Dec thru April Central California — Spring thru Summer Oregon n WA
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Website Updated: 4/7/2024

FAQ

PreQual, why am I so strict in qualifying?

From the beginning, I have been passionately concerned about the best welfare of my kids/pups/dogs. I am not an order taker. The Labrador originally was bred in a very cold and wet portion of the World, and we as humans have grown to love their kind and versatile personality but have forgotten what they originally were bred for. Hunting birds-ducks and geese. So, as we modify that to our lifestyle, I request that homes have large yards, acres of land for them to stretch out on, plenty of water areas for them to swim in and perhaps even find some mud to roll in and not a simple walk in the neighborhood or local park on a leash.

A Labrador needs room to run. If this does not work with your lifestyle, then my response is please go get a medium to small size dog or a lapdog. Why would I want you to adopt one of my kids and wish upon them to be unhappy?  Now if you live in apartment or a home with a small yard, I hope to hear you work in the great outdoors and the Labrador will be with you all day or you go out every day to a great trail head or a huge valley of grass and flowers with a pond and go for daily walks there. I don’t feel it is best to slight the Labrador for what they need. Does this fit into your lifestyle? If it doesn’t then your lifestyle needs to change or find a different breed of dog as the Labrador is not the right fit for you right now. 

Additionally, I will refer to an example of a mistake I made on who adopted Pearl. This story is on Ladies page in her section. It’s a sad story. This is a heat seeking missile on birds and due to not competing at hunt tests after 2017, I decided she needed to be at a home where she could enjoy retrieving birds for an avid hunter. I did the usual, I checked the adopter out by receiving photos of his home and yard, called the Vet that saw his past dogs and checked on his hunting membership at 3 very expensive clubs in the Northern California area. After she was home with this adopter and family, I received photos of her, as I request for photos after they go home regularly to check on their welfare as I can read a lot from a photo.

I follow up on ALL of my kids with adopters. Pearl was not happy in the photos I could tell. I started asking questions to the adopter. After the first hunting season and reviewing multiple photos of her with birds and could see that she was obviously abused, I started working on getting her back. The adopter was getting her ready for the following season for waterfowl and was tuning her up, and she broke her back. How? He never admitted how it happened. He actually pointed the finger on the Dam and Sire of her for having IVDD. I still had Levi alive at the time and got him and Star tested for it thru DNA testing. It was a brand new DNA test. Like I predicted, negative. I found multiple lies from the adopter on where the surgery was being performed etc. I then was given the option by him directly to come and retrieve her but needed to within 2 days or she would be euthanized as he had no need for her anymore as she was no longer a hunting dog for him. Friends and Animal Control helped and I got her back.

The rest of this story is in her section.  Her story and two others, Lewis and Joey are the reasons why I am strict on where one of my Labrador kids go. Yes, fortunate only 3 out of many litters of kids but I wish it was not even 3 with sad stories. I have heard from many of the Love’s Labradors adopters that they appreciate how careful I am in where they go. In my yearly travels for competing or to change locations for the seasons, I make it a point to visit many of my adopted kids. Most adopters love to show off how beautiful and well mannered their kids have grown into.

Am I present when puppies arrive with Mom?

Of course, I am there with them 24-7. Indoors in temperature control, the whelping box is next to my bed. My bed is indoors next to my desk. I do not believe in puppy kennels. 

Reservation and Deposit Process?
After we have had a 40 minute talk on the phone, I have seen the photos for where the puppy will live indoors and out and spoken with your Vet. I then email you an agreement. I allow 3 days to review and hold your spot and then expect a deposit to be received within the week. I no longer take electronic. Too many since Covid got scammed, so I request a check or cashiers check sent to me for the deposit. Plus, that provides the adopter a physical address where the puppy is located at.
Picking out the puppy?

You are reserved in order on your agreement. Puppy Pick-up Weekend at age 8 weeks, I begin at 930am with adopters coming in for puppies. I allow for 30 minutes. It really only takes that much time as we have handled all the other details prior to that day. First pick is 930, 2nd is 10…and so on and so forth both Sat and Sunday. Yes, parents and other family members available for viewing.

Weekly I send photos and Go Pro videos to the adopters. Additionally, if I have not fulfilled the order for your new kid at home between 2-3 litters, then your deposit is returned. If you come across a breeder that claims a deposit is non-returnable? This is illegal. The laws in each state are as such, if you do not receive the product, then you get your deposit back. Period

If you are not local to where I am at in Montana, California or Oregon during my seasonal travel for best temperatures for my dogs/kids/Labradors? If you are in the West, then wait for a litter that will be coming home in Nov/Dec. I am happy to meet you along the way. Or you can fly in, rent a car, and I will set you up with a crate and going home supplies for the pup. Air Travel, I will not. There have been too many accidents with the airlines in the last 5-6 yrs and tragic stories for the puppies and dogs.

How to get prepared for puppy coming home?

You travel with: at least a size 36 crate, a water bowl, distilled water, towels, blanket, paper towels, a few Kongs and a few trash bags. You have already prepared the home for arrival.

I recommend for home set-up to be a large plastic swimming pool encased with a 3 ft high wire portable pen. Add towels or shavings, a kitty litter container with crushed up alfalfa pellets (starts giving them the scent for grass) and at the door of the pen, attach a crate to it w 2 sided snaps. When I wean the pups from Mom’s from the whelping box, I have this set-up for them til they go home at 8-10 weeks of age. It trains them for different areas they are to do their duties: sleep, play and potties. Then once your Vet has given the ok to be in the yard for potties, which should be at the 5 -way shot after home, then I recommend you take the alfalfa pellets to a corner in the yard. Your kid will go potties there forever. Plus, if you travel, RV Park or Motels, having a ziplock of the alfalfa pellets with some of their old scent in there can be sprinkled out on the ground for the dogs that are finicky in where they do their business.

Additionally, how to clean for parvo and diseases? Well, first of all go to revivalanimalhealth.com. There is a library of topics you can view. Many webinars avail. I recommend for all adopters to listen to video on Parvo. Parvo is a disease the World has never gotten ahead of and won’t. I believe in the testing of the products that prevent Parvo, Canine Diseases and for the human viruses. Revival sells Virkon and Pro-Logic. I will recommend either one of them. Virkon has no scent to it. I do not believe in diluted bleach tending to all the diseases as there have been many breeders that relied on diluted bleach to sanitize and their kennels were still stricken with Parvo.

Do I train?

If I have a few non-adopted kids that reach the age 3nhalf months, I then start training them for crate, potties, in house manners and obedience. I do take on 6-12 Labs in a year for started gun dog training or pre-season hunting tune-ups for 30 days. If you desire to train your own kid, please refer to Bill Hillman Retriever Training on You Tube. He will walk you thru step by step for obedience and hunting dog training.

Do I train w treats?

No. I prefer to not have my hands licked on and looked at like it holds a piece of meat for them. When I get a dog in for training, I can always tell who has trained with treats. A Labrador is easy to train, one does not need many tools. You just need to follow along with an expert and spend the 15 minutes 2x a day and eventually, you will see the rewards of your work, plus it increases your bond and trust between you and the dog.

Do I train with a whistle?

When I am OUTSIDE I will when on a lead and asking for a sit with a short whistle or on a long lead and training on recall and will continue the whistle til the dog arrives to me. I have seen many trainers or breeders that believe they are trainers, train a dog on a whistle inside the home. OMG! How horrible it is that to feel the need to train to whistle inside a home. That hurts the ears and one would need to have a whistle around their neck at all times.

Vaccinations?

I am involved with 6 Vet teaching Universities w clinical studies for the Labrador on a regular basis. A few of them are highly regarded for Reproduction and as well, Vaccination studies. With this being said, I follow this new schedule now: age 4 and 6 weeks Neopar Parvo only, 8 weeks DP, 10 weeks 5 way, 13 weeks 10 way, 16 weeks 10 way along with Lepto and Bordatella shots, 19 weeks Bordatella booster and a Parvo only.

At age one, I do 10 way with Lepto and Bordatella. Then every 3 yrs til they die, I administer a 10 way. But every year, both Lepto and Bordatella. For heartworm, I administer Ivermectin monthly. I don’t believe in flea or tick prevention as most of the products go thru recalls after they have killed or sicken a ton of dogs. To deal with fleas I believe in Diatomaceous dirt rubbed all over them, leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse off. For ticks, I believe in cedar oil rubbed onto them, yourself and cedar chips in yards to prevent.

How to feed a puppy?

Your pup with me will have been on a puppy kibble and Nature’s Logic Beef along with a teaspoon of pumpkin, a few bites of various meats: beef, turkey, chicken and pork, a few bites of fish, a teaspoon of canned cat food. At age 8 weeks, I am feeding 4-5 x a day with each feeding about a cup per pup w a bit of pumpkin and then next feeding a bit of meat and then the next feeding a few bites of fish……I vary it. When you go home with your pup, 4 x a day is how often you feed depending on how fast the pup is growing and size.

You need to read your pup. You don’t want fast growth, but instead solid good growth. If you don’t know, you will be at the Vet office more often. As your pup matures you will feed less and by age 4 months, no more puppy kibble. And be feeding 2x a day. A young dog is unable to process in their gut one feeding a day. More than likely will gorge the one feeding and you are going to have a gut surgery down the road with your pup. Figure out in your schedule to handle the feeding 2x a day and handle the potties after. If you are unable to handle this necessary schedule, then you are unable to handle a dog now in your life.

What to feed?

With the outbreak with the Copper Toxicosis with the Labradors, it brought on a new awakening to myself on the importance of knowing what my kids are being fed. Yes, a dry kibble helps us with busy life schedules. Copper percentage is way too high in 99% of the dog kibbles and will eventually bog down the liver and later on in years your Labrador or any dog of any breed will be dealing with Copper Storage Disease. CSD, causes liver failure, once it arrives count the days of life=less than 10. Nature’s Logic and The Scoop are at 10%. Royal Canin finally removed the added synthetic copper but still do not know their percentages.

I know and support how Nature’s Logic has the copper percentages plus how they make their food. I came across Michigan State University and the leading Scientist that studies animal feed. He has done the study on dog food and how it is affecting ALL breed of dogs. If you decide to add to Nature’s Logic, go Raw or make your own dog food, I highly recommend you review on their site the process to send one portion of food along with info for age and weight of the dog overnighted to them. They will come back to you in a week via email about the nutritional level you are feeding your dog and where it needs to be. They are not going to share what kind of food to add to bring it up to the nutritional values. The cost to do this is very reasonably priced @$65.

I feed my puppies and adult Labradors the Nature’s Logic only 20% of their intake, the rest is 60% meat and I add pumpkin, fruits and veggies.

Do I crate train?

A Labrador is much like all breeds of dogs, the crate is an enclosed area much like the womb of Mom. They like the security and privacy of the space. For many of my indoor kids, I leave the door open thru the night to give them the option. I find they ALL go to sleep there instead of their dog pillow. The other older retired kids that sleep on my bed are now snobs and wouldn’t think of ever going into a crate again!

ACL tears?

Yes, a Labrador is predisposed for this. I was taught at Oregon State University many years ago in Rehab when I was going thru recovery and therapy with my Levi on his surgery done to his metacarpal. Once a pup is 8-12 months of age, I place a harness on them. I attach a human ankle weight with velcro to it around the top shoulder strap on the harness at each shoulder. I have only 1-2 weights in each ankle weight. When the Lab is out running or swimming my Labs have this on them 3 times a week. It strengthens the back strap and the top area of their hip area. With doing this, it helps to take away the spring action being so hard at their knees in the back legs. I have been doing this for my own personal Labradors for 10 yrs and have no torn ACLs since.

Male vs Female?

I love my girls as they are sweet and kind and easier at times to love on. The boys can be full of testosterone as they are aging, so to love and cuddle with them can be a challenge at times. But I adore my boys. It’s a personal preference.

Are hunting bred dogs better?

A retriever is already a hunter. It’s in their breed. Some are better than others. Are the proven hunters or competition Labradors better as breeders than others? Yes and no. Does it show they can handle the pressure when competing? Sure. But I can show you many of my kids since I no longer compete since 2017, and show how talented they are on birds but still wonderful and sweet as a companion with in-home manners.

Can I guarantee the Point?
No. No one can. You can see it as a pup when choosing a pup or you won’t see it til they are 4-6 months of age. Or you will have a flusher. I have many adopters train their Labradors to sit solidly to the shot. This then works for all bird hunting.
Testing?

I was referred by Oregon State University 10 yrs ago to have xrays reviewed by IDEXX instead of OFA for both hips and elbows. IDEXX Radiology is the preferred 2nd opinion for xray reviews for many of the Vet Teaching Universities across the USA. Yes, I have also used PennHip but in the last 4 yrs strictly run with IDEXX. They are NOT known for mistakes.

Hearts? Echo?

If I get a Dam and Sire’s Echos done, it will show they don’t have heart issues, if cleared but they can carry the DNA. Both could be carriers of a heart disease and produce 1-2 in a litter with heart issues. I seek DNA testing for this as there are then no mistakes. No DNA tests exist for this. In over 15 yrs, I have had only one with a major heart issue. Did I neuter and spay that Dam and Sire?I was not the owner of the Sire but the Dam no. I bred her to a different Sire, my Mikey, and had no puppies come up with heart issues. Many of her puppies are now 5 yrs of age.

Nature throws curve balls sometimes. I take the responsibility of breeding NOT in the blind seriously. I believe that DNA testing provides us with the truths.