"Fyne and Lucy wrestling around"
you are thinking of getting a puppy? This is a more difficult
selection than you may think. Do you want a dog with a lot of
energy, protective instincts, a family dog, a hunting dog or a
companion dog? Or were you just thinking of getting a pup
because it was cute? Picking a puppy is a LIFETIME
decision. Most dogs live between 12 and 15 years, so you
should pick one whose personality and temperament is compatible with
you and your lifestyle. If you are uncertain what kind of dog
would best suit your lifestyle, feel free to email
or give him a call. He will help match you with several
breeds that would work best for you. If you have a breed
picked out, the best suggestion would be to go out on the internet and
research this breed. Every breed was developed for a specific
purpose and they still have their basic instincts for which they were
bred. For example, if you have gotten a Husky, but you live
in the city and are gone 10 hours a day, you will find out very soon
that the Husky is unhappy and difficult to manage because of his energy
level. Huskies were bred to run most of the day pulling
sleds. They are not city dogs.
you have a specific breed in mind and have done the research, and you
know that this type of dog will suit you and your lifestyle... now
what? Finding a good breeder can be very hard, and you may be
tempted to just purchase one that has been listed in the paper for
$100. However, in the long run, getting a dog from a
responsible breeder pays for itself. Many times "backyard
breeders" just breed two of the same breed, without checking out the
background of either parent, and call the offspring purebred.
The health and temperaments of the parents directly influence the
health and temperaments of the pups. By purchasing a pup from
good stock, you will save hundreds or thousands of dollars in
veterinary expenses over the dog's lifetime. So how do you
find a good breeder?
A good breeder will want to meet with you in order to make sure one of
their pups is going to a good and responsible home. If the
breeder doesn't even care to meet you, they are not responsible, and
are likely only concerned about getting your money rather than finding
a good home for one of their pups.
Make sure to see both of the parents and the whole litter of
pups. The parents should have full health records, should be
no younger than 1.5 to 2 years of age, and should be of sound
temperament. Also, a bitch should not be bred more than once
a year AT MOST. Preferably, a bitch should be bred only once
every 18 to 24 months. If you are not able to see both
parents, just walk away. Walking away can be very difficult
with all of those cute puppies, but you should definitely see both
parents before agreeing to take a pup home. Once you have
seen both parents, watch how the puppies interact with each
other. Is one more aggressive than the others? Is
one cowering in the corner, trying to stay away from the
others? Watch the puppies before going up to meet them
all. You should be able to get a good idea of the type of dog
they'll be by watching the puppies interact with one another.
AVOID PET STORE DOGS! Pet stores are essentially fronts for
puppy mills. What kind of breeder would sell their pups to a
large, nation-wide pet house? There is only one word to
describe breeders like that: wholesalers. Only a puppy mill
will wholesale their dogs to a corporation. If you have ever
bought a pet store puppy or have known someone who has, how much of the
decision was based on guilt? Was it pity that led to its
purchase? Few people go to pet stores looking to buy a
well-bred puppy. NEVER buy a pup from a pet store.
You are only supporting the whole puppy mill infrastructure.
Also avoid any puppy wholesalers online. Get detailed
information on any breeder you decide to go through with
online. If you can't view the area where the puppies are
being raised or even see the parents, then just walk away.
you recently bought a puppy from a pet store? Don't fret,
these dogs, with proper veterinarian care and a healthy lifestyle, will
still live a happy long life. However, next time you should
first try and find a reputable breeder. In fact, the puppies
from reputable breeders often are less expensive, more healthy, and
better socialized than those found at pet stores.
When you are looking at the parents and the puppies, make sure the area
is reasonably clean, and that the puppies or any other dogs in the area
aren't wallowing in their own filth. That is how diseases are
you found a good breeder and the parents and the area seem to be in
good shape. How do you select one of the pups from the
litter? Puppy temperament testing is very
important. By knowing how a dog responds to you when he is a
young pup can tell you a lot of how he will act when he gets
older. Below is a general outline on how to properly
temperament test puppies.
"Lucy, the crazy dober-puppy"
Puppy Aptitude Testing
test below is graded from one to six with the following guidelines:
Very dominant/easily enticed to bite
Submissive/willing to work with humans
Very Submissive/shy (fear biter)
scoring consistently in the one to two range are likely to be dominant
and stubborn in training. However, these types also make good
watch/guard dogs. Scores in the two to three range require
training, but the dogs should become excellent working or family
dogs. Scores of three to five indicate a dog who will be an
excellent family pet; however if there are more fives than fours, the
puppy will require intense socialization at an early age.
Puppies scoring consistently fives and sixes will require a lot of
socialization and training in order to turn into a good family
tests should be performed in an area relatively unfamiliar to the pup,
when the pup is by himself, and when he is at an age of 6 to 8
weeks. After watching the pups interact with one another,
approach them and see how they react to you, a perfect
stranger. Which ones cower, which ones come to you?
Take notice and then test one pup at a time.
#1: Social Acceptance
the pup on the ground and walk away a few steps, bend down and call him
to you, "Puppy, puppy!" Reactions will vary from the puppy
not coming at all, to the puppy bounding over to you with tail
erect. Test is a good predictor of puppy's interest in human
away from the puppy, calling "Here, puppy, puppy!" patting your side,
encourage him to follow you. Reactions will vary from the
puppy following so close he almost trips you, maybe biting you, to
puppy being totally disinterested and the going the other way
(independence). Test is another good predictor of future
dog/human interaction and dog's dependence/independence level.
turn puppy over on his back and place your palm lightly over his chest,
using only enough pressure to keep him in this position for 30
seconds. Reactions vary from the pup struggling frantically
to get away, to just laying there quietly. This is a very
important test to gauge puppy's acceptance of human
#4: Social Domination/Forgiveness
following the restraint test, attempt to have puppy "buddy up" to
you. Kneel down, have him sit, and pet him. You are
looking to see if the pup will "forgive you" or "hold a
grudge." If the puppy reacts in a friendly manner after your
domination over him, he will easily forgive you; if he holds a grudge,
he won't forgive you and is likely to be pouty and moody after being
corrected in training. This adds a complication to
training, although this complication can easily be rectified
through patience and consistency in training.
#5: Elevation Dominance
your fingers entwined under the pup's ribcage, lift him off the ground
so that he is in a suspended, helpless position. Reactions
vary from the puppy struggling fiercely to get away, to just lying
there calmly. This test helps to gauge a pup's future
reaction to new, strange situations such as a visit to the vet's office.
a small wad of paper or a small toy, kneel down with the pup and attempt to capture
his interest in it. As soon as the pup indicates his
attention is on the paper, toss it a meter or so in front of
him. While he is chasing it, back up a meter.
Reactions vary from the puppy grabbing the paper and carrying away, to
the puppy returning the paper to you. Test is a fairly
reliable predictor of puppy's willingness to work with
#7: Sound Sensitivity
unexpectedly make a sharp, loud noise a few feet away from the puppy,
such as banging a metal spoon on the bottom of a pan.
Reactions vary from totally ignoring it or mild curiosity, or total
fear and panic. Test indicates how he will be able to handle
unexpected sounds such as gunfire, fireworks, heavy machinery, etc. in
the future. Severe reactions to loud noise would indicate a
very shy and skittish temperament, and it would require careful and
patient training to work with this pup.
#8: Sight Sensitivity
a moving object such as a towel attached to a string laterally in front
of the pup. Reactions vary from attacking the object to mild
curiosity. Test indicates the puppy's future reactions to
sudden unexpected stimuli.
testing is one of the most important aspects of picking out a
puppy. While it is never a certainty a pup will turn out a
certain way, by looking at his parents and examining his behaviour and
temperament as a pup, you can definitely get a better idea of the type
of dog he'll become. Good luck!
of getting an older dog and helping out an animal in need?
Try rescuing a homeless dog. Thinking of rescuing but want a
pup instead? Well there are all kinds of different dogs in
rescue. By adopting a mature dog, you know exactly what type
of dog you are getting. Furthermore, he is likely already
housetrained, may have some obedience training, and will form a tight
bond with his new owner; a bond that can only be formed between an
owner who has reached out for this neglected animal and given him the
love he so desperately needs. Click here
to find out about rescue dogs.