632 – Expert Tips for Expanding Puppies’ Minds

Expert Tips for Expanding Puppies’ Minds

Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves for their ongoing conversation about raising puppies. This month they’re talking week four, when the puppies’ minds are exploding with new sensory input.

From Dr. Greer’s “Canine Reproduction and Neonatology”

“When the puppies first open their eyes, first open their ears, we should have gentle lighting, we should have gentle sounds,” Greer said. “We shouldn’t just have this loud TV with Rambo on. So, you know, things like just have the lights starting to come up, their vision isn’t great, their hearing isn’t great, but it went from almost nothing to something and so we want to ease them into that world.”

Four weeks is when many puppies are introduced to solid food. Mothers of wild canids vomit for their puppies as their introduction to solid food. Laura describes making puppy food the “consistency of dog vomit.”

Marty recommends shallow water bowls for puppies to prevent drowning hazards, as well as Lixit bottles for smaller breeds.

100 experiences in 100 days

“I try to do a lot of variation in the enclosure. I have a rabbit hutch that’s got a two story ramp on it so they can go in and out of doors and up and down the ramp. I have all kinds of little beds that have holes and places for them to go. Honestly the best toys are the kids’ toys that I pick up at garage sales. So you pick up, you know, baby walkers and all kinds of toys and they’re brightly colored and they’re hard plastic. They’re not durable enough for the aggressive chewer or adult dog. So you probably don’t want them in with mom if you’ve got a lab that eats everything, but they’re fun. They make interesting noise and you can do variability.

“I think both Sophia Yen and Ian Dunbar, veterinarians that talk a lot about behavior and development, talk about a hundred experiences in a hundred days.

“I have a series of 11 bath mats that are all different sizes, shapes, colors, textures. The mesh ones I put under the puppies when they’re really young because the urine runs through and so they stay dry. When you’re in that transition period between when mom stops cleaning them, that two to four week transition period when they start urinating on their own, they stay dry and it doesn’t soak into a pad directly on their skin so it’s cleaner and neater.

“And those again can go in the washing machine. But I went to Walmart during COVID and they had 11 styles of bath mats. They had some with bristles, they had some that were shiny, some with round holes, some with square holes, some were dark colored, some were light colored. Just this whole variety and again I throw them in my washing machine when they get soiled and then I hang them to dry. And I have two sets so that they can rotate through. And you’ve just given now a puppy 11 different surfaces, so of the 100 experiences you need to do in 100 days, you just did 10 percent of them, with a bath mat.”


619 – Puppy Evaluation System Developed by a Woman Ahead of Her Time

Puppy Evaluation System Developed by a Woman Ahead of Her Time

Virginia Apgar, who named the newborn evaluation system.

Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves for their ongoing puppy discussion. This month Greer shares the story of Virginia Apgar, who named a now-famous newborn evaluation system after herself.

Apgar was a human anesthesiologist who graduated from medical school in the 1930s, Greer noted.

“She was the first female anesthesiologist admitted to the College of Anesthesiology back in an era where there were no women doctors. There were no women a lot of things. So she was truly remarkable, Greer said.

“In that era, a lot of babies were born to mothers that were sedated or anesthetized. And so (Apgar) developed a scoring system to analyze the babies and it has stuck for the last 70 years and it’s very impressive that it’s something that people talk about every day, still using the word APGAR. The acronym stands for: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration.”

The system was adapted for small animal veterinary use by a vet on staff at the University of Minnesota.

Parameters for APGAR scoring.

“The advantage of a numerical score,” Greer added “is that it gives you something that you can measure and compare litter to litter, puppy to puppy within the litter over the course of time. And we have some really good data from Neocare, which we talked about last time, about what the relationship with the APGAR score and the survival of these puppies will be. So it’s actually super cool that you can take all this information and turn it into something that you can use at home, you can use at your veterinary clinic, and that your veterinary clinic can help you with. So I would encourage people to learn to do APGAR scores. It’s not hard, it’s not mysterious. It’s really pretty straightforward on what to do with it.

Treatments for common whelping issues.

“The value of this is when you go home (from a csection, for example) and you have a puppy that had an APGAR score of a four and a puppy that had an APGAR score of a nine, that you know the puppy with the four needs a lot more attention to have the kind of survival rates that one would hope for. We always hope for a hundred percent (survival), but reality is 100% is probably not a realistic goal.

“Each of the five parameters, appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respirations gets a score of a zero, one, or a two. So collectively, if you get twos on all five of your items, you have a score of a ten.

“It’s really simple to do. It doesn’t require high level assessment and like I said, a lot of us probably are intuitively already doing this. When you have puppy born, if it’s fish breathing and gasping and gaping, that’s not good. But, if it’s got nice pink color and it’s wailing and it’s crying and it’s wiggling and it’s pink and it’s all those things, you know that you’ve got a puppy that’s in pretty good shape. But it’s just nice to be able to give it a more numerical sign because that gives you data to work with.

“The average puppy is gonna be seven and up. It does give you a numerical score. The value of this is knowing that from the Neocare information, that’s from the University at the Toulouse -France Veterinary School, the puppies with an APGAR score of less than seven have a 22-fold increased risk of death in the first eight hours after they’re born.

“And they also know that puppies with APGAR scores between a four and a seven can achieve a 90 percent survival rate with the appropriate interventions. So, what does that mean? That means you suction them, you put them in oxygen, you make sure that they’re staying warm. You’re doing all those things that you already have been trained to do to help with puppy resuscitation so that they’re not just you know laying in the whelping box kind of hoping that they do okay.”

Greer’s seminal book “Canine Reproduction and Neonatology” is available HERE.

605 – LIVE Debate: Should Professional Handlers Be Allowed in BPUP?

LIVE Debate: Should Professional Handlers Be Allowed in BPUP?

Our final installation for Spicy October is a LIVE@5 debate between an owner handler and a professional handler regarding the hot topic of the rules around the BPUP, 4-6 months puppy competition.

Natalie Thurman, owner handler:

Natalie Thurman and Ares winning Owner Handled Group.

I do think that there are people who start out and it is intimidating to go up against the Laura’s and the Karyn’s of the world because you just make it look so easy and then we try to go do it and then it’s not as easy. Not even a little bit. I mean I know it’s why we have owner handled groups. But if you’re not getting to the owner handled group either BPUP could be a good place to feel safe as a non-experienced dog show human.

Karyn Cowdrey, professional handler:

I believe everyone should have the opportunity, including breeder owner handlers, to show in BPUP. Why? Because the fact of reality of our life today is there are fewer and fewer handling classes people can get to. As handlers, often we’re the ones teaching the handling class and we don’t get to work our dogs in the environment. As a handler, it is important to me that my puppies that I own, that I bred, that I decided to keep, get the best experience they can in the

Karyn Cowdrey, BlackFyre Handling Services.

start of life in the ring. I shouldn’t have to hand them off to a total stranger.

Laura Reeves, host and moderator:

The concept (of BPUP) is that the American Kennel Club wants to support the novice handlers and that the simple presence of someone more capable than they are, whether they be a professional or a breeder or what have you, is unnerving. And I don’t know that that’s a great solution. I think we all learn by being challenged, but I know it is something that is a thing.

AKC gets banged a lot for not being encouraging and inviting and we as the representatives of the AKC get banged for the same thing. I sincerely believe that for people who think it is a big deal, they should get to do that. They should get to have that moment.

Hope is what gets us and keeps us. And I guess that’s what I would pin Best Puppy to. Is that baby inkling of hope. That tiny tingle of hope that the very new person gets when they get their first puppy.

And they are so excited and they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. And their breeder’s probably shoving them in the ring. And they’re really encouraging them to do this. It’s hope. And I guess to me, when I judge it, when I see it, best puppy to me represents hope. It represents the hope that we as breeders have for those puppies that are in the ring. It represents the hope that those owners and handlers have for their new puppies. It’s hope.

BPUP represents the hope that those owners and handlers have for their new puppies. It’s hope.

The part of me that thinks that hope is important, thinks that owner handled being what is important and encouraging new people being what’s important, I see the argument to make it a quote -unquote safe space from professionals.

Join us for the full replay of this spicy hot topic.


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.”



563 – New Tufts University Course: Breeders Teaching Veterinary Students

New Tufts University Course: Breeders Teaching Veterinary Students

Gale Golden and Susan Patterson join host Laura Reeves for a conversation about the new and exciting AKC Tufts Whelping Program that provides information to veterinary students about dog breeders.

Golden, the AKC coordinator for the program, said that the growing difficulties with finding breeder-friendly veterinarians was a huge concern for her.

“As breeders, we’ve faced many challenges and still face many challenges continuing our right to breed dogs here in the United States,” Golden said. “And one of the biggest challenges has been not only the lack of veterinary care, but the lack of understanding of the purebred, responsible dog breeder and how we work and operate. And that has led to, in some instances, lesser care breeders have available to them or even, in emergency situations, outcomes that weren’t the desired outcomes.”

Change the Conversation

Patterson, who has worked with a similar program at the Ohio State University, noted that “we need to change the conversation at the vet school level. How do we show that students, who most likely have never whelped a litter, will never do anything but triage, what a responsible breeder does, what their parameters are, how they make their choices, and how do they whelp their puppies.

“So, we are going directly to the students, who have some pre-formed opinions, but they have no experience. And we are sharing super transparently all the good, the bad, the ugly. We’ve worked with (the staff advisor) to develop what they call a selective, which in normal academic terms would be called an elective. They get to choose. And so, this last semester we had three students, this semester will have five.

“The other thing we’ve done that I think has added tremendously is we’ve not just focused on these students, but we have opened up our monthly roundtables to all interested vet students and we have brought in veterinarians. We had them in the classroom and we did have a virtual crop and dock just because of timing.

Talk About the Hard Things

“So, we’ve addressed the hard things. We’ve talked about what it takes to produce a puppy that is going to be healthy. And why we do the testing, why we make the choices, why temperament and different breeds. And so they’ve been able to ask us really hard questions. And I think the interaction has been very positive.”

“The total lack of understanding of what a purebred dog was and how they came to be and why they came to be” was an “aha” moment for Golden. She noted that one of the important topics covered in the course is the breed standard. “What is the breed standard and how did it come to be. The fact that they didn’t know was a real aha for me.

“The other thing I don’t feel like they really understood was how we preserve a breed. And as I’m sure most everyone here knows, French Bulldogs have been just bombarded with every kind of influence from outside the breed gene pool there could be. And it’s like a breed being attacked on steroids, you know, from fluffy to pink. It all exists. One of the scary statistics for this breed is last year there were 32,000 Frenchie litters registered with the AKC. 294 were parent club members, 294 out of 32,000. And since DNA really can’t accurately show us exactly what’s behind a dog, after a few generations of breeding to Frenchies, it looks like it’s a purebred Frenchie.

“Another aha for me was the health testing process, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, that it exists. What kind of data was there, who loads that data and that it is a partnership with veterinarians and breeders that actually populates that database and how we use it to make improvements. So those things were major ahas for me.

“The preservation message, however, is one that resonates for us. We don’t tell our own story. You know, we’re kind of invisible. There might be 90,000 of us in Massachusetts playing dog sports, but I find out legislatively many times we’re invisible. You know, the fact that we let other people tell our story is a problem.”

555 – Dr. Gayle Watkins LIVE: Socializing Puppies Properly

Dr. Gayle Watkins LIVE: Socializing Puppies Properly

Four-time AKC Breeder of the Year in four different sports, Dr. Gayle Watkins, founder of Avidog, speaks about how we create working and competition dogs through proper socializing.

Watkins observes that socialization is building social relationships with humans and dogs. And the current method of socialization causes more harm than good. Puppy development should be manners, mental resilience, civility and trust, she posits.

“The vast majority of people think socialization ends at 16 weeks, the sensitive period. Those first four months so important to puppies. But most dogs need socialization or “development work” through 15 months,” Watkins said.

Another misconception Watkins notes is that 8 to 10 weeks is a fear *imprint* period, not a time in which dogs are necessarily more fearful.

“They’re not more afraid at that age,” Watkins said. “They’re going through continual progression towards fear that starts at 5 weeks. It’s what a canine is. They are fearful creatures. This is inherent in this species, so fear is inherent in dogs.”

“If you go online and you Google socialization and puppies, you’ll get a million hits, over a million hits, and you will get checklist after, checklist after checklist. This is not a checklist. We’re talking about teaching skills. What is stability? It’s the appropriateness of the dog’s response to stress.

“I also want to build resilience. Putting them under stress very, very early. So that they can be resilient. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from stress and frustration. If you think about it, we can’t make every puppy bombproof. More than anything else. It is built through inoculation to stress. When we are aiming for stability, we want to introduce stress to teach them the right behaviors. Here we must introduce stress to teach them to be resilient.”

Watkins’ insights on raising sensible, calm competition ready dogs is invaluable. Listen HERE to one of her first conversations on Pure Dog Talk, on bomb proofing your puppies.

425 – Breeder Hacks, Tricks, Tips & Products for Healthier Puppies

Breeder Hacks, Tricks, Tips & Products for Healthier Puppies

Dale Martenson, renowned breeder of Touche Japanese Chin, joins host Laura Reeves to talk about some of our favorite hacks, some of our favorite products, some of our favorite things as dog breeders that don’t necessarily make it into the textbooks.

LISTEN to the episode for more details, by clicking the triangle arrow above.

Milk Balloons

“Litters of puppies, if we were going to put it in the hands of Mother Nature,” Martenson noted, “it would often be more like sea turtles … a certain percentage of them were meant to make it to the water and a certain percentage are not. As breeders, we want to tip the scales. We can add some supportive care, just to give those little turtles a boost to the water, to make it to a healthy adulthood…”

Martenson uses surgical gloves as an alternative method of supplemental feeding. Tube feeding can be difficult and even dangerous if not done properly. Plus, the actual process of suckling is important to the puppies’ digestion and development.

Heat from Down Under

Martenson shares methods for warming puppies while offering the bitch a cooler location in the whelping box, the dangers of heat lamps  in general and the importance of providing a heat source *under* the puppies.

Do the Hoky Poky

Flooring for puppies in the whelping box is critical. A number of studies indicate that puppies whose feet slip while nursing or navigating the box are more likely to develop hip dysplasia. Martenson recommends small carpet remnants for toy breeds. We agreed that large, rubber backed washable fleece pads are a better choice for larger breed dogs.

Pumpkin Powder to the Rescue

Only dog people are as obsessed with poopy. The product Martenson recommends helps pups transition to new water, new schedule, new environment, possibly new food with no intestinal upset.

Eat up!

“ENTYCE is a fantastic appetite builder. So say your female isn’t wanting to eat and she’s 50 days, she’s trying to have pregnancy toxemia on you. Then you’re looking at hand feeding, syringe feeding, whatever kind of feeding we can do to make this happen. We’ve had fantastic results with that or traveling to the dog show and they’re not wanting to eat on the road. “

328 – Poopy Happens: Puppy Diarrhea Causes and Treatments

Poopy Happens: Puppy Diarrhea Causes and Treatments

Puppy diarrhea can be serious and dangerous due to dehydration risks, says Dr. Marty Greer, DVM. While “poopy happens” is a pretty common issue in a litter of puppies, some causes are more serious than others.

Causes of “bad potty” can range from the benign to the deadly and knowing which is which and how to treat them can be a matter of life and death.

“I can’t believe I ate the WHOLE thing….”

Overeating is pretty common, particularly when puppies transition to solid food during weaning.

“While nursing, the diarrhea is white in color, and the puppy is very hefty,” Greer said. She strongly recommends dog specific probiotics during weaning, particularly Proviable or Fortiflora.

“What do you have in your mouth?!”

Eating inappropriate stuff like rocks, sticks, leaves is another common problem in puppies that can cause stomach upset and loose stools. Since puppies are curious and often investigate their new and expanding world with their mouths, it can also be dangerous! Watch what they pick up and police their areas for hazards.

All kinds of bad bugs

Viral infections such as parvovirus and distemper are life threatening emergencies. Certain breeds don’t titer well to parvo vaccines and these diseases can even be transmitted by raccoons in “latrines.

Parasites, Greer noted, affect as much as 95 percent of puppies. Worm puppies at 2, 4, 6, 8 weeks if the bitch is not on dewormer *during* pregnancy. Greer recommends a specific protocol of treating the pregnant bitch with fenbendazole daily from the 5th week of pregnancy to the 2nd week of lactation.

“You can worm bitch forever, but parasites will encyst in her muscles,” Greer said. “The stress of pregnancy and lactation reactivates these into her bloodstream. The parasites are then passed through placenta AND milk to the puppies. Puppies that are still nursing, are still receiving the larval form of the parasite through milk.”

Giardia and coccidia are common in puppies. Giardia responds to Panacur. Coccidia responds to Albon.

Cleanliness is next godliness

Bleach is my favorite disinfectant. Visit this site to learn about proper dilution in different scenarios: https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/bleach-dilution-calculator


Kaopectate, the human-grade over-the-counter item, has changed the formula and metabolizes as aspirin in the dog, Greer said. She strongly recommends a low-cost and effect solution, the original kaolin-pectin.

And don’t forget to send your puppies home with insurance!!

143 – Laura Reeves Sings 12 Puppies of Christmas

Laura Reeves Sings 12 Puppies of Christmas

Laura Reeves Sings!

The last two weeks of the year are normally a quiet, restorative, hibernating time of year for folks. Even with celebrations, friends, family and feasting, the tempo gradually slows down as we take time to review the year past and contemplate the one ahead.

So Merry Christmas crew! As we each celebrate the holiday season in the fashion we choose, I just wanted to take a few minutes to say THANK YOU.

I mean, wow! The first Pure Dog Talk episode debuted Nov. 21, 2016… thirteen months later, we have created more than 140 episodes released on iTunes and just about every other available podcast delivery system. We built a huge, resource-rich website. And we’ve enabled well over 160,000 FREE downloads of knowledge and insight directly from the best in the sport to anyone who wants to listen and learn.

What an amazing gift you have given Mary and I. All of you…. Our listeners, our fans, and so many legends who generously shared your time, your memories and your wisdom. We literally would not be here without you.

Orlando 2016 to 2017

Last year at the AKC National Championship in Orlando, I walked a couple marathons worth of concrete floors, spreading the word about our brand spanking new venture.

This year we were thrilled to announce we’ve joined forces with Aramedia Group, publishers of ShowSight Magazine, to enable the show to reach an even larger audience. Mary and I are no longer a two-girl band!

With AJ Arapovic and his outstanding team behind the show, we have some really exciting plans on the horizon. Each one of which is designed to continue serving our thriving community of avid knowledge seekers in bigger and better ways.

Sign Up and Join Us

We hope you’ve already signed up to join us. If not, just stop by the PureDogTalk.com or the Facebook page and click the “Don’t Miss an Episode” button. Your name and email address is all we need to keep you in the loop.

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies

Let’s continue Celebrating the History of our sport and Creating a bold vision of our future!

Meanwhile, as we all know, I can’t miss out on a teaching moment so here goes.

Puppies make everything better. Gramma always swore it was a hot bath that cured everything from the common cold to a broken heart

Newsflash gramma, it’s puppies. Sweet puppy breath, fat puppy paws, silly puppy antics, gumby puppies sleeping, noisy puppies eating. Puppies encapsulate all that is good and pure in the world.

Of course, there’s also puppy poopie and peepee; puppy gruel; six loads of laundry a day; sleep deprivation; random and limited opportunities to bathe, eat or socialize; no time for Christmas decorating; and, the attendant brain fog descending due to all of the above.

Puppies embody that spirit of renewal and cleansing that make the New Year such a joyous celebration.

As we bid farewell (and for many, good riddance) to a turbulent and divisive year past, let’s raise a glass to the hope, the joy, the pureness of purpose represented in our puppies.

These little ones, if we choose them as our guides, harbor hate for no one. Their affection is not restricted based on race, gender, sexual orientation, creed or national origin. They are equal opportunity employers of beseeching looks, demanding caterwauls at feeding time and sock destruction.

In an uncertain world, we can find comfort, courage, kindness and focus in the unquestioning trust of a puppy’s steady gaze.

Laura Reeves Sings 12 Puppies of Christmas – OMG!

And, because I believe we all need a laugh, especially at what can be a challenging time of year, please join me in a sing along of the “12 puppies of Christmas”…. (A Laura Reeves original production!)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a puppy in a sherpa bag…

(Caveat, never give a puppy for a Christmas present!)

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ten tongues a wagging, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eleven puppies squalling, ten tongues a wagging, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

And, on the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve friendly judges, eleven puppies squalling, ten tongues a wagging, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…


Peace on earth, good will to mankind from all of us here at Pure Dog Talk.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night…

12 Steps for 2018