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Archive for February, 2009

The Search Continues…

Friday, February 27th, 2009

As I mentioned in a previous post my family and I are in search for a new puppy. This is going to be much tougher than I thought. So many breeds, so many things to consider. Do I want a dog with high drive that will respond great to work and training but will also require a lot more activity and stimulation? How about a more relaxed breed that is intelligent and trainable but doesnt require your interaction all day? I honestly think somewhere in between may be the best fit for my family but I have had a strong desire to try the Schutzhund training and know I need a high drive dog to succeed. I have been looking at German Shepherds and its amazing how many options within a breed there can be. There are west german lines and czeck lines and american lines…all breed for different traits. And of course even within each line there are breeders that have breed for temperments and characteristics that they like. So now the big questions is…what do I want? I cant have a dog that is mellow most of the time and intense when I say so. I do have kids that are getting older and can provide the attention a high drive dog would require..plus I know I would really enjoy the training. I love discovering new technics of dog training and I know I would love working with a breed as intelligent as the german shepherd. So maybe Im talking myself into a GSD (german shepherd dog) but like a mentioned before I am still a long way away with so many choices within the breed. I am doing my homework, talking to and visiting breeders and reading all I can find. I know once I am ready, I will find the perfect puppy to join our family.

K9 connection

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I was visiting my parents yesterday and saw my dad with a little Shi-Tzu on his lap. He had his hand on the dogs chest, ( I say chest but his hand was basically covering the entire dog) and it struck me how dogs can affect us so much. I could tell how relaxed they both were and knew that it has something to do with the relationship between man and dog. I have always been drawn to dogs, I watched every show or movie and even read books (that was a big deal for me) as a child if they had to do with dogs. I loved the way the stories made me feel, I loved the bonds that were formed between boy and dog and of course wanted the same thing for myself. Luckily I grew up with a mom who shared my love for animals. (My dad loves animals too, he’ll just never admit it. He likes too complain too much to admit he likes anything. )
I had some great experiences with dogs throughout my childhood but never felt it quite matched those stories I read or movies I watched. I later realized one of the things I was lacking was the dog training. How come my dogs never communicated to me of some disaster (”Timmy fell into the well”)? How come they didnt go fetch me my slippers and paper like the dogs in the movies. I had no real understanding of the training those dogs went through. Having a well trained dog makes all the difference. Sometimes it seems too daunting a task but with the right tools it really can be relatively easy and extremely rewarding.
Whatever it is that connects us to our K9 friends, some good dog obedience training will make that connection stronger than you thought possible. Make it a priority to train you dog. Do the homework, if you dont use my program make sure you find good one and stick with it. You will never regret missing that episode of Lost or Oprah when you see the results in your new best friend.

How do I make sure I buy a healthy puppy?

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

This is a question I wish people would take more seriously when purchasing a puppy. Its crazy to think that it wouldnt be the highest priority when buying a puppy. Maybe people dont understand that all dogs are not the same. Some puppies have been so carefully breed that the odds are very high the pup will grow to a healthy dog and live a long healthy life, while other puppies are a time bomb just waiting for the irresponsible breeding to catch up to them. Im not saying that your puppy wont have any health problems but your odds increase dramatically that he/she will have a long full life if you buy from a reputable breeder.
So, how do you do it? I commented some on this in my last post but started thinking how important this really is and how little people seem to know about it. There are all kinds of breeders out there, unfortunately the majority of them are either just trying to make some money(puppy mills) or do not understand the importance of health checking before they breed their “best dog in the whole world” who (unknown to the owner) has a bad heart and hips, or other genetic problem. I dont blame these owners, they love their dog and probably have friends or family that love it as well and want one just like him/her so they decide to try for puppies. Most dont think that maybe there are some genetic issues to worry about…but now you do!
If testing hasnt beed done, dont buy the dog! Ask if the parents have been halter tested (heart test) and what were the results. For the larger breeds, ask if the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia. Do research on the breed you are looking at and see what type of genetic problems that breed is prone to and make sure the breeder has tested the parents for that condition.
All these tests are not cheap, so often these puppies will be more expensive than what you might find in the Sunday paper, but say its 3 to 4 hundred dollars more, isnt that worth 3 to 4 more years (or more) with your best friend? Not to mention the hundreds if not thousands of dollars you will save in vet bills? To me its a no brainer so Im not sure why so many puppies are sold by the puppy mills and backyard breeders. I truely think its just an education issue and hopefully the message can get out there. I want you and your dog to have the best experience possible for as long as possible. Be careful out there!