How To Improve Your Breeding Program

If you are ready to take your breeding program to the next level you need to seriously consider investing in an Avidog Membership. Until you have experienced Avidog, you can’t begin to appreciate what a membership will mean to you, your breeding program, your breeding stock, and the puppies you produce.

I’d been breeding Labradors for 16 years when I made the decision to attend an Avidog seminar. I’ll be honest, I’d been looking at Avidog for sometime and was hesitant to make the investment in a course. When a seminar came fairly close to home, the proximity and the affordable price, made it a no-brainer to attend. I was BLOWN away by that seminar.

Even so – I was hesitant to make a financial investment in ”Your Litter A to Z”, thinking that my years as a breeder certainly gave me an ‘edge’. So, at that workshop I purchased the APET (Avidog Puppy Evaluation Test)  course, Introduction to Transformational Dog Breeding, and the puppy rearing course.

Once home I poured myself into each course and quickly realized that A2Z was going to be a MUST. So, with a bitch in heat, I purchased A2Z, and did my best to keep up with each week’s lesson, while dealing with runs to the vet for progesterone tests, visits to the stud, etc. Oh how I wished that I had made the investment well in advance of the heat cycle and puppies arriving. Trust me – you want to study A2Z in advance and be well-prepared going into a heat cycle and breeding.

I have increased litter size, reduce instances of mastitis, produced puppies with sound temperaments, enhanced my reputation as a breeder with my buyers and with veterinarians, and – one of the most unexpected benefits I have experienced is developing incredible friendships and bonds with fellow breeders.

The level of support one receives through a membership in Avidog is truly priceless. A yearly membership is about 1/4th the price of a puppy. Doesn’t your breeding program deserve investment of finances and time? Think about it – if you increase litter size, save the lives of puppies, etc., your financial investment pays off and you recoup your investment sizably.

If you are just getting started – you owe it to yourself and the program you hope to build to get started right. If you’ve been breeding for years and think you know it all, guess again. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Gayle Watkins, Marcy Burke, and Lise Pratt, my undying gratitude. You are generous to a fault and I love you!

So, what are you waiting for? JUST DO IT! 

if you wonder if this is real and honest – send me a PM. I will give you my phone number and you can call me!

Understanding the Canine Nomograph

Here at Red Barn Ranch and Labradors we believe that making optimal use of vaccinations is critical to the good health of our puppies, therefore we perform nomographs on our expectant mothers. Using a canine nomograph allows us to better time puppy vaccinations.

A nomograph is a simple blood test that estimates the amount of distemper and parvovirus antibodies passed from a dam to her puppies through her colostrum. The nomograph also helps predict when the puppies are no longer protected by maternal antibodies and when the puppies will be able to respond to distemper and parvo vaccines.

High maternal antibodies in a puppy will neutralize viruses such as distemper and parvo. They will also ‘block vaccines given too early, interfering with immunization. That is why we rely on the canine nomograph.

We use the CAVIDS – Canine Animal Vaccines and Immuno-Diagnostic Service Labratory, located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, in Madison, Wisconsin. Our veterinarian draws the blood and we ship the serum to CAVIDS for testing.

The nomograph we receive is unique to the dam of the litter and is an estimate of the age at which the maternal antibody that this mother passes to her pups will be dissipated and no longer capable of interfering with puppy vaccinations. We provide a copy of the nomograph to each of our puppy homes.

To read more about the canine nomograph visit:

Healthy Dog Conference 2016

Healthy Dog Conference 2016

Healthy Dog Conference 2016


Wendy Volhard’s “Healthy Dog Conference” is an annual event for Sandy. Attendance allows Sandy to stay current on matters of health and nutrition and the role they play in a dog’s behavior, performance, and in breeding quality Labradors.

The conference is for anyone interested in; good health for their dog, their dog’s quality of life in old age, learning how to feed the correct food for their dog, dealing with dog emergencies, maximizing performance, solving complex behavior problems, homeopathy, preventative medicine, practical application of Chinese Medicine and chiropractic care, reducing their vet bills, enjoying a healthy dog.

Canine healthy and nutrition is one of Sandy’s passions and she is proud to be a Volhard Dog Nutrition Consultant.

You can learn more about Volhard Dog Nutrition at their website: 


Lesson Learned



This is Huck. He’s a pup from our May 2012 Chivas x Bella litter. As with all our puppies, Huck was weaned onto Volhard Dog Nutrition’s NDF2. He was thriving and in excellent health when we was delivered to his new owners. They had concerns about feeding a raw diet to a dog and came to the decision to switch Huck to dry kibble. Huck experienced intestinal difficulties and his owners endured extremely high vet bills trying to get Huck’s gut back in order. After researching raw diets Huck’s owners came to the decision to put Huck back on NDF2 and we are happy to report that he’s doing just fine. Read on for Huck’s story in his owner’s words. Thanks to Jen & Deb for sharing this success story.

We got our Lab, Huck, from Bella’s last litter May 2012.  My spouse and I were new to having a *brand new* puppy as our other dogs were rescued as adults.  It’s been a real learning experience.  When Huck got a bad case of giardia I blamed the raw diet since I honestly knew nothing about it.  I thought at first it sounded weird and unhealthy.  Humans can’t eat raw meat, with all the bacteria and what not in it, so how could my dog?  So when he got giardia, and kept having it no matter how much Flagyl and panacur we put him on, I blamed the raw diet.  We put him on “sensitive tummy” vet ordered kibble and wet food.  He got worse.  By the end of summer we figured out we had treated him for giardia about 8 times and had spent several thousand dollars in vet bills and meds for all 3 of our dogs (the older ones having contracted giardia as well).  I finally realized that meds alone were not going to make my Huck healthy again and that we needed to rethink how we could heal his little gut.

 I did my own research online about a raw diet for dogs and was surprised at how much sense it made.  I read the average time to digest the hard kibble is 10-14 hours and then it dawned on me that Huck was sometimes vomiting up his morning kibble in the late afternoon and it made sense.  How can he have a healthy gut, let alone rid himself of something like giardia, when that stuff is sitting in there all day long?!  It can’t.  A raw diet digests right within an hour to two.  So I made the choice to slowly restart the raw diet using smaller amounts and then gradually building back up to the full amount.  That was about 3 months ago and he hasn’t had a recurence since.  He’s energetic, he LOVES his food (which occasionally also includes bugs and People magazines but we can live with that), his poop is normal, and the vet said he’s the perfect example of a Lab. 🙂  We are quite proud of that one.

 As for how he got giardia, we think it might have been when we took him to a dog park as a puppy.  We thought we were doing the right thing exercising him and socializing him this way but now we understand his immune system wasn’t ready for that quite yet.  Learn from our inexperience and hold off on that until they are ready. 

 Jenny and Deb Armstrong and Huck 🙂



Healthy Dog Conference 2013

Always eager to stay current on the best in health and nutrition for our Labradors, Sandy will be attending Wendy Volhard’s “Healthy Dog Conference” from September 6th to 10th.

Presenters are: Wendy Volhard, Sheila Hamilton Andrews, UK,RN, MSc, CCAB, Jana Froeling, DVM, AVCA, and Marcia Lucas, BS., CLT, TCAP, Certified Laser Therapist.

If you wish to learn how to be in charge of your dog’s health, happiness, well-being and longevity, this Conference is for you. Once you learn how to feed your dog correctly, take care of his physical well-being, you will have information that will last a lifetime.

Lecture topics include:

Nutrition – how it affects every aspect of your dog’s life. If you want your dog to live into his teens, then you need to know how by making small changes, you can increase your dog’s life span by several years. You will learn to understand the increasingly complex dog food industry and learn that what you are feeding is not quite what you thought; what your dog can and can’t eat – especially long term; fascinating facts on dry, canned, frozen and natural foods on the market; and the choices that are available and what is SAFE. Have 5 minutes? That’s all it takes to feed your dog naturally. We will show you how to do it.

Supplements – Should we use them or not? Which supplements work and which don’t. Can they be used preventatively? What’s new? We are excited by a new supplement that increases the quality of life and longevity of older dogs. Details in the lecture.

Homeopathy – what it is, how to use it for minor health conditions and emergencies. The use of nosodes instead of vaccins. How to deal with Lyme disease, Staph infections and more. An intelligent approach that is drug free.

Kinesiology – the art of muscle testing for allergies. You will learn how to ‘test’ your dog for the correct food and supplements, as well as medications. Take the guess work out of decision making – let your dog ‘tell’ you what is right for him.

The endocrine gland system and how it affects every aspect of your dog’s health and behavior. Understand the veterinary testing procedures for thyroid and adrenal functions.

Sports Medicine – simple daily exercises to keep your dog’s body in the best possible shape – especially if he is involved in performance activities. Begging, crawling, walking backwards, can all be accomplished, even if you live in an apartment.

Silver tails – our old friends – can you make your old dog younger? Yes, you can. Addressing the special needs of the older dog. How to avoid cognitive dysfunction – simple exercises and supplements to make these last years rewarding.

Behavior – how to solve complex behavior problems by using Nutrition.

Counseling dog owners – if you are in the business of giving advice – you will gain invaluable insights to make your consultations successful.

TCM – An introduction to Chinese Medicine and how you can use acupressure to help your dog and yourself. Feeding dogs seasonally – the logic behind it.

Massage – learn ‘skin rolling’ that stimulates all the acupuncture points in the body – and it only takes 3 minutes.. Wonderful not only for performance dogs, but old dogs too.

Laser Therapy – Use of lasers as an alternative therapy.

Puppies – what you can and can’t do with puppies, nutritionally, physically and mentally. Raising super puppies that will have long and healthy lives.

Join Sandy at Graves Mountain Lodge ( for 4 days packed with information that will change you and your dog’s life forever.

Tuition is $495, with a $100 non-refundable deposit required with your resgitration. Go to: and click on Healthy Dog Conference 2013 to find the Registration form.

A special rate has been obtained for a block of rooms at Graves. for your reservation, call (540) 923-4231 or e-mail Graves at All meals included. There is a one-time charge of $25 per dog.

Canine First Aid Kit

RBRandL Roxanne


Always seek professional veterinarian advice in the event of illness or injury to your pets. However, we do recommend being prepared for any emergency you might face. The following materials are suggested items to include in a Canine First Aid Kit.

Bandaging Materials:




Poison Control:

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