Get A Puppy n' Dog Training Guide >>

Archive for April, 2007

Tips for Selecting a Puppy

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

You should select a puppy depending upon the purpose for which you would like to have one. The subject matter of this book is not to provide insights for selecting a puppy. However, this information is pertinent and it is better to have an overview of the factors that you must consider before selecting a puppy for your home. 

Selection of a puppy should never be on the grounds of the popularity of a particular breed or fashion. Puppies are living beings and require proper care, training and grooming. Moreover, puppies are very friendly and soon acquire the status of a family member and a friend. A faulty selection is harmful not only for the puppy’s health and wellness but can cause an emotionally shattering event for you as well. When you select a puppy that is not appropriate for your personality, home and environment, she may develop undesirable behavior patterns. Discrepancies in expectations and reality are a major reason why many puppies and dogs end up in dog shelters.

You should analyze why you want a puppy. Some of the possible reasons for owning a puppy are companionship, a playmate for your children, guarding your house or property, hunting, participation in dog shows or simple love for dogs. Certain dog breeds like Boxers and Dachshunds are excellent companions. However, if you are selecting a puppy as playmate for your children you can choose from small breeds like Maltese, Pekingese, or Papillion. Great Danes and German Shepherds are good for hunting and guarding purposes.

Health and temperament of the puppy is another important selection criteria. Before adopting the puppy, ensure that you have selected an ethical and scrupulous puppy breeder. Many of the puppies from pet shops are from “Puppy Mills”. These puppy mills have little or no consideration for the puppy’s health and betterment of the breed. They are just interested in their profits and they indulge in breeding practices that are not safe for puppy and the parent dog’s health.  

It is always better to select a puppy after examining the puppy as part of the litter and as an individual puppy. When you observe the puppy as a part of the litter you are able to find out whether the litter suffers from some genetically inherited traits like shyness, fear or aggression. The puppy that has inherent shyness or fear has very rare chances of overcoming these traits. Therefore, careful examination before selection can make your job of puppy training much simpler.

What you want Your Dog to be
Purpose of adoption helps not only in selection but also for deciding the appropriate training program for a puppy. For example, training requirements for a puppy that will be a companion for older people at home will be entirely different from that of a hunting or guarding dog. The puppy that will be a companion for older people and is more useful for indoor purposes will require training in retrieving and handing over objects and commands like long stay. However, the dogs for hunting and guarding purposes require agility and aggressiveness training. Similarly, the training goals and objectives for show dogs are different from those who will be the playmates of small children. Show dogs require acrobatic and tricks training whereas the primary training objective for play dogs is biting control and playful tricks like begging, retrieving the ball and shaking hands.  

Importance of Puppy’s Environment
Other factors that determine the selection and training are size of your home, personality, age and physical condition of the caregiver, grooming requirements, activity level and age of pet owner, time that u can be spared for training, and where you would like to house the puppy or dog. Some other factors that are vital for selecting a puppy are the sex of puppy and how particular you are about selecting a pure breed.

High energy and active dogs tend to get bored if you confine them in small apartments. If you live in small apartment and have little or no open space, you should avoid adopting breeds like Boxer because they are very active and high-energy dogs. High-energy breeds require agility and active training programs. These puppies are not suitable for owners that are older and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Training and playing are necessary requirements for providing a vent for abundant energies of these active puppies. Training requirements for puppies’ that will live in kennels outside the house are different from the training program for puppies that will live in apartments.

Importance of your Puppy’s Gender
Training program of your puppy also depends upon her gender. There are no conclusive studies to prove that a male or female puppy has particular advantages or disadvantages regarding training. However, there are puppy lovers who would swear by the advantages of having a female or a male puppy. Puppy training experts believe that female puppies are easy to train because of their sweet and amiable nature and they are less prone to distractions. However, some puppy trainers believe that training male puppies is fun because of their sharp intellect and better grasping power.

Based on the previously mentioned factors and your purpose for adopting a puppy, you can finalize your training goals and objectives. You must establish long-term as well as short-term puppy training goals. The long-term training goal can be to make your puppy a well-behaved and loving companion. A short-term training goal can be training your puppy to sit on command or come when called. Here again, the long-term training goal for a play puppy is making her friendly and sociable and the training goal for a hunting or guarding puppy is to make her aggressive and agile.

English Water Spaniel

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

In the Kennel Club’s Register of Breeds no place is allotted to this variety, all Water Spaniels other than Irish being classed together. Despite this absence of official recognition there is abundant evidence that a breed of Spaniels legitimately entitled to the designation of English Water Spaniels has been in existence for many years, in all probability a descendant of the old “Water-Dogge,” an animal closely resembling the French “Barbet,” the ancestor of the modern Poodle.

They were even trimmed at times much in the same way as a Poodle is nowadays, as Markham gives precise directions for “the cutting or shearing him from the nauill downeward or backeward.” The opinion expressed by the writer of The Sportsman’s Cabinet, 1803, is that the breed originated from a cross between the large water dog and the Springing Spaniel, and this is probably correct, though Youatt, a notable authority, thinks that the cross was with an English Setter. Possibly some strains may have been established in this way, and not differ very much in make and shape from those obtained from the cross with the Spaniel, as it is well known that Setters and Spaniels have a common origin.

In general appearance the dog resembles somewhat closely the Springer, except that he may be somewhat higher on the leg, and that his coat should consist of crisp, tight curls, almost like Astrakhan fur, everywhere except on his face, where it should be short. There should be no topknot like that of the Irish Water Spaniel.

Irish Water Spaniel

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Irish Water SpanielThere is only one breed of dog known in these days by the name of Irish Water Spaniel, but if we are to trust the writers of no longer ago than half a century there were at one time two, if not three, breeds of Water Spaniels peculiar to the Emerald Isle. These were the Tweed Water Spaniel, the Northern Water Spaniel, and the Southern Water Spaniel, the last of these being the progenitors of our modern strains.

The history of the Irish Water Spaniel is in many ways a very extraordinary one. According to the claim of Mr. Justin McCarthy, it originated entirely in his kennels, and this claim has never been seriously disputed by the subsequent owners and breeders of these dogs. It seems improbable that Mr. Justin McCarthy can actually have originated or manufactured a breed possessing so many extremely marked differences and divergences of type as the Irish Water Spaniel; but what he probably did was to rescue an old and moribund breed from impending extinction, and so improve it by judicious breeding, and cross-breeding as to give it a new lease of life, and permanently fix its salient points and characteristics. However that may be, little seems to have been known of the breed before he took it in hand, and it is very certain that nearly every Irish Water Spaniel seen for the last half century owes its descent to his old dog Boatswain, who was born in 1834 and lived for eighteen years. He must have been a grand old dog, since Mr. McCarthy gave him to Mr. Joliffe Tuffnell in 1849, when he was fifteen years old; and his new owner subsequently bred by him Jack, a dog whose name appears in many pedigrees.

It was not until 1862 that the breed seems to have attracted much notice in England, but in that year the Birmingham Committee gave two classes for them, in which, however, several of the prizes were withheld for want of merit; the next few years saw these dogs making great strides in popularity and, classes being provided at most of the important shows, many good specimens were exhibited.

During the last few years, however, the breed seems to have been progressing the wrong way, and classes at shows have not been nearly so strong, either in numbers or in quality, as they used to be. Yet there have been, and are still, quite a large number of good dogs and bitches to be seen, and it only needs enthusiasm and co-operation among breeders to bring back the palmiest days of the Irish Water Spaniel.

There is no member of the whole canine family which has a more distinctive personal appearance than the Irish Water Spaniel. With him it is a case of once seen never forgotten, and no one who has ever seen one could possibly mistake him for anything else than what he is.

His best friends probably would not claim beauty, in the aesthetic sense, for him; but he is attractive in a quaint way peculiarly his own, and intelligent-looking. In this particular his looks do not bewray him; he is, in fact, one of the most intelligent of all the dogs used in aid of the gun, and in his own sphere one of the most useful.

That sphere, there is no doubt, is that indicated by his name, and it is in a country of bogs and marshes, like the south and west of Ireland, of which he was originally a native, where snipe and wildfowl provide the staple sport of the gunner, that he is in his element and seen at his best, though, no doubt, he can do excellent work as an ordinary retriever, and is often used as such.

But Nature (or Mr. McCarthy’s art) has specially formed and endowed him for the amphibious sport indicated above, and has provided him with an excellent nose, an almost waterproof coat, the sporting instincts of a true son of Erin, and, above all, a disposition full of good sense; he is high couraged, and at the same time adaptable to the highest degree of perfection in training.

His detractors often accuse him of being hard-mouthed, but this charge is not well founded.  Many a dog which is used to hunt or find game as well as to retrieve it, will often kill a wounded bird or rabbit rather than allow it to escape, while there are many Irish Water Spaniels who, under normal circumstances, are just as tender-mouthed as the most fashionable of black Retrievers. Besides his virtues in the field, the Irish Water Spaniel has the reputation a very well founded one of being the best of pals.

Most people are well acquainted with the personal appearance of this quaint-looking dog. The points regarded as essential are as follows:

COLOUR — The colour should always be a rich dark liver or puce without any white at all. Any white except the slightest of “shirt fronts” should disqualify. The nose of course should conform to the coat in colour, and be dark brown.

HEAD — The head should have a capacious skull, fairly but not excessively domed, with plenty of brain room.  It should be surmounted with a regular topknot of curly hair, a most important and distinctive point. This topknot should never be square cut or like a poodle’s wig, but should grow down to a well defined point between the eyes.

EYES — The eyes should be small, dark, and set obliquely, like a Chinaman’s.

EARS — The ears should be long, strong in leather, low set, heavily ringleted, and from 18 to 24 inches long, according to size.

MUZZLE AND JAW — The muzzle and jaw should be long and strong. There should be a decided “stop,” but not so pronounced as to make the brows or forehead prominent.

NECK — The neck should be fairly long and very muscular. SHOULDERS—The shoulders should be sloping. Most Irish Water Spaniels have bad, straight shoulders, a defect which should be bred out.

CHEST — The chest is deep, and usually rather narrow, but should not be so narrow as to constrict the heart and lungs.

BACK AND LOINS — The back and loins strong and arched.

FORE-LEGS — The fore-legs straight and well boned.  Heavily feathered or ringleted all over.

HIND-LEGS — The hind-legs with hocks set very low, stifles rather straight, feathered all over, except inside from the hocks down, which part should be covered with short hair (a most distinctive point).

FEET — The feet large and rather spreading as is proper for a water dog, well clothed with hair. 

STERN — The stern covered with the shortest of hair, except for the first couple of inches next the buttocks, whiplike or stinglike (a most important point), and carried low, not like a hound’s.

COAT — The coat composed entirely of short crisp curls, not woolly like a Poodle’s, and very dense. If left to itself, this coat mats or cords, but this is not permissible in show dogs. The hair on the muzzle and forehead below the topknot is quite short and smooth, as well as that on the stern.

GENERAL APPEARANCE — Is not remarkable for symmetry, but is quaint and intelligent looking.

HEIGHT — The height should be between 21 and 23 inches.