- You’ve taken the plunge, decided to get the puppy. What should you expect and what do you need to have to be ready for your new family member?Expect that both you and the new puppy will be a little nervous and uncertain for the first couple of days. It will be an adjustment and learning experience for both of you. He may seem a little shy and even not eager to play for a day or two. This is normal and natural it is a big change in his life and it will take him some time to adjust to his new home and the new people in it.If you have children remind them that puppies play hard and then they crash. They need a lot of rest and sleep and may even tend to sleep more during this transition. Play with him but remember not to over stimulate him or introduce him to too many new things or people during this adjustment period. You want your puppy to be well socialized but try to make all of his experiences during this transition time especially good ones.You’ll want to have ceramic or stainless bowls for water and food. We prefer a harness over a collar. Contact me a week before you are picking up your puppy and I’ll give you his girth measurement. A small crate for crate training. They should have just enough room to lay down, stretch out, stand up and turn around. If the crate is too big they will make a separate sleeping room and bathroom, not a good idea to give them that option. They do make larger crates that have a divider. A crate, or, in other words, short-term close confinement, can be used to help dogs teach themselves two very important skills. The first is eliminating only when and where it is appropriate. The second skill is keeping out of trouble – behaving appropriately in the house. Without these two skills, a dog doesn’t have much of a chance in this world.A crate is inappropriate for long-term confinement. While some puppies are able to make it through an eight-hour stretch in a crate at night, you should be sleeping nearby and available to take your pup out if he tells you he needs to go.During the day, a puppy should not be asked to stay in a crate longer than two to four hours at a time; an adult dog no more than six to eight hours. Longer than that and you risk forcing Buddy to eliminate in his crate, which is a very bad thing, since it breaks down his instinctive inhibitions against soiling his den.We use and recommend Fluffy Puppy shampoo made by Bio-Groom.We send you home with enough food for at least a week. We are feeding our pups Fromm Puppy Choits.. It is a holistic dog food without preservatives. Their web site has a store locator. http://www.frommfamily.com/ There are other great foods but you have to get them at pet stores. A comparable food would be Wellness. Avoid the brands from grocery stores and the big box stores. Once a dog food goes commercial they have too little control over their raw ingredients. Too many dog foods labeled complete and natural are neither. Your dog may live on them but he won’t be at his best. If your dog is developing skin or coat problems and checks out ok at the vet the next thing to consider is his diet. Some dogs just do better on certain foods. If your dog is having sudden digestive problems always consider the food first. If you are feeding a high quality food that is low in carbs your dog will eat less, poop less, this is good. Cockapoos don’t eat a whole lot, feed them the best. I don’t care how long you’ve been feeding a certain brand of dog food if your dog isn’t doing well CHANGE!We have started your pup on NuVet vitamins. By the time they leave here they will be getting one half of a wafer, a quarter twice a day, each day. They are easy to break into small pieces and the pups accept them as a treat. I have always had mixed feelings about vitamins and the benefits they provide but recent problems with pet foods have changed my mind. They are pricey but much cheaper than vet bills. I am attaching a brochure that they have supplied me with. I question some of the claims made in it but they insist that they are based on actual results. I’ve talked to other breeders who have used them for quite some time and been thrilled with the results they have seen. Quite a number of breeders have started requiring that they be used or their guarantees will be voided. I haven’t gotten to that point but I would like to see you use them for at least the first two years. You can order them at www.nuvet.com/62103 You can receive a discount by putting them on auto reorder. I guess what I’m trying to say is that “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure”. One of the big things I like about this particular vitamin is that it is made in a human grade lab and with all natural ingredients.You’ll want to have treats on hand to start rewarding your new friend. Treats should be small and something that puppy can consume rapidly. They should be given immediately or puppy won’t know why he’s getting it. They should be something that can be consumed rapidly because if he has to work on it too long he won’t remember why he’s been rewarded. You could try cheerios, they are easy to carry in your pocket. Cut up cooked chicken pieces are the ultimate reward. Many great all natural treats can be found at pet stores, remember small, can be consumed rapidly, low in calories.Great book to read before puppy comes home, How To Raise A Puppy You Can Live With.Anything made by Nylabone is good and safe for chewing. A small kong and biscuits to fill it, great for keeping him busy chewing on something other than your toes.Puppy proof your home. Just like baby proofing only they usually can’t open any cabinets. Be especially careful about the puppy having access to any electrical cords. They will learn how to go up the stairs weeks before they can safely come down, get some baby gates.Ok, you’re ready, now relax and get ready for a lifetime of joy and companionship, with unquestioning love thrown in for good measure!
Sets of genes control every characteristic of an organism. Each parent contributes one gene, called an allele, so a set consists of 2 genes, or 2 paired alleles. A dominant allele will cause that trait to show up even if only one copy is present. An allele that is recessive needs 2 copies in order for the trait to show up. For example, in humans, brown eyes are dominant, and blue eyes are recessive. If a person has an allele for brown and an allele for blue, they will have brown eyes. The dominant brown overrides the recessive blue. For a person to have blue eyes they need to have TWO copies of the allele for blue eyes. Notice in this example that carrying the recessive trait does not influence the physical result. The recessive gene’s presence is completely hidden.
A recessive trait, as you just learned, needs 2 copies in order for the trait to show up. If a dog carrying one recessive allele for some genetic disorder is bred to a dog also carrying one recessive allele for that disorder, some of the pups will get 2 copies and show the disorder. Those genes have become more ‘concentrated’ in the population. As one produces successive generations of a certain breed, trying to concentrate and ‘fix’ the traits that define the breed, other traits become concentrated and ‘fixed’ as well, those traits that cause genetic disorders. That’s why certain disorders are more common in some breeds than others. Nearly half of hereditary diseases found in dogs occur predominantly or exclusively in one or just a few breeds. If a dog carrying the recessive, defective allele is bred to a dog with ONLY normal versions of that allele, some pups will be carriers, but none will show the disorder. This is the basis of hybrid vigor.
Hybrid vigor is the phrase commonly used for what is correctly called heterosis. That is, the possibility that one may obtain a better individual by combining the virtues of the parents, by preventing the concentration of undesirable traits within the group. Individuals that are members of a population share genes, that’s what makes them members of that population! In the case of dogs, these different populations are different breeds, and those genes define every characteristic that makes a dog a recognizable member of that breed. It takes differences in only 10 to 30 genes to define one breed from the next. So will crossing two breeds result in a healthier animal? While the intentional breeding of known purebred dogs is considered a new practice, it is actually the continuation of the process by which all dog breeds were created, the process of selective breeding. Many argue that over the centuries, the process of purebred selective breeding of narrow lines of genetic variations in current dog breeds has produced un-health offspring where detrimental recessive genes have surfaced. This is especially true if the parent dogs were closely related. This inbreeding among purebreds has made many of the offspring susceptible to a variety of genetic health problems. With dog hybrids, new lines of genes are introduced with the hopeful effect of improving health as well as introducing desirable traits.
So hybrid vigor occurs for specific disorders, and it can also occur in terms of general disease resistance. There is a set of genes called the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) consisting of thousands of potential allelic combinations. The genes of the MHC are involved in controlling disease resistance, immune function, and reproduction. The long-term viability of any breed depends on maintaining a high degree of genetic diversity in the MHC. The loss of MHC genetic diversity is responsible for a portion of the reduced “hybrid vigor” in some breeds. These breeds are literally dying due to a lack of diversity in this complex, and researchers are working on the development of canine MHC genetic markers, so breeders can select and match these genes to maximize health.
In the last couple decades, several breeds have been in danger of being bred into oblivion due to the concentration of genes carrying genetic disorders. Breed clubs responded to this by doing what to some was absolutely heretical. They outcrossed with unrelated breeds. The AKC literally saved the Dalmatian from extinction (nobody wanted a breed of deaf dogs, regardless of other characteristics) by allowing breeding to non-Dalmatians. Similarly in Europe, Dutch Shepherd Dogs were outcrossed with the Belgian Tervuren, and Bernese Mountain Dogs were crossed with Newfoundlands. The choice was made to save these breeds by taking advantage of the phenomenon of heterosis…hybrid vigor…. to strengthen them.
Hybrid vigor has been clearly shown to exist in everything from fruit flies to orchids to pigs to humans. That’s why there are laws against people intermarrying, and why certain families that DID intermarry, like the Russian czars, find disorders like hemophilia among their members. It doesn’t matter what you are breeding, by maximizing the number of different alleles in the gene pool, you minimize the chances that disease-causing genes will end up paired together in any individual. Therein lies the promise of heterosis, or hybrid vigor.
The Benefits Of Dog Parks
Although many dogs live their entire lives as the only pet in the family, the species is by nature a pack animal. In really a domesticated dog simply adjusts his or her view of the pack to include the humans as the pack. If the dog is well adjusted, well socialized and obedience trained it is very likely that the dog sees the humans, or at least one member of the family, as the pack leader. This dog is happy to follow directions, knowing that the human will take care of all the other worries and concerns. This is further instilled by the owner feeding, playing and interacting with the dog in a positive, benevolent leader type of way.
However effective this pack type of attitude is for a dog there is still a real benefit in a dog having routine interactions with other canines. Not only does it provide socialization for your dog, which helps him or her be confident, self-assured and emotionally happy, but it also provides a great incentive to exercise. Many dogs raised as single pets have problems with weight gain and even obesity as they mature since they simply don’t have any incentive to get out and run around. Sometimes the kids growing up, the family getting busy or changes in the household routine further work to decrease the amount of structured exercise a dog gets per day.
A dog park can certainly be the answer to any of the issues mentioned above. These areas, designed for off-leash dog activity, are perfect for your pet for several different reasons. The biggest one is that for single pet families this provides a place where your dog can interact with other well-socialized dogs off leash, allowing them to run, romp and play just as dogs do in nature or when they have a companion dog. In turn this high level of socialization leads to more physical exercise and activity as the dogs run and explore with each other within the confines of the fenced dog park.
However, not all dog parks are created equal. It is important to make the first trip to the dog park without your four legged friend and check things out. Get into the park and walk the perimeter, check that the fence is secure and well maintained all the way around. You should also look for a park that allows you a clear line of sight to the dogs in the park so you can keep an eye on your pet at all times. Areas that have heavy brush or hills that the dogs can get around or behind makes supervising your pet very challenging.
In addition be sure to check the cleanliness of the park. Most parks are designed for users to keep the area clean including removing dog toys, waste and garbage after each use. A clean park is a sign of caring, responsible dog owners, an important consideration for allowing your dog to run free with their dogs. Finally if you have a small or toy dog check to see if they have a separate part of the smaller canines if you have any concerns about your dog romping around with larger dogs.
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The alpha owner
Though we’ll never know exactly what your pooch is thinking when she chases her tail until she gets dizzy, we do have some insight into how dogs think about relationships. Wild dogs live and hunt in packs, and to your dog, you and the other members of your family are fellow pack members. This is an important model, because in every pack there are structured power relationships between members. If dogs have no dominant–or “alpha”–leader in their human “pack,” if they learn that they can jump up on the couch when they want, drag you down the street on the leash, and get treats when they beg for them, some of them may decide they are running the show. Puppies who are never disciplined may begin aggressively testing their boundaries when they reach doggy adolescence. They may start ignoring commands, jumping up where they’re not supposed to jump, and protecting their food or their “territory” with growls. In extreme cases, they can begin biting.
In order to have a peaceful, manageable relationship with your dog, it’s important that you establish your position as the leader from the beginning. You do not have to use physical intimidation to do so, however.
Some trainers have recommended that owners establish their dominance through a show of physical force ranging from an alpha roll–flipping a dog over so her belly is exposed–to actually biting a dog on the muzzle. This can leave a dog feeling threatened and defensive, and may even provoke an attack. You don’t need to raise your voice either; shouting can also make dogs nervous and provoke aggression.
The fact is, these aggressive displays of dominance aren’t necessary. Most dogs are perfectly happy submitting to a leader; they actually gain confidence and a sense of security from having someone to follow. The job of a good pack leader is to project a sense of strength by using a deep, steady voice, reacting calmly to situations that make the dog nervous, and giving rewards only for good behavior. Training your dog to sit and lie down is helpful as well. Having her repeatedly take a lower, submissive position at your command reinforces your dominant position. If you’re still having a hard time, ask your veterinarian about special exercises designed to establish your dominance without aggression.
The social life
Socializing is one of the most important things you can do to train your young dog. Puppies, like babies, are like sponges–ready to absorb all kinds of information about their world. In the first months of their lives, they learn the right places to sleep to catch the late afternoon sun and that the sound of the can opener means dinner time. In this same period, it’s your job as a pet owner to teach them to bond with people and with other dogs and to be comfortable in unfamiliar situations. This is one of the most important things you can do for your fuzzy family member. The less afraid your puppy is of strange people and animals, the less likely she is to act defensively and attack another dog or even a child.
The socialization of puppies begins between three and four weeks of age, before most people bring their new pets home. This means that some of the work is out of your control. If your puppy has been raised by a careless owner or breeder, you may have an uphill battle to fight when you get her home. The good news is, she will continue the socialization process until she is about 12 weeks old, so you have plenty of time to give her good experiences. First of all, make sure she bonds with you and your family. Pet her, groom her, play with her, talk to her, and just generally give her lots of love. Show her that she can depend on you for affection, food, and gentle leadership.
Once your pup feels safe with you and she’s had all her vaccinations, you can introduce her to the big, wide world. Take her to lots of new and exciting places–the park, a friend’s house, or dog-friendly stores. Make sure she has plenty of chances to meet kind people and play with well-socialized dogs. Try to make trips to the veterinarian fun, with plenty of petting from you and the friendly veterinarian and technicians. Introduce her to children, too, in a well-supervised environment. Show the kids how to speak calmly to her and pet her gently.
If you notice your puppy acting nervous in a new situation or starting to bristle at a strange dog, try not to scold her. Raising your voice will only make her more tense. Trying to comfort her will backfire too. If she gets a lot of petting, cooing, and attention every time she’s scared or aggressive, she’ll learn that reacting this way is a good thing. Instead, distract her as best you can. Toss a ball or a chew toy to her, or start playing her favorite game. When she gets absorbed in the game and starts ignoring the people or the dog that scared her, give her lots of praise. Soon she’ll associate the scary situation with fun and playtime, and she’ll become a canine socialite.
When most dog owners think about training their dog, they think in negatives. They want their puppy not to chew the furniture, not to piddle on the carpet, and not to jump up on guests. This can get a little confusing from the puppy’s point of view, however. Imagine you were a puppy home alone, and you spent most of your day chewing on some loafers and spreading garbage around the kitchen. Then you nap for an hour and meet your family at the door when they come home. Suddenly they greet you with lots of yelling and shouts of “No!” What did you do wrong? Was it the chewing or meeting the family at the door? What were you supposed to do instead?
The key to keeping your puppy from doing what you don’t want her to do is giving her a positive alternative–teaching her what you do want her to do. For example, if you see your puppy dancing anxiously around the living room like she needs to go out, get her outside in a flash. Stay near her the whole time she’s out, and reward her with praise and a treat as soon as she relieves herself. This teaches her that going outside is a good thing. If you catch your puppy chewing on something you don’t want her to chew on, distract her with one of her “good” chew toys. Whenever you catch her chewing on one of her toys, reward her. That’s the key to effective training–try to catch your puppy doing something good, like sitting still instead of jumping up or sleeping on the floor instead of the bed. Make a point of noticing these behaviors and rewarding them with attention, praise, or treats.Training is a gradual process, and it can be a difficult road to walk alone. It’s important that your entire family commits to a training plan, that you all agree to respond the same way when your dog misbehaves as well as when she behaves perfectly. Remember, when you train, you need to be persistent, and above all, patient. Your puppy’s going to make a lot of mistakes, and she may just destroy a few of your belongings, but she’s mostly just eager to please you. She needs your love, attention, and guidance to be the good do
Roxi was able to wear a tank top instead of the cone after spaying.As a pet parent, picking the right vet can be a difficult and stressful decision. Similar to choosing the best pediatrician for your child, finding the right vet for you and your pets can be a matter of trial and error. You obviously want someone who is easy to talk to and knowledgeable, treats you pets with care, has a clean and comfortable facility, along with having supportive and helpful staff. Plus, the location of the vet can weigh heavily into the right decision. If you are looking for guidance going into the vet search, you will find a helpful guide below that lists the top five essential decision points you need to at least consider.
Ask your (local) friends and family for helpful suggestions. One of the very first steps to take is asking your friends and family about veterinarians they have taken their pets to. This kind of word-of-mouth advice from the people you trust won’t come around often and to top it all off, it is always great to have a reference when you make the first appointment or test run. If you’ve just recently moved to a new state, city, or neighborhood, you can always employ the help of your new neighbors for their advice. The internet also can be extremely helpful, as many local search sites have ratings and comments to go along with each vet.
Do your research! As I said above, even after you’ve gotten your suggestions, doing a little research online is going to be extremely helpful. Yelp.com or insiderpages.com can be a great asset into finding greats vets by location as they are user-generated reviews. These two examples or only a couple of useful research and reviews sites on the internet to find that great vet as you seek out others to compare and contrast.
Call ahead of time. Remembering to call ahead of time for a brief interview of one of the staff members that aren’t the vet can also go a long way. This can provide insight into day-to-day activities, attitudes of staff, as well as other helpful aspects.While making an appointment, you can get your first impression of both ambiance and attitude.
Remember to trust your instincts. What visiting the actual vets office, be sure to trust your instincts. If something about the waiting room, the front desk or anything within the office make you feel uncomfortable, there is always another vet you can try or visit for your pet. Choosing the right atmosphere for you can be just as important as the care for your pet.
Trust your pet’s instincts as well. Though your dog or cat, obviously, cannot communicate verbally, most often, an intuitive owner can sense when their pet’s comfort level is off. If the staff and vet are friendly and professional people who treat you and your pet with the right care, your pet is sure to feel more comfortable and relaxed. Make sure to keep an eye on your pet’s attitude and disposition to help gauge the comfort level and assure your pet is in the right hands.