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My Labrador journey started as a dream to see the perfect companion in every home. As a professional behavioral trainer, I have worked with many different types of dogs with many different behavioral problems. Time and time again, I met and helped families struggling with reactivity, anxiety, health problems, and even aggression in their dogs. Often, these problems required months, even years, of specialized training and rehabilitation. Having struggled with behavioral problems in my own past, I had a lot of empathy for the families that came to me. They loved their dogs, they wanted their dogs to be happy, affable companions that could go anywhere with ease and integrate in to any environment without problems. Unfortunately for many of these families, coming home to their beloved dogs at the end of the day was more of a chore than a blessing - having people over to visit was a nightmare and taking the dog anywhere with them was simply not possible.


With a lot of work, dedication, and quite a bit of money sunk in to training, many of the dogs were able to live relatively normal and happy lives. However, the question I was asked time and time again from my clients was, "is it always this difficult?"It turns out the answer to that is no.

It does not have to be an uphill battle to have the perfect go-anywhere, do-anything companion.


For 31 consecutive years, the #1 Most Popular Dog Breed in America was the Labrador Retriever (link). During my time as a behavioral modification trainer, I had two incredible assistants, Brutus and River. Brutus and River were bomb-proof dogs that I used for training demonstrations and socialization. They were a vital piece of my work with special cases helping anxious and reactive dogs learn to trust dogs around them. They were my constant companions everywhere I went and could always be trusted to adapt easily to their surroundings and learn new things with ease. Brutus and River were Labrador Retrievers. Their innate traits and personalities were the results of decades of selective breeding to produce "the ideal disposition... one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please
and non-aggressive towards man or animal" (Labrador Retriever Official Standard).

It stood to reason for me that the breed was an ideal starting point toward finding the perfect companion. However, as I came to learn with health problems in previous dogs, breed and breed traits alone could not be the only criteria for breeding.

As devastated as I was to prematurely retire my wonderful dogs from training and breeding, I learned a valuable lesson - genetics matter. Physical health, temperament, and behavioral predispositions are enormously affected by genetics. Genetics are what make a breed a breed but they're also what determine an individual dog's unique traits within each breed. No two Labrador Retrievers are the same simply because they are Labradors. Labradors range as widely in health and temperament from other Labradors as we do from other humans! This truth led me on a search for the ideal Labrador. One that was, above all else, healthy in mind AND body. I looked for all-purpose Labrador breeders that were competing and succeeding at a variety of venues, and, most importantly, living long and healthy lives. 


It was this search that helped me discover the final piece of the puzzle - how puppies are raised. Wonderful genetics can overcome a lot but genetics can only take you so far if you don't take advantage of critical developmental periods in a puppy's life. Much like human children, puppies are eager sponges, soaking in the world around them and learning new things every minute of every day. Puppies learn more in their first 16 weeks of their lives than they do at any other point thereafter (link). Most puppies go to their new homes at around 8 weeks and that is a great time to start working with your puppy... but what about the first half of those critical weeks? What control do you have over the first 8 weeks of a puppy's life?
In many ways, this is the single most critical factor in producing the ideal companion and is also the factor we have the most control over as breeders.

Prior to breeding Labradors, I dedicated my life to helping dogs with emotional problems cope with the world. Now, I turn that same passion toward breeding and raising puppies with the emotional resilience to deal with anything. I consider myself a career student in the sense that I believe there is always room to learn and improve upon what I know. I have had the chance to work with hundreds of puppies over the course of my training career. I have attended seminars, poured over research, and experimented with the latest in puppy raising techniques with a singular goal - to produce puppies resistant to anxiety, reactivity, and aggression no matter where they end up in life. 

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