Learning about dog food 101

Why do they fight about food??

Hey, my amazing breeders!! (warning this is long but oh so good)

I wanted to reach out to you and go over a famous conversation that will come up with your buyers and how I personally handle it and maybe shed some light on how you can too! 

When your puppy parents go to the vets, whether right away or for checkups and vaccines they see the tech first and then the vet.  What do they always ask?  Food. 

Let me break things down for you a bit: Vets are taught about food by the reps that service the office.  Meaning all they know to talk about is what they carry, almost always 1 of 2 brans, Hills Science Diet or Royal Canin.  If you look at the ingredient deck for almost any formula they carry there are so many unhealthy and unbeneficial ingredients I want to cry.  So why do they do it?

When a dog is sick or exhibiting unusual symptoms the vet wants to make you happy and give you a solution to your problem.  It is like human doctors who will give you an antibiotic for a cold just to shut us up even though all you need is time and rest to get better.  Even stool samples do not detect, for example: Giardia is notoriously hard to diagnose with a single fecal examination. The parasites are shed intermittently, so pick the wrong pile of poop to sample and you may miss them. The diagnostic accuracy of fecal examinations can be improved by looking at multiple samples taken over the course of several days and by using zinc sulfate fecal flotation solution and a centrifuge, but even then the incidence of false negatives can be quite high. 

So how can they be sure it is the food that is affecting the pups....they can't. Here is where you need to feel comfy educating them on how to read a dog food label and what to look for:

How to Read an Ingredient Label

The first ingredients, just like on an ingredient label for human food, are most important. Ingredients are measured by weight. The first ingredients on a Puppy Food label have the highest inclusion rate.

A dog’s ancestry dates back to that of a wolf - which needs meat to survive. Real meat ingredients at the top of the list are a good start to ensure the proper amino acids are going to be delivered through nutrition. Another ingredient that signals a high-quality food are multiple whole grains that are rich in complex carbohydrates. These will provide both your new puppy or full grown dog with the energy they require. Fruits and vegetables are another essential input into a quality pet food. Immune system benefits, cardiovascular health, and anti-oxidizing properties are all delivered through the vitamins that Fruits and Vegetables provide. Having chelated minerals in a pet food formula provides easily absorbable nutrients and vitamins that come from important metals such as zinc and iron. Probiotics and Prebiotics in a pet food also help maintain the health of your dog’s digestive tract.  

The Guaranteed Analysis and Ingredient listing provide the ingredients in the food and a percentage breakdown of protein, fat, moisture etc. Make sure the food you are feeding your pet meets the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), by checking for the AAFCO statement on the packaging.

 Learn more about the ingredients used in the TLC Whole Life Puppy Food

What to Watch For

By-products, artificial flavors and colors. By-products are not a complete source of protein. Artificial flavors or colors are unnatural ingredients and have no nutritional value. _ALMOST ALL VET FOODS CONTAIN BY PRODUCTS

Ingredient splitting is a way to move meat further up an ingredient list. For example, by splitting things like wheat, wheat shorts, whole wheat etc., meat ingredients are pushed further up the ingredient label, when actually there is more wheat in the formula.

Despite the fact that the ingredients at the top of the listing are the most important, you should still read the entire label. Look for ingredients that will help your dog stay healthy, like Sweet Potatoes and Green Lipped Mussels.

A food that names “Lamb” alone as the first ingredient actually has Lamb much further down the ingredient label by the time the food is fully produced. This is due to the water being evaporated from the food during the cooking process, decreasing the total weight of the ingredient drastically. Lamb Meal is dehydrated and concentrated prior to being added to the recipe.

Recalls - Although the ingredients in your Puppy Food are without a doubt of #1 importance, it is also important to be able to trust the manufacturer. TLC has never issued a recall on any product, so rest assured you are safe with us! All of TLC’s ingredients (except the Lamb and Green Lipped Mussels which are from New Zealand) are from North America.

Expiry date - Many pet foods that are bought in retail stores are often several months old. Pet food is required to have an expiry date on all packaging, so make sure you check for this before purchasing.

Foods that contain the word “with”- When a pet food label contains the word “with” (for example, “Puppy Food with chicken”), the “with” only legally has to mean 3% total weight or more of that ingredient is in the food. Be wary of the “with” rule when searching for a Puppy Food!


Thank You,

Jilleen Williams


Our 5 month old Goldendoodle was there when I needed Her

I received this email recently.  Ive had three others very similar.  Goldendoodles have more empathy than any dog Ive ever owned.

This last week has been quite challenging, with my feelings of sadness mixing with urgency, creating anxiety because I often find it difficult to allow myself time to process strong painful emotions.

After we had put Paddington down, we let Truffles in who was outside waiting, and she came over and sniffed Paddington and then circled around him, looked at me and immediately proceeded to come to me and give me what I can only describe as a hug. She put either paw around my neck and rested her chin on my shoulder, something that she has never done to me before. It took me by surprise.

The next day I looked over at Paddington’s empty pillow as I was doing something and a deep ache came up in my heart and a tears started to flow. I walked into the living room and lay on the couch to process for a moment and Truffles, knowing that I do not allow her on the couch (her nails could puncture the fabric), jumped right up and lay down on me again with her head on my shoulder. She does not generally try to get on the couch with me, ever (but now I have had a change of heart ;) ). She is an active and playful puppy but both times she came to me she was not trying to play with me, just be with me.

Yesterday again I was dealing with some strong emotions and she was absolutely glued to me, trying to be ON me every chance she could, resting her head on my leg and just staring at me when I was on the laptop even. What is so beautiful to me is that she likes to look at me in the eye. It is a soft gaze that feels very soothing to me. I have never had a dog express empathy in this manner to me so it first I figured that I may be reading into it (Paddy was so tiny that I think he was mostly in self-preservation or carry-me mode), but as the sadness lifts and I begin to feel clarity again it is very obvious to me that this is a special dog. She has been so very therapeutic ❤️

A Goldendoodle's Purpose

Today I heard from one of my puppy families.  He sent me a text with a picture of his girl Daisy.  Daisy is about 8 months old, a beautiful 4rth generation Fountain Falls English Goldendoodle.  We texted back and forth a few times and then he called me.  "I just thought it would be easier to talk to you," he said.  "I want to tell you about Daisy.  My wife is not an animal person and never will be but now she is a Daisy person.  Daisy waits for her to come home because she knows she will get a good ten minute belly rub.  Then off they go together while my wife changes from work.  No one can believe she has been won over by this dog, at least until they meet Daisy." 

"A goldendoodle can win over just about anyone"I said. "They are amazing aren't they?"

There was a pause before he continued. "I don't know if I told you but my daughter died this past year.  Daisy has been such a comfort.  My doctor wrote a note declaring that she is my service dog.  I take her everywhere I go. I can't tell you what this dog has done for me. "

We continued the conversation for awhile, said goodbye and promised to talk again soon.  I sat for awhile.  I had so much paperwork to do, a vet appointment to make, a dog to transport to Asheville and many other things that it takes to raise these precious pups.  Sometimes I get caught up in the details.  I wake in the morning and my first thought is how to prioritize all that needs to be done.  Some days there is much less to do than others.  Other days I wake up early exhausted after an all night litter delivery or saddened terribly by a puppy that didn't make it.  

But then I'll get a call or email. An email like the one from  a mother of a chronically sick  child that says her constant companion Sully, seems to have such wisdom and comfort in his amber eyes. "It's like he is saying to me,  'I know, it's really hard sometimes, but I'm here by your side'. How can one dog be such an important part of my life.  I don't know how I ever did without him." 

 I get such wonderful pictures like the one of Frisco's son Johny, dancing with his family at a street festival in New York City.   I love the ones of my pups on family vacations surrounded by kids, swimming in pools, riding in a kayak or a plane, running on a beach, piled on a bed with their families, sitting in an owners' lap by a campfire or wearing a silly costume. Sometimes they have mud dripping from their fur or a torn up shoe in their mouth but always with a light hearted comment. "If he wasn't so cute I might be mad at him". These tell me the story of their lives . They tell me that what I do matters. The long hours, the sometimes long nights, the hundreds of miles driven, the sadness when no matter how hard I try I can't get a new born to take that first breath, it's all worth it.

I pick up warm milk satiated little two week old bodies and smell their puppy breath while mom calmly watches my every move.  I see her gaze shift to the doorway and see puppy daddy Calhoun peaking around the doorway, curious to see what takes so much of my attention.  Mom has already let him know that he is to keep his distance, at least for now. He sits patiently waiting for me to have a seat on the sofa so we can have his afternoon snuggle. "In a minute I say, a little more paperwork, one more email"  I return to work only to have something furry lay on my foot. Hmmm, I guess there is always tomorrow to finish that litter registration.


Traveling with Calhoun and Frisco

My husband and I bought a new RV this Spring.  I was determined to take the Summer off from breeding.  It took a year of skipped litters and arrangements but I finally made it happen. We looked for a long time for the right RV and took Frisco and Calhoun with us to make the final decision.  After all, they would be traveling with us and we wanted to make sure it was the right fit.  We are home now after traveling to 26 states in six weeks.  It was wonderful!  Before I've always been ready to come home after a week or two.  I think having my two little buddies with me made all of the difference.  They were great travelers and were very little trouble.  Their rough housing in a small RV was sometimes overwhelming but we managed.  What was hardest for us was having to put on the leashes and walk them every time they needed to go out.  At home the come and go as they please, through the dog door to 5 acres of underground fence. I always had a poopy bag on my person, sometimes with poop and sometimes without!  We shared wonderful experiences from Maine to the Colorado Rockies.  We met lots of wonderful people and dogs.  Two girls  came into heat but with the help of fellow breeders I was able to arrange breeding while we were gone. There were calls for Frisco and Calhoun but I told people that they were on vacation too. I told everyone that called about reserving a puppy to wait till I got home.  Its a lot of work to carve out time for a vacation but it sure was worth it. 

Now we are home and the calendar and puppy wait lists are filling up fast.  We will have three litters of puppies before Christmas.  I can't wait!  I miss our days on the road but treasure our beautiful 20 acre farm and look forward to the birth of our 11th grandchild.  Calhoun and Frisco are looking forward to "getting back to work" producing adorable puppies. I'm so looking forward to seeing Calhouns first litter!  Stay tuned for more doings at Fountain Falls Goldendoodles. This is a picture of Frisco and Calhoun at Great Sand Dunes National Park in CO.

Calhoun and Frisco at Great Sand Dunes CO

Choosing a puppy

How to choose a puppy:

Eight months ago I had the hard but fun task of choosing a puppy to add to my breeding program.  This was Annies' last litter.  Annie is a fabulous chocolate phantom, a color I wanted to continue in my program.  I was hoping for another chocolate phantom and sure enough I had a little girl that would turn out to be just that.  As I raised the litter I kept in mind our one special needs family and my own needs as a breeder.  I kept watching the personalities emerge and although one puppy had the color I wanted, she also had the personality that would best benefit a veteran with PTSD.  At the same time I kept being drawn to a white puppy with a black head. The day came when I had to make a decision.  White puppy won out with me.  My chocolate girl went on to become the constant companion of the veteran.  White puppy, now Tallulah Rose has turned out to be the perfect breeding choice and is happily living with her guardian family.  She just passed her final health test so will be joining our breeding program. 

My whole point is this.  Let the breeder help you choose.  Don't let color or gender be the determining factor.  They will all be beautiful goldendoodles.  Size, coat type, and most importantly temperament are the most important things to look for.  Only your breeder knows the personality of these puppies.  At least that is true of me.  I spend every day with these pups until they go to their new home.  

Puppy season is starting to rev up.  Two breedings this week then off to my last vacation for 6 months.  The break was nice but Im ready for some puppy kisses!