ALL THE PIECES
Skylar Copeland, owner of Fireside Fernweh, has been training her own dogs since 2013, beginning with her German Shepherd, Athena. This experience is essential for raising puppies to be well-adapted and confident dogs. Many breeders use Puppy Culture or similar programs, but Skylar believes this does little to no good if one does not have a training background to have perfect timing and a solid grasp on canine body language.
OUR BREEDING PROCESS
CHOOSING THE PAIRING
When we consider a pairing, our goal is complimentary traits in the parents and in their pedigrees. For each pairing, we have a handful of specific goals in mind that we hope to improve upon in the dam. Breeding is an art of give and take, and every line of dogs has it's own vices and virtues. Our aim is not to cross two lines which share the same vice, but instead to thoroughly research so that we can cross lines which balance one another to give us the all around, versatile dog we are seeking. This is the research phase where we gather as much information as we can find on a handful of stud dogs we are interested in using. We look at them themselves, their parents, their grandparents, their siblings, their offspring if they've been bred. Eventually, we have enough information to make a choice!
REARING THE PUPPIES
Our puppies are extensively handled from birth until they leave for their new homes. They are raised following Puppy Culture protocols with some variations to make the program more suitable for this breed (it was made for Bull Terriers which have different needs than White Swiss Shepherds). Our puppies are not often fed in bowls after they are on solid kibble, but are scatter-fed instead. This encourages the puppies to interact with the objects in their environment and it encourages them to start using those powerful noses! We also expose our puppies to a variety of sounds played via Bluetooth speakers while they are eating to create positive associations. Our puppies also get to explore many different areas of our property - inside and outside - which is excellent for confidence building and for learning to pay attention to where the people are. We also introduce the clicker and begin rewarding our puppies for sitting for attention. In short, we do everything in our power to give your puppy the best start in life.
MATCHING OWNER & PUPPY
After spending the first invaluable 8 weeks of their lives with our puppies combined with knowing many of their close relatives, we match each puppy to their new owner. Our process is based on multiple factors, including the puppies' structure, drives, sociability, confidence, and energy level to name a few. Given our vast experience competing in a variety of dog sports and our knowledge of canine structure, we are very confident in our ability to select puppies for all purposes, whether that be show, sport, or companionship. Though our breeding program is still young, we believe our many years' experience owning and training dogs gives us the knowledge and understanding of dogs needed to accurately evaluate puppies and choose the best home for each puppy.
AFTER THEY GO HOME
We offer lifetime support for all of our puppy buyers, and are happy to consider them to be a part of our extended family. We are always appreciative of updates and we love to know that our puppies are excelling in their new homes. For those that utilize social media, we have a private Facebook group for all owners of Fireside Fernweh dogs where owners share their dog's accomplishments and their day to day life.
OUR AIM FOR EXCELLENCE
We consider a multitude of factors whenever we consider using a dog for breeder which can be divided into three major areas: temperament, health, and structure, in that order. Above all else, we aim to produce dogs with good versatility and soundness in temperament. We chose this aspect to be our number one priority due to the overall lack of solid temperaments in the breed, which we find extremely disheartening. Thus, we look to use sociable dogs with good drives and a solid off switch which makes them suitable for all types of homes and jobs. Secondly, we aim to produce healthy dogs. Of course, we only use dogs who have passed their health testing, but we also look for lesser used lineage whenever possible in hopes of reducing our dogs' Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI). The COI is the single-most important tool for predicting the health of a dog, but unfortunately it is underused and many would rather remove large portions of the genepool due to small imperfections than take advantage of the open studbooks presented in many countries, including the USA. Finally, our third category is structure. While we do appreciate good structure, this is rather low on our priority list, and we would rather say that a good tempered and health dog is beautiful. In a perfect world, the stars would align and we would hit all of our goals in one pairing, but when working with nature, this is rarely the case. Thus, our aim for excellence includes prioritizing temperament, then health, and then structure.