Hiking Poodles  

What better way to escape the house than an afternoon spent in the woods.  Our poodles love hiking and our daughter is learning to love the woods as well. 

Nutritionally-Mediated DCM 

I have received several emails and messages over the past few days asking what I personally feed in light of the information released by the FDA about nutritionally-mediated DCM. 

It's not yet known exactly what it is about the formulation of the foods associated with nutritionally-mediated DCM that is the problem, but one area of suspicion is the high legume content seen in these foods. The excessive use of legumes in high end, expensive grain free foods has been an alarming trend for the past several years and while it's heartbreaking that dogs are becoming very ill from some of these foods, I'm also quite frankly very thankful it's being brought to public attention. 

Whatever the cause, and I truly hope one will be identified, I've chosen to avoid feeding foods with the most cases of nutritionally-mediated DCM. For the time being, and out of an abundance of caution, I've incorporated Purina Pro-Plan into our dogs' diets as it has not had any confirmed cases of nutritionally-mediated DCM that I am aware of, and I continue to also feed our dogs a species appropriate raw diet (various brands and proteins). 

I recommend talking with your vet, not panicking, feeding a food without legumes high or frequent on the ingredient list, and avoiding the foods with the most cases of nutritionally-mediated DCM. I personally believe it's also a good idea to rotate proteins and brands in case there is a problem with the formulation of any given food.


Here is the latest FDA information about the DCM issue! https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy?fbclid=IwAR3cA9yLpOWDD9C4oafZ-pMxNNYlGBnZ6shfyEjSh1Q0WXC57SO9sr8-4pk#diet

2019 Pooches in the Ballpark!!! 

Our favorite annual event, Pooches in the Ballpark!  Last year we had to miss this fun day as I was very PREGNANT myself!  However, this year, we brought Baby Jade (GCH. Apparition Spirited Away) who was sporting the trendy Modified Continental Clip and our resident matriarch Millie, Peckerwood's Thoroughly Modern Millie.  Stella, our daughter, joined us for her first annual baseball game with the dogs! 

PCA Recap and The Scramble To Breed Lula! 

What a whirlwind week (and some!) it has been!  Last week, April 20th - April 28th, was the Poodle Club of America National Specialty show (PCA).  PCA has been held in Salisbury, Maryland for many years but this year was the first (of many to come) years that it was held at Purina Farms here in St. Louis, MO.  Thursday - Sunday included field/hunt events as well as tracking.  Monday was a day of agility and a grooming competition, Tuesday was obedience, rally, performance parade and performance sweepstakes, Wednesday was dogs (conformation), Thursday was bitches (conformation) and Friday was Best of Variety/Best in Show. 

Charlotte, Ch. Apparition Deagra Dream Weaver RN, spent the week with us and earned her first Beginner Novice obedience leg on Tuesday. 

Millie, Peckerwood's Thoroughly Modern Millie CD BN RA CGC TKN, earned her final leg of her Rally Advanced title with a score of 96 to complete her title!  Love my Millie girl. 

Marcus, Ch. Apparition Deagra Penumbra BN RN CGC, competed in the inaugural performance sweepstakes and in the parade of the champions!

And.....Our Lulabelle, FINALLY came in season after nearly 14 months of waiting, and was ready to be bred right in the middle of the PCA rush.  We did manage to get her bred early in the week of PCA and we are now crossing our fingers and toes that she is indeed pregnant!  If she is, she should be approximately 11 days pregnant right now, with puppies due June 22nd. Stay tuned for an update after ultrasound confirmation, which is scheduled for May 19th.  


Lula, Lala and Millie's Latest Accomplishments!! 

Last weekend was an exciting one for our girls!  First, our Charlotte (aka LALA) finished her Rally Novice title on Friday.  Mary and Lala did a fabulous job earning a score of 96 and a pretty rosette to top it off!  Yay Mary and Lala! On Saturday and Sunday, Millie earned her first two qualifying legs in Rally Advanced.  She did excellent on Saturday earning a score of 96 - impressive since we haven't really trained in a couple of years, when she earned her obedience CD title.  On Sunday, my nerves got the best of me and we had some handler error issues (me ending up at the wrong sign a few times....) and Millie was tempted by the food bowls on the offset figure 8 - but she still earned a leg and a placement!

And - last but certainly not least - Lulabelle finished her Beginner Novice obedience title on Saturday and earned her first qualifying leg toward her Novice (CD) title on Sunday.  It was a fabulous weekend all around!  And - the best news - is that finally it appears that Lulabelle has come in season!  She has a slow biological clock and is one of those girls who only cycles once a year.  So - stay tuned for updates on the planned breeding between her and Winston this month!

Yadi Earns his Rally Novice Title!  

Huge congratulations to Yadi and his owner Teresa for completing his Rally Novice title at the St. Charles Kennel Club shows!  Yadi is Lula and Marcus' littermate and lives with his adoring family in Kansas.  It was awesome to see and cheer for Yadi and his owner in the ring! 

Lula earns her Rally Novice Title! 

Lula, Ch. Apparition Deagra RN CGC, completed her AKC Rally Novice title this past August.  She came out with a bang scoring a perfect 100 for her first leg and respectable scores in the mid to high 90s for her other two legs.  This was our debut in companion events since the completion of her championship last January.  It's always a blast coming out for the first time in a companion/performance event!

Purina's Better With Pets Exhibit! 

Purina Farms, located only about 20 minutes away from us, opened up a brand new exhibit yesterday called, "Better With Pets".  About 10 different breeds of dogs and cats are featured in the exhibit and real live examples of those breeds were present during the reveal of the exhibit.  Lulabelle got to represent the Poodle!  We thought it was very fitting that the poodle in the exhibit is named, "Lulu".  Lulabelle was a fantastic ambassador for the breed and we even got to get our photo taken with Tony La Russa. 


Five Weeks Old! 

The puppies turned five weeks old on Friday.  Faces were shaved again over the weekend and the puppies spent lots of time exercising and playing outside.  Big sis Lulabelle is turning out to be a great nanny and loves to entertain the puppies.  Five weeks is approximately the time of a first fear stage, so I have begun working on confidence building with the puppies. Last night, I put down a plastic tarp with some wire crate panels underneath.  A few of the puppies bombarded over the tarp and thought it was the coolest thing ever.  Most of them exercised some due caution but all were able to be convinced that it was OK to carefully walk around on it. 

I'm continuing to work on the Communication Trinity exercises from last week.  I am mainly focusing on Manding, which I am finding to be very time consuming!  Most of the puppies just stare at me and eventually get bored and start exploring before they ever decide to sit.  They will get it! :)

Four Weeks Old! 

This weekend was very busy!  All of the puppies had their faces, feet, and tail bases shaved.  They were bathed and fluff dried.  They also got to go outside for the first time to begin to learn about the exciting world they live in.  In following Jane Killion's Puppy Culture, the puppies were introduced to step 1 of the Communication Trinity.  This is being conditioned to a training marker - a clicker.  A clicker is an incredibly useful training tool for marking desired behavior in puppies and dogs. 


The next two steps are teaching the puppy to offer behaviors, and teaching the puppy to "mand".  More on the next two steps later this week.

Enjoy some photos from their first jaunt outside!  This was before their first bath/fluffy dry.  :)

Three Weeks Old! 

The puppies turned three weeks old on Friday!  It's been an exciting week for them learning how to lap liquids from a bowl, enjoying their first kibble & goat milk gruel, having a potty area added to their pen, and families who have reserved puppies have been invited to come visit the puppies starting this week.  The window of socialization begins at three weeks of age, so all of these visits and experiences are important to the emotional and social development of the pups. 

I've been following Jane Killion's Puppy Culture video http://www.puppyculture.com/ to raise enrichment seeking, problem solving, well rounded puppies.  It's not very different from I've done before, but there are small tasks to focus on each week with the puppies.  This week, one focus is startle and recovery.  Starting at 21 days of age, puppies will startle upon hearing sound and something suddenly placed in front of them.  They don't yet have fear, and will recover immediately, so this week is the time to practice and become desensitized to being startled!  This can lead to a quicker recovery time once the puppies are older and do have that fear response to scary things. 

I have of course continued to handle each puppy as much as possible daily - rubbing toes, ears, stroking faces and tails - so that they are accustomed to being loved on! :)


Two Weeks Old 

Dharma's puppies turned 2 weeks last Friday.  They are now toddling around, ears and eyes are open, teeth are near erupting, and they are beginning to show interest in their littermates and in me.  They still spend the majority of their time sleeping, but they are beginning to play with each other a little.  It is amazing to watch them grow and mature. 

Puppies are here!! 

Dharma whelped 8 puppies Friday, June 10, 2015.  3 white/cream girls, 1 white/cream boy, and 4 black boys.  All were born healthy with the smallest being 10.1 oz and the largest 15.4.  Puppies have been gaining nicely over the past week and Dharma is a wonderful mother to them.  We do still have a couple puppies available.  Visit my puppies page for info on how to contact me about the litter.

Puppies Due July 2015!!!!!!!! 

Dharma was bred to Oscar - GCH Safari's Aesthete last month.  She has been confirmed pregnant by ultrasound and puppies are due on or around July 11, 2015!    Both black and white puppies anticipated. Accepting inquiries for companion, performance, and show prospects!  Visit our "puppies" page for more information and to find out how to contact us about the upcoming litter.

At 5 weeks pregnant, Dharma is starting to show! :)  4 weeks to go... The countdown has begun!

June 6th - Mark Your Calendars! 

Mark your calendars for June 6th! This will be Standard Poodle Guest Dog of the Week day at the Museum of the Dog at Queeny Park. Come stop by and learn about the breed and meet a few of my crew!

Marcus is a Canine Good Citizen! 

Marcus took and passed the Canine Good Citizen test!  I really like the CGC test as proof of a dog's good temperament and basic training.  It is a very attainable title for pet owners and experienced dog trainers alike and I encourage my puppy owners to go for it! :) 

Marcus has been busy training for the past several months and we hope to start showing in Obedience and Rally this summer or early fall. 

Poodle Club of America National Specialty Show 2015 

Last week in Salisbury, MD was the 2015 National Poodle Club of America Specialty Show.  This hundreds of toy, mini, and standard poodles come from all over the world to compete at the Wicomico Civic Center.  This is often coined the "Best Show on Earth" for good reason!  The PCA National Specialty is one of the neatest purebred specialty shows in the country. 

A special congratulations is in order as our friend Tara Richardson won Best Puppy, Winners Bitch, and Best of Winners with Kenya, Harten Spend Thrift, owned and bred by Sharon Svoboda.  Winners Dog was Dawin I Know It handled by Sarah Perchick and bred/owned by Linda Campbell.  Best of Variety was Afterglow Mavrick Sabre. 

Lulabelle showed in a competitive 12-18 month bitch class and looked gorgeous!  She did not place but she enjoyed herself in the ring (maybe a little too much as she jumped on the judge after the down and back!).  Below are some of my favorite pictures of her from the weekend:

Steve Surfman Photography

Steve Surfman Photography

12-18 Month Bitch Class. 

 Photo by Tammie Smart.

 Back at the Crates :)

 Watching the Show

Even the restaurant has gone to the dogs!

Poodle Club of Tulsa Specialty Show 

After sitting out and growing hair for 4 months, Lulabelle had a successful first weekend back in the ring as an adult!  On Saturday she was Winners Bitch for 2 points at the Poodle Club of Tulsa Specialty Show in Claremore, Oklahoma.  Sunday, she went Reserve to the 3 point major.  Sharon presented her beautifully as always.  It was fun to see her all sprayed up in her Continental.  All that hard work growing hair has really paid off!

Having sat at home for the past 4 months, she was a little bit naughty in the ring wanting to jump and be silly!  She has two more weekends of showing to get her head in the game before the Poodle Club of America National Specialty. 

A few photos from the weekend. 


 Lula is with handler Sharon Svoboda on the right.  :)


Our Prizes!

 Back at the Setup

Genetic Diversity Analysis 

I am so excited to have participated in a groundbreaking study and to have received my results back from the new UC Davis Genetic Diversity Analysis!  This analysis assesses the Interrelatedness (IR Value) of any given Standard Poodle compared to the overall Standard Poodle population.  A low IR value indicates an "outbred" dog and a high IR value indicates an "inbred" dog.  The IR value sometimes, but not always, correlates with the COI (Coefficient of inbreeding).  Additionally, the analysis takes a look at several genetic markers and identifies Class 1 and 2 DLA Haplotypes.  All of this is a bit complex to explain in a blog post, but essentially, this analysis allows breeders to have a bit more objective data when planning a breeding with a goal of genetic diversity.   This is an extremely valuable tool for any Standard Poodle breeder to use when planning a breeding whether it be a complete outcross or a tight linebreeding.  Judging by COI alone, a breeder may think that they are planning an outcross breeding, or may think that a breeding is too tightly linebred.  With the genetic diversity analysis, the breeder can actually compare genetic markers between two breeding pairs and compare DLA haplotypes to make more informed breeding decisions. 

I highly suggest reading this slide presentation.  Put together by Natalie Green Tessier, it explains the concept extremely well:  http://poodlesdegrenier.com/geneticspresentation

This is a link to UC Davis where you can read some specifics about the analysis and where the actual test can be purchased: https://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/dog/GeneticDiversityInStandardPoodles.php

Dharma, Tiger, Lula & Marcus have been tested and their certificates are below.  Click to enlarge.  :)


Why Title A Dog? 

Today I want to share something that describes perfectly my feelings about training and working with my dogs.  The piece written below really hits home and even makes me tear up a bit!

Candid of Millie 

I love this candid photo of Millie at the GSLTC Rally Trials at the Purina Farms Event Center last Saturday! 

Happy 5th Birthday to Millie! 

My very special girl, Millie, just celebrated her 5th birthday.  She celebrated by playing in the snow, getting a yummy bully sick, and getting to share some of our extra delicious dinner.  I look forward to sharing many, many more years with this special girl.  She has the most amazing personality and is the smartest, most empathetic and humanlike poodle I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.  She is so intelligent and willing to learn, I honestly believe the sky is the limit as far as what I can teach her.  I am enjoying our journey together in training for competitive obedience and I love watching her mind work.  Cheers to Millie!

New Title! Millie gets her CD! 

Millie completed her third and final qualifying leg for her CD (Companion Dog) title on Saturday (2 weeks ago) at the St. Charles Kennel Club shows in Lake St. Louis.  She won her title in style with a second place in the Novice B class.  She showed in Rally for the first time that Sunday and also got a second place and her first qualifying leg toward her RN (Rally Novice) title.  Can't wait to hopefully finish her Rally Novice title later this month!

I hope to ultimately show her in Open obedience for her CDX title, but first we are working on polishing some of her Novice skills.  I did introduce the Dumbbell last week and so far we are off to a great start!

In addition to working hard with Mil, I've been working with Marcus in obedience as well.  I'd like to eventually show him in Novice for his CD, but our progress is very slow since he does not live with me and we are only able to work together about once or twice a week. Still, progress is progress and, albeit slowly, we are moving forward! 

NCOTC Obedience Trials 

Millie eared her first CD leg this weekend! 

I knew this weekend might be a challenge as Millie is still very green.  I've only ever titled one dog to their CD, so I am very new to this myself.  I entered the trial cautiously since it was being held in the same building where we train.  I figured I would play it by ear and see if we were ready.  So, the evening before the trial, I decided to show up for the Show n Go that was being held.  This is a great opportunity to practice in the ring and see if you are ready.   I brought my soft sided crate to the building, set it up, and went into the practice ring.  Millie did quite respectably!   My biggest complaint was some minor lagging during the about turns.  We decided to go ahead and give the trial a shot that weekend.

Saturday, Millie NQ'd.  Her overall performance was OK.  Not great, nothing even close to what I see when we practice, but she would have qualified.  Until she decided to sit out the Heel Free.  Heel free is when the dog heels off leash with the handler.  You set up at the starting line, and the judge says "forward!".  At that point, handler and dog begin heeling.  Well, I gave Millie her heel command, "Let's go!" and I began heeling.  I got halfway down the ring to the first halt and she was still sitting at the start line!  I called her to me, and she did NOT come!  I called again, which NQ'd us, but she did come join me.  It was really a very pathetic performance and it left me feeling pretty discouraged.  I left the trial unsure if I would pull her on Sunday.

I ended up deciding to work with Millie a bit Saturday evening and see if I might be able to get her more excited in the ring on Sunday.  I figured I could at least collect some data on her performance, if nothing else. 

Sunday, she got her first qualifying leg!  Heel on lead went well, figure 8 pretty decent, stand for exam perfect.  Heel free was still pretty pathetic with some terrible lagging, but she didn't sit at the start line! Woo hoo!  Recall was OK.  I would have liked her to come running with more enthusiasm, as I see in class.  She missed her sit at front position and did a crooked finish.  Sigh.  But we qualified, and with plenty of points to spare.

I am happy that we got our first leg, and I know exactly where our weak areas are.