Breeding at Culandubh

In this section you can learn more about our Breeding Dogs, What You Get in a Culandubh Puppy, and Labs for Every Lifestyle, as well as view the Culandubh Family Forest and learn about our partner, Mississippi Vet Services.

Our Breeding / Puppy Program

We follow a three-pronged approach to produce our superior labradors. We focus on genetics, environment and training.

Click here to view the breeding dogs at Culandubh.

Genetics

Hereditary Diseases. Similar to most breeders, we test for hereditary diseases common in labradors. We test for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, retinal dysplasia, Exercise Induced Collapse and CMN to ensure clear breeding dogs.

Structure. We feel it is important to consider the structure of our breeding dogs. The proper proportions for the tasks that working dogs perform produce less strain on the dog and greater efficiency of movement. A tired dog near the end of the working day is less focused, less effective and more prone to accidents and injuries.

Inherited Retriever Characteristics. We also feel that it is important to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of our breeding dog with respect to inherited retriever traits. With each breeding, we attempt to improve upon those characteristics.

Environment

Nutrition and Enhanced Levels of DHA. Optimum nutrition during development can result in significant results in puppies. For example, studies have shown that feeding pregnant bitches and their puppies a diet with enhanced level of DHA will double the training performance index of the pups.

Early Neurological Stimulation. This is a series of tactile stimulation exercises performed on the puppies once daily from day 3 of life to day 16. Long term effects of this stimulation include stronger heartbeat, stronger adrenal gland, improved cardio-vascular, increased resistance to disease, greater tolerance of stress and significantly improved training capabilities.

Noise Desensitisation. Starting at 3 weeks of age, we utilise a Sound CD from the UK Animal Behaviour Center to help desensitise the pups to over 32 noises such as thunderstorms, shotguns, fireworks, construction and vehicle noises, etc.

Socialisation. We invite many people of varying ages, gender, size, colour, etc, to help socialise the pups. Our pups have been visited and handled by dozens of people by the time they are ready to go home.

Enrichment. Once the pups are 3 weeks old, they are kept in our special puppy pen that has play area where we introduce many interactive toys, obstacles, etc. Each day, the puppies will discover something new in their play area. This enrichment has been found to have very significant and permanent impact on the intelligence and trainability of the dogs.

Click here to view pictures of our puppy enrichment program.

Training

Similar to "the first five (years) are forever" concept for children, the optimum training window for puppies is from 6 to 16 weeks. We start to train our puppies at 6 weeks of age. By 8 weeks of age when they are ready to go to their homes, each puppy will "Here", "Sit", "Sit at Right Side/Left Side", "Here" and "Sit" on whistle command, "Sit" for their food bowl, and "Down".

We then offer free obedience lessons for our puppies with no limit to the number of sessions. Laurel has developed a training program for young puppies. This program has proven very valuable in establishing the ground work for a good working retriever. It consists of a weekly one-hour session with Laurel and training drills for each meal for homework throughout the week.

Video Clips

Click here for a video of a student who followed Laurel's training program.

Laurel has also tailored her puppy program to meet the needs of owners who will not be using their dogs for hunting but who want an obedient companion dog. Below you can watch video clips of a 14-week old companion puppy whose owners utilised Laurel's puppy program.

Breeding female labrador retriever from Culandubh Kennel Breeding male labrador retriever from Culandubh Kennel Lab puppy in Laurel Cook's enrichment program Young boy helping lab puppies to socialize Lab puppy in Laurel Cook's enrichment program