The Dog Journal

Canine Care:

Part Three

Hello from Perfect Match Poodles. This is the story of our experience with the Canine Care Certified program. 

The Dog Journal April/May 2023

Our reason for joining the CCC program is quite simple. We had never liked dog kennels, and especially hated the idea of a dog being shut up in a cage most of its life, but when we saw some of the dry kennels with exercise yards that some of our neighbors were building, our perspective changed. 

We have always had a love for dogs and puppies, so when we heard about the CCC program, that really got us thinking. When we made the decesion to put up a kennel, the decesion to become CCC had already been made. 

In our situation, we were able to build a kennel with that in mind, so we didn’t have to make any changes, which definietly made it a lot easier. Once the process is completed, it really isn’t hard. You just get into the habit of following the protocols and doing the record-keeping. Getting started was a bit overwhelming and you will definitely want a good, supportitve vet. The CCC program is designed to have a lot of veterinary involvement, and you will need to have a good veterinarian with which you can have a good working relationship. 

There are a lot of benefits to being CCC. We honestly believe being CCC makes your job a lot more fun. You dogs and puppies are happy and socialized, making them a joy to work with. You will be quick to notice if something is wrong with one of your dogs, and we all know the sooner a problem is addressed the easier it is to cure it. All the record-keeping can also be very helpful. Whenever you have a question about something on one of your dogs or puppies, you can check your records and quickly find your answer. A lot of times all the information can help you solve or avoid problems. 

Being CCC will give you confidence knowing that what you are going is the right way to do it, because tyou know that the standards were scientifically researched and developed by a leading agricultural university. These standards are just basic common-sense practices, and I think any certified breeder will agree. 

In some ways, being CCC is more work, but in many ways, it can also save you a lot of work. We believe the biggest benefit is having better socialized dogs and puppies, which makes caring for them a lot more enjoyable.

picture of dogs in the nature, in autumn
dogs-playing-2022-11-03-12-52-45-utc

Well socialized puppies will also do a lot better when taking photos and are easy and fun to sell.

Some puppy customers don’t ask a lot of questions and don’t seem to care where their puppies come from, but there are some that care a lot. We had an experience with a lady from New Jersey that was one of the latter. She texted us four times late one night after we had gone to bed. I could tell by her messages that she was very excited about our puppies. It was also obvious by some of the things she mentioned that she had really studied our profile page that we have on the Puppy Connection website.

The next day after I responded she texted back that she had tried to research us and couldn’t find anything, and had decided to look for something closer to where she could make the drive. I knew immediately that she was worried about where her puppy comes from. I decided to call and explain why we don’t have any social media presence, and tell her all about us and what we do. She was very open minded and polite, and I sensed that she really wanted to believe me. She said she would be retiring in a few weeks and this will be the last puppy she will ever have and she wanted it to be very special. 

She said she is taking her time and being very careful where the puppy comes from. She said “I have no way of knowing that I can trust what you say”

I explained to her a little about the CCC program and told her I would email her my CCC certificate and my USDA license and she can do her own research. I also gave her the phone number of a breeder in PA that has the same bloodlines as we do, so she can make the drive and meet the breeder and her new puppy before she buys.

We ended up having a great conversation that lasted 10 to 15 minutes. I didn’t expect to hear from her again, and kind of forgot about her. About a month later she texted us again asking when we will be having another litter from the same parents. She said she and her husband want to mark their calendar and make the drive to pick up the puppy. We have had few experiences in this industry as rewarding as that! Being CCC gives us the solid ground we need to be able to make a stand and defend what we love!

cute puppy of cavalier spaniel sleeping on a sofa

Puppy Love

Caleb & Kathleen Ramer

We both grew up on dairy farms, my husband and I. Through sunshine-filled summers and the frigid temperatures of northern Indiana winters, we took care of our farm animals and they, in turn, took care of us. When we married in 2013, the same values followed us as we began raising puppies. We had only two dogs when we joined ICAW (Indiana Council of Animal Welfare.)

We hardly qualified as dog breeders when the Canine Care Certified program was introduced in its beginning stages, and quite frankly, we weren’t interested. It seemed too scientific, too detailed, too much of everything. We were only interested in raising puppies and making families happy as they adopted our puppies. As we became more experienced in the art of raising puppies, we began to see that a scientific and attention-to-the-small-details approach was needed in order to successfully raise puppies.

We moved to our new home in 2018 and started on our five-year dream, which for us was having our very own kennel. In the previous years, we had fixed up a small corner of our heated garage with whelping pens, and the adults lived in a box-stall in our horse-stable with access to a large play-yard. When the summer transitioned to fall, we moved our five dachshunds into the finally-finished kennel. In the months that followed, we became an officially USDA inspected kennel, and at that point becoming a CCC breeder was a goal within reach. We attended first one meeting and then another, and came home armed with loads of paperwork. Before we even considered joining the program, we started incorporating some of the paperwork into our breeding program. We had already been weighing our baby puppies from birth until 4 or 5 weeks old, so it was easy to keep weekly record of that. Also, we had always been giving all our dogs more than the minimum requirement of exercise. 

 

For years, we had noticed the difference in our kennel atmosphere when our dogs had daily access to our 2-acre fenced in play-yard. Our approach to cleaning our kennel the way we did was something we wanted to continue with, because as a family, we knew that if we cleaned daily and kept our kennel clean and bright and well ventilated, we would spend more time with our dogs and puppies and we would enjoy being out there.

Finding a vet who was willing to help us with the additional Program of Veterinary Care was a struggle. Our local vet wasn’t interested, so we spent some time transferring to a different vet twenty miles from our home. When we became Purdue’s 52nd CCC breeder, it felt like an accomplishment! A deep-down, satisfied feeling of being exactly where we are meant to be.

How has being CCC helped us as a breeder? We are confidently moving forward in our breeding program, knowing that what we do and why we do it is backed by years and years of extensive research. We are raising puppies and allowing our dachshund pack to be dogs in a happy and healthy environment.

How does it help our puppy market? We have sold every puppy to retail customers since 2013. I think, in part, due to our heritage and our culture of Plain people, we find it hard to proclaim our success to the world. We are hesitant, upfront, to tell our puppy customers that we are a CCC breeder, and most of them don’t even know it before they arrive. Every family who meets us and picks up their dachshund puppy at Puppy Love gets a tour. They meet the parents and their puppies, and in most cases, their new puppy’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. They see every corner of the kennel and play-yard.

Customers comment on the well-behaved dachshund family, the beautiful coats, happy personality’s, the well-kept play-yard. They positively comment on the extra paperwork and vet details that we send home in each puppy package. Also, we hear a lot of positive feedback on the wonderful and well-adjusted personality of their new puppy, and how trainable, outgoing, and smart they are.

Group of nine dogs in front of a white background

This alone is confirmation enough that the CCC Program really does work. We don’t need to tell them, they are experiencing first-hand the happiness, the positive atmosphere, and the well-being of our dachshunds. By allowing them to experience it before we explain it helps them to see that the CCC Program is a successful program that works.

But we’ve all heard those scam stories, stories of puppy mills. If someone does raise those questions to us, we are the first to tell them of this program called CCC Program. We tell them about the voluntary membership and the years of extensive research backing our breeding program. We live in Indiana, and Purdue University is our largest state university. Most people asking those questions are delighted when they find out that Plain people raising dogs are part of a Purdue program. That alone usually drives out the doubt that they had before they started asking those questions.

For us, we know we need those CCC guidelines so our family business of raising puppies can grow and bloom and become what it is meant to be. Is becoming a CCC breeder for everyone in the dog-breeding industry? Well, if you are looking for ways to improve your breeding practices, and to take the happiness and well-being of your dogs to a new level, CCC is the program for you. If you would like a CCC certificate to hang on your kennel wall because you think your paycheck will be bigger, it doesn’t work. To us, being a CCC breeder doesn’t mean we’ve reached the top of the industry. It means that we are a constant work in progress as we continue doing the best we can with what God has blessed us with.

Greetings from Cozy Pine Canine.

As a family of eight, made up of six girls (and two guys that like to visit frequently) there are not a lot of dull moments! They have all been a help in the kennel, and having children involved with the puppies is a big asset with the CCC program. I am a stay-at-home Dad and also have a small sharpening shop specializing in animal grooming blades. Our kennel consists of around 40 females and six males. We raise Mini Goldendoodles, Mini Dachshunds, Shitzus, and Cavaliers. We use the EIB program from A to Z Vet Supply, which provides excellent knowledge on the subject. We also use Paw Print Genetics for genetic testing. They not only do the test, but also teach us how genetics work.

I was asked to write about our experience with the CCC program. I think about all the good breeders with a lot more experience that could be doing this, but if it helps anyone be a better breeder, it will be worth the sweat! In Proverbs 12:10 it says “a righteous man regards the life of his beast. (dog)” We have a Christian duty to take care of our animals in an ethical manner.

We started with the CCC program at the time we were selling puppies to Happiness is Pets (pet store). There were lots of meetings, sometimes with more questions than answers, and some of you are probably wondering if becoming CCC is worth it? If you asked me now, yes, I would say it is worth it, as it helps me pay more attention to socializing both puppies and adults.

I would like to take a bit of time to thank those involved with founding the CCC program. We have a rare opportunity of having university level knowledge helping us improve as dog breeders. There are many great breeders out there already doing a great job, but we always have room for improvement. As far as financial gain with this program, I can’t say now that I’m with the CCC program so that means I’m getting 30% more for my puppies. However, I do think that by getting the word out there about what the CCC program is, it will be possible to do just that. If you want to be CCC only for financial gain, I don’t think that’s the right mindset. This program is relatively new to the public and will take some time to gain traction.

About 1 ½ years ago I had a customer that couldn’t make up her mind as to whether she could trust me as a breeder or not. I told my agent to tell her I’m CCC, and within the next day I got a down payment. I like to repeat something that Atlee Raber wrote in the last TDJ. “An ethical breeder is already doing about 90% of what’s required”. Yes, there is more work and quite a bit of paperwork involved, but if there would not be any extra effort required in doing this, would the CCC program stand out?

As with anything in life there are things you don’t always agree with. People can look at the same thing and see something completely different. I would encourage you to give this program your best, as sometimes only after we do something is when it starts to make more sense. I think working together on this is going to be very important.

As I write this, I have CCC on my mind, as I actually have an audit tomorrow. This will be my third audit. One of the things I think about most is, “How will the dogs react to the auditor”? They always react differently to strangers, and so it’s a good opportunity to get graded on which dogs need more socializing. One thing they also take a lot of time with is paperwork. When you fill out your application, think carefully about what you are writing down. Document exactly what you do and how you do things, and that way it will be easier to answer the auditor’s questions.

’d like to share something from my first audit. I had a Wheaton Terrier in a pen by herself, and the auditor asked me why she is by herself?

 

I told her she is aggressive and picks fights with the other dogs. She didn’t comment at the time, but later I got a correction form about that dog. The form had references about genetic selection and breeding practices. The idea behind the references was that dogs with known behavioral problems must not be bred. That was one audit I did not pass, since I knew that the dog had behavior problems. Corrective action had to be taken, which consisted of rehoming the aggressive dog. I’m not writing this to scare anybody or make you think “It’s too much, I can’t do it.” This just goes to show that these audits are legit, and hopefully will improve the breeding stock we have in our kennels.

The powers behind the CCC program want you to be successful. As the first part of the CCC program unraveled, Tracy Shreyer said “If you as a breeder have the right mindset and willingness to do what it takes, we can work out the small details.” I hope those of us that are CCC can show that its working and we like it, therefore others will want to be a part of it too.

A quote from the Fish Wrapper says “The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people that are not in them”. I’d like to see people joining the CCC program because they want to, not because they have to. I’m thankful for all the people that took the time to help me and answer questions for me, and hopefully I can do the same for someone else. If you’re ever in our area, you are welcome to stop in. We love visits and coffee!

Daryl Miller

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