Monday, June 27, 2011

How To Avoid Poorly bred Puppies.....

Before you set out to buy a Mastiff puppy, here are some important points and information to assist you in making an informed decision about your puppy. The following was written by Jan Lanz of Goldleaf mastiffs--and I think it says it all.

"Mastiff breeders are becoming more and more concerned with the large number of poorly bred puppies that are being sold to the unsuspecting puppy buyer. Many of these puppies end up having numerous health problems and poor temperaments. We have been working together and have come up with a list that we feel could be indications of an inferior bred puppy, and what you, the puppy buyer, should be aware of when searching for your new addition. These red flags are listed below.

First and foremost, NEVER purchase a puppy from a pet store. These puppies are usually raised by irresponsible backyard breeders or puppy mills and rarely have any pedigree or health information available.

You should also never buy from someone that sits in front of a store and has a box of adorable little puppies for sale. Once again, rarely does the seller have any health or pedigree information.

Listed below are some of the red flags you may want to watch for when searching for a responsible breeder.....

Lack of health testing of parents before breeding - may mention they "know their lines" and testing is unnecessary. Responsible breeders feel strongly that health testing is necessary to limit the chance of producing an unhealthy puppy. If absolutely no health testing can be verified, you should look for a puppy elsewhere.

Pedigrees that display "convenience breeding" rather than selected breeding. A dedicated breeder will have selected the two dogs they breed to produce puppies very carefully, and will be familiar with all their parents. Some indications of "convenience breeding" or puppy mill breedings are no champions, very young or old parents, and/or the breeder is unfamiliar with any of the dogs in the pedigree. Ask for a 3 generation pedigree. Beware of a breeding that may have been done from convenience or a puppy mill, rather than a thoughtful selection for the best possible puppy.

Someone that produces puppies in mass quantities and/or is breeding several different breeds of dogs at one time. This can be a tricky one.... Some very responsible breeders produce higher amounts of puppies than others breeders. They health test their dogs, take good care of them, participate in AKC events, and produce some very nice puppies. Not all responsible breeders are the same and this is where the pedigree research and a close relationship with your breeder comes into play. The goal here is to AVOID puppy mills.

Someone that can not answer breed specific questions. A responsible breeder should always be able to give you specific information about the breed, such as known health issues that are associated with that breed.

Someone that does not register their dogs with UKC (United Kennel Club, AKC (American Kennel Club) or the CKC (Canadian Kennel Club), but may use a different registry such as the Continental Kennel Club - be careful...the last two clubs mentioned use the same initials). If a breeder does not offer AKC registration, it is usually because the parents are not AKC registered and very likely came from a backyard breeder or puppy mill.

Someone that fails to ask you (the buyer) questions about your home, family, environment for the puppy, etc. A responsible breeder cares deeply for the health and happiness of the puppies they produce. Their goal is to make sure all their puppies go to a safe, secure, loving home and if they fail to ask you questions, it's a good indication that they do NOT put the well being of their puppies first. You should continue your search for a breeder that cares deeply about their puppies.

A low priced puppy is more than likely a poorly bred puppy. Responsible breeders spend large amounts of money on reproduction, health, showing, etc. There are too many expenses to list at this time, but if you see a puppy priced very low, chances are you would not be getting a quality bred puppy. Another indication is a breeder that charges a low amount and/or a "click here to pay for your puppy" on their website or allows their puppies to be purchased on credit. We feel that if a puppy must be purchased on credit, the family may not be financially secure enough to take care of unexpected medical expenses. Mastiffs are a giant breed and vet care can become very expensive in no time.

Back yard breeders and puppy mills can and do sometimes charge higher amounts for their puppies to "mask' their poor breedings. They fool people into believing that a higher priced puppy is a well bred puppy. This is not true and again, pedigree research becomes very important.

Of course, there are exceptions to the above, but we feel that this is a good place to start. Our goal is to help the puppy buyer find a responsible breeder who can provide them with a healthy, happy puppy. If we can help you or answer any of your questions, please feel free to contact us."

Jann LanzGoldleaf Mastiffs

Jan presents some very good food for thought. There is one other thought I would like to add; As a puppy buyer NEVER buy a puppy based on an emotional response.

"Oh, he just looked so sad, and he was in such an awful place!"
" I just knew he would die if I didn't take him!"
"Once I picked him up, I just could not leave him!!"

BYB and puppymillers bank on playing to your emotional responses--and your good and kind hearts. Sadly, this allows them to clear the way for their next litter of puppies. Often the buyer ends up with the heart ache of a sick and ailing puppy that often looks nothing like the breed they are suppose to represent.

You can pay up front--or you can pay later. Be an informed and educated buyer. Look for a breeder who strives to breed happy, healthy puppies from health tested parents that are good representatives of the breed.

Catie C. Arney Kiokee mastiffs Hickory, NC

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Safe Organic Pesticides

Summer is fast approaching, and for those of use who love to garden--crop pests will soon become a concern. Often we need to consider what is safe to use on our plants that will not harm our pets and family.

My approach is to do what farmers did hundreds of years ago--use one of several home remedies for removing insect infestations from my garden plants. Why use harmful chemical pesticides (yes, the very same ones that have been linked to cancerous activity) when you can use an all-natural, inexpensive, organic method to put those bugs out of your garden?

Here are a few well known and extremely effective organic pesticides for your home garden.

(1) . Soap, Orange Citrus Oil & Water

Mix 3 tablespoons (45ml) of liquid Organic Castile soap with 1 ounce (30ml) of Orange Oil to 1 Gallon of Water. Shake well. This works very well against slugs and can be sprayed directly on Aphids, ants and roaches. I use it in my dog houses for fleas. Has a pleasant smell. Keep out of the sun. Should be good for 2-3 weeks.

(2). Onion & Garlic Spray
Mince 1 organic garlic clove and 1 medium organic onion--add 1 quart of water. Let it stand one hour--strain it through some cheeze cloth. Then add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 tables spoon of liquid soap to the mix. Has a strong odor. Great to use on Tomatoes ( and Roses, too!). If stored in the refrigerator it will hold it's potency for 1 week.

(3). Neem Oil

Neem oil is the most powerful natural pesticide known to man and was highly revered by ancient Indians to ward off pests. It has an extremely bitter taste and can be use to deter your pets from chewing/eating your plants. To make a spray--take 1/2 ounce (15ml) of high quality organic neem oil and 1/2 teaspoon(2.5 ml) of mild organic liquid soap (Dr. Bronners peppermint will give it a pleasant smell) to 2 quarts of warm water. Slowly stir--add to a spray bottle and use immediately.

(4). Salt Spray

This works great on Spider mites. Mix 2 tablespoons of Crystal Salt into 1 gallon of warm water and spray on infected areas.

(5). Mineral Oil
Mix 10-30 ml of high grade mineral oil with 1 liter of water. Stir and add to a spray bottle. Works great for dehydrating insects and their eggs.

(6). Citrus Oil and/or Cayenne Pepper Mix

Another great organic pesticide for Fleas & ants. Mix 10 drops of Citrus essential oil with 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 cup of warm water. Shake well and spray in affected areas.

(7). Eucalyptus Oil

Need to shoo away flies, bees and Wasps? Simply sprinkle a few drops of Eucalyptus oil where the insects are found. Within a few minutes they will be gone.

(8). Chrysanthemum Flower Tea

Chrysanthemums hold a powerful plant chemical called component pyrethrum which invades the nervous system of insects rendering them immobile. Take 100 grams of dried flowers, place in 1 liter of water and boil the flowers for 20 minutes. Strain cool, and place in a spray bottle. This spray can be stores for up to 2 months. To enhance this spray's effectiveness, add some organic neem oil.

(9). Tobacco Spray

Tobacco spray was once a very common pesticide for killing pests, caterpillars, and aphids--it a good spray for fruit trees. Take note: it can not be used on members of the solanaceous family (tomatoes, peppers,, eggplants, etc.)

Take 1 cup of organic tobacco and mix it into 1 gallon of water, and let it set 12-24 hours. After 24 hrs, the mixture should have a light brown color--if it is very dark, add more water. Strain and place in spray bottle.

(10). Chile Pepper/Diatomaceous Earth

Grind 2 hand fulls of dry chilies into a fine powder and mix with 1 cup of diatomaceous earth. Add to 2 liters of water and let set overnight. Shake well before applying.

(11). Soap

Any soap will kill fleas. I use a cheap liquid Laundry detergent--add 1 1/2 cups to a 5-gallon bucket, and add water with a sprayer hose. As it suds and foams up--I spread out the soap foam and kennel floors, inside dog houses, on gravel , in the yard, and anywhere I think there may be a flea infestation--and them "wash" or spray it in--and let it set for 15-20 minutes. If needed, I will come later come back and wash it down with a good clear rinse. Great for sandy soil yards and gravel dog runs.

As a breeder, I do not like to use any chemicals around my puppies or my adult dogs. I have found these organic pesticides to work quite well.

Catie C. Arney Kiokee Mastiffs

Any comments can be e-mailed to me at