Meet the Pros: Sharon Svoboda, Breeder & Professional Handler
Q. Why do you breed poodles?
I breed poodles, because they are a passion for me. It's something that my mother passed down to me because we did it as a family when I was young.
I also love breeding poodles because ones that I don't keep, they just go on to bring happiness to somebody else. There's nothing more rewarding than handing a puppy over to somebody and just the joy on their faces. It's just the best thing in the world.
Q. What about the poodle breed makes them so special?
Well, I think it's the intelligence that's the main thing. And they're just smart as they can be, but then they also have a clown side. And also, if you're having a bad day, they'll just come and sit and put their little head on you and cheer you up. They're wonderful.
Q. Tell me about your poodles.
Well, I have quite a few. The ones that are here today is Dixie and her babies. And most of my dogs are champions or grand champions, because I like to show in the AKC shows.
Q. Is nutrition important when breeding?
Nutrition is key when breeding dogs. I feed my dogs Purina Pro Plan Performance 30/20. The things I look for when feeding my dogs, to make sure that they're having proper nutrition, is the coat is really pretty obvious indicator that things are going well, when they've got a shiny, healthy coat. They'll have proper muscle tone. They'll have energy. They'll have that gleam in their eyes that shows that they're happy and that they're healthy.
Q. Why is proper nutrition important for nursing mothers?
Proper nutrition is very important for nursing mothers. They burn a lot of calories when they're nursing. And in those instances, you know, you really have to watch that your dog has good weight to be able to support and care for her puppies.
Q. How do you define a successful litter?
To me, a successful litter is a healthy litter. That's the most important thing-- that they're healthy and that they have good temperaments.
Q. How do you match your puppies with their new families?
I start looking at my puppies' personalities from the get-go. When it comes to companions, I try to decide, based on the new family, what's going to be the best puppy for them. If it's maybe an older couple, maybe a little bit more laid-back puppy would be a better bet than one that wants to go out there and chase the kids while they're playing basketball. So, it's really knowing your dogs that helps decide which puppy goes where.
Q. Describe what it's like when families meet their perfect puppy.
When a new family meets their perfect puppy, it's just the most wonderful thing. My puppies, once they meet new people, they get very excited. They go running up to them, because they've had the early socialization. They've had the good nutrition. They're happy and they're healthy and they're ready to go. And the joy on the people's face when they see their little puppy bounding towards them, it's just indescribable.
Q. What do you tell your new puppy owners about nutrition?
I tell my puppy people to feed them Pro Plan, because that's what they've been raised on from before they were born. It's really what their mother has thrived on. And it's easy to find. It's easily digestible. And the dogs seem to love it.