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July 16, 2010

I haven't met a Labradoodle I didn't like!

I came across this blog on the website. I always wondered where the Labradoodle came from. I had never heard of the cross breed until my parent's-in-law bought a brother/sister pair, Cole and Lucy. They're are black in colour, large in size and they love to play. They are extremely friendly and maybe a bit hyper. Other than that, these dogs are awesome!

The creator of the popular labradoodle wonders if he was barking up the wrong tree when he came up with the idea for the world’s first designer dog.

The 81-year-old Australian man says he’s not sure he made the right decision to cross a poodle with a Labrador retriever back in the late 1980s. Since then, designer mixed-breed dogs have proliferated, giving pet owners the choice among groodles, snoodles and spoodles, among others.

”Today I am internationally credited as the first person to breed the labradoodle,” 81-year-old Australian resident Wally Conran told The Australian. “But I wonder, in my retirement, whether we bred a designer dog - or a disaster.”

While working for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia in the early 1980s, Conran was contacted by a vision-impaired woman in Hawaii. She needed an allergy-free guide dog since her husband had allergies to dogs. Though no breed is completely hypoallergenic, Conran decided to try crossing a poodle with a lab. Once he found a trainable poodle with a good temperament, he mated it to the lab and three puppies were born. The vision-impaired woman’s husband learned that just one puppy was allergy free.

The new crossbred dog was a good fit for allergy sufferers who were vision-impaired, but the world’s first designer dog didn’t really catch on until Conran came up with a great marketing idea.

“I decided to stop mentioning the word crossbreed and introduced the term ‘labradoodle’ instead to describe my new allergy-free guide-dog pups,” he wrote.

The name caught on and interest in the labradoodle soared, but he began to worry about “backyard breeders producing supposedly allergy-free dogs for profit,” Conran wrote. He felt that he had opened up a Pandora’s box.

“Were breeders bothering to check their sires and bitches for hereditary faults, or were they simply caught up in delivering to hungry customers the next status symbol?” he wrote.

And, Conran added, “It’s not something I’m proud of. I wish I could turn the clock back.”

July 12, 2010

The Big Switch - Part Four

Wow! Can it really be Day 22 of the Big Switch to a raw food diet?

I've been a little behind in my updates and I apologize to anyone who was anxiously awaiting this next chapter but I have to say I was more than a little disappointed when I weighed all four animals in at Day 14 and discovered not one had lost a single pound!

I titled this series of blogs "Oscar and Goo's Weight Loss" but I think it's probably a good idea to take away such expectations (from myself as well as the kids) and rename these updates with a more appropriate title. After all this is about a lifestyle change, a switch to raw food, not just plain old weight loss. Yes? It has been a big adjustment for everyone!

So over the past week I have stopped concentrating on the "diet" aspect of this raw food diet and more on just getting into a routine and learning more about what the pets like and dislike, portion sizes and supplements. My goal now is to get them to actually like and want their dinners instead of having to bribe them to eat it.

I'd say we've reached that goal and just in the past three days or so! It seems only the past few days now both dogs and both cats really dig into their meals, virtually no coaxing or hesitation occurs anymore. A big bonus! I'm finally getting to the point where I think I'm prepping the food much better. At first it was quite mushy and probably was an undesirable texture for the palet.

I'll continue to plug along and and the dogs and cats will keep eating until eventually it will be just like we were doing it all along. Maybe I'll try another weigh-in again in the next couple of weeks. Next blog I'll talk about the various supplements and oils that we have been trying out.

I also wanted to talk about a product I picked up from Tail Blazers in Copperfield. We were complaining to Holly about the dogs wrecking our lawn with their urine even though they get walked twice a day. She threw down this small paper bag marked "Dog Rocks". Basically it's a certain type of rock that you simply place in your dog's water dish and the minerals these rocks release into the water they drink help neutralize the chemical in the dog's urine that ruins grass. In fact, it actually does the opposite, now it seems your dogs will be fertilizing it! So for under $20, we picked up a package and promptly placed it in their water bowl. We've been using it over a week now and I'm just starting to see evidence of where the grass grows a little longer and little greener in spots. I'll take some pictures and post them, I think this product really works! I can't wait till we've been using about a month and see the real results of no crappy brown spots dotting the landscape!

Visit their website for more info!