The Dog Blog by Linda Labonte

What a beautiful world it would be if everyone had the heart of a Dog.

The Dog Blog by Linda Labonte - What a beautiful world it would be if everyone had the heart of a Dog.

Treatment of Puppies: There is always a fun way.

I have given birth to 100’s of puppies over a couple of decades, not all mine as often other breeders ask me to help them with deliveries and through their first few weeks of life. Puppies are amongst the cutest, funniest most loving creatures on earth. They’re  all naturally fun, confident, invincible, trusting, unbelievably clean and just love people. No matter the breed, size, color, sex they all born with this naïve view of the world.

Our responsibility as breeders is to enhance these traits so they go to their new homes with as pristine view of the world as they were born. I have developed a keen understanding of puppy behavior and still am challenged by each litter I encounter to spend a huge number of hours with them to this end. I find this part of my job so rewarding.

What is even more rewarding is seeing a puppy come back after a few months or a year with these natural puppy traits even more enhanced by the owners. This is when I know I have really done my job. I have found a good home with people who know or have learned how to properly care for, play with and love a puppy.

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to insure every puppy gets placed in such a home. You can ask questions, do background checks, offer free training, but you just cannot ensure you have found the right people for your puppy.

You can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink.

As rewarding as the successes are, these failures are devastating.

Too often people don’t take the time to understand how to communicate with their puppy. They become forceful, stern, frustrated and in too many cases outright abusive to a puppy. When you understand how a happy and confident a dog should be, it is very easy to see when a dog is depraved like this. I have watched many dogs from their cradle to their grave, they never lose confidence or spirit naturally.

I can’t help but to cry for the depraved puppy. All of the immaturity, naivety and playfulness not longer exists. Some people mistake this for a well behaved puppy. Well the sad news is this is always false, it is a puppy who lives in fear, a puppy who’s imprinting is embedded by fear and a puppy who will never be a dog. Often this puppy by the time there are a year old can become quite unpredictable.

You might say all dogs are unpredictable, and all dogs can bite. I can say with certainty, this is not true, I have never had a dog bite someone, not even my protection trained dogs or my dual purpose police dogs will bite without my queue or will bite the wrong person. I have trained thousands of dogs, and could tell you with certainty the dogs who are not predictable. I do however, understand where this impression comes from, it is because the vast majority of dogs have their control work done through force not play, many of these dogs become unpredictable. So the answer is yes, many dogs are unpredictable, but its not natural, they were made that way.

This heavy handed obedience we do to our puppies is completely unnecessary, causes problems, is harder on you, makes your dog harder to train, constant retraining is always necessary and it will be a daunting task to build the trust back should you decide to stop it one day. There are so many much better ways to get better results more quickly, less costly, if we would only stop this inappropriate behavior towards our puppies.

I can prove it, as without fail at 8 weeks my puppies will sit, laydown, play chase, search with their nose, and even better, completely house trained (at my house). I do this by getting them to like dog games and playing with them.

If we all could only realize that taking time to learn to communicate with your puppy through love, play and things they understand, is the easiest, and most rewarding way to have a spirited dog who understands the boundaries of living with your family or working with you.

Please treat and train your puppies with love and play, learn about them, it could become the most rewarding experience you can imagine.

Why the AKC will not Act as a Definitive Professional Breeder Organization

As stated in my previous article, ethics are the forefront of many professions like engineer, medicine, mechanics, etc.. and they all have professional associations to ensure these ethics. There is a need for a professional breeder organization to sanction ethical breeders and reject those with bad practices.

One might think that the AKC is the obvious choice for this given their Mission Statement.

The American Kennel Club’s Mission Statement: 

  • Maintain a registry for purebred dogs and preserve its integrity.
  • Sanction dog events that promote interest in, and sustain the process of, breeding for type and function of purebred dogs.
  • Take whatever actions necessary to protect and assure the continuation of the sport of purebred dogs.

AKC ‘s Objective:

  • Advance the study, breeding, exhibiting, running and maintenance of purebred dogs

There are three obvious problems preventing the AKC from being an authoritative body.

  1. The AKC has been given no authority judicially to solely maintain a registry of purebred dogs in the United states. Unlike many countries such as Canada where Canadians have the Animal Pedigree Act that protects animal registries and owners of animals, the AKC survives on reputation only.
  2. The AKC is accountable to no one but its own reputation. Most national breed registries are members of the International FCI which governs registries throughout the world and guarantees standards are followed so each country can trust the other countries registry. The AKC is not an FCI member and is not bound by the FCI standards. They often choose to create their own standards separate from those of the FCI.
  3. The AKC’s only recourse against a bad breeder is to disqualify its dogs from registration as a purebred animal. This is in conflict with their need to grow their membership base for their own survival.

So in short, although it is in the AKC missions to prevent bad breeding, they certainly will not survive if they become the police of the very people they depend on for survival. The growth of their membership base is a key focus for the club to the point the club has lost sight of its mission a bit. (for example they now allow mixed breeds to register and compete in their events).

For a definitive professional breeding organization to be successful, we have to look outside the AKC, or we need to look for an outside authority to help solve the AKC’s conflicts in achieving its mission.

I will give my idea’s on possible solutions in a future article.

Ethics – The Need for a Definitive Professional Breeder Organization

I have encountered several terrible even gruesome situations caused by unethical breeding of the German Shepherd Dog. All breeders should abide by the following code of ethics and all buyers should question their breeder about their practice to make sure they are conforming to these ethics. A lot of trouble and heart ache comes from unethical breeding.

My proposed code of ethics for breeders of all dogs:

I. Encourage bitch owners to breed only if they have facilities, time and resources to adequately care for a litter and upon strong evidence of the possibility of finding suitable homes for the resultant litter.

II. Refuse stud service to any bitch I consider in poor health, physically or mentally unsound, or lacking the necessary breed characteristics as set forth in the Breed Standard (German Shepherd Dog).

Before or at the time of breeding, an exchange of pedigrees and hip and elbow X-ray information must be made.

III. Allow one repeat service where a bitch has failed to conceive after being bred to one of my studs, if the stud is still in good health and available, and at such time and place as mutually agreed upon by the owner of the bitch and myself.

IV. Breed my own bitches only when I have a definite goal for improvement of the breed in mind, never permitting them to produce three consecutive litters unless breeding consecutive litters is recommended by a veterinarian. I fully understand that I am responsible for keeping and/or finding suitable homes for the resultant puppies.


n_03dog(GSD at breeding kennel suffering from tick fever and physical abuse)






The facts are, it costs a lot of money to properly breed and care for a litter of puppies and their parents.

1. You need several acres of land – without this land you will end up with problems with neighbors, animal control, family member and have overweight and unhealthy dogs.

2. The bitch needs care at least 2 years before you can breed her, she needs health test so you minimize your chance of spreading hereditary diseases. All of this costs thousands of dollars and I didn’t even mention the purchase price of the bitch, or what do you do when she retires, you have to care for her through her old age. You most likely will not be able to rehome her in her old age –vet bills are highest at this stage in life. I won’t even mention the atrocities I have witnessed on how unethical breeders solve this problem.

3. With the sire you have three options, artificial insemination, hiring a stud or purchasing and raising him. All of these options are over a thousand dollars to do them ethically.

4. You need TIME. You need time for a relationship with your bitch and maybe the sire. The German Shepherd is a loyal and social being, it needs love and attention on a daily basis. Once the litter is on the ground, it is very important you learn how to imprint your puppies for success at their new homes. This takes 100’s of hours over a minimum of 8 weeks.

with an untreated broken leg and suffering from heart worm disease.(Another commercial kennel’s dog with an untreated broken leg and suffering from heart worm disease.)





An ethical breeder is losing money on any German Shepherd puppy that costs less than $1000 – these costs vary by breed.  You really need to be very careful to avoid a lot of heartache. This is a 12 year relationship (for the German Shepherd Dog) dog owners are committing to, it is more than a Christmas or Birthday present, it is a living relationship and needs careful consideration for many birthdays and Christmas’.

The fact is,  breeding is not unlike any profession or trade, there are ethics that need to be followed to ensure equitable transactions. However, breeding dogs unlike most professions/trades lack a credible governance body that certifies a breeder is ethical.

Currently the AKC is the only body with enough authority in the United States to take on this task. My next post will be about why the AKC do not and will not. Just think of all of the of the legislation that could be set aside of breeders had ethics. Accountable breeder ethics would save lives, money and a whole lot of heartache.