Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bowled Over by the Barbet

 ♥ Sophie ♥
UCD CH Neigenuveaux Fleur d'Northock WC CGN
I am often asked why we chose the Barbet as the breed of choice for our family.  It truly was a love at first sight deal for me.  Their dishevelled curly coats give the appearance of being anything but glamorous but their sweet nature is bright and sunny.  The breed has completely bowled us over.  I admit I am head over heels in love with these dogs.  The Barbet epitomizes everything that I am looking for in a canine companion.  Now that I have come to know and love them I cannot imagine ever living without one.

Camping with Sophie
At Bruce's Mill Conservation Area with ♥Mona♥
Bayport's Gem of Northrock
The Barbet is smart and sensitive and faithfully loyal.  Their devotion to their families and affectionate disposition are trademarks of the breed.  Barbets are good natured and fun loving and with proper training can become enthusiastic partners for sport and pleasure. 

I want to share my home with dogs that I can do competitive sports with but who will also be up for whatever activity our active family wants to engage in.  Swimming, canoeing, hiking or just hanging out with us at the kid’s soccer games.  If it’s competition you desire, be it agility, obedience, rally-o or tracking Barbets are up to the challenge.  If given the opportunity they also have the potential to serve as capable bird dogs for hunting or field tests.  

Sophie Retrieving
The qualities that enabled the Barbet to function as an all-around retriever of waterfowl and small game are one of the many attributes that attracted us to the breed in the first place.  I get enormous satisfaction from watching the dogs do what they were originally bred to do and I enjoy spending a day out in the field with them.   It is for this reason that at Northrock Barbets we are committed to preserving the breed’s natural instincts, especially their desire to retrieve and their love of water.
Swimming at the cottage with Mona and Sophie
 Two in the canoe - no problem!

Hiking in the Rouge Valley with Sophie

The Barbet is an active and outgoing water dog.  They are willing to work as a team player but they can be wickedly smart and one does at times really need to be one step ahead of them or they will try to run circles around you!  They can also be sensitive and in order for training to be most successful you need to be patient and happy and remember to keep it fun for them.  I enjoy training my dogs.  Sophie has her Companion Dog obedience title  and her Working Certificate and I am looking forward to putting more titles on her in the future.  We have even tried tracking and I don’t know if we will ever bring home a ribbon but it’s a great way for us to spend time together. 

Right now Kelly is working on learning foundation skills that will serve her well in obedience and I’m considering trying agility with both girls.  Although I have heard it’s highly addictive!  Kelly has already been introduced to birds and I was excited about her reaction to them.  I’m looking forward to being able to play in the field with her too.
Lovin' the Chukar
The breed’s enthusiasm for sport combined with their gentle temperament makes for a friendly companion that is ever ready for a long hike or a swim at the beach.  Yet they are easy to live with because when it’s time to relax they are content to lay down by our feet and just “be” with us.  The Barbet is a breed that for the most part is healthy and hardy with few problems.  With a lifespan of 12 – 15 years we look forward to making many more good memories with our girls.

Sophie, Kelly, Quincy
After a day field training....
It’s not all a bed of roses however….their grooming needs are high.  If neglected their curly plush coat that is so therapeutic to pet and cuddle up against can quickly become a matted mess. 

Because my dogs regularly spend time in the great outdoors it means they often bring it home in their coats.  However, with proper care and management the benefit to the Barbet having a coat of hair and not fur means far less shedding so with all that cuddling you will never come away covered in dog hair!

Now with the winter weather on our doorsteps we get to deal with the snow...

♥ Kelly ♥
Northrock's Anchors Aweigh
The Barbet truly is a perfect match for our family.  We have been bitten big time by the Barbet bug!  They are wonderful dogs and we are committed to sharing our hearts and home with their unsophisticated charm for many years to come.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Planned Breeding

We have updated our website with information about our upcoming litter plans.  Sophie (UCD CH Neigenuveaux Fleur d’Northrock WC CGN) will be bred in early 2013 to Chmurnik (CH Górki Podduchownej Chmurnik CGN). You can read more about our plans here.
At Northrock we are committed to giving our puppies the best start in life that we can.  We take the responsibility of meeting our puppies’ developmental needs very seriously.  For more information about how we raise our puppies please visit our Puppies page.  You will also find more photos and videos of our Northrock puppies featured in past blog posts as well as on our facebook page. 

We are currently taking reservations for those who are interested in performance and pet puppies from this litter.  For enquiries, please contact Stephanie at

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Socializing Kelly

Kelly at the local fire station.
Kelly (Northrock’s Anchors Aweigh) is the puppy we kept from the Dougy x Coco litter.  We are enjoying her immensely.  She is a delightful mix of impish charm and cuddly sweetness.  She makes us laugh and keeps us on our toes, as we are ever watchful that she doesn’t get up to something that she shouldn’t.  Sophie is extraordinarily patient with her since Kelly jumps up and tugs on her as only silly puppies can do.  The two of them are getting along very well.  Quincy too is very patient.  He will usually rebuff her suggestions to play as her “style” of playing is really not to his liking.  She has learnt that an enticing bow and bum wiggle will more often yield positive results with getting him to play as opposed to the full on kamikaze body slam.
Visiting the pet store
Over the last several weeks we have continued to incorporate many opportunities to socialize Kelly to a myriad of different environments and situations.  The secondary socialization period ends at approximately 12 weeks of age.  Up until this point puppies are quite willing to approach new situations, and investigate new people and objects.  It is so important to expose them to as many novel experiences during this timeframe.  A broad range of positive interactions with people and places will help to foster a puppy’s confidence and she will learn that new and unusual things don’t have to be scary. 

After 12 to 13 weeks of age it’s normal for puppies to begin to show more reluctance and uncertainty about approaching something new.  We worked really hard to socialize Kelly lots in the preceding weeks and she has learnt that life and new experiences are fun.  It's not bad if your pup is initially worried about something new. What you want to see is the puppy “bounce back” from initially being afraid and go and approach whatever it is that she is worried about. 
Meeting the letter carrier
Through the years, I have come to understand that it’s our job to help our puppies to work through their trepidation and make sure their new experiences are positive and that they approach whatever it is that they are unsure of - on their own terms. It’s not helpful to coddle your puppy with lots of petting and “it’s okays”.   Puppies take their cues from us so we need to speak confidently and act confidently.  Try instead to say something along the lines of; “wow pup!  That garbage can just fell over, woo hoo let’s go check it out” In a sure and happy voice.  Sometimes it’s more helpful to not say anything at all.  Throw treats on the ground and encourage her to approach and sniff.  What do you do if she doesn’t want to go near it?  No problem.  Just redirect her focus and continue on your walk.  Try to come back to the can a little later and see how she does.  Start giving her treats as soon as she sees the can and see how close she is willing to get to it.  Chances are she will be much more likely to approach the can and check things out. 
Riding the bus
I’m getting better at training my dogs.  It certainly hasn’t happened over night and I will forever be grateful to Quincy for putting up with all of my sloppy handling and all of the mistakes I have made.  For some unbelievable reason he still loves me despite the fact that I am his biggest handicap.  The challenges I’ve had with him have inspired me to be a better trainer.  Over the years I’ve attended many seminars and classes and read tons of books and I’m still so hungry to learn more.

Graduating from puppy kindergarden
Although a critical window of socialization has now closed for Kelly we are continuing to introduce her to lots of new experiences. Our second round of puppy classes begins this week and we are really looking forward to it.  As you can probably tell I’m really enthusiastic about spending the time and making the effort to socialize puppies.  The payout is so worth it when you end up with a well-adjusted and confident adult dog that is a pleasure to be with wherever you are.  Besides we are having a tremendous amount of fun socializing our little puppy so why on earth would we stop?

New surfaces

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bon Voyage to Northrock's A-Team!

Northrock’s A-litter has been a dream come true for me.  I am so in awe of the Coco x Dougy puppies.  It has been wonderful watching them all grow into the special personalities that have now gone on to bless their new homes.

The time has gone by so quickly and these 11 pups certainly kept me very busy during their last couple of weeks in our home.  Socialization is a really big deal for me and we continued to have many visitors over and to take the pups on outings.  I tried really hard to offer the puppies opportunities for new experiences not only within our home but also by taking them on little trips.  It was lots of work but oh so worth it!  Towards the end of their 8th week the pups visited the vet for a thorough check up, they went for their structural evaluations and they were also individually examined by a canine chiropractor.  I was really pleased with the group’s confident attitude in new places and physically how the litter has turned out.  Coco and Dougy have made really nice puppies and I look forward to watching them grow up.  At nine weeks the puppies started leaving for their new homes.  Their adventures will continue with their new families and I am so thankful for the many wonderful people that I have met because of these puppies.  

So without further ado in order of deparature….here they are:

Mr. Gray….Northrock’s All Night Boogie “Boomer”

Boomer now lives in Laval, Quebec with his daddy Dougy and his owners Bobby Souchereau and Sylvie Marleau.  It will be fun seeing what this father and son duo get up to in the future!

Mr. Yellow…..Northrock’s Aspen Hill “Aspen”

Aspen went to live in Guelph, Ontario with Pam and Ron Headon.  His departure was tough for me because he also left our home with his mama Coco.   It was wonderful having her with us and our family misses her very much but thankfully we will have her daughter staying on with us and this way we will always have a little piece of Coco in our home.
Mr. Green….Northrock’s Amis à Vie “Napoleon”
Napoleon is now living in Etobicoke, Ontario where he is much loved by Glen and Daniela and their two boys Holden and Ethan.  They have definitely found a friend for life in Nappy.
Mr. Blue….Northrock’s Athos Pascal “Pascal”
Pascal had a long journey ahead of him driving to Providence, Rhode Island to live with Josh and Maria.  He is doing very well in his new home.
Mr. White…..Northrock’s A Stylish Ride “Bentley”
Bently didn’t go too far as he now lives in Toronto, Ontario with Gene and Donna as their beloved companion. 

Miss. Tan…..Northrock’s Adelaide “Elsie”
Elsie is living in Ontario’s wine country, Niagara, Ontario with her new family Peter and Suzanne and their young daughters Hanna and Cora.  She has the added bonus of an older and wiser Rottie girl to help teach her the ropes in her new home.
Mr. Brown…..Northrock’s Arun T’onto Coulee  “Coulee”
Coulee also had a long drive and is now living in Madison, Wisconsin with JW and Ni.  He’s got a wonderful life ahead of him.  The state slogan “Live like you mean it” fits his personality to a T!

 Miss. Red……Northrock’s All About Lucy “Lucy”
Lucy headed west to the prairies and now lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her family Ed, Grace and daughter Allison.  She did great on her flight and is settling in well.

Miss. Orange….Northrock’s Aurora Borealis “Zoey”
Zoey is also staying closer to home in Toronto, Ontario.  Her new owners Stephanie and Russell are thrilled with their new addition.

Miss. Maroon…Northrock’s Amandalyn Matilda  “Mati”
Mati has gone even further west than Lucy to live in Three Forks, Montana.  Craig and Tina and their little grand-daughter are excited to have her join their family.

And last but not least,
Miss. Purple ....Northrock’s Anchors Aweigh “Kelly” 
Kelly will be staying on with us.  Our entire family is overjoyed with this little pup and Sophie is very pleased to have her little cousin to play with! Quincy just looks at me with a soulful expression and I rather think he is saying to himself “here we go again”. 

People have been asking me how I am managing and if it was hard to say goodbye.  I have to say I did a really good job of holding it together during our farewells and for the most part as long as I’m busy I’m fine.  It’s when I am alone and there is nothing to distract me that it hits.  The eyes well up and the tears start.  I’m so happy for these little puppies and their new families and I miss Coco’s goofy grin.  It is emotional and the ugly cries are not pretty!  It usually happens when I’m alone in the car so by the time I get to my destination I look a fright with my blotchy face and red eyes.  Thank goodness for sunglasses!  I love these pups with all of my heart and I know they will do well in this next stage of their lives.

So there you have it.  Here at Northrock we raise a glass to all of these fabulous Dougy x Coco puppies.   Jawaharlal Nehru (Indian Prime Minister. 1889-1964) summed it up quite nicely when he said “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”   These bright eyed and bushy tailed pups are off on their own adventures…I look forward to the updates from their families and I wish them all well in their new lives.  



Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Coco x Dougy Puppies Visit the Farm

Today I celebrated the puppies 8th week anniversary with a field trip to the farm.  The past week with the pups has been fantastic and I will post a pupdate recapping their 7th week soon.  But for now, I am grinning from ear to ear and so very happy about our day and how much fun the puppies had...

I had the most wonderful day today with the Coco x Dougy puppies.  I am still smiling.  They are the most incredibly special puppies.  We went to visit a friend’s farm that’s about an hour away from home but with traffic it ended up being an hour and a half long car ride.  People thought I was crazy to attempt it with 11 - 8 week old puppies but we did it!  They were really, really good.  Someone cried for the first 15 minutes (I have no idea who it was), then everyone just settled in for the drive.  When we got there and let everyone out they made their pees on the grass and all was well!  Tails up and wagging and happy as clams.  No one soiled their crates, no big throw ups!  Woo hoo!  These puppies are soooo good :0) 
Huge thanks to Helle for inviting us to visit and for her and Shannon’s help taking these guys on nature walks, introducing them to the chukars and pheasant and even the resident chickens.

I had to run some errands on the way home so the puppies were in the car for a long 2 hour drive back.  I didn’t hear a peep out of them and with all the activity and fresh air they slept like little angels for the whole ride home.  Once we got home they went straight into the outdoor pen and made their pees!  No mess in any of the crates… they are superstars, every last one of them!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pupdate: Socialization Continues… (Week 6)

The pups have had a wonderful 6th week full of new experiences and lots of love and affection.

Our weekly weigh-in puts the pups collectively over 100 pounds.   Wow no wonder I’m going through so much food!
Mr. Yellow enjoys lunch al fresco
Here at Northrock we believe in giving our puppies the best start in life that we can.  This includes; feeding a nutritious species appropriate diet, giving the puppies lots of access to fresh air and sunshine, positive interaction with the older dogs, new toys to stimulate them and lots and lots of socialization to people.  It is imperative that our puppy families continue to socialize their puppies once they go home but it’s my job as a breeder to get them started while they are here. 

Our family feels strongly that the socialization that occurs when the puppy is under 13 weeks old is so critical that in our home we go out of our way to give our pups careful and positive exposure to the many things they could possibly encounter in their adult lives. 

Exposing the puppies to a wide range of people continued this week with lots of wonderful visits from neighbours and friends as well as the puppies new families. 

Daily interaction with the adult dogs that live in our home has been beautiful to watch.  Here is a video clip of two of the puppies playing with Coco and Sophie from earlier in the week.
Mr. White and Mr. Brown - first car ride
Exposing the puppies to a range of environments is in full swing this week with puppies going in groups of 2 for car rides where they got to ride in a kennel and drive around for a while then arrive at a new place for a visit.  Big thanks to all our friends and family who are opening up their homes for us to come and visit.

Miss. Purple and Mr. Gray play tug of war in Oma's kitchen
New experiences in different environments are said to help the puppies grow up to be dogs that are comfortable with changes such as visiting friends, going on vacations etc.

Miss. Red has a spaw day
The puppies experienced their first bath and blow dry sessions this week and lots of grooming and handling. 
The Coco and Dougy puppies are a complete delight.  They are learning to come when called, to potty in the right place, proper bite inhibition and good chew toy habits and they are picked up and held several times a day.  It’s impossible not to cuddle them as they are simply adorable.

The Canadian Kennel Club’s  Barbet breed standard denotes that a Barbet should be of “even temperament, neither aggressive nor nervous, tractable, very devoted to his master, good mixer”...  By socializing the puppies now while they are so young we hope to help them continue to be the friendly, confident, companionable and sociable dogs that the breed is known to be.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Socialization and Curiosity Period – 5 to 6 weeks.

Today the puppies turned 6 weeks old.  They have grown enormously during the past week.  At the weigh in today we had two puppies over 8 pounds, 7 puppies over 7 pounds and two puppies over 6 ½ pounds.  They are certainly an armful! 
The socialization of these puppies is in full swing.  At this point we regularly have repeat visitors which are always lovely but the introduction of new people to the puppies has also continued.  It’s very important that the puppies have as many positive interactions with strangers as possible during this critical period.  They need to “habituate” to all sorts of people.  I want these puppies to be happy to meet anyone regardless of how they look, move or sound.  Needless to say it’s pretty busy at our house.
In addition to socialization to people the puppies have continued to have exposure to various different noises.  They are spending time outside each day and this week they heard the loud sounds of the lawnmower, power tools, school bells ringing and noisy children playing outside at recess.  Having neighbours doing renovation work and backing onto to an elementary school have been a real bonus!  These puppies are learning not to be concerned by loud sounds.  They merrily continue doing what they were doing when the noise starts up, whether this is playing or sleeping or eating.  It’s no big deal to these pups.

New toys are regularly introduced to the puppies.  They enjoyed splashing in the baby pool, playing on their balance board and the skateboard and rolling, tugging and carrying around the various smaller toys.  It’s fun to watch them explore their environment.  Of course at this age garden pots, leaves and twigs are also fascinating toys! 

They spend time with the big dogs each day too and together Coco, Sophie and Quincy are helping to teach the puppies important dog-dog social skills.
The pups are having regular time up on the grooming table and are getting used to being combed and brushed and having their ears, feet and mouths examined. 
The week ended with the pups turning 6 weeks old. With the help of my friends Chris and Sandra we were able to get stacked side and front photos of the puppies.  Not an easy task and I am very thankful to them for their help!
The A-Team Boys