When I meet people outside of the Dachshund/breeding/puppy world, they’re always surprised to hear what I do.  If I spend much time talking with them at all, I tend to hear a lot of the same questions over and over.

  • “How many dogs do you have?”
  • “Do you have puppies for sale right now?”
  • “Raising puppies must be such a fun and easy job!”

It seems that even though it’s not the most commonly asked question to start a conversation, it’s usually a question asked with the emphasis on “How”.  “HOW many dogs do you have?!!” is always the response when I mention how many dogs I have.  Right now, as I type this, I have 21 dogs in my house.  Of those 21, 11 are puppies under the age of 6 weeks.  Even with 21 in my house right now, I have 5 additional dogs who reside in guardian homes!!!  14 dogs are in my breeding program currently (with 2 more arriving within the next 2 weeks).  Of those 14, 4 are male, 6 are of breeding age females, 4 are upcoming females.  I also have 3 retired dogs that aren’t counted in my breeding program but are 3 of the 21 living here.  Overwhelmed yet? 

The phrase that I do hear most commonly is people questioning if I have puppies for sale.  Surprisingly, the answer to that is always no!  I’m not a pet store or a warehouse.  I can’t just go to the backroom and get a puppy off of a shelf.  I carefully and selectively plan each litter for the confirmation, health, and colors that I am looking for as a result of that breeding.  And as carefully as I handle that part, I am even more careful in adding people to my waitlist.  I spend a great deal of time communicating with the families on my waitlist and prefer to sell puppies to people that didn’t impulse buy one “because they saw one that was cute” or off of some other whim.  My puppies are spoken for months before they are even born even if I don’t yet know who will be getting which puppies or from which litter.  When a litter is born, they are all put on hold while I assess their health and growth.  After they are 4 weeks old, they begin to make their way down my waitlist.  I almost NEVER have puppies available after my waitlist and if I do, it’s never a girl and most certainly not a dapple. 

The Reality of raising puppies

The reality is, raising puppies is anything but an easy job.  This may be the hardest job I’ve ever had – perhaps even harder than raising children.  There is so much physical and emotional work that I invest in every dog and puppy.  From the minute a mom comes in to heat I begin praying for her and her babies.  Sometimes a mom isn’t receptive to a male and I have to have a back-up plan ready to go.  And sometimes, that happens with a time crunch and an 18 hour drive necessary!  When you have to consider PRA testing, dapple status, and bloodlines, it’s a long ways from as simple as “just let them have sex”.  Raising puppies starts before their insemination and after it, you spend the next 30 days watching for signs of pregnancy!  Moms don’t start showing in their belly until after the first 30 days so I watch nipple growth, behavior, and palpate the abdomen starting on day 24 to see if I can feel the little bumps.  I watch the what day in their pregnancy they are on so I can switch from Royal Canin Pro 42d (for the first part of pregnancy) to Royal Canin Pro Pregnant and Nursing Mama Formula.  And then the real work begins!  A week before their due date, I start logging temperatures twice a day.  And we won’t even get into the stress of delivery!!!  Once babies are born, that’s when “raising puppies” actually becomes raising puppies!  I chart temperatures daily while monitoring the health of Mom and babies.  Just when you think the hard part is over, the babies start eating kibble and walking and that’s when they get MESSY!!!

During the whole process of raising puppies, I communicate with my waitlist faithfully.  I send emails about heat cycles, matings, confirmed pregnancy, and litter announcements.  If a complication arrives, I send another email and let everyone know we need their extra prayers and good wishes.  I send weekly photos of the litter and probably give way more information that some people want.  When the puppies get to be 4 weeks old, I start working my way through the waitlist in the order they joined, completing contracts, and lots of paperwork.  The communication gets easier after that – just new photos once a week to the buyers along with updates.

For the last year, EVERY litter has had complications.  I think the “easiest” litter in the last year was only $280 in vet bills for Mama.  At this point, I’m just grateful when a litter doesn’t need me to bottle feed it every two hours!  The business of raising puppies is more than just that – it’s about the love and care that goes into your breeding program to make sure that your adults needs, both physical and emotional, are cared for long before they are required to participate in the breeding process.  People are shocked by how much I do because of their preconceived conceptualizations of people who have puppies for sale.  The reality is though, I know there are many breeders who make me look like small potatoes!

At the end of it all, I have collected payment and delivered a puppy to a home that has been waiting for this very moment for sometimes up to nine months!  THAT is the greatest reward of all – seeing their delight and watching their new puppies greet them with wagging tails and kisses.  But just because I’ve sold the puppies doesn’t mean my commitment to them is ended.  I am committed to each puppy and their family for its entire lifetime and even beyond! 

Dachshund Dog Ramps for IVDD safety

If you own a Dachshund, you are probably very aware of the risk of IVDD.  IVDD is the intervertebral disk disease that Dachshunds are prone to due to their dwarf gene.  While there is a health screen for it, ALL Dachshunds will always test positive for it because they all carry that dwarf gene.  But not all Dachshunds will develop IVDD.  There is some research stating that spay/neuter too early can lead to it but what it ultimately boils down to is injury.  Calcium deposits on the spine certainly make a dog more prone to injury but what can we do to help prevent the risk of injury?

There is only so much we can do because dogs will always be dogs!  Just like children, they are going to push their boundaries and act like knuckleheads and therefore put themselves at more risk.  I always said my Bullet was the most likely to develop IVDD because he would insist on “sitting pretty” and there was no ramp he was using.  He much preferred to launch himself from heights like Superman.

Unfortunately, when I got Bullet, I didn’t have ramps in place so he never learned to use them as routine.  He DID use ramps to get in to my bed but I would frequently see him launch himself from it to get down.  And of course I have dogs that won’t go to the ramp because the shortest path to me is to jump up on the couch.  But after having had ramps for the last couple years, I have noticed that the pups that grew up with ramps in the house use it MUCH more frequently than those who were already here when the ramps appeared.

But do not be fooled!  All Dachshund dog ramps are not the same!!!

The best ramps are exactly that – ramps- not steps!  Steps make the dog jump up each step where a ramp is a gradual increase.  There are some really amazing ramps available but the ramp of choice for our house is the Snoozer brand scalloped ramps!!!  (I am not paid for endorsing them.  I just really love them!)  I once purchased a cheaper knock off brand and was SHOCKED at the difference. 

The smaller ramp was approximately $45.  In less than a year, it looked like it does in this photo.  The larger ramp is a medium size Snoozer and was $129 original price.  That’s a HUGE price difference but the larger ramp was over two years old at the time this photo was taken and is now over 3 years old and is in the exact same condition!  Not only that, but the smaller ramp would have foam break apart every time you took the cover off to wash it and put it back on!  It just crumbled apart.  My Snoozer ramp foam is a much better quality foam.  If you buy cheap, you’ll wind up replacing it and ultimately spending more than if you’d just bought quality to begin with. 

My dogs love their Dachshund dog ramps and I have one in my camper for the bed, one at my couch in the living room, another at a couch in a second TV room, and one at every bed.  I have them ranging in small to large and it was the best investment I think I could have ever made in helping prevent IVDD.  Does this mean they won’t get it?  Unfortunately, there are no guarantees about that.  But it does help them make better decisions about how to get up and down to where they want to be – next to me!

As I said, I do NOT get endorsed for recommending these ramps but here is the link if you’d like to check them out.  They are occasionally available on Zulily and they do occasionally offer sales on them from Snoozer directly as well.  Here’s to helping our babies stay healthy!

Scalloped Dog Ramp


New Year, New Life, New Goals at FleuryDachs


Every season I hope to be better about my blog posts for FleuryDachs and life gets so crazy, before I know it I’ve moved into another new season without accomplishing any of my goals.  I think there are a lot of people who can feel that on a really personal level.  But the new year always inspires us for new goals and here I am again, hoping to do better!

We have had such great success in the last year but were slowed down after having to pull a couple girls from our program after complications relating to their first litter.  Thankfully, I had already been bringing new blood into our program so it was only a slow-down and not a complete derail.  As a direct result, we have decided that we will be keeping/buying a minimum of three new girls every year so that they are grown and ready to step in should we face similar circumstances.  And as we retire girls into their forever families, we will have young mamas ready to go.  This should help keep our waiting list from stalling quite so long if we have similar complications in the future.

Last year we added OFA certifications and DNA testing to our program for all age appropriate dogs.  We got a designated puppy room instead of just a corner of a room and we added puppy cams for our buyers to watch the chaos of our house and their puppies (and to make it easy for me to check on puppies).  I purchased customized whelping and weaning pens from Jonart that have made confinement of puppies so much more enjoyable. 

I have become more focused in what I want to do with my program and am being far more selective in the puppies I buy/keep.  It’s SO hard to pass up an especially beautiful puppy, but if it will not be a puppy I am able to utilize for my goals, then I am learning to say no!  English Cream will always be my passion and it is my goal to ensure that I have English Cream puppies at least two to three times a year.  I am working hard at having cream pies but I plan on always having at least one mama who will have solid creams.  There is a new fad for ee cream (or platinum blonds as some call them), however I do not plan on breeding for ee.  When puppies are born ee, that loci is known to hide their true color and pattern.  This makes pairing for breeding much more difficult and requires DNA testing (something I would do anyway).  That all said, I will have occasional ee pups because my chocolates are all Ee.  When paired with each other, they will produce some ee pups.  So for those who love the look of an ee, I will occasionally have some available.  Besides the English Cream, I will focus on chocolate and cream, black and cream, brindles, dapples, and piebalds.  If you are looking for a red, unless you get one this year from Remi, it is highly unlikely I will ever have a red for you.  Perhaps at some point in the future I will acquire a red brindle, but until that day, the reds are going to be few and far between.

It is my goal this new year to learn how to utilize artificial insemination.  I don’t know if I will ever use it myself, but I feel that it is a valuable tool to have in my wheelhouse- especially to help with my guardian home program.  This could help me bring new championship bloodlines into my program as well.

And as always, it is my goal to do more blog posts!  I have quite a few ideas jotted down and just haven’t had the dedication to sit down and write them out.  Additionally, I am going to set aside more time to work on my AKC educational program!

Slightly related, we are working hard to build a new house this year where our current home is standing.  Plans for this house will give us a grooming area indoors, a back-up generator for power outages in case of newborns or deliveries, and no more carpet in our house!  With the removal of carpet, it will allow puppies more playtime in the main living area of our house without the hassle of difficult clean-up! 

We have seen a lot of new faces and said goodbye to a lot of beloved faces as well.  As hard as the goodbyes can be, it is so amazing and such a privilege to be able to build families and see them flourish together.  We are proud to say that some of our dogs have gone to help widows grieve as well as help young girls become seizure free because of their bond to our dogs.  Thank you to all of you who are a part of the FleuryDachs family – be it through ownership or support.  We wouldn’t be what we are without you and are excited to see our family grown this new year.