Choosing a Pedigree with Health Clearances

Choosing a Pedigree with Health Clearances

When it comes to choosing a new gun dog, there are a lot of things to consider. First and foremost, you need to make sure that you are prepared for the commitment of owning a dog. A new puppy will require time, patience, and training in order to become a well-behaved member of the family. In addition, you will need to provide your new pup with plenty of exercise, socialization, and proper nutrition. Once you have decided that you are ready for the responsibility of dog ownership, it is time to start looking for the perfect puppy. When selecting a pedigree, it is important to do your research and choose a reputable breeder. A good breeder will be able to provide you with information about the parents of your puppy, as well as any health clearances or titles that they may have earned. In addition, a good breeder will be able to answer any questions that you may have about the breed. By taking the time to find a good breeder, you can be assured that you are getting a quality pup who has the best chance for a long and happy life by your side.

AKC Titles: American Kennel Club

Hunt Tests- These titles are found at the end of the dog’s registered name. For more information on AKC hunt tests, click here.

MNH: Master National Hunter

MH: Master Hunter 

SH: Senior Hunter 

JH: Junior Hunter

 Field Trials- These titles are found at the beginning of the dog’s registered name. For more information on AKC field trials, click here.

NFC: National Field Champion

NAFC: National Amateur Field Champion

FC: Field Champion

AFC: Amateur Field Champion

QAA: Qualified All Age (This is not a true title because it isn’t found on their pedigree certificate, but it is a very good indication of the dog’s talent. QAA is placed at the end of the registered name) 

UKC Titles: United Kennel Club – UKC tests are run under the Hunting Retriever Club, or more commonly referred to as, HRC tests. For more information on HRC tests, click here.

 GRHRCH: Grand Hunting Retriever Champion

HRCH: Hunting Retriever Champion

HR: Hunting Retriever

SHR: Started Hunting Retriever

UH: Upland Hunter

NAHRA Titles: North American Hunting Retriever Association – For more information on NAHRA hunt tests, click here.

 GMHRCH: Grand Master Hunting Retriever Champion

GMHR: Grand Master Hunting Retriever

MHR: Master Hunting Retriever

WR: Working Retriever

HR: Hunting Retriever

SHR: Started Hunting Retriever

 Health Clearances:

When purchasing a new pup, it is important to make sure the parents and grandparents were healthy animals. Any reputable breeder will check the health of the parents and provide the results to the puppy owners. If the parents do not have health clearances, steer clear and look for another breeder.

OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals – You’ll want to make sure that the parents and grandparents were tested for hip dysplasia! Parents who’s joints are rated “Good” or “Excellent” are ideal. Anything less, I’d steer clear. 

Side Note: My dog, Buck came from parents who were rated “Excellent” and “Good,” and he still ended up with hip dysplasia. Sometimes bad things happen, and all the research in the world can’t save you from a stroke of bad luck. 

Many breeders will do an exam for eyes, elbows etc. These clearances are a little less common but are nice to have.

EIC: Exercise Induced Collapse – This is a genetic problem which is passed down from the parents. Basically, when the dog works hard in the field, their body will shut down. The dog’s back legs give out and the dog will literally collapse in the field. 

 Here are the three designations you will see: 

EIC Clear – This means the dog is not affected by the disorder and is good to go

EIC Carrier – This means the dog carries the gene for EIC, but is not affected by the disease

EIC Affected – This dog has the disease and will have the negative effects of the disease

 Breeding an EIC Clear dog with an EIC Carrier will result in roughly half the puppies being clear and half the puppies being a carrier. Breeding a clear with a clear means the puppies will not carry the gene. Breeding an affected dog is highly unlikely, but can happen if the breeders do not check their dogs. You do not want a dog that is affected, that is why it is so important to buy from a breeder that tests their dogs. 

 CNM: Centronuclear Myopathy – This disease, plainly put, is muscular dystrophy in the canine form. 

CNM Clear – The dog is cleared from the genetic mutation

CNM Carrier – The dog carries the gene for CNM, but is not affected by the mutation

CNM Affected – The dog carries the gene and is affected by the mutation

When you purchase a dog, it is important to understand the breed and what their natural tendencies are. If you are looking for a hunting companion, make sure to purchase a puppy whose parents have been in hunting games. This will give you an indication of what your dog will be like and help ensure that you are getting the best possible match for your lifestyle.

Obedience Training is the Foundation of Retriever Training

Obedience Training is the Foundation of Retriever Training

Obedience training is one of the most important things you can do for your retriever. A well-trained dog is a pleasure to have around, and can make hunting and retrieving much easier. Labrador retrievers are particularly intelligent and eager to please, making them excellent candidates for obedience training. There are a few key commands that all gun dogs should know, such as sit, here, heel and no. With patience and consistency, most dogs can learn these commands relatively easily. In addition, it is also important to teach your dog how to retrieve downed game. This is not only useful for hunting, but can also be a fun way to exercise your dog. With a little time and effort, you can have a well-trained retriever that will listen and be the envy of your friends and family.

Sit Command

The sit command is one of the first commands that most dog owners teach their pets, and for good reason. It is a simple command that is easy to learn, and it lays the groundwork for more advanced obedience training. Sit is also an important command for safety; if your dog is sitting, they are less likely to run into traffic or chase after wildlife. In addition, the sit command can be useful when hunting with a gun dog or working with a Police K-9 unit.

No Command

The second most important command that you can teach your dog is the “No” command. This simple command can be used in a variety of situations, from keeping your dog from jumping on guests to preventing them from chewing on your furniture. The no command is an important part of obedience training, and it can help to keep your dog safe and well-behaved. In addition, the no command can be used as a corrective measure when your dog is displaying bad behavior. For example, if your dog is barking excessively, you can use the no command to quiet them down. With proper training, your dog will learn to respond to the no command quickly and effectively.

Heel Command

Gun dogs are an important part of the hunting process. Their keen sense of smell and hearing allows them to flush out game, and their obedience ensures that they will follow commands and stay close to the hunter. The heel command is one of the most important commands that a gun dog must learn. It tells the dog to stay close to the hunter’s side, making it easier to control their movements and keep them safe. Without this command, gun dogs would be much more difficult to train and manage in the field. As a result, the heel command is an essential part of gun dog training.

Here Command

The here command is one of the most important commands that you can teach your dog. Not only is it essential for obedience training, but it can also be a lifesaver. The here command tells your dog to come to you, no matter what they are doing or where they are. This means that if your dog gets off leash and starts to run away, you can call them back to you with the here command. It also comes in handy if your dog is playing too roughly with another dog or getting into something that they shouldn’t. In short, the here command is an essential part of responsible dog ownership. By teaching your dog the here command, you can help keep them safe and make sure that they always obey your commands.

Obedience is an important part of your dog’s training. It teaches them how to behave in a way that makes both you and them happy. At Bull Valley Retrievers, we specialize in obedience training for dogs of all ages and breeds. We can help you create a custom training program that will have your dog following your every command in no time. Contact us today to get started!

Table Foods That Are Not Pet Friendly

Table Foods That Are Not Pet Friendly

Table Foods That Are Not Pet Friendly or Healthy

It is possible to feed your dog “Human” food, but it is important to understand what foods to Avoid and know what not to feed your pet.

Many people think that they are doing what best for their best friend when they give them a treat from the table, etc… However, many foods the we eat are not only unhealthy for dogs, but can be dangerous.

Among other things you should avoid giving your dog the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate, Coffee or Caffeine
  • Citrus
  • Coconut or Coconut Oils
  • Grapes or Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Milk / Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Onions, Garlic or Chives
  • Undercooked Meat, Eggs or Bones
  • Salt or Salty Snack Foods
  • Xylitol
  • Yeast Dough

Check out this article form the ASPCA that give you a more detailed list and access to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number.

Problems with Doggie Day Care

Problems with Doggie Day Care

Doggie daycare is a common luxury for many dogs.  Pet owners who feel guilty that their dogs spend all day at home send their pets to what appears to be doggie heaven.  At many day cares, dogs are off-leash and allowed to play non-stop with all of their canine friends.  What could go wrong?

Unfortunately, there are many problems with this setup that well-meaning dog owners should be made aware of.  In this three part series the problems with doggy care care will be discussed.  

Training Regression
Many pet owners are surprised to find that their well-trained dogs begin to regress in their training after visits to doggy day care.  In a perfect world, obedience commands would be reinforced; however, day cares are often a free-for-all, where the supervisor’s job is simply to ensure no dogs are seriously injured.  This means that your dog is often able to get away with behaviors that would not be tolerated at home.  In fact, many of those negative behaviors are even reinforced at day care.  Since a large portion of dog training relies on consistency, doggie day cares directly contribute to training issues at home.  

Potty Training Regression
Additionally, many pet owners find that their dogs develop potty training regression as a result of doggie day care.  If your dog is accustomed to urinating on grass, it can be confusing to urinate on new surfaces, such as concrete, artificial turf, or carpeting.  Watching other dogs potty indoors can lead your pet to mimic the behavior, as well.  

Lack of Structure
If you have ever found the dog park overwhelming or anxiety-inducing due to the lack of structured play and instead a large pack of animals chasing one another, doggie day care is not for your pet.  Safe canine play requires structure and a trained eye for recognizing canine body language.  The free-for-all that is represented at most day care facilities not only creates bad habits in your pet, but results in an unsafe atmosphere.  

Limited Criteria for Enrollment
Many doggie day cares have no selection process, which can be a recipe for disaster.  Dogs with strong prey drives, resource aggression, or anxiety are given the opportunity to play in close quarters with dogs of similar personality.  When volume (and profits) are more valued than the creation of a safe and enriching atmosphere, dangerous situations such as dog fights can arise.

Poor Alternative to Socialization
Doggie day cares are typically advertised as the perfect solution to your socialization needs.  However, proper socialization requires both positive and negative reinforcement for good and bad behaviors.  At doggy day care, your pet is simply exposed to a variety of animals and situations with no correction for unwanted behaviors.  Instead of day care, structured training, dog walking, and boarding are the safer alternative to this all too common practice. 

Memory and Marking the Fall – Retriever Training

Memory and Marking the Fall – Retriever Training

Retriever Training – Tips on Memory Marking and Marking the fall

A great drill that you can perform with multiple dogs and hunting buddies is memory marking, which will be described here.  

This fun and easy drill can be performed with one or more dogs, as well as one or more friends.  To begin, throw bumpers into the water while your dog watches.  Tell your dog to heel and do not send him or her to retrieve the bumpers.

Next, take your dog(s) toward your hunting buddies, who should be tossing bumpers and shooting.  When a mark is thrown, pull your dog off the mark.  Instead, direct your dog away from that mark and towards the memory bumper, which is the bumper that was previously thrown into the water.  After one dog retrieves a memory bird, continue the drill by now steadying the first dog and making him or her sit quietly while your buddies shoo.  When you are ready, send the second dog after the memory in the water.  The more people and dogs that are involved, the better.  

This drill improves your dog’s ability to go after blinds while also creating a steady animal that honors your commands.