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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Best way to carry a Pom?

Just had a phone call from a lady wanting to know what would be the best 'dog sling' for her 12 year old Pomeranian for when she gets tired? Presumably it's for carrying the dog hands free. The dog is 4 kilos. 'Not too cumbersome' is the ladies plea. Easy for her to carry when the dog isn't in it and the dog is walking. Preferably dog facing forward when carried like a Baby Bjorn rather than a dog bag.
Any suggestions, preferably under £30 - we don't like easy tasks here!!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Sight for sore eyes

We have a two-year-old Scottish Terrier who presented with what we thought was a problem with her eyes. After a number of consults with a vet we were referred to an eye specialist, who in turn gave us the diagnosis of corneal ulcers, then punctuated kyritonitus and finally immune deficiency.
Her treatment consists of a steroid and an immune suppressant - these she was on for a period of six months. When we were advised to reduce the meds the symptoms became aggressive once again and after more consults have been told that she could well be needing the meds long-term.
Our concerns are the long-term use of the meds and how her body will cope as her heat cycle has already been affected. Is there any alternative to the meds and we would be very grateful for any other suggestions that we could look into for her lifelong comfort. I know that I'm going to be biased but she is the most wonderful dog, full of fun and character.
Lynne Vaughan, by email

I would imagine your Scottie has an immune-mediated condition rather than deficiency, given that she is needing immunosuppressive therapy. The mainstay of most immune-mediated disease in conventional veterinary medicine is, sadly, often high levels of corticosteroid which will have other effects within the body as well as controlling the condition in question. One of these is, indeed, interference with the seasons.
The eye specialist will, however, have been fully aware of the other effects of immunosuppressive therapy when he recommended it. Many decisions we make in life are a balancing act, weighing up the pros and cons, assessing the risks relative to the advantages of a particular course of action. This treatment will therefore have been advised as being the most likely to control your dog’s condition whilst being aware of potential adverse effects. This is why reducing the levels of medication was tried once the condition had improved, in the hope that your dog’s condition would stabilise on lower doses and thus reducing the risks of side effects.
Alison Logan, vet

Friday, 19 February 2010

Rehab advice

My three-year-old black Labrador, Pepper has had an accident and severed her tendon on her right front leg. The tendon had to be retrieved from further up the leg and was reattached. Her paw is slightly floppy. I am looking for advice on what physio and exercise she should be having. She has the physique of a working Lab, very slim and active.
Anita Doyle, by email

Hydrotherapy – supervised swimming exercise - instantly springs to my mind as being ideal because it is non-weight-bearing and will help build up the muscles. Referral is often required via your vet to ensure that there are no reasons why Pepper might not be a good candidate for hydrotherapy.
As a side issue, do make sure Pepper does not gain bodyweight during her enforced restricted exercise. She may be slim at the moment, which will all help with the healing process, but a Labrador often only has to look at food to gain weight, especially if she has been neutered! Pepper needs a good plane of nutrition for tissue healing, but her joints do not need to be overloaded with excess weight.
I do hope Pepper makes a good recovery, especially as she is so used to being active.
Alison Logan, vet

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Buying a pup from next door

I am thinking of getting a Labrador off my neighbour as he thinks his dog is pregnant. Both parents are KC registered and I was wondering how old they need to be before they can leave their mother and have there vaccinations and when they can go outside for socialising with other dogs and to ear different sounds,
Sarah, by email

Dear Sarah
First thing, try to discover if the two Labradors have been tested for Hip Dysplasia and eye problems as this is not a breed to take a gamble on. Hip replacement surgery will cost approx £5,000 so at the very least insure your pup immediately with a very good insurer and get cover for life as many of the cheaper ones won’t pay out for both hips to be replaced.
The other thing to consider is if the two Labs are closely related – was this an accidental mating or a planned one?
With reference to socialisation I suggest you go to this website
There are some great free downloads that will tell you about what needs to happen when. Look out for Before you get your Puppy and After you Get your Puppy.
Most pups leave home at eight weeks, but sometimes experienced people are able to take them at six weeks. Most vaccines are effective at 12 weeks but you still should start doing some careful socialisation before then – but do read Ian Dunbar’s free downloads on the above website, they really are amazing and you won't go far wrong if you follow his simple advice!
I hope this helps
Best wishes
Beverley Cuddy Editor

In addition to Beverley’s sound advice, I have a few points to make. Firstly, and most importantly, do make sure you are making the decision to take on a puppy for all the correct reasons – are you being ruled by your head or your heart? Are you in a position to take on a puppy work-wise, for example?
Any puppy is a huge commitment, in time and financially, but especially so a Labrador retriever. They can be a real handful for the first eighteen months or so, speaking from experience – full of well-intentioned mischief and great fun but they do need a great deal of patience and careful training.
Elbow scoring is an additional screening programme which is recommended before breeding so you should check on that. As well as conditions covered by screening programmes, it is also important that the parents are in good health and not suffering from, for example, epilepsy. Do they have good temperaments. Have you seen both dam and sire? Quite simply, do you like them, both visually and as characters?
With regard to vaccination, check with your local veterinary practice on the schedule it follows. Some vaccine manufacturers have an early finish of ten weeks of age, with your puppy covered to go out on the ground in the big wide world just a week later, ie potentially at just eleven weeks of age. This often needs, however, a first vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age so you need to plan ahead.
I always recommend the owners of puppies to carry them around wherever they can, strength of arms permitting! The more a puppy can experience in the way of sights and sounds from a young age, the better adjusted he or she is likely to be. A daily car trip, even if just five minutes around the block, is also advisable. The school run can be a great chance for not only travel in the car but also meeting children.
Likewise, some veterinary practices run puppy socialisation classes, often once puppies have received their first vaccination. They provide a chance for the puppies to mix as well as some early basic obedience training and general help and advice with caring for your puppy. A chance to ask those niggling questions which crop up!
Following on from Beverley’s pertinent question as to whether or not the mating was intentional: how old is the dam? When was she last vaccinated, which will determine the level of temporary protection conferred on her pups? Is the dam being wormed during pregnancy? Is she being fed a diet suitable to pregnancy? Is she in good body condition?
Think it all through carefully.
Alison Logan, vet

Is there doggie Viagra?

I hope you can help me. I have a male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who I would like to use on my bitches but even though he has sired two litters (the last one 18 months ago) now he does not show any interest when the bitches come into season. Even though I put him 24/7 with a bitch who is in season and she does all she can to get him interested nearly begging him to take her he does not try to mate her. He is 4 years old and I know that he is slightly over weight for a Cavalier but he was the same weight when he mated before and one time he wanted the bitch so much he broke the cage door off its hinges to mate her but now no interest. My question is there a doggie equivalent of Viagra or can you suggest any tablets both convention or Homeopathic that will make him randy and want to mate. If you could give me a reply by email I would appreciate it as I live in France and although I would love to be able to get your magazine (as I find your magazine is the only one who speaks its mind and doesn't disappear up the KC rear end like other so called Dog magazines) I find it impossible and if you just publish your reply I would miss it. 
Steve Anderson, via email, France   

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Food assistance

In three weeks I will be collecting my 10-week-old miniature Australian Labradoodle puppy. When she is old enough she is going to be trained by a charity to be an alert dog for me... to tell me when my blood sugar is getting low, as I have no warning symptoms.
I would like to be able to feed her a raw food diet as it seems the most natural to me... but as she will be with me everywhere, it would be awkward giving her raw meaty bone when away at a conference or somewhere like that!
Is it possible to feed her both cooked and raw? Would this upset her digestion? My friend's Labs, fed on dry food, get diarrhoea when given too many meaty bones.
I read the article on organic food in your magazine this month (we ourselves eat organic food ). I was thinking of the Orijen pet food plus some chicken wings and meaty bones.
Perhaps you could advise me also about Nature's Choice. Would that be easy to feed not at home?
Thank you!
Liz Brownlee, by email

Richard Allport, alternative vet, says...
While I am a strong advocate of a healthy raw food diet, there is no reason why you shouldn’t sometimes feed a good quality commercial food. Orijen. Lily’s Kitchen, Fish4Dogs, Prize Choice, Nature’s Menu, Darlings Real Dog Food, are all good examples (there are others).
Some of these (like Lily’s Kitchen, Orijen and Fish4dogs) are wet or dry processed food, but of sufficient quality of ingredients to be totally acceptable as a back up to a raw food diet. Some (like Darlings and Prize Choice) are packs of raw food, either ready to be frozen or already frozen. As long as you have access to a fridge when you are away, these would be ideal.
Natures Choice is a kibble with quite a high proportion of rice; the protein source is turkey meal. While better than many dry foods I’m not certain I’d recommend it as a suitable alternative. I’m not sure if you are confusing this with other similar named foods such as Natural Choice, Prize Choice, Natural Balance and so on. The only complicated thing about natural feeding is the confusing names of the various foods out there in the market place!

Catherine O'Driscoll, Canine Health Concern, says...
It’s wonderful to hear that you will be repaying your service dog with real food. This will keep her healthy and extend your partnership for many years to come – and you’ll be unlikely to waste a lot of time at the vets, treating illnesses that come from malnutrition.  So good choice!
Depending on how long your conferences last, you could put frozen chicken wings in a cooler box and they’ll be good for a few days. When we travel with Edward, we also include blocks of frozen Darlings pet food – this is good quality raw meat mixed with some vegetables, herbs and vitamins, so it’s ready to go ( 
Some hotels will allow you to put frozen food in their freezers, so it’s worth asking. We also find that most places have a supermarket or butchers nearby, so if you run out of the frozen stocks you’ve brought with you, it’s possible to nip to the shops. 
However, if your conference is in Timbuktu, Nature’s Choice is a good stop-gap. You only have to open the package and tip
it in a dish. Although feeding dogs raw might seem daunting at first, it seems very easy once you get in the swing.
As for changing the food and upsetting your dog’s digestion, I have always fed my dogs a variety of foods, including
leftovers from my own meals. Maybe getting them used to a variety of food when they’re young has helped. Some dogs,
though, are allergic to certain foodstuffs, which might be the case with your friend’s Labradors (although this is unusual
for Labs). I’d want to know more about them before drawing any conclusions on this.
Good luck, and wishing you many happy years with your new friend.

Jackie Marriott, UK Raw Meaty Bones, says...
It may well be tricky for you to feed your dog raw food, because I suspect that those who train the dog will refuse to feed her raw and may well insist that she isn’t, once she’s handed back to you, her guardian.  I suppose that depends on the organisation - I have been informed that Canine Partners for Independence will not allow their dogs to be fed raw, neither will Guide Dogs for the Blind.
However, to give some general advice. It’s best not to mix raw with cooked/processed, because of possible digestive issues.  As our name implies, we recommend feeding raw meaty bones...that is, large lumps of meat wrapped around a small amount of bone, plus some organ meat. 
We recommend feeding large pieces, so that the dog really has to work at the food and in the process, gives the teeth and gums a good cleaning at every mealtime. Clean teeth and gums are paramount to the health of pet carnivores.
Chicken wings are very boney, offer very little teeth cleaning as they are eaten in seconds and may pose a choking hazard for larger dogs. They are only really suitable for cats and toy dogs. For larger dogs we recommend joints of meat, rabbits, whole chickens, turkey drumsticks, cuts of pork, lamb neck, lamb shoulder etc  plus some organ meat, especially liver and for smaller dogs chicken quarters, chicken drums, lamb shanks and smaller joints of meat, again with some organ meat.
Natures Choice and Orijen are just brands of processed pet food and in our opinion no better or worse than any other. The ingredients are cooked, so in our opinion are entirely in the wrong form and consistency -  and particularly with Natures Choice, many of the ingredients are completely unsuitable to feed to a pet carnivore.
I think you need to do some research before jumping in at the deep end! I would suggest you read either (or both) of Tom Lonsdale’s books - “Raw Meaty Bones’ and “Work Wonders”.  I’d also recommend you have a look at as that site provides a huge amount of knowledge and information which you may well need at some stage, to answer the doubters and to defend your feeding choices, especially to members of the veterinary profession! Obviously check our site out too:)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Walking the dog - what to wear - and where to walk?

I am new to dog ownership and I am fast realising my wardrobe is completely unsuitable for all-terrain all-weather dog walking!
I need some suggestions as to where to go to find stylish dog walking clothing that is practical and gorgeous in equal measure! I have my dog with me all day - so I need something that is smart casual enough to be good for work and walking!
Also - footwear! I really don't want to have to wear Wellies. Are there any less clunky alternatives?
And any good books, websites on best places to walk?
I travel quite a bit in my work and my lovely Jack Russell will be coming with me - so
would love to have some places to look for good places to walk, dog friendly pubs etc.
Hannah Quinn, London

Monday, 15 February 2010

Hormonal imbalance?

Our three-year-old dog was spayed a year ago (after a litter of pups), but, and there is no easy way to say this, still constantly tries to hump our male dog! He is having none of it (bit of a wimp) and she is so dominant that he sometimes squeals where she grabs him so tight she hurts him! She is a very 'tough', robust girl with a happy, playful demeanor but sadly we constantly have to pull her off of him and stop her playing as she is hurting him. What can we do with our bully? In every other way the two dogs (same breed) get along well. What is happening with her hormones? We thought spaying would help correct this.
Paul Andrew, by email

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Passports for pets

Are there any more experienced doggie travellers out there who can give me a short guide to getting a passport. What to do and when to do it?
I've been told it takes six months and that it's not as simple as our passports - that there's still a weird 24-hour rule about your return journey. Can anyone clarify this for me?
We're hoping to be taking the dog when we visit friends and family in Spain and France.
How do we find a vet in both countries to comply with the 24 rule?
I'm guessing we'll be using the car for France and flying to Spain. Are there any restrictions on which ports/airlines we can use?
It all seems a bit baffling! Any websites you can point us to?
Best wishes
Charlie Lomas, Basingstoke

To start at the end of your question, there is a website which should be your next port-of-call: It will explain the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) which enables you to take your pet abroad without the need for quarantine on your return to the UK.
The six month rule can be a little misleading at first glance, and may be amended so keep an eye on the DEFRA website. Essentially, the way PETS works when you are planning to take your dog to another EU country such as France or Spain as you intend is:
- your dog is permanently identified with a microchip implanted under the skin;
- your dog is vaccinated against rabies;
- at this point, an EU pet passport can be issued;
- after a short period as recommended by the manufacturer of the rabies vaccine, a blood sample is taken and submitted to a laboratory to check the response mounted by your dog’s immune system to the rabies vaccine, the so-called rabies titre;
- provided the rabies titre is satisfactory, then your dog can re-enter the UK six calendar months from the date that the blood sample was taken without going into quarantine.
Since there will have been the delay between vaccination and blood sampling, this means that you must actually wait more than six months before your dog can re-enter the UK, usually seven months or so. He can, however, leave the UK for a recognised country with his EU PET passport 21 days after being vaccinated against rabies.
Do remember that there are certain individuals whose immune system may not react sufficiently to one dose of rabies vaccine. This is particularly the case with young dogs, and it is often recommended that they have a course of two vaccines as of routine before submitting a blood sample a few weeks after the second vaccine.
Checking a blood sample may seem an unnecessary expense, and indeed is not necessary if you do not plan to return to the UK with your dog, but it does ensure that your dog is fully protected against rabies whilst abroad. Holidaying is a different situation, when you are definitely returning to the UK, so it does need forethought.
To maintain the validity of the passport, your dog will need to be re-vaccinated against rabies before the expiry date noted when the rabies vaccination was certified.
The 24 hour rule is actually a 24-48 hour rule. Your dog has to be treated for ticks and tapeworms within 24-48 hours of being checked in to travel back to the UK. This is to prevent him from bringing back certain endoparasites which are not found in the UK. This means that any delay to your journey will necessitate repeat treatment. It applies to re-entry to the UK so, if I have correctly understood you as planning to visit France and Spain as one holiday, then you should only need to find a vet once.
Do remember to take precautions for the sake of your own dog’s health whilst you are abroad. These will vary depending on the local area so find out about the prevalence of, for example, sandflies, ticks and mosquitoes. Also, do bear in mind the conditions whilst you are travelling what may be long distances and the weather when you reach your destination.
You can only re-enter the UK with a pet via certain routes from specified qualifying countries. Again, there are details on the DEFRA web-site. You will need to make a reservation for your pet when your book your own tickets. A health check by a veterinary surgeon may be required by the transport company before your pet can travel.
Hope this helps. Happy holiday!
Alison Logan, vet

Monday, 8 February 2010

Can someone point me in the right direction?

I have a six-year-old female English Pointer who was spayed at age two. From being a few months old she has recurring episodes of shaking, lack of co-ordination, unable to open her mouth and chew food. When this first happened I took her to the vet who could find nothing amiss and seemed sceptical of my description of her symptoms. I contacted her breeder who said this had happened to one of her Pointers and it was low blood sugar and to give her something like a digestive biscuit when it happened. This is exactly what I have done when the episodes occur and have to put the food in the side of her mouth so she can chew enough to swallow. She then recovers.
When I moved about three years ago and my Pointer had symptoms again I took her to my current vet who did a blood test which was normal. I explained that I had just given her some carbohydrate so it may have been a false negative. Since then I have just followed the breeders' advice and treated her myself. The other day I took her to the vet again as she had developed a small lump in the chest area and her behaviour had changed in that she refuses to come out with me in the morning since the winter started and prefers to stay on the sofa and wait for me to return. In the afternoon she comes out as normal and runs and plays happily with my other dog.
The vet thought the lump which is fibrous may be trauma and to keep an eye on it. She was more concerned about the dog's weight which is 34kilos and to restrict her food and make her come out with me in the morning to increase her excercise. I reminded her of the low blood sugar problem and described her symptoms which she found "very strange" however she was not concerned about this and urged more exercise and diet.She suggested a prescription diet which i declined. When I got home I looked up hypoglyceamia in dogs and read that it is a serious and potentially life threatening condition. I would really appreciate some help here:
1. Controlling weight with my dog has always been tricky as if the carboyhdrate is reduced too much my dog has symptoms. I feed a mainly raw food diet of meat, chicken wings, liver, vegetables, and a wholemeal biscuit. Any suggestions please?
2. Am I right to assume her condition is low blood sugar given that she recovers when fed carbohydrate or should I have further blood tests having starved her and risk an episode of shaking etc?
Any suggestions or similiar experiences will be much appreciated!
Julie Capaldi, by email

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Crystals but far from clear

My dog is a seven-year old female collie-terrier cross and I have had her for six years. Recently she has been drinking more water and urinating slightly more than usual. She also leaked a little urine a few times after coming in from her evening walk.
A urine specimen was analysed and the vet advised that calcium oxalate crystals were present in the sample. (Apparently there was no glucose, signs of infection or blood present). As a result, the vet has put her on a prescribed diet, Urinary S/O by Royal Canin, and has told me she'll have to be fed this food exclusively for the rest of her life, to avoid crystals forming and developing into stones in her urinary tract. This seems to me to be a very drastic diagnosis based on the analysis of only one urine sample. Should any further tests be done to confirm this is the correct diagnosis?
Another urine sample is to be tested in three months' time to check that the prescription diet is working. In the meantime she is to get no extra treats of any kind. She loves cheese but I suspect this is the worst thing I could give her. Are there any treats that are safe to give a dog with this condition? Can she still have rawhide chew bones? Should I be giving her eg filtered water as opposed to tap water? What are the possible causes of this condition, or is it genetic? Will this condition affect her longevity?
Up until now, she's been a healthy, lively, happy little dog. She's never had a weight problem and her only recurring complaint is a seasonal itch which is apparently an allergy to pollen in August/September each year.
I would be grateful for any advice or information regarding this calcium oxalate diagnosis.
Thank you.
Jeanette Macleod

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Too much, too young?

A fortnight ago I acquired my first puppy for 15 years, having had a series of adolescent rehomes, and am interested in current thinking regarding exercise levels. He is 16 weeks old ( a post Christmas rehome) and is going out and about for socialisation as he has missed out on this so far, but how much, if any, free running should he have?
The net seems to suggest exercise should be five minutes for every month ie 20 minutes, but I'm not sure if this is up-to-date thinking, ot if this is free running or on-lead, which is obviously more controlled.
At the moment he is usually doing about 20 minutes on-lead once a day with one of my geriatric dogs who is kindly showing him how to behave politely when out, and obviously having play/training sessions several times a day at home, inside at present due to the weather, but I have a fairly small garden anyway. Sometimes I have been replacing the lead walk with a similar amount of time off-lead on suitable occasions where he can interact with other dogs known to me.
He is a fairly small leggy Border Collie (I hope he will grow!) and is destined to be an agility dog, though obviously won't be starting training on agility equipment until he is a year old.
Current thinking on this subject would be appreciated.
Ann Button, by email

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Age-old question!

We have had three Border Collies in a row, always with an overlap between two but none have been young puppies – the first was 15 weeks old, the second rescued at 12 weeks and the third rescued at two years. All have been great and we’ve had no problems with any. Our current female Floss is now 13 and extremely healthy and still very active but we are now looking to get a young one to keep up the tradition. Floss will be a great role model and is incredibly well behaved and good natured with everyone although sometimes a bit aloof.
My question is what is the ideal age for a puppy  – there is a good litter in the village currently four weeks old and the owner would normally let them go at eight weeks but our issue is we will be out of the country at that time which would mean we could only really pick the new pup up at 12 weeks. He would be able to stay with his parents but I have heard that the early period is so important. Eight weeks might be ideal but is 12 weeks a bad idea or is it still OK? The dog will be coming to a loving home and there will be lots of company and exercise so there will not be any issues once here,
Thanks for your help, 
Richard Hollingsworth

When this email arrived this morning my first instinct was to wonder about the breeders. Can you be sure they will be able to adequately socialise your pup for you while you are away? The eight to twelve week window is crucial for learning about life and I'd want to be carrying the pup into the world to meet horses, get used to car travel, hearing unusual sounds etc etc. I'd give this litter a miss and wait for another that fits in better with your schedule. You'll be missing a crucial development stage otherwise and Border Collie pups are hardly thin on the ground!
There are some great books by Dr Ian Dunbar on free download that I’d recommend...

Do please read the ‘Before you get your puppy’ and especially the ‘After you get your puppy’ as they give very clear guidelines for what needs to be done at each age.

Beverley Cuddy, Editor

Carol Price, trainer and behaviourist, says...
Much fuss is often made about the optimum age to get a puppy and a lot of it is total nonsense. Many people, for instance, who want collies for competition work—e.g. Obedience, Agility—say it is best to get puppies around six weeks old in order that they become totally ‘focused’ on you, but what about what is best for the puppy?
Anyone who is half good a trainer should be able to teach a collie to focus on them at any age, but puppies who are taken away from their mother and littermates too young can become psychologically damaged by the experience, in a way that might not fully manifest itself until they are somewhat older. A vast part of a dog’s social confidence, for instance, stems from the fun and positive interactions he or she had with littermates when younger. Similarly a pup’s mother and other littermates clearly set the boundaries for what is acceptable behaviour with other dogs, including the vital lessons of bite inhibition and how to show submission to a superior dog, in order to avoid future trouble or conflict.
Many six-week-old puppies will not have got all these lessons sufficiently on board and therefore may have future problems interacting successfully with other dogs.
I am also not happy about puppies leaving home at eight weeks, or before they have had their first vaccinations. Why would you want a young puppy to be leaving home totally unprotected against disease and just as he or she is going through their first fear period? The stress puts enormous pressure on the still developing immune system, meaning a higher risk of illness. Equally, giving a puppy his or her first vaccinations while in an existing state of ‘new home’ stress is never a good idea.
I prefer my own puppies not to go to new homes until around 10-12 weeks old. This means they have a good two weeks, in familiar surroundings, to get over their first jabs and I have more time to perfect the optimum early socialization and training they need to lead happy and problem-free lives in their new homes.
I have had puppies leave me at 14 or 16 weeks and they all settled in with their new owners brilliantly, because ultimately what matters most is not the age of a puppy when you get it, but how well he or she has been bred, reared and socialised from day one.
So although you say there is a ‘good’ litter in your village, I am just wondering exactly what good means to you? Have both parents of the puppies been hip-scored and got a good result (i.e. lower than 13 or 14). Have they also been screened for other inheritable conditions like Collie Eye Anomaly, Progressive Retinal Atrophy or Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome—an incurable immune system disorder resulting in death before a pup reaches adulthood?
What socialisation programme does your breeder plan for the pups? Will he or she be taking them out every day in the car from around five weeks old onwards, and ensuring that they constantly meet new dogs and people, even if the pups need to be carried until their jabs are complete? Will he or she be inviting lots of different people round daily to play with the pups and give them good lasting associations with people? Will he or she be teaching them basic manners and exercises like sit, down, wait and recall? If not why not?
You are completely right in that pups have a vital early period, well below 12 weeks of age, in which to be given optimum preparation for their future lives. If a breeder puts the right kind of preparation into their pups from day one and makes their socialisation/social development constantly ongoing, they should turn into good dogs whatever age you get them—barring any genetic factors sabotaging temperament.
A breeder who doesn’t put this kind of work into their pups, however, or rarely takes them out will produce very different and less confident dogs by the time they reach 12 weeks of age
I do hope your village breeder ticks all the right boxes for you, with regard to how I have defined a ‘good’ litter. If so, I am sure you picking up a puppy at 12 weeks of age should pose no problem for you or them.
Sometimes when breeders seem in more of a rush to offload puppies to new homes you have to wonder why. Do they need the money? Are they sick of the sight of them? Do they want to avoid having to pay for them to be vaccinated? Ultimately the most important consideration for any good breeder should be the quality of the homes their puppies are going to, and the right home is always worth waiting for.
I do hope this advice is of help to you.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Are two legged dogs becoming more common?

Over the weekend I stumbled upon a link for wheels for dogs with front leg disabilities. I had thought there wasn't such a thing and that often a front leg amputation could mean a death sentence.
But now I've found the link I feel I should pass it on.
There's also pioneering surgery to consider - Noel Fitzpatrick has done a few limb salvages for large dogs that would otherwise have had to be PTS. Amazing to see a dog running about with a false leg, really does take you a while to spot it!
My instant thought on browsing the cart site was 'why are so many Chihuahuas being born without any front legs?' They look happy enough in their carts, but what on earth is going on? Do other people have these pups and just put them to sleep?

Has anyone else had a litter containing pups with missing limbs? As many as three in a litter would certainly have me checking out radiation levels and exposure to weird drugs.
Could very close inbreeding cause limb malformation?
Anyone ever come across this before or got any theories?
Beverley Cuddy, Editor