Sunday, March 24, 2013

Waiting for dokkens

Amanda sent me this photo earlier in the week and I asked if I could post it here.

Apparently, Tobago did this while "waiting" his turn when Amanda was outside doing some field training with her other Toller Trini.

It is an excellent illustration of what I mean when I say Tollers sometimes lack impulse control, though we love them anyway.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Positively impacting the health of your Toller

Since we believe we'll soon be welcoming our newest litter, lately I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about the things we can do to positively impact the health of our Tollers. I recently came across an article which does a great job of summing up many of the things I’ve been saying for years: Much of this is included in the information we send home with our puppy people, but I thought it  worth reviewing here as well.


What you feed your Toller has a direct impact on his health. We feed our Tollers a raw diet and advocate the same for our puppy people, but will recommend quality dry food options for those uninterested or unwilling to make this change. Rather than reiterate points other authors have already made, please review the following link for a relatively balanced review of raw diet pros and cons:

Here’s another good article on the benefits of raw feeding:

If you want to commit to a raw diet but don’t have time to do it all from scratch, there are many options available. Our dogs are mostly fed Bravo and have been for some years: Please note not all of Bravo’s offerings are balanced; some should be considered building blocks you will need to balance with additions. Another raw diet option we have used with success is Steve’s Real Food:

This is a great list which discusses raw and cooked canine diets: Or you can hire the list owner to formulate one for you: She also sells books which teach you how to balance diets on your own.


We generally come off as “unconventional” (a nice word for oddball) on this front compared to what most people are used to hearing when they talk to other breeders or vets who often encourage spay/neuter between 6-12 months. Some breeders may even  require it contractually though we do not, even if you never intend to show or breed and are just looking for a pet. Studies done in recent years show that hormones play an important role in health, and spaying or neutering your Toller (or any dog) at an early age can have a negative impact. In recent years we’ve been encouraging our puppy people to wait a minimum of 15-18 months before taking this step, and would prefer you wait until they are at least two years old. We figure if we’re going to trust you with one of our puppies in the first place, we also trust you to be a careful steward of their reproductive system.

Want more information? Read on!

Don’t Neuter Your Dog YET:
Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs:
Golden retriever study suggests neutering affects dog health: (detailed study results are here:


We believe in minimal vaccinations for Tollers. This is a breed noted for a higher than average frequency of auto immune diseases, and vaccinations are one thing we believe can trigger an auto immune reaction. We vaccinate our puppies with a parvo/distemper/corona combo as close to 9 weeks as possible. We recommend you do not vaccinate again until your puppy is 13 weeks old. Approximately four weeks after the second set of vaccinations (so around 16-17 weeks) we recommend you run parvo and distemper titers on your puppy vs. getting a third set of shots. Somewhere between four and six months you will be required to have your puppy vaccinated for rabies. We recommend the rabies vaccination be administered during a separate visit from the other puppy shots.

WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines:

Dr. Jean Dodds vaccination protocols (we actually do a bit less than this currently):

Taking the risk out of puppy shots:
Learn about titers:

Why we don't recommend the leptospirosis vaccine:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

June in flannel revisited

This picture is from January but I haven't had much time to blog in the past few months. Lark is also lounging on the bed but notably NOT underneath any of the flannel bedding. One of them is also responsible for the flipped back covers and rumpled comforter. That will teach us to keep the bedroom door closed. Okay, it probably won't. Someday I'd like to see exactly how June goes from freshly made bed to being ensconced in flannel.