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After over 40 years of breeding, you learn a lot! Research and interfacing with other breeders all add important feedback BUT I would have to say most of my learning has come from “watching” the litters. Dozens of them over the years, different breeds YET all the same in the way the mother looks after them, the way they mature, and the way they start to develop a personality. After observing over and over again I started to develop my personal plan for raising all types of pups to their fullest potential. This includes the runts, the over aggressive ones, the timid ones.

 
I have taken a lot of “flack” from breeders who proudly announce that their pups are handled continuously from birth. I doubt you will find many breeders who raise pups the way I do.
You often hear statements like, “raised with the kids and grandkids”, exposed to seven (don’t’ know why that is the magical number) surfaces and so on and so on. Most breeders brag about handling their pups from the moment they are born, not just checking them out BUT handling them all day long. They further go on the tell me that their pups are so used to being held all evening that they are nice and “cuddly” when buyers come and that makes everyone happy.
To me this only produces a dog that turns out to be “needy” and only secure when the human is nearby or holding it. This pup has not been encouraged to develop within the litter and that means learning to get along with all types of personalities within the litter. My opinions formulated while watching and encouraging development within the litter. My runts are feisty, my shy ones come out into their own, aggressive ones have a few run-ins with the group and learn that is not how to play. By contrast the excessively handled pup goes home, next day off goes the family to work and school, what effect do you think this total lack of “over” handling suddenly stopped has on a pup?    
Norma, “Gizmo” is now 9 weeks old and he has been absolutely wonderful! We tried very hard to follow your instructions 100% and it works. Friends keep calling expecting to hear horror stories of the puppy crying all night and day. They are actually a little disappointed it has been so easy for us! Well it has only been a week but Eli and the rest of the family adore him and everyone wants to know where we got such a precious pup with a great personality. We would NOT have a loving puppy if it were not for YOU. I was not kidding when I said I have been studying your website for awhile. I was intrigued with how you described how to deal with the dogs compared to others. I also heard many painful stories from people about raising a pup. When we came to see you, the puppies were so cute but what sealed the deal is your description of how to raise them. Thanks for the recent advice. Gizmo had his first bath yesterday. He does something cute/smart every day.
One thing that I would say you should stress more is how they get under your feet so quickly. He loves to run and I was jogging with him in the house and so sad I stepped on his leg and thought I broke it. He seemed to recover fast but I was very scared and sorry. I now just walk around him but he wants to just run, hop and do cart wheels! Cindy, Elijah and Gizmo

Another great suggestion from a puppy buyer! When you purchase a pup, this subject is covered IN THE “PUPPY PACKAGE” under PUPPY TRAINING

There has been at least one person who was horrified with your approach and warned me that the puppy would be terrible (her dog is a nightmare because it is super handled and no discipline – it all seems like common sense). Anyway I’m spreading the word!
 
I never met a puppy that didn’t love a child or any human for that matter. So why rush to expose a pup to premature handling?

I am a professional breeder. There is a big difference here from puppy mill mass breeding and casual breeding of two family pets. I take this very seriously. Pedigrees are researched and dogs are bred with the intent of producing the best puppies possible. We chose not to breed our moms on every cycle and our moms are retired young. When a dog comes into season she is brought inside the house to prevent harassment within the group and an unplanned breeding. Once bred she goes back with her companions until closer to delivery. A few weeks before delivery they come inside and are set up in the birthing room where they stay until the pups are weaned. This is one of the reasons my retired moms make such great house dogs later in life. They are so used to house activities and rules they adjust quickly and easily into another home.

I don’t feel I am producing puppies as much as I am producing someone’s pet for life. Pups are not for my personal enjoyment but rather for the sheer pleasure they will bring to their new owner. I approach breeding totally different than most breeders. True, each mom and dad and all the pups have a piece of my heart. You couldn’t give yourself to this totally if you didn’t first love dogs. But beyond that is a dedication to not just have a litter of pups but to have a litter of pups that are exceptional in every way, from looks to health to disposition and most important, confidence. We have all met the shaking, barking, and fear biters. These are dogs that have NO confidence.

You are purchasing a pup of exceptional quality. Clearly, the most important part is already done for you. When talking with me, you will often hear me say, “Keep it simple”. Often those few words are ignored, or overlooked as buyers search for all the information they can glean from books and the internet. True, these sources are a help, but, once you are raising that pup, I watch new owners get themselves into more trouble by complicating a simple process!

Our pups fit ANY household including “grandma & grandpa”!
MOST of our puppies are purchased by parents for their small children. BUT let’s not leave out the teenager, or adults who want a friend.m
CONFIDENCE, RESPECT & STRESS
    Here are MY favorite three words:
 
 
CONFIDENCE: My goal is to hand off a CONFIDENT pup to a CONFIDENT buyer!!
RESPECT: I hate the word “submission”!!! So many times I see a buyer flip a wee, scared pup over on its’ back in order to see if it submits. They have read this and other nonsense in books on “How to pick the best pup”. Certainly a normal pup will squirm and cry, here you are a giant by comparison, nothing about you from smell to forcing the pup to do something totally against its’ will makes the pup confident. What can be gained I don’t know, when asked most people have NO idea why they did this, just that they had heard or read it somewhere. To me this whole silly little scenario proves nothing more than you can always force something smaller than you to do your will. How many owners want a dog that responds to them out of “fear” rather than love and respect? AHHH never thought of it that way did you?
 
STRESS:
Weaning is stress enough. I leave my pups ALONE in their new environment. To me it is essential they NOT be handled at this time other than to check each pup and perhaps clean bottoms. They ARE watched closely, multiple checks just to see that they are eating/drinking and going to the bathroom okay. Weaning often causes diarrhea or constipation. Either requires quick action. Picture them the first week, just huddled together for the most part. But what you don’t see is what I sense, the NURTURING of each other carried on from birth but even now necessary with the absence of the mother. This is what I don’t want to interrupt. I let nature work here. They learn a lot within the litter; they develop a personality, learn submission, and learn how to be strong. ALL this can and should happen without human intervention. They have plenty of “human touch” just during the multiple checks, feed changes BUT since I don’t “force myself on them” they quickly want to force themselves on me!
 

This is the first part of socialization. This is where I feel most breeders are wrong. Socialization is not to humans it is in fact to the litter

Puppies go through “growing stages”, just as do children. Newborns are suited to small and well-heated areas. Weaning requires more space because pups are beginning to walk and it is necessary for them to exercise. And six & seven week olds need more room for rough-housing! Pups eight weeks and older require exercise for the proper development of muscles and tendons. I believe that after weaning puppies need to spend ALL their time growing efficiently. It is well known that too much handling and “sense overload” causes upset to pups and thus they tend not to eat. Interrupt precious sleep times and they don’t eat so what do we have now? Interrupt precious sleep times and they don’t eat so what do we have now? Disruption of sleep patterns—inconsistent eating and the obvious result of poor nutrition—is not a very good start for a baby that does all of its maturing during the first 6 months of life. It is essential that a breeder recognize and meet the demand for “increased space” at each stage. Meeting this demand is not only critical for physical development, but also reflects on our Philosophy for the mental health of pups and to ensure that early on they gain confidence. Being able to race around and fight with your littermates prepares pups to be outgoing and fun loving with your family. They learn to love and look forward to all the activity!
 
We added the “playroom” concept at Ashlee’s house. She has a large room that she can dedicate to dividing up pups at various stages. This room has controlled temperature, challenging toys and cubby holes for hiding. This space encourages pups to have spontaneous fun and to compete. It has been such a success that we wish we had thought of it earlier!
This is another reason for making appointments to see our pups, since the “older ones” are at her house and will be brought here to show along with any younger pups that may be suitable and live here.
This is a “short version” of the most important things you will share with your pup as it matures into a dog. Our PUPPY PACKAGE takes you step by step through the timing, “how to” and value of imprinting you will do with your pup. Done correctly you will never make “excuses” for behavioral issues because there won’t be any!
 

4 weeks pups are unsure but “determined”!

 
At 8 weeks, this is what you see**********
A confident pup, even if born the “runt”, my pups are outgoing and self-assured. This is a trainable pup because its’ responses are based on the confidence in itself. I hand off what I refer to as a “clean slate”. This pup has not been handled excessively, does not expect to sit in my lap the minute the TV goes on, knows the house goes “on around them” and does not need constant attention.
 

(same pup) at 8 weeks confidence is established!

 
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” Colin Powell
DO YOU KNOW: WHAT IS INVOLVED IN RAISING YOUR PUPPY?
 
Most people have no idea how involved puppy rearing is! The general thought is, “mate two dogs” and after all they do it themselves don’t they so no work there!
Wait for the pups, then, enjoy playing with the new babies. A wonderful experience for the whole family; the relatives and the kids’ friends.
NOTHING could be further from the truth!
Mating is a selective science. Professional breeders have many dogs, there must be a serious plan to produce a QUALITY puppy. To me it is essential that I KNOW the background up to 6 generations of my parents. This not only tells me what genetic colors I am bringing out in my puppies but also a history of what planning was done to produce those ancestors. I can usually “pre” plan the size of the puppies, and the colors. Vanity makes me want my puppies to be the “prettiest” kids on the block! This means BALANCE, no short legs here, no long backs, no out of proportion heads, no bubble goldfish eyes. I want to look down and say to myself, “you are adorable” just because you are a puppy but more importantly, you will grow to be a gorgeous adult. Most buyers say, “I just want a healthy pup”. That is a fair statement since we are overpopulated with the “mom/pop” “pet store” “puppy mill” puppies that are the epitome of bad unplanned breeding resulting from an ignorance of genetic history and compounded by no thought to puppy health care.
 
Here is what I do: litters are all purposely planned. I take into account each parent and what I have seen them produce to other mates as well as a previous planned breeding. Mothers are bred and allowed to maintain their comfort zone playing with other dogs in familiar surroundings. About 3 weeks before birthing the moms are brought into the house. They are bathed, shaved and nestled into their own whelping area. The food changes as the pregnancy goes on. Just like humans, as puppies take up more space she prefers to eat less and more often. I also notice that some days’ food isn’t interesting so I am ready to “pep” it up. We also want more calories going in since the pups are taking them out as fast as she digests her food. Adding a high caloric intake is essential in the final development of the pup.
    Newborns, mom looks great—pups have a good start on life.  
 
Mothers show signs of eminent birth. Temperature charts are made to pinpoint the birthing within 24 hours. The last signs are refusal of food, throwing up, diarrhea and digging. From then on I am by her side during the day and sleeping with her at night—-the favorite time to whelp! Many moms have trouble with whelping. Sometimes they are too full of puppies to have good solid contractions, sometimes a puppy is wedged and needs maneuvering, breech is common. ALL afterbirths must be accounted for or mom will have an infection within 5 days of whelping. Once born, puppies can have their own complications; too long in the water filled sack means their lungs need suctioning. Many times moms are so tired she neglects to clean them properly or chew the cord. It is essential to be present during birthing so you won’t lose a pup in this critical time. All pups are born with the desire to suckle. Some are fine, many need help.
 
Genetics is such fun! A typical litter will have a black/white Parti solid brown, brown/white Parti, and a solid black. Like I said, “planned breeding”!
Weighing them in grams immediately following birth allows me to know who is getting milk and who is not. Most puppies are born weighing 5-9 ounces. Smaller ones don’t have the strength to hang on for long, they tire quickly and fall asleep long before they have had enough to eat. The first 24 hours are essential for colostrum and a good start in life. I am waiting with plasma, immune boosters and milk if necessary. I often tube feed a puppy it’s early meals so he will quickly gain strength and thus keep up with the rest of the puppies. I often say to my daughter Ashlee, you either get up every 2 hours the first four nights or if you miss something you will be getting up the next 4 weeks! My motto is: “every pup is born to thrive” and I work to make that happen. If I lose the battle after a month of continuous effort I have to accept that the pup had things going on that I couldn’t see. Losing a puppy is always hard on me but at least I know I did everything possible to help him survive and that helps in accepting the inevitable. Some “breeder attitudes” are, mom will know what to do and be fine so when they face dead puppies and a mess in the morning the comment is, “it wasn’t meant to be”.
I only use that phrase after I have been up all night helping her whelp, continued on with a selective few pups for weeks and then still lost one—–after ALL that effort I can honestly say, “it wasn’t meant to be”. I keep saying PUPS ARE FRAGILE—–if you don’t think that each and every day you won’t be on the alert for anything that may indicate they are in trouble. Once life is getting stronger it is time to start removing all the parasite “gifts” mom gives to her puppies! EVERY litter has a chart: I follow a strict timeline to insure every treatment is given at a time that is the least “invasive” to your small developing pup. Complete information is under the heading: HEALTH PLAN FOR YOUR PUP on this site. You might be thinking, “It is your choice” and that is true. I am committed to what I do; I am not just putting “another puppy into the world” but purposely developing the finest puppies I can. I am not just selling you a companion or a dog for the kids’; I am putting another “family member” into your home! Therein lay the difference between many and me! By now you are likely thinking, “I really should remove breeding a dog from my bucket list”!
 
CHRISTMAS GIFT PUPPIES —- WHY IT IS SUCH A BAD IDEA
 
Some “breeders” are thrilled when they have puppies that can be sold as Christmas presents. It saddens me so much I felt I had to address the issue here on this site. This “puppy shopper” conversation begins every year after Thanksgiving. I do my best to reason with moms and dads and often after explaining why such a purchase is not a good decision they quickly say, “I never thought of it that way”! Not wanting to be the ” breeder Grinch” of Christmas, I am taking this opportunity to share my reasons. I chose Oscar the Schnauzer as my example. His owner sends me photos of him from every occasion (including her recent wedding!). He is well behaved and loved by all. He CAN TAKE THE HANDLING (plus added excitement) and in fact loves it. BUT Oscar is an adult – not a pup! Eventually, your pup will also be the hit of your family functions —– but later……much later.
 
Meet: (Schnauzer) OSCAR aka “Mr Friendly Fun Time Guy”! Oscar loves any reason to dress up. He is the hit of every function BUT he always makes time for a nap. Even a “seasoned” party animal, he knows he needs to rest.
This Schnoodle pup is 8 weeks old and ready to go home. He is a big boy at 4 pounds, on his way to a mature weight of 16 pounds. HE IS STILL A BABY and 4 pounds is NOT much if he gets too much stress and becomes ill. This is why Santa & puppies as gifts are a bad mix.
 
SIMPLE PUPPY FACTS Pups take 2 weeks to develop confidence and fully settle into a new environment –and this new environment includes: ONLY the people living in the house with the pup. NOBODY else can touch the pup!
Pups stress easily——stress is serious——–with serious consequences!
Stress is caused by many things: Relocation alone is stressful, but the #1 cause is OVERHANDLING and too much excitement! This includes too much patting and the biggest culprit HOLDING/CLUTCHING/CUDDLING. These are “human” shows of “love” BUT the worst thing you can do to a newly arrived puppy. And the TWO worst times of the year for stress are THANKSGIVING & CHRISTMAS. Both dates come with abundant excitement, multiple guests and hyperactive children.
Protect your pup just as we did while raising it.
 
NO PUPPYshould be among the gifts from Santa on Christmas morning! We suggest that our pups be picked up 2 weeks BEFORE any large family gathering OR the week FOLLOWING such a gathering.
All information I share with new puppy owners comes from MY personal experience OR from those of clients. I have received phone calls on Thanksgiving evening and on Christmas day. When the call is from a client I know how the conversation will end! It always starts with—”We explained the rules to everyone”! The puppy was fabulous and running from person to person. We could see puppy enjoying everything as much as all the kids/family members were. We followed the NO holding rule. We did nothing wrong”! YET the pup is lying there, won’t eat and visibly showing signs that he/she is not well. We now have to concern ourselves with dehydration and hypoglycemia. The next thing is to find an EMERGENCY VET in your location. The visit won’t be pleasant. The room will be crowded. You will likely spend hours there and the pup may have to spend the night. The whole experience will be terrible – and costly. HOW do you think the pup will be taking all this?