Bracco Italiano brought back a memory of the Bracco Axel floating around the ring to win the World Challenge Cup at Eukanuba the year I was there.  I loved hearing about judges.  As an owner-handler I always felt that judges were kind of unapproachable, but the interviews helped me to see that they were people too. Veterinary Voice with Dr. Marty Greer was invaluable.  The episode on pyometra gave me the tools to advocate for my girl with my vet when she developed pyometra on her first heat cycle.  We were able to medically manage her condition and she has since had two litters.  And speaking of puppies, Pure Dog Talk has taught me a lot about breeding, whelping and raising puppies. I hadn’t bred a litter in nearly seven years because my last litter had been so hard, but with new knowledge, and new resources I have bred and raised two litters this year.

Then 2020 happened.  Covid19 happened.  Dog shows disappeared from the Pacific Northwest for over six months.  Uncertainty about health, finances, family, friends was ever present in everyone’s life.  But through it all, the Pure Dog Talk podcast was one of the few things that was stable.  The Patrons “After Dark” was created so once a month we could meet via Zoom and talk about dogs, have an adult beverage and feel somewhat normal.  When we had the first retreat in Montana in September 2020, we realized we had created a wonderful community of dog people and a “safe space” for everyone involved.  The virtual dog shows were fun and a way to participate in some small way, a dog show. I know that I speak for other as well when I say these activities helped keep me sane during that crazy year.

As everyone in dogs knows, things are never easy. There are disappointments and body blows.  There are emergencies, vet bills, money issues and just plain exhaustion.  But the Pure Dog Talk podcast seems to have uncanny timing and usually is talking about a subject that I need to hear about when I need to hear it.  And when I look into the eyes of my dogs, it is all worth it.  I wouldn’t trade them or my life with them for anything. When you know better, you do better. Thanks Pure Dog Talk for everything you’ve given me and my dogs.

I’m Tracey Rives, Montgomery, AL, a breeder/owner/handler of Havanese dogs..  I just recently discovered your podcast “Pure Dog Talk “.  Your recent podcast with Amanda Kelly, Parts 1 and 2, sparked a fire in me as an owner handler and my journey for showing dogs.   It was so inspirational for me.  As an owner handler I crave information in every way and your podcast is priceless in supplying great unbiased information.  My goal is to encourage breeders/owners to learn to handle their own dogs.  I’m afraid it’s becoming a lost art.  Showing my bred-by dogs to their championship is one of the top five most gratifying things I’ve done.

MY STORY:  I took my bred-by boy, Manny, (18 months old, not even a grand yet) to our Havanese National Specialty in Orlando, FL, 2016 with my buddies “Southern Magnolia Kennel Club”.   Our second National.  Totally no expectations whatsoever – zero, zip, nada, nothing. Really the goal was to rub shoulders with the best of the best and learn, learn, learn – not to mention drink wine and dine and fellowship with my favorite peeps.  I found myself in the ring with 36 or so of the best Havanese dogs (not including bitches) in the country.  Made the first cut. Wow!!  Ok.  Went back in.  Made the second cut.  Holy shit!  Ok.  We won the whole damn thing!!! That did not just happen.  My exact words to my husband when I called him immediately after the win when apparently I should have been first in line getting our win photo.  Who knew??  LOL!!  By default, I opted to be the last in the photo line. Just had too many friends to hug.  It’s still surreal to this day.

So the reason I’m submitting this is looking back over the last several years as a “hobby” breeder/owner/handler of Havanese, it’s really about learning to run the race gracefully.  Win or lose, for me it’s about sharing my passion with my people.  Because seriously, at the end of the day, without the sweet memories, it would be just another dog show.

Kayley Paylor:

I started in conformation at the request of my boy’s breeder. An Azawakh is far from the easiest dog to start with, sighthounds with guarding instincts aren’t exactly the easiest dog to convince to stand for exam. We took handling classes, debuted in the ring before the breed had been fully AKC recognized, and he took Best in Miscellaneous. We showed again a few weekends later and my boy had suddenly hit adolescence, his guarding instincts were developing, and he wanted nothing to do with the judge. We muddled along for the next two years with varying degrees of success.

During that time I have the distinct memory of having drinks with a good friend who had started showing the same weekend I had. We were taking about show dogs and she recommended a podcast called Pure Dog Talk that she’d discovered. I wasn’t really the podcast type but I decided to give it a shot. I started putting it on on the commute to work and driving to and from shows and trials.

The very first episodes I listened to were the three part Bill Shelton episodes on building a family of dogs. In the intervening time since I’d brought home my first show and performance dog, I’d added a foundation bitch who I had chosen because her pedigree complemented my boys, she had beautiful drive and focus, and her structure at 8 weeks was again complimentary to my dog’s. Listening to Bill Shelton talk about developing two bitch lines that you can work between solidified the idea I’d had bouncing around in the back of my brain of adding a second bitch. Four months later I lucked into adding a perfect second bitch from completely different lines but complimentary to my male on different ways.

Since then Pure Dog Talk has been integrally woven into my life. I travel often both for my work as a dog trainer and for shows and performance events. Over the past two years I’ve driven more miles than I care to count. Pure Dog Talk was there for all of it. I’ve listened to Dr. Marty Greer give whelping advice on my way to Open Field Coursing, I’ve listened to experts like Dr. Gayle Watkins, Bill Shelton, Dr. Teresa Nesbitt, and so many more give advice and valuable insight on a dizzying array of topics on my way to everything from Royal Canin to UKC Premier to LGRA straight racing, lure coursing, and agility trials. And through it all the one constant: Laura Reeves’ dulcet voice guiding us through preconceptions, prejudices, and recording this information for the history books.

I grew up playing team sports and having a strong community is both revitalizing to me and so useful as a sounding board. That is what Laura has built with Pure Dog Talk: a community, a tribe as she often calls it.

I can go to the patrons group with any questions and not be judged for them. I have always struggled with confidence handling my dogs in the show ring. I don’t normally have stage fright at performance events but I would just get into the show ring and shake, which of course affected my dogs. But after the mock show at last summer’s retreat where my COVID Azawakh puppy showed very well, I left the retreat finally confident that I was supporting my dogs and presenting them to the absolute best of my ability. And when my car failed at the patrons get together this March, Laura graciously made room for my dogs so they didn’t have to sit in the cold car while I waited for a tow truck. That is what true community is about. That is how we keep people new to our sport around.

In many ways Pure Dog has been an instrumental resource for me over the last couple of years, not just for the handling tips but also the whelping information as I get ready to whelp my first litter. Pure Dog Talk is an invaluable resource for the purebred dog community and I’m eternally grateful to Laura for undertaking this podcast and for other listeners and patrons for supporting it and helping it become the resource it is today.

Christina Rozema

I wanted to give you another thank you update. Your podcast supported me showing my bull terrier bitch Freyja and with the wackiness of 2020 she became the top Bull Terrier in Canada. Sure there were ‘t many shows but there weren’t many for everybody equally. Then as I binge listened time-out breeding podcasts with Dr Greer and with Avidog, I planned her breeding with frozen semen imported from Poland to an amazingly successful litter of 11 who are now 3 weeks old.

You helped me build my courage, keep up my spirits, and feel confident enough to go ahead with her breeding.

Thank you thank you thank you. You have made such a difference in my life and the life of my dogs. I just wanted you to know.

Feedback from you guys gives me courage when things are tough to keep going. I am so grateful for our tribe.

So now, just a few comments from some of MY favorite guests and conversations over the last five years….


There are so many more moments, episodes and conversations to be had. Watch this space! The next five years are guaranteed to be chockablock with knowledge shared.

481 – When the Best Laid Plans Go Awry

When the Best Laid Plans Go Awry

Amanda Kelly, Fwaggle Toy Manchester Terriers, joins host Laura Reeves for a conversation about dog breeding when you plan ahead, do your research and then the results don’t match the expectations.

Amanda and Laura swap stories about all of the times a breeding looked great on paper and was a disaster on the ground in one way or another. The takeaway? Breeding dogs will keep you perpetually humble and learning.

Unexpected markings. Dual sired litter rabbit holes. Repeat breeding pros and cons. And permission to fail.

A sense of humor helps keep it all in perspective. Keeping temperament and health as top priorities in a breeding program means that even if the pups in a litter don’t meet your expectations for the show ring, they will still live long, healthy lives as beloved companions.

“What I love about (dog breeding) is that there’s not clear answers,” Amanda noted. “We can ponder the theories and the different ideas and we can try new things if we give herself permission to do it. I hope when breeders have been around for a long time and are helping others that, I hope, is the gift that they’re giving them. Permission to try things, to try something new and different. What’s the worst thing that happens? They had some pets. The pet people are pretty happy about that.

“There’s not a right or wrong way to do this. If I’ve learned anything from doing this for many years and watching different breeders, there are 1000 different ways to do this. None of them are right or wrong, as long as we have the welfare of our dogs at heart. And we will learn something new every time.

“Every breeding that you do has value. You said it earlier, you learn something. You learn about what not to do, you learn about how your line is producing. So when that best in show dog winds up neutered because you made a bad choice in your puppy evaluation, you have to let it go.

“You need to be able to make a decision and live with it in the planning of a breeding and the evaluation of puppies. So allowing yourself to fail without feeling like a failure is the greatest freedom that you will give yourself as a breeder. I think sometimes we just get so wrapped up in the breeding that’s in front of us that we won’t allow ourselves to fail, we won’t allow ourselves to say ‘you know what, there’s nothing in here that I want to keep and so I’m going to let them go (to pet homes).”

471 – Myth Busting in Veterinary Medicine

Myth Busting in Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Marty Greer, our veterinary voice, joins host Laura Reeves for a fun episode by multiple listener request. They tackle old wives tales and do a bit of myth busting on veterinary medicine.

Q: Do bitches in season cycle together?


“I think it’s true. I really do believe that happens. There’s hormones, there’s pheromones. It’s called convent syndrome or dormitory syndrome in humans. Absolutely it happens in dogs too.

“There’s a reason for that… it was thought that bitches would cycle together so that there would be additional mothers available to lactate should puppies be orphaned or otherwise the bitch wasn’t available to nurse her puppies.

“They cycle together, they all come into heat at the same time, they start excreting or secreting a pheromone weeks before they come into heat so that they can start recruiting male dogs so that they are available at the time that the bitch is ready to breed.

Q: Do intact male dogs need drugs when bitches are in season?


“There’s no reason not to put a male dog on some kind of an anti anxiety medication.”

Q: Matings can happen through chain link?


“The drive to have a sexual encounter is a very, very strong drive in every species. We all know that … we’ve got pictures of dogs that know how to unlatch their kennel door, walk across the top of a kennel, drop down into the female’s pen, breed the female and then walk back out and get back into their own kennel. We have proof that these dogs are doing this because we now have video in people’s kennels.

“It’s a fascinating study in canine behavior but yes the boys do have a pretty strong drive and the females are very cooperative at that point. Yes you can use drugs. Keeping them separated physically is useful. But there is nothing that you can do that they can’t undo faster because they’re spending 23 hours and 49 minutes a day trying to figure out a way to get that particular encounter to happen and you spent 11 minutes that day figuring out a way for it not to happen.

“Anybody that tells you that they’ve never had an accidental breeding, that owns both males and females that are intact at their house, is either lying to you or it hasn’t happened to them yet.

Q: Does chlorophyll when given immediately when the bitch comes in season reduce the odor?


“It’s gonna help to a small extent, but it’s not going to be enough to cover up everything. No charcoal, chlorophyll, vanilla, Vicks, you name it, all the things that people try (is) going to overcome every single molecule. Remember dogs have probably 10,000 times the number of scent cells an inside their nose (than people).

Q: Will females that have pyometra always have a fever?


“The uterus is a privileged organ. It isolates proteins that aren’t part of that particular individual’s DNA. That allows the little puppies to develop and grow and be born as little puppies and the uterus doesn’t say ‘oh you don’t belong here and have some kind of immune response that kicks them out.'”