Carlos E Silva

The Duping Doodle and Designer Breed Fad

By Jennifer Broome

Before I begin, I must emphasize that I am grateful for ALL dogs that come to QK, and I am truly thankful for our clients and their amazing dogs! I just want to educate people who may be considering the purchase of a designer breed. While I am thankful that Doodles are so popular, and QK trains dozens of Doodles every month, I must explain why I and nearly every other professional trainer I speak to feel so opposed to this designer dog craze. I do want to note, for you diehard Doodle lovers, I have met and trained MANY exceptional, smart, and wonderful Doodles!

I have always been a poodle fan having grown up with Standard Poodles. Our first two were fabulous and they lived until 15 years of age. They were smart, athletic, healthy, easy to train and they were confident and very social. I helped my parents buy a 3rd poodle from a ‘reputable’ poodle breeder. She unethically ended up selling us an ‘oops’ (unplanned) litter where the dam was not even 2 years old herself. and she never disclosed this information when we visited the pups. I found out the truth after studying the pedigree only to learn the dam of the litter was not even 2 years old! Despite the $2000 price tag, my grieving Dad (he just lost his Standard Poodle) fell in love with a puppy; we were sucked in hook, line and sinker since the seller did not disclose the truth upfront. Little did we know that this pup would turn out skittish, have a meek personality and she harbored the terrible genetic Poodle disease called Sebaceous Adenitis and lost all of her hair by the time she was 4 years old. She suffered greatly from this horrible skin disease which could have easily been screened for by the breeder. At age 7 she developed Lymphoma and was given mere months to live.

Recently I reached out to a very reputable Poodle breeder who is a breed expert as well as someone who helps to rescue and re-home poodles. She emphatically explained to me the plethora of health issues plaguing poodles, in general, these days, and I learned a lot from our conversations.

So here is my issue with ‘Doodles’! Reputable Poodle breeders adore their breed, and they go above and beyond to test for genetic diseases. Here is the page from the PCA (Poodle Club of America) website:

HEALTH TESTING IN POODLES: To help ensure the future health of Poodles, good breeders screen prospective Poodle parents with tests available for primary health issues in our breed. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) work with parent clubs to establish important screening criteria, and the following are tests needed to receive a CHIC number for each Poodle variety. Where noted, the PCA Foundation also recommends other DNA tests, some just recently developed as researchers identify faulty genes that cause disease. Eye exams to detect hereditary problems should be done yearly until an age suggested by your veterinary eye specialist. For more on poodle health, go to

These recommended tests are time-consuming and expensive. They are done once the dog is over 2 years of age and, after that, some of the tests should be done yearly. This adds up to hundreds and even thousands of dollars. In my experience, reputable and honest breeders willingly complete these tests since most often they are into breeding NOT for the money, but because of their love of their breed and the desire to breed for health, temperament and consistency. If pure-bred breeders work so hard to produce healthy puppies, why would they want to cross their pure-bred dogs to other breeds?

Now start researching online “Doodle Breeders”. You will find hundreds of so-called breeders who charge exorbitant fees, and rarely will you find health tests on the breeding dogs. The crazes we see are Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Sheepadoodles, Bernadoodles, Schnoodles to name a few. Sadly, the terrible genetic diseases plaguing the purebred pool are things like cancer, hip and elbow issues, and allergies for the Golden Retrievers, hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases, vonWillebrand’s disease, heart conditions/subaortic stenosis, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), and Shoulder Osteochondrosis (OCD) for Bernese Mountain Dogs, etc. Since most reputable breeders of healthy purebred dogs would not even consider mixing their breed with another dog, this leaves the over-bred, untested dog pool to the novice, uninformed back-yard breeder!

Why would people be so willing to buy expensive designer bred mixed dogs where the so-called breeders are not testing their breeding dogs? If you really want to learn about genetic health testing, simply go to the AKC website and look up the CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) recommendations for each breed. Did your Doodle breeder test their pairings for these tests? Can they produce OFA certificates?

I’ll agree, Doodle puppies can be ADORABLE! But why gamble with buying a pup that can very quickly develop severe, life-threatening or chronic health issues that should have never happened had they been screened for these diseases.

I have been a kennel owner, breeder and trainer for 25 years. I am in this field because I LOVE DOGS! Whether the dog is a shelter dog, an abused rescue, or a purebred dog, I am eager to help train and educate owners. I cannot tolerate commercial or backyard breeders pumping out puppies and making a fortune at the expense of the dogs’ wellbeing and the owners’ heartstrings. Recently we helped a family with a Bernadoodle. We had to rehome her due to an unfortunate family health issue. Turns out this pup, at 8 weeks old, was sold for $9,000. Furthermore, the breeder duped the buyer into sending the pup off to training for 4 months for another $10,000, and at 6 months this pup was sold as ‘turnkey’. What 6-month-old pup is TURN KEY!!?? That is like saying your 8-year-old child is ready to move out, take care of himself and has the education of a college graduate. This $19,000 pup ended up having bi-lateral (both) elbow dysplasia AND hip dysplasia. The ‘breeder’ most likely had a litter of 8 to 10 pups which means she may have made upwards of $100,000 for the litter. Not only does this breeder farm most of her breeding dogs out to families who raise them, but she starts breeding them at 2 years old and gets 3 or 4 litters per dog. This is NOT uncommon! Many of the Doodles that we see come through QK cost their owners upwards of $2,500 to $5,000 per puppy. Advertisement and popularity of these new designer breeds drive the prices, and unethical people are pumping out these mutts.

This all makes me shake my head because I am an AKC Breeder of Merit for Labrador Retrievers and German Shorthaired Pointers. Not only do I strive to health-test my dogs, but my dogs have also gone on to produce titled puppies in obedience, fieldwork, show and other AKC venues. This shows trainability, consistency of temperament, and the ability to produce well-rounded pups that meet the breed standard. I work extremely hard to title my dogs for conformation and field to prove their stable genetics.  I spend thousands of dollars health-testing them, and I am so proud that the litters that I breed are very typy and consistent. And, despite ALL of this work, the going rate for these pups is about $1,800.

Can you see why the Doodle craze is frustrating!? Why would a pup out of an untitled, unproven and most-likely untested (health) breeding dog cost upwards of $2,500, 3,500, 4,500!? On most days we have at least 6 to 10 Doodles at QK. They often have the athleticism and intelligence of a poodle, yet the biting, herding and working desire of the ‘other’ breed.  Unfortunately, when mixed together, we often see pups that are snarky, insecure, wild, and much more of a handful then the buyers had anticipated. While I love a dog that desires a job and loves to work, most of the Doodle buyers just wanted a nice, calm, family pet. These dogs are often much more of a handful! We see some Doodles weigh only 25 pounds, yet others weigh over 100 pounds. You almost never know what you are getting and truthfully most of them are already great biters when they come to QK.

Once again, I want to stress how grateful I am for ALL dogs that come to QK, and I am truly thankful for our clients and their amazing dogs. I just want people to be educated about the designer breeds. Hopefully any dog you choose will be a 12-to-15-year commitment.  Realize you need to be cautious when rescuing a dog from a shelter where you may be unsure exactly what breed mix you are getting. It may be a gamble, but you are helping a dog in need of a home, and most often you have quite a project ahead of you! When it comes to buying dogs from a breeder, you should EXPECT to be able to meet the parents, spend some time around them, and see if you can handle their energy levels, athleticism and temperament. Do NOT buy a dog online and have it shipped to you! This is not just a product from Amazon, this is a family member, and you should see where this pup came from, meet the parents and meet the breeders. Visit the home or kennel and make sure the pup is raised in a humane, safe and healthy environment. Make sure the puppies are well-socialized and they have had a wellness exam by a veterinarian prior to going home. The vet will check their bites (jaw line up), heart, lungs and give them an overall health check as well as the first round of shots and de-worming. This due diligence can be some of the very best advice I can offer. If you meet Doodles that you like and you find ones that have proven health tests, then by all means go for the dog that ‘blows your hair back and makes you smile’!

4 Signs of healthy, well-cared for dog

By Jennifer Broome, the QK owner

4 Signs of healthy, well-cared for dog:

Coat condition, weight, teeth, nails. Yup, it may be that easy!

When you come to visit Quinebaug Kennels (QK Dogs) and meet owner Jennifer Broome, she will quickly assess your dog and offer feedback.  This is not often the case when you go to your vet for vaccine updates or even wellness exams.  Sadly, many veterinarians simply give your dog their required vaccines, ask about any health issues, prescribe flea/tick meds and heartworm and send you on your way without addressing these 4 signs.

At QK Dogs we are all about the overall complete health and wellness of your client dogs!

A dog with a dull coat that sheds a lot is often a sign of improper nutrition and needed supplements.  We love to talk nutrition, food choices and additional supplements that may be the secret to a healthier coat, less shedding and improved overall wellness.

Many dogs that we see come into QK are overweight and they lack proper muscle tone and overall fitness.  Just 1-pound overweight for a dog is equivalent to 10 pounds in a human.  So, if we see a dog just 5 pounds overweight, that is like 50 pounds on a human. Wow!  Humans tend to have the common sense that we cannot just race out Mach speed to run, but our dogs do not have that same sense of self-preservation and they can easily torque a knee or injure themselves when they are overweight.  Plus, the added weight is super stressful on their joints.  At QK we look at the topline of the dogs.  We want to see the ribs (or at least feel them) and we want to clearly see a tuck up on their waistline behind the ribs when you are viewing from above them.

How about those pearly whites!?  Most dogs by the age of 2 years have periodontal disease!  The plaque on their teeth builds up, goes into their bloodstream through the gums, and leads to early organ disease.  Dental care is a great measure of your dog’s overall health and wellness.  Encourage healthier teeth with your dog by offering safe dental chews, bones and chew toys to break down plaque and keep a healthy mouth.

Lastly, how about those nails?  I wish that I had $5 for each time a client said “I tried to cut my dog’s nails one time and I made them bleed/hit the quick” or “My dog hates to have their nails cut”.  This means that owners then give up or neglect their dog’s toenails.  This really frustrates me!  If you cannot do their nails, then at least take them once a month to a groomer to get their nails dremeled (this is a power grinder that files them safely down) or clipped.  If your dog’s nails are hitting the floor, this is simply cruel.  Long nails force the dog’s toes outwards, they make the dog unstable on slippery surfaces (wood or tile floors), and long nails affect the way a dog stands, changing the angulation of the tarsal, hock, stifle angles which affect their gait and can cause overall joint pain and structural issues. We use a Dremel Lite rechargeable electric tool to safely and accurately grind down dog’s nails and with practice and patience older dogs learn to accept this noninvasive care to help keep them healthy. Better yet, start your young puppy off with nail care and they will calmly accept nail care throughout their lives.

So, if you REALLY love your dog and care about their overall health and wellness, please give them a once over to see how their coat, weight, teeth and nails looks.  If they need work, reach out and we will be happy to help offer advice. Our on staff QK Veterinarian Dr. Kristin Williams can also perform wellness exams and help offer health, wellness and nutrition tips for a happier, healthier dog!

Physical exams now included with training

I am very excited to announce that QK will be having me (Dr. Kristin Williams, AKA “Dr. K”) perform thorough baseline exams on all of the dogs that are booked for training for the rest of 2020 and into the new year!

Why is QK making this change?  At QK Dogs, we have high standards for the overall complete health and wellness of the dogs in our care.  It is NOT just about having them trained properly; without a healthy foundation to work off of, many dogs may have trouble performing to their full potential, or will be unable to complete the programs we have designed for them to achieve the targeted levels of training.

We have experienced having some dogs arrive at QK with health issues that owners may be unaware of, or don’t realize will affect their dog’s training.  These include problems such as broken teeth/severe dental disease, ear infections/allergies, and orthopedic/neurological abnormalities.  In order to best assess a dog’s initial health, AND monitor for any changes while a dog is training in the QK program, I will perform an exam within a few days of your training dog arriving on the QK campus.

This exam will include (if your dog will allow it initially) an assessment of the dog’s baseline hydration status and vital signs (temperature, pulse, and respiration – TPR), eyes, ears, dental health, heart and lungs, lymph nodes, abdominal palpation, and checking your dog for signs of any orthopedic issues such as hip dysplasia.  I will also look over your dog’s skin and make sure there are no outward problems with allergies or skin infections, fleas/ticks, or even contagious warts called viral papillomas – gross!

After the exam I will reach out to the owner (you) to discuss any concerns.  This will include my objective score of your dog’s body condition, and we can also focus on your dog’s nutrition – more on that in the next newsletter!!  In addition, I can offer treatment recommendations for any health issues I find with your dog, and answer any questions you may have about your dog’s overall well-being.

I so look forward to connecting with all of the dedicated canine owners who take advantage of the amazing training that QK has to offer, and I hope to help you make your dog a complete QK DOG!!

My Dog is SO Bad!

By Jennifer Broome, the QK owner

My Dog is SO Bad!

I often hear clients telling me all of their dog’s bad habits and behavioral issues. They tell me their dog jumps on people, he chews everything in the house, he barks nonstop, he nips at me, he steals food from the table, he jumps on the counters, he digs holes, he pulls on the leash, he doesn’t listen, and the list goes on.

I listen to these detailed complaints about how bad the dog is, but then my question to the client is “Well, what does your dog know?  What education or Foundation training have you taught him so that you can direct your dog to do good behaviors, not just yell at him because he is doing bad things?”

Let us think about destructive behaviors like chewing, digging, scratching at doors, destroying your home, etc. These are often signs of a bored or an under-exercised dog. Simple crate training can teach your dog ‘forced’ down time in safe space so that he can learn how to relax and engage his patience and acceptance of confinement.  Most dogs sleep 16 to 18 hours a day, why not have him in a safe space to rest?  His ONLY job is to engage his ‘off’ switch and chillax! How bad can it be!?

All dog’s like a job!  If your dog’s brain is not engaged with mental exercise, then those destructive behaviors rear their ugly heads. Your dog is bored and he decides to: guard your home, bark at every noise, over react to stimulus, dig, chew, etc.

What have you actually taught your dog?  No different like when we went to school to learn our ABC’s, numbers, and our basic education, your dog also needs an education.  At QK we teach all of our dog’s obedience basics that include leash work to come to us, go to a place, walk with us, and be still.  These four concepts are the basic commands that make up our Foundation program!

The secret recipe for a well-behaved, happy, healthy and stable dog is one that accepts confinement and forced down time, a dog that gets adequate exercise based on their breed requirements and energy level, and lastly and most importantly, a dog that has been diligently taught obedience work in order to engage their brains to make them think, problem solve and work which mentally satiates their need to have a job.

Let us help you with your dog!


Do you think that you are ready for another dog?

By Jennifer Broome, the QK owner

Do you think that you are ready for another dog?

I have many clients reach out to me saying that they want to add another dog to their family.  I am certainly quite a dog lover myself and my husband and I not only own 5 dogs at the moment, we also have 6 other dogs at our home that we are raising and training.  From 10 week old puppies, to 4 month puppies, then an 11 month old dog in my started/intermediate trained dog program and then our own pack from 2.5 years up to 12 years old.

In my world, my life revolves around dogs.  I not only bring many of my dogs to work at the kennel to be trained during the day, my home property and farm (next door to Quinebaug Kennels) is set up with a finished dog room in our basement complete with dog washer/dryer, dog tub, built in kennel runs, crate areas and more.  Outside we have enclosed kennel runs and a large fenced in dog play area plus 50 acres of property to run and exercise the dogs.  At least 5 days a week my dogs get extensive exercise along with training time and pack play time. My dogs have it pretty good!

When a client tells me that they are ready for another dog, I offer this feedback and advice:

Is your current dog at least 2 years old?

If YES, then is your dog well trained, socialized and stable?  If so, your dog could be a great mentor to a new puppy.

If NO, and your pup is under 2 years, it is still a puppy!  Pups tend to bond to other pups more than their humans.  In my experience it is best to allow your current dog to reach at least 2 years of age to mature and fully bond to you.  Two puppies under 2 years old become inseparable friends, they easily block out the humans and become their own little pack.  It is easiest to put them together to play and keep each other busy, but then they learn to be co-dependent on each other, and good luck separating them!  They get separation anxiety… and then sadly as they age, when one passes away the other nearly dies of a broken heart.

Is your current dog well-trained?

If YES, and your dog is over 2 years old, then your dog may be a GREAT mentor to a new puppy!

If NO, then Hmmmm, what do you think will happen?  Yup, your untrained dog will only teach a pup bad habits. Your new puppy can easily become unruly and bond to the untrained dog, and then they become a pack of untrained wild hooligans!

Does your current dog have behavioral issues?

If YES, then your puppy will most likely also develop these issues. Fear, aggression, timidness, protective, over reactivity….

So, we would LOVE to help you bring another canine companion into your family, BUT consider the above advice.  If your current dog is young, not trained, or has behavioral issues, wait until the time is right and your current dog can mature, get trained, or overcome any behavioral issues so that he/she can be a great mentor to your new puppy!

Dogs all have unique personalities, energy levels, sensitivity levels, and factors that drive them.  Adding a second dog to your family can present a lot of challenges and my advice is to make sure your current dog is stable, balanced and well trained.  Once this has been accomplished and you are yearning to add another canine companion, GO FOR IT!  We are here to help you find that next great companion. Check out our QK Certified Dogs or reach out to Jennifer to have her help you choose the next great canine companion to your family.  Jennifer can interview you, learn about your goals for your next dog and she can provide you with ideas, insight, and experience on breeds and breeders to ensure a good fit for your family based on health, temperament, energy level and trainability.  Jennifer’s professional Canine Referral Service may be some of the best money spent to help you understand dog breeds, genetics, health clearances, pedigrees and more so that you can successfully find your next canine family member!

QK Welcomes Dr. K!

Are you worried about your dog’s health while they are away from home? Does your dog get stressed out when in a boarding environment? Do you want the extra peace of mind of having a licensed veterinarian examine your dog during his or her stay at QK?

Dr. Kristin Williams, (also known as Dr. K!) is now available for QK customers and their pets to help ensure your pet’s health and comfort while staying on the QK campus. Dr. K is on call most days including weekends (but excluding her vacation time and some holidays) to come to the kennel and examine your dog should your pet become ill during their stay at QK. The on-call fee to have your pet examined is $120, in addition to any medications or diagnostics that may be needed to try to help your pet feel better as soon as possible.

However, we are also offering a discounted exam fee if you would like your pet to be routinely examined on a non-emergent basis, so that we can more closely monitor your pet’s health during his or her stay. You can purchase a single exam, or multiple exams if your pet is staying at QK for a prolonged period of time.

The cost of a single wellness exam is $75.  You can have your pet examined on a weekly basis if you choose, with a 20% discount on additional exams beyond the initial exam performed as indicated in the following fee schedule:

  • Single exam – $75
  • Two exams – $135
  • Three exams – $195
  • Four exams – $255
  • Five exams – $315

Please note: if your dog is signed up for a routine exam, and then becomes ill during his or her stay and requires additional emergency/sick exams, we will discount the additional emergency/sick exam fee to be $60 instead of $120.

In addition, Dr. K can perform diagnostics if you would like them done while your pet is staying with us. Have trouble getting a fecal sample at home?  We will have plenty of opportunities to get a stool sample for you when your pet is staying with us! Worried your pet may have an ear infection?  We can obtain a sample and look for microscopic signs of infection and prescribe medications if necessary.

Here is a sample list of diagnostics Dr. K can do while your pet is staying at QK:

  • Fecal Analysis including testing for Giardia – $52
  • Heartworm and Lyme Disease/Anaplasmosis/Ehrlichiosis test – $64
  • Baseline wellness bloodwork to check kidney and liver function, and a complete blood count – $62
  • Senior Profile – to include an extensive blood chemistry panel, complete blood count, thyroid level and urinalysis – $195

Following are the types of medical services that Dr. K can provide for your pet if needed during their stay:

– Thorough physical exams including eyes, ears, teeth, skin, orthopedic status, neurological status, etc.

– Basic and advanced bloodwork including heartworm tests and testing for Lyme disease, as well as Senior bloodwork including thyroid levels and urinalysis.  Most results will be available the day after sampling occurs.

– Prescribing of medications for management of diarrhea, kennel cough, urinary tract infections, deworming, etc.

– Subcutaneous fluids to help maintain hydration if needed, as well as anti-nausea medications

– Basic laceration repair

– Lameness evaluation (not including imaging – see below)

– Cytology (via microscopic exam) for evaluation of skin lumps and bumps, ear infections, diagnosis of infectious/parasitic skin conditions, etc.

– Consultation (included in physical exam) for management of chronic conditions such as allergies and arthritis

– Consultation (included in physical exam) for evaluation of your pet’s weight management goals and diet needs/recommendations based on current established research.

– Referral to appropriate emergency hospital if physical exam suggests your pet needs more advanced care or diagnostic imaging.


Please be aware that Dr. K. is UNABLE to perform the following types of procedures:

– Diagnostic imaging such as chest/abdominal xrays, orthopedic xrays, or ultrasound

– Emergency point of care bloodwork with immediate results

– Hospitalization for very sick/critical pets

– Surgical procedures such as an emergency abdominal exploratory if indicated.



We look forward to working with you and caring for your beloved pet at the amazing QK campus.  Our goal is to have happy, healthy QK dogs!

To arrange for vet services during your dog’s stay, contact us at 860-546-2116

On The Road With Jennifer

2017 NRA Convention

My 5th year attending the annual NRA Convention with Cabela’s and it was another wonderful success. I had been on the road for over a week attending a retriever symposium in Tennessee (see article next month) and then 3 awesome days of training with another professional dog training kennel. I arrived on the outskirts of Atlanta on Wednesday April 26th. I had 5 dogs on the road with me and we checked into a very nice Townhouse Suite by Marriot that Cabela’s had found for us. Dog friendly of course! On Thursday I drove into the hustling city of Atlanta to meet up with my husband Jason and two dear friends who all flew in to assist me. We met up and got our bearings to find our parking area, where we needed to be, and then located the Cabela’s booth. With over 15 acres of guns and gear in the Georgia World Congress Center and 80,000 people attending, it was best to get our ‘ducks in a row’ before the even started!

I managed to pull off another parking story miracle. For those of you who really know me, I WILL NOT just park my dog truck anywhere. My beloved canine cargo must be safe! Cabela’s had me in a vendor lot, in the sun and over a half mile away from my booth. Wasn’t gonna work! I went straight to the parking guru, explained my story, my cargo, and how every year the NRA takes care of me and my dogs by giving us preferred parking with the police units. In Indianapolis I had guards at my truck in VIP parking, in Nashville there was an officer stationed just to watch my truck as well as keep it in a parking bay abutting the convention, shaded and safe. In Louisville during the election year I was parked with the mounted police, SWAT and all the military units. This year topped them all off! The parking leader guru offered me my own huge building to park in. YAY! The next morning when we showed up, turns out it was not my building, it was the hub for ALL of the police and military since President Trump was speaking that day. Honestly, in ‘my’ private parking garage there must have been over 200 police cars, tanks, armored cars, trucks and under cover vehicles.  SO, another year, my furry kids and my truck and gear were pretty safe. The police were awesome to us!

This year Cabela’s brought a sound system for me right in the retail booth. I spent several hours over the 3 day convention doing demos with the 5 dogs that I brought. This year 8 year old Lab Treat and nearly 11 year old GSP Elsie showed off their skills for the 4th time at the event. They were crowd pleasers and gave great teaching opportunities. Elsie’s 2 pups, both a year and a half year old now also put on a fun show. This was Doozy’s 2nd NRA show and Timber’s first. These pups love the crowds and were quite the little clowns. The odd man out was a 2 year old standard poodle named George that I picked up unexpectedly in Tennessee to bring back to CT for training. George’s fun loving personality rocked it when I used him for the classroom demonstrations and teachings. He loved all of the attention.

Overall, the Atlanta NRA Convention was another fantastic event. Thanks to Cabela’s for the VIP 5th row Hank Williams Jr concert tickets! We all worked hard lugging gear and shuttling dogs over the 3 day convention but the Cabela’s booth always attracts some of the biggest crowds when I start to show of the dog work. The crowds are so into watching the dogs perform and people are amazed with my teachings and training advice during these constant impromptu shows. Thank you to Cabela’s and NRA for being such loyal supporters of me and Quinebaug Kennels! See you next year in Dallas, TX!

New Classes at QK Dogs

New Classes at QK Dogs

Thanks to the QK Trainers, specifically our Lead Trainer Jordan Wells for coming up with a new training format here at QK. For nearly 15 years we have offered in house training and dogs could come here at any time to begin their puppy, gun dog, obedience or behavioral modification training, as long as we had availability. While this was most convenient for our clients, it left us scrambling at times with either not enough dogs or an over flow of dogs with wait lists. Most confusing and frustrating for the trainers was that at any given day each trainer could have 8 to 10 dogs all at various levels of training. This proved very challenging at times.

Our new format is going to take 1 to 2 months to properly establish, but we will now be developing a program based on 2 week intervals. The shortest training program that we offer to new clients is 2 weeks long. This includes puppy basics program, gun dog puppy introduction or leash training. We will begin classes on the 1st or 15th of every month. Our goal will be to pre enroll for 1 month at a time so that the trainers know their schedule, the dogs that they will be training, and this will give them a better opportunity to teach a group of dogs all arriving and leaving at similar times. This means that on the 1st of each month, we will have ‘slots’ open to pre enroll your dog. The nice thing here is when we have a group of new training dog come in, all of the trainers will spend time evaluating them and they will collectively decide which dog matches best with each trainer. For example Joe will have most of the head start puppies, Keeley likes her rescue dogs, Sharon loves her German Shepherds and future therapy dogs (as well as those hard headed dogs), Jordan like his gun dogs, and our new trainer Samantha will be assigned dogs that best fit her styles and capabilities. This will also mean that every 2 weeks we accept 4 new puppies for the 2 week program, so we will always have a small pack of puppies to be able to play, socialize and train together all ages 13 weeks to 6 months.

This is just an example:

Week 1

Day 1
Puppies arrive. Overall health and wellness exams, read about the pups and their owners, meet and greet puppies and watch them interact together. Assign to trainers.

Day 2
Training begins. Crate and manner training. Introduction to the leash. Learn to walk with their trainers. Pack play in the obstacle arena. Patience work on the tie out chain.

Day 3 to 4
More crate and manners training. Leash work to include teaching how to go up, down, over, through on onto the challenging obstacles in our arena. Patience work on the tie out chain. Group play. Introduction to chasing birds IF gun dog puppy!

Day 5 and 6
Time off from training but lots of employee interaction play and exercise to work on social skills. Important rest time for those youngsters!

Week 2

Day 7
Owner updates to discuss pups progress, make recommendations and trainer evaluation. Continued training, socializing, handling and pack play with the puppies.

Day 8
Field trip, car ride, visit to new places and people to socialize to new environments.

Day 9 to 11
More leash training to build confidence on challenging obstacles. Work on touch and desensitizing all over, clip nails, groom, accept all types of handling. Goal is complete leash point of contact work to walk with handler and be still. Chase more birds IF gun dog puppy!

Day 12 and 13
Weekend off! Puppy rest time from stressful training. Play with the pack, socialize with the QK crew, practice good crate and patience skills.

Day 14
Graduation! Review leash work, obstacle course work, light training cues to follow us on leash. Groom and send home for take home lesson.

We plan to pre enroll and take deposits well ahead of arrival time so this will enable us to offer clients exact available training dates rather than put them on a wait list. We truly feel that this will allow us to better organize, manage and train our dogs. We will spend the first few days just getting to know the pack, socialize and exercise them, and figure out the best personalities to mix and match as well as assign to each trainer so that each trainer has a diverse pack of dogs, not an ill matched group of problem or aggressive dogs. Additionally, we will only take a certain number of puppies, gun dogs, obedience dog or behavior problem dogs every two weeks to again allow for a more stable overall pack at the kennel.

We are starting our first official puppy class for in house training on June 1st. We still have a few spots open, and then every 2 weeks we have open spots. We are trying to enroll dogs now into the longer term 4 to 6 weeks courses, but we will not be able to officially initiate that program until July 1st because we already have dogs in our program now as well as arriving over the coming weeks.

We plan to advertise these classes and schedules on our new website that was just launched on May 1st. You will be able to look ahead at our available training classes, pre book your dog and know the schedule ahead of time. All classes are based on 2 week time blocks, EXCEPT for any returning client refresher dogs. These dogs can come and go anytime during the course of the week and will be charged for daily training rates as tune up training.

We are excited about this new format!

What are your goals this year with your dog?

If you are a QK Client then we KNOW that your dog is very important in your life. One of the reasons that we love what we do at QK is because our clients care about their dogs. From their health and wellness to their exercise, training and just plain overall happiness, we are here to help! I think that it is essential to continually think about what you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy. We always say a tired, trained dog is a happy dog. Well, that is easy to say, but how about a plan? Whether your canine companion is a lap pet, a lazy couch lounger, a fence racing and yard protecting blur, a therapy dog, an exercise companion, a weekend field hunter or an extreme competition dog, thinking about goals makes it easier to help maintain stability, consistency and achieve accomplishments with your dog.

For example, I currently own 7 dogs and I have very specific goals and jobs for each dog. Our oldest Valley Girl is now 13, and she has had an incredible life of competitions and hunting. She still loves to work. With old dogs, it is important to keep them fit and trim as well as keep up with slower, less impact but regular long exercise walks. Additionally, keeping Valley Girl’s brain engaged with some regular work enables her to stay mentally challenged. Our goal is to keep her limber and feeling like she is just not left behind because she is the oldest. Valley gets to walk on the beach, go for boat rides, horse rides and, of course, lots of cuddle time.

After a stellar career in the show ring and the field, Elsie is now almost 11 years old and enjoying retirement. BUT, she is very athletic and needs to exercise quite a bit as well as keep her mind active or she gets very naughty. Our goals, again, are lots of long, slow exercising as well as field drills, chasing our AKC Grand Championship in the ring and hunting to keep her mentally stimulated. She also very much enjoys playing with her 2 puppies, Doozy and Timber.

Next is my little soul-mate, Treat! She is now 8 years old, and besides being the best cuddler ever, this field-trial bred lab loves to run. I have not enjoyed the best success with her in field competitions, but my goodness I have fun working her! Treat never really has a bad day; she is always happy and ready to work. She has suffered several injuries over the years (she runs faster than she thinks and has ZERO self preservation) and most recently just had TPLO leg surgery for a partially torn ACL. My goal has been lots of physical therapy to get her back running again so we can train, hunt, swim and have fun.

Next is Cuda… the big boy I never wanted. He was given to me as an 18 month old pup and I have enjoyed some nice field success with him. He was the first dog I won a blue ribbon with when he took a first place in his first qualifying field trial. Later he was the first dog that I jammed in an open-level field trial, and he has simply been an easy, consistent and steady dog to work. He also loves to hunt. Unfortunately, Cuda just does not get enough work and I been looking for a home for him. He loves people, neutered or female dogs, he is a wonderful house pet, he loves to hunt and work… he just does not tolerate other intact male dogs. He came to me with that issue and I just have not been able to break it. Anyone interested!?

Peety is a daughter of Valley Girl. Peety had an incredible derby career with me making the National Derby List in just 3 field trials. In 6 total derbies she accumulated 16 points. That is quite a record. Unfortunately, Peety suffers from epilepsy and I had to retire her from competition at only 3 years old. She is an absolute lover, she is kind, sweet and quite a comedian. She is now my husband’s best friend and side kick. We make sure to keep her active and we adore her companionship.

Next comes Doozy… my latest project. I have big goals for her! She is the pup that I carefully bred for, and I could not be happier with her looks, attitude, intelligence and field work. She is out of Elsie and Dual Champion Gamble’s Benney The Jet. My aspiration is to create my own Dual Champion! She is the first dog that I have taken into the show ring, and we have 8 points out of the needed 15 so far. She is also the first pointing dog that I have run in AKC field trials. She took two derby 3rd places with me and we have been training diligently towards the big stakes. I cannot wait to take this journey with her!

And finally there is Timber… Doozy’s brother that ended up coming back to us! Well, things happen for a reason. Timber is sweet, loves to run and loves to chase game, and he can be quite a handful! He is relatively behind in his manners and training than Doozy, but I work him diligently and I think that I will end up trialing him too. Right now he is too gawky for the show ring, but maybe he will fill out and bulk up. For now, he is in our home and in our hearts and I will make sure to keep him active, in training and working towards field competitions.

My dogs are my everything! They are my friends, my companions, a reflection of my work and passion for canine care and training, and they are ambassadors to Quinebaug Kennels. I am always striving to keep them happy, healthy and mentally engaged. I find that when I set specific goals, it drives me harder to stay focused and achieve success. No matter what the role your dog plays in your life, think about what you can do to help keep them physically fit and emotionally happy. Reach out to us at QK and share your stories and your goals. Have ideas to share!? Please email them to us. Need help with a ‘job’ for your dog? We can help there too!

On the road with Jennifer

It is now mid-March and I am in my final last few weeks of my Florida winter trip. The time certainly flies down here! While I am not at the kennel every day back home in CT, I stay connected throughout the week with the kennel operations as well as weekly meetings with my dedicated QK Team. They have been doing an unbelievable job with keeping QK running smoothly in my absence.

February brought about some good road trips and adventures here in Florida and Georgia. I handled my year-and-a-half-old German Shorthair Pup, Doozy, in three days of conformation shows in Tallahassee which included four different club show events. We had a lovely time and Doozy showed beautifully! In each of the four shows we took Winners Bitch which added four more points to her career total. On the second day we also won the Owner/Handler Best of Breed series and then took a Group 4th place. That was a really fun and new experience. I am brand new to dog conformation handling, and my goal is to put a Championship on Doozy. We are more than half way there now. I plan to give her several more months to grow and fill out and then resume the show circuit in New England this summer.

Another recent adventure was my annual quail hunt at Peacock Plantation in Norman Park, Georgia. I first hunted at the Davidson family plantation after training their field lab years ago. Mr. Harry Davidson invited me on a historic quail hunt and I got my first taste of southern plantation hunting. Since then, I have referred this plantation to several friends and clients. This was my 4th time hunting there, this year the 3rd time as a guest of a dear friend and client who owns 2 of my GSPs. We hunted for 2 spectacular days over our GSPs, Elsie and Mya, now both Versatile Champions after their stellar performances at the NAVDHA Invitational last year. Our hunt this time was a bit more laid back as we allowed the dogs to really hunt hard and enjoy ‘retirement’ from competition training. There was some creeping, point stealing and breaks to flush or shot, but for the most part these girls were spot on impressive and extremely successful with their methodical work. I enjoyed 3 quail doubles with my trusted little side-by-side 20-gauge and almost had a Scotch double! Oh well, next time 🙂 I did get to see Elsie point a covey of quail on her way back from a retrieve with a quail in her mouth (see photo below). Some fun dog work for sure! Can you find the 2 quail on the log below?

For more information about hunting Peacock Plantation visit their website: