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Canine Lessons 101

Welcome to my canine lessons page. These articles are not to be copied, although a link is always appreciated, please email me, so that I may link to your page too. The articles should never be used in place of a veterinarian or behaviourist. The photographs may not be used.

I Want A Dog!

And why wouldn't anyone want a dog. Dogs are great creatures who provide love, companionship and a lot of fun. But dogs are a privilege and not a right. They are a very large responsibility, not just a part time commodity. And if you're even considering a dog thinking that you can always give it up if it doesn't work out. Don't get one! It's not fair to the dog, they are creatures with emotions and feelings just like the rest of us. And they too feel abandonment. If you're ready for a lifetime commitment and ready to optimize your chances of it being a wonderful relationship, then I'd say you're pretty ready for a dog. Please read further!

First you have to start off figuring out what kind of dog you want. It may be that nice little scruffy guy at the pound or some pedigree pooch that you saw at the dog show. With over 400 breed and endless possibilities of mixed breeds, you certainly have a good choice. The best way is deciding on what you want in a dog. Wanting the perfect dog that is housetrained in two days and doesn't eat your shoes doesn't count. If you want that, may I suggest a cat. Think of things such as adult activity level, (all puppies are active!) shedding levels, protectiveness, intelligence, affection levels, the size and various physical aspects that come to mind. Buy a dog magazine, most dog magazines put out an annual edition featuring all breeds of their respective country. They also have plenty of good articles on selecting a breeder, and listing the kennels of the specific breed. In Canada, you can pick up an annual edition of Dogs in Canada. Have a look at some of the breeds. Hopefully you can gain enough summarized information to make a short list of say 10-20 breeds.

Once you decide on some breeds, try to find some dog shows to go view these breeds. To find a dog show, look in your newspapers, subscribe to a national or local magazine. Call your local or national kennel club. They may have listings, check out my links page for places that list dog shows and dog show information. A word to the wise, dog shows do not bring out the best in everyone. There is a lot of emotions at dog shows, but that is no reason for rudeness of any sort. Don't approach someone if they are busy grooming or lining up to go in the show ring, or just look like they are busy, tense or nervous. And do not pet the dogs without asking. A lot of hairy dogs have just been groomed and a playful cuddle may undo some work. Approach someone who is done showing, and relaxed. Introduce yourself and tell them that you are considering buying a _______. Ask them if they have a moment to tell you a little bit about the breed. Chances are, they'll be happy to oblige. If you really like talking to them, ask for their card if they're a breeder, they will probably have one and when's a good time of day to call for further discussion.

If you decided you want to purchase your dog, there is a lot of research to be done. First of all, the only place you should purchase your dog from other than some sort of rescue is a responsible breeder. Do not go to a pet store. Pet Stores often get their puppies from places called puppy mills which are basically large dog producing factories. The dogs there are a commodity, and they are not treated as respected and loved family members. Often puppy mills are nightmares, the moms are locked up in tiny cages, with little food or water. They are bred heat after heat to produce puppies. And the puppies are usually shipped off as young as 4 weeks of age to pet stores. Organizations are working hard to end puppy mills but it not an easy task. Please see my links page to contact an organization if you'd like to offer your support. Another place pet stores get their puppies is from back yard breeders (BYB). These aren't usually as bad as puppy mills, but they too are breeding dogs with usually one thing in mind. Money. Any responsible breeder will tell you that the chances of making money off of breeding the right way are about 1%!! BYBs and puppymills cut corners such as veterinary costs, health screening, independent evaluations of the breeding dogs such as dog shows, and many other corners. It's very hard now to walk into a pet store, and see all those puppies in those small cages and not want to take one home to rescue it. Who would ever want to see a dog without a family to love it? But if you do buy that puppy and take it home, you'll only be supporting this ongoing practice financially and that's EXACTLY what they want. Furthermore, you'll end up paying way too much for a puppy, who may very well end up very sick and cost you even more money. Please do not buy a dog from these people. If you are concerned about deplorable conditions of a pet store, BYB or puppy mill, please contact your animal control, or see my links page and visit some of the websites who's sole purpose is to shut places like that down!

Once you've decided on your breed, now you have to ask yourself some questions. Would you like to rescue a dog of that breed from a rescue or a shelter? Would you like to purchase the dog. Some of the pros of a second hand dog, is that often they are mature, some come already trained, you do not have to usually deal with puppy madness, or puppy costs! You will bond to a second hand dog just as if they were your own, if you're properly matched. Try to go to a reputable shelter, humane society or rescue. There are a lot of purebreds in shelters if you are searching for one, and most purebred breeds has a rescue devoted to them solely. Most breed rescues are run by strictly volunteers working out of their own home. Yet many are accomplished people. They should behave professionally, they should be people you feel comfortable with, they should do everything possible to make the best match with you and your dog. They want the best home possible for their dogs, and they want to decrease the chances of the dogs coming back, so they should work very hard. Almost all dogs coming out of rescue/shelter/humane society will be spayed/neutered and permanently identified by tattoo or microchip. You will be quizzed on your lifestyle, this is so that the rescue person can see if you're suitable for a dog. Many shelters and breeders for that matter do not allow dogs to go to home without fenced yards. This I find is very shortsighted. There are plenty of breeders and shelters who will allow dogs to go to these homes, but of course, they will want the promise that you will not exercise the dog off leash in unfenced areas. This is especially important for Greyhounds where there is a lot of rescue activity.

Now that you know where NOT to go to get a puppy, how do you determine that a breeder is responsible? It's not an easy task, but there are some definite signs, so it's not impossible either. First of all, you have to know a little bit about the breed you are getting. Research is your best defense.

Why does a responsible breeder breed? Well perhaps the number one reason is because they love dogs, they love puppies and they feel like they have something to offer the breed. A breeder should be breeding to try and improve the breed of their choice. This means breeding healthy animals. Animals that have met the breed standard. Animals that have temperaments that meet the breed standard, and that they should be involved one way or another with the larger dog community.

Every breed has some difficulties with genetic diseases and fortunately a lot of these genetic diseases can be screened for and eliminated from breeding programs as much as humanly possible. These diseases vary from breed to breed, so you have to research for your breed. On my links page there will be some links specifically targeted to GSD and Newfoundland problems, but there will also be some links that will start you on your breed's path. All responsible breeders will be aware of these diseases, how they may affect their lines of dogs, and test accordingly for them.

In Canada, it is illegal to advertise a breed as a purebred unless it is registered or registerable by the Canadian Kennel Club. However, do not be fooled into thinking that just because a dog is CKC registered that it is automatically a quality dog. The very same goes for the American Kennel Club However, if the breed is recognized by the kennel clubs, ideally they should be registered. Many rare breeds are not recognized by the CKC or AKC. But buyer beware, some people like to breed mixed breeds and promote them as rare breeds. Some breeders have issues with the kennel clubs, and do not register their dogs and they can still be responsible, however it is important that they are registered with another major reputable kennel club. The Continental Kennel Club is not highly regarded by responsible breeders or either of the major kennel clubs, so I'd advice puppy buyers to steer clear of that. In addition, the responsible breeder is usually involved in their national or local breed club in order to promote the well being of their breed.

Don't go to the CKC or AKC asking if they can recommend you some breeders, they can't. What they can do though, it put you in contact with the national breed club who may be able to recommend some breeders in your area. However a recommendation still does not a responsible breeder make!

A breeder should be involved with their breed. By that, their breeding stock should be involved in dog shows. A dog show is a place to determine which dog is closest to the breed standard. A breed standard is a blue print of what a breed should ideally look and behave like. Only dogs that are within the breed standard should be bred. Furthermore a breeder should be paying close attention to the dog's temperament. Some breeds it's easy to tell what a correct temperament is. Other breeds, require testing to prove certain aspects. Many breeders participate in events such as obedience or agility to have fun with their dogs and display their skills.

A responsible breeder isn't willing to make a quick sale, they want the best home for their puppy and they're going to ask you to make sure that you are a good home. Don't take this personally. Put yourself in the breeders shoes and imagine yourself giving up one of your puppies. You already dearly love it, but you have to find a home for him. Needless to say, you'd be looking for the best too right! :) A breeder should be more than happy, actually pretty boasting about their dogs accomplishments, their genetic clearances, their accomplishments as a breeder. They should also be ready willing and able to answer your questions, work through your problems and just be a good ear. You should like your breeder, remember you'll be in contact with this person for the next 10-14 years! And yes a breeder will want pictures, updates, and information about their puppy throughout it's lifetime! Go with a breeder whom you feel comfortable with. Breeders are only people too, and it's important that you think this person is honourable, professional and friendly. Go with your gut instinct

Chances are the breeder will also want you to sign a contract. This contract usually goes over basic care, although some contracts can be very detailed. Also the contract should cover the breeders guarantee for a healthy dog, some breeders only guarantee for a time period. As well, the contract should have the breeder as the person to have the first right of refusal should you no longer be able to keep their dog. Basically what that means is that they get the first chance to either take or buy the dog back, depending on the contract. The contract will also probably have a spay/neuter contract. Basically this is the way that breeders try and protect their dogs from being bred irresponsibly. Breeders usually have two qualities of puppies "Pet Quality" and "Show Quality". They have minor physical characteristics that may take a trained eye to see. Either way, both are good candidates for pets, but only the show quality dogs are even possible candidates for breeding. In order to ensure this, they use a Non-Breeding Agreement which is employed by the CKC or AKC. Basically the new owner of the dog does not get the papers stating that their dog is a purebred, until the dog is spayed or neutered. A spayed or neutered dog, can still compete in fun things like agility, waterwork, therapy work, obedience, flyball, draft work, tracking and plenty of other things. If you want to show your dog, then you'll need a lot more research, but it's generally advised that you get a pet quality version first. ;)

If all goes well, not only will you have a puppy. But a pedigree pooch with a health guarantee, who's going to live in a loving home. You will also have a good friend who's a wonderful resource of information and will be there through thick and thin.

Poo Puppies

Poo Puppies

For those who are not certain right off the bat what this title on this page is referring to, you may need this article. If you already know, hopefully this article will help to shed some light on the ever growing situation of Poo Puppies.

Poo Puppies is a term coined by a friend of mine referring to dogs breeds that are not really breeds. They are mixed breeds and sold to the public as regular breeds. They are marketed through pet stores, puppy mills and back yard breeders. They come with many names and in various forms. Basically the sky is the limit when it comes to mixing breeds, but the most common mixes are Poodle crossed with another breed. Hence the names Peke-a-Poo, Shih-Poo, Pom-a-Poo, Cock-a-Poo you name it. There are also breeds such as Schnoodles, Puggles, Schwheatens, Pom-a-Chons, and many many more. Now with all the mixes in the shelter, one would wonder why someone would breed more. This article can go into supposed reasons why someone would do that, but instead we'll explore the reasons why people buy these dogs. After all, if there is no demand, the supply goes down.

Reason 1. They're hypoallergenic

This is one of the claims to fame of Poo Puppies. First of all, there is no such thing as a hypo-allergenic breed. Even Poodles and Bichons may cause allergy attacks depending on how sensitive the person is. Fortunately, for most people with allergies they cause a mild to no reaction. What helps allergy sufferers is a number of item such as type of coat, lack of dander and a relatively non shedding dog. This combination is found in Poodles, Bichons and breeds that share similar coats and backgrounds. These factors, just as colour and type of breeds are inherited through breeding like parents. ie Poodles to Poodles, Bichons to Bichons. However when you thrown in a breed that has a thick coat that sheds and a lot of dander, you jeopardise all the traits that make these breeds hypoallergenic to begin with. Maybe some puppies will turn out to inherit those traits, but there will be some who do not, and some who have a mixture of those traits. And chances are, the way people learn is when they bring those puppies home and start sniffling in a few days. In fact there is no way to guarantee that one would get the one puppy with all the traits to make it least sneezable.

Reason 2. They're healthier and sounder than purebreds.

This reasoning has been floating around for quite some time. And many people truly believe it, ranging from BYBs to veterinarians. It is true that by mixing genes, you get more variables and less chance of doubling up on the well as the good creating traits such as solid temperaments or hip dysplasia. However with purebred dogs it gets stickier. If you trace the history of a purebred dog, you may very well find out that your breed has a couple other breeds in it. This rings true for many breeds. As these breeds share genes to create physical or mental traits, they also share the same genes for problems such as hip dysplasia or von willebrande's disease. So breeding a Labrador, and breeding a German Shepherd, both of who share hip, elbow, eye and heart problems, isn't much different than breeding them to a member of their same breed. You may miss a couple of things which may not physically be displayed in that generation. However they may be hidden in genetic form, needing just another gene from another dog who may also have it hidden to make it present again. The same goes for smaller breeds. One way to avoid this is to consistently test all dogs who are to be bred for genetic diseases. And then only breed cleared dogs. Even this is not 100% foolproof, but it's a lot better than breeding at random with misinformation as your guide. As discussed with hypoallergenic dogs, certain traits may not be present in the offspring of a cross. Coat colours, type and size are often the first noticeable changes. But also there are changes to personality too. For example, if one were to breed a Toy Poodle to a terrier, you may end up with a dog who looks more like a poodle, but acts like a terrier. A family interested in a Poodle personality may be surprised to have an animated little terrier on their hands. There is no way of telling when you mix breeds what the dog may turn out like. That can be very fun if the family is in for the ride, or disasterous if they have certain expectations.

Reason 3. They are (about) to be recognised by the Canadian Kennel Club

The purpose of the Canadian Kennel Club and other kennel clubs is to provide a registry and tracking service of purebreed dogs. The rules to register a dog with national registries are usually quite stringent. The rules to recognise a breed with national kennel clubs are often far more tougher. It's always amazing to hear people speak of how the Poo Puppies are healthier than purebreds, but in the same breath go on to say that their breed will be recognised by a major kennel club any day now. There are certain registries that do register mixed breeds. Their standards are very loose. Canadians are at a little bit of a disadvantage since one of these registries is named the Continental Kennel Club or the CKC. But be aware that they are worlds apart. To get a breed recognised, the breed must have a well organised national breed club for one. Then they must meet many many requirements to assure the purity of these breeds for a period of time. It is very unlikely in our lifetimes that we will see the recognitition of Poo pups.

Reason 4. They're rare.

No they're not. Mixed breeds are in the shelters, in the pet stores, on the street. A mixed breed whether it is bred in some dark alley or bred on a velvet cushion is still a mixed breed. There are plenty of mixed breeds at the local shelters who need homes, and any walk through a shelter should take you through a plethora of unique looking dogs. And if one has their heart set on a poodle mix, there are usually quite of selection of those at the shelter too.

Reason 5. I saw them Labradoodles doing guide dog work.

Yes, for some reason, agencies took it upon themselves to deliberately take a chance on mixing a Labrador and a Poodle. For those who do not know, Lab shed profusely! The ideal behind it, was to make a hypoallergenic guide dog and service dog. However the thoughts were not well thought out, and for reasons discussed above, hypoallergenic wasn't always the case. Why they did not just use Standard Poodles and work from them is beyond many.

Reason 6. They MUST be purebred, they cost about $400-600 bucks!

Well quite frankly, you could charge the same amount for a hot dog if people would buy it. There is no limitation on what people can charge for a dog be it a mixed breed or purebred. Purebreds depending on breed can run anywhere from $400-1500. Mixed breeds usually run at the shelters from $40-200. People are charging others excess amounts of money for a mixed breed. The fact is, you do not always get what you pay for.

Reason 7. These people are responsible.

Oh? Are they testing their breeding stock for problems? Keeping a detailed pedigree database as well as working with a national breed club to actually create a breed? Are they somehow involved in the dog world beyond their own backyard? How much experience have they had? Have they succeeded at their goals? Do they have goals? Can they outline them to you specifically? Will they take back the dog at any time? Do they offer a guarantee? Can they detail the problems they have in their line? Do they have a line? Can they explain the pros and cons in their breed? Are they looking to make a sale? If they are responsible breeders, than they will have every same goal as a responsible breeder, including the goals of doing things the proper way in order to get their breed recognised, which is no easy task and takes decades to realise.

So there are some myths debunked about Poo Puppies. There are many more to be sure. You can usually find Poo puppies in newspaper ads, pet stores and on the Internet. There are plenty, as there demand is plenty. But the shelters also have plenty of them too. Please consider some of the points brought up here before you invest in any breed of dog. But more specifically before you consider buying a poorly purposefully bred mixed breed.

I Want To Breed My Dog

This article is meant to actually dissuade people from breeding. It is a long and hard task, and while this article will be long in length, it is only meant to scratch the surface of the hardships and trials responsible breeders go through. If you read this article and are still certain you are ready to breed, I urge you to go to the links section, talk to responsible breeders, join email lists, and get involved in your local breed or kennel club in order to learn about breeding responsibly on a hands on level. Every breeder needs a network of friends and support, do not try to do it alone, because without feedback, mistakes can be made.

I want to breed my dog. The very statement is greeted with a reserved sigh by most involved dog people. It's a loaded statement and can lead into hours of discussion and ultimately either a person who is going to breed their dog no matter what, or someone who will think about it some. Breeding a dog can be as easy as putting a male and female together in the same room. Breeding dogs properly however takes much more. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to do the job right. When the job is done right, you have earned the privilege of calling yourself a responsible breeder.

The first question one would probably run into when they are determined to breed their dog is Why. Why are you breeding your dog? To understand the root of this question, the easiest way is to look at the statistics of dogs in animal shelters. Millions of dogs are put to sleep annually due to a lack of responsible homes. It's no longer enough to simply want Molly to have a nice litter of puppies. There are thousands of puppies in the shelters and unless one has a good reason to bring more puppies into the world, it's better to spay Molly increase her lifespan and be on the merry path of dog ownership. Even if you have two lovely purebreds whom you'd like to breed, the situation does not change. There are plenty of purebreds being picked up by rescues and left at shelters. Breeding done by responsible breeders is done to pursue a common goal of bettering the breed. This is not something that is taken lightly and responsible breeders spend hours upon hours and vast amounts of money to contribute to the breed of their choice. This can be argued by most responsible breeders is the only reason from this perspective to breed.

Breeding does not settle down females, having a litter does not maker her calmer, healthier, happier or any other excuse contrived. Likewise with breeding males. In many cases, the exact opposite. Take a look at a female after she has finished weaning a litter and all the pups have gone home. She looks tired. If she is a longcoated breed, you'll notice the dramatic difference when she looses A LOT of her coat. Her weight has fluxuated, and often her mammary glands are sensitive. It takes time for a female to recovered and most breedings by responsible breeders take place about a year apart if not more. Male dogs definitely do not calm down after being bred. They often get worse and become very annoying should a female come in heat within his range.

If you are among the millions of people who do love dogs and want absolutely the best for them, and do want to breed dogs, then prepare for a long journey. Start by asking yourself some questions. First off, being Why do you want to breed. Some others to think about; Do you have the resources to breed responsibly? Are you ready to take back a puppy you sell at ANY point in the dog's life? Are you prepared to loose a female in whelp? Can you make that ultimate decision with a terribly sick puppy? Are you willing to do everything in your power to make sure all puppies and mother are happy and healthy? There are so many questions, it would be impossible to cover them all here. But responsible breeding is not something to be taken casually and it requires a lot of thought.

Research, Research Research!

To start on your road to responsible breeding is research. Assuming you have a breed in mind. It is very wise to live with this breed or be a seasoned dog owner before starting to breed. Once you are ready to move to the next level, you need to research the breed, it's bloodlines, what you'd like to contribute to the breed, what you like in the breed, the health issues, the temperaments, the structure, the type etc. When you've decided on those issues, that should narrow down your search as far as kennels go. Ideally, you'll want to purchase the best show quality female you can afford. The difference between show quality and pet quality is often hard to tell. Sometimes a pet quality dog may be too large or small for the standard, or maybe it lacks finer points on it's head type. Nonetheless pet quality dogs make just as good pets as show quality and it usually takes a trained eye to see the difference. You'll want a female, again many breeders are very concerned selling their show quality girls to a new person aka a newbie. They may even want to do a co-ownership, this is frowned on by some kennel clubs, but still allowed. Before you enter a co-ownership make absolutely sure that you and this person agree on what you want to produce, what testing needs to be done, what titles need to be obtained, even down to the type of food fed and most importantly, make sure you feel 100% comfortable with this person. They may want to be a little more in control and be domineering, but often they have more experience, so take that into consideration. However don't be bullied either. This is where your previous reputation in the breed comes in handy, especially when obtaining a show quality female. Show quality usually sells for more too, and the contracts involved are very detailed and lengthy. The main reason is because the breeder wants to be absolutely sure they are selling their dogs to the right person and are using every safety method to be certain. Make sure that you are happy with the girl. You'll want her to be spunky for her breed and one with an confident personality. This shows in the show ring, and a girl who is a bit hammy, may do better. You'll also need to introduce yourself to genetics, because they will play perhaps the most important role in breeding. You have to familiarize yourself with which traits are dominant, which colours, how to linebreed and outcross. What you think may be the best path in order to achieve your desired look. Start thinking about other bloodlines that may compliment your girl, research history books on your breed.

A Little Bit on Reputation

This should be before the previous section, but it all links together, so it's very hard to place an order on responsible breeding. As stated above, it is very important for you to be a seasoned dog owner, preferably in the breed you hope to breed. Not only for your own sake, but you'll want to try and create a good reputation for yourself in the breed so that when you do go looking for a show quality female, the breeders are familiar with you. It's therefore very important that you participate in the breed club, even if you have a pet quality dog. If you can do obedience or agility, only the more better. If you can arrange to get a good quality male dog on a contract that allows you to show him, that may help wonders. Show that you are committed to the breed no matter what quality dog you have. A breeder who knows that you've trained their friend Sue's dog to a CDX and a CGC, and that you come highly recommended as a home, will have less qualms about selling you one of their precious show quality dogs.

Training time

Of course with every puppy you have to train, but now enters conformation training. You have to show your dog, especially if you're a newbie and you have your foundation female. As you gain years of experience, you may be able to see that some girls may not need a title, but your foundation girl should have a championship, after all, you're putting your hopes in this girl that she will help build you your kennel! Take a conformation training class to understand what is going on even more so. In any case, you should be able to handle your dog in the conformation ring. As well you'll gain tips, pointers and valuable advice. Choose your conformation training class, like you would with others, very carefully. You don't want to train your puppy like a drill sergeant, otherwise she may think conformation is boring. Always make it fun.

Professional What?

You may opt to hire a professional handler to show your dog for you. Professional handlers do cost money, however many have made showing dogs an art. They know their judges, they know how to show, they know what the judges like and they can make a mediocre dog look very good. However many handlers have such a reputation for showing quality dogs, your dog may actually be rejected by a professional handler if in their opinion your dog doesn't make the cut. Or if they are already showing your breed of dog for another and often larger more established kennel. Find a professional handler who has good references, who you know treats the dogs well. A professional handler's track record should speak for itself, if they are winning breeds and groups in a good number of shows they enter, then they are doing their job right. Depending on what you want, evaluate the professional handler's record. There are organizations that are made up of professional handlers in Canada it's the Canadian Professional Handlers Association, and in the US it is the Professional Handlers Association.

Chalk? Mousse, Scissors? Oh My!

In addition to learning a new way to train, you'll also have to learn a new way to groom. Usually your breeder will show you how and what to groom. Some breeds such as pointers, do not require as much as poodles or shelties, but your breeder may have some tricks up their sleeve on how to get a coat to gleam. You also have to train yourself to condition your dog. If you have a longcoated breed, you have to be very careful on how their coats are maintained. As well, your dog should have a nice muscle tone for the show ring, they have to be in top health, and it shows in their personality too. An unhealthy dog will not show as well. When you are ready to go in the show ring (do not go into the show ring if you don't think you can win, many puppies go through ugly stages, and your first impression to the show world of your dog should be a lasting one!) chances are you'll have butterflies in your stomach.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

When you head for a show, pack wisely, you need grooming materials, food, water, a crate, anything and everything to keep your dog comfortable. However be certain that it's within the rules of the club holding the show. Always ask for information about the show site from people who have done that show before. You don't want to enter your pup where the show site has people packed like sardines and with little climate control. You want to ideally make this as fun for your dog as possible. Make sure you check in with the show desk to get your number band, a schedule (you can't have too many of these when things go missing). Groom your dog accordingly, try to be at the ring where you're supposed to show 10 minutes in advance, sometimes they start early, more likely they start late. Don't get too chatty, if the judge in the ring is your judge, take note of their preferences in the ring, each judge has their own routine, to give yourself a winning edge it sometimes helps to be familiar with this routine. When your time comes, walk in and do your bit. Always be polite to the judge, but try not to say anything too committal, or start a huge conversation, just follow the judge's lead. Remember chances are they have judged or have to judge plenty more dogs and may not have a ton of time. If you win, don't jump up and down and scream and shout. Smile, thank the judge kindly, accept the congratulations with grace and go back to your area. There you can celebrate. No matter what however, even if the judge puts up what is in your opinion the ugliest dog imaginable, do not act upset. Congratulate the winner, thank the judge be polite and go back to your area and vent quietly. Always act professional and in the end, you'll be treated like one.


You will hear this word a lot in your involvement. You probably heard it as an involved pet owner. Politics is a very broad term describing anything from the race to breed club president, to who wins in the show ring, to which lines are preferred by club/judge/organization. When someone says politics in reference to the show ring, often they are referring to why the judge chose So and So's dog to win. It's true that judges often look at the wrong side of the leash (the handler) instead of the dog. However as explained to me by a professional handler, soon to turn judge. If the judge has two equal dogs in the ring, who is the judge going to pick, the dog with the newbie whom they've never seen before, or the dog of their friend who may be able to help out with a similar favour. It's not necessarily fair, but it's human nature in many cases. To get around this, make a list, a list of judges who seem to favour dogs that look like your type. As well make a list of judges who seem to choose the best dog no matter what. Soon you'll have a list and you may be doing better in the show ring. Another type of politics is dealing with the breeds politics. Sometimes the issues may just deal with a little clique setting who seem to be making all the decisions in a breed club. Often they are as difficult as dealing with different factions in the breed club who both feel that the other party is breeding the given breed incorrectly. It's very hard to stay out of politics as everyone has an opinion, and in many cases, getting involved may help out. But you have to be VERY careful who you get involved with, what you say, what you do. If you get involved in politics it's often very hard to get out save for a long period of inactivity.

After the Shows

When your dog has obtained it's championship, you can start considering the second steps of breeding. In Canada, you need 10 points under at least three different judges to get a Championship, in the US you need 15 and you also need two majors. A major is a collection of points a dog obtains by beating so many other dogs at one time. Ideally you'll have an ideal of what you want to contribute to the breed in terms of a physical dog. And showing your girl has given you a ton of opportunities to see some of the males around. If you think a particular male would be a nice compliment to your female, call the owner up to see if that dog is up for stud. If he is, ask for particular details about him, such as if he has been proven. What his health certifications are, and of course, if they can fax you a pedigree. Meanwhile, you may consider putting an obedience title or a CGC on your girl, or maybe even something more, or more related to the breed. Just to prove what sort of stuff she has. It depends on what the order you may want to pursue, but a lot of people decide to have a litter with their girl as soon as it's best, and then may go on to special her. However given that this is your foundation girl, and that showing a female in top quality is tough enough*, let alone a mommy, you may want to try and get in shows when she is resting from litters, but also get a good variety of dogs from her to help build your kennel.

*Females are often tougher to show, because they shed their coat after each heat, therefore it is harder to keep her looking in top condition. In addition, females go through a very heavy shed after each litter, and they generally look very tired and spent, which in all fairness, they are.

Picking a Stud

Picking a stud can be a hard task. It's often best to seek advice from your breeder and those who are familiar with the lines. Do not be tempted to choose a stud because he's flashy or winning tons of shows. Remember that you need to focus on traits and pedigree. It's not a contest on who breeds to the top showing male, it's a goal to make an even better looking and sounder dog. For this reason it is also important to make absolutely certain that the stud has a sound temperament, structure and has all his health certifications. Do not breed to the "flavour of the month" You have a sound image of what you want to breed, and as long as that is within the breed standard stick to it!

Health Screening

Genetic diseases vary from breed to breed, but every breed has them, even mixed dogs do. The notion of hybrid vigour where the offspring is more genetically resilient to diseases if their parents are of different heritages is not the strongest. The problem is, that with even mixed breeds, a lot of them are susceptible to genetic diseases, because their parents both have the same types of genetic diseases. Almost any mixed breed nowadays comes from parents where the risk for at least one type of disease is doubled up. Back to purebreds, there are tests developed to screen for many genetic diseases. It is in the opinion of this writer that a dog afflicted with a genetic disease should not be bred and are inferior specimens. Some breeders beg to differ if it's done very infrequently, and if the animal is sound in every other way. In most breeds, there is generally enough good dogs and at least two or three who would be a perfect compliment to your girl without the need to breed to dogs afflicted. Screening your own dog is just as important. Not too many breeders will breed a stud to a girl who has not been screened. And don't forget to study the genetic diseases in the pedigree too, learn how some of these diseases work and apply that accordingly! In addition to genetic screening, dogs have to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, which can cause infertility in the long run. So make certain that any dog you're breeding your dog to, has a clean bill of health too! Health screening is perhaps the most important issue surrounding breeding dogs today. A lot of dogs are suffering because people are not testing, or are breeding afflicted dogs. It is not fair to a puppy to breed it with a shot against it in life. That said, even despite your best efforts to screen against these diseases, you may have a dog who afflicted anyhow. It's a discouraging event with a breeder, and review should be taken to see if the error was on your part. Unfortunately a lot about genetics is still a craps shoot, and even the best laid out plans can turn ugly.

Getting Ready to Breed

Well you have the Ch, you have a CD, and a CGC, you have your health clearances, you have put in countless hours into pedigree study, consulting books, breeders, experts, your girl has a clean bill of health and you've chosen your stud, now what? Well many breeders have a stud contract to protect them and yourself should there be no resulting puppies. You will more than likely be required to send your girl to the stud's house, so in addition to good lines, you have to be comfortable with this breeders to treat your girl right and be very careful that your girl is only bred to the right guy. In many areas, you can actually drive to the stud's house, but be prepared to do it every day for several days. A girl goes into heat, and it can last anywhere for 2-4 weeks, most often 3-4, and she is receptive to breeding for only a window of a few days during this time. The key is to get her bred, and to have that breeding take when she is receptive and ovulating. But even before contemplating this, you should have some homes reserved for your pups. As well as contract written up.

Contracts and Homes

Part of being a responsible breeder is making sure your pups have homes. That is unless you want to keep all the pups yourself. Always be prepared to keep all the pups though, it's unlikely, but it's always possible that six of your buyers will back out. So you should have the financial resources to do so. It's far more likely that one buyer will back out. And since you bred the pups, it's your lifetime responsibility to make sure they are healthy, happy and cared for! To protect yourself, your pups and your buyers, write up a contract. Outline the care, the quality, your guarantee on the health of the dogs, your first right of refusal for the pups. At any time, you should be ready willing and able to take a puppy back. This is one of the hallmarks of a responsible breeder! Be forewarned that contracts are not iron clad and will not be of much help, and that if you want a dog back, it isn't going to be easy, but in many cases, hard work and determination pays off. You'll want a few homes lined up for your dogs before they are born. This can be done through referral by contacting breeders, veterinarians, training schools etc. A nice ad in a well respected dog magazine can help. There is a lot of controversy as to whether one should advertise in the paper. I feel that this is up to the responsible breeder and the image they are concerned with. For the record, I have found plenty of breeders who advertise regularly in Dogs in Canada, taking out ads in the Toronto Star. Most of these breeders I would consider responsible. You can usually take a deposit on the puppies, when is up to you. Some breeders do it before the dogs are even bred for, others do not take a deposit until the puppy is on the ground. The deposit is usually half the price of the dog or under. You'll go through the interviewing of potential homes where you'll get a lot of practice of saying no. You want the best home for your puppies, even if that means keeping them yourself! You'll want to meet everyone who is going to be caring for your dog, plus the kiddies, to see how the parents allow the kids to interact with dogs. You can set your prices as high as you like, although the chances of anyone buying a $1000.00 pet quality Shetland Sheepdog from a breeder who has just started out, as opposed to the established responsible kennel about an hour away selling the same quality for $500.00 are pretty slim. So it's generally best to keep within the range of other breeders.

That Special Day

Well the time has come to take your girl to meet the father of her puppies. You should contact the stud's owner as soon as your girl goes into heat, and if you are shipping her, send her along as soon as possible. If you are driving her, you can do the smear to tell if she is ready yourself. But it's a good ideal to also have her near the stud, so they can become acquainted and usually an experienced stud can tell when she's ready as well. There will be a few breedings, as you want the best chance possible to have puppies. You may opt for an AI as well. It is a good ideal to use a stud with an experienced owner/breeder as you will be the new kid on the block and still have a lot to learn. There are many thing that can go wrong, starting out with your girl simply not appreciating male affections. You should be prepared for this and ready to deal with it, as should the stud's owner.

The Waiting Game

Now comes the time of waiting and seeing to see if the breeding took. Your vet will be of great assistance here, assuming you have a vet who is experienced in dogs. Generally pups can be spotted on an ultrasound, x-ray and/or palpitations. Again, this is all costly. As well as your nutrition costs for your female as they go up. And equipment for the whelping. You'll want to arrange for an experienced breeder to come out to your place as soon as your girl starts to whelp, as doing this on your own may not be as easy as it seems. You may need some experienced advice when the time comes, just to play it safe. Also make sure you have on hands, the name of a vet who will be on call during that time to help with any emergencies. Be certain in what you want should an emergency arise. Make the vet very familiar with your girls sensitivities, her health record and that the vet is 100% clear that you will do anything to have a safe healthy litter and a safe healthy mom. You can very well loose your girl during the whelping, as well as the pups, so you cannot play it too safely. Make sure you have an emergency fund in the bank account, should your girl need an emergency caesarian section!

It's Time

Your girl is having puppies, the other breeder is being a wealth of help and you're participating and learning as you go along. It's very exciting, yet you have to keep calm as you don't want to disturb your girl. If all goes well, you have a nice healthy litter of puppies and a loving mother. However be prepared for sickly puppies, emergency caesarian sections, hours of handfeeding, hours of staying awake no matter what. Also be prepared to put down a puppy who may just be too sick or even deformed to live a healthy normal life. And sadly be prepared to even loose your girl, the entire litter everything you just poured your heart and soul into. It is best that if you are doing this for the first time, to have your breeder come over to assist or a suitable replacement. While the mother does do a lot of work, there are several things that their humans do to make life easier for her. This ranges from cleaning off the puppies, to cutting the umbilical cords, to changing the bedding often during the process. Of course you want to invite everyone over, but it's generally not best until the puppies are at least 3 weeks of age. You'll need the vet to come over or vice versa to see the puppies and mom. The puppies may need their tails removed or the dewclaws, this is usually done at three days without anesthetic! As well, you'll need to get the puppies tattooed or microchipped at some point. Not to mention their vaccinations and worming, registration and their food. You'll have to handle the puppies so that they are well socialized, you'll have to monitor them pretty much round the clock for the first 3 weeks. So set up the whelping box near a bed of some sort. And line your house with baby monitors as you'll want to hear the puppies all the time. You're life will be completely turned around from the time the puppies are born until the time they leave for their homes. You'll be busy caring for them and when you get some moment's rest, you'll be meeting with puppy buyers, evaluators, vets etc. You'll have to decide which dog/s you're going to keep hoping that they turn out to be the good example of the breed, until then you anguish over your decision. Even when the puppies are gone to their homes, it's a constant chore monitoring them for the next 10 or more years, offering suggestions from crate training to skeletal problems. You have your contracts and your guarantees, so be prepared to honour them if a dog should turn up ill or defective.

Checklist-When to breed?

When you realize all the money it's going to cost. Ideally you'll have some money in the bank to spare, either that or sacrifice. However when breeding, breeding quality dogs is the utmost importance, so if you need an air conditioner, yet Muffy needs all her health tests, you get the health tests first!

When you have a good enough employer and lots of time to spare. You'll need your weekends free to show the dog, you'll need nights to research pedigrees. You'll need days for vet visits, and trips to various places. And you'll need time off when you're in whelping, either that or a caregiver who is as equally dedicated to having the puppies best at heart and able to do so!

When you know that breeding good dogs does not come fast and cheap.

When you know the chances of you making money while breeding is non existent and you don't want to make money, but because you love doing it.

When you no longer simply want Ginger to have puppies, teacher your children the miracle of life, need another dog just like Ginger or any other reason that does not mean bettering the breed.

When you realize that breeding your girl is very hard on her, and at best you'll have a tired mom, at worst, you can loose her and the litter.

When you're emotionally strong enough to loose a puppy after 48 hours of trying, yet continue to take care of the 8 left.

When you are strong enough to give a seriously deformed puppy a peaceful end.

When you can say no to people because you don't think they will be a good home for your puppy.

When you are prepared to care for each and every dog you produce for it's entire life!

Breeding is a very difficult task to do right. It costs thousands of dollars to raise one litter responsibly, and countless hours. You will not make money at breeding if you do it right. If you love dogs, you will breed responsibly. You will breed to better the breed, and you will be responsible for the dogs you produce for their ENTIRE LIVES. Again, this article is only meant to be the tip of the iceberg and to actually dissuade from breeding. There are so many other costs and considerations, that this at best can only be described as the bare minimum. If you do want to breed, think hard and carefully about all involved. Do your research. Please please please email me if you have any questions. If I cannot answer them myself, I will find someone who can! There are books on the subject which don't even come close to covering it all. If you are adamant that you are going to breed and want to do it right, suggested reading material will be provided at the end, plus check out the links section for upcoming links to articles on how to breed responsibly, or how not to breed irresponsibly.

Some Suggested Reading

Genetics for Dog Breeders by Malcolm Willis
Dogs and How to Breed Them by Hilary Hamar
Successful Dog Breeding by Walkowicz and Wilcox


Weaning-Generally used to raise a litter until they are no longer dependent on milk as a main source of food. This generally occurs at 6-8 weeks. Although puppies should not be removed from the litter any earlier than 49 days.

Bloodlines-Family or Ancestral lines of a dog, can be specific as to a family, or general as to the country the particular dog was whelped in.

Linebreeding-Breeding not too distant relative together to stabilize type, form and function. Linebreeding is the most common form, not to be confused with inbreeding which breeds close relatives together.

Outcrossing-Breeding dogs either very distantly related or not related at all. This is not done often, but can be a valuable tool in helping a breeder determine which of their dogs traits are strong.

CDX-Companion Dog Excellent, an AKC and CKC title for obedience. A CD is required for this title.

CGC-Canine Good Citizen, an AKC title to test for a sound temperament and a well behaved dog.

Conformation-A type of event showcasing dogs to see if they Conform to the standard outlined. They compete against other dogs in order to determine which dog closely matches the standard.

Foundation-Referred to the dog who started the breeder off in their path of breeding. The dog that they felt contributed to their gene pool in that very special way that only a first or foundation dog can do.

Championship-A term used by most kennel clubs to refer to a dog who has won a set number of points in conformation by matching the standard, and in the opinion of judges. Different clubs have different requirements for a Championship, most often signified by a Ch. In front of the dog's registered name.

Professional Handler-Someone who makes money off of showing dogs for people. Professionals are more likely to win because of greater skill and know how in the show ring and handling dogs.

Condition-All dogs should be shown in top form. A dog with a clean, but otherwise unglossy coat due to poor diet would not be considered in top condition. A dog from poor muscle tone due to lack of exercise is not conditioned. Dogs must be a picture of health and vitality when in the show ring.

Number Band-Every exhibitor in the show is identified by a number rather than a name worn on their left arm. It is against the rules to make your identity or your dogs known in any fashion in the ring. The bands are in place to promote fairness.

Puts up-This is dog show slang referring to one dog winning over another, or just in reference to a dog winning.

Stud-A male dog who is available for breeding.

Proven-A term to describe a stud. In essence the stud has to prove that he produces live puppies. This can also refer to a stud producing quality puppies as well. In many cases infertility problems are blamed on the stud and the stud's owner. But for reference, people want to make sure that they are breeding to a stud since there is usually a lot of time, effort and a fee, who will produce them with puppies

Flashy-A term used to describe a dog who stands out from the crowd. This can be accomplished by how much white a dog may have on it, or a vibrant personality aka a bit of a showoff. Ideally you want a dog who stands out from the crowd, so that the judge may notice her more.

Ch-Abbreviation for Championship

CD-Abbreviation for Companion Dog a CKC and AKC obedience title.

Take/took-A term used by breeders to describe a successful breeding before the puppies are born. Meaning that there are clear signs that the dam is pregnant.

First right of refusal-This is a term that most breeders use in their contracts to stipulate that if the dog cannot for any reason be kept by the owners, that they must present the breeder with a chance to either take or buy back the dog. Breeders do this because they feel responsible for the well being of their dog, and feel that it is their job to make sure the dog gets a good home, instead of being placed in a shelter by the owner.

On the ground-This means that the puppies have been born.

Smear-A smear can be done on a female in heat of her vaginal secretions in order to tell whether she is reproductively receptive. The secretion is taken on a slide and examined under a microscope.

AI-Artificial Insemination. Sometimes natural breedings are not possible, or they are backed up with AI to ensure a litter.

Whelping-This is dog breeder speak for having puppies, birthing etc.

Dewclaws-They are the canine equivalent to thumbs, except with the dogs, they are not even a fraction as useful as with humans. Many breeds require them to be removed in the first few days of a pup's life. This is done with out any anesthetic.

Why You Should Buy From A Responsible Breeder

Why should I buy from a responsible breeder?

With all the places nowadays to pick up a puppy, it sometimes gets confusing as to where is the best source to purchase one. A little above, you will see my article on how to find a dog, and you'll notice the term responsible breeder used a lot. A responsible breeder is someone who cares deeply about dogs and deeply about their breed in particular. They breed as a labour of love and will do everything within their power to assure that all members of their dog family and their breed are in a good position in life. Therefore, getting a puppy from Ms Responsible Breeder isn't the most easy task. Ms Responsible breeder wants to be absolutely sure that there dog is going to the right home, and since Ms. RB is only human, she has to ask a lot of questions and make up parameters of Potential Puppy Owners (PPO) that she feels comfortable with. Here lies the problem. In this day and age, people have become so used to getting what they want, when they want it. Things move at light speed. With the introduction of the Internet, we have only become more speedy in our transactions in life. We are also used to trying to get what we want for what we want to pay. Good Fast Cheap! That's a slogan with many. As my friend says, you cannot get one of these without sacrificing the other two, and while he was not speaking about dogs, it certainly applies. Unfortunately, these wise words have not spread across the globe yet when it comes to dogs, hence this article informing you why you should wait and pay for a well bred puppy from a good and responsible breeder!

Pet Stores

Pet Stores is the absolute worst place in the world to get a puppy, unless they are actively working in conjunction with a shelter to adopt out dogs! Excluding these pet stores, avoid buying a puppy or kitten from pet stores at all costs. Pet Stores are often supplied their animals by places called Puppymills. Puppymills turn the stomachs of dog fanciers. They are large commercial operations who's sole purpose is to make money. This means that dogs are mistreated and severely neglected, I can guarantee you, that 99% of the puppy mills would be shut down by any humane standards. So why are puppymills in existence? Well a lot of it has to do with lack of funds in humane treatment of animals agencies. They cannot build a case against a puppymill when they are bursting at the seams to take care of dogs in their shelters and deal with individual cases of abuse. Furthermore, you'd think it would be easy to convict someone on the grounds of keeping hundreds of dogs outside in filthy conditions, with little love or care in any sense. But sadly in many places it is not. Animal control laws are very lax in some areas, and sometimes it's very hard to prove that the dogs in puppymills are being treated horrendously. It is up to our elected officials to see to it that animals are treated with the same level of care that a loving pet home would. So consider that the next time elections roll around. In puppymills, females are made to have litter after litter of puppies as if they were machines. If they die in whelping, the puppymill owner finds another. The females are often caged for their entire lives, and are terrified of people because they have never been properly socialized. The males used for stud have similar fates. The puppies who survive, spend sometimes only 3-4 weeks with their mother and siblings before they are packed up in transport trucks and shipped to pet stores. There, the puppies are often put in cages alone and unkempt. Many puppies have viral and bacterial diseases as well as parasites due to horrendous care. These puppies who are being sold, are often being sold for outrageous prices, with as little as just one set of vaccinations. There is no genetic disease guarantee, needless to say the parents are not screened for the often crippling diseases affecting the breed. And often the puppies are bought and sold to their homes and wind up very sick and/or die. It is in the very firm opinion of this writer and owner of this website, that NO responsible breeder ever sells their dogs to a broker, a pet store, or anything where the well being and/or the welfare of their puppy is at risk. It is very tempting for anyone after reading the conditions of puppy mills to go in and scoop up all the puppies at the pet store in order to shelter them from any more pain and suffering. Even the most hardened shelter worker who never buys from pet stores has a hard time keeping a stiff upper lip when looking at those puppies in the window. But it is an ABSOLUTE must, to NOT buy, "rescue" or financially support ANY pet store who sells puppies from mills. It seems very cruel to those puppies now, but it is for the best in the long run. Each person who buys a puppy from a pet store is only putting the money back in the pocket of the pet store and puppymill to begin with. And this encourages them. To stop the supply, we must cut off the demand altogether. And wherever possible, we must demonstrate our disapproval to these pet stores of their unethical practices, by boycotting their stores, brands altogether. There is only one thing these people really care about, and that is money, so we have to hit them where it hurts and that is in the pocketbook. Furthermore, it is our duty to educate anyone who is considering buying a dog, about the horrors of these places, and to urge them to boycott as well. You can also voice your opinions on your county, city, province, state or country's animal welfare not rights laws. Consider volunteering for the animal officials department to help ensure funding for programs to stop puppymills. Report and document any abuse you see if you suspect a puppymill or in a pet store! There are several online anti puppymill organizations online, consider joining them to help put an end to puppymills. Every problem has two types of solutions, and every problem needs both type of solutions to be solves. The long term solution, which is education and hitting them where it hurts, and the short term solution, which is working to shut existing puppymills down. I urge you to become involved in both!!! Not buying your dog from the pet store is the first thing you can do in helping close these horrible places down. Believe it or not, these are only SOME of the reasons not to buy from a pet store, but they are the most alarming and perhaps the most important.

This part is worded very harshly admittedly, but it is because of my sheer disgust at the abuse of animals, and I am not able to keep terribly civil when I am aware of the conditions of puppymills. By far, this part is rather tame in comparison to some stuff on the Internet.

Back Yard Breeders

The term Back Yard Breeder, or BYB is a very loose one. It can cover small puppymill type operations, or it can cover your neighbour who bred her Beagle to the Beagle down the street. Many typical BYB is a person who thinks they are breeding the right way. They're usually a family who simply does not know that they are breeding incorrectly, and want to have the smell of puppy breath around. They are generally very nice and honourable people and they will listen to the facts and often change their tune about breeding once they are aware. The problem with these people is, that they do not take necessary precautions when breeding. The little Susie may not have the best temperament in the world. And the stud Tommy may be a huge Beagle. Both of these traits can be inherited in the offspring, making larger Beagles with bad temperaments. Furthermore, neither Susie or Tommy have the health screening to ensure that their puppies are not afflicted with genetic diseases. And sadly with most BYBs they do not have contracts stating that the puppy comes back to them if the owner should no longer be able to keep it. So a lot of the puppies from BYBs end up in the pound. The other type of BYB is someone who actively breeds and cuts corners. They often know what they are doing is wrong, but are either not aware of the full consequences of their actions, or choose not to believe the consequences. Often you'll see people advertising Peke-a-poos, or Schnoodles, which are deliberately mixed dogs sold at a very high price. Or you'll see something along the lines of Rare White Boxers! being sold again at a high price. These people know what they are doing is wrong, they often like to think of themselves as trail blazers and will tell their puppy buyers that these breeds will soon be recognized by the national kennel club. Needless to say they do not do any health screening or showing, or temperament testing. If you buy a dog off these people, you will again, only be encouraging them to do the same thing again. All attempts to educate these people as well, should be done with almost an expert style, as they are very defensive and no one wants to listen to a lecture some more aggressive animal welfare folks like to give. Education has to be done with puppy buyers, which can be done by anyone, while the BYBs are left to some more diplomatic breeders who can address the situation with facts and tact.

These two places are the greatest threats to dog fancy, whether it be a lovable mutt to a pedigreed pooch. Irresponsible breeding fills up the shelters, harms dogs, and is the cause of death to animals more than many diseases combined. If you see an irresponsible breeder, please contact the authorities if you suspect abuse. If not, please contact a local rescue or a watchdog organization which keeps an eye on irresponsible breeding establishments. Avoid buying from these places by knowing your facts and doing your homework. Remember not to buy or support these people out of pity for their dogs. Unfortunately there is a war going on against irresponsible breeding, and we cannot surrender or do anything that may make the enemy stronger. We have to work on the long term, and that means having a stiff upper lip sometimes. I encourage readers to get involved in discouraging irresponsible breeding in the animal welfare part. And I beg of readers to buy from a responsible breeder, or go to a responsible shelter or rescue mission.

A Little Fun!

The Potential Puppy Owner Test! Take it if you DARE!

This is a test to determine if people are truly ready for a dog. They will be stressed to every limit, with little mercy shown. If the Potential Puppy Onwer passes, they will be given a liscence to start researching the breed of their choice.

Herein after the Potential Puppy Owner will be referred to as the PPO. Under no circumstances will physical force, yelling, cursing or threatening be used.
Protective padding and soil proof clothing of any sort are not permitted.
Small wounds and scratched will be handled in a blase manner. Washing with water and *a* bandage will be distributed to each PPO.
Tests will be held in a variety of environments. From crowded interiors to muddy fields to brush. PPO must enter all these environments with a happy face.
PPO will have only one set of clothes permitted. If at any time they are seen wiping off saliva or dog hair, they will fail.

Let The Test Begin!

PPO must control a highly stimulated 10 month old male German Shepherd puppy. PPO must be able to calm the dog into a down position for 2 minutes. Only a flat buckle collar and nylon lead will be issued.
PPO must stand in the way of a 14 month old Golden Retriever puppy and a field. The handler of the puppy will then throw a ball directly in the path of the PPO. The PPO must stand their ground and take the clobbering in good nature.
PPO must serve dinner to 6 Rottweiler puppies. The puppies will be no older than 6 months and no younger than 4 months.The PPO must not spill the food, and the puppies will not be held in stay any position.
The PPO must quiet either 4 Shetland Sheepdogs, or 6 Pomeranians when the doorbell rings. PPO has two minutes and the dogs will be off lead. The dogs must be handled previously by a breeder, immune to the nosie and living in the middle of nowhere.
PPO must hold their ground with 10 Jack Russell Terriers chasing an animal that they see as prey. PPO must hold their leashes and no move more than 6 inches. No corrections will be issues, but PPO is welcome to try and distract them.
PPO must hold their groun with two Great Danes on ice. PPO must not move any further than 100 feet.
PPO must play with an adult male Newfoundland after the dog has been swimming in a still pond. They must attempt to dry themselves off with a tea towel. At no time will PPO show disgust.
PPO must leave two adolescent Siberian Huskies alone in their home uncrated for 3 hours. The dogs will be kept in a room where there are no dangers to the dogs themselves. PPO must not loose temper with the dogs. PPO may cry however.
PPO must groom an adult male Collie blowing coat in 1 half hour. Eyes, Nails, Paws, Ears, Teeth and Coat. The dog will be recently bathed to give PPO a good chance.
PPO must be introduced to a pack of Beagles ready for a hunt, without cringing at the noise.
PPO must fit a Basenji into a weather protectant coat within 5 minutes. The Basenji will have never been trained to wear weather protecting clothes previously. No ear plugs will be issued.
PPO must carry an Irish Wolfhound puppy up and down the stairs 20 times a day for a week.
PPO must remove all thistles out of the coat of an English Setter. The coat will only be medium length, but all thistles will be removed by hand and a fine toothed comb.
PPO must exercise a Vizsla who has not been exercised in two days. PPO must not tire out before the dog.
PPO must sleep in a room with a Bulldog. If PPO does not get any sleep, they must appear sunny and cheerful in the morning.
PPO must clean the yard of a St. Bernard breeder in 10 minutes during a snowstorm. PPO may not use any other tools than a common shopping bag from the supermarket.
PPO must sit in a room and read an entire magazine while a Shiba Inu is being introduced to the crate.
PPO will hand strip a Giant Schnauzer under the supervision of it's breeder until the desired look is achieved. Note this can take months!
PPO must take a large breed to the vets after being neutered.
PPO will navigate through 10 small dogs without stepping on one.
PPO must pass an agility course.
PPO must secure a steady stream of bags in 3 days. PPO cannot steal bags from their supermarket that is a privilige reserved for only the seasoned dog owner.
PPO must successfully be able to get a dog to throw up in a bag, while they are in a passenger seat of a car.
PPO must not die of shock when they have to cough up the veterinary fees for the cost of neutering an adult Mastiff.
PPO must not die of shock when they have to cough up for the food bill of two growing Bullmastiffs.
PPO must sit in a closed room for 12 hours with 2 dogs who have been fed broccoli, cauliflower and beans for dinner.
PPO must live with 2, 5 month old active breed puppies for 2 months and not go insane.
PPO must spend 72 hours with a breeder whelping and watching puppies. PPO must not once doze off. A steady stream of caffeine will be issued.
PPO must spend the night on the floor beside a sick dog's bed. Just to be certain that the dog is resting comfortably.
PPO will go on a camping trip and take the dog *everywhere* with them. Including managing to hold the dogs leash and use the outhouse at the same time. This will occur at 3 am and only a small flashlight will be issued.
PPO must vow to love, train, care and nurture their dogs for the rest of their dog's life. PPO must accept that each and every dog is an individual that needs to live within a pack. PPO must vow to educate themselves about the breed of their choice and that breed's requirements.
The PPO must vow to purchase their dog from a reputable and responsible breeder/shelter/rescue. PPO will also conduct themselves and their dogs in a responsible manner securing liberties for the rest of the dog loving community.
Furthermore, the PPO must manage to keep good humoured and remember that for every insane, bad, tough moment, there will always be a hundred more good moments just waiting to happen
PPO must try to be the person their dog thinks they are.

All articles and humour on this site are copyrighted to Joy Henderson, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and cannot be reproduced without express written permission from the author.

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