Happy Berners’ Karma Comes Around

Karma’s info page is on our website – HERE

Here’s some of our favorite pictures of her:

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Tikari’s Mufasa Pepe Le Peu … aka “Baloo”

 Baloo has been our stud-dog for both Karma’s B&C Litters.  He lives at “Angel Kiss Farm” in South Carolina.  He is in the BernerGarde database – #57878

These pictures are from 2014, the first time Karma met Baloo.  That is why all the pictures are of Baloo on the move … he was MUCH more interested in meeting Karma than in posing for pictures 😉


Baloo standing by while Karma sniffs around!

Karma, sniffing of course, while Baloo is in the background.

L-R Baloo – Karma

Bringing Home Puppy {PART 2}

We will continue from yesterday’s PART ONE!  Start there if you didn’t get a chance to read it!


We feed dry kibble to our dogs. From 3-6 weeks old, the puppies have been eating blended kibble “mush”, and from 6-8 weeks they transition to plain dry kibble.  We try to allow the Mama to choose when to wean, and she gradually stops feedings around 6-7 weeks.  Around 5-6 weeks, she only nurses once or twice a day, and natures-domain-salmon-sweet-potato-dogspuppies are getting their nutrients from kibble.

We currently feed “Natures Domain Salmon & Sweet Potato”.  It is sold exclusively at Costco for around $30-35, and made by “Diamond”.  It is NOT a puppy food.  Traditional puppy foods are too high in fats for our large breed puppies, and can cause problems with the growth and development of their joints.  When a puppy food is used, it MUST be specifically formulated for “Large Breeds”. NEVER feed a regular “puppy” food to your Berner!  I

If you have a different food you want your puppy to use, you need to transition the food from ours to yours.  Our puppies are sent home with a sample bag of our food, and you will want to take about a week to slowly mix the foods together.  First add 1/2 a cup of the new food to the full amount of a meal.  Then add more and more, until you are out of the sample bag, and the puppy is completely on the new food.  This will help the transition go smoothly with minimal diarrhea and tummy troubles.


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Our dogs use stainless steel food dishes with rubber on the bottom.  We also use a large stainless steel milking pail from the farm store for easy access of water (and minimal splashing) for our adult dogs.  Our puppies get smaller stainless steel dishes with the rubber bottom.  I recommend getting the dishes that are completely lined with rubber on the bottom.  There are some that just have a ring around the outer edge, and those never seem to last very long.

Steer clear of the “elevated” feeding set-ups.  They might logically seem like a good choice, but studies continue to show that they can cause life-threatening bloat.   “Approximately 52% of cases of GDV (bloat) among the large breed and giant breed  dogs, were attributed to having a raised feed bowl.”  (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:1492–1499)

If your puppy seems to inhale his food, eating without stopping to chew, you may need to invest in a special slow-down bowl that will force him to take time with his food.  Eating too fast can also cause bloat, so you want to make sure you can hear the crunch of food as your puppy eats!  Some examples:  Northgate Interactive Feeder     Dogit Go Slow Bowl     Kyjen Slo-BowlKONGWobblerLifestyle2._SL285_

Karma’s ABSOLUTE favorite way to eat as a puppy was with her Kong Wobbler.  I would put a meal of kibble in the Wobbler, and she would play with it and eat.  It was really good mental exercise for her to work for her food in a game.  More info: Kong Wobbler


We groom our own dogs.  If you have a professional groomer, take your puppy in regularly to help him get comfortable being groomed by someone else.  If you plan to groom him at home, you will need a few basic supplies!

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Our “MUST HAVE” basics are:

~ a sturdy “rake” brush.  The rake brush is easy to use and effective at minimizing shedding.  We HATE the “furminator” brushes, just because it actually cuts the hair down close to the base, instead of removing just the dead fur.

~ sturdy nail clippers.  We have been clipping your puppy’s nails weekly.  If you continue to do this, they will be more comfortable with the procedure.  As they get older, they can go longer between trimming.

~ styptic powder.  This is vital if you are going to clip your dog’s nails.  If you trim too high, the nail bed will bleed … and bleed … and bleed.  The styptic powder stops bleeding by causing quagulation/clotting of the blood to occur almost instantly.  Its one of those things that hopefully you won’t need often, but its vital when you do need it!


A thick, sturdy leash is your friend!  Find one that would be comfortable to hold during a lively game of tug o’war, thick and hard to chew through, and with a very sturdy, secure clip.  We buy leashes like they are going out of style.  We haven’t found our “perfect” leash yet, but usually at least 1-1.5″ width.  You don’t need a super long leash though, we try to use 4-5 ft leashes.

Totally off-topic, but how cute is this leash rack I saw on eBay?!  I totally need to get one 🙂


Or maybe two of these, labeled Koda & Karma!


As for collars, a good, sturdy collar that the dog can’t slip out of is a must.  Steer clear of chains or slip-choke-collars.  Berners have too much fluff, and choke collars can get tangled up really easily, making them extra cruel!  We love “martingale” collars.  They are nice collars that are comfortable, but can slip a couple inches tighter if pulled on, so that it doesn’t slip off on accident, and there’s no buckle to break.


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(little 10 week old Karma roughhousing with 2 year old Koda!)

We bought our collars from TheModDog on etsy. They are really great collars, and they last for what seems like forever.  We’ve never worn out a ModDog collar.  No, I don’t work for them or anything, just love our collars, lol!  These collars are adjustable, but a general idea of sizing – 2 year old Koda measured at 21-22″ neck, and a 12 week old Karma got a 12″ collar that fit her for 6 months, when we bought her “big girl” collar (21-22″).  They have worn these collars daily in the rain, snow, sprinklers, mud, etc, and the collars still are going strong.  Wherever you buy your collar, get one that is thicker (1-1.5″), with sturdy hardware that will hold up!


Potty Training / Housebreaking is probably one of the most challenging parts of having a new puppy!    I recommend TONS of patience, and the understanding that puppies don’t always have the ability to hold their bowels.  As their body matures and develops, the ability to “hold it” will develop too.  Sticking their nose in an accident is in NO WAY helpful.  What you want to do is clean up an accident quickly, removing all smell from the area.  We love NATURES MIRACLE spray for removing smells.  Honestly, I buy that stuff by the gallon, because it works so well.  Between dogs, an older kitty, and 4 kids, I use it all the time for accidents & smells.  It can be kind of hard to find at a non-specialty store, if you have a pet store close by, then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it.

Another trick we use is BELL TRAINING.  We learned about this technique from my sister-in-law, who used it on their English Creme Retriever when he was a puppy.  We used it with Karma, and both our dogs now use it.  We bought our bells HERE, and we love them!  We simply hung the bells from the doorknob, and helped the puppy nudge them with her paw or nose.  As soon as the bells made a sound, we opened the door.  Sometimes we’d have a puppy just wanting to go out to play, but it made the potty training much easier for us!

Two other suggestions regarding potty-training:  First – use a crate when your puppy is not supervised.  This will significantly minimize accidents.  And second, when you’re home and your puppy is relaxing with you, set a timer or alarm for regular intervals to go outside for a potty opportunity!

I hope these tips, ideas, and suggestions help you prepare for your little fluff ball’s homecoming!   We’ll give more ideas, tips and suggestions on once puppy is home soon!

Bringing Home Puppy {PART 1}

So, your little fluff-ball is reserved, and almost ready to go home!  Are YOU ready to bring him home?1396006_616603151778531_3869757208623769845_n

Here’s a few tips:



1. Veterinarian –  Have your puppy’s first official Veterinary appointment set up!  I recommend visiting your vet within 72 hours of taking your puppy home.  Our puppies will be ready for their 2nd round of shots the week they go home.

More Vet Info:

Top 10 Puppy Checklist

“Vaccines & Your Puppy”

“Are Vaccinations Important?”

“Why Vaccinate?”


2. Puppy Proof your house

Puppies get into EVERYTHING.  A pup from our Litter-A had to go to the vet when he decided to EAT some dirty laundry.  We had a puppy that would try to sneak dryer sheets.  Puppies are like crawling babies.  If they can fit it in their mouth, they will try to eat it!

More Puppy-Proofing help:

Puppy Proofing Basics

Puppy Proofing 101


3. Have a crate.

We work on the basics of crate-training while your puppy is here.  They have access to the crate, 10514527_614879941950852_4301510585798657116_nand are comfortable in the crate.  Most of them choose to sleep in the security of the crate.  Our grown dogs also love their crates.  Karma’s crate is her den, her little haven away from the hustle and bustle of a house of kids.  She feels safe and relaxed in there.  Some nights, we will look around for her, and find her curled in her crate, snoring happily, with the door wide open.

The crate training process can be long and tricky, but your puppies are coming home with a basic positive experience with crates.  We use treat-incentives to crate train.  Toss a treat in the crate, and praise them when they check it out.  After they are comfortable going in and out, close the door for a minute.  Give them treats and praise!  The whole idea is to make the crate a safe, happy place for your puppy.  Then when they need to be in the crate, it is a relaxing retreat for them!  We’ve used the same training with adult dogs who have never been crate trained, and it has worked well for us.

Every dog is different in what makes their crate a sanctuary for them.  Koda likes some bedding.  Karma hates having bedding in there!  Karma will rip up bedding, making it unsafe for her.  A great accessory to the crate is a large blanket to throw over the crate to help it be dim inside and feel like a true “den” for the dog.

“Introduction to Crate Training”

“The Truth About Crates”

“Crate Training for Puppies”


{PART 2} Coming soon!

Blue Puppy

Blue Puppy is a social snuggler.  He is usually curled up with the other puppies in the puppy pile.  He will explore, then look around and crawl back to snuggle with the others.  He likes sleeping right next to his Mama, tucked in her fur.

Orange Puppy

Orange Puppy is the biggest, strongest puppy.  He was the first to open his eyes, and the first to start walking instead of army-crawling.  He likes to explore the whelping box, and new places, like the hardwood floors, or my toddler’s lap.

Video of GREEN puppy

The song for this video was picked by my kids … we love the “Despicable Me” movie!

Green Puppy reminds me of a surfer … just hanging loose.  Non-conventional, does his own thing.  He also reminds me a bit of his Mama, who has a persistent streak.  If Green wants to lay upside-down, by golly, he will LAY UPSIDE-DOWN.

He adores being snuggled, especially being held, cradled in your arms, laying … upside-down of course!

4 days until Karma’s “due date”!

Today Karma is on day 59!  Her whelping box is ready, she’s checked it out a few times, and is trying to get lots of sleep to prepare for the big whelp. Many breeders opt to do an elective X-ray around now to check for number of pups, and try to foresee possible problems.  I see the benefits of knowing number of pups, and how they are laying, especially in certain breeds that are known to have trouble whelping.  However, our berners have been great, and the breed isn’t known for big troubles with whelping.  If, at any point, we (or our vet) suspects any trouble, we are more than willing to do what we need, including X-rays, but we will not be getting an elective X-ray.  Karma has been doing wonderfully, and we’re going to leave it at that for now. 1794579_592836520821861_8129909839667791732_n We build our whelping boxes.  The box Koda used was built by my father-in-law and husband, and we left it in Utah when we moved.  So Karma gets a new one, with slight design changes (because I do not have the skill my father-in-law has!) With Koda, it didn’t even occur to me to “decorate” the whelping box, but this time around, my tweens and I had lots of fun! 10408771_594431943995652_7740526367111820882_n You can’t see it, but the outside of the box has paw prints too, and says “Tthe pathway to my heart is paved in paw prints!”  We had way too much fun! The PVC you see fit just inside the whelping box is called a “pig rail”.  There is a 3″ gap between it and the floor.  Puppies are quite good and wiggling out from under their Mama, if they accidentally get sat on, but if pushed into the wall, many puppies don’t make it.  The pig rail ensures a gap between Mama and the wall, and helps keep the pups safe. Inside our whelping box, we have layers of towels and blankets.  We save our favorite blankets (when I can’t get a stain out, but the blanket is clean and usable, just awkward!), and use those in the whelping box while the pups are little.  We are careful to tuck the blankets under the edge so a pup can’t get under them.  Once puppies are older, we will put a piece of vinyl flooring and some carpet for flooring. Next to our whelping box is our puppy warmer (for warming puppies safely while Mama is delivering other pups), our blank charts, our medical & first aid supplies, more towels for cleaning and drying pups, a scale for weighing pups, and their soft ribbon collars so we can assign their individual colors to their charts. Next up … waiting for puppies!  Stay tuned for updates and newborn photos over on our FACEBOOK PAGE!