SoftMaple Curlies

Mark and Cathy Lewandowski
8282 Soft Maple Road
Croghan NY 13327

Home of the First Curly AKC NA, OA and AX.
Home of the First curly USDAA AD.

We have bred dogs that compete in agility, obedience, conformation and field. We have been active with our curlies at Therapy dogs. We participate in 4-H, school and scouting demonstrations. I am a CGC evaluator.

I started in the dog world with Irish Setters. I had an All Breed High In Trial winning Utility Dog when I was a teenager. I was always looking for a breed that was more versatile than my Irish. A dog who would be a constant companion, a partner in obedience and agility. A dog I could take from the field to the show ring. I found a true gem in the dog world. The Curly Coated Retriever.

The Canine Good Citizen program is a noncompetitive way to ensure that dogs are respected members of society. The program is based on 10 tests, each designed to show that dogs can be well-behaved at home, in public and around other dogs. All dogs, purebred and mixed breeds are welcomed to become an AKC Canine Good Citizen.

Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. We believe that responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept and by signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others.

The first tests shows that a dog will accept a friendly stranger. The second demonstrates sitting politely while being petted by a friendly stranger. The third, the dog will permit an inspection and brief grooming by the stranger. The fourth test shows that the handler is in control of the dog while out for a walk on a loose leash. The fifth test shows that the dog cam move politely through a crowd. The sixth text the dog remains in place on a Sit or Down when commanded by a handler. The seventh test shows that the dog can be easily calmed after play or praise. The dog must demonstrate polite behavior around other dogs in the eighth test. In the ninth, the dog must react confidently to distractions. The tenth test shows that the dog can maintain good manners while left on its own. All tests are evaluated on a pass/fail basis.

According to the AKC, "The purpose of the AKC Canine Good Citizen® Award Program is to ensure that our favorite companion, the dog, can be a respected member of the community." To receive the CGC certificate, dogs must be old enough to have received necessary immunizations such as rabies vaccines. Handlers and their dogs take the 10-item Canine Good Citizen® Test, which may be presented in a non-sequential order if the AKC Tester desires.

The American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Test is a certification program that tests dogs in simulated everyday situations in a relaxed atmosphere. It identifies and rewards dogs that have the training and demeanor to be reliable family members as well as community members in good standing.

The purpose of the CGC Test is to ensure that our favorite companion, the dog, can be a respected member of the community because it is trained and conditioned to act mannerly in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs. The program embraces both purebred and mixed-breed dogs, as the anti-canine sentiment does not discriminate between the purebred and the non-purebred.

Canine Good Citizen training is fun and useful. Through it, you and your dog will establish a closer bond, and your dog will have the added benefit of knowing how to please you. This test of your dog’s manners and training is not a competition and does not require that you and your dog perform with precision.

I enjoy having fun with my dogs. I also enjoy letting them just lay around doing nothing. Laying around doing nothing, often leads to a dog occupying himself. Sometimes they become destructive! Curlies are an active, intelligent breed. Giving them a "job" to do makes them better members of the family. Having a dog sport you and your curly can do together strengthens the bond between you. The Curly Coated Retriever is a dog that can excel at many jobs.

A Curly that lives in the house, has regular exercise and work, including any type of work that takes advantage of the breed's innate intelligence, and is a part of the family, is a happy Curly. The most important care and training of a Curly is involving him in the family's day to day activities. Include your Curly in your every day life and he will repay you with years of friendship. The AKC Standard states that "outline, carriage and attitude all combine for a grace and elegance somewhat uncommon among the other retriever breeds." The grace and elegance is combined with a sturdy structure and hardworking, persevering temperament to create an excellent working retriever.

The Curly Coat is possessed of an imperturbable temperament. Even tempered, this dog is intensely loyal and will be protective of the family while maintaining unfailingly good manners to humans likewise mannered. Curlies tend to be reserved rather than extroverted with strangers. However, this reserve can be shed rather dramatically when someone the dog knows and loves approaches! Curly Coats are very slow to mature and this should be taken into account when training them. They are always quick and intelligent, however, so tailoring your training into multiple, short, and interesting sessions will yield the best results over time. Of course, not all Curlies are paragons of virtue.

Most Curlies cannot be kept out of the water and are great natural swimmers. You should exercise due sensibility when introducing a puppy to water. Never throw the pup into the water: allow him to approach the water himself on a gently sloping entry with plenty of shallow water with little or no current. As he gains confidence, he will be splashing about in no time. If an adult dog is around to encourage the pup, he will probably be swimming before you (or he) know it!

Originally bred to retrieve ducks on English seaboard marshes, the Curly-Coated Retriever is a black or liver-colored dog easily recognized by his coat, which is one mass of crisp curls that covers his entire body. The coat is easy to care for, as the curls stay in place with little or no attention. The Curly-Coated Retriever is a strong, smart, active dog who exhibits intelligence and endurance. He will practically live in the water. Temperamentally easy to train, he is a charming and faithful companion, and an excellent guard dog. His curious nature may lead him into many amusing escapades that call for an owner with a sense of humor

The Curly is a hunting dog for the person who likes variety: ducks, pheasant, grouse and a dog who can also be a companion to children and a family friend. Though he is designated as a retriever, the Curly is also an outstanding upland game dog on pheasant, grouse, quail, etc. Curlies are currently being hunted throughout North America, and are used extensively for hunting in New Zealand (where they are the hunting dog of choice) and Australia. Many, if not most, of the people hunting Curlies are family oriented who just want a dog that hunts and can be a companion so hunting Curlies is rather a silent revolution

Curlies and agility go hand in hand. I have trained the first AKC agility titled CCR, with many others close on my heels! These dogs love the sport. Basic obstacles comprising an agility course might include: high jumps, bar jumps, broad jumps, tire and hoop jumps, water, platform, sway bridge, A-frame, teeter-totter and dogwalk. Other obstacles are weave poles, weave hoops, open and pipe tunnels, collapsed tunnel, crawl tunnel, tables and boxes. Dogs must, of course, clear the jumps on the course, and they must touch the "contact zones" on obstacles that include that requirement. In competition, the dog must touch at least one foot in the contact zone or faults are accumulated. The reason for this is to ensure that dogs negotiate certain obstacles safely. The natural agility of the curly makes them super at this sport. They can be clowns in the obedience ring, but their speed, intelligence and natural athleticism gives them and edge in Agility competition. Its great fun for both you and your curly. There have been several very successful curly and owner teams in the US and Canada.

Training can improve your relationship with your Curly. While obedience is a competitive sport there is also practical obedience which is not much different than teaching basic manners and communication. If you are uncomfortable with the formality and, yes, rigidity, of formal obedience you can still become a happy team in practical obedience. I recommend obedience to any Curly owner. It will make your dog a better member of your family.

About the Book

Follow a litter of puppies from birthday until they go to their new homes. The diary contains lots of pictures, tips on puppy rearing, some breed specific information, and lots of information on the care of any breed of dog.

I started doing an on-line puppy diary since many of the people that would be getting one of my pups would not be able to travel here to see the pups. I did not want to put a bunch of cute puppy pictures online, and encourage anyone to have a litter just because they wanted to see cute puppies! Breeding dogs, if done the right way, is a lot of work. Lost sleep and sometimes heartache. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to raise a litter of puppies. Once I started doing The Puppy Diary, I realized I had a captive audience. These people logged on every day to see the pictures, and read what was happening. I used this opportunity to cram as much education into each day as I could. Health, Coat issues, grooming, feeding, socializing, vet care, puppy evaluations, shipping puppies.... you name it! I tried to put it in The Diary. It was suggested that I make it into a book. Well here it is! There are 560 pictures and over 300 pages of living with and watching one litter grow up.

I am sure may conscientious, caring breeders raise litters similar to the way I do. Its is a good look into the time, money, commitment it takes to bring up a litter of pups. Some of the things that go on behind the scenes, that the eventual puppies owners (family), never realize go into the litter. Enjoy my litter as I see them. Day to day


Chapter One (Week One) ... Page 1
Seger comes into season
Happy Birthday!
Removing the Dewclaws
Start of the Bio Sensor program

Chapter Two (Week Two) ... Page 48
Coat issues.
Tail Gland Hyperplasia
Do Curlies Shed?

Chapter Three (Week Three) ... Page 94
End of Bio Sensor Exercises
Worming The puppies
Eyes are open
First pup escapes from the box

Chapter Four (Week Four) ... Page 130
Weaning. The great food fight!
Introduction to the puppy play room
Shark Cage

Chapter Five (Week Five) ... Page 156
Field dog? Show Dog? CPE?
Happy Mothers Day!
First Stacked pictures

Chapter Six (Week Six) ... Page 195
Toys! Toys! Toys!
What�s In A Name?
Kids and Dogs
Introduction to Wings

Chapter Seven (Week Seven) ... Page 236
About Puppies and Retrieving
Socialize your puppy
First Shots & Vet Visit
Splish Splash, first bath!

Chapter Eight (Week Eight) ... Page 286
Shape up or ship out!
Requirements to ship puppies
See all the pups!

SoftMaple Curlies with an obedience/agility title or CGC

SR U-CH CH Soft Maple Kyrabean Queen CD, JH, OA, OAJ, NA, NAJ, WCX, WC, (WCI, WC), TDI, CGC TT HOF ROM
Soft Maple Darcy CGC TDI CD
CH SoftMaple's Comin' To America CGC CD CHIC
CH SoftMaple's O'Dark Thirty JH, SH, MH WCQ CD CGC,TT HOF, CHIC
Ch Fairway's Softmaple Finnheir, CGC, CD,NA, NAJ, RN, RA, REbr> Am/Can CH Karakul Blazing Autumn CDX, AX, CGC, ST, USDAA AD, Can CDX
SoftMaple's MoonShadow CGC
CH Softmaple's Pheasant Dreams WC, CGC, RN, JH, RA
CH Softmaple Paramount All That CGC
CH SoftMaple Fairway Explorer CGC
U- CH CH Ptarmigan Huron's Soft Echo CGC
CH SoftMaple Dese's Int'l D'Lite CGC
CH Soft Maple Water Works CGC CHIC
CH SoftMaple N HunterBay NY Wknd CGC TT CHIC
CH SoftMaple International Fling CGC CHIC
Ch Avanti's Best Bet CGC CD ROM ROMX
Gunflints Highland Hunter CGC, WC, CD
CH Avanti SM Fair Trade CGC TDI
U-CH, UAG1, CH Ptarmigan Huron's Soft Echo CGC
Soft Maple's Beachcomber CGC
SHR, CH SoftMaple's Ma Belle Bouclee CGC, WC, WCX, JH, SH,
SoftMaple's American Dreamer CGC CD TDI
Soft Maple Wind on Water ADC, VAADC, VMGDC, CGN
AG2 Softmaple Frolic In The Wind RN NAJ NF NAC NJC TG-N TN-O br> CH SoftMaple's Dark Star JH, CGC, WC
Softmaple TransAtlantic Affair CGC
CH Softmaple Boot Scoot'N Dese CGC
FIN & NOR CH SWE SH CH TK2 Softmaple Cimramin Jorneyman
SoftMaple Z Rues The Day RN

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Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. We believe that responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept and by signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others.

After signing the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, owners and their dogs are ready to take the CGC Test. Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.

Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.

Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").


All tests must be performed on leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, etc. are not permitted in the CGC test. We recognize that special training collars may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however, we feel that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point at which they are transitioned to regular collars.

The evaluator supplies a 20-foot lead for the test. The owner/handler should bring the dog's brush or comb to the test.


Owners/handlers may use praise and encouragement throughout the test. The owner may pet the dog between exercises. Food and treats are not permitted during testing, nor is the use of toys, squeaky toys, etc. to get the dog to do something. We recognize that food and toys may provide valuable reinforcement or encouragement during the training process but these items should not be used during the test.

Failures - Dismissals

Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed. The only exception to this rule is that elimination is allowable in test Item 10, but only when test Item 10 is held outdoors.

Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog is not a good citizen and must be dismissed from the test.

Soft Maple Wind on Water ADC, VAADC, VMGDC, CGN
Timmy was the cover boy for the fall issue of Dog Sport Magazine.

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