Month: August 2006

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Welcoming Your Dog

August 7, 2006 | Post | No Comments

Before you bring home your new addition you will want to have some essentials ready. These include but are not limited to:

Food and water bowls
The breeder or shelter will usually give you some of whatever they feed so you can get them used to what you have chosen gradually. Don’t go changing food on your puppy all the time. That can upset some dogs’ stomachs. And talk woth your breeder or rescue person about the food they feed and why. The right food is very important. Shelters often have limited resources and consequently feed whatever they can get as donations. Also, when bringing home a shelter dog, be prepared for some digestive problems as a result of poor diet and constantly changing food. In this case, ask someone with experience with your breed of dog or a similar breed for advice on what to feed.
Something soft to sleep with, and squeaky toys are usually a big hit. You might also invest in something more durable as well. Another important note: don’t leave bones or other brittle dog toys in crates or otherwise unattended. Dogs may choke on the fragments.
Noisy wind up alarm clock
This is for puppies. Wrap it in a towel and the “tick, tock” will sound like mom and siblings’ heart beat, helps for the first few nights. But don’t let the puppy get dependent upon it! Take it away after a few nights.
A dog crate
You will want to get one that will be big enough when the puppy is an adult. A dog crate is a perfect way to keep the puppy safe and secure while you are asleep or at work. It is imperative that you do not use their crates as a punishment. Dogs should like going into their crate on occasion, otherwise they won’t sleep in them. You can, however, use a crate as a quiet-time place for the dog to stay if you feel you want some time away from dealing with him for short periods of time. You wouldn’t try that with a child!! (grin)
Collar and leash
Basic obedience classes
Socialization is imperative for dogs, and this is most easily done in puppy kindergarten and basic obedience classes. While you don’t want to overwhelm a very young puppy, you can start training them even before starting classes. If they do something you like, give it a name and praise him. For example: if he comes and sits in front of you, as soon as his butt hits the floor tell him “Good sit” Keep it short, simple and very positive. This works for bad things as well ie: NO bite. Short and simple. Your tone of voice is also important. Happy and up for good things. Firm for bad things. If your puppy nips or bites, tell them no bite. Be consistent. Don’t let them chew on you. Tell them no and give them something they can chew. Never call your dog to you and spank him – that will just teach him that coming to you is a bad thing. And when you praise him, make sure your praise is effective; if he’s not wagging his tail, you need to do something different – maybe pull out a favorite toy when he does something good. Remember that while they are cute when they are small and some of the things they do are just adorable, they are going to grow up and it won’t be so cute. When a five-pound puppy jumps on people it’s cute, but you’ll be on your butt if he’s still doing it when he grows up to be a hundred pound dog. Never start or allow a behavior you will have to change.
Baby Gates
These are especially handy with puppies and potty training, but are very useful for older dogs who don’t know the rules of your house yet. You will want to limit the areas the puppy is allowed in even with supervision until you have figured out some of his behaviors. You want him to succeed in your house, so don’t turn him loose and then get upset if he goes potty where you can’t see him. Pick up the water bowl around 7PM so he can’t fill up before bed. Most puppies will not soil where they sleep so make sure you give him frequent potty breaks. Remember as fast as it goes in it usually comes out.
Lots of newspapers
Line the area where you keep the puppy to aid with potty training.
Another good idea is to have a tracking microchip implanted in your dog so that if he ever gets lost, even if he loses his collar there will be a record of ownership and care for the dog. These usually cost less than $30 and are available at most veterinary clinics and animal shelters. These same places have scanners that can detect the information stored on the microchip – your contact information as well as instructions for immediate care.
Puppy Papers
When you enter into an agreement with a breeder, rescue organization, or animal shelter, expect to sign a few papers and recieve a few more in return. Here are some papers to expect from a breeder:

An application for AKC registration (sometimes refered to as puppy papers)
Or if the dog was registered already, you’ll get the actual AKC registration papers.
A sales contract spelling out guarantees and criteria for owning this dog (such as possibly the “no open-bed pickups” clause stated earlier), whether the dog is “show quality” or “pet quality” (this is just a term to describe how well a dog conforms to the AKC standard and says nothing of the health or personality of the dog) and limited registration information if the puppy is sold on a limited registration.
Three-generation pedigree providing evidence that the dog is pure-bred and a quick way to check for genetic problems if the need arises.
You’ll get plenty more paperwork from classes and from vets, so have a folder or two in your filing cabinet ready to go.
Your Dog’s “Maintenance Schedule”
Your dog’s health is important, so be ready to make a few trips to the veterinarian’s office when you first bring them home. The most common of these are outlined below, along with the long-term health requirements of your dog:

Puppy Checkup
As soon as you bring your puppy home you need to take him to the vet. Most puppies actually come with a short period of time where you can return them for your money back if there is a health issue, but you need to take them to the vet for a new puppy visit. The vet will do an overall exam on your puppy to make sure it is in good health and will set you up on a vaccination schedule. Puppies get a series of three vaccinations in the first few months of their lives. Usually the breeder will have started these and give you information on the type used and what week they are at. The vet will also check your puppy for worms. Again the breeder will have wormed the entire litter and should give you this information when you buy your puppy. Along with setting up the puppy series of vaccinations, the vet will let you know when the puppy will be old enough to have it’s rabies vaccination. Fecal checks, rabies shots and most vaccinations are done annually.
Unless you are a serious breeder, committed to improving your breed, doing the health testing, using stock that conforms to the breed standard, you will want to spay or neuter your pet. If you rescued a dog from a shelter or rescue organization, you’re most often required to fix the animal you adopt. There are too many puppies and especially adult dogs sitting in shelters and rescue groups nationwide because someone thought they could make a quick buck and breed puppies, or simply save a couple bucks by not fixing their animal. There are so many things involved in breeding dogs if you are doing it right that most breeders are lucky if they break even. And if something goes wrong and the bitch needs a C-Section to deliver the pups, the whole process can be very expensive, both financially and emotionally.
Fixing your dog will do a number or things:
Reduce dogs’ tendency to jump fences and go find their “significant others”
Less territorialism (i.e. marking)
Reduced likelihood of humping of visitors’ legs

No messy heat cycle
No pregnancy
No pyrometra (a life-threatening infection of the uterus)
Reduced risk of mammary cancer

No testicular cancer
Reduced risk of prostatitis
Tooth care
Learn to brush their teeth at least once a week. Dentals are very expensive, dog toothpaste and brush are relatively cheap. Even if you feed a hard food and give them bones to chew on they need their teeth brushed. Your vet can show you how.
All dogs need to be brushed, even the ones with short, flat coats. Depending on the length of hair is how often this should happen. Weekly for dogs with a coat like a doberman or lab. Couple times a week for medium length like Springer Spaniels and pointers, setters. Daily for the long hairs like the Lhasa’s, maltese, Great Pyrenees. At the very least you need to brush out the areas that mat the most, around the ears, the belly, wherever it is the most dense. Mat breaking is very hard on the dog and most times end up being cut off leaving a very strange looking dog. You need to keep the hair between the pads on their feet trimmed, especially in the winter time. Snow and mud can ball up in there and cause the dog pain. Nails should be done once a week. Don’t forget the dew claws when trimming nails. If ignored they will curl into the dogs foot. You can use human nail trimmers, dog nail clippers are available and will probably work a lot better. Your puppy will probably not enjoy having this happen to them, so start them off gradually. Put them on their backs and just hold them there until they calm down, then let them go. Once they’re used to that, then you can start trimming nails.
Fleas & Ticks
If you take your dog for runs in open fields, the woods or go hiking, be sure to go over your dog when you get home. Grass seeds can work their way into the coat and into the dogs skin causing them great pain and risk for abcess. Ticks can also cause your dog illness. You will want to remove them or have them removed immediatly. Talk with your vet about Flea and tick preparations that are available now. They have improved greatly over the years.
We wish you many happy years with your new dog! Thanks for reading the advice we have to offer you. And please never forget that you can always contact us for further guidance.

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Consider Adopting a Foster or Shelter Animal

August 6, 2006 | Post | No Comments

Breed Rescues
Unless you want to compete in conformation and breed your dog (Breeding is not even an option for you if you aren’t an experienced dog handler.), you don’t need a registered AKC dog. If you’re simply looking for a good family pet/companion, agility dog or obedience dog, rescue might be an option. Most purebred breeds have a rescue group affiliated with them. These are groups who specialize in finding dogs of a specific breed (and often mixed-breeds containing some of that breed’s geneaology) who are in need of a home and rescuing them from shelters and possible euthanasia by finding permanent homes for them.

Rescues come from a number of places. People who can’t keep their dogs due to divorce, moving and even a death in the family. There is usually a range of ages available. All of these dogs are fostered out after having been health tested and treated for any problems. The foster homes test their temperaments – are they good with kids, other dogs, cats, men, women, etc. These animals can make wonderful pets and have a lot to offer.

Often rescues have a number of dogs to choose from that have their AKC registrations, however, the papers do not come with the dog and all of the animals will be neutered or spayed – rescues are trying to reduce the numbers of dogs that need their services. You will have an adoption form to fill out and will often be questioned even more than by a breeder. Some of these dogs have had hard lives and are looking for some love and a warm bed.

Don’t have the time and energy to deal with a puppy? Rescue may be perfect for you. You can help rescue an older dog, which usually means they’ll be a bit more mellow, and possibly come with some basic obedience training. It’s can be a really great way to get your first dog – or all of your dogs, for that matter.

You can locate rescue organizations by going to the breed’s Parent Club. A Parent Club is a National Club that most breeders belong to. There is one for each breed ie: The Doberman Club of America, The Chinese Crested Club of America, etc. If you search for your breed on the internet, the Parent Club will most often be one of the first hits, you can also find breed rescue organizations at the AKC website.

Local Shelters
And what’s wrong with simply going to your local shelter or Humane Society? Absolutely nothing. There, you’ll likely find lots of animals that need a good loving home. You can find pure-breds (without AKC registration papers) and mixed-breeds alike. Mixed-breeds often make great companions and there’s almost no reason not to adopt one, but realize that you won’t be able to compete in AKC agility, obedience, or any other AKC events. Even with mixed-breeds, though, you should be careful to research the breeds mixed in the dog you adopt, so you can get some idea of the dog’s behaviors before adoption. If you get a dog that you think is a pure-bred, you can apply to the AKC for an Indefinite Listing Priviledge (ILP), which will allow you to compete in most AKC events.

In Pocatello, your animal shelter is in Ross Park near the south edge of town. Take the Ross Park entrance on 5th Avenue (it’s your last right turn before I-15 as you go south) and go up the hill & around the bend. The Pocatello Animal Shelter is on the right (east) side of the road.

So now you’ve selected a dog with whom you’re ready to settle down. You probably have a few days, or maybe a week or two, before your new pal can come home with you. In the meantime, there’s a lot of preparations to make.

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Choosing the Right Breeder

August 4, 2006 | Post | No Comments

Part of being a responsible dog owner is acquiring a dog from a responsible breeder who has taken strides to be sure the dogs they are whelping are of sound body and mind. A breeder’s responsibilities include providing all of the appropriate health tests to the parents, not breeding too often, and finding responsible owners for their pups. Furthermore, reputable breeders should be interested in furthering their breed, not making money.

Just as important as finding a breeder that breeds responsibly is finding one that breeds for the traits you want. For example, if you settle on a Pointer and you want to take him hunting, you’ll probably be disappointed if you buy a dog from a breeder that is more interested in conformation (how well a dog conforms to the standards for appearance and structure set for the breed). The Pointer will most likely be interested in chasing birds, but not to the extent that a hunter would like. The principle concern of the PKC is responsible breeding, though, and that’s what the remainder of this section will address.

As mentioned in the previous section, health problems are a real concern and soundness of the puppies must be assured by performing the proper tests. Reputable breeders often offer guarantees of this soundness in their sales contracts. Dogs bought at most pet stores and through newspaper ads usually offer no such guarantees.

Another trait of responsible breeders is the willingness to talk with you about their dogs and, given the opportunity, show people around the facilities used to house the dogs. Facilities should be kept clean and healthy, and dogs should have plenty of human interaction.

Meeting a Breeder

This can be a relatively stressful time, so we’ll try to do some explaining about what to expect from the breeder. They’ll be checking you out as much as you should be checking them out. Remember that they are responsible for finding good homes for their pups. Don’t be surprised if a breeder tries to talk you out of getting one of their dogs. This is usually to make sure you’ve done your homework and are prepared for their breed. A lot of the breeders we know say that they quiz prospective puppy owners harder than most people looking to adopt a baby. They have a great responsibility to place these puppies in safe and loving homes and they take that very seriously.

In some cases, especially with first-time dog owners, a breeder may not agree to sell you a puppy. Don’t take it personally. They’ve put a lot of time, money, effort, an love into the litter and may be very unwilling to part with their puppies. If you call a breeder and ask about puppies, and they say something like, “Sure I’ve got some! Really cute and lots of different colors to choose from. Come on by and pick one out,” be wary. This is often the mark of disreputable breeders trying to make a quick buck by keeping their bitches pregnant and, as literally as possible, mass-producing puppies. Not only is that bad for you and the dog; it’s bad for the breed, the good name of dog lovers, and all dogs. Yes; all dogs. The more puppies that are mass-produced for wholesale, the greater the surplus of dogs without homes.

Some of the things you should be asking the breeder include (but are not limited to):

  • Are the parents available to see/pet?
    Of course, the parents are often a good indicator of the puppy’s disposition and health. This is a chance for you to make sure that the dogs’ temperaments are similar to what you were expecting. Often the parents are unavailable, so don’t turn off a breeder for this reason.
  • What health testing do you do?
    Remember, this is where you should have done some homework and found out what kinds of problems this breed has and what tests can be done. If they tell you there are no problems in their lines, they are not being truthful. All dogs have something in their background.
  • How long do your dogs live?
    Are the grandparents, great-grandparents available? Again, do some homework before you go. What’s the average lifespan for this breed?
  • Will the breeder be willing to accept a return of the dog?
    In case you have to give up the dog, even 5 years down the road, breeders should be able to take him back. This will probably also be in the sales contract, including a clause that says you aren’t allowed to give up the dog to anyone but the breeder.

Often, breeders won’t have puppies ready for sale, but will promise puppies from their next litter to interested people. Be prepared for this, and be prepared to wait for a few months.

Paying for Puppy

You will pay more for a puppy from a responsible breeder, that is a given. But you get what you pay for. If you buy a puppy for cheap out of the paper, then you will probably not get any guarantees and possibly lots of heartache. A responsible breeder is going to do the health testing on the parents, regular vet visits, stud dog fees, whelping costs (especially if a vet is involved). All of these things add up and contribute to the cost of the puppy.

Well-respected, experienced breeders sometimes make some profit from their litters. But most breeders are simply looking to recover the costs listed above.

At the end of this stage, you have either selected a breeder or become quite frustrated. If you haven’t found a breeder with whom you’re satisfied, you can still rescue a dog. Otherwise, you’ve selected a breeder and are waiting for your pup. There are still a number of things for you to know before you bring your new dog home.

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