Periodically, we run a guest blog that we call “Featured Breeder”, featuring breeders we have met who breed dogs we have met who really impressed us! This time we are pleased to feature Brian and Valerie Cooper, of Cooperslane in Arthur, On. We have met many of their puppies in our classes, and we have yet to meet one who was not an exemplary member of his breed.
We (my husband Brian and I) breed CKC registered Labrador Retrievers in all three colours; black, yellow and chocolate. I love the breed because of the intelligence, loyalty and trainability. Labs are the #1 breed for a family dog. All our puppies are CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) registered. They are vet checked, dewormed four time, microchipped, insured against accident and illness for the first six weeks in their new home and all puppies are all temperament tested
The biggest draw back to living with this breed is their need for exercise and stimulation. They get into trouble if they aren’t properly exercised and because they are such a smart breed, they can quite often ‘out think’ their owners.
Our labs are very often used for Service Dog Organizations. We work closely with Autism Dog Services out of Cambridge. Just weeks ago we were invited to a graduation and we were very proud that four out of the six dogs that graduated were Cooperslane labs.
In the past I have tried Confirmation Showing but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I then tried obedience and found that very enjoyable. Through this obedience training I came to work with, at one time four different Service Dog Organizations.
We hope new owners will first and foremost have their labs as a big part of their family. We really encourage obedience training as soon as possible after picking up their pup. If our owners want to try obedience, show, therapy dogs or field trials that would be wonderful but first we just want them to part of their family. There’s nothing better than sitting on your porch with a cup of coffee and your lab by your feet enjoying the end (or any part) of the day.
People considering one our labs must be aware of the time commitment in raising a puppy, especially the first year. Its a lot of fun but there are also LOTS of moments of pure chaos. A huge amount of training and exercising goes into making a good companion dog. Plus families need to realize it’s a long term commitment. These dogs are not disposable.
We really encourage crate training and getting the puppy into a qualified training facility as soon as possible. Plus, I’ve found the more you read and prepare yourself for the arrival of the puppy the better. When families visit here for the first time they are given a video outlining the basis knowledge for when you first bring home your puppy; how to start the housebreaking, how to begin crate training, how to deal with the nipping and biting, etc. Then when the litter is six weeks of age we also email the families with reservations our ‘Cooperslane Puppy Package’. It’s about 40 pages we put together over the years with information we feel is important for the families to have before they bring home the puppy. The better prepared you are before the pup joins the family the easier it is to deal with issues that will arrive. We also give suggestion of other books and literature to read.
We look for families that will give our puppies a nice family environment. Our dogs are not meant to be tied to a doghouse. They crave human contact and will give back lots of love and affection. We do suggest to families with small children to step back and make sure their child can handle adding a puppy to the household. Small puppies treat young children as their littermates and therefore can traumatize a child. They only way pups first know how to play is with their mouth so there is a lot of biting and nipping which can really hurt. The puppy needs to be taught how to play properly and it’s hard for a young child to grasp that. Plus the new families need to realize their children being used to ‘dogs’ is not the same as their children being around ‘puppies’. In the first initial correspondence I have with the families, I caution families with young children.
To live successfully with the breed is to know going in that the time comment can be huge especially the first couple of years. Lots and lots of exercise and lots and lots of training. (A tired dog is a good dog). It takes dedication to have a good companion dog.
Also families need to realize the financial commitment to having a lab (or any dog). Labs LOVE to play and they play rough. They think they can do anything and sometimes they injure themselves. Labs also love to eat… EVERYTHING! Those vet bills can be brutal. We always encourage families to consider carrying health insurance on the dogs and offer several websites they can research.
As most of our litters are sold before they are born or shortly after we invite families to visit. That is for our peace of mind but we also realize families need to feel comfortable with us, to check out our facilities and meet the dogs.
We put pictures of the puppies on our website (starting on the Monday following their birth) and update the photos every Monday afternoon. This allows the new puppy owners to see the growth of their new family member right from “day 1”. Lots of our new puppy owners have a scrapbook of pictures even before the puppy is taken home. When the puppies are four weeks old we invite the new owners to come for a visit and a cuddle.
We have a ’48 hour wait’ period here. What this means is that if, when you visit the kennel, you fall in love with a pup that is eight weeks of age or older, you will not be able to take the pup home with you that day. As mentioned above, most of our pups are sold well before they are eight weeks of age but sometimes families have to back away from a reservation for personal reasons. When this happens, that pup becomes available. The families interested in that 8 week old pup are asked ‘wait 48 hours’ before picking the puppy up. This, we feel helps eliminate impulse purchasing of a puppy. Plus, it gives you time to prepare for the puppy (crate, food, dishes, chew toys, etc.) We also like to email our “Puppy Package” to the families to read BEFORE they pick up their pup. We like the families to know about our ’48 wait period’ ahead of time so they aren’t disappointed that they aren’t able to take the puppy home with them that first day.
We do have a website that update constantly. Please visit us at www.cooperslane.com plus we have a Cooperslane Kennel Facebook page.