Cooper, Australian Shepherd:

Cooper (Cooper Play’n @ Dog Hill) is a Black Tri Australian Shepherd, born September 6, 2015. I joke that he is my new experimental dog, everything that I have learned over my life is going into Cooper.

It started when I met Cooper when he was 4 weeks old. I played with him having search for food in the grass, play with toys and held him to check his frustration levels and he did great. I visited him weekly until he came home with me at 6 1/2 weeks old. This is not normal, nor do I recommend this. Normally your new puppy should not come home with you until 8 to 12 week old. But do to the circumstances it was better that he came home with me early. To help him continue to learn from his sibling, his sister came with us until they turned 9 weeks old at which time his sister went to her permanente home.

Cooper’s Medical History:

When Cooper first came home with me he had diarrhea, which is not abnormal in puppies. I was given Science Diet canned food and some anti-diarrheal medications. I advised the breeder I would not be using Science Diet (I consider this food to be of extremely low quality)  and I would not be using the medications. They had not worked anyways, so why continue. I immediately started Cooper on a whole food diet with pumpkin and the diarrhea was gone in less that 24 hours. I later learned Cooper had Giardia through a puppy health visit from his veterinarian, who performed a stool check.

His first three veterinarian visits were simple puppy checks, no vaccines or painful procedures. This would help him from being fearful of veterinarians. When it came to vaccines I had already decided that I wanted to limit vaccines to only ones that are needed (protection from deadly disease), which meant I wanted Parvovirus and Distemper vaccines only. I also wanted to wait to administer the vaccines until after mom’s natural immunity (passed on to her puppies) had dissipated. This is hard to know and why many veterinarians and breeders start vaccines as early as 6 weeks. It is believed by 12 weeks the puppies are no longer protected  through mom’s natural protection. Vaccines will not immunize a puppy until mom’s protection as passed, this is the reason for puppy series vaccines.

When Cooper turned 15 1/2 I tried to get him only a Parvovirus/Distemper Vaccine. I went to my normal veterinarian, my puppy veterinarian, a local shot clinic and made a couple calls to veterinarians with no luck. One veterinarian was not even aware he could buy single vaccines. Most veterinarians only administer multiple vaccines at once, like DHPP, DHLPP, DA2PP-L, DA2PP-C, These acronyms stand for a combination of vaccines that protect against serious viruses. DHPP stands for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza. DHLPP is the same as DHPP with the additional vaccine for Leptospirosis. DA2PP-L stands for Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, and Leptospirosis. DA2PP-C includes the vaccine for Coronavirus.

This was very frustrating and I ended up getting the vaccine through a breeder I new (you can also buy at local farm stores or online) and administered the vaccine myself. Three weeks later I had my veterinarian draw a titer test (a blood test to check on immunization) and he was fully immunized against Parvovirus and distemper. I will do a titer test again at 3 years old.

Except for a Rabies vaccine at 9 months old then again 1 year later he has not received any other vaccines.

Around 18 months old Cooper was showing signs of Lyme disease so I started him on Ledum (a homeopathic remedy for Lyme) and then called my veterinarian for a check and blood test. But the doc was out for the day and they suggested I bring him to another local veterinarian. I don’t want to wait and let him suffer or the disease to get worse, so I went. I figured I would go, explain Cooper’s signs get a blood test and if positive Doxycycline. But I ran into something unexpected, even before the veterinarian ordered the blood test, she started telling me it could be a genetic disorder or bone disease and we may need x rays. I truly believe if I didn’t understand what was going on I may have left that veterinarians office with a bill of several hundred dollars. I again explained the signs and that I wanted a blood test for Lyme disease. So she ordered the test, confirmed Lyme, gave us Doxycycline.

That evening I noticed Cooper was getting better. I believe the Ledum was starting to work after 48 hours. For my own personal knowledge I wish I waited another day to see if the Ledum would have cleared Cooper, instead of starting the Doxycycline. Doxycycline has many side effects and can destroy the gut Biome. Cooper recovered quickly and has not shown any problems after completing his full prescription of Doxycycline.

Cooper now sees his normal Veterinarian every 6 months. A yearly health check with a blood test for Heartworm, and lyme disease which I do every 6 months. We also see a canine chiropractor mainly because Cooper loves flying, jumping, twisting and justed being an Aussie.

Cooper’s diet:

Even before Cooper came home I contacted a Canine Nutrition Specialist, Cat Lane at The Possible Canine, who helped with Cooper’s diet during his first year. As he grew we changed his home based, raw diet 4 times to meet his growing needs. Since living with me the only commercial food Cooper has eaten is by the Honest Kitchen. Honest Kitchen is a dehydrate food that is human grade and many organic ingredients.

Now Cooper and all my dog’s eat a full raw home based diet. An example of his diet: chicken with bone, beef liver, beef kidney, blueberry, cranberry, apple, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, raw goat kefir, coconut oil. If you want to learn more check out our Canine Nutrition Class.

Cooper’s Training:

As a dog training  instructor at a local Humane Shelter, Copper went to all of my classes. Allowing him to see many different dogs. Even as a dog trainer I believe in formal group classes and even though Cooper started training as soon as he came home with me, I entered him into a formal Puppy Kindergarten class at 9 weeks old, (the first available class date).

Once completed with Puppy Kindergarten we enrolled into a basic class and finally into an advance class.

Cooper’s training has also included: agility classes, confirmation classes, therapy classes, tricks classes, search & rescue training and more.