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Chocolate Clan Labradors

To know one is to love one


For the Love of the Chocolate Clan.

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Week 2

Posted by Pat on September 7, 2019 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

How the puppies have grown. They were little beans at the start of the week needing Momma for food, and to clean them to stimulate peeing and pooing.  It was an easy week for me in the cleaning department as Maggie did most of the work.

However, by the end of the week, as expected the pups started to walk and their eyes are now open. So walking means they have started peeing and pooing everywhere.  Maggie goes in and cleans as best she can, but with only her tongue, it leaves some stains behind.  As well the little guys don't mind peeing and pooing on each other.  Sometimes it just happens!

The pups got their first round of de-wormer.  It is a liquid formulation of Strongid. That has not helped the pooing situation.  However, we have lots of blankets and a washing machine so we are good for awhile. We did get them some collars, so hopefully that will make it easier to follow different pups, although with all the glow it may be hard to see the colors. They will only have them on under supervision as the pups are still a little small for them.

The next week is going to be exciting as we will start introducing puppy food (as a gruel mixed with formula). And depending on how fast they grow, perhaps some new expanded digs will happen too.

Week 1

Posted by Pat on August 30, 2019 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Wow, hard to believe this time last week we were in the midst of welcoming our litter into the world.  The week has whizzed by. Our number one concern for the past week is to ensure the health of our mother and litter. Maggie is once again proving to be a super mom.  We occassionally have to tell her it is okay to leave her pups to eat or go outside.  She is always ready to go for "walks" although tires easily and gets anxious quickly.

So I have been keeping track of each pup by painting a pup and weighing them daily. Then I have been putting the littlest ones on Maggie first for feeding, at least once a day. This is so by the time the litter is ready to go home, they are all about the same size.  However, I think that orange boy (Harley comes to mind) is going to be the big one no matter what we do. And it looks like Mauve girl might just stay little.  But with our girls it is hard to say as we usually have one or two bigger ones and one or two littler ones (when we have over one female pup). While the little ones eat, the other pups stay comfy and warm in the ready box (ready to go if we need to travel quickly).


Posted by Pat on August 17, 2019 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Alot of time and care goes into planning a breeding. We have to make sure our dam is healthy and still able to have a litter. We have to select a male that is healthy and has his health clearances. Once we have done that we also are looking for basic Labrador Retriever traits like ability to work and hunt. The sire for our 2019 litter, Born to Hunt Gator Man, met all our criteria. So on Monday we had an x-ray, and it looks like this time next week there might be 10 new chocolate clan members.:D (I can only see 9, Sarah saw 11, and the vet says 10!)  

For me the next week will be one of waiting anxiously to see that Maggie stays healthy and each of the pups has a chance at survival. Nothing is guaranteed, but I have the vet on speed dial in case we need some help!

Celebrating 15 years

Posted by Pat on August 3, 2019 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

There comes a time when we have to say "Goodbye". All the love, medications, massages, therapies, no longer do any good. I would like to think it is a time to celebrate all the wonderful years, but somehow my eyes swell up and my heart grows heavy. So here are some pictures to celebrate some wonderful years. 

By far the most iconic picture we have, is when Dave took Kassey out pheasant hunting in 2006. The location was prime and looked like a movie set.

Kassey in 2012, still beautiful, but starting to slow down.

Kassey in 2007, so beautiful and full of energy.

Puppy Number 8. We were tired Koko and I, and here was the sixth girl in a litter of 10. But at six weeks we knew Kassey was the most beautiful girl in the litter.

Happy 15th Birthday Kassey

Posted by Pat on July 15, 2019 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

In June, Kassey turned 15. :D It took us a lot to keep her going, as peeing and pooing in the house seems to be the norm.  Not too many people would put up with it, but we seem to be an exception.  She is doing great otherwise, except a little hard of hearing and cannot see too well. And she is on soft food now, and gets lot of different supplements and pills.  But what 90+ year old human doesn't do the same? She can still walk a mile with us, slowly, and sometimes she looses track of us and we have to go back and rescue her. But she is still eager to go.  She loves when we do ball toss at the lake, but seems to know that all she can do is splash at the edge now. If she started swimming I am not sure where she would end up...and probably take Hope with her wondering where they were off to.

Kassey got a bow to wear on her birthday.  Looking very lovely in it.

2018 Year in review

Posted by Pat on December 8, 2018 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

A litter of puppies is always years of planning, nine weeks of waiting, and eight weeks of intensity with whelping, growing pups, and finding forever homes. Then there is the aftermath. All of a sudden there is quiet.

Except for 2018. This year we had HOPE!

Hope was one of the littler, quieter pups from our 2017 litter.  It was one of the reasons we chose her. Were we wrong. To start with we baby-gated her in the kitchen. That way we got to sleep through the night for a couple of weeks....until the cats knocked Kassey's Gabapentin off the shelf and there was that emergency trip to the Animal Hospital. So after Christmas, Hope got banned from the kitchen, and began to sleep with her Grandma.  All fine except she woke us up two or three times a night to go outside.  So after Christmas we got out a kennel and tried to crate train her at night.  Afterall that was what we recommended to all our puppy families. Hah! Now Hope started developing her lungs and barked all the solution was to move her out to the garage in her crate for the night. That worked for us, as we could no longer hear her barking.

As a reward for a good job, Maggie got started on scent training in 2018. We got through the first scent, wintergreen, and got Maggie's certificate from the Sporting Detection Dogs Association. Love that scent as it reminds me of livesavers. Anyway it was a lot of fun, and Maggie was great at it. Also enjoyed participating as a volunteer at some trials. Maggie and I were just not quite ready for them.  We continued training over the summer, but this fall, I just never got organized enough to get us back into it. Maybe after Christmas.

Hope passed her level One for training at Waggles Academy for Dogs. We were not able to continue training there as they no longer let non-spayed or non-neutered canines over the age of six months attend :(. Love Waggles but that meant Hope got sent to boarding school over the summer. Kelsey Boettcher at Alberta K9 accepted the challenge of trying to make Hope into a bird dog.  After three months, Hope got sent home with the proviso, that perhaps next year, she will have matured enough to be steady enough to continue training. So Hope does at least retrieve her rubber duck and is quite good at finding it. Alas the snow came early and that curtailed duck training. So we are back to household obedience.  Somehow have come full circle, as this week Hope was back at the vet receiving charcoal for getting her Grandma's Gabapentin off the shelf and chewing up the bottle. (Hope has learned how to get out of her kennel....we don't know how....but she is back to being crated in the garage in the old metal kennel when no-one is around especially because of her second breakout. Keep on reading.)

We had some scares this past week. Grace has two large lumps in her chest, that we were afraid might be something scary. But Dr. Cindy did her magic needle aspirations, and they are both fatty lumps. Grace also got attacked a week ago by another dog. She got some bites on her muzzle, but did not need stiches. They are still healing up. But just goes to show you, that even the nicest dog can be the victim of an attack. The other scare was with Hope. Two days after the Gabapentin incident, Hope decided to get into my vitamin D. Until that moment, I had no idea that vitamin D could be toxic to dogs. So Dr. Cindy was a little more concerned about this ingestion, and blood and urine work was also done. But because we got Hope in quickly for the usual (induced vomitting and charcoal), there should be no long-term effects.  Except that the counter has now been cleared off, except for the dog bisquits:D.

Next year, we hope to go back to having a litter. Will be a lot less stressful. Ha Ha Ha.

Wrapping of the Litter

Posted by Pat on February 14, 2018 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

So the "official" Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) registrations have arrived. These are the documents that not only ensure that your dog is purebred. These are the documents that mean you can claim your dog is a Labrador Retriever. As funny as it may seem, without these papers, it is a violation of Canadian Law to call your dog purebred or any specific breed. Before we got our first dog Koko, I had no idea that it mattered. But 19 years later I know it does. It matters because it ensures that the breed maintains standards. It matters because the CKC is a group of volunteers and paid administrative staff that have a passion for dogs. It matters because it is a way to ensure that we are improving breeds and canine health. 

It is a way to track parentage and if a canine health issue is found, a way to contact owners of these dogs so that they are aware of it. For instance, there was a litter in western Canada where the males were dying from narcolepsy. They determined that this trait was sex linked on the X chromosome and all the males got their X chromosome from their Mom.  The females from the litter got an X chromosome from each parent, and the one from their father masked the disease. Only some of the girls were carriers, but for those girls, it was recommended not to breed them, as the same issue would arise in their off-spring. That's why we tested Maggie for this disease and she is not a carrier.

Registration is also a time to pick a really neat name for your Dog. We tend to name all our dogs: Mom's name, Chocolate Clan, call name. This time we thought we could try to be a bit more creative, in part because we had a second Stanley out of Maggie, so he is Chocolate Clan Lab's Stanley.  Aren't we daring.  But we also have a couple where we used our "official" CKC Kennel Name Mekokama (Me for Meg's Chocolate Clan Koko, Ko for Koko's Chocolate Clan Kassey, Ka for Kassey's Chocolate Clan Maggie, and Ma for Maggie.......but wait we named Hope Mekokoma's Bustin' with Hope). Also Rusty's name is Mekokoma's Gun Dog Rusty.

So we draw our 2017 litter to a close, knowing we will all continue to enjoy these new family members, we hope for many years to come!

Puppies are Going to their Forever Families

Posted by Pat on December 21, 2017 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

WEEk EIGHT IS HERE! It is a celebration for our Forever Families as they finally get to take their pup home.  For us it is a celebration as we know are pups are healthy and ready to go. But it is also incredible sad :( as we miss these little guys.  The thumping of feet, the squeals, and the coos as they play, these are the sounds we miss.  Even as we downsized to seven, we could tell there were fewer.

We were very excited on Monday to send our first two pups to go, all the way to Newfoundland. Tucker (blue stripes) and Stanley (teal squares) were put onto a cargo plane in Calgary and flew all the way to St. John's. We wish them and their new families well.

Also on Monday, we took down Rusty (blue paws) to his forever home in Calgary. There was to have been a big snow fall over the next few days, and it just didn't seem right to challenge Rusty's new Dad to have to come up to Lacombe two days later.  So good luck to Rusty as he becomes his Dad's new hunting buddy!

For some of you, I just want to reiterate how important it is that the pups stay with us until they are eight weeks old (at least).  As Maggie has been weaning them, she has also been playing with them and disciplining them. It just happens that the three pups that left on Monday were our biggest and/or most dominant.  Maggie had already spent time disciplining them.  So without them around she can now find some time for the rest of the clan.

I am still going to collect the pictures and videos that we captured over the past week or so and put them online.  I know you will be busy with your new pup, but you might like to see how little they used to be, and how funny they were!

Feeding and Poos

Posted by Pat on December 17, 2017 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I have been getting a few requests for information on what we are feeding the pups.  While I have posted some of this information under Puppies: Feeding Puppy, some of this information is rather general in nature.  So the following is an update as best as I can do:

Milk and kibble (birth to 4 weeks): At birth, the pups drank mother's milk.  The initial colostrum is important for protecting the pups for those first few weeks of life as they have no natural immunity of their own. However, the demands on Maggie as the pups grow was astronomical.  She was eating 12 to 16 cups of puppy food herself during that period. As such we had to ensure that the food had enough fat to ensure she had the calorie supply she needed. So we were feeding ProPlan Focus Puppy Chicken and Rice.  In the beginning, when we introduced food to the pups when they were at 2 weeks, Maggie ate most of it. We soaked the kibble and mashed it so pups did not need to chew and mostly lapped it up. As they grew and got teeth, we reduced moisture. So in the beginning, it was important to meet calorie demands of mother and pups.

Weaning and growing from 4-8 weeks: At four weeks, Maggie started to wean the pups. For those of you who visited during that period, you will quickly understand that with those sharp teeth and nails it was actually hurting her to feed the pups. It was only the great need to feed the pups and drain her teats that was keeping her going into the nursery. By this time the pups were starting to eat all the food we put out, so it was no longer necessary for it to meet Maggie's calorie demands. We changed the pups over to ProPlan Focus Large Breed Puppy. From 4 to 6 weeks, we decreased the amount of soaking and changed it to completely dry by seven weeks. We also increased the amount we were serving each time from 1/4 cup per pup to 1/2 cup per pup.  Right now we are feeding them four times a day. For most families, it will be tough to feed four times a day, and these guys are growing so fast, and eating so fast, that reducing the number of times you feed to 2 or 3 should not be an issue.

REMEMBER CLEAN WATER is essential as the pups are on dry food.

POST NURSERY (after 8 weeks): Your pups will be growing fast and playing hard so they will need food for growth and maintenance.  It is important to keep them on puppy food for at least the first 12 months of their lives. Puppy food has the right balance of fat and nutrients, so the pups have energy to grow and play.  But it is at a rate that allows their bones to form in a balanced manner.  We want them to have healthy bones and the right conformation to prevent early injuries, especially to those back knees. Torn ACL's is one of the most common injuries to large breed dogs. You can help to prevent it using three strategies: don't spay or neuter your animal too early (12 to 18 months at the earliest); do feed a good or high quality dog food with the right balance of protein and fat; don't do high impact training or playing until your pup is 12 to 18 months old.  The later does not mean you cannot play with, or train, your pup. Just do it all in moderation.  

Weird stuff: These are lab pups and will put anything and everything in their mouthes.  So be careful what is left around for them to get into. Garbage is going to be a BIG attraction for them, so until you get them trained be sure it is not available to them to get into. Right now the pups are chewing on the walls, the carpet, the plastic and the paper that is down to protect the floors. So if you find some interesting things in their first poos don't be surprised.  Those little strings are OUR CARPET! As well since it has been nice out, the outside area has some plant material that they are eating.  So there may be a leaf or two for that first day or so. Do look at your pups poo. It should be solid but not too hard.  If it is hard then your pup may need more access to WATER. If it is too soft then your pup may have eaten something it should not have.  If it is diarhrea, watch closely, as your pup may have picked up a parasite.

The Puppies go to the Vet

Posted by Pat on December 13, 2017 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Besides turning 6 weeks old last week, our puppies also went to the vet, and Dr. Cindy Nowle checked them out.  Please see Day 42 for pictures of the puppies at the vet.

So when I send the puppies to their "forever homes", I will be sending them with a portofolio from our "Lacombe Veterinary Centre". It will include their Health Record as well as lots of information about your puppy, medical insurance, spaying/neutering, etc. 

When it comes to the health record you will find your pup's microchip number on the front page.  Don't loose this, as this is how you find your pup if he/she should ever get lost and found by someone else. So at six weeks on December 6, 2017, our pups got their first shot that included distemper, hepatitis (CAV-2), parainfluenza, and parvoviris using Vanguard Plus 5. To be effective the pups need their next booster shot before they are 12 weeks (3 months) old. At that time they will also be old enough for their first rabies shots.  So while the little guys and gals have started their innoculation journey, it has just begun. So exposure to other dogs that may not have their shots is not recommended: so for now avoid spots where lots of dogs congregate, including dog parks, post office boxes, and hydrant poles.

We had dewormed the pups at two and four weeks with strongid, so on December 7 we moved to Hearguard that has a larger spectrum.  We will repeat the Heartguard on December 21. The pups were also weighed, had their temperatures taken, their lungs and hearts checked.  They were all clear. Also Dr. Cindy felt no hernias and all their joints seemed to be working freely.  The boys all had two testicles. 

While the pups were clear of any ear mites, when daughter Sarah came home on Saturday she brought Grace (Maggie's sister) and two kittens home with her.  We took the kittens in for their first shots on Monday, and discovered they had ear mites.  So when we checked, Grace has them too. So everyone got treated with Revolution: kittens, Grace, Maggie, Kassey, and the ten pups.  It was quite the process as each pup had to be separated from the others and Maggie for at least a half hour to allow the solution to dry. We do not believe there was any transmission of mites to the pups, but when you take them for their first vet check up you may want to mention it.  The earliest you would re-treat is one month from December 11. We are not going to retreat Maggie or Kassey or Miss Silver, but are going to retreat Grace and the kittens (Monster and Cali). Revolution is a selmectin topical solution used for control of fleas, ear mites, sarcoptic mange mite, ticks, hearworm and roundworm disease.  These pups are not going to have any parasites on or in them!!!