DIY fencing is fine, but again, if you want it done right, just call Ed at Top Dog Fence. I called Ed first about four years ago after finding the break in the wire and trying to repair it. It was JUST TOOOOOO MUCH to contemplate. Top Dog came out, and in just a few hours, they installed the wire around the entire property, including under the black top at the head of the driveway and back across the driveway to the control panel. They installed it in cleared grassy places and in deep woods. They marked it with orange and white flags, and then they trained the two big dogs to it. It was easy. And they have never crossed the barrier or gone into the street since it was installed!
I was reminded of the need for fencing when I found Chestnut, one of our youngest RedTeddies, out of the puppy play yard once again. I was certain I had put her in, and all the gates were closed, yet there she was, at the front door, or playing with Sara and Sparky in the big yard…
Chestnut is a Moyen, or small Standard Poodle. But we are not a Standard Poodle breeder. We are a Miniature and Toy Poodle breeder. Have you ever had a breeder tell you, “I just cannot believe how small this little puppy is,” when they are talking about a Poodle whose ancestry is no doubt part dinosaur? And you believe them? If you ever hear this, or anything like it, just remember that all size is relative, and a small Standard Poodle is still likely going to be able to jump over a four-foot fence. Without a problem. Not like Leo, the Miniature exceptional climbing monkey Poodle. A Standard can do this just by reaching up, elegantly, and suddenly without any effort, finding herself on the outside of the fence. Now what do I do?
Chestnut is a gorgeous and HUGE (and still growing) red AKC Poodle for whom we almost but not quite re-mortgaged the house. But she can easily defeat the fence! Just two choices, maybe more but we could only think of two choices: increase the height of all our fences, or call back Ed at Top Dog Fence. So that’s what we did: we used the phone because it was much easier than engineering acres of taller fencing.
Ed was brilliant. He signaled the presence of the fence with orange flags all along the perimeter, and then trained both Chestnut, and the RedTeddy staff, how to stay safely inside our invisible property boundary. Ed has a patient and caring way with dogs. He talks to them like equals, simply reminding them that there is something to avoid on the fence line. He starts with a tone, not a shock, and traipses all over, back and forth, reinforcing the boundary for Chestnut by having her approach the edge and turn back on her own. She knows there is a barrier because she sees the orange flags; this allows her to make her own decision to back away. Ed did not force her to cross the boundary or get too close and get a shock; he gently allowed her to get the idea, before she got any correction at all! Ed even used Sparky and Sara to help train Chestnut. Afterwards, we worked with her every day for a week. Then, Ed came back and reinforced the training for both humans and Chestnut: PROBLEM SOLVED!
We are still working with Chestnut, slowly expanding the areas that are free to her, and Ed will come back anytime we need him. Top Dog Fence also sells high quality collars and batteries. The original collars for Sara and Sparky are still going strong after over ten years!
Our Poodles are home bodies for the most part. They love hanging out with their people. If they are outside without a person, they really do not tend to wander off. (But we have fenced the acreage regardless.) So, the Poodles cannot meander into unsafe places or get near the road because of the fences. Still, bigger dogs, like Labs and big Doodles, do like to wander, and they have superior jumping powers. While a four-foot fence can stop a 20-pound Poodle (even Leo and little Bandito, who can jump over the puppy play area fence), it will not stop Sara or Sparky from getting down into our parking area. This can be a good thing because it prevents people we do not know from visiting unannounced. (It even stops some invited visitors!) But how do we keep Sparky and Sara from being hit by a car in the street?
We want the least restrictive environment for all our dogs: the bigger the dog, the larger the area needs to be. It would not be fair to force Sparky and Sara to stay in the puppy play yard all day. They need a much larger area to run and explore, to keep them intellectually-stimulated and healthy. Putting an eight-foot deer fence around the entire property would be a great idea–- but it was very expensive (and we still weren't sure it would keep them out of the road). Some kind of perimeter boundary was essential. Enter, or re-enter, as it were, the underground fence--with a twist. The twelve year old had since gone off to college (and no, playing FIFA was no longer the vocation of the eighteen year old... he has since denied saying that it was, ever. But he did, really. Honestly.) Let’s move on. Please. I needed professional help.
Time passes and now, RedTeddy is mostly Poodles, but not all Poodles! Somewhere along the line, we saw a Fox Red Labrador retriever, and well, we could not resist, because we are RED Teddy, and at the time, maybe a little foolish because, really, honestly, there is very little similarities between a real life Lab and a Poodle, other than they are both dogs. One is a big curious goof ball who pretends to listen but doesn’t, a stubborn counter-surfing, high-jumping, 60-pound muffin who wants to be but cannot be (due to size) a lap dog, and the other is a Poodle. But we did not know that then. We also did not realize that a Golden Doodle would most likely grow to be at least fifty pounds, no matter what the breeder tells you, even and maybe especially, if the breeder swears to you that this puppy only looks big but will never grow to be over fifteen pounds, twenty at the most. You can count on it.
Our Fox Red Labrador Retriever, Sara (Saratoga Red), and her best friend, Sparky, the Golden Doodle, actually have an important role here introducing the baby puppies to big dogs, and generally leading the pack in all kinds of fun games such as "Chase," "Catch me if you can!" and "Who's got the biggest bone?" The baby puppies play, "Lets chew on the big dogs' tails and see what happens" (nothing if it is Sara’s; a wookey howl if it is Sparky’s). Sara and Sparky keep our property relatively safe from strangers, both the human and animal kind!
Because the larger dogs can go into the big woods behind the house, Sara and Sparky have nearly eliminated the deer who used to eat our plants and bushes. The little dogs may not appreciate it, but RedTeddy humans like that there is less deer poop around for the Poodles to, um, eat. There have also been fewer skunks, raccoons, possums, and even fewer squirrels, in our big yard...but not because the big dogs don’t want them around; they love to play with fast moving critters, and it is the varmints themselves that seem less inclined to make nests where two 50-60 pound dogs and a crew of Miniature and Toy Poodles are chasing them. Apparently, that's not an appealing place to forage and raise their young!
If you are interested in underground fences, there are many different kinds to choose from. Some companies will come out and install wiring for underground fences. Others will provide a radio signal that detects a circular perimeter of a distance you can pre-select, and which is connected to a dog's collar. There are also DIY options which help you to run wire yourself and connect them to a transmitter and dog collars that you can purchase separately. These options all have pros and cons. For example, the DIY alternative might seem right for you, or not…
A long long time ago, when RedTeddy was in its infancy, before the deer fence and before the big dogs (more on them later), we were highly budget-conscious, and we thought, what’s a couple acres of wire? What's a couple acres of digging a trench? Anyone can do that! Right? What are twelve year old boys good for if not for digging acres of six inch wide trenches to bury miniscule 20 gauge wire in, right? There was some conversation at that time about child labor and whether or not it's legal nowadays.. but we did point out how one person, who does not need to be named, pays for electricity and therefore can choose not to pay for said electricity to power certain devices that exist solely to entertain certain twelve year olds who like to play FIFA 2012 (even if this twelve year old insists it is not "playing" when it is a “vocation").
The DIY version of underground fencing was just great, until it wasn’t... until I, personally, had to go out in the rain with a very long wire and cut and splice it into the buried line in segmented regions to try to figure out where the break in the tiny miniscule 20 gauge very breakable wire was... Oh, and did I mention that this was in the rain? Or maybe it was snow. Yes, snow, too.. definitely. So DIY is great for underground wire fencing unless you want it done right the first time. And unless you want help training your dogs to use it correctly, which we never really needed back then, because our dog was a Poodle and super smart, and she basically trained herself. Because we did not know how, so she had to. It worked great.
Fencing is so important, especially if, like at RedTeddy, your property is adjacent to a major road where the speed limit is 35 mph but cars and trucks fly down the hill doing closer to 50!
For the safety of our dogs, we have several layers of protection. These include an eight foot wire fence around most of the property. It's supposed to be a deer fence, but the deer didn’t get the memo!--until we got the big dogs (more on them later). The puppy play yard, with doggie doors into the kitchen, has a white picket fence around it that is reinforced with chicken wire to prevent nosy little dogs from squeezing out! One, who shall remain nameless (but whose name begins with "Band," as in Band-Aid, but without the Aid, and ends with "it," and who has a mask on like a bandit, and who is a tiny little Parti Poodle), has found other ways to defeat the fence.. He is right now being watched very very very carefully and soon will give away his secret exit--again!
OK, the puppy play yard with its nice picket fence, really does a great job of giving baby puppies a big area to play in and explore. Some of the older dogs think it is just interesting enough, too, and they have yet to dig their way out. Mostly that's because they are digging their holes several feet from the fence, apparently trying to dig first under the tomato garden bed before tunneling under the picket fence, perhaps to prevent the humans from figuring out their intent… if they are engineering a tunnel, good for them… always wanted an underground bunker…
Moving right along, safety is paramount, and our fences allow RedTeddy to keep dogs safe yet give them space to run and play. In addition to the deer fencing, we chose to line most of our property with an underground fence as an added layer that gives our larger dogs more of the freedom they need.
So, three fences and three different fenced-in areas: How do you keep your dogs safe? Leave a comment and see the next blog from RedTeddy!
Yesterday I bought a chicken coop from Agway and my son brought it home in his truck. (OK, I did think about making one, and this one though costly, is not exactly well made - it's flimsy, just sometimes its best just to buy rather than spend the time making... )
I think it is cute. More important though it needs to function here at RedTeddy and help move the pups along toward being great pets and independent confident and agile creatures. It has an upstairs and a downstairs, a ramp and the roof opens to the top chamber as well as the window, the upper chamber can be open or closed (closed at night for extra safety) so it is perfect! A nest for puppies!
These pups have graduated from the house's indoor/outdoor area and now are in the play yard full time. This should help a lot for future house breaking. They also have a lot more things to do in the play yard, so it is good for them intellectually. (Yes, I used that word for puppies. I cant think of a synonym that would exclude humans and still relate to brain development...)
Moving right along, I bought the house hoping that they would like it, but I wasn't sure if it would be a success or not. I'm happy that it is! They love it!
Last night I tucked them into the top chamber with plenty of pillows and blankets should it get cold. I was worried and yes, they did cry at first. Mommy Blaze has a big cozy dog pillow in the bottom area. The pups quickly learned to climb up and down the ramp (They are SOOO smart). I popped the pups into the upper chamber and closed all the doors after giving Blaze her bed time treat. The only downside was that Blaze growled at the other dogs outside, even though they couldn't get to her treat (it was a REALLY SPECIAL TREAT, so I had to put a tarp over it so she would not feel her treat was compromised, then she calmed down. Sparky the Doodle can go in/out of the main house all night, she is our guard dog. I know Sparky would not let a predator near the house (or evenin the yard) without sounding the alarm.
In the morning the Puppy chick family was eager to leave the coop, there weren't even any messes on the ground level!
As you can see the pups and their mom like the coop a lot! It is better than a crate because air can circulate and there are the built in zones to make it interesting, for privacy and playtime.
Next project: use the new technology to make a heated outdoor cement or ceramic floor tile pad for the coop to sit on for radiant heat, and use solar panels to power it... Any one out there who has done this - I want to do it on this small scale first before I attempt the same thing in our big dog run which I now have to repair the concrete block foundation of, well any ideas or referrals for what to use and what is good, are appreciated.
Blaze's pups just turned five weeks old. They are living in our 'little kitchen,' a 5' by 8' very small room, that truly was the kitchen for this farm house back in the day. For the last several days I have been opening the access in the doggy gate across the front and, one by one, they have taken to the road to explored the kitchen at large.
As long as the biggies, Sara the lab (read 'bull in china shop, times ten') and Sparky, or maybe just Sara, is not present (Sparky has perfect manners when it comes to tiny puppies, or maybe she isnt quite as interested as Sara. This is a very fun for the little fur balls. Today being Mother's Day, in honor of the extremely nice sunny weather we decided to give Blaze a break (not that she needs one, she can come and go with her pups as she likes) we took all seven outside to the doggy play yard.
It was immediately apparent that just being let lose in the yard was too much for their little brains to grasp, so I quickly went about establishing a new den for them to be safe in, return to and to leave from. We have three standing beds and one still has a blue tarp over a bean arch, with the base of an old dog crate in under the arch. The tarp keeps the wind out and keeps it shady, it was my thought that this would be a pleasant place for any of our canines to enjoy, though they all pretty much ignore it. So, in went the seven pups. Much better. They went about climbing in and out of the tray, with sides about 4 inches this required a ramp made from an old sign, and a pillow inside to land on loll around on.
They had a good time, and were joined by our twelve week pup Big Red (Big Red is leaving for Florida next week. Luckily her mother to be enjoys NY in the hottest parts of the year so Big Red will not suffer in the heat of Florida summers. Her name, thankfully, won't be Big Red for much longer, either.) All the pups played, got lost around the back and under the tray, got found, climbed in and out, and a few of them took off into the wild, maybe a dozen feet from the new den. Eventually they went to sleep and were carried back into their regular kitchen home.
It has been a while since I last blogged - not much to say without puppies here and no pupcam. But, finally, we have big news! RedTeddy Mini Poodle now has two more dogs!
Well, dogs is a big word, one is a Toy who is now about 1.8 pounds and 11 weeks old. The other, her half brother, is a week or two older and significantly larger, maybe 4.5 pounds. so he is probably going to end up a medium size Mini.
I've been looking for a black Mini Poodle for over a year using the AKC website as well as stud sites. No hits, except a few from other breeders who were charging over $2400 for open AKC registrations. This is not too incredible - I'm not sure what I would charge to allow someone to purchase one of ours and plan to have several litters, as I am. But, I wasn't certain the price and the puppy would be equal even with the high fee.
In the end I found a small breeder Upstate whose pups are all AKC and who also had both parents right there onsite. (My biggest concern was not to get a puppy mill puppy brought in from out of state - I want to actually see both parents.) The breeder I found has a loving home and several Poodles and Chijuajuas as well. Our agreement included the stipulation that our Leo would be available for stud for her female Mini Poodle - something Leo will appreciate, and with that the exchange was win-win even though I have to do all the pre-breeding testing for both new puppies.
Although this breeder does not do OFA nor Optigen testing, she has been breeding for a long time. Sometimes longevity and a love of the breed can stand in for expensive tests. This is not something I will ever do - all our adults are tested 'just in case.' I may be naive, but my impression of this breeder was that she is honest and caring. Therefore, I believe that her when she says her dogs have not had puppies that have gone blind or lame. I know I am am taking a risk and I will do the testing on these dogs; if they are positive for prn and/or have malformed hips or any other deformities I will not breed them. It is my hope that the history of their lines means that they are not carrying bad genes, but only time will tell.
The Optigen test can be done as soon as I receive the puppy registration documents from AKC. OFA/ hip testing will take longer but my vet will be able to tell me if she notices any potential problems.
If all goes well, the boy will breed with Tasha, and the female will breed with Chops. Chops is the son of Connie and Leo. Then we can keep pups from these litters, the darkest reds, and breed back to Turkey (Leo's dad). This is subject to change - of course, it will take years to accomplish, so for now we are just enjoying the two new little ones!
Its awfully quiet here now that the puppies have left. Tasha and Leo had a nice grooming, and are enjoying their bones in peace. Well, almost in peace - we do have a new member of the extended family, an opossum! Its been a cold winter, cold and snowy enough for normally shy animals to look for food in convenient places like my cat chow garbage can that I left on the porch. Every spring in recent memory a bluejay family has dumpster dived the kibble out of the cats bowl to supplement their nestlings diet.
More recently, Mr (or Ms) Opossum found the can, took off its lid and got right down inside with the kitty kibble. Heaven in a can! Since then he/she decided that under the front porch, with its incredible views of absolutely nothing, proximity to the endless kan-o-kibble, (location location location!) was worth the concurrent proximity to two large felines, two adult dogs and their bevy of pups.
You're no doubt thinking by now, how could I allow this - this unpardonable proximity to a wild potentially rabid beast? After all I had babies to protect!That's exactly what I thought - and acted upon. Since my veterinarian hadn't had in-depth experience with this particular marsupial rodent, the safest course of action was that Leo and Tash get rabies boosters. There was never any contact between cats, dogs, puppies, nor me and this Opossum, but just to be on the safe side. An opposums teeth and jaw appear to comprise 98% of its entire head. Not much brain but lots of teeth.
Since the first day we aw the Opossum Leo suddenly acted lame. Of course, it was the eve of his quarterly grooming, so I thought he was play-acting to get out of getting a haircut, but he turned out to have Lyme Disease. Sudden onset of lameness is often the first clue that a dog has Lyme. (I've seen it before in our 75 pound mixed breed Sasha, whom I carried from the lawn to the car, into the vet's office because she refused to stand up let alone walk. I made an emergency vet appointment, certain she had been involved in a hit and run (emergency appointment, as in TWICE the standard office visit fee). Once she had been carried in, all 75 pounds arranged comfortable at my feet in the waiting room, she got up and saunter over to one of the other patients in the clinic - a good looking male lab, to say hello. Sasha was very dog friendly...she had Lyme, not a broken leg)