Lotus Blossom Pug

Lotus Blossom Pug

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Why care about genetics?

Most people would agree that genetics are important.  It's who your pug becomes..generation after generation. Sometimes knowing that can all fly out the window when it's time to buy a puppy. You just want a 'pet'...and all puppies are cute...and you have a budget to consider.  I want to take a little time to try and explain some things....so I'll share with you my process into owning and breeding these wonderful little dogs.
Years and years ago, I researched the different dog breeds and decided a pug was for me.  I knew right away that I wanted to become a breeder.  I went to the newspaper and found a baby girl puppy and then found a baby boy puppy.  When they grew up, they bred.  I was so excited!  I had full A.K.C rights ( to breed) for those puppies, as the people that sold me my pugs didn't really care what I did with them.  Once I was out the door, they had no more interest in anything having to do with that puppy. I had no idea that alarm bells should have been going off in my head. After I bred those two pugs, and when my puppies were ready to go home, I placed an ad in the newspaper.  People were happy to come and get their puppy...so I was happy....for about a few months.  That's when the phone calls started coming in with complaints.  Everything that could ever be wrong with a pug puppy seemed to be wrong with my puppies. I had no idea what some of these issues even were. I couldn't understand how there could be any issues at all as the parents seemed healthy.  I was a backyard breeder (but didn't know it)..and I bought my parents from backyard breeders.  A 'backyard breeder' doesn't mean you keep your dogs in the back yard.  It means you breed for no reason other than to produce puppies.  You have no idea what the genetics of the breeding pair are.  Frankly some people really don't care....but I did.  I had heard of a pedigree, but had no idea what it was for. A pedigree has a purpose..it traces the lineage of your dog so you can decide how to breed better genetics.  A pedigree with all pets on it (no Champions) will do nothing for you...as you can't find out anything about the dogs on it.  You can't google Elvis Pugsley...or Muffy and learn anything.  But you can google any Champion and find out via pictures and kennel name what those breeders are producing.  If you don't like your dogs head, you can breed to a line that has better heads (lets just say).  The problem is that no reputable breeder (with great genetics) places 'pet' puppies that can be bred. The good genetics are kept out of the hands of backyard breeders and puppy mills. If someone does scam a reputable breeder out of a puppy (that was supposed to be spay/neutered) and breeds it anyway...what they breed it with, will bring in undesirable traits and a host of genetic health issues with it.  Some of these issues crop up later...and then what? Backyard breeders aren't committed to long term anything..here today and gone tomorrow.
The other thing that happened to me when I placed the ad for my puppies in the newspaper was that an elderly lady called me from Tampa. They had misprinted my ad to read "champion puppies for sale."  This feisty little lady (Florence Prelwitz..who has since passed away) was sort of snippy with me.  How could my puppy or any puppy be a champion?  She told me if I wanted to see a Champion pug to come to her house....so I immediately drove two hours to get there..as I had never seen a Champion pug before. Her dogs looked nothing like mine. I was in awe! I went home and made the decision to place my pug parents in a loving home (after getting spay/neutered)... and I started over.  She sold me my first genetically sound pug (for thousands) and introduced me to the people that breed great dogs.  After they started trusting me, I was able to buy more great dogs.  I bought one little girl and paid a handler $13,000  to get her finished to her Championship (not counting the cost of the little girl.)  After she became a Champion, I was allowed to send for frozen semen (not cheap) from a top Champion boy, for a breeding.  Everyone of these show breeders has a good reputation to uphold and they spend thousands upon thousands of dollars toward 'bettering the breed" and passing on the best genetics. All this to make sure this breed continues to thrive...without health issues.  They personally know the breeders ( or know someone that knows someone ) that they will contact, to improve their breeding program and can check the pedigrees in order to make the best possible match. Of course you have to have references yourself.  No one wants their genetics being used by unscrupulous breeders so everyone is committed to spay/neuter contracts for all puppies that won't be used to further the breed. They have no need to ever put an ad in a paper to place a puppy (it's actually against the Pug Dog Club of America's bi-laws to do so). Reputation counts.
Now I'll share with you a typical e-mail that I receive on an almost daily basis:
Hello...  Our little muffy just died and we are grief stricken.  She was only two years old and it was from (pick a problem...I hear it all)(pug dog encephalitis, collapsed trachea, needed a liver shunt, died in the air while on a flight...heart issues...).  We paid thousands in Vet bills trying to save her.
When I respond to the e-mail and tell them what a nice (pet) puppy will cost, 9 times out of 10, this is what they reply: "That's way out of our price range for a puppy!  Do you know of anyone else with cheaper puppies?" My response is now going to be "Have you checked the newspaper?"
Champion Prelly's Luk-E-Lee. He was my first start in great genetics. (sold to me by Florence ..who bred the Prelly line of pugs.)  They are well known for wonderful large heads (which I love), great health, and the most wonderful loving personalities.  He is the great-grandson of the only pug to ever win Best in Show (over all dogs of all breeds) at Westminster.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spay/neutering small puppies?

This is a subject that everyone seems to have their own opinion on. I can only tell you my view on this and why I spay/neuter my puppies early.  When anyone see's pictures of a puppy mill, they cringe.  I can't even watch some of the commercials on T.V.  How did these dogs end up there to start with?  How do pugs end up in puppy mills and in dog pounds and in rescue?  It all starts with a pug puppy that has the ability to produce offspring.  In the hands of the wrong person, this little precious baby will live a life of hell.  Owners of puppy mills need new blood to keep doing what they are doing, so they e-mail breeders and claim to be little old ladies just wanting a companion.  Some of them are willing to pay good money to get good blood lines with no health issues....so they can use this dog as a breeder for a very long time.  I've had it happen to me (puppy mill e-mails).  The minute I send a return e-mail informing them that their deposit will pay for the puppy to be spayed or neutered, they are no longer interested.  There is no way to really know who is e-mailing me.  This is exactly why the dog pounds/shelters have all puppies 'fixed' prior to adoption.  If we lived in a world where everyone was honest and had good morals and ethics, this would never be an issue...but we don't.
Isn't just holding the AKC papers until the new family gets their pug spayed/neutered enough?  Imagine this scenario: Frank owns a puppy mill and has a very sick AKC registered stud pug dog...we'll call him Pugsley.  Pugsley  dies.  Now he needs a replacement, so he gets (cons) a good? breeder into selling and shipping him a puppy and she holds the papers.  That's fine with him because he will now call the new puppy Pugsley and use the dead dogs AKC papers.  AKC makes all breeders that use a male for breeding, get DNA on the dog.  It doesn't matter in this case though because who is going to argue that the father of the litter isn't who they say it is.  Puppy millers don't allow people to see their dogs or their kennels.  They could be using their old AKC papers with a mixed breed pug and you would never know.  There are so many scams going on.
Is getting an 8 week old puppy fixed safe?  Putting any dog or animal or person under general anesthesia is taking a risk....at anytime.  Some Vets aren't as skilled at putting the flat faced breeds 'under' as others.  My veterinarian (Dr. Bailey) is an expert at this.  She skips the pre-tranquilizer injection and then just uses isoflurine gas to put them out.  When I pick up a puppy that just had surgery one hour prior, they come home and are running around and playing. 
The argument for not doing the surgery early is that the pug needs the hormones for bone growth.  A pug isn't fully grown for 2 years.  So if you were planning on getting your dog spayed or neutered after they are two, there would be an argument for this.  Most people want their pug fixed prior to the first heat....or about 5 to 6 months old.  So we are talking about an extra three months time difference (from when I do it verses when you would do it)...not enough to make a hormonal difference.
Being a good breeder is all about doing the right thing for your dogs. It starts with being ethical in every category involved in the owning, showing, breeding and care of your dogs. It ends with making sure any babies leaving here are getting a safe, wonderful home where he/she will be cherished for many, many years. I have to do my part.  Notice the two little pugs to the left in this puppy mill picture. It makes me want to cry!  If you want to see this pair bred again and again, support your local pet store..because that's where their puppies end up!

Friday, September 12, 2014


  I can remember the days (decades ago) when crating was considered 'mean'.  Some people felt it was like putting their dog into a prison.  This was the same time period when some people had no problem with shoving their puppy's face in an poo accident, hitting their dog while screaming 'NO' and then throwing the dog outside.  It didn't matter that they were gone for hours and failed to take the dog out to potty prior to leaving.  If the puppy chewed a shoe up, it was the same treatment.  Thank goodness times have changed!
  Dogs are descendants of the wolf (or so we are told), and all wild dogs have dens.  Dogs are very comfortable in a den and crates are in-house dens.   Dogs don't think of them as jail, as they don't understand our penal system. Pugs usually love their crates and feel very safe in them.  It's more than a potty training issue...it's about your pugs safety.  I use wire crates as the puppies like seeing me move about the house, and they don't feel isolated (like people who shut a dog in the bathroom.) 
When I get a folding wire crate home, the first thing I do is zip-tie the upper corners and remove the lid.  I'm not crawling in the crate to get my puppy while it backs up into the back end.  It's so much easier to just reach in from the top...to change water and newspapers etc.  Sometimes I'll use two crates pushed up against each other (both doors open) and zip-tie the doors to the side of the opposite crate so no one can get out through the little gap.  If I do that, I use bedding to cover the hump in between crates so no one gets their feet stuck.  I had one family (that adopted a puppy from me) get a crate/play area from Walmart online. It is not only beautiful but expands out:


  I do have my crate rules though.  If a puppy is crying, I never approach the crate until that behavior stops.  I have food and water available at all times, bedding on one side (with toys) and newspaper on the other side.  Sometimes people have to be gone (working) longer than a puppy can 'hold it', so it's unfair that they be sectioned off in a small area and forced to urinate in their bedding....and then sit in it all day.  Crying in the crate is usually a puppy that feels a bit lonely.  Wait until the behavior stops or you will be trained to 'come' when the puppy demands it.  Not good!  As soon as the puppy changes behavior to being quiet, go get him and take him outside for potty.  I never speak to a puppy in a crate as they need to know it's for quiet time.  You can never have company come over and have a quiet puppy in the crate if you interact with him every time you walk by.  I take the puppy outside and say 'go potty' in a serious tone.  Once the puppy potties, I change my tone to one of great happiness while praising him.  They have no idea what you are saying..but will know what the tones mean (after a while)...and then words later.  I then pick my puppy up and go back inside for play time on the floor.  Never leave your puppy unsupervised!  Their little back teeth are coming in when real little and any cords seem like fun to chew on.  You can have leather raw-hides to chew on, but these have to be supervised also.  Chewing on them makes them mushy and the puppy can choke on pieces.  I like the antlers and cow hooves myself.  They seem indestructible.
Once our puppy play time is over, I put the puppy back in the crate.  I use a crate that is at least 32 inches long.  When your pug is older, he may want to go in there for nap time...so buy one big enough to start with.  When your puppy is on the floor playing and has an accident, clean it up with vinegar...and don't say anything to the puppy.  They learn quicker with positive reinforcement (outside when they do pee), and can't hold it very long as little babies.