WE love our puppies and dogs & know that you do too.  This page is dedicated to information to help you give them the best care possible.   As a work in progress - I welcome your contributions.  I am striving to provide the most natural, safe, environment and care for our dogs.  I have been using essential oils and flower remedies for years, but am by no means an expert on every topic.  Much of the information is based on my personal experience or that of other trusted sources.  I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. 
HEALTH AND CARE OF YOUR MASTADOR
PARASITES & DEWORMER
Intestinal parasites are common in puppies and very often appear during a puppies early development. The puppies are dewormed several times (we typically use Strongid and DE) prior to them going to their new homes.  We go to every length to treat and prevent intestinal parasites in our puppies. However, the stress of going to a new home and travel can actually result in the appearance of intestinal parasites after the puppy leaves.  For prevention and treatment of internal parasites:

Natural Dewormer

Molly's Herbals

About Kocci Free  -  Order Kocci Free

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for external parasites

Parvaid

Parvo Puppy Emergency Tea & Treatment

Other Dewormers We Use

Safeguard

Treating Coccidia with Marquis

Ivomec

Treating Parasites at Home


Spay or Neuter ?
Your agreement with me is that you will not breed your Mastador - not that you have to spay or neuter - (if you do decide to spay or neuter we recommend to wait until they are at least 2 years old)  here is why:
 
The Truth about Spaying and Neutering

Why it's Best to wait to Spay/Neuter and Other Options

Alternatives to Spay and Neutering

Why we recommend Desexing over Spay or Neutering



Biebers Mastador Puppies
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

For Your Training Needs - (although I don't agree with everything in each) we highly recommend the methods of:

Brian Kilcommons - online puppy resource

Cesar Millan

Books
Good Owners Great Dogs

How to Raise the Perfect Dog

PUPPY EXERCISE
We don't limit our puppies exercise, neither do we force them - we let puppies be puppies which means they are free to play or rest when they want.  They play, sleep and eat on and off throughout the day.   Our puppies have access to both indoor and outdoor play areas.  Outdoors they are mostly on grass with plenty of things to explore.  As puppies grow they play for longer and harder periods of time (and rougher with each other) before resting.  One of the (many) things that I love about our Mastadors is that they seem to naturally know know when they have had enough and its time to rest.   
Age Appropriate Exercise

How Much Exercise is too Much for a Puppy

DIGGING

How to Create A Digging Pit

NIPPING & BITING
Puppies play rough.  If you don't have a playmate for your puppy - they will look to you to fulfill that need. 

Understanding Biting Behavior & What to Do.

Training Puppies that Bite

Collars Can Cause Severe Health Problems & Healthy Alternatives

GROWLING
Why Growling is Good
Why is my Dog Growling and What to Do
Growl vs Scowl
where puppies are people too
VACCINATIONS
Your puppy does not come with vaccinations.  Reactions to vaccines can occur and growing evidence that early vaccination can actually be harmful to puppies.  Puppies are protected by their mother's immunity.   Hence repeated or "Booster Shots" are not boosting anything but only trying to vaccinate at a time when the Mother's immunity is no longer blocking the effectiveness of the vacine.  We recommend waiting until the puppy is 16 weeks old (or at least 12) but it will be up to you to decide when and what vaccinations to give your puppy.  Please read the articles below, do your own research, and discuss your options with a trusted vet.  Vaccines or a health certificate if requested or required are your responsibility.

Taking The Risk Out of Puppy Shots

3 Puppy Vaccination Mistakes: Too Early, Too Often, Too Much

Titer Testing

Wolf Creek Ranch

Safer Rabies Vaccination

OTHER HEALTH INFO
Lyme Disease - What if Your Dog Tests Positive?

Alternatives to Canine Surgeries

Do You Ever Wish Your Pet Could Talk
DEW CLAWS
We do not remove declaws.  Not only is it, in my opinion, a cruel practice, but declaws serve a vital purpose.  

For those who don't know, the dew claw is the dog's fifth toe that's located on the inside part of their front legs just above the foot.  Dogs can have 2 dew claws on each front leg, some have them on their rear legs, but in general, most have just one on each front leg. Some people compare them to a human's thumb, but of course it isn't opposable.

Historically, breeders have removed them because it gives their dog's leg a sleeker look. Some people also remove them because of the potential for injury if snagged on something while the dog is running.  In the past 12 years of having active, working Labs and Mastadors, we have never had a problem with dewclaws related injuries..

Dew claws help dogs grip the ground and get better traction while running. Dew claws also help dogs grip bones or toys while chewing.  There is also evidence that arthritis can be related to dewclaw removal.

Dew Claws Can Save Your Dog's Life

Purpose of DewClaws

Dew Claw Purpose & Removal/Arthritis Connection
TOYS
Puppies like new stuff so it is beneficial to put a rotation plan in place for their toys:

Its a Good idea to have a variety of toys on hand for your new pup:
Chew Toys - satisfy the need to chew and gnaw, like hard-rubber toys (Kong or Tuffy) or Coconuts;
Teething Toys - like wet frozen washcloth, carrots, wet frozen rope toys, softer rubber toys
Plush Toys - provide comfort, like stuffed animals;
Fetching Toys - help exercise and develop skills - like balls and flying discs;
Rope and Tug Toys - help floss and clean teeth;
Critical Thinking Toys - help develop thinking and problem solving skills - like treat-dispensing balls or devices that release goodies when your puppy performs a certain task.

Toy Suggestions:  Large breed dogs.

Top 25 Toys for Puppies that chew a lot (but please stay away from the nylabone products)

Ideas to make your own toys:

33 Dogs Toys from Stuff around the House
44 CoolToys to Make
Many Many Many Ideas on Pinterest

FOOD & TREATS

Puppies and adult dogs need to chew and keep busy. 

For treats, peanut butter, cooked eggs, raw meat, frozen organ meat, cheese, butcher bones, deer or elk antlers, roasted turkey, sardines, fish oil (capsules), Eggs (can feed raw yolks - but cook the whites - or if you are concerned about salmonella - cook the whole egg.)

You can skip the store-bought snacks that are high in fat, sugar and preservatives.
Vegetables like carrots, green beans, broccoli, kale, Kelp, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes (my dogs personally love tomatoes and will pick them right out of the garden)
Fruits like Bananas, berries, watermelon and apples,

AVOID:  rawhides, plastics, grapes, raisins, onions, chocolate and anything with caffeine or Xylitol.
These can be toxic to dogs. NylaBones can also be dangerous.

Other snacks - popcorn with no salt or butter, and plain rice cakes, raw local honey, quinoi.

Tomato crisps:  Slice cherry or small tomatoes in half.  Lay sliced side up on cookie sheet.  Optional - drizzle with coconut oil, garlic, etc.  Bake at 200 to 250 till crisp - approximately 12-14 hours.

Pumpkins:  You don't have to cook pumpkin - raw is ok, but cooking may make for more available nutrients.   Preheat oven to 350F.  Wash/Rinse the pumpkin.  You can halve the pumpkin, remove the seeds and guts, then cook the halves.  Even easier - To cook the pumpkin whole - use a knife to stab the hard outer shell a few times for ventilation. Put the whole pumpkin on a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan.  Bake for 45-120 minutes depending on the size of your pumpkin.   Once cooled, its easy to break or cut into manageable size pieces and remove the seeds if you want to bake them - otherwise throw the whole pumpkin in the food processor (yes - guts and all - or remove the guts becasue FYI - the guts make the best pumpkin bread EVER).  You can cut into the pumpkin into pup size chunks, or puree and freeze in bags or pour in forms to make bite size treats. 

Virgin Coconut Oil for Dogs: Feeding and using Organic Virgin Coconut has many benefits:
  Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
A Guide to Feeding and Using Coconut oil


What to Feed Your Mastador?

We recommend you feed a high quality organic food free from grains, GMOs, preservatives, etc.  BARF or SARF Homemade Organic Raw Food Diets OR if you can't bring yourself to feed a raw food diet - Homemade Organic Cooked Food Diet are best.  You can get custom balanced receipes at  BalanceIT.
If you are going to feed purchased BARF/SARF or dry or wet kibble, feed a high quality 5 star food.

Why a diversified diet (rotating foods) is healthiest for your dog

New Independent Studies on How Processed Foods Cause Disease in Dogs

Food Allergy Myths

Rotating Diet can help Avoid Development of Allergies

Why a Balanced Diet rich in Mangnanese is so Important


HOW MUCH TO FEED YOUR PUPPY

-Your puppy should be fed free choice or at least 4 times a day - as much as s/he wants to eat. 

-After six months free choice or 3 times a day - as much as s/he wants. 

-After a year (at this point I am still feeding at least half puppy food) 2-3 times a day until done growing (as much as s/he wants), then free choice or 2 times a day.  (My adult Mastadors typically eat a high energy food 2 to 2.5 cups 2x a day - growing puppies will eat more than that.) 

-Mastadors can continue to grow for several years.  Slow and steady growth is ideal. 

-We recommend feeding a high quality Homemade diet or a LARGE BREED DOG puppy food. 

- Look for a 4 or 5 star rated food.  Check on your brand with DogFoodAdvisor.com. 
Here is a link to the foods with the best ratings: Best Rated Dog Foods.  and Best Dry Puppy Foods.  
Diamond Naturals, Fromm, 4health Grain Free, Nutro Grain Free (or limited diet), NutriSource, Merrick, Solid Gold, and Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy all have 4 star ratings and most can be found at reasonable prices.   Triumph Grain Free Turkey is also affordable high star food.

- Your puppy will be eating free choice Iams Large Breed Puppy Food which is readily available at most places. To switch your puppy's food - do so gradually over the course of a week or two.  Start by adding 1/4 of the portion of the new food and gradually increase the ratio.

-Puppy Mash:  Your puppy will be also be getting puppy mash 2 to 3x a day (first thing in the morning and last thing at night) .  To make puppy mash - put Large Breed Smart Puppy food (or whatever dry food you are feeding) in blender with hot water, and optional - egg yolks (or whole cooked eggs)  *canned evaporated milk or Goat's Milk (2 parts liquid to 1 part dry food (for one puppy an 8 oz can would last 2-3 days).  It is a good idea to continue with puppy mash for a few weeks to help your puppy transition to his/her new home and continue on track with growth.  You can blend more than one feeding at a time - be sure to refrigerate unused portion and any opened cans of milk.  As it sits it will get firmer - add hot water to thin it and warm it up right before serving.  If using cooked eggs - you can crumble the egg on top of the mash.

* Instead You can use milk replacer made for Goats and puppies.  You can find powdered MannaPro Unimilk at Tractor Supply, Walmart, or MIlls Fleet Farm.  Their 3.5 lb bag is around $11 at Walmart.

Make sure that you are not feeding your dog treats or foods containing the sweetener Xylitol which now can be found in some peanutbutters

(If you are feeding a grain free diet and your dog has food allergies try switching to a food that has no soy fed chicken or chicken meal.  Glycerin can also be a culprit.  Another consideration is the amount of carbohydrates or starches/hidden sugars.  Even most grain free foods have too much starch.  To calculate:  100 - (Protein + Fat + Moisture + Ash (use 7% is not listed) = % of carbohydrate.
More on the Hidden Sugars can Make Your Dog sick

Dog Food Advisor

DIY  Healthy Dog Food Recipes & Organic Treats

More Healthy Recipes

Homemade Raw Diets

Garlic for Dogs?

Antlers For Dogs?

Natural Bones
POTTY TRAINING
Puppies natuarally avoid messing in their bed.  Their Mom does clean-up for the first several weeks.  At 3 weeks, puppies start climbing out of bed to potty.  This is when we provide paper and shavings and start the potty training process.  Their bedding has to be kept very very clean and because accidents happen on a regular basis that means a whole lot of laundry for me.   As the puppies get more mobile, the paper and shavings are moved to closer to the door.  Weather permitting, the puppies are allowed to use a doggie door at around 4-5 weeks.  By the time you get your puppy at 8 weeks they are well on thier way to being house trained.   
Puppies need to potty as soon as they wake up, right after they eat, after heavy playtime, if you see them sniffing around. in general - every few hours.   There are different methods of training - crate, tether, clicker.  Mostly you just need to pay attention to your puppy.
The Ten Commandments of Housetraining

Night-time - I'm not a fan of crating puppies at night. Its best to work on crating during the day starting with leaving the door open and feeding the puppy in the crate,  a place for special toys and naps.  Once your puppy is relaxed and happy with the crate, you can start closing the door for short periods of time.    Until you get your puppy, that puppy has only known life with its Mother, many litter-mates, and other dogs in my household.   Then they get to your new home and feel isolated, alone and vulnerable.  Puppies need deep, restful sleep for growing and good health.  If you have another dog - your new puppy will sleep best closest to another dog,  or If you intend to let your puppy sleep in bed with you once it's potty trained - there is no need to wait.  Puppies don't potty in their bed unless an emergency.  My experience has been with the puppies that I have potty trained, that they will sleep most of the night, maybe needing to go out once.  If they need to go - they pace the edge of the bed and whimper, or will otherwise wake me up.  Until puppies get the hang of night-time potty - its best to carry them outside.  Have a water bowl outside also so they can get a drink if needed.  Once back in bed with lights out, puppy usually will go right back to sleep.  I also have a few toys for the puppy in bed so if they wake up before I do and don't have to potty, they will keep themselves entertained.   It is also important that they have their own special place to rest and be comfortable for those times when you don't want them on the bed, whether that be a crate or special dog bed.

Tether Training

The House Breaking Bible

Crating and House Training Your Puppy

Urine Gone - Stain and Odor Eliminator

Kids N Pets Stain and Odor Remover
BATH TIME

It's Imprtant to use organic shampoos with ingredients that are not harmful to your puppy.

FreshWave Pet Shampoo

  All About Bath-time and some Healthy Shampoo alternatives


PREPARING FOR A NEW PUPPY

PUPPY PROOFING YOUR HOME

Pet-Proofing Keeping Your Home and Yard Safe

Dr. Becker on Bringing Home a Puppy

  Ideas on Types and Sizes of Crates


CRATES

I don't typically use crates other than an open door dark space for our dogs to sleep in if they choose.  They are more likely found on my bed or couch, stretched out on the floor, or on one of the numerous dog beds scattered throughout the house.  That being said - Crate training is a good idea in small doses and as an aid in potty training if needed.  If you can be vigilant and take your pup outside before there are any accidents in the house - within a few days to a week your puppy should be house trained to a large extent.  (I use the words - "go potty" and then praise when they do).  Please keep in mind that your puppy will not have good bladder and bowel control until they are 4 to 5 months old.  Please do not limit your puppy's water intake as a method for potty training as is is very imprtant for your puppy to stay hydrated at all times.  Limiting water intake can cause severe health problems. 

Our pups are well on their way to being potty trained by the time they are 8 weeks old so if you are going to be using a crate.  You can start with a larger crate that is recommended by most experts for potty training.  You can either start with the adult size crate and block part of it off if needed or you can start with a smaller crate and go to a larger one later.  There should be enough room for the puppy to lay flat, stand and sit upright or stretch out front to back paws without any part of them touching the sides or top of the crate.   Except for at night, your pup should not be left in the crate for more than a couple of hours at a time, with ample play time inbetween.  Our puppies generally sleep all night from around 10 pm to 5 am  (dusk to dawn)

Include some comfortable bedding that is at least somewhat chew resistant, (I like the fleece kennel beds)  a blanket and a few favorite toys.   Make sure that the crate is not too hot for your puppy.  If you have two puppies, you can crate them together in one crate.  Crate training will be much easier and everyone wil be much happier.

XXL crates suit giant breeds that weigh from 90 lbs up to 150 lbs,
from 46 to 68 inches from nose to base of tail and up to 44 inches from floor to top of head when sitting.

XXL crate dimensions include: 46″ L x 30″ W x 33″ H; 54″ L x 37″ W x 45″ H; 72″ L X 45″ W x 48″ H.

Crate SizeApproximate Weight of the Dog
24"x30" or 24"x36"Under 40 lbs Under 40 lbs
30"x24" or 30"x30" or 30"x36"0-40 lbs 40-50 lbs 50-60 lbs
36"x24" or 36"x30" or 36"x36"40-60 lbs 50-60 lbs 60-80 lbs
42"x30" or 42"x36"80-100 lbs 80-100 lbs