General puppy roundup!

Hi, everybody and especially puppy owners (yay!):

I am working super hard right now and I know I’m not responding to e-mails as promptly as I should. Once things quiet down a little I promise I’ll spend a day just saying things like “I am so glad you love your puppy!” because I DO, and I mean it every time. Every e-mail update you send me is treasured in my heart and makes me so happy.

I also have the good news that I have a very solid inquiry for Puck and I’m thrilled for him and his hopeful new family. Quince and Bosco are still available, and are both out in socialization homes being housetrained and crate trained and having the time of their lives. I am getting nothing but amazing reports from both of their temp homes, so either one of them should be able to slot into a pet home with ease and joy. Let me tell you that I am LOVING my temp families and am so, so thankful to them for taking such fantastic care of the babies and letting them blossom as “only dogs” for a few weeks. Sebastian is hopefully on his way out the door to a socialization home soon, and is also still available but he’s getting less and less available by the day. He is a REALLY nice puppy. If you want him, tell me before I make him an ID tag that says MINE HA HA HA HA.

I know that people have questions, and since a lot of the questions are overlapping here are some general answers:

A) They are 11 weeks this Saturday, which means you should have made an appointment for the next shot for either 11 or 12 weeks, OR be doing it yourself. Contact me if you want to know brands I recommend. Local (MA/NH/ME) homes, if I have enough requests for me to do second shots I will order a flat of 25 Recombitek doses. So let me know if you’d like me to do that; I will ask something very nominal like $10/shot, just to cover the actual cost (a flat of 25 doses is around $175, and syringes are additional).

A2) I also have Comfortis (flea stuff) on order, and will have enough left over to give tiny puppy doses to anyone who needs one. Let me know.

B) Ears should be on their way up; I don’t usually worry until 12 weeks but I’d like to see them starting to levitate for a few seconds at a time now. If you are seeing little or no progress, you may want to tape now. The general methods are outlined below:










http://www.boston-terriers.com/ears.htm (ignore the crap about how wonderful cropped dogs look)

But – but – these are all different! And some aren’t even for Cardigans! What’s the right way?

The biggest secret about ears that I can tell you is that ALL the methods work. Read through these articles, find the one that looks the most do-able TO YOU, and that will be the method that works best in your house.

The only real advice I can bring to the table is that letting them fall is a mistake. Once you start taping, you need to keep taping until they’re strong. Don’t even let them fall for a second if you can. One good week of tape is going to do the job that five weeks of one-day-up half-a-day-down will do.

Right now both Puck and Sebastian are taped. They’re using different methods because Puck’s bases were up and his crease was in the middle; Sebastian still had ears like a Lab (absolutely flat).

Here’s what I did for Sebastian:

1) Take one long strip of masking tape and begin at the base of the front of the ear, go up over the ear, down the back of the ear to the head. This just keeps the ear stiff enough that it won’t bend in half. I try to keep this piece on the outer edge of the ear, not right in the middle of the ear – the outer edge is where the biggest bend is, so you want to scaffold it the best.

2) Fold ear in half lengthwise, two lengths of tape around the base and middle. This made his ears stiff and straight but they were still falling too much to either side.

3) Build a bridge with a very long length of tape around both bases and adhered to itself in the middle. This brought the ears to their proper position and held them there.

If this sounds familiar to people who have had cropped breeds, it should – it’s basically the way you post a cropped ear once the puppy has strong enough ears that it doesn’t need a physical support inside the ear. It’s the way I learned to do Dane ears and it works for Cardigans so I do it for them too.

Here’s what I did for Puck:

1) Masking tape up and over the ear as with Sebastian.

2) Opened the ears wide and did two rounds of tape around the base and middle, holding the ear up but OPEN (instead of folded in half).

That’s it for him – no bridge because I want him to use the muscles to hold his ears up. Because his bases are strong already I didn’t need to fold the ear in half or bridge them. He just needs a little bit of support in the middle, which I gave him.

C) Microchips are not in yet. I’ll let you know as soon as they are. Darn discounted pet warehouse thingy.

D) Registrations from AKC ditto.

E) Everybody doing OK on nails and baths? You should have dremeled or cut the nails back at least once at this point, hopefully twice. Let me know if you need any help.

F) Puppy eval videos are giving me fits. It’s kind of a long story but it involves file extensions and conversions and frame rates and Sony doesn’t like Macintosh. I can watch them on the video camera but not on the computer. As soon as I have fought it into submission I will post them.

FINALLY – I would like to start posting the pictures and updates you are sending me. If anyone DOES NOT want me to copy your pictures or updates (I strip them of anything personal or negative or that is for my eyes only), let me know. Otherwise I know there are a lot of people out there who would love to see your puppies grow.

Love and smooches!


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  • Reply Julie November 3, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Thanks for posting this, Joanna!! You can post anything you want about Irie. 🙂 Hopefully I will be able to convince my dh to come to her herding lesson this weekend and we will have video of her first time on ducks.

  • Reply Sarah Davis November 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    So happy for Puck that he found his home!. Zen has one ear up already and the other is up at the base. Oberon has them both up at the base. Those ears will get molefoam and tape this weekend. Dremelled twice already with only minor squealing (much better than their father). They are getting done again today. They are the hits of the Breed Handling and Rally classes.

  • Reply Amanda Rains November 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Feel free to share anything I say about Bosco, even though he’s only with me for a little while!

  • Reply Mike November 8, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Question for you – I know you said that one of the reasons you got out of breeding Danes was the taping, that your boy ran away from you every time you got the tape. Why is your opinion different with Cardi’s? I believe you that there’s a good reason, I’m just curious what it is.

    • Reply Joanna Kimball November 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

      That’s a good question and I am happy to answer.

      The main reason I wouldn’t crop Dane ears is because I don’t believe in cutting half a dog’s ear off for no reason. I think it’s no more sensible than cutting half its lip off. Cropping and docking are cosmetic alterations based on superstitions, and they hurt dogs. The taping was adding insult to injury, for sure, but if there were a sudden end to tape and a way to get cropped ears up without taping them I STILL wouldn’t support cropping.

      However, on taping specifically, while I wouldn’t say I gleefully tape Cardi ears, here’s why I don’t think it’s that big a deal:

      First, because you’re taping a whole ear in a Cardi and not one that’s a raw wound. Dane ears begin the taping process as soon as they’re cropped – they are often first glued up to a cup or a piece of foam, but as soon as it’s not actually bleeding they’re in tape. You can’t let them heal before you begin the process, because you have to keep the cut edge of the ear stretched tight or it’ll heal wrinkly. Also, since Dane ears are not meant to stand, you’re not lightly taping with masking tape. You need to use surgical tape or glue, and you’re ripping out hair every time you change it. So Dane babies associate the process with pain, always.

      Second, Cardi puppies are taped for a few days. A very, very small minority might need a couple of weeks with some support, but you’re not doing the whole ear for that long. Dane puppies are taped for months on end, from the very base to the tip. You get yeast in the ear, gooky infections, tape allergies, swelling, etc.

      I used to tape Dane ears with the same “intensity” that I now tape Cardi ears, just to shape the correct natural ear set as things grow and get funny in those first weeks. A quick bonnet for a few days under the chin would set uncropped ears just fine. I never minded that, and neither did the dogs.

      • Reply Mike November 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm

        Makes sense. I knew you were against cropping, and you mentioned the painful, prolonged taping process as being part of that. I didn’t realize that taping Cardi’s was much less involved.

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