Jane Lindquist: Puppy Culture
Jessica Hekman: Welcome to the Functional Breeding Podcast. I’m Jessica Hekman, and I’m here interviewing folks about how to breed dogs for function and for health: behavioral and physical. This podcast is brought to you by the Functional Dog Collaborative, an organization founded to support the ethical breeding of healthy, behaviorally sound dogs. FDC’s goals include providing educational, social, and technical resources to breeders of both purebred and mixed breed dogs. You can find out more at www.functionalbreeding.org, or at the Functional Breeding Facebook Group, which is a friendly and inclusive community. I hope you have fun and learn something.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE
Jessica Hekman: Hi, friends. This episode I’m talking to Jane Lindquist, the founder and owner of Puppy Culture, which is a widely used educational resource for raising and socializing puppies. She herself breeds and competes with bull terriers. As it turns out, she is very thoughtful when it comes to how to apply science to the raising of puppies. We had a wide ranging conversation: at times nerdy, at times philosophical. I hope you enjoy listening to this conversation as much as I enjoyed having it.
So welcome, Jane Lindquist, to the podcast. I am so glad to have you here.
Jane Lindquist: Jessica, thank you so much for having me. This is gonna be fun.
JH: So, many of you are probably familiar with Jane who is the founder of Puppy Culture, which is a fantastic resource, both for breeders and for people who are trying to raise puppies. But I figured before we talk about that we might give people a little bit of background on you. So you have a… Actually from watching your videos I know that there’s one breed of dogs for sure that you have. There’s another breed that I think you might have. So what breed or breeds of dogs are at your house?
JL: Well, right now it’s all bull terrier. We’re all bull terriers. But I have had three cattle dogs.
JL: Yes. Love cattle dogs. You know, I always say I got my first cattle dog because I just wanted one dog that when I put it on the start line in agility I knew it was gonna run. With the bull terriers it’s like, roll the dice.
JH: Yeah, I’m impressed that you do agility with them. So watching the Puppy Culture videos, they are such goofs. They’re just such silly dogs.
JL: They really are. They really are, but they’re the best teachers. I always say, people write to me or call me and they want to be dog trainers and I just point at one of my dogs. And I say take one of those. Train it to an Excellent level agility title. You’ll know everything you need to know.
JH: Sounds fair. So you do agility with them. And they star in your video. And you do other stuff with them as well I believe.
JL: Well we do conformation. I’m an AKC judge. We do… You know, listen. You name it. If there’s anything I can do, I do it with my dogs. I love it all. I haven’t gotten heavily into nosework. I tried barn hunt. But definitely conformation, rally. We’ve dabbled in obedience, and agility for sure. I just love doing it with my dogs.
JH: You’ll do nosework. Nosework happens. For sure. For me, I had a dog with an orthopedic injury that I wanted to do agility with, but he had the injury. So nosework just sort of finds its way in
JL: It will happen.
JH: Yes, it always happens when you’re stuck with a dog and you have to do something with them. And that’s what they can do. And then you figure out that they love it. So yeah, so and then of course, I have you on here to talk about Puppy Culture. So maybe you could talk about sort of where it came from, how it came to be. And I think that I’m imagining that most people listening to this know what it is. And for those who don’t, I am imagining that if you tell us how it came to be, they will figure out what it is.
JL: Well so, I have to roll back a little tiny bit so you understand it was sort of an accidental thing. I had a corporate job. And I was breeding bull terriers, doing agility with them, and having some success doing this. And people kept asking me, how is it possible that you can train these dogs to this level? Because if you know anything, as I always say about bull terriers and agility, it’s an oxymoron. Okay? There is no, you know, they just are not easy to train. They really aren’t. And I kept telling people, “Well, listen. This is what you have to do.” And then finally someone said, “You should put it in a book.” And I did, and I wrote When Pigs Fly. So then I started getting seminar requests. And I sort of reached a tipping point in my life where I was getting so many seminar requests that I had to kind of make a choice between the corporate job and the dog training. And my husband, we were not married at that time, but we discussed it and decided let’s go for the dog training, for the seminars.
JH: Hands down, right? So much more fun.
JL: Hands, well hands down, you know, but it’s a big financial…
JL: You know, so the book did quite well so I knew that I was marketable. Let’s put it that way. So, meanwhile, we were going to make a film version of When Pigs Fly. So we are just going to do basically just a training video based on the book. But meanwhile, I had litter. And are you familiar with Pat Hasting’s book, Another Piece of the Puzzle?
JH: I’m not, actually.
JL: Okay. It’s a very popular book that any breeder listening, almost, I’m sure has it. It’s actually a collection of articles. But the first article in it is an article I believe it was… Erin Ann Rouse maybe wrote it? Somebody might correct me, but it is the developmental periods of puppies loosely based on the Scott… Original Scott and Fuller studies in the 1960s. And any dog breeder out there has it. Those pages are dog-eared. We read it. It’s fascinating. You’re always looking for the next level. It’s cool.
So we had this litter, and I thought, “Well, how fun would it be to just do like a 20 minute video, or just a video of each developmental stage, just as an illustration?” With no intention of ever making this movie. So I did. I started filming and I started seeing different things that maybe didn’t exactly track. And I also pulled the Scott and Fuller studies. And I started, you know, fingering my way out, like bleeding out into all the other studies, you know how it is. It’s like one and then we go down the rabbit hole. And I realized, “Oh, my gosh, this is a really, really deep topic.” This is not, you know, this is huge.
So that’s really how Puppy Culture got started. And, you know, I think the really profound part of it for me was understanding how the developmental periods are important, because what could be very beneficial in one developmental period could be detrimental in the next and vice versa. So serving the puppy what they need per their developmental period. Very important. Also, that developmental periods are bounded by behavioral markers. So we tend to take, you know, developmental periods in terms of temporal markers. Often you’ll see on the internet, you know, “age blah, blah, blah” to “blah, blah, blah” is this period. “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, “Eight week fear period.” You know, all these, but that really, you know, is not helpful because almost never does it really track that way.
So you know, if you’re a breeder, and you don’t understand how to look for the right developmental periods, you’re kind of cut adrift. So that’s really how the book was born. I’m sorry, the movie, was born. That’s how the film was born. And you know, four years later, we had a five hour film on developmental periods and protocols per developmental period for puppies.
JH: And you, I’m assuming you learned a lot while you were making the film as well, because you went out and interviewed a bunch of people for it. And I was really impressed at the level of expertise, the people that you brought in. So you interviewed Jean Donaldson.
JL: Yes. God bless her.
JH: Yes, a lot of Jean Donaldson.
JL: She just was great. I mean, she was just a wonderful, gracious person. So gracious with her time and so supportive, and just a great dog person. Really loved her.
JH: Yeah, I think people who work with dog behavior problems all recognize the real importance of getting the message out there about socializing puppies well.
JL: Mm hmm.
JH: I’m sure she saw that it was in her interest.
JL: I learned a lot. And I did learn a lot about resource guarding from her, you know, and we always did the protocols. And again, you know, I feel that the resource guarding protocols in Puppy Culture are just so important, so incredibly important. And, and I learned a lot from her about the differences between protocols done on young puppies, and older dogs, which I hadn’t known because, you know, she’s done thousands of animals. So it would, she just had amazing insights.
JH: Yeah, I was coming from the other direction where I know the protocols with adult dogs and I saw you, you know, take your, take a bone out of a….
JL: You’re like, “That fast?”
JH: I was like, “Oh Jesus Christ. It’s gonna bite her.”
JL: “It’s gonna bite her.” Right? Exactly.
JH: But it did not. And then you were like, “And this is not something you would do with an adult.” And I was like, “Oh, no.” (laughter)
JL: No you wouldn’t.
JH: No you would not. That would be a bad idea. But very different with puppies and I didn’t realize that, though. It makes sense.
JL: Jessica, though that is a great example. And maybe I’m going to be jumping ahead here. I think, you know, that the difference between working with puppies under 12 weeks old or still in the critical socialization period, versus working with puppies or dogs that are older, is that really, you know, you can proceed without a lot of desensitization and counterconditioning, I mean, habituation. You can just go in…
JH: Their brains are fresh and new. (laughter)
JL: Well, you know, I have a hypothesis about this, which I have been trying to find a canine neurologist to either verify or deny this, and I just have not found any research on it. But to me, what I see is that the puppy brain appears to be wired to favor classical over operant conditioning. And so almost at the expense of operant conditioning. So operant conditioning responses, training responses, are more difficult to train a young puppy to actually do a complicated behavior. But emotional learning is so amazingly quick at two things. Number one, and Jean talks about it, whereas normally to get a classically conditioned response… And let’s just review that a true classically conditioned response, right, requires reflexive, involuntary response. It’s not a learned response. And so to get a true classically conditioned response takes up a number of reps in an adult dog or an older animal. But in a puppy, I mean, literally, sometimes it is as little as one trial. So that’s one thing that I think is really profound. Like that little…
JH: I have a suggestion for you actually. A neurologist may not… I’m not sure a neurologist does know that answer. I would look for an ethologist. It makes a lot of sense that an animal that young has to prioritize learning about what’s good and bad in its environment, rather than operating on its environment. Because so early on they’re not as…
JL: They can’t do it.
JH: They can’t physically do it.
JH: So I would look to an ethologist and see if there have been studies done from their perspective.
JH: Not in the biology of the brain but in thinking through what’s adaptive for an animal that age.
JL: But I’m just curious about…
JH: …Different species I bet.
JL: I’m just really curious about what exactly is going on in there, you know? Like where’s it being myelinated? What’s happening? Like there’s a lot of studies about the very early portions of, you know, like neonates into juveniles. But there are none that really follow through after that. The other thing that I, in my experience and observations, is that we know, right, that in order to maintain a conditioned stimulus you have to maintain some kind of nexus, usually between the conditioned and the unconditioned stimulus. Well, that is difficult…
JH: Just to make that clear for people. So if you clicker train a dog, you’re conditioning them to like the click, and the click predicts something good, usually food. If you stop using the click, sorry, if you stop feeding after the click ever, they will stop…
JH: …they will stop thinking that the click is a good thing because it no longer predicts food. So just to make sure people are on the same…
JL: Okay. Well, you know, even to hone it down a little bit more. When you click, what you’re really looking for is the involuntary reflexive response of the parasympathetic nervous system drooling, you know, all the Pavlov’s dog, the classically conditioned Pavlov’s dog response. I mean, that’s going on under the hood when you have truly powered up a clicker. It’s not an intellectual decision, you know, but it does read as an emotion, you know. It reads because those emotions are also reflexive and involuntary. So when Jessica says, “like,” it’s kind of shorthand for an entire cascade of involuntary hormones and chemicals that are happening within the dog. So if you don’t pair the food with the clicker, eventually all those involuntary responses stop. They become extinct. I mean, they extinguish. So, but in puppies, these classically conditioned responses appear to be durable, even permanent in a way that they’re not in adult dogs. So again, you can take a resource guarder, or a puppy that, you know, wants to keep its stuff. I wouldn’t label a puppy like that, but, and you can do two exchanges and you can, you’re done. Oftentimes. You are done. That’s it. You’ve changed that puppy’s mind. You’ve changed the involuntary reflexive response. So those are two things that I have found are very different about puppies. And very important to understand, you know, when we’re talking about these developmental periods and understanding where you are and how it’s different to work with puppies than adults.
JH: So interesting.
JL: It really is.
JH: You and me both fascinated with puppy brains…
JL: The brain!
JH: In my line of work there’s so many questions I wish I could ask about puppy brains, but that the only way to get at them is by cutting puppy heads open, which…
JL: No, we don’t want, we don’t like to do that. (laughter)
JH: We don’t like to do that.
JL: But there’s MRI’s now, I guess, too.
JH: Yeah. But that doesn’t really work. Because you have to with dogs, you can’t tell them to hold… Well, you can train them eventually to hold still, right? But you have to…
JL: Well I mean. So it’s anecdotal evidence. I mean, it’s good evidence, but it’s anecdotal. It’s not bad evidence. But you know, these are our observations of puppies. It’s fascinating.
JH: Yeah. Well, so since we’re talking about puppy brains, then, one of the things that triggered me to finally get around to asking you to be on the podcast was that there was a conversation in the Functional Breeding Facebook group, and people were talking about Early Neural Stimulation and whether it is a good idea in every breed or not. And some people were asserting, “Well, some breeds are too sensitive for it.” And others were saying, “Well, there isn’t really evidence for that.” And so there’s just a really rich conversation going on around should you just do it, by default, no matter what? And someone said, “Oh, Puppy Culture has some interesting insights into that. You should get Jane on the podcast.” And so not that we would do the whole episode on that, but I thought it’d be interesting to hear your take on it.
JL: Well, it’s such a super interesting question. And it’s one of the things that we really have evolved, I wouldn’t say our position, but expanded our position on it more. In that, you know, I went and I interviewed Carmen Battaglia about the ENS, I mean, in large part because everybody does it. And so I wanted to make sure that everybody was doing it right, and not hurting their puppy. You know, I didn’t really feel like I needed to sell ENS. But what’s interesting is that in the course of doing more research and my seminars, and as we say, “going down that rabbit hole,” what I’ve come to realize is that you can… The neurological system of neonates is extremely plastic. And the reason is that they have to adapt into the environment into which they’re born, right? So a certain set of adaptations will serve them in a resource-rich environment, and a certain set of adaptations will serve them in a resource-poor environment. So suffice it to say that in general, as dog breeders, we want those adaptations that would serve in a resource-rich environment, right? Which are confidence, calmness, friendliness, you know, these kinds of things. As opposed to, what does, you know, if a dog is born on the street without food. Starving. It’s going to be fear, it’s going to be aggression, it’s going to be protectiveness and resource guarding, right? So we want those, that group.
However, there is also the truth that if you sort of tickle the neurological system when the puppy is young you can pick up additional gains. You can pick up a little faster maturation, you can pick up a little better emotional response, you can pick up some gains there. But we’re always walking that tightrope, Jessica, right? So we’re walking that line between wanting to assure the puppies they’re born into a Park Avenue, you know, penthouse, resource wise, but yet sort of challenging them a little bit so that they develop. And, you know, there’s just a lot of situations where we can maybe affect the neurological system of the puppy. And maybe ENS is not the best way to do that there. I think we can always, as breeders have a focus on how we’re affecting it. But I really have walked back from thinking that ENS is always the only protocol there. For instance, I just did a whole series of broadcasts which I’m editing down into a course for our university. It’s for free now on our website on singletons. Okay, I had a “singleton” puppy, so I did eight broadcasts over like 10 weeks so that you could see her development and we talked about this. That when you have a C-section mom, because singletons often are C-sections, who may be slow to come around. Doesn’t have a lot of milk. She’s not licking the puppy. You’re feeding it, tube feeding it, touching it, cleaning it. That puppy is getting plenty of stimulation. It does not need more ENS. But what it’s not getting is tactile stimulation from the mother. The licking, like all that kind of stuff which programs the HPA axis. Do I need to go into the HPA axis here?
JH: I mean, I definitely know what it is. But I think, well here let me just summarize. The HPA axis is the hormonal response that we think of as a stress response. And most people are familiar with cortisol. And that is really the end product of the HPA axis. So when she says HPA axis, you can think cortisol and stress.
JL: Right. It’s how the feedback system… How the animal responds to stress and you know, in a well-balanced, shall we say, HPA axis, the animal’s going to have a better stress response. And one of the ways that you program the HPA, one of the ways that nature programs the HPA axis favourably, is through maternal licking and touching and grooming. And stands to reason because, again, if the mother doesn’t have a lot of resources available, if she’s starving, if she’s not with the puppies a lot, if she’s out hunting for food, it’s programming the puppies, “You’re not getting a lot of maternal input. You need to grow up to be fearful. Resource guard.” You know, so it’s not it, I think people sometimes think there’s a “good” and a “bad” programming. And there’s really not. There’s only programming per survival for the puppy.
We tend to think of it human-centric-ly like, what’s good for us? And this is what’s good for survival. So, in those cases, though, we are trying to manipulate the puppy to be better for us and believe that it was born into a resource-rich environment. So we can do things like stimulate them with stroking with a soft hairbrush. I mean, there have been many rat studies where they’ve shown that they can actually completely ameliorate the effects of poor mothering through tactile stimulation, which we call “simulated maternal stimulation.” So that’s just a tidbit. And I think we’re getting more and more into it about how you would stimulate neonates and what’s appropriate. But once again you’ve got to look for the behavioral markers, right? You’ve got to know where you are to know what you need to do.
JH: Yeah, that’s fair. I think that’s a really nice way of thinking about it. That there are no absolutes but you need to pay attention to the dog and get the feedback from the dog or the puppy of how it’s responding.
And I also want to say that, you know, a lot of people put a lot of stock in ENS, and I think it’s a really great protocol most of the time. But there’s a lot of research… The research around what the right amount of stimulation is and what it means and what its long term effects on young animals and young dogs particularly are, is really in its infancy. We’re just like, we’ve done a lot of this work on rats, and we’re just starting to figure it out in dogs. And it’s, there’s so much we don’t know,
JL: It’s interesting, Jessica, because I thought a long time before I actually included the ENS material for that reason. That in dogs the jury, especially at that time, was very much out about whether it truly had any effect. But it’s been amply proven in livestock, you know, chickens, pigs, cattle, humans even. It’s been shown in primates. It’s been shown that in cases where, and I think this is the key, where the animals really are coming from a baseline of zero handling, the handling really does bring incremental benefits. And again my friends, for instance, that breed German Shepherds where the mother goes under a table with a blanket over it and says, “I’ll see you in two weeks.” With those puppies, absolutely. And it was German Shepherds they were studying originally in the original…
JH: Oh, I did not know that.
JL: Yeah, it was. The army dogs were German Shepherds. So I think where you have a high level of maternal protectiveness, and you’re not intervening… Now, bull terriers. I mean we spend the first two weeks in the box with the mother. The mother’s like, “This is great. We’re doing this together. Don’t you hand me this stick. We got this together.” So I can’t really say that in my breed I believe that it’s going to make a big difference. You know, I tend to do more SMS with mine, just because mine tend to be more over the top. I mean, that’s really where I’ve come to with my dogs. But if I ever did have a really, you know, hands off, I mean, like hands free like in the sense that I didn’t have to go in and do anything with those puppies, I would do ENS. I would.
JH: That’s an interesting way of looking at it. So for your perspective, it’s not the exact protocol. Makes a lot of sense. But it is the “getting your hands on the puppies when they’re little.” Does that sound fair?
JL: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And you know in the original studies they, you know, they started out doing way too much manipulation and made the puppies crazy. So you can overdo it. Okay, I don’t think you can really over handle puppies in the sense of just loving them, picking them up, stroking them. I really don’t feel that you can. But I do think that you just have to look at the particular situation, and how much of the puppy is getting handled, and if they’re getting handled a lot in the sense of manipulated like, feeding tube…
JH: The less fun kind of stuff.
JL: Right, like, you know, tipping them off of their axis. Doing not just stroking them and holding, and that’s, you’re already doing ENS.
JH: Yeah, that’s fair. And I think it’s been amply shown… I wonder if I said, I think you said “amply shown” previously, and that’s why I’m saying that. But it’s been, it’s been well-documented that the amount of challenge that a very young animal goes through is very significant in shaping its personality later on, right? So if you have this puppy really raised in a bubble where it has no challenges at all, that’s going to affect his personality in one way. If it has trauma when it’s very, very young, it’s going to affect his personality in another way. And I’m sure there’s a sweet spot for every puppy. And I’m sure the sweet spot is different for every puppy.
JH: And then the average probably has… The breed probably has something to do with it. But also the individual parents have something to do with it. The amount of mothering and, as you say, the amount of handling that’s going on with the puppy anyways. So.
JL: Absolutely. And I think, you know, it’s such a great comment, Jessica, because I think you’re really striking at the core of our program, which is learning to observe the puppies, and see what’s ahead. What’s there. You know, I think one of the things that really makes Puppy Culture different is not so much the protocols. They’re good protocols, but these protocols are really just the wisdom that was shared with me by my breed mentors. I didn’t make up some crazy different protocol that nobody’s doing. A lot of people do what’s in Puppy Culture. Absolutely. But what’s different about it is that we work to get the breeders almost to be more like behaviorists in the sense that they are looking for breakout. They’re observing their puppies and looking for breakout behavior to guide them on that very tricky ridge that you just described. Where, okay, too much is going to harm them, not enough is going to make them you know, fearful and shy.
JH: Or unable to meet life’s challenges.
JL: Unable to meet life’s challenges. So where is the sweet spot for this puppy? And you know, you can’t say where it is. You can’t write down, “This is the sweet spot.” But you can say, “When you see this, this is what you serve the puppy.” So we’re teaching the breeders to read the puppies, to observe, to work on their observation skills, and understand where the puppy is developmentally and serve what that puppy needs at that moment. And that’s really, I think, what’s profound about the program.
JH: Yeah, I love that you put behavior so much at the center of it. I mean, there’s, there’s a lot of non-behavior stuff in there, right? There’s like, “You need to buy a whelping pen. And then this is what you do with this week.”
JH: Um, but I was really struck by how behavior is, you know, understanding behavior and how much understanding the concepts of training is at the center of it. And I think that’s something that a lot of… not all breeders, but there’s a lot of breeders who really understand the importance of having a deep comfort with dog training. The mechanics. But there are some breeders who don’t get how central that is to doing a good job.
JL: Well, yeah, again, you know, it’s such a deep, deep thing that you’re saying, and at the heart of it is that dog breeders are not dog trainers. If they wanted to be dog trainers, they would be. They’re not. So, you know, my challenge in Puppy Culture was to present protocols and concepts in a way that was accessible to breeders without really introducing a lot of learning theory. I mean, in other words, not formal like, “This is learning theory.” You know, what we’re finding is that I’m having to go back a lot with you know, in the groups and stuff and work with people more on learning theory, and I think that’s something that when we launch our university, we’re going to be more working on learning theory for breeders. But what the mission and important thing of the film was to make breeders feel not afraid to try. You know, like, “I don’t have to be a dog trainer. This isn’t a dog training thing. It’s a breeder thing. I can do it!” Right?
So yeah. I have to go back to something else you said too, though, which is interesting is that, you know, I put that thing in there about the weaning pen. And it’s something that breeders are obsessed with. Okay, now, like they’re obsessed with toilet training puppies, the weaning pen. Like, if we have a weaning pen or potty area post up in the discussion group is gonna get 300 comments. People love it. And I used to really be like, “Come on, guys. But what about the resource guarding? You know, that’s the real meat of it.” But then, you know, one of my moderators pointed out to me, and really rightly so. So she said, “Listen, you know, this is really profound from the behavioral point of view, because what it’s done is it’s allowed breeders not to have to spend so much time cleaning up these puppies. So they have time to do leash walking and training and manding and the ‘communication trinity.’” And I would say, you know… Listen, I don’t know how many people really do successfully do it all. But I can say, based on what I see in the group, almost all of them really get as far as the “Communication Trinity,” which is amazing. I mean, it’s life changing for me to see people changed that way.
JH: That’s nice. Yeah, the people I’ve talked to have said that there is a lot of material and it is very hard to get through all of it. And I think better too much than too little. So maybe we can give people permission to not get through all of it.
JL: Oh, and that I just wrote a post on this today.
JL: Are you reading my mind or my post? (laughter) So you know, the thing is that the workbook incorporates all we did Puppy Culture, and then we did something called Unplugged, where I took the next litter of puppies that I had and just turned the camera on, basically, and talked through… look, in real time, this is what it looks like. Unedited, you know. No net. This is what it really is. It’s sloppy, it’s this, it’s that. It says no, it’s not as neat as it looks. And also then I did talk more to learning theory and stuff like that. So I have this series, and I did three show videos, show handling videos, and I did a scent work video. And I did, because we do do tracking. That’s something else that I didn’t mention. We have actually bred (my good friend and co-owner trained her and trialed her) the only bull terrier ever to get a Tracking Dog Excellent title.
JH: That is cool.
JL: So. So there’s just a lot. There’s also attention protocols, which are very important but not essential. So what we always say is the core of what’s in Puppy Culture is what a breeder needs to really hand a puppy owner so that they can just paint on that canvas, right? You’re gonna have an emotionally resilient puppy who’s ready to take on life’s challenges that is, you know, God willing, doesn’t have any real, you know, developmental or behavioral issues. I mean, there’s always outliers. You can’t do anything about that. You could always make it better. So, you know, that’s your core. But then we have all these other protocols. You know, everything from swimming to scent work to show handling, which are great.
If, but, but don’t feel that you have to do it all. I do think that really Puppy Culture, there’s not a lot in there. I mean, it’s the minimum that I really think any breeder should do. I mean, when you come right down to it, it’s just not a lot. I mean, it’s powering up the clicker, teaching them to be operant with a box, manding and then you know, leash walking and a recall. I mean, there’s really just not a lot. It’s… I mean, there’s a lot of support for it in the film and teaching you how to do it, but it’s just not a lot. But I get it, you know, the other things I don’t want people to feel overwhelmed like, “Oh, I didn’t do all my whole show handling, my attention is the mother of all behavior, my scent work, I missed the scent circle.” It’s okay.
JH: So I think one of the things that maybe overwhelms people is that they are… A lot of people are having to provide a lot of support for the mom dog, right? You and I talked about this a little bit before the podcast to discuss that it might be a huge topic…
JL: Right. Right. A little bit.
JH: Um, but there’s definitely, and you talked about it on the podcast already as well, that there’s a large amount of variation in different types of dogs, often segregating by breed but not always, in how much assistance you’re going to get with keeping the puppies alive and happy.
JH: Right. From the mom. And so one of the things that we talked about in the Functional Breeding Group is should we be identifying things like this where, maybe we could change where there’s some breeds where the the mom is not providing you with all that much help and you’re, you know, exhausted, propping your eyelids open with toothpicks on day three. Should we be starting to select for moms who are providing more help and better parenting as mothering is definitely an important part of that early experience that puppies are getting? And I’m curious what your thoughts are on it.
JL: Yeah, that is really interesting. I guess what I would ask you is, so we understand, you know, we parse out the question a little bit, “What does good mothering look like to you?” Or would you define good mothering?
JH: I wouldn’t define it because I don’t like defining things.
JH: But I think when you were talking before about how there’s some moms that you can be hands off. So you can trust that you’re going to sleep through the night on the first night and get up in the morning and the puppies are going to be alive and warm.
JH: And, and there may be a bit of cleanup for you to do. And I’m saying that jokingly. There’s probably going to be a lot of cleanup for you to do and still a lot of work to do. But you don’t have to be in the pen. And maybe you want to be in the pen, right? Maybe you want to be handling the puppies. But this idea that they shouldn’t be depending on you.
JL: Right, right, right. Oh, it’s okay. So this is really interesting, because let’s just start with I mean, it’s a virtue. A good brood bitch is worth her weight in gold. But I think that we’re always as breeders, first of all, selecting above the average, right? So what’s average in my breed is not what’s average in someone else’s breed. So for it to be a virtue, it just has to be above average. So let’s just put that aside, that what is a good brood bitch to me is maybe not what’s a good, good brood bitch to another person. The other thing is that how important it is to you that a dam actually takes care of and stays with her puppies is gonna depend on a lot of factors. I think that a lot of times when we select for certain qualities that delight us, they tend to be neotenous qualities. And I think a lot of times coupled with those, you know… Are you a geneticist, or just amateur interested…
JH: I have a Ph.D. in genetics.
JL: Right. So you know that you’re selecting for some charming trait and there’s the dark side of that charming trait, right? So in my own breed, I do believe that because we’ve selected for them to be eternally playful… I mean, as long as they can walk they will “huckle butt” and play. They are a little like 16 and “P” when they have their puppies. They’re almost like teen moms. So, I mean, my question is, do I want a more natural mother and then at the sacrifice of some of the typical temperament? I mean, that’s really an ethical question that I can’t answer for everybody.
JH: I think that’s a good way of putting it, is that it could be the trait that you’re selecting for could be tied to another trait that…
JL: Yeah. You know, I had this conversation with a woman who bred cattle dogs and she said, “I would never have a mother in my breeding program that would not stay in the box with the puppies for eight weeks.” I said, “Well, that’s interesting.” And you know, I understand that. I had never bred my cattle dogs and if I did, I probably would feel the same way, but you have to look at your breed standard. The cattle dog breed standard says, “Willing to carry out any task no matter how arduous. Learns routine farm chores with one, maximum two, exposures. Self appointed guardian of the stockman, his stock and property. Wary of strangers.” Well, of course this is a dog that has to go out in the outback and herd wild frickin’ cattle. It better be able to free whelp. It better be able to take care of those puppies. There’s not, it is literally written into their standard. Okay, then you look at our standard and it’s like, “Three year old in a dog suit.” You know, “Full of fire pretty but particularly good with people. Can be stubborn.” I mean, it’s written in there to have these almost, you know, childlike qualities, and we find it charming. You know, some people don’t. But I think you come to a very sticky ethical place about, you know, what is type and temperament and what is acceptable.
And all that having been said, absolutely. I’ve had bad mothers, like really bad mothers. And they were spayed. I mean, I’d have no patience for it. I just literally don’t have patience for it. The other thing though that you have to consider, that I think I only realized how profound it is recently, is that, you know, the circumstances surrounding the birth. If you had to have a C-section, I mean, and before we jump into the bandwagon of being against C-sections, there can be a lot of reasons why you had to have a C-section, okay? It profoundly affects maternal behavior, because you’ve cut short that whole cascade of hormones. There’s a whole chain that has to happen. So if you have a bitch (and this is a lot of what our singleton course is) who’s a bad mother out of the box, you can teach brood bitch skills, believe it or not. To a large extent it can be learned, and you can facilitate that. So and, you know…
JH: ….do some of it yourself. Right, so we were talking about the importance of the dam actually licking…
JL: And you do need to be, if she’s not doing it, you do need to do that. Absolutely, Jessica. But going back to that original thing of, “Do I kick that bitch out of my breeding program?” And for me, never. I mean, I, you know, my line is, she can’t actually be hostile toward the puppy. And, frankly, you know, if she free whelped a litter, and didn’t really want to ever have anything to do with the puppies, if I had to clean them and do everything, if she didn’t want to feed them, I don’t think I’d breed her again. You know, I mean, that I wouldn’t. But listen, if she wants me to stay in the box, we’re used to it. We do. I mean, I, you know. I get really close to my bitches that way. Yeah. So…
JH: So I was gonna say, once again, this theme of thinking about what the, you know, there’s not a rule for everybody, but thinking about the dogs that you’re breeding and the dogs that are in front of you and making different choices from other people maybe.
JL: Absolutely. When I got my first cattle dog bitch (and I didn’t wind up breeding her but I had bought her with the intention of breeding her) I said to the breeder, “So you know, how long do I need to block out, you know, after she whelps to stay home with her?” And she’s like, “You could stay home for a day if you want.” (laughter) I just about fainted, you know?
JH: Yeah, that’d be, has such interesting research potential in my copious free time.
JL: Well, you know, it’s interesting though because I think there is going to be some research out of the University of Bern on this. And they have, I don’t know if you’ve saw that study that they’re doing, they did on early enrichment. And they’re also very interested in early maternal styles. So I can send you some stuff afterwards.
JH: Yeah, that sounds familiar. I think I did. And then you probably are aware of the study in the golden retriever guide dogs by Emily Bray that came out a few years back.
JL: About the mothers who challenged the puppies a little more. Right. Yeah, well this is what’s so interesting is like, and that’s why I say define good mother, right? Because a lot of people think that a good mother is one that lies in the box with the puppies a long time and takes care of them a long time. And you know, we don’t really, that is something that we really haven’t defined what is optimal in mothering style, and not to even go further down in the rabbit hole, but it’s a dyad, right? So it’s not, mothering style doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Okay. I’ve seen German Shepherd mothers interacting with their puppies, and it’s this incredible silent dance of, you know, signals back and forth, that my puppies would just be like, “Wah!” You know, they wouldn’t stay when the mother can just turn and look at the puppy, and the puppy, you know, responds like, “Oh, I see, I’ve been checked.” You know, and if a bull terrier mother turns to look at her puppy, the puppy’s like, “Game on! Play time!” So, you know, it’s fascinating, and deep and in short, of course, good mothers. We want to pick for good mothers. We always want to pick for good mothers, but especially where you have a lower population breed. Sometimes you don’t really get to as much as you’d like to.
JH: Yeah. And I guess I’m thinking about your question about defining what a good mother is. And maybe what I want to say is, I don’t want to define what a good mother is so much as I want people to recognize that the mother is your partner in creating the puppies and so when you look at the puppies that you’ve created, and you’re thinking about, “Where am I going to go next time? What direction am I going to go to? I want them to be more bold or less bold?” Think about the mother, what the mother’s role in it is.
JH: And just keep in mind that it’s not just you.
JL: Without a doubt. Yeah. The mother and, you know and while I’m on it, like if you have good nannies and “nanos” as we call them. Nano being male nanny, which there is no such word, but don’t look it up, but we made it up. Having a good pack structure, you know, a whole like, we always have all the…
JH: Oh, other dogs who are the nanny?
JL: Yes, we always have everything from puppies to oldsters. So the puppies really kind of get passed along in the family, which is worth its weight in gold.
JH: Yeah, having… God I wish one could just go out and pick one up off the shelves, right? But having an adult dog who can help with the puppies must be priceless. Yeah.
JL: Priceless. And again, you know, that’s something that I see a pattern in our dogs and a lot of breeds is the way it is. By five weeks the bitch’s done with the puppies, but the aunts and uncles are in. Okay, so my dogs…
JH: They aren’t exhausted. (laughter)
JL: They’re not exhausted. They’re not getting their teats raked. And then and then our mothers will jump back in, like around 8-10 weeks. When the puppies are really truly weaned they’ll jump back in and start playing with the puppies again. But there’s a space where they definitely pass the baton to the aunts and uncles.
JH: That’s a beautiful picture. And it actually makes me think so when you talk about having a puppy at eight to ten weeks, a lot of people have traditionally sent puppies home at eight weeks. And there’s a lot of discussion on that. We haven’t seen it in our group so much. But I know there’s been a lot of discussion over the last few years of should breeders keep puppies long range to like 12 weeks? And is there some benefit of the mother still being you know, the mother and littermates working with them in that time? Or should they be going home right at eight weeks? Because there’s the benefit of being in the environment that they’re going to be in while they’re still in this very plastic state. And I’m guessing you have opinions.
JL: Well, you know, as you might guess my opinion is there’s no one answer.
JH: Yeah I was thinking that might be it.
JL: But there are definite considerations, let’s say. So I’ll tell you what we do. So for us, we like to send our puppies, we like our puppies to clear the “eight week” fear period. Okay, so we don’t want to send our puppies home during the fear period. We also like to send our puppies home with one vaccination. Now, the way that usually works out is that our puppies will normally experience their fear period somewhere in that eight week range. We don’t like to give a vaccination during a fear period. Because the body’s resources, once the puppy has a vaccination, are going toward building antibodies.
Which in case anyone doesn’t know, vaccination is not immunization. It’s not like an antibiotic that you take and it kills the bad thing. All that a vaccination does is it pricks the puppy’s immune system to say, “Wake up and start manufacturing antibodies.” It’s a lot of work for those puppies to manufacture. That little body is just, literally all systems, all the bandwidth is going for probably a week to building those antibodies. So to do that at a time when the puppy is naturally more emotional or emotionally vulnerable. And you know, there is this true connection between mind and body here. You’re putting the puppy more at risk for having a traumatic experience that the puppy really cannot recover from during that time. And I know I’m going quickly over it but… So we just really don’t like to do a vaccination during the fear period. So the way that usually works out for us… We do nomographs… Do I need to talk about nomographs, or people know?
JH: I’m guessing there’s plenty of people who have not heard of them.
JH: Can you do it in like one or two sentences? We don’t need to do all the details.
JL: Absolutely. All nomographs do is you take a titer on the bitch before the puppies are born and it will tell you when the maternally derived antibodies are going to be wearing off, okay?
JH: So you do it on the bitch, not on each puppy.
JL: No on the bitch. So, and the reason that’s important is because the maternally derived antibodies have the potential for interfering with the vaccine. Okay, they can view… If the puppy still has antibodies from the mother, the mother’s antibodies see the vaccine as an intruder and will cover it up in the pup. So puppy will never come, you know, face to face with the vaccine. Okay. There’s a lot of caveats to this, I mean modern vaccines, you know, tend to be able to penetrate the maternally derived antibodies. Some puppies can mount an immune response earlier than others. But generally speaking, I think conventional wisdom is they really have to be eight weeks for the immune system to be mature enough to really mount an immune response. So for me, it’s not really an option to give a seven week vaccine, even if the nomograph says that the vaccines are going to be wearing off.
And one more thing I have to say super important about the nomograph is that the nomograph will tell you when approximately the antibodies are going to wear off. But it’s not going to tell you what level of antibodies the puppy got. So you cannot assume that the puppy is safe. If the nomograph says, “Oh, you know, not gonna wear off till 12 weeks old…” You can’t, you always have to use appropriate biosafety. Okay, so that’s my nutshell. And I hope I covered it.
So what does this mean? This means we’re not going to vaccinate at seven weeks, because a lot of times where I live we don’t have a (knock on wood), a huge Parvo problem or really Parvo at all. I’m not worried, you know about that so much. And chances are it’s not going to be very effective at seven weeks old. So I don’t want to do it then. Eight weeks, normally eight to nine weeks is when I’m going to be holding back on my puppies because of the fear period. So nine weeks becomes the first time I’m going to vaccinate. Then I’m going to wait a week for that vaccination to, the puppy to make the antibodies. Then I’m going to send my puppies home with a blessing that you’ve got two weeks left in the critical socialization period. In our breed, it’s going to be at least two weeks. Every day get that puppy out someplace. Now, what this also does is it because I’m a skilled dog trainer, it gives me two more weeks than I used to believe, you know, we used to place them at eight. It gives me two more weeks to do stuff with the puppies. To get them leash walking, to get you know, work more on crate training. To get you know more of these things under the puppy’s belt. And I mean night and day with how smoothly the transition goes if you kept them for those extra two weeks.
Now, I’m not warehousing the puppies for two weeks. It’s not magic that I just keep them and place them two weeks later. I mean, I’m doing a lot of work in those two weeks. But now I have friends that breed German Shepherds, and they are starting to be mistrustful of novelty by nine weeks and seriously taking each other on in the litter. Those puppies, maybe you want to place earlier. We’ve had questions, sometimes people are selling giant breed puppies, okay, where even the owners are coming to get them but having to fly them home. If they take the puppy at seven weeks, the puppy fits under the, you know, under the seat. If they take them at 10 weeks they’re too big, they have to go cargo. In that case, yeah, I’d sent home the puppy earlier. So, you know, it’s a deep question, but those are our parameters.
JH: Yeah. I think it’s really useful to not have a rule of an answer, but the guidance for how to make the decision.
JL: I think you can use the fear period. Okay, I do think, you know, in the fear period, and let me just review is not a generalized fear. It’s like one day you look at those puppies, and one of them is afraid of something that they have seen every day of their life. That’s your tell, and it passes. So it’s acute. I mean, say comes on suddenly out of nowhere, fear of the familiar, and it’s transitory in that it passes within a day or two. That’s your fear period. That’s where you know, so if you count a week from there, normally you’re going to have two more weeks in the socialization period past there. So.
JH: Interesting timelines. Researchers, so far as I know, have not studied that phenomenon at all. And I wish they would. Oh, are you going to tell me there’s a study?
JL: No. I’m going to say that Scott and Fuller did say that there was around eight weeks a time when they did appear, they did notice the eight week fear period in Beagles, I believe it was. They did, they did notice where they could really, if something happened to them during that time it could be permanent, in a way.
JH: Yeah, I’d love to see more formal studies these days, because there’s been some studies starting to come out about the onset of a fearful response to novelty somewhere between five and seven weeks, depending on breed. And it’s just been…
JH: Very interesting to follow that.
JL: Isn’t that fascinating?
JH: Right? And to see how it’s different in different breeds. And then those breeds have different personalities and to sort of ask, you know… Like, I’d love to see that done in mixed breed dogs. There’s someone in the laboratory where I work trying to get that done actually, so it will be interesting to see.
JL: It’s very interesting. And I think, you know, the study you mentioned, is worth just pausing for a second because it’s so profound that… They did this study of three breeds: German Shepherds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Yorkshire terriers. And they found that the average onset of initial fear was 16 days difference per breed. So you just have to marinate in that.
JH: It’s so crazy.
JL: When you have dog people, you know, who are nothing if not passionate. Flinging their considered opinions around about what’s right. “No, no, no. I know this happens at this time. And this has to have no, you should place the puppy now. No, you do this, then.” I think it’s just a great illustration of why you have to hone your observation skills and see the puppy for where they are at any given time.
JH: Yeah. And then the massive difference that we see between different types of dogs. So interesting.
JL: The breeds. Yeah, unbelievable.
JH: Yeah. So we’ve been talking for an hour. So I’m thinking we should probably wrap up. Was there a topic you were particularly excited about covering that I missed?
JL: Ah, let’s see. Well, wow. I mean, we covered a lot.
JH: So you predicted it would be three hours, but here we are. (laughter)
JL: But there’s a lot that we didn’t talk about. We didn’t talk about the pandemic. We didn’t talk about puppy owners.
JH: We did NOT talk about the pandemic. Yeah and we should do that because we are in the pandemic. And because you have a resource that you should let people know about.
JL: Right. Well, we have, we have a couple resources. We have the Puppy Culture. If you go to www.madcapuniversity.com, we have a puppy course, our COVID puppy course that we have donated for now until we edit it and put it back in the university. Right now everything in the university is free. Because what you know, what happened was, when this COVID thing went down, my first thought was, “Oh, no, all these breeders are going to get stuck with puppies. Nobody’s going to want a puppy because they’re not going to have a job or they’re not…”
JH: Oh you were wrong!
JL: And of course the opposite happened. But what did happen was that puppy owners couldn’t bring their puppies to class. So I put together basically these, your first week with your puppy kind of thing. And it’s in Madcap University. You have to register. You have to buy it, but it’s zero dollars. So you can, it’s free for everyone. So there’s that, which talks about COVID. We talk about COVID. We talk about some of the… And there’s also a video resource within the course talking about options for socializing during COVID.
For breeders, you know, it’s tough, and it’s, I mean, really, I can’t really talk about so much… I don’t feel like we need so much to talk about breeders, we need to talk about safety during COVID. And, you know, the thing that they’re finding is masks and being outdoors, right? So, you know, air exchange and masks, and I think, you know, you can pretty much carry on with what you were, you know, all your puppy party, you can do all that. Like, I think when it first hit we didn’t know, but I think we kind of know a little more of the science of COVID now, and if everybody wears a mask, and everyone you know stays appropriately far apart, and washes their hands.
JH: And maybe the puppies get tiny little coats when it gets cold.
JL: They do, or you know, also, just cross ventilation. Air purifiers also have been, you know, shown to be very good. If you can get a big enough space indoors, like a large space and you don’t spend a real long time there and you wear masks and you have some air purifiers. I mean, I think more than anything, though, these are the things that we can do during COVID.
JH: I’ve heard and I’ve heard other people suggest that it’s possible that the way we’ve traditionally socialized puppies has been to be like, “Hello, stranger. Come feed and pet my puppy.” And that maybe in fact COVID is almost a good thing in that we can take the puppy to be sort of near a stranger, but then have the puppy interact with us in the presence of the stranger rather than being touched by the stranger. I’m curious what your feelings are about that.
JL: Oh. Absolutely agree. Yes I do. I think you make the point very well, that it teaches the puppy perhaps some modulation. There have been some really interesting things that I’ve noticed with my COVID pup. I have a COVID puppy and what’s interesting about her is that she was born not during COVID. Okay, she was born in December. Well, I mean, there was COVID. But she was socialized normally until February, the end of February. And then I went to, middle of February, I went to Australia for two weeks. And then I came back and it was all on COVID. Right. We were on lockdown. Thank God, I went to Australia. I mean, I just got in literally under the wire and it worked out.
JH: It’s good you got back, too.
JL: It’s good we got back. Yeah, it was a great time but it was under the wire. So she, what was interesting about her is how uneasy she was that I was not approaching people. And as somebody with an ethology interest, you know, I think this would be fascinating to you is that she became very alarmed. “Why are you not approaching? Why are you staying away?” And then she would begin barking. If I approached a person, no problem. But it’s so interesting, these small social things that they pick up on. That who would think six feet would make such a difference? And it does, it does. So.
JH: They’re very attuned to our greeting rituals. Right?
JL: Very! Who knew?
JL: Who knew also that my dog reads my lips?
JH: (laughter) Then when you wear a mask they can’t…
JL: I’m so, I’m such a stickler about a verbal release, okay? A verbal release. A true verbal release. Well, I have to just basically eat humble pie, because I don’t have a verbal release.
JH: (laughter) She’s watching your face that’s hilarious.
JL: She’s reading my lips.
JH: That’s hilarious. That’s really funny. Yeah, well, and I also want to put a shout out there to, you know, like Labrador Retriever owners. So I actually have an English shepherd. But I really wanted him to be really friendly with people. And so when he was a baby, he was my first puppy ever. When he was a baby, I worked really hard to teach him that people were awesome. And now he will run up to people, scale them and try to lick them on the face. Yeah. And now that he is almost 50 pounds, that is not as much fun for everybody. He’s very gentle, though. He’s very gentle when he does this, everybody says. But still, not everyone wishes to be kissed on the face. So.
JL: Isn’t that breed somewhat sharp? Normally?
JH: Yeah. Which is why I worked so hard. And I actually…
JL: So, you know, you’ll take it.
JH: Yeah, so his mom also is a big face kisser. And I got the most social puppy in the litter, I think. So but yeah, I think he is a bit more on one side of the spectrum. But that was really important to me to emphasize. So I did. And now in retrospect, I don’t know. I mean, it’s not the worst problem to have. But for those of you who have 80lb labs who perhaps are not quite as gentle when they scale people, then maybe this COVID method of puppy socialization, where we learn that strangers are great but from a six foot distance, maybe is a good thing.
JL: Right? And also, you know, I’m going to throw in a pitch for manding. Because you know, it does…
JH: Do you want to say what that is for people who don’t know.
JL: Sure. Well, and it’s important. Do you have the ability to link up to articles and stuff with the podcast, or…?
JH: Yeah, so what I do is the podcast has a little summary and in this summary, I can put whatever links I want.
JL: Perfect. I’ll send you a bunch of links because I wrote an IIABC article that I really think encapsulates it really well. But manding I borrowed from the human lexicon. Working with autistic humans. So nonverbal autistic humans, they teach them a mand, meaning to say a way of asking for things. And they also have done studies or have done work with babies before they can speak learning mand, learning to sign language. So, you know, basically, again, really Reader’s Digest, we’re social animals. So are dogs. The ability to communicate needs is actually more important than the gratification of the needs themselves. And that’s what people don’t understand, or that’s what people really need to understand is that it’s not so much about the child, for instance, getting a toy, but it’s the ability to ask for the toy that he needs.
JH: To communicate your needs. Yeah.
JL: There’s some command of the situation. There’s agency, right? And dogs, you know, but yeah, they got a small brain, but they want some agency, you know, and, and it’s not always that they’re going to get what they want, but they want to be heard. So with the manding, we teach them a mand behavior. Now I teach a sit, some people teach a paw wave, some people teach a stand. It’s fine. The problem with the stand for me is it’s hard for humans to understand. The puppy is asking for something when it’s just standing there looking at you. But that aside, what it really does is it opens up that line of… the shortest distance between me and what I want is not a straight line. Okay? It’s through this third behavior which, “I’m heard. I don’t need to do this frantic pawing. I don’t need to…”
Now that doesn’t mean that puppies are never going to jump on people. They’re going to jump on people. That’s what puppies do. But it does mean that if they have this other way of communicating their needs, over time, you know, they’re going to be less frantic. What you describe as a frantic dog, a dog that’s frantic to be heard. And manding is really a way… Not sitting politely for patting. That’s a top down rule that we impose on a puppy. We say you can’t access resources unless you sit. Which, going back to our original discussion, Jessica, about the brain being favored for classically versus operant conditioning. It’s really beyond the paygrade of most little puppies to understand the “if/then” that’s required for operant conditioning there. But emotionally, they understand if you’re denying them, frustrating them not giving them attention. They understand that and they understand like, you kind of suck, you know, like you’re, you’re like a blocker. So they have that quick to learn emotionally, that it’s not a pleasurable experience. But they’re slow to learn the rules of how to access. So I don’t do rules with baby puppies. I do, but you know, so manding it’s speech. It’s not a rule. But it does have the side benefit of creating a less frantic animal.
JH: Yeah, I think that is a very deep part of our relationship with dogs that we would do well to understand. That traditionally we have not given them much agency or much control over their, not only over their environment, but over their own bodies and their own needs. And I think it’s lovely to start so early with little puppies teaching them that, “Here’s a way that you can convey to us what your needs are, and you may not get them every time.” And I think I know that my dogs understand when you know, they have various ways of asking for things. And then if I look at them say, “I’m really sorry.” Or my dogs have the cue. I don’t know if it’s a cue really, but I say. “Sorry, no. Sorry, no.” And they understand that.
JL: But they’re good with that, right?
JH: Yeah they get it. They’re like, “Oh, okay, now I understand.” And so with my dogs, actually, it’s frequently I’m going to the grocery store. I picked up my car keys. I’m headed to the car. “Oh, my God, are we going some place really fun together?” I say, “Sorry, no.” And they’re like, “Oh, that’s sad.” Then they go back and lie down, because now they understand. They aren’t repeatedly, frantically…
JL: You haven’t forgotten. You’ve heard them.
JH: I’ve heard them.
JL: Isn’t that great?
JH: And I’ve said, “I know what you want. I’m sorry. I can’t give it to you this time. Next time.”
JL: And that’s really all they’re asking for.
JH: Yeah. Communication with us. Yeah. Well, that is a lovely place to leave it, I think. Um, so if people want to, well, there’s lots of things people might want to know more about, right? So where can they go to learn more about Puppy Culture? Where could they go to learn more about you? And then if they were interested in your program, if you wanted to talk about that, too?
JL: Sure. So we have www.puppyculture.com is the Puppy Culture website. We actually are launching next week a UK facility because, to service Europe, because so many people in Europe and the UK want Puppy Culture, and it’s just easier to have a base there. So, but for now, just go to www.puppyculture.com.
Then we have the Puppy Culture discussion group on Facebook, which I cannot recommend enough. I mean, the generosity of people to share and I do often say, Puppy Culture is truly a crowd sourced, you know, it’s open architecture. It grows. In fact, our logo for Madcap University has a bee on it, because really, it is a hive. You know, it’s just everybody coming together and sharing. It’s great. So the Puppy Culture discussion group on Facebook is a great resource.
Then we have Madcap University which has the free puppy course. It’s a four class puppy course. And there’s written material in there too. So that’s great for any puppy owner. And then Mad Cap Bull Terriers is my website for bull terriers. I got to admit, it’s kind of the the, you know, youngest child, you know, gets the least amount of attention.
JH: It’s a great name, though. I love Mad Cap for bull terriers.
JL: We are doing two breedings so wish me luck.
JH: Yeah, good luck. What, at the same? Close to the same time?
JL: Close to the same time. I’ve never done that before.
JH: You’re going to have to cut yourself in half to be in both…
JL: So my husband. He’s really good. Yeah. Actually, we. Yeah, he is. He’s really good. He’s really good. Yeah.
JH: That’s helpful. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I really appreciate it.
JL: Thank you so much for having me. It was so much fun.
JH: Yeah, it was good. I did not expect this conversation to be quite so technical and behavior oriented and I’m really pleased that it was.
JL: Me too.
Thanks so much for listening. The Functional Breeding Podcast is a product of the Functional Dog Collaborative and was produced by Sarah Espinosa Socal. Come join us at the Functional Breeding Facebook group to talk about this episode or about responsible breeding practices in general. To learn more about the Functional Dog Collaborative, check out www.functionalbreeding.org. Enjoy your dogs.
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