Sunday, July 17, 2016

Slideshow: Watch the Puppies Grow!!

Last year I started using a program that lets me create a slideshow of the babies so that my customers can watch them grow. When it's all put together it is really fun to see how much the babies actually change over time.
For those of you who have read my blog and website I realize that I preach about how much time it takes for the puppies to develop, their personalities to come in, their coats to grow in, eyes to open, etc. but I still get people asking me questions about coat styles and personalities when the puppies are only a few days old, hence the reason for this latest article. I am hoping that these slideshows will help people see how the babies change over time and to realize how long it actually takes before you really see coat styles and personality come out. For those of you that already know all of this I still think the slides will put a smile on your faces :)
Here is a slideshow of a Black and Tan Male for the first 6 weeks of his life:
http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/4e44517a4e546b334e6a453d0d0a&blogview=true


Here is a slideshow of a Red Merle Female for the first 6 weeks of her life:

http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/4e44517a4e546b334e7a513d0d0a&blogview=true

Here is a slideshow of a Red Male for the first 9 weeks of his life:

http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/4e44517a4e546b334f54493d0d0a&blogview=true

Here is a slideshow of a Chocolate Merle Female for the first 11 weeks of her life:
http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/4e44517a4e546b344d54553d0d0a&blogview=true

Here is a slideshow of a Buff Male for the first 5 weeks of his life:
http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/4e44517a4e546b344d6a453d0d0a&blogview=true

Here is a slideshow of a Sable Female for the first 6 weeks of her life:
http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/4e44517a4e546b344d7a493d0d0a&blogview=true

Here is a slideshow of a Black Male w/a White chest for the first 6 weeks of his life:
http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/4e44517a4e546b344e44453d0d0a&blogview=true

I hope all of these pictures have helped everyone see how the puppies change over time. One of the things that I really want to stress is that the babies simply need time to grow before I can tell you what their personalities are like, what their coat styles will be, and what color eyes they will have. I know I've already said this a million times to people on the phone and posted on my website but if you are very specific in what you are looking for in terms of color, coat style, and eyes please wait and let the babies grow before you adopt one! Even though I am the breeder, own the parents, and have lots of experience with this, I am still human and am not able to predict exactly what a newborn puppy will look like as an adult. Just like human children, baby puppies take time to develop and grow, so at 2 days old or even 2 weeks old I cannot tell you what style of coat they will have or what their personality is like. One of the neat things about Cockapoos is that they can have three different coat styles: super curly similar to a Poodle, smooth and flat similar to a Cocker Spaniel, and a fluffy wave that is a good mix of both parent breeds. The look that a Cockapoo puppy will take on all depends on genetics and which relative they take after more. In human terms think of two people having a baby, the child can look more like their mother, more like their father, or closely resemble a grandparent, all based on genetics. Cockapoos are the same way and nothing is ever guaranteed when you are 'mixing' a breed, sometimes I will get babies that have the color and look of their direct parents, other times I will get puppies that have the color and look of a grandparent.  As you've seen in the pictures above, coat styles take several weeks to develop and even at 7 or 8 weeks when a puppy goes home they will still continue to grow and change.
 The last thing I want is someone to have buyer's remorse because they picked out a puppy at a young age and they didn't turn out to have the type of style the family was looking for. If you are very specific in what you are looking for please let me know that and feel free to ask questions to be sure you are getting what you want. I will try to answer your questions as best as possible but remember this is a two way street, you need to do your research on the breed and make sure you realize what Cockapoos are all about and make sure you are ready for the responsibility of a dog. I have tons of information on my website and blog and I encourage you to read it over and do some additional research online, through friends, ask a vet, ask a trainer, etc. to make sure you are fully educated on the breed.  It's very important to me that my puppies go to forever homes and are not loved simply based on their coat styles or eye color.
Deposits to reserve a puppy are non-refundable so before placing one please be sure that you are 100% sure you want the puppy you are reserving. If you put down a deposit on a puppy and later change your mind you don't get a refund.



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How We Ship our Cockapoo Puppies

I am a licensed Cockapoo breeder so I am able to ship my puppies to families living throughout the United States. Quite often I have families from out of state adopt puppies from me and sometimes they are so far away that shipping them via airplane is the only option. Some people are totally fine about having their puppy travel this way while other people get really nervous about it so I thought I'd write this post to help answer some common questions and better explain the shipping process.


When I ship a puppy they need to be a minimum of 8 weeks old, that is the legal age that they can fly, so I usually plan their trip on or around the date they are old enough. I ship out of Appleton, Wisconsin, it is a little over an hour away from us, and I use Delta or United Airlines for my flights. When someone calls me about the cost of shipping a puppy I give them a standard price that includes the cost of the flight, crate, and health certificate. The crate that the puppy comes home with is a travel crate only, it is not to be used for training purposes. A health certificate is required to ship a puppy and I take care of that when the puppy is examined by my vet. Delta only allows a puppy's flight to be booked 13 days in advance, United does not have a time restriction, as soon as a puppy is adopted I can call and arrange a flight with them, so I usually look up a flight schedule with both airlines, discuss it with the adopting family, and when we have one picked out I will call as soon as I can to arrange the flight and then email the details over to the receiving family. I am very picky about how long a puppy is traveling so I always aim to get the shortest flight that I can. Unless you are receiving your puppy in Detroit, Minneapolis, or Atlanta they will have a flight with a layover, the only direct flights out of Appleton are in the cities I just mentioned. Unless your puppy is traveling late at night and there is a time/date change, your puppy will arrive the same day that they leave.
When arranging a flight I ask that the receiving family give me two International Airport options to choose from and I will try to book the flight for the airport that they prefer, but will ultimately choose the one with the shortest flight option. Some airports are too small and do not take pets so I always ask for larger airport options to ship to. I always try to get the shortest layover possible and Delta does offer what they call a 'DASH' service where, for an extra fee, you can get better flight options with shorter layovers. United is more expensive than Delta but one benefit to them is that they already have shorter layovers than Delta and do not charge extra fees based on the travel times. Some people are not willing to pay for the Delta 'dash' service or the extra cost to ship with United so I book the shortest option available no matter what service I am using and I do not book puppies on flights with double connections. Occasionally I will call to arrange a flight and find out that particular airports only offer the 'dash' service for pets so the cost is higher. If I become aware of a price change I will contact the family first to ask if they are okay with the change, and if they are not, we will then look for a different airport to ship their puppy to.
One downfall with using Delta is that I have found them to be ‘money hungry!’ Quite often I will call to book a flight and, surprise, they have created another policy on shipping that requires more money. This just recently happened to me, I called to book a 7am flight and was told that any flights up until 7am are now automatically priced as ‘dash’ because the airport is very busy in the morning. “Dash” is supposed to provide a shorter layover, hence the higher price, but this is not the case in the early morning flights, the flight I called to book had a 3 hour layover and I was still charged an extra $130 for the flight simply based on its time. I have not had these types of issues with United and I must admit that I prefer using them when possible.

Once the flight is booked I will email the receiving family the flight details, directions on where to pick up the puppy, and also a tracking # so that they can watch the flight status online. I ask that all families who are having their puppies shipped keep a free schedule for the day that they are receiving their puppy, be open to traveling to an airport a little farther away if necessary, and realize that their puppy may be arriving later at night or on a more expensive flight if I have to avoid warm temperatures or make travel changes.




 Delta has a lot of rules for shipping a puppy, often times I've had families look up flight schedules online and question why I am not using one flight versus another and, trust me, it's not that simple! Not every flight you see posted online is 'pet friendly.' For their lowest priced flights Delta requires that the layover time be a minimum of two hours, so if you see a flight listed with a layover time of less than two hours they will charge you extra, what they call a 'dash' flight. If you see a layover time of less than one hour they do not allow you to book it for a puppy. Delta requires that pets be checked in 2 hours in advance for flights.  When shipping I have to allow time to drive to the airport, wait in line, do the actual check in paperwork, and have everything done before that two hour mark. They now have it set up so that if you arrive late, or the attendant is slow, and you don't have the puppy checked in by that 2 hour mark they will lock you out of the system and deny the flight! The Delta desk in Appleton does not open until 4:30 a.m. so with their 2 hour check in rule it limits the use of early morning flights that they may have available, for example I cannot book a puppy onto a 5:30am flight because the desk is not open 2 hour in advance for me to get them checked in on time. There is a lot more involved in the process so that's why I always tell people to let me handle the research on the flights.
On the day of the flight I have to arrive 2.5 to 3 hours early to the airport to check in the puppy, fill out the paperwork, and pay for their plane ticket. After the puppies are all checked in and the paperwork is done I then email the family to let them know their puppy is checked in and ready to go. If there is ever a delay or cancellation I keep in touch with the receiving family so everyone knows when to expect their puppy. Both airlines are really good about shipping puppies but occasionally there will be a flight change, delay, or cancellation and I just ask the family to stay in touch with me throughout the day and check their emails. Both airlines also have a really nice option on their websites where you can track the flights and check on status of your puppy the entire time that they are traveling.

Pro’s of using Delta: Their standard flights are cheaper than United, but do have longer layovers- a minimum of two hours.

Delta ships to more locations.
They do offer a “Dash” service that is more expensive but has a shorter layover, less than two hours, minimum of one hour.
The Con’s of using Delta: Per Delta's restrictions it has to be a minimum of 10 degrees and maximum of 85 degrees outside, at all stops, to ship a puppy. If it is too hot or too cold in any place that the puppy is traveling to I may need to reschedule the flight either for a later time, different day, on a different flight, or with a different airline to avoid temperature issues.  Detroit and Minneapolis are two of the layover cities that Delta uses and they get quite cold in Winter which can also really limit the flight options because if either city is going to be less than 10 degrees on the day of shipping the flight will be cancelled. In Winter if I have to use Delta I look for flights that have a layover in Atlanta to avoid having problems with temperatures but if the layover is less than 2 hours they will of course charge you more for the 'dash' flight.
Changing flights sometimes results in having to use what Delta calls their 'dash' flights and this results in a higher cost for shipping your puppy because Delta charges more for the flights with shorter layovers, if this happens I will always ask the receiving family first to make sure they are ok with spending the extra money. If they are not okay with spending the extra money then I may need to explore other airport options.
Delta’s policies change on a regular basis and that generally means that they are going to find one more way to charge you extra money. I have found in recent years that they are shortening their layover times so that you are either limited on what flights you can put puppies on otherwise you will be forced to pay their ‘dash prices.’
I cannot book a flight with them until 13 days in advance which gives us all less time to plan.
Pro’s of using United: United does not have the temperature restrictions that Delta has because all of the airports they ship to, except Salt Lake City, participate in the Summer Cooling Program so during the Summer months this is very beneficial if it is hot and I am having issues shipping with Delta. They also do not have temperature restrictions in Winter (unless the weather is really bad) so I prefer to use them for shipping puppies in the colder months.
Their layovers are shorter than Delta’s, and even with them being a bit more expensive than Delta, they are still cheaper than Delta’s Dash service. Most flights that I have booked with them have layovers of less than two hours where Delta's are a minimum of two hours.
I can book flights way farther in advance with them than I can with Delta and that gives everyone way more time to plan things out.
Con’s of using United: They are a little more expensive than Delta, but to me, this really isn’t a true ‘con’ because they have better layover times and I personally don’t want my puppies sitting in an airport for long amounts of time.
They don’t ship to as many places as Delta.
 Because of all of the above I ask that everyone keep a free schedule on the day they are receiving their puppy just in case there are temperature issues or changes in flights. I realize it may not be the most convenient to pick up a puppy late at night or to have to pay a higher fee but sometimes I don't have a choice if it is too hot or too cold- the weather and flight changes are the two major things I cannot control in this process. Just to clarify: the temperature restrictions are set up because the airline does not want to expose your pet to extreme hot or cold while they are being transported from the plane to the airport. While traveling inside the plane they are always in an area where it is either heated or cooled depending on the season.

When a family picks up their puppy at the airport everything will be prepaid by me, they will simply have to show their I.D., sign some paperwork and take their puppy home. The puppy will arrive to them in their travel crate and there will be an envelope attached to the top of that crate that contains all of the necessary paperwork including a copy of their health guarantee and the puppy's health records, etc. I greatly appreciate it when they notify me that they have received their puppy as I do watch their flight status online to be sure everything is going o.k.


For families living in Canada the airlines no longer offer shipping puppies to Canadian Airports. I realize this is inconvenient, but we have found a solution, and that requires anyone living in Canada to pick their puppy up at the nearest U.S. airport and drive them across the border. It is totally legal, we do it all the time, and the only additional requirement is an International Health Certificate which you will need when crossing the border. So, if you live in Canada and are willing to drive a bit, please do not hesitate to contact me about getting a puppy.


Quite often I have families ask me if it is traumatic or dangerous to ship a puppy. Honestly, it can be a long day, but I do not think that it is dangerous or something to get really nervous about. I am picky about the flights I choose, I will not ship in dangerous weather, and I will not ship a puppy if I do not feel they are ready for it. Over and over again I have had families who have had their puppies shipped contact me and tell me that they were way more nervous about it than they should have been and that the entire process was much easier than they had thought it would be.
If you live far away from us and are nervous about shipping a puppy you may want to consider flying here to pick up your puppy. We have had several families fly to Wisconsin, pick up their puppy, and fly home with them. When traveling with a puppy they are allowed to ride in the passenger area of the plane with you but must be placed in a crate below the seat in front of you. I personally have done both, I have had purchased puppies shipped to me and I have also flown out of state to pick up and take back a puppy home with me, either way works out fine but I personally prefer to have them shipped to me.











I hope this helps better explain things and if you have any additional questions about shipping a puppy please contact me.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Visiting our Cockapoo Puppies

Happy 2016 to everyone, I hope you have a wonderful New Year!
I received an email the other day from a prospective buyer who asked if her family could come over to see my dogs before they put down a deposit to reserve one. She explained that her husband has never seen a Cockapoo and they thought it was a good idea to come and check one out first. I get requests for visits all the time from people for various reasons and over the years I have learned that I can allow some visits but there have to be some established rules so that everyone is on the same page and knows where I am coming from. Before I started writing this blog post I got online and read a few forums where other breeders brought up the topic of allowing visits and here is what one lady wrote to get the conversation started:


What are the arguments for and against a breeder allowing a prospective buyer to visit their kennel? If you're a breeder, would you allow it? If you're a buyer, would you expect it?
I hope this doesn't turn into a contentious topic, because I think there are good arguments to be made for both sides. A breeder recently told a friend that, no, she doesn't allow it because of the risk of introducing disease to her kennel. She doesn't know what dogs the prospective buyer has been around, and she refuses to take the chance.
On the flip side, how does a prospective buyer know if they're buying from a puppy mill or not without seeing the facilities?
No wrong answer here. I'd just like to see what people think.



I thought she wrote the questions very well because I am aware that there are very different ways to address this topic, both from the buyer's and seller's perspective.

Here are some of the answers that other people replied with:


1.) I am a breeder, I don't have a kennel, but I feel that people need to see where their puppies are coming from, as soon as my puppies get their first shot I allow prospective parents to visit with me and the pups, i keep the pups in an enclosed pen with mesh so they can see the puppies and watch them interact with each other. I feel is important for me to get to meet them in person and ask questions that we both have about the dogs.

2.) I do not allow it. I am not a commercial breeder with a "facility" or a "kennel"...this is my home, and I do not allow tours of my home any more than you would allow strangers into your home for tours. I have experienced people bringing parvo into my home when I USED to allow the buyers to come visit with puppies and walk around. There is not only a real and present danger from diseases being spread all over your property on shoes that have walked goodness knows where, there are personal safety issues! People come to case out your home, what you have, where it is located, and by questions asked, they can even determine who is home and when! THEY STEAL THESE DOGS RIGHT OUT OF YOUR ARMS!! They would have NO qualms doing home invasion and taking your dogs from your home! I establish a "close" relationship with my buyers and they can tell from the application interview, my visits with them, my relationship with my buyers - prepurchase, during purchase, and on going after purchase for the life of that baby, as well as what my babies look like, this is not a puppy mill operation. I only have 2-3 litters per year, I own the parents, and my babies are usually sold before they are born! Most (80%+)of my parents are referrals or repeat parents, back for a sibling for the baby they already have...my reputation is solid and I work VERY hard to maintain it. I will not jeopardize my safety, my family's safety, or the health and safety of any of my dogs, by allowing "facility tours"....I will stop breeding before I do that again! PARVO IS ALIVE AND WELL AND EVERY WHERE.....BUT NOT ON MY PROPERTY!!!!


3.) I hope breeders who are concerned about allowing strangers into their homes, get to know the people well enough and have plenty of references so that they are not "strangers". You wouldn't want to sell a puppy to someone who you didn't trust enough to have in your home. Also, there are precautions you can take so that the clients are not spreading disease. I know one breeder who makes people take off their shoes and wash their hands before they can touch a puppy. This is one of the best ways pet buyers can stop supporting puppy mills, if a breeder wouldn’t let me see her home, I’d guess she had something to hide, I might be wrong, but I wouldn’t take a chance. Closing down puppy mills should be a priority for all of us, pet owners and breeders alike.


4.) I would have to be able to see where my pup was born. I have to know what that person really feels about their dogs & one way to tell is to see the facilities with precautions taken to protect the dogs.


5.) My "parents" do come after the puppy is 10 weeks old and can see the babies, but they do not walk around my home. They come into my front room and that is as far as we go....since my home is an "open concept" style, they can see 4 rooms from their place in the dining room....but when people call and want to come see puppies that are available, no I do not do that at all. We have a relationship very well established before anyone comes to the house! When they enter the house, they walk on rugs that have been saturated with Virkon.


I thought everyone's answers were really good because they both addressed the goal of a breeder trying to keep their animals safe and healthy but also brought up the fact that some buyer's feel the need to see a place before they buy an animal to be sure that they are not supporting a puppy mill or bad breeder.
I have decided not to show the puppies before they are ready to go home for a number of reasons that I will explain. The majority of my customers have either adopted from me before, have met someone that has a puppy from me, or have spent lots of time on my website checking me out to be sure I am the right person to deal with so lots of them do not find it necessary for them to come over before their puppy is ready for home. Once in awhile I will have someone contact me that feels it is necessary to visit before they adopt and I can understand that so I have some set rules in place to help keep my animals safe. I do not allow visits before the puppies are vaccinated and ready to go home. I am sure the reason for this is obvious but some people don't understand how easy it is to come over to my house and get my puppies sick simply by having germs like the Parvo Virus on your hands, clothes, or shoes.
(What is Parvo: http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/parvo-parvovirus-dogs)
A young puppy does not have an established immune system so therefore it is vital that they are vaccinated, and to let that vaccine have some time to kick in, before you expose them to strange people, places, and things. I would be absolutely devastated if someone accidentally came to my house and made my puppies sick. So if someone wants to meet my puppies they first need to be vaccinated and ready to go home.
I do not allow visits if you are simply browsing and have visited other breeders that day. Please do not feel that it is a good idea to take a day to tour breeders to pick out a puppy or find a breed that you may possibly interested in, this is just asking for trouble in the form of potentially spreading diseases. I have had several people call me when they are 'in the area' looking at puppies and I absolutely will not let them come over! When visiting multiple breeders in one day you can pick up germs from one persons puppy and then accidentally spread them to the next persons puppy and cause major problems all around. If you call a breeder and they ask if you have visited another kennel that day or have plans to please be honest with them!
I work from home, live on a farm, and do not give people tours. If you do set up an appointment to visit my puppies you will be limited to one room I call the 'puppy playroom' where you can see and interact with only the puppies who are vaccinated and available for adoption. This is not because I have anything to hide, it is because I want to limit your exposure to my animals and once you have left I can thoroughly sterilize everything you have come into contact with. I've had people come over and ask to see my newborn puppies or want to walk around my farm and meet all of my puppy parents, etc. and that is just not going to happen. Again, it's not because I have things to hide, it's because I want to keep my animals safe. Also please keep in mind that this is where I raise my puppies but it's also my personal home and think how you would feel if someone came over to your house and wanted to take a tour. This is my business but I do deserve a level of privacy as well.
If all of my puppies are sold I do not make appointments to show them. Sometimes someone will call and want to come over to meet a Cockapoo before they buy one. I understand that if you are not familiar with a breed you will want to spend some time with one but I do not show puppies that are sold. Again, this is due to me wanting to protect them from potential germs and also potential harm. Once a puppy has been adopted they live at my home until they are old enough to leave, but are technically not my dogs anymore. If someone came over and spread a disease or accidentally hurt a puppy that was already sold I would be held responsible since I am the one raising and selling them.
Because of my rules it may be hard to view my puppies before they are adopted. It is pretty common for me to have a waiting list for puppies so they are sold as soon as they are born, or if I do post them online they are often sold before they are old enough to be shown. I realize this may be frustrating for someone who finds it necessary to see them before they buy them but I am not willing to jeopardize their health and my business for a showing. If you are interested in a Cockapoo but have not seen one or have not had any experience with one I would suggest asking around to see if you know of anyone who has one, or even find a friend of a friend who may have one that you can spend some time with. Maybe even call a vet or boarding facility in your area to see if there are customers who would be willing to let you meet their puppy.
Once in awhile I will have someone with allergies contact me to see if they can come over and see if they are allergic to my dogs- this is the last place to do such a thing! I live on a farm and I have cats, dogs, horses, cattle, chickens, guinea hens, peacocks, and peahens (at the moment, who knows what's next to arrive :) All of these animals means that there are all different kinds of fur, hair, and dander floating around so this place is a nightmare for those who have allergies.
Last but not least I've had families reserve a puppy several weeks before they are ready to go home and they request a visit before pick up day. I ask that you respect our policies on wanting to keep them as healthy as possible and wait until the babies are ready to be picked up. I really try hard to keep everyone safe and healthy and ask that you respect and understand that. Please do not be offended if I say no, it's my duty to be a good breeder and I have to do things as I see fit. On top of all of that I sometimes just don't have the time to entertain lots of visits. Taking care of the puppies, managing customers and my business as well as taking care of this farm keeps me on my toes so sometimes my schedule is just too busy. I only allow visits by appointment, I have set hours and I take Sundays off so that my family and I have one day to ourselves to catch up on all the things we didn't get done that week.
Rest assured, I am not a puppy mill, my family and I work really hard to raise our puppies the right way and that means that we won't always be willing to say 'yes' to all of our customers requests.