This is potentially one of the more important articles I will write concerning the creation of the basis for a long and beautiful relationship between a dog and the rest of its family.
For some years I have been going to formalise in written form my thoughts on selection of family pets.
1 The starting place when considering a family pet is to take a step back and look at the family age, work commitments and lifestyle. To consider the added responsibility a pet will bring and who will fulfil these responsibilities. Left alone and bored they all get destructive irrespective of breed. In this situation of them being left for long periods alone they need a second mate to play with. This is a case of two being less trouble than one.
2 A puppy will reflect the personality of the family it is adopted into particularly during the bonding period. The quality and quantity of time you spend with your new family member in this period will be reflected for many years to come in the disposition of the adult dog. If you want to have a loving pet that will miss and love you so much it will give you a right royal welcome back every time you come in even if you only went out to put the garbage out for a minute, it will be directly relative to the love you lavish on them in the first few months and constantly reinforced.
As part of the procedures we undertake with the new puppies is to give them an expectation that every human encounter will be a good experience and one to look forward to as we play, care and feed them after they are weaned and before you take them home.
We don’t like to let them go before about the eighth week longer for smaller animals and possibly a little earlier for ones that have really progressed extra well. We only ever get one chance to make sure they are really well set up in their start in life and these pups we breed are the progeny of our alternative kids after our own left the nest and whilst we are not the least bit clingy to them once they leave, whilst they are here with us they are a source of joy and satisfaction as their mother displays a perfect show of maternal instincts many human mums could learn from as they care and love their charges, so we wish to see the very best for them.
5 What sort of family are you ranging from a senior older retired couple living in a unit who’s greatest exercise is a short walk to the letterbox to a young couple with no kids who love to go for a 5 K jog in the mornings. Obviously the pet that suits one would be the wrong one for the other. So consider just what your priorities, desires and expectations for your pup and mature dog are.
6 If you will write them down it not only helps you consolidate your thoughts but sending a copy to me then allows me to note the traits of each puppy over a period of weeks not just moments, even an hour or two that most people have to make a choice. If you live remotely and your pup will have to be transported or flown interstate it is even more important if not vital to have this information. Most if not nearly all breeders and certainly commercial breeders and puppy farms that breed for pet shops do none of what we do most private breeders only bring their pups up in a family environment which is only the very beginning of what we consider needs to be done to give puppy the very best start in life we can. A family environment can however provide puppy the love and attention and handling commercial breeding puppy farms can’t possibly give.
I have sometimes suggested people take even a different sex than they had wanted because of temperament suitability matching and in each case so far it resulted in a perfect match and joy for years to come.
The selection process:
We work on a strict order of when people committed and paid their deposit so the first in get the first choice of pup and whilst I can make recommendations the final choice is the new owners and I like to stand back and give them the space and privacy to do just that. People who live interstate and don’t actually see their puppy in the flesh trust me to choose for them so it is vital for these people to supply me as much information relative to what they are looking for as possible. Then we share photo’s and talk about the choice on the phone and so far it has worked well. Air transport has been great with new owners meeting the plain at the other end.
A question people often ask is what sex produces the best pet or the best temperament? Some want a boy others a girl often based on the experience of another animal. This is not a good idea as all the above apply along with the owners input good or bad.
This is like asking how long is that ball of string. There are several complex factors that all play a part in developing puppy’s personality. Like children love and kindness is the most important, seeing that every human encounter is a pleasant one.
If a puppy gets heaps of praise they don’t understand what you say but they do understand the tone of your voice then when they are naughty without physical punishment a change of voice tone does wonders but if they are always getting shouted at, so what that becomes the norm. I wonder why they become vicious?
Some puppies are naturally live wires some couch potatoes. I usually take these in the same boat as genetic disposition and go with that. The vast majority are in the middle and are quite malleable to fitting in to most areas of family lifestyles, particularly this breed. The biggest two questions we get by far is for 1 Boys: When they are to be de-sexed. If you want that softer nature usually associated with girls it is important that they are cut before they produce Testosterone and have only had female hormones in their system. If you want a female type personality but a boy shows the better disposition then go for the boy and get him cut early. Our vet is happy to do them from 2 months on if they are strong enough, healthy little fellows and their Testies have come down. She has said that there is quite a number that haven’t had the best starts and she would wait up to 6 months but I am saying the earliest possible date and usually before 3 months they then usually squat instead of cocking their legs. The worst thing this early cutting overcomes is that before they get testosterone in their system they loose or rather don’t develop the urge to mount people’s legs particularly ladies legs, laddering stockings and the embarrassment.
Bottom line, go for a temperament and health that is what we should all breed for.
2: The second most important influence is how you relate to your new puppy. You can’t give them too much love and affection as they have just been separated from mum but worse still their siblings so you have to bond strongly with them so that every encounter they have with you is a strong enjoyable experience in their eye from day one. When I start hand feeding them achieves this in one sense as it gives me time to just speak to the little fellow and tell him or her how lovely and beautiful and how much she/he is loved. Now understand they can’t understand a word we say but they hear the vibrations and tone of your voice and associate that with the pleasantness of eating, so with the correct feed that doesn’t allow too much weight gains and you have all the beginnings for a long, happy, healthy life to enjoy your little four legged mate who will then truly become a companion for life. As we get closer to time we have by then hopefully done that job so we then put their food into a bowl on the ground so they learn to fend for themselves against other siblings and on their own so are good eaters who love their food. It is important however that they aren’t involved in such competition that they are inclined to bolt their food down as that is really bad for their digestion and not a good habit.
Later I will put in an article on our feeding plan and things to do but this is the basis and how well you bond with puppy is the beginning so if we work together it becomes a win, win, loose, you and puppy win and the Vet looses fees but the first importance is betting selection right.
Something we consider is that the breeder prepare puppy well for the separation time as it is really stressful for puppy and you have possibly heard of puppies crying for nights and days after separation. We try and combat this by having a choice of soft toys in the pen with them as even if it is as dirty as it has the smells from their siblings on it and it goes with puppy and if at night the new owner has the puppy in a decent high sided box beside their bed and if they have lavished love on the pup when it feels lonely (and they all always huddle together one on top of the other to sleep, so it’s been really intimate in their bed) the new owner just leans over and pats puppy and reassures it that they love it, usually puppy rolls over and goes of to sleep after a few nights puppy can be put into the laundry or wherever and is a job well done with least sleep interruptions.
I trust these notes are useful and helpful.
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Our sole motive in putting this blog together is to help people find a pet that best suits them and that will become an interictal member of their family. If the right pet is selected and brought up with the right inputs from the new owners it will reward you with years of joy, love and devotion to you.
It is our desire to add value to all pet owners and particularly dogs as much of what is written isn’t just applicable to one breed but most breeds that are to be companion dogs and not special purpose animals example, working dogs or guard dogs.