Thursday, December 18, 2008

Over the Counter Flea Treatment

I received this link on one of my e-mail lists and thought it was worth sharing. Please DO NOT use over the counter flea treatments such as those sold at grocery stores and pet supply stores. Please use quality products such as Frontline Plus and Advantage, which can be purchased from your veterinarian or an online retailer. These products are more expensive, but are MUCH safer for use on your dog. Read the article that I posted a link to below for more information.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We did get snow!

Well, we did get a bit of snow, but not as much as I would have liked.

Here are a couple of photos of the dogs playing.

Marcus, CH Calypso's Element Of Surprise

Lexi, Taffy, Mocha and Jasmine

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Praying For Snow

We are praying for snow!!! My poor cocker crew loves to play in the snow and we have yet to have any this year. We have snow forecasted for tonight. Hopefully, we will actually get some!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Trimming Nails

Trimming nails seems to be an activity that is universally disliked by dogs. Some English Cockers are more foot sensitive than others and those that are more foot sensitive are generally the most difficult to get to cooperate with nail trimming. It really seems a lot like people being ticklish... some are more so than others.

That said, the technique that you use for trimming nails is very important. I have several pet owners who will not trim their EC's nails as the EC will struggle too much, yet that same dog will lay quietly for me when his/her owner brings him/her to my house for a nail trim.

Some tips:

1. If you haven't tried using a dremel, give it a try. You may *love* it. My black girl, Sophie, will literally fall asleep while getting her nails dremeled. One other benefit to using the dremel is that the nail will be soft and rounded, so will not scratch hard wood floors as much and will not hurt when your dog jumps up on you or one of your guests.

2. Try to trim nails with your dog laying on his/her back in between your legs. I don't know why, but most dogs lay still for nail trimming in this position.

3. Use cookies to make the experience more positive.

4. Don't be afraid to do only one paw each day. It is not mandatory to do all four paws at once if your dog starts struggling after one paw.

5. Keep a bottle of quick stop handy to use if you accidentally cut your dog's quick. Nails bleed quite a lot, so if you do cut a quick, it may look worse than it actually is. You can get quick stop from petsmart or petco.

Here is a great website which describes how to trim your dog's nails correctly:

Here is a great You Tube video showing how to teach your dog to lay quietly for nail trimming:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Best Bully Sticks

Bully Sticks are a very popular treat at my house, however, when passing them out to eight mouths at a time, they get very expensive.

I order Bully Sticks from Very, very good quality at a very good price.

You can use the coupon code NEWF to receive 5% off your order.

I just put in an order yesterday. My dogs will be very happy when they arrive. I order a mixture of the 12" and 6" sticks... usually the thickest ones available as they last the longest.

Bully sticks are a safe and long lasting dog chew. They will give your dog some stimulation and give you some peace for an hour or two.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dog Park Trip

Yesterday, Jennifer and I took our dogs to Marymoor Dog Park. They had sooo much fun!!

I took a gazillion photos and will get them posted to my website in the next day or two, but I wanted to share this photo of our crew "sitting for a cookie" at the dog park. We practice calling the dogs in for a sit and then feeding them cookies in order to make sure we have good recalls at the dog park. Our dogs have lovely recalls as they love their dog park snacks (-:

Our trip was a huge success and I have a houseful of tired, happy dogs today. My dogs are very athletic and love the running, playing and swimming they get to do at the dog park. One of my favorite things about English Cockers is the fact that the "big dog" owners at the dog park are amazed at how athletic my little cockers are. The first reaction people usually have to my dogs is "aww, what cute little cockers." I love that about this breed. There are not many breeds that are the perfect size for snuggling on the couch, but also have the energy and athleticism of a lab or golden when playing fetch, swimming, etc.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

1st Time Outside

The puppies went outside for the first time on Saturday. They had sooo much fun. They are a very fearless group and showed no hesitation in the yard; running everywhere and checking everything out. Tails were wagging the entire time. Portia spent the afternoon in the yard with them, which she thought was great. She was working on teaching them to play wrestling games with her and also showed them how to run very fast. It was super cute.

They did, however, wear off their birthday bath playing in the dirt (-:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Puppy Bath Time

The puppies turned 6 weeks old on Thursday. They had a bath, which most of them really enjoyed. These puppies seem to like water quite a bit. They were washed in Bobbi Panter's Baby Bebe shampoo and smell like baby powder now. Great for snuggling (-:

Here are some photos of the squeaky clean pups taken just after their bath.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cute Pet Photos

Jeep Dreaming

Frasier and Friends

Jeep Swimming

Jack and Ivy

Jeep Keeping Cool

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Puppies are Growing Up!

I can't believe these puppies are already five and a half weeks old. This summer has really flown by for me. I am looking forward to the slower pace of fall and winter. I am enjoying this little group of puppies so much. They have done so well with the potty pen. They have excellent potty manners and are very clean little puppies. They do want to spend as much time as possible being held my me or by any other person they can get to pick them up (-: They love to wrestle, play with toys and, of course, eat (-:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Litter Box Training

I am attempting to litter box train my current puppies. I have tried this in the past and have never been successful as I panic when the puppies start eating the litter and go back to my old, less edible methods for puppy potty areas. I have been convinced to try again, this time introducing the litter before introducing food. So far, so good. The puppies are not using the litter, but they are not eating it either (-: I am hoping as they get older they will be more inclined to use the box and as they will be accustomed to the litter, they will hopefully not think it is food. If this works, I think it will make clean-up easier and allow me to give the puppies more space inside to play. It should also make the transition to housebreaking easier. Wish us luck!
Here is a photo of our current set-up. My plan is to replace the whelping box with the litter box when the puppies are more able to climb in and out. This is the way that other breeders I know have achieved this successfully.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Busy Day

Today I took advantage of having a puppy sitter at home and took some dogs to the dog park. They had a blast and were all super happy to get out and about after spending most of the time at home during the last few weeks. Jennifer went with her crew as well, so I had someone to talk to while the dogs played. We had a good conversation about how much we prefer English Cockers over labs (e-mail me if you want the details!) Needless to say, I love this breed!! My dogs are all so athletic, funny, friendly and they LISTEN to what I say. I know that a lot of that has more to do with the owner than with the dog, but my dogs seem so cute and sweet to me! Okay, I am probably a little bias (-:

We also dropped off our entries for the Cascade Specialty show (I can never remember to fill those out in advance) and we went to our competition obedience class in Redmond, WA. Here is a link to where we take class: I highly recommend their classes. I started a beginner competition class there four weeks ago with my black girl, Jasmine. Jennifer is also taking the class with Halo (we are car pooling) and Crissy Graf is taking the class with her red Bella daughter, Ginger. We make up half of the class and are having a lot of fun getting our youngsters started. If anyone in that area is interested in getting started in a competition class, there may still be room for you! These are ongoing classes, so week four is just the beginning. They also have pet obedience classes there and some agility and CGC classes as well.

Anyway, I left the house at noon today and didn't get back until after 10:00 PM. The dogs are all very tired, though, and a tired cocker is a good cocker!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Screening A Breeder - A guide for prospective puppy buyers.

We have puppies due here next week, so I once again have been screening potential homes and communicating with new prospective puppy parents. I find that many prospective puppy buyers do not understand the significance of the way that a puppy is raised. Knowing how much early socialization matters when considering the future temperament of the puppy, I personally find the lifestyle that a puppy is raised in extremely important.

To prospective puppy buyers!!!

Please realize that all breeders are not created equal. Some breeders care for each of their dogs as individuals, as pets, and others keep their adult dogs in kennel runs and do not bring them in to the house. Some breeders have a clean and sanitary living environment for their dogs and other do not. Some breeders have more dogs than they can care for properly. Puppies can also be raised in a wide variety of places; from a kennel in the back yard to a living room or bedroom in the house. Some breeders live in a reclusive manner and do not often take their puppies places or have visitors. Some breeders are part of the dog community and will have a lot of visitors and puppies will be handled regularly.

As a prospective puppy buyer, please attempt to do these things:

1. Read the book, Before You Get Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar. Here is a link to a site where you can download it for FREE!

2. Don't be afraid to ask breeders questions!!

3. Ask where the puppies are raised, how many dogs the breeder has, etc. Expect the breeder to also have questions for you!!

4. Expect to be allowed to visit with the puppies once they are at an appropriate age, to see where the puppies are raised and to meet the breeder's other dogs before taking your new puppy home.

5. Take the purchase of your new puppy very seriously. This is a 12-17 year commitment with an English Cocker Spaniel. Do your homework and find a puppy you will be happy with. This is not the time to save money. I promise you, if you go with a "discount" breeder and save a bit of money on the purchase price, you will later pay that and more. Yes, you can get a puppy from a breeder that does not do health testing and have him/her be super healthy with a great temperament, but you are playing a game of "beat the odds" when you buy from a breeder that does not do health testing or properly socialize their puppies. Please do not gamble with a 12-17 year "contract."

6. Think about whether the breed you have chosen is honestly a perfect match for you. This is a big commitment. Most "good" breeders will be very honest with you if they do not feel you are a good match for the breed. I, myself, have told a few prospective puppy buyers to get a stuffed animal or a goldfish instead of a puppy (-:

7. Plan to spend the eight weeks after you get your puppy socializing, socializing and more socializing. I believe birth-16 weeks in a critical age for raising a puppy you want to live with. Do NOT take a puppy home before eight weeks of age, as the birth-eight weeks stage is best spent with litter mates and with mom. Also, puppies are so fragile at this age. I cannot tell you how many friends I know who have taken home a young 6 week old puppy (not from me!!!) and had him/her end up in the veterinary hospital for an illness within a few days. Most breeders, myself included, have a hard time parting with puppies at eight weeks. Trust me, that is very young and the youngest I would take a new baby home. I will personally keep puppies until nine or ten weeks if I do not feel they are emotionally or physically mature enough to leave at eight weeks. I have the best interests of the puppy and his/her prospective family in mind when I make that decision.

8. Trust your instincts. Buy a puppy from a breeder you honestly *like.* I personally consider all of my puppy owners part of what we call our "doggie family" and I think other good breeders feel the same way. I expect puppy owners to stay in contact at least yearly and to e-mail or call with questions and to share pictures (-: I send out a Newsletter twice a year with news about my dogs and what we have been up to and I, of course, keep my website up to date. On a day when I am feeling that this hobby may not be worth it (it is expensive and time consuming!!) I will get a cute photo through e-mail from one of my pet owners that will completely cheer me up. I love puppy owners who keep in touch and share those special and cute traits about their new puppy with me. I am also here to answer questions and help with any problems or concerns you run in to while raising and training your new puppy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rally Obedience

Okay, I have now discovered youtube and it is so fun.

Here are some links to rally obedience videos meant to help you get ready for AKC Rally Obedience:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Breed Type

I have been re-reading the book Solving The Mysteries of Breed Type by Richard Beauchamp this last couple of weeks. This is a wonderful book which I really recommend to any serious breeder or person interested in breeding or judging in any breed. This book has really made me think in detail about breed type, especially what and why it is in English Cockers in particular. One main point in the book is that you must know the origins of a breed in order to really understand what and why the standard, which is the blueprint for breed type, was written the way it was. This has, of course, made me dig out my English Cocker jubilee books, which are a history of the English Cocker Spaniel in the US. I bought these books before I bred my first English Cocker litter and read them then, but I have been re-reading them now in a more thoughtful manner after reading Richard Beauchamp's book. I think, based on my reading, that many of the original English Cocker fanciers in the US would be pleased with many things about the breed in the US today and less pleased with other things such as the tremendous amount of coat that we grow on our show bred ECS now. I think that the essence of an English Cocker is found in these things: 1. Headpiece. 2. Short loin with good spring of rib. 3. As much bone as possible without being coarse. 4. Muscular body with sound movement and excellent reach and drive. 5. Cheerful, merry, tail-wagging temperament. There is much more written in our standard, of course, but it seems to me that this is what early breeders focused on and what must be focused on even now in order to get a truly good English Cocker. If you do not like to read you might enjoy attending one of our breed seminars. I have attended a couple of them and enjoyed them thoroughly. The ECSCA holds one at our National Specialty each year and generally at other shows as well. If you would like to attend one of these educational seminars, you might try contacting someone at to find out if one will be held near you. You can also order the Jubilee books and other good books through the ECSCA.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Tennis Ball Is Stuck In The Tree???

I thought this was so funny, I had to share with you. I threw the tennis ball in the yard yesterday and my dogs went running after it. When they got there, they could not find the ball.

They searched everywhere and Taffy and Jasmine decided the ball must have landed in the tree. I had plenty of time to run in to get the camera and they were still searching trying to find that ball when I came out.

The ball had not landed in the tree. It landed a foot away from my little Lexi-Lou who grabbed it and ran away as fast as she could (-:
Here is an article some of you may enjoy reading:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Choosing A Breed, Breeder and a Puppy

If you are looking for a puppy, whether for pet, show, or for performance, it can be a daunting process. There are so many things to think of. What breed should I choose? Which breeder? What color/sex? I find that many people look at one aspect of finding the right puppy, but do not consider everything they need to think about.

By far the most important step is choosing the right breed of dog for your lifestyle or family. English Cockers, and spaniels in general, are unique in their joy for life. They have certain things in common such as their need for grooming and their need to be with their owners as much of the time as possible. They are not a good choice for a family not willing to do some grooming. You can keep spaniel feathering quite short or keep it long, but either way will require regular grooming. English Cockers are not a good choice for a family looking for a low maintenance "backyard" dog that does not need a lot of attention. English Cockers love their families and want to be as close to you as possible, preferably in your lap! Most people look first for a breed that they find physically appealing, and that is a necessity as well, but after choosing some breeds you would consider, narrow your choices down by finding the breed or breeds that will be a good match in grooming requirements, personality, energy level, friendliness, etc. The dog that is a perfect match for you will not be the perfect match for everyone. English Cockers are the perfect match for Neil and I, but Neil's mom has Flat-Coated Retrievers, which we do not find especially appealing. Each person likes a different breed and that is okay!!

Once you have chosen the right breed of dog for your family, you will want to look for a breeder that is a good match for your family. You should, obviously, first look for a responsible breeder who is involved in the dog community. A responsible breeder will do health testing on their dogs, have a good understanding of the pedigrees of his/her dogs and will be involved in some type of dog activity. Breeders learn from each other, so if a breeder is not actively involved in the dog community, that breeder is not actively learning. Responsible breeders are working to preserve and improve their breed of dog, so they are always trying to learn more. Dog shows and dog activities are not only a place to exhibit your dogs, but they are also a place to meet with breeders, socialize, talk about pedigrees, see other dogs, and learn from each other!

Once you have found a few breeders within your breed that you feel are responsible, look for a particular breeder that is a good match for you and whose dogs are a good match for you. Some breeders will produce more laid back dogs, other more active dogs, some more intelligent, some easier to train, etc. Some breeders will worry more about how often you are in contact with them and others will not. I, personally, do not have the most laid back dogs within this breed as I want a sporty little spaniel that wants to do sporting dog things such as play fetch, swim, etc. I have the occasional couch potato, but most of my dogs are quite active while young. I also expect owners to stay in contact with me on at least a yearly basis. Obedience training is also important to me, as my cockers are quite intelligent and love to use their little brains. I love to see my pet owners teach their dogs tricks and take them to classes as it is a bonding experience between owner and dog. If you are a person looking for an intelligent puppy that you are willing to spend a lot of individual time with, then one of my puppies may be a good match for you. If not, you might be better off looking for a breeder who likes homes where their puppy gets to be a couch potato.

Once you have chosen a breeder, you are usually going to have a preference for a certain color or sex within your chosen breed. In English Cockers, there is an extremely wide variety of colors, so there are a lot of choices. Unfortunately, not every litter contains every color and the puppies available for pets may or may not be of the color or sex you would like. Even more than that, the puppy that is the color or sex you prefer, may not be a good match for what you would like in a puppy! In most litters, there are puppies that are more outgoing and less outgoing, more intelligent and less intelligent, more playful and less playful, higher and lower energy levels, etc. It is very important to realize that finding the right breeder and finding the right puppy for you should be more important than sex and color, unless you are willing to wait until the puppy with the right sex/color/personality becomes available. If you are very particular about finding a certain color/sex, it may take you longer to find a puppy that is a good match for your family. There is nothing wrong with being set on a particular sex/color if you are willing to take the time to find that puppy without settling for a less than responsible breeder.

If the breeder you are looking for a puppy from does not discuss your puppy as an individual with you before you take him/her home, I would be surprised. In my own puppies, I start to see distinct personality at around 6 weeks of age. I spend between the ages of 7-8 weeks choosing which puppies are show prospects and which puppies will go to pet homes. I also spend that week matching personality and activity levels of pet puppies with the right pet homes for them. Most responsible breeders do not tell a family which particular puppy they are getting from a litter until close to eight weeks of age, as most breeders are still not sure exactly which puppy they are keeping for themselves until then. If there are several blue roan boys or several red girls, etc, they may be able to tell you the color and sex, but not which exact puppy. If a breeder is letting you pick out a puppy from a photo at a few days of age, double check to make sure this breeder is a responsible breeder!!

When thinking about sex, make sure to consider personality of the particular puppy first. In English Cockers, males are generally sweeter and more loving than females, but I do think girls are smarter and easier to train in general. However, this DOES NOT hold true all the time. I have had some super smart male puppies that were extremely easy to train and I could see this at 8 weeks of age. I have also had some very sweet and loving girls that I felt were a perfect match for a family that I would previously have chosen to send a male puppy. I find that most families have a specific sex of puppy that they are looking for, but I personally would look for personality first and sex second.

Once you have chosen a breeder, be sure to take the time to visit the breeder and meet his/her dogs. Most breeders have a "family" of dogs and will have not only the dam, but some of her relatives so that you can get an idea of what the personalities of the puppies will be like. You should also see where the puppies will be raised and discuss how they will be socialized. Puppies should be raised in the hub of activity, not in a separate building. They need to be around household noises and be handled from an early age. I believe Birth-Sixteen weeks is a critical age for puppy development. The breeder will have your puppy for at least 8 of those weeks. If the breeder is willing to place a puppy with you at an age younger than eight weeks, be very careful as most responsible breeders do not send puppies home at younger than eight weeks of age.

I hope this helps you on your search for a canine member for your family! This is all just my opinion, of course, but that is what a blog is for!



Thursday, March 20, 2008


I generally buy my pet supplies online or at dog shows, where I can find better prices and also a better selection. I took one of my younger dogs to Petco this week for some socialization and was surprised to find some very nice brands of dog shampoo there. They have a SPA made for Petco brand that is really the same (just re-packaged) as the Spa Lavish shampoo/conditioner that professional groomers use. It smells heavenly! The SPA for Petco (and the Spa Lavish) line also includes a face wash that I use and really like. They also had Espree, another shampoo I have tried and liked.

Friday, February 22, 2008

An apple a day...

keeps the veterinarian away (-:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Links to English Cocker and Dog Show Websites

Here are some great sites that I have been sent links to recently and I wanted to share them with you!!
This is a GREAT site for those of you new to showing dogs. Lots of great information, although some of the links on the page are outdated and do not work. Be warned... it is a dalmation website.
Lots of great English Cocker photos and links to English Cocker sites world wide.
Watch the 2008 English Cocker video!
A Yahoo group for Northwest Dog Activities. Find a class or a fun match.
Dog Classes in Tacoma, WA.
My new favorite shampoo (after using #1 All Systems for years) is the show seasons Amino Flex shampoo. Great stuff.'s Breeder's website. See some of Wincent's relatives, including his handsome dad, Northworth Again and Again.

The photo above is of Frasier, Marcus and Taffy's litter brother. Thanks, Cori, for the photo! That is a lot of snow!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

TV: American Idol & Westminster

Those of you who know me well, know that I am really not much of a TV watcher. Most of my life I have easily gone days or weeks without turning on the television. Recently, however, we signed up for cable (yes, we did not have cable!) so that I could get Fox News channel. I love following the news during an election year. I have now discovered something else that I love on TV... American Idol!!! I have seen every episode this season and I am completely addicted to this show. Admittedly, I am not musically talented myself in any way, but it is so fun to see the different voices and styles that all of the contestants have. I already have my favorites (-: So, if anyone else is addicted to American Idol (or Fox News!) we will have to get together at the dog park or a dog show and chat about something other than dogs (-:

I also managed to watch part of the Westminster dog show and the AKC National Agility competition. Jasmine was really proud to see her sire, Ch Chestnuts Selling The Drama RN NA NAJ "Copper" go BOB and take a Group 4 in the sporting group.

I really think Wincent was sticking his tongue out at Sophie (-:

Monday, February 4, 2008

Submissive Urination

I know this is a strange topic, but I actually get many questions about this from pet owners of a lot of different breeds.

Here is what I have experienced with Submissive Urinating in English Cockers...

1.) It is usually done by puppies and they generally outgrow this by 8-9 months of age, if not earlier.

2.) Socializing your puppy a lot and having strangers feed your puppy treats will help your puppy to overcome this reaction.

3.) It is a natural reaction for a submissive dog and puppies have less bladder control, so are more likely to do this.

4.) The best way to avoid it is to ignore your puppy until she has emptied her bladder (hopefully outside!)

5.) Do NOT punish your puppy for this as it will only make the problem worse. Instead, try to ignore it and get your puppy outside.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Training Your English Cocker

Is your dog acting naughty???

Give him/her a job! English Cockers are brilliant little dogs... at least mine are (-: I very, very much recommend to my puppy buyers that they take at least three different obedience classes with their dogs. I recommend 2 six week sessions of classes when an English Cocker is between 4 and 8 months old. This helps to lay the foundation for an easy to live with dog and it also helps to socialize your puppy. I also recommend a "refresher" course when your puppy is between 18-20 months of age. This is a tough age as your puppy is almost an adult and you are starting to raise your expectations of what your puppy is capable of.

If you are interested in taking classes that will provide some entertainment for you and your dog, I really recommend trying an agility class or a rally obedience class. There are also classes for learning therapy work, fun tricks, and freestyle dancing.

Here is a link to help find a class in the Northwest:

Also, here is a link to a Northwest Dog Activities Yahoo group. If you are in the Northwest, I recommend joining and then posting to ask for a referral to a good class in your area:

Also, if you have an interest in training for obedience, agility or any other canine sport, join the Versatile English Cockers yahoo group:

Chloe and Halo owned by Jennifer Vandecar (and co-owned by us!)

Grooming Your English Cocker

It has been a while since I have posted! Too much going on, as I am sure you all understand.

I have recently been discussing grooming with many of my pet English Cocker owners. I wanted to write a little about what I have been sharing with everyone.

My very favorite tools for grooming a pet English Cocker:

1. Clippers

2. Fine or Extra Fine Coat King

3. Straight Scissors

4. Thinning Shears

5. Nail Trimmers

6. Stripping Knife

You can get all of these at

Here are some great links for information about grooming an English Cocker:

I very much like the #1 All Systems Super Cleaning Shampoo and their Protein Lotion Conditioner. A good detangling spray will help with combing out tangles and matts if you keep your English Cocker in a show length coat. I have heard of people using the Infusium leave in conditioner for people mixed half infusium, half water in a spray bottle for a detangling spray. I have heard it works quite well, but I haven't tried it yet.