Getting a New Puppy!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 3, 2016 by Red Dawg Lady

So, you’ve decided to look for a puppy from a breeder! Fantastic!


Points to remember:


From the time a breeding female begins her heat cycle to the time puppies go home is just under 5 months. It is not uncommon to have to wait 6-9 months for a puppy once you’ve settled on a breeder.


Pregnancy cannot be confirmed before 4 weeks, and there’s no way to determine the sex of the puppies until they are born.


Life is fragile for the first several weeks. There are a lot of systems that need to “turn on” in order for a puppy to survive past the first month of life. Some breeds are healthier than others and have a higher survival rate for various reasons. Your breeder should be able to provide expectations for this.


Most states have laws regulating the minimum age that puppies can go to a new home without their mothers. In some states, the minimum is 7 weeks, in others the minimum is 8 weeks, and some states have no regulations regarding minimum age of placement.


State Minimum Age Under Which Cannot Sell Puppy
Arizona Less than eight weeks old
California Under eight weeks old
Colorado Under eight weeks old
Connecticut Under the age of eight weeks unless such dog or cat is transported with its dam for import or export
Under the age of eight weeks for sale, offer for sale, adoption, or transfer within the state
Florida Less than eight weeks old
Georgia Puppies must be a minimum age of 8 weeks prior to sale
Illinois Under eight weeks old
Indiana Under the age of eight weeks
Kansas Unless the puppy is eight weeks old AND weaned. “Weaned” means that an animal has become accustomed to taking solid food and has done so, without nursing, for a period of at least five days.
Maine Until completion of seventh week of life
Maryland Less than eight weeks old
Massachusetts Under eight weeks old including acquire, offer for sale, or display by regulation
Cannot import under eight weeks by statute
Michigan Less than 8 weeks old; also Import or cause to be imported into this state, or offer for sale or resale, a dog or cat unless the dog or cat has deciduous (baby) teeth visibly present
Minnesota Dogs or cats before the age of eight weeks
Missouri Under eight weeks old ANDhas been weaned
Nebraska Under eight weeks of age without its mother
Nevada Shall not separate a dog or cat from its mother until it is eight weeks of age or accustomed to taking food or nourishment other than by nursing, whichever is later
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York Younger than eight weeks old
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio Under the age of eight weeks
Oklahoma Cat or dog less than eight (8) weeks of age
Pennsylvania Under eight weeks old
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Texas A dog or cat at least eight weeks of age.
Utah No puppies or kittens less than 8 weeks of age
Virginia Under seven weeks old without its dam or queen
West Virginia
Wisconsin Under seven weeks old




Some states have laws that regulate how breeders maintain the animals in their care, so familiarize yourself with those regulations if they apply, and be sure that your breeder is in compliance with the standards. Even if your breeder is exempt for some reason, minimum care standards should be in place in all cases.


Not all breeders are the same or keep their animals in the same way, but in all cases, the area where the puppies are raised should be clean and mostly odor-free. (Puppies are puppies and they are messy, but there is a difference between fresh messes and grime).


The puppies should appear to be robust little creatures by the time they are five weeks old. They should not appear malnourished or sickly.


All breeders have read the lists of “questions to ask a breeder” and give answers accordingly. We get people all the time that recite the questions, with no understanding of what the answers really mean.  The question is not really “are they good enough to sell me a dog” but rather “am I good enough for them to sell me a dog”.


Some breeders respond to texts, email, or phone calls. Others only to phone, or only to email. There is a reason for their preference, and some will not respond to inquiries that are not in their chosen format. That’s just a personal business practice, and each breeder will be different.


Not all puppy packets are the same. Some breeders send home vaccine records and registration applications only, others send home elaborate kits with training books or DVDs, toys, and blankets. Ask what is included in their puppy packets.


Not all breeders give the same guarantees or have the same requirements.  There are two types of breeders; Those that have produced a health issue and those that are going to produce a health issue. That is a simple game of numbers, and part of purchasing from a reputable breeder is getting a good and reasonable guarantee that covers serious life-threatening issues for at least 2 years, and some support or guidance for age-related issues even 16-years later. Reputable breeders try to hedge their bets by breeding healthy animals to begin with, but no breeder can control genetics.


Many breeders are competitors in one or more venues, along with being employed away from the home. This means that arranging visits or even response time may vary depending on the season, day of the week, etc.


All breeders have different requirements and expectations from buyers. Some require that you compete, some require that you feed certain foods, others just require a good home. Find a breeder that shares your philosophy.


You may need to be flexible on timing or gender if you want the puppy that is the best match for your family, living situation, and what you plan to do with the dog. The family living in a subdivision with young children needs a different kind of dog that the family living in an apartment in a big city and they need a different kind of dog than the hunt club or serious field trial or show competitor.  Be absolutely honest with your breeder about what you are looking for, and don’t just tell them what you think they want to hear.


The differences between male and female Vizslas is negligible. They very same reasons that people cite for preferring females today are what were given for male preference in the 1970’s.  The size is close, the temperaments depend on the dog, not the genitals.


Males are typically slower to mature in mind and body than females, so while females tend to be easier to train at the beginning due to this maturity, the males usually make up for it later in reliability.


The girls love you, the boys are in love with you.


Vizslas are typically very soft tempered, and respond best to positive training methods. Their intelligence that makes them very easy to train also makes it very difficult for most of them to overcome excessively harsh methods. They are a breed that notices everything around them, and will frequently associate all of their surroundings with the negative experience. So, a poorly timed harsh correction can mean a lifelong fear or avoidance of children, or gunshots, or women wearing a blue shirt sitting in a lawn chair.


Purchasing an 8-week old puppy is essentially bringing home a non-verbal toddler, and many of the same management techniques apply to both. Redirection, prevention, environmental controls, proper interactions with novel items/people/situations all lead to a well-balanced adult.


All animals – from chickens to humans –  learn in the same manner. Behaviors that are reinforced will be repeated, behaviors that don’t get reinforced in any manner will decrease. Reinforcement can be food, praise, eye contact, touch, but for dogs even yelling and chasing can be reinforcers. “Negative attention” is better than “no attention”.


The American Kennel Club has a DNA department that can establish the “genetic thumbprint” for the animal. A solid pedigree with integrity should contain almost all breeding pairs with this DNA profile. In Vizslas, all DNA profiles begin with the letter “V”. When a dog is cheek swabbed and submitted for a DNA profile, that profile is compared to that of its parents. If the DNA profiles don’t match the parents, AKC starts a special investigation to get the pedigree accurately recorded. In the event that the correct parent or parents cannot be found, the dog is issued a registration number that begins with the letter “Q”. A pedigree that contains the “Q” registered dogs is not accurate and should be avoided.


In the United States, there are only three registries that are worth anything. The American Kennel Club (AKC), The American Field (also known as Field Dog Stud Book) and NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association). While AKC is the gold standard in the breed, a lot of field dogs are dual-regsitered between AKC & AF/FDSB or AKC & NAVHDA. Any other registry was created for the sole purpose to allow the disreputable breeders to claim the ability to sell a “registered dog”.


“Don’t try too hard to find the owners. They don’t deserve her.”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2014 by Red Dawg Lady

First, let me start off by saying that I think breed rescue is a valuable link in the chain. Right behind responsible breeders who stand behind the dogs they produce and responsible owners who care enough about the animal that they purchase to obtain the training knowledge necessary to not ever have to turn an animal in to rescue in the first place. Way back in the dark ages before Al Gore invented the internet, breed rescue filled the gaps created by irresponsible breeders and irresponsible owners. Now it seems to be more about inflating ego and enabling irresponsibility than helping.

The first two of these quotes below were read in online blogs or forums in the last 3 days. The third was said to me by a shelter worker when I was transporting a dog for rescue. A dog, btw, that also turned out to have had a compound fracture of the femur who sat in their shelter without any medical attention for two weeks.

“Don’t try too hard to find the owners. They don’t deserve her.”

“Do you think those of us in rescue have the luxury of choosing who we want to help? Sadly, they choose us because we are the only ones who will help.”

“No we don’t scan for no microchip. Whoever turned him doesn’t deserve to get him back.” 

Now, I understand. There are folks out there who shouldn’t own a dog in the first place. But if you are a rescuer, and are convinced that every dog out there has been dumped on a street corner, dumped in the country, or that you are the only one capable of caring for the animal, you are part of the problem!

I live with a large pack of dogs. They are all microchipped, some of the older ones have ID tattoos. But the dogs are really allowed to behave like dogs. They wrestle. They play. They dig holes that are sometimes more like caverns. They argue. They bark –sometimes more than I feel is appropriate. They growl. Sometimes, they even eat shit or roll in it. And much to my horror — I still have nightmares about The Great Baby Bunny Massacre of 2009 — they embrace their inner carnivore. That’s why I bought 30 acres of wilderness, 15-miles from the nearest gallon of milk for sale, and completely enclosed those 30-acres inside of a 4′ high fence. So dogs could be dogs. I spend more at my vet in one year that most people will spend in a lifetime –solid four-digits, on a bad year five-digits every single year. The dogs eat a super-premium kibble that is alternated with raw. They have stuffed Kongs, Kong Wobblers, Squeaker Mats, Loofa Dogs, grass-fed organic beef marrow bones, organic chicken frames, blankies, chewies, birds to hunt, and stuffed toys to kill.

But here’s the thing; Even with 30-acres of land that is equally divided between open pasture, grouse woods, and wide trails and with all the vet care, toys, and training in the world…every so often, someone has to be that asshole who climbs over or tucks-n-rolls under my fence. Sometimes it’s because the bear have left a half-eaten Bambi on the other side. Or maybe they just felt like it. I don’t know, they’re not talking about their motivators. The point is that sometimes dogs are dogs and for whatever reason they decide to go on a walkabout.


Background: Australian. Given to us by Crocodile Dundee: 
A spontaneous journey through the wilderness of one’s choosing in an effort to satisfy one’s itchy feet, a need to be elsewhere, the craving for the open road, that space over the horizon…yes… something like that… you can’t quite touch it so you have to go find it because it’s you just know it’s there…Or maybe it just feels good to go walking around  😉 Yeah. It’s WALKABOUT.

When these walkabouts happen, the dogs usually return in less than an hour. Sometimes eight. It doesn’t matter. I am in a panic the entire time, envisioning worst case scenarios, and realizing that I have absolutely no idea where my dog has gone. None. You suddenly realize how large the world is and how many different travel options were available to the dog once free.

A dog I know was once missing for 10 days. He was found 14 miles away, living in a culvert behind a truck stop and hotel where patrons were feeding him raw hot dogs, double cheeseburgers, and pizzas. 10 days in 20-degree temps for a short haired dog and he gained weight. Nobody could catch him by hand or by live trap, but he’d get close enough to lure strangers into tossing food his way. This dog was obedience and agility trained, by the way, not some neglected or abused dog. He just went on an adventure. Once caught, he had over 70 engorged ticks removed from his body and needed staples to repair his torn ear. His 10 days on the road turned him from a beautiful, fit, healthy looking individual to something that looked like he’d had years of neglect. It took a couple of months for the wary behaviors that had both kept him alive and made him hard to capture to fully disappear.

The arrogance and ignorance of some folks who call themselves rescuers leads me to believe that had one of them found that dog, he never would have been reunited with the correct person. They would have invented some long, elaborate, story about how he was abused and neglected. Then they would have decided that whoever owned this dog didn’t deserve to get him back because he was covered in ticks and had an injury. In the meantime, there is some distraught person searching for the dog in the opposite direction.

So, you own your dog. He went under the fence after a rabbit, and decided to take a walkabout to satisfy some primal instinct. He’s a pretty fit sporting or hound breed developed to cover several miles of ground in an hour. Where do you begin looking? How big of a radius do you cover? How many authorities do you notify? What if the person who finds your dog decides to just keep them? What if they took the dogs into an entirely different county or state? What if they decide that you are not worthy of dog ownership because your dog was being a dog and escaped one day?

Stress-Free Nail Trimming

Posted in Uncategorized on December 29, 2013 by Red Dawg Lady

1_MG_5371 2_MG_5372 3_MG_5373 4_MG_5375_MG_5376 6_MG_5377 7_MG_5378 8_MG_5379 9_MG_5380 10  Nicking the quick here was unintentional. No other toes were nicked throughout the nail trim._MG_5381 11_MG_5382 12_MG_5383 13_MG_5384 14_MG_5385 15_MG_5386 16_MG_5388

Watch this video for a live, real time, demonstration of trimming the other three feet!

The nail trimmers, styptic powder, and more grooming supplies ideal for Vizslas can be found here:

Mars Wisdom Panel – Not So Much

Posted in Flushers on October 11, 2013 by Red Dawg Lady

Mars Wisdom Panel dna kit flash deal popped up on Amazon a few weeks ago, I decided to do it just to prove a point. The point being that they are inaccurate. I was not disappointed.

The kit arrived, and I swabbed a dog that has 7 generations of AKC DNA on one half of the pedigree and 5 generations on the other half. So this means I have scientifically verified sires and dams for a quite a while. All are Vizslas, all have DNA profiles. I specifically chose this dog to
send in based on the multiple generations of proven, DNA verified, parentage.

So…. My dog is supposedly a Vizsla mix, according to Mars. What are the contributing breeds you ask? Boykin Spaniel, Skye Terrier, Pointer,
Cocker Spaniel, Airdale Terrier, and Scottish Deerhound.

Now, I recognize breed reconstruction efforts probably involved crossbreeding. I seriously doubt Skye terrier was ever used. Or Airdale.
Or Boykin Spaniel. Or Scottish Deerhound. Or even Cocker Spaniel. While there are rumors of Pointer infusions many, many, generations ago, if there was indeed Pointer, there should also be Foxhound, as that was supposedly infused into Pointers. I can’t think of a single sporting breed that was made from Skye Terriers

Final ruling? Save your money. They are pulling breeds out of thin air.

They send a slick looking 10 page report with a breed picture pedigree with written descriptions of the main contributors. The hilarious thing is that the GRANDPARENTS (which, remember, are DNA verified offspring of their Vizsla parents) are the ones that are supposed to be the mixed breed.

So, for you rescue folks that are looking for a way to identify your dogs as pure or mixed, save your money.

Who Killed These Dogs? | Dog Star Daily

Posted in Don't Place the Blame if You Didn't Actually Train on August 21, 2013 by Red Dawg Lady

Who Killed These Dogs? | Dog Star Daily.


I really don’t have much to add to the blog post linked above. It’s a well-written article by someone who truly understands the issues and isn’t caught up in the animal rights hyperbole.


Getting Rid of Unwanted Behavior

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2013 by Red Dawg Lady

In her book, Don’t Shoot the Dog! The New Art of Teaching and Training, Karen Pryor explains eight ways to get rid of unwanted behavior.  They are as follows:  Shoot the Animal; Punishment; Negative Reinforcement; Extinction; Train an Incompatible Behavior; Put the Behavior on Cue; Shape the Absence of Behavior; and Change the Motivation.


The first 4 methods use unpleasant or negative consequences (Shoot the Animal, Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, and Extinction).  The second 4 methods use pleasant or positive consequences (Train an Incompatible Behavior, Put the Behavior on Cue, Shape the Absence of the Behavior, and Change the Motivation).  All of the approaches have advantages and disadvantages, and most behaviors will respond best to a combination of approaches.  Not all methods will be equally effictive with every behavior.


Negative Approaches:


Shoot the Dog:  Um, yeah, we don’t want to do that!

Advantages:  The dog will never exhibit the unwanted behavior EVER again.

Disadvantages:  The dog will never exhibit ANY behavior ever again


Punishment:  An aversive event follows the behavior causing a decrease in frequency, duration, and/or intensity.

Advantages:  A quick suppression of behavior, which tends to be very rewarding to the owner.

Disadvantages:  The suppression of behavior might be temporary; can cause an increase in anxiety or stress; can cause avoidance; can cause the behavior to become an owner absent problem; could damage the relationship between the dog and the owner; might manifest as a different and equally unwanted behavior.  When punishment doesn’t work the first time, we often escalate it.


Negative Reinforcement:  Something unpleasant is removed when the behavior stops.

Advantages:  A quick suppression of the behavior, once the contingencies are understood.

Disadvantages:  Since it uses aversives, it uses punishment (and so ditto to the above identified disadvantages).  Punishment is applied when the behavior begins (an aversive event causing a decrease) and when the behavior stops, the aversive stops (negatively reinforcing the behavior).


Extinction:  All reinforcement of the behavior stops.  Since the behavior is no longer reinforced, it goes away.

Advantages:  Extinction can be a very easy method to implement.  You don’t have to DO anything.

Disadvantages:  Self-rewarding behaviors are not affected by extinction.  Some behaviors are difficult to ignore.  It is not always an easy method to implement consistently.  When it is not consistently implemented, the behavior can become reinforced on an intermittent schedule.  This serves to strengthen the behavior.  An extinction burst might occur.  This involves an increase in the behavior that is temporary IF one is able to stick with the program; but if the owner doesn’t stick with it the behavior can become worse.


Positive Approaches:


Teach an Incompatible Behavior:  Example:  A jumping dog is taught to sit or run for a toy.

Advantages:  The dog learns something that is pleasing to the owner.  This ends in rewards for both (great for the relationship).  It is usually easier for a dog to do something else than it is to stop doing something.

Disadvantages:  It will take some time and commitment to train the dog.


Put the Behavior on Cue.  Once the behavior is on cue, the dog will perform it on demand.

Advantages:  The behavior tends not to happen unless it is cued. Once the behavior is put on cue, it is possible to teach the dog to stop the behavior on cue.

Disadvantages:  It will take some time and commitment to train the dog.


Shape the Absence of the Behavior.  Reward the dog for not doing the behavior; catch him being “good.”

Advantages:  The mindset of the owner must change for this to be successful.  This means the owner will be recognizing the good things the dog does and so will tend to be more positive toward the dog.  Excellent for improving relationships.  Also an effective approach.  Behavior that is rewarded increases, behavior that is not reinforced goes away.

Disadvantages:  Might be a challenging adjustment to change to the necessary mind set.  Takes good observational skills and timing.


Change the Motivation.  A very effective method as if one is no longer motivated to engage in an unwanted behavior, one does not.

Advantages:  If the motivation changes to engage in a pleasant alternative, all win.  It is a kind method, as it frequently removes a deprivation or other unpleasant emotional state.

Disadvantages:  One must be able to identify the motivation to effect a change.


Don’t Shoot The Dog! The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor is an excellent source of information for anyone wanting to change behavior in his or her dog, child, spouse, friend, co-worker, or self.


Vizsla Folklore

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2013 by Red Dawg Lady

One of my favorite bits of Vizsla folklore is the soldier who tried to steal the Hungarian national treasure, St. Stephen’s Crown, during WWII, whose attempt was foiled by a pair of Vizslas, the other Hungarian national treasure. In one version, the tale goes on to state that the soldier was so impressed by the loyalty of the brace of dogs that he then went on to acquire one for himself after his release.


“Silently, the thief moved up to the small, glass-fronted vault. Inside, lay the Crown of Saint Stephen, a priceless medieval holy relic and beloved symbol of Hungary’s sovereignty. The thief’s plan was simple: shoot any guards, snatch the crown, and disappear before anyone could stop

His luck was about to run out.

Four dark amber eyes watched him approach the vault. Before he could touch it, a pair of sleek, red-gold dogs were on him, one gripping the thief’s gun hand, the other knocking him down. Moments later, human guards arrived to march him away to prison.

The vigilant watchdogs in this story reported to have taken place in the 1940’s were Vizslas, also considered a national treasure in Hungary. They were, most likely, rewarded as hardworking Vizslas have ever been: with a fond pat on the head and the Magyar equivalent of “Good dog!”


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