Lazing and Breeding

Lately, Cabana has enjoyed laying around outside in the sun. Gone is the need to scurry madly about, checking out and trying to eat every stick, rock, or leaf. I never thought I'd see the day when Cabana would choose to laze around in our backyard. Although I'd still say Cabana has retained a lot of puppy-ish ways, she's done a lot of maturing as well. I finally feel comfortable letting Cabana hang out by herself outside for short periods (I still am a BIT worried that she'll get bored and dig up my flowers, which would NOT make me happy).

Last night at our puppy group, we had the privilege of having Marina, GDB's breeding director, come and speak to us. Her knowledge of the GDB breeding colony is so immense and fascinating, I could have asked her questions all night long.

I told Marina that my secret hope is for Cabana to become a breeder (so we can keep her AND help GDB at the same time). But in so many words, she told me there's no way in heck. Cabana was having trouble settling the whole evening (we had a visiting retired breeder male that was making lots of funny noises, which didn't help Cabana's ability to keep still), and Marina said Cabana seemed "too busy" in both body and mind to be selected to breed. Yes, that's pretty much Cabana to a "t"...drat!

Of course, that was just an informal evaluation from across the room--and I still have hopes that Cabana will get calmer and mature drastically after going into season. But the issue of collar cough/soft trachea still looms as well.

One very interesting thing that Marina told us is that black Labs, in general, tend to outdo their yellow counterparts. Wow, kind of goes against all political correctness about not judging by the color of someone's fur--but that's what she said! Maybe we should request a black puppy next time?

Lauren and Don  – (September 23, 2009 at 5:02 PM)  

How nice that Cabana can relax outdoors without eating everything in sight! Don goes wild in our backyard- I don't even want to think about what he'd do if we'd let him out there by himself :) In our puppy club, it seems like most people secretly wish for their dogs to become breeders- you get to keep the dog, help GDB, and name lots of adorable puppies!

Ally, Teddy and Kira  – (September 23, 2009 at 6:28 PM)  

How fun! It's so nice to see and notice the pups are really maturing! Going back and looking at how they were as pups helps us appreciate their progress so much more! See, you and Cabana are doing amazing jobs, even if she can't be a breeder. Just think, Iverson and both his brothers were neutered at 5 months for being crazy but all graduated as guides, at least she's beat them out being very nearly a year and still intact ;-)

Mandy and Terence  – (September 23, 2009 at 6:30 PM)  

Oh the benefits of living close to campus - I'm so jealous I would have asked so many questions! Did she say why black labs tend to do better - is it health or behavioral? I know there are some people who maintain that since black was the "original" dominant lab color, they're considered by many to be healthier and sounder as opposed to the recessive yellow color (I think this goes off the recessive-genes-compounds-any-genetic-issue line of thinking). I heard one theory that fewer black dogs are dropped for allergies because it's harder to see irritated skin through black fur! Which seems kind of silly but makes sense to a certain extent.

Which retired breeder came to your meeting?

Emily and the Labradors  – (September 23, 2009 at 7:10 PM)  

See? They do mellow out at least a bit with age! Glad she is being such a good girl,and I bet you see even more mellowing after she goes into heat. My wild child Gelly really did anyway, although I didn't notice much difference with my other girls (but neither were as wild to start with!).

I would have loved to have been at that meeting! I find it all very fascinating too. That is really interesting about the yellow versus black success rates, I've never heard that before. But, come to think of it, the two dogs I've had graduate were black and my two cc'd dogs were yellow. I don't think my sample size is large enough to draw conclusions. I hope that both black boy in training makes it, as well as yellow boy on his way! I need graduates now, not pets ;)

Mitch and Meade  – (September 23, 2009 at 7:33 PM)  

That's a little disappointing......

I would personally rather get a Yellow, mostly because I don't like taking Meade out in the hot sun. I also like them because they are softer. Of course, I haven't been around them much so it might be nice to have some variety.

dogdazzle  – (September 24, 2009 at 5:44 AM)  

Hi, I'm a puppy raiser for Pilot Dogs in Columbus, Oh. I have my 7th puppy now, a 4 month old yellow lab, Farrah. She's my second yellow. The last pup was a black lab and was so much easier! The black lab was also easier than any other. I've had 2 goldens, a german shepherd and a doberman. BTW, we keep our pups only until they're 12-14 months old. I noticed your time is longer.

Enjoy your time with Cabana, she's a beautiful dog!

Sarah and the Pack.  – (September 24, 2009 at 6:44 AM)  

Isn't it nice once they start to settle down! I am jealous that you live so close to campus!!! That must be so cool to listen to talks from staff. Did she give any reason to the blacks vs yellow lab success rate? I had heard that black labs do better in the obedience ring, but was not sure if that also applied to guide dogs...

Have fun with Cabana, and who knows, maybe she will mellow out enough to be a breeder! I know some breeders who were a little crazy as pups, but have turned out to be fantastic dogs!

Deborah  – (September 24, 2009 at 7:29 AM)  

What a nice blog, I will enjoy following it along! Thanks!

Cabana's Puppy Raiser  – (September 24, 2009 at 7:30 AM)  

Yes, we are very fortunate to be close enough to campus to have contact with staff members, although it's still a rare occurrence. I think Marina said the black Labs excel because of their dominant genes (like Mandy said). They tend to be superior both physically and behaviorally.

How funny that the black/yellow trend is corroborated among those who commented! How intriguing!

Mitch, I'm with you. I like yellows better, too, mostly because you can see them at night. I've also heard that yellow Labs don't get tripped over as much as black ones.

The retired breeder is Trent, who lives with some puppy raisers in our group (currently raising Tara).

Poppy The Puppy  – (September 24, 2009 at 9:22 AM)  

Ugh! I'm not pleased that John heard about the supiorority of black labs. I've been trying to convince him they are equals for years! At this point (without Poppy in the count) 50% of my blacks have been successful. But, 50% of my yellows have too. Same with my GSDs. Only 17% of my goldens have been successful.
Hopefully, Poppy will tip my yellows over 50%!

Hobbes Dogs  – (September 24, 2009 at 12:53 PM)  

I am a strong believer that coat colour has no effect on temperament or success as a working dog. So I admit I found the black vs. yellow statement disappointing. As a genetics/animal breeding student I would really love to see some data on this. Maybe I should try to get my advisor to let me do that for a project. :P

Having said that, I'm currently at 80% grad rate for my blacks (4/5), and 0% for my yellows (0/2) ... and will admit a preference for black dogs (due only to their looks).

mariahleadme  – (September 24, 2009 at 2:59 PM)  

My wifes retired Guide, a big Yellow Lab and 10 years old, loves to "sunbathe" on the back porch. Or the front porch. Or anyplace she can find the sun. The funny thing is......Wally (the 6 month old Guide pup) will go and curl up with her, and just lay there as long as Mariah does. My wifes in-use Guide, Roanna, is a little Black Lab who tries to stay out of the sun on the hot days...but when she is inside, Wally is curled up with her if Mariah is outside. Wally is just a little "cuddlebug".

Penelope  – (September 24, 2009 at 3:50 PM)  

So nice that she's mellowing a bit! It gives some of us hope... =D. Also very interesting about the black-versus-yellow dogs. I have to say, from our limited experience, Penelope definitely has a higher work ethic than any of the yellow LABS (pure Labs) I've worked with, but I wouldn't call her easy at all...interesting though!

Alison and Utah  – (September 29, 2009 at 2:56 PM)  

The whole black v. yellow topic is interesting. I'll have to find out if the same is true here in new Zealand.

When a dog becomes a breeder here, not only do you have the option of keeping it (if you live within a 3 hour drive) but the dog also retains guide dog status and can still go anywhere in public. Our puppies wear red coats and our breeders wear blue coats. The breeders get the lifestyle of a pet with the privileges of going anywhere they like! It's great. The only downside is that guide dog services here is quite strict on how many dogs you have and if you keep a cc dog or a breeder you often have to wait until that dog is 3 years old before getting a new puppy. Exceptions are made, of course, but usually the die hard puppy raiders will get a new puppy and someone else will become the guardian of the breeder.

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