Redsky FAQ's

  Q.  What do the abbreviations on the site mean?
     A.  C.D. means Companion Dog Obedience Degree
          C.D.X. means Companion Dog Excellent Obedience Degree.
          U.D. means Utility Dog Obedience Degree O.T.Ch. means Obedience Trial Champion
          Ch. means Show Champion
          H.I.T. means High in Trial
          W.C. means Working Certificate for water fowl retrieving
          W.C.I. means Working Certificate Intermediate for water fowl retrieving
          W.C.X. means Working Certificate Excellent for water fowl retrieving
          Am. C.D.X. means American Companion Dog Excellent Obedience degree

  Q.  Is there any difference between getting a male or female as a pet?

     A.  It is often believed that females are more calm and gentle but, in fact, you can
          have a high powered super active rambunctious female and you can have a calm,
          laid back, low energy level male.  The only differences are physical, the male
          is taller and weighs a little more so if he does happened to be high energy he
          might more easily knock over a child.

  Q.  Is there any difference in temperament between yellows and blacks?

     A.  No, except that the field trial lines happen to have more high energy dogs
          and there are more blacks come from field lines. But, some field trial kennels
          do breed yellows, so their yellows also tend to be more high energy. Usually
          your show lines, tend to have more yellows and calmer dogs.

  Q.  Should I spay or castrate my puppy?

     A.  If a female is not going to be bred she should have her reproductive organs
          removed because the canine reproductive system triggers into a pregnant state
          whether she is bred or not and therefore if her reproductive organs aren't
          growing puppies they may instead grow bacteria [pyometra] or cancer.
          I personally don't like to see males castrated but this is a personal philosophy.
          Most vets will encourage neutering for the purpose of behaviour control and
          population control.  My feeling is that behaviours such as scent marking indoors
          and fighting should be controlled by training and roaming for indiscriminate
          reproduction should be controlled by proper housing in a fenced yard and a dog
          kennel out doors.  I feel if you need population control because you have
          unneutered females in your home, a male should be vasectomized, and can
          then introduce maiden bitches to sex in their own home at an appropriate young
          age before they get their clearances.  I feel that bitches don't look different when
          neutered but sometimes males do, they lack hard masculine musculature.

  Q.  If I plan to neuter, at what age?

     A.  I like to have all the sexual characteristics of my male well developed before
          cutting off the supply of testosterone, so would prefer the later the better for
          castration but after six months for vasectomization and spaying.

  Q.  How big should an outdoor dog run, or kennel, be?

     A.  It should be 15 to 20 feet long for a Labrador to exercise properly. Only needs
          to be about 6 feet wide, long and narrow is better for exercise. Chicken wire
          should be put on the ground and brought up along side the chain link so the dog
          can't dig out.  3/4 inch cleaned limestone should be put 3 to 4 inches deep so that,
          being cleaned limestone, it doesn't form concrete underneath to hold the urine
          smell in and you can then just hose the urine through into the ground and the
          limestone acts as a natural filtration system.  3/4 inch is big enough that the
          dog’s feet stay high and tight like a cat’s and it is also big enough that when
          you pick up the faeces you don't take a lot of rock with you.
Dog house builder - Rudy, Steinbach, phone 204-470 8033
Fencing - Mike Harras, Pioneer Fence, phone 204-694 6009

  Q.  Where should the dog kennel (or run) be placed?

     A.  Always place the run as close to the house as possible so that children can't throw
          things over into it from a neighbour's yard or back lane and neither can poison be
          thrown in.  If at all possible it should be placed along the south side of a structure
          (house, fence, or shed) to protect the dog from the cold north wind.  The closer to
          the house the run is, the more inclined you will be to use it, rather than allow him to
          run free in the yard. If you can use a fence or existing structure for one side and
          perhaps one end, it is cheaper to build.  Panels of chain link can be purchased at
          Revy, Home Depot, and Lumber companies. Remember, come summer time, some
          kind of tarp will need to be put over one end of the run for shade.

  Q.  What kind of dog house should my dog have outdoors?

     A.  A small one, just big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down, about
          the size of a crate. Then his body heat will stay close to him and keep him warm.
          If the dog house is too high, or too large, his body heat will rise away from him.
          In Canada, walls and floor should both be insulated.  If insulated and small, his
          body heat heats it enough.  No straw or bedding is required, which he may chew
          up or be allergic to. For a door covering, don't use carpet or anything else the dog
          can chew up.  Use mud flaps, like those used on semi-trailers. Heavy industrial
          rubber must taste awful as they don't chew it up.  It is heavy and falls flat against
          the door of the dog house to keep the body heat in. Cut a lower corner off so the
          dog can learn to put his nose in that lower corner and flip the mud flap up to get
          into his house.  Put the dog house on the outside of the dog run. Inside it takes
          away some exercise room and can be used to go over the top. Put door flush
          against chain link. Staple chain link to dog house around door, then cut the chain
          link out that covers the door and put the mud flap on.

  Q.  Why should I get a crate for my puppy?

     A.  Because he has a right to his own den.  His safe place.  His own place.
          A baby has his own places, his crib, his walker, his play pen, etc.  He is safe in
          there and he feels safe in there.  Safe from visitors who let him jump on them.
          Safe from children who harass him. Safe from visitors who feed him near your
          dining room table.  Safe from making house soiling errors, for which he gets
          punished.  A puppy in a crate will sleep, they need lots and lots of sleep.  If
          he doesn't get enough sleep because he is roaming and pacing in an area much
          to big for him to handle, like a kitchen, he will be over tired and hyperactive. If
          one allowed a two year old child or a four year old child to sleep where he
          wanted, i.e. in front of the T.V., that child would learn inappropriately that he
          was in control of things.  That he had no authority figure to depend on.  No
          rules he could understand. No schedules to follow. This would lead to a very
          insecure child or puppy. Schedules, rules, and authority figures, they provide
          security.  The puppy's crate provides for a schedule, a three hour nap from
          9 to noon, a three hour name from 2 to 5, (even on weekends).  The puppy's
          crate provides rules, when the door bell rings, you go in your crate, you don't
          charge the guests. When we go in our bed, you go in your crate.  The puppy's
          crate provides a sense of authority, when the boss says to go in your crate you
          have to go or they make you and you have to be quiet or there is a bad consequence
          like a water pistol.  Schedules, rules, authority, they give a puppy and a child both
          a sense of security.

          I crate also keeps a puppy from getting in trouble for things he doesn't know he
          shouldn't do, like jumping on guests, house soiling, destructive chewing and digging.
          It controls his behaviours until he is old enough to learn to think before he acts
          because there are bad consequences to things like digging holes, i.e. a can flying
          through the air, and piddling in the house, i.e. a good scruff shake with lots of yelling.

          His crate is used to teach him what dog chewables are, i.e. kongs, real bones that
          are specially treated, and nylon or gumabone products.  This way he doesn't get in
          trouble for chewing up the kids toys before he understands the difference between
          dog chewables and non chewables.

          His crate also protects him from house soiling errors because he doesn't move
          around and stimulate his bowel and bladder so he doesn't need to urinate and defecate.
          He is biologically programmed to keep the den clean so predators aren't attracted to it,
          so he will try not to pee or poop in there, without even knowing why.  This way, he
          really needs to go when he comes out so his folks know when he needs to go outside.

Crates sure do help a puppy avoid trouble!

  Q.  What size crate should I get for my puppy?

     A.  This is a difficult question, small puppy needs small crate so he doesn't move about
          and stimulate his bowel and bladder and so he can't pee and poop in one corner and
          sleep in a different corner.  But, if you get the correct size for a puppy, then it will
          be too small for an adult. Therefore, it is suggested you get a Vari 500 size for an
          adult male Lab and a Vari 400 size for an adult female Lab and you put a cooler or a
          piece of plywood in the back to make it smaller when he needs it smaller as a puppy.

  Q.  Should my puppy have a blanket in his crate?

     A.  Yes, when he hasn't soiled in his crate for three weeks.  A blanket will soak up urine
          and he can bury faeces under a blanket. Either way, he doesn't have to live with
          consequences of his ways and learn it isn't pleasant.

  Q.  Should my puppy have access to food and water at all times?

     A.  No.  Water should be provided at breakfast, lunch, supper, and 2 hours before bedtime
          (1 cup) until there are no more house soiling accidents.  Food should never be left
          accessible, as this makes a dog a very picky eater and teaches him a lie, that he is
          the great successful hunter in the territory when he gets hungry and finds the left
          over food.  Then he thinks he is the all powerful one and it is his house.  You'd
          rather that when he gets hungry he thinks, "wish the boss would come home, sure
          would be nice if the boss came home, sure am hungry, wish the boss would get
          home". That increases his bonding to you as the provider.

  Q.  What should I look for when I go to look at a litter of puppies?

     A.  The character of the parents.  Are they friendly.  Often the father won't be
          available but there is no excuse, in my opinion, for a Labrador bitch with babies
          to be snarling and growling and defensive if they are more than three days old.
          That is not typical laid back Labrador temperament, but some breeders may
          accept it as the norm in their line.  Mum should be glad to have visitors come
          to see her and her babies and the babies should be happy to come seen visitors
          if they are much beyond 3 weeks.  Puppies reluctant to approach stranger are
          not, in my opinion, exhibiting typical Labrador behaviour.  The whelping box and
          the puppies should be clean and the puppies should look fat all over, not just have
          fat little tummies on skinny bodies, as that  could be an indication of worms.  If
          they are over five weeks they should have been wormed, if they are over 7 weeks
          they should have been tattooed and immunized.  Pictures of the parents, the family
          tree [pedigree], and copies of their hip and eye clearances should be readily
          available to view on request and the sales agreement should be fully explained,
          i.e. are their any warranties and could you ever breed this dog and under what
          conditions could you breed the dog. Most ethical breeders sell on non breeding
          agreement and have stipulations for lifting the non breeding agreement, like having
          a show championship and hip and eye clearances. Some will ask for more money
          for the right to breed but I believe this is frowned on by the CKC, which developed
          the non breeding agreement to protect against indiscriminate breeding of dog of non
          reproductive quality, not so that people could be charged more for raising a dog of
          quality.  If a person has entered shows and got a championship and got clearances,
          they have paid out good money to prove the dog is of reproductive quality so, in my
          opinion, they should not be penalized for doing a good job of raising the dog by being
          charged for the right to breed their own dog. Many breeders would disagree with me here.

  Q.  What is the difference between pet quality and show quality?

     A.  That will vary with each breeder. I always say if I could tell which would make the
          best pet, i.e. the dog with the best temperament and the healthiest, with the greatest
          longevity, I would charge $1000 for the best pet quality.  Many breeders charge less
          for pet quality, assuming that a pet is of less value than a show and breeding dog.
          Therefore, many will charge more for the pup that has show potential, i.e. a wider
          head, more bone, more turn of stifle, better shoulder angles, etc.  The problem with
          this, in my opinion, is that those things don't make the dog more valuable to the
          average pet owner and in my own experience, the one I pick as the best possible
          for potential show and breeding homes often doesn't turn out to be the best as an
          adult.  The ugly duck syndrome is not unknown in purebred dogs.  So, I personally
          sell all my dogs for one price and give people breeding rights free of charge if they
          get a championship and the genetic clearances. I don't believe you can pick pet
          quality as puppies and to do so is to write off your own puppies as being less valuable
          (unless like me you consider pet quality to be of much greater value).

  Q.  Do you guarantee show quality pups?

     A.  No.  To guarantee show quality is to agree to replace a dog that has a few crooked
          teeth or where one testicle doesn't come down, or an eyelid turns in and needs a
          stitch for a week to keep it out.  I don't want my puppies going to "show people"
          who would return a puppy because it wasn't perfect enough for the show ring or
          who would be willing to place it in someone else's home as a pet and then get a
          replacement from me.  I want my puppies to go to homes where they receive
          unconditional love and are settled in as members of the family, whether they turn
          out physically perfect or not.  Therefore, I don't sell to show homes and don't
          guarantee show quality.

  Q.  Should I get two puppies so they keep each other company when we go to work?

     A.  I definitely feel that you should not do so and as a breeder would never sell
          people two litter mates.  Two puppies will bond on each other as their pack
          instead of on your family as their pack.  They will ignore you all in favour of
          play and interaction with each other, get in double the trouble and be twice
          as difficult to train.  They will not bond on family members as pack leaders.
          Instead, one of them will become the leader of their little pack.  That will
          make the leader more dominant and harder to train and the follower more
          submissive and fearful.  If you think you pup needs company.  Get him/her
          their own kitten. They will become fast friends.

  Q.  What age should my first dog be when I introduce another dog?

     A.  Around 6 to 8 years of age is good as your dog is still young enough to
          enjoy the pup but too old for the two of them to play constantly and bond
          on each other. Therefore, the younger dog will look to you for companionship
          and leadership.  Once your original dog is over 10, it becomes too difficult for
          an old dog to tolerate a youngster, and they may be unfriendly with the pup.
          This of course is only my opinion and others might suggest otherwise.
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