Poppins is the name of our first dog. We named her this because in my younger days, I spend time performing the role of Mary Poppins and working for Disney. Poppins LOVES puppies, even when they aren't her own. She'll get in the whelping box to help our other dogs deliver, and she helps take care of their puppies when they will let her. She wants allllllll the puppies and I know exactly how she feels! Turns out Poppins was the perfect name for our responsible little Puppy Nanny.
Nature & Nurture
Responsible Breeding and the health of our dogs and puppies is a big deal to us. Our breeding dogs are DNA tested for 170 health disorders to make sure we are doing all we can to produce healthy puppies. Our dogs must have good hearts, eyes, hips, and patellas to be part of our breeding program. We work closely with the premiere Canine Fertility Specialist in Utah to ensure positive breeding decisions by utlizing their expertise. All our breeding dogs are primarily PETS, and are not overbred. Our mommy dogs love being mommies or we don't breed them again. Every dog deserves to be part of a loving family where they get rich, varied experiences. Many of our breeding dogs live in wonderful guardian homes where they are spoiled as beloved pets.
All puppies are raised INSIDE our home with our family. I post live videos daily so our home is transparent and you can be part of the daily lives of the puppies. We have areas built out specifically for puppy play areas where they have room to run, play, and develop their little minds and bodies even when the weather is inclement. Puppies are raised in a bright, clean, attractive environment with the varied sounds, smells, and activities of a busy household. Our puppy areas are sanitized twice daily.
Our Developmental Puppy Nursery...
We only have 8 weeks with these pups! The first 8 weeks of a puppy's life is a critical period where responses to the world around them are formed. We have had a lot of positive feedback about how easily our puppies respond to training and adjust to their new homes.
We use the Puppy Culture method because we feel it produces happy, well-adjusted pets, and happy pet owners! This method begins the 3rd day of life, and includes
1. Early Neurological Stimulation: A series of handling exercises proven to shape the brain's response to new stimuli. Designed to produce tolerant and relaxed pets.
2. By week 3 we begin potty training and working on manners like sitting or "manding" and "calm" when a human is present. Puppies are given gentle grooming each week like baths, nail clips, and blowdries to get them used to the process.
3. Puppies are introduced to appropriately challenging experiences as they mature - like learning to climb out of their whelping pen themselves, or learning how to get to their food dish when there is a small barrier in the way. We encourage them every step of the way and give them lots of praise. These experiences are designed to help pups learn to problem solve, and to stay calm in new circumstances. It trains their body and brain. Puppies interact with humans of all ages, and spend time with "nanny dogs" who help train them. We provide them with novel experiences each day, like water or snow, car rides, new sounds, new configurations in the pet pen, ball pits, stairs, new toys, slides, etc. And of course we give them lots and lots of snuggles and kisses so they learn that humans = love.
We do update our website and instagram@poppins_puppies regularly.
How often/frequently do you breed your mommy dogs?
I rely heavily on our board certified Canine Reproductive Veterinarian Specialist to aid me in my breeding choices. The latest research shows a lower risk of cancer when breeding a dog back to back 3-4 times (if they are healthy and able), and then spaying. Allowing them to have extra heat cycles in between litters pumps hormones into their bodies that increase the risk of ovarian cancer. If a female has responded well to pregnancy and motherhood, has recovered her weight and coat and is approved by our reproductive veterinarian, the dog is bred on 3-4 consecutive cycles and then spayed.
Where do your adult dogs live?
We have two dogs who live at our home and are our family pets: Poppins and Teddy. All other dogs are pets in loving guardian homes. Every dogs primary function should be that of a PET. A guardian home is a pet home, where the dog is spoiled as an active member of a family. These families are local, and live nearby, where we have easy access to visits. When it is time for the dog to be bred, they go to the Reproductive Specialist Vet and are inseminated. The dog comes to our home about a week before they deliver their pups so they can get comfortable in their new whelping area. The dog and puppies stay with us until they are weaned. We have raised a lot of puppies, and learned a lot by trial and error. It's easy to miss important things when you aren't experienced, so I feel it is important that we take the puppies through the first critical 8 weeks of development, socialization, and early potty training in our home, and that I can keep a watchful eye on the mom as she mothers and recovers. Once the puppies are weaned, the mom goes back to her guardian family. Once the mom has had 3-4 litters, she is spayed, and stays with the guardian home family permanently.
Where are the puppies raised? Do you have multiple litters at a time?
All puppies are raised in my home. Cavapoos are small and tend to have small litters. Some larger breeds can have 15 puppies in a litter, while ours average around 4 per litter. I wouldn't have it any other way. This gives me a lot of time to focus on acheiving the developmental milestones of each week with each puppy. Sometimes we have multiple litters overlapping at a time. This is manageable since they are small litters. There are several areas of my home set up specifically for different times in the puppy development. We have newborn whelping areas, a 2-4 week area, and a 5-8 week area. The moms tend to be protective and want to be alone with their puppies, so we keep the litters separate from each other. The puppies change so much each week that they are for the most part kept only with their littermates, unless we have 2 litters very similar in timing. Then we allow them to socialize with each other as they are at similar stages in their development. In the 5-8 week time frame, the puppies go on outings throughout the day - sometimes to our puppy jungle gym we built in our garage, sometimes on a car ride. Sometimes to feel grass, or to the vet, or to be in the kitchen with us while we are unloading the dishwasher, etc. We try to move them to different areas of the house so they get used to the activity and sounds of a normal (active, loud) household with children. We use the Puppy Culture method, beginning on day 3 of the puppies life with Early Neurological Stimulation. We begin litter box training at 3.5 weeks of age.
How do you give all the puppies and moms the attention they need?
I've enlisted help so my time and focus can go where it matters most to me, and where I feel like my influence is most important. I really enjoy raising my puppies, and helping these little souls develop skills that will help them throughout their life. Cleaners, bookkeepers, a highly skilled veterinary specialist, trusted breeder friends, and my extended family are just a few of the helpers that make this possible. These puppies are a family activity in a major way. Our life is built around them. I feel like our family grows with every puppy who goes to a new home. We've loved connecting with other families who adopt our puppies, and I love watching owners of littermates connect with each other on instagram or for meet-ups in their new city. Thank you for enriching my life this way!
What if I live out of state? Do you ship puppies? How can I see what is happening with them and pick which one I want?
Most of our puppies go out of state. I don't ship them in cargo - this would be cruel to a young puppy. I have a trusted flight nanny who will fly in the cabin with the puppy to meet you at your local airport. She usually charges $400-500, depending on the airport. This includes her flight ticket, time, and service. A lot of people opt to fly in to Salt Lake City, where I can meet at the airport with the puppy, or at my home. Transparency is really important in responsible dog breeding. I try to do live videos on instagram every day so you get a view of what is happening in my home with your puppies. A lot of times this means you see a mess or hear kids screaming, but I'd rather that than have you wonder what is happening with your puppies. The puppies are involved with our family inside our home. They aren't put away in a garage somewhere for 8 weeks and then given a bath and some shots and sent to you. Every single day is significant in developing their response to the world.
Puppies are picked in order of deposit, and selection week happens when the puppies are 5-6 weeks old. By this time, you have observed the puppies nearly every day on instagram, and I've given insights into temperament, personality, and coat/color traits. Most people have no problem identifying which puppy is the one meant for them.
Tell me more about your health testing on the parent dogs? Are they vaccinated and de-wormed?
We have a complete genetic panel run on each of our parent dogs. This tests for 170+ genetic disorders or diseases. We make breeding pairings based first on health, to make sure the puppies are not affected by any genetic disease that can be tested for. The genetic panel also tells us things about color panels, furnishings, coat type and curl, and this aids us in making really cute healthy puppies. Every breeding dog has joints, heart, and eyes checked, and every puppy is given a thorough vet exam and cleared before going to their new homes.
Vaccinations and dewormings are a no-brainer, and the most basic, easy part of breeding. We de-worm the puppies every 2 weeks. They get their first set of immunizations at 6 weeks. Every puppy is Microchipped with AKC reunite, and new families are provided pre-paid lifetime registration for their puppy.
What do you think about adopting shelter dogs rather than breeding dogs?
Shelter dogs are valuable souls and deserve good homes! They often have special needs because of less than ideal circumstances in health, breeding, training, or socialization. This doesn't make their lives any less valuable! It just may take extra skill, patience, training, and money to get them the mental, emotional and medical care they may need. Temperament is one of the qualities bred into a dog. Certain dog breeds are chosen to perform certain "jobs" for their humans. Therapy dogs have specialized skills and training that are valuable to humans. Puppies have a big job learning to function in the canine and human world! The first days and weeks of their lives are so criticial. There is so much that goes into every day with a newborn puppy - beginning with early neurological stimulation which increases brain function and overall health. Our dogs are bred and raised to be delightful companions. Every dog brings its energy and personality into a home. This can change the culture of the home for good, or bring frustration and stress.
I can't handle the reality of dogs being bred without the knowledge, expertise and significant expense that goes into breeding healthy dogs, and it makes me unspeakably sad to think of mommy dogs being overbred and kept in a kennel environment for life rather than being primarily a beloved pet. Irresponsible breeding like this leads to dogs who aren't physically or emotionally able to adjust to the world. I hate the idea of dogs being bred as livestock and kept in a garage or barn and not being given the tools to function as human companions at an early age. They really need to be in a home environment with a lot of new and novel experiences very early on to learn these skills.
My mommy dogs love being moms. Their puppies are their playthings and bring them joy and they love to be with them. If this is ever NOT the case with a mom, I spay them. I had one mom who physically did great, but seemed really stressed by motherhood, so she was retired early, and is living her best life as the cutest pet ever with her guardian home. I'm choosy about who my puppies go to. If I don't have a good feeling about the home during the screening process, I don't place a puppy in that home. I'm grateful for all the tools we have to make responsible, ethical breeding choices so that we are improving the breed and respecting the parent dogs.
What are the traits Cavapoos are bred for?
Throughout history, dogs have been bred to do specific jobs. Purebred dogs recognized by the AKC began as combinations of other breeds as experienced breeders worked to bring out certain traits in their offspring. Once the offspring became consistent in their traits, the offspring was recognized as a new "pure" breed. Cavapoos are a relatively new "mixed" breed between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle. Cavapoos are bred to be tolerant, snuggly companions who are smart, easily trainable, funny, and so endearing you feel like your heart might burst. They are flexible on their exercise needs. They can be fine with a short walk every day, and can also be trained to be a running companion. They aren't yappy, and they don't shed. They are more hardy than the purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which is prone to many health problems. They are a good size for all ages - not so small they have to be carried everywhere, and not so big they can't sit comfortably in a lap. They are also the most visually adorable dog, which is obviously a scientific fact.
When can I bring my puppy home?
Puppies are here in my home for 8 weeks after they are born. This is so necessary for their health and development. They go through specific exercises and goals for each week. We use the Puppy Culture method, along with things we have learned that helps this specific breed over many other litters. You can estimate a take home date by counting 8 weeks from the estimated litter due date.
Do you potty train?
It's essential for a breeder to start potty training as soon as those wobbly little legs start taking their first steps, at about 3.5 weeks. It’s important to work with natural instincts to not potty in the areas where they sleep and eat. There is a shallow litter box filled with alfalfa pellets (smells like grass), in their living area. They crawl away from their bed to pee, and at first, the litter box is right by their bed so they learn that this is the appropriate place to go. We slowly move the litter box away from the bed, and watch them closely to make sure they go on the litter box. They do have accidents, but by about 8 weeks, they are pretty consistently going on the litter box in their large play area. Allowing a puppy to be in it's own mess works against the natural potty training instinct and teaches them that it is okay to go to the bathroom anywhere, even in their own bed. This is counterintuitive to the puppy, but if it is kept in wood shavings or a kennel that is not cleaned regularly, it becomes a learned behavior that is more difficult to train out of them. Our puppy areas are sterilized twice daily.
We introduce the crate early on as a positive place to be. We begin crate training with an open door. We put a snuggly bed, treat, and toy in there, so it is a positive place to be. They choose to go in. As the grow, we begin putting them in for short and increasing amounts of time with the door closed, and by themselves. The crate should always be a positive place for them to be, so we build up to this.
I noticed you take a number of deposits on each litter based on a safe estimate of what they’ve had in the past. What happens if there are more or less puppies than estimated in a litter? What happens if the litter doesn’t have the gender or coloring I want?
Deposits are not refundable based on coloring or gender, but can be transferred to a future litter with availability. The exception to this is if there is a smaller litter than expected and I am not able to provide you with a puppy from the litter. Then I will of course refund your deposit.
How do you know when a mommy dog will have her next litter?
I don't really. It's just a guess based on when their heat cycles have been in the past. I can't guarantee timing on a litter, or litter size, but I am making my best educated guess. I try to be conservative when estimating the number of puppies expected in each litter. When timing is updated, I will update the website with more accurate dates. Once a female is inseminated, we are able to confirm pregnancy approximately 4 weeks later via ultrasound. The ultrasound is not reliable for telling us the number of puppies in a litter, but it does confirm pregnancy. Dogs are pregnant for 9 weeks. I know all you human moms out there are thinking how awesome it would be to only have to be pregnant for 9 weeks as opposed to 9 months! There are approximately 6-7 months between heat cycles, but for some dogs, the length between heat cycles can be longer or shorter.
What does "hold" next to a spot on the deposit list under each litter mean?
This means I can't take a deposit on that spot at this time. It gets complicated and is like putting together an ever shifting puzzle with intricate pieces. I will take a HOLD off once the spot is available.
What happens when you have extra puppies in a litter? How do you pick who gets those spots? May I put a deposit down to get moved to the top of the list for extra puppies?
This is part of the ever shifting puzzle I was talking about! In general, I don't take deposits on spots that "might" open up. Those who have put deposits on later litters, but reach out to me once I announce availability for extra puppies in an early litter will usually get preference. I try to keep a list of who wants to be moved up, but this is always shifting as well, so if you currently have a deposit on a litter, but want a puppy from a litter that had some extra puppies, be sure to contact me quickly once I make the announcement (on instagram). I only guarantee the spot you have your deposit on, and can't guarantee that you will be moved up to a certain litter.
May I see some of your puppies as they grow up?
This is one of my guilty pleasures! I take care of baby puppies all day and then drool over the instagrams of past puppies at night before I go to sleep or while I am up doing nightly feedings. Here are some of our past Poppins Puppies that have their own public instagram accounts. I'm not meaning to leave anyone off this list, so if I've had a blonde moment (not unusual) and need to add your personal dogstagram page to this list, pleeease have your human remind me! I've tried to break these down according to parents.
Poppins + Teddy:
@lady_bird_the_cavapoo @lucathelioncub @barnabydandelion
Ruby + Scout:
Dot + Teddy:
@posie.pup_ @archie_the_cavapoo_la @dood_enzo
Kensington + Teddy:
@luluthenycavapoo @cloverthecavapooboop @go_kuma_go