Friday, 28 August 2015

How to Choose a Great Basset Puppy

Basset Hounds are one of the few breeds of dog that stay cute and adorable through adulthood. Their sad eyes tug at the heart strings, but what are they like to own? Big and strong, with a mind of their own, Bassets make extremely loving and loyal companions.

They are good with children but need company, and so for potential owners who may need to leave a dog alone, a Basset is not a good choice. In fact some breeders won't sell a Basset to anyone who is likely to leave it on its own for periods exceeding 4 hours.

Key Attributes of the Basset Hound

  • Basset are loving but headstrong dogs.
  • Normally calm, Basset Hounds pout when they get into trouble and can be stubborn.
  • Bassets love meeting people.
  • Basset Hounds are pack animals and tend to settle well in pairs or with other breeds of dog.
  • Bassets take food from table tops and rummage through handbags.
  • Basset Hounds have a deep bark but aren't aggressive protectors by nature.
  • The Basset hunting instinct takes over on walks - nose down, tail up -sometimes results in poor obedience and selective deafness.
  • Bassets need space to exercise but the area must be secure. Their urge to hunt and tendancy for 'nosiness' means they will wander off if the garden isn't suitably fenced.
  • Basset Hounds can take time to house-train - but once they've got it, they will never forget.
  • Basset Hounds are sensitive and respond best to firm but kind handling.

Adult Basset Hounds - The Facts and Figures

  • An adult Hound will average 33-38 cms (13-15 inches) in height.
  • They are heavy boned with a long back.
  • Adult dogs can weigh up to 50kg but 30-35kg is more usual.
  • Basset Hounds have a smooth coat, with short but not fine hair. They can be tri-coloured (brown, black and white), red and white or lemon and white.

Brief Guide to Buying a Basset Puppy

It goes without saying that it's important to have a new puppy checked out by a veterinary expert as soon as possible after purchase, but there are some basic checks a potential owner can carry out when seeing the puppies.

  • Always use a recommended breeder. Be suspicious of breeders offering other breeds - it could indicate a puppy farm.
  • Basset Hound Clubs are not a guarantee of quality but it's better than a blind search of the internet. They have a code of ethics which breeders must adhered to or be struck off.
  • Pick up the puppy - is it frightened or nervous? Basset puppies are naturally gregarious and love meeting people. Look for a bright happy pup who runs towards you for a hug.
  • Look at the general condition of the puppy. Is its coat in good condition? Are its eyes bright and free from discharge? Are the teeth in line?
  • Feel along the puppy's back and rib cage - you are looking for a strong frame - it's no guarantee but a wobbly or unstable gait could be a sign of hip dysplasia.
  • Never buy a puppy without seeing it in the environment it was reared. If possible see its parents, at least its mother.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of checks or information about Basset Hounds but it should give a prospective owner a basic understanding of the breed and how to select a puppy.

Monday, 24 August 2015

The History of Labradoodle

The Labradoodle is a popular type of dog created by crossing two existing breeds. It is not, however, a true dog breed, and won't be any time soon. For a pet owner looking for the ideal family pet, it is widely considered a good choice, but a wise pet owner should be informed about the basics of that dog before buying one.

The Labradoodle is a cross between a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever. You will likely get a Labradoodle by mating two existing Labradoodles, although varying levels of Poodle and Lab traits may reassert themselves.

A Brief History of Dog Breeds and the Labradoodle

Although there were already fifteen existing breeds at the start of the 19th century, selective dog breeding increased that number tenfold in the next hundred years. Two of those breeds were the Standard Poodle and the Labrador Retriever. In an email interview on August 18, 2010, breeder and author Patrick Burns said: "Poodle crosses are done all the time, as there seems to be a continual demand for hypoallergenic dogs...." Although Burns goes on to add that "there really is not [sic] such thing" as a hypoallergenic dog, in many circles the Poodle is considered genuinely hypoallergenic. One of the breeds it has been crossed with is the Labrador Retriever, a highly trainable dog used in working dog positions such as guide dog for the visually impaired. The result of such a crossbreeding is a Labradoodle.

The first recorded Labradoodle was bred in 1989 by Wally Conron, an Australian official with a guide dog provision organization, who received a request from a visually impaired woman in Hawaii. Her husband was allergic to dogs, so she needed a hypoalergenic guide dog. In his article "My Story: I Designed a Dog, by Wally Conron", he describes how, after a great deal of trial and error, he managed to cross a Standard Poodle with a Labrador Retriever and produce a puppy that was suitable for his client. Word spread, and the demand for Labradoodles skyrocketed. Since then, Labradoodles have spread all over the world. In North America, there is more than one Labradoodle breeding club and many Labradoodle breeders. The Goldendoodle, a cross between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever, came later, as did other Poodle crosses, leading to a dog rescue organization that specializes in Labradoodles and Goldendoodles.

The Labradoodle's Progress Toward Becoming a Breed

Only two pups from Conron's many litters were hypoallergenic. When crossing two existing breeds to get first-generation crossbreeds (F1s), the results are not uniform. Crossing two F1 dogs, in turn, tends to cause irregularity of offspring. In order for a type of dog to be a breed, it must "breed true," which is to say that the mating of two such dogs must produce predictable offspring. Once a type of dog has bred true for several generations, it is eligible to be recognized as a breed by organizations such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), which entitles it to call itself purebred, participate in dog shows and field trials, and attract the interest of dog fanciers.

Efforts are underway to get the Labradoodle to breed true by creating the so-called Australian Labradoodle, which has other dog breeds mixed into it to stabilize the properties of puppies. There are several Australian Labradoodle clubs in North America, the most visible being the Australian Labradoodle Association of America (ALAA) and the Australian Labradoodle Club of America (ALCA). Both organizations maintain lists of Australian Labradoodle owners and breeders with genealogies of registered dogs. The ALAA website contains a detailed list of characteristic identifying an Australian Labradoodle, and the ALCA website has a list of traits as well. Yet the ALAA does not seek recognition of the Australian Labradoodle by the AKC as a certifiable breed. Gail Widman, the president of the ALCA, states in an email interview on August 19, 2010 that the ALCA is not presently seeking recognition of the breed by the AKC and "may not choose to do so in the near future."

Some authorities use even stronger wording. "I think it is way to early to even begin considering [the] question" of a closed breed registry on the Australian Labradoodle, which would probably occur if it were AKC registered, says Helene Roussi, outspoken breeder at Westwood Labradoodles, in an email interview on August 23, 2010. "The 'Foundation Stock' Australian Labradoodles (AL) don't even have pedigrees that we know are accurate. This is an issue that the AL breeder community prefers to ignore, but the fact is that we don't know what was in the early generations of the AL."

The Australian Labradoodle as a Family Pet

N. Beth Line, director of International Doodle Owners Group, Inc., which participates in animal rescue, states in an email interview on August 17, 2010, that few Australian Labradoodles end up in shelters. Widman concurs, giving most of the credit to the nature of the dog, which is intelligent, easy to train and endowed with a good personality. Few pet owners who purchase an Australian Labradoodle end up abandoning it later because most are happy with it. Those who are not, as Roussi explains, are more likely to try to sell it on Craigslist or a similar site than abandon it to a shelter because they want to recoup some of their investment.

Yet the huge demand for Labradoodles has created risks. Various breeders of different integrity levels use different practices to breed Labradoodles. As Roussi puts it, "with any group, there are people with pure intentions, and people out to make a buck." One major risk is that it's not a sure thing a puppy will grow up to have a hypoallergenic coat. Whether it will becomes known as much as 18 months later when the adult coat grows in.

To know what she's getting from any pup, a dog owner is wisest to use a registered breeder who provides lineage information and engages in sound breeding practices. If choosing a Labradoodle, she is also well advised to study statistics on Labradoodles and Australian Labradoodles. The problem, as Roussi points out, is that statistics are only available from the Australian Labradoodle society websites. In her words: "No one else keeps statistics on this that I know of."

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Sign of Reputable Breeder

A reputable hobby breeder--in other words, the kind of person you want to buy a dog from--can be recognized by the following traits.

They're Not In It for the Money

Money is not a good breeder's primary motivation for breeding dogs. In general, good breeders breed dogs as a hobby. Their main priority is to produce healthy, quality dogs that are excellent examples of their breed. These hobby breeders spend huge amounts of time and money on:

    * Researching pedigrees;
    * Educating themselves about their breed and dog health in general; and
    * Doing extensive health testing on potential breeding stock.

If the breeder you are considering isn’t doing health testing on his breeding stock, and does not offer written proof of that testing—in this breed, that means hips and eyes at a minimum—beware.

Expect to be Interviewed

Good breeders interview potential puppy buyers very thoroughly to ensure that they're prepared for the positives and negatives of their chosen breed of dog. Their main concern is to find an excellent home who will love and cherish the puppy or dog they purchase for its entire life. They do not sell puppies to just anyone who happens to have the money, no questions asked. They check potential puppy buyers' references and can offer a list of references of their own, if the buyer requests it. If the breeder you are considering buying a puppy from doesn’t interview you thoroughly to ensure that you’ll be committed to the pup for life, and seems mostly concerned about when your check will arrive—beware.

They Don't Disappear

Good breeders support and educate their puppy buyers for the life of the dog, offering knowledge about the breed and serving as a sounding board for any questions their dogs’ owners may have. They sell puppies on contracts that require the dog be returned to the breeder if the owner can not keep it for any reason, at any point in the dog’s life. Their dogs do not end up in shelters! If the breeder you are considering buying a puppy from doesn’t offer a written contract with a genetic health warranty and a clause that they'll take the dog back if you can't keep it—beware.

They Participate in Dog Shows, Clubs and Sports

Good breeders prove the worth of their breeding stock by competing with them in conformation, companion and performance events. They are active members of local and national dog clubs. If the breeder you are considering buying a puppy from doesn’t show or compete in events with their dogs, and they don’t belong to any dog clubs—beware.

They'll Tell You the Good--and the Bad

They are extremely proud of and honest about their dogs. They will discuss each dog's strengths and weaknesses and can clearly articulate how they hoped to produce better dogs with a planned breeding. They know the ups and downs of their breed and will gladly share both with you. If the breeder you are considering buying a puppy from cannot discuss in detail what the goals of a particular breeding were, other than to “produce good puppies”—beware.

Expect to Wait for One of Their Puppies

They breed dogs for the love of dogs and the love of their breed. Breeding of dogs is not done as a money-making venture. This means that you may have to go on a waiting list and be patient. Most hobby breeders only breed when they want a puppy for themselves and their breeding program--which means they do not have puppies constantly available. If the breeder you are considering buying a puppy from always seems to have puppies available—beware.

To find breeders of this caliber, here are a couple of places to start:

Dog Shows

Attend local dog shows and speak with the handlers who are showing the breed you're interested in. Many breeders show their own dogs--if not, the handler can usually point you in the right direction. For the best response, wait until they're done showing before approaching them. Buy a catalog--these list each of the dogs being shown, with the names of both the owners and the breeders.

Parent Clubs

The American Kennel Club, or AKC, maintains a list of breed parent clubs (i.e., for the Alaskan Malamute, the parent club is the Alaskan Malamute Club of America), each of whom offers a breeder's list or at the very least, a breeder referral representative. You can find these clubs fairly easily using an Internet search engine like Google.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Dog Kennel

One of the biggest reasons that people do not buy a new puppy is because they do not know what to do when they are out of town or on vacation. Nowadays millions of business professional can be away from home for days on end. And when they are not hard at work, these people may be on vacation. Though it may be hard to believe, most people do like to spend some time apart from their little bundle of puppy joy. In order for this to happen, an owner needs to be able to leave their dog at the kennel. This seems like a pretty easy task, but it does not always work out like that. Some dogs are just down right uncooperative when it comes to taking orders from people other than their owners. A couple of tips that you may want to follow are listed below. These tips can surely help to make your dogs stay at the kennel a little bit easier, and also make your vacation a little more enjoyable.

1. First off, take your new puppy out for a "trial run" of sorts. In other words, if you are expecting to go out of town for a week, about a month in advance leave your dog with a friend or neighbor. This way they can report back to you on how everything went. This will give you a good idea as to what you need to fix before you leave. If you know which problems to address you may be able to fix them before they get to out of control. This trial run is not a necessity, but can surely be helpful in making your dogs stay at the kennel as least stressful as possible.

2. One big problem that new puppy owners make is during the drop off at the kennel. You may have seen this scene before. An owner drops their dog off and causes a huge scene by telling Fido how much you are going to miss him, and how everything will not be the same without him around. These people may not think that this has an effect on the dog, but it most definitely does. This gives the dog the impression that something is going wrong. Your dog will immediately think that if its owner is so upset that their must be something wrong. Remember, dogs can sense your feelings so do not get caught up in these emotions.

3. Playing off number two above, an owner should take their puppy to the kennel with a very positive, happy go luck sort of attitude. Make sure to tell Fido that he is going to have a great time while you are gone, and that the kennel owners are so much fun to be around. Tell him that he is going to make new friends, etc. After showing these positive emotions be sure to give the dog to the kennel owner and walk away. Do not resort back to the problems that we discussed above. If you follow this rule, and keep a positive attitude, you will leave your dog on a good note.

4. Take the appropriate amount of food for your puppy to eat during his stay. It is much easier for your puppy to stay adapted if it is following its usual day to day routine. And this means allowing your puppy to follow its daily diet. Be sure to go over this with the kennel attendants in advance to avoid any unwanted confusion.

5. Take some of your puppy's favorite toys. This will also help for your puppy to adapt to its surroundings and make its stay as enjoyable as possible. The more your puppy can stick to its routine, the better chance you have for an enjoyable stay.

6. Put an old T-shirt of yours in your puppy's kennel cage. This will allow your puppy to smell your scent and feel more at home. Though this does not sound like a lot, it can go a long way in ensuring that your new puppy does not get homesick.

Following these six steps can help to ensure that your puppy has a good time at the kennel. Even though there are a lot of bad stories out there about dogs who do cause a ruckus at the kennel, it does not always have to be like that. The above steps will go a long way if you follow them the first time you leave your dog at the kennel.

Keep in mind that after the first time, it gets easier every time after that. If your dog gets used to a particular kennel, and becomes friends with the owners, they will be glad to spend a couple of days or a week away from home.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

How to Housetraining Your New Dog or Puppy

The first thing to remember when you are working with a young puppy is that they don't have the same kind of bladder or bowel control as an adult dog. You can't expect an eight week old puppy to hold his bladder for longer than a few hours. A general rule of thumb when housetraining a puppy is that they can hold it for their age in months plus one. In other words, a dog who is three months old can be expected to hold his bladder for no more than four hours. It's a good thing to keep in mind when you're thinking about getting a dog, as well. If you can't provide a puppy with frequent potty breaks throughout the day, you may be better off considering an adult dog. If you haven't been able to provide the necessary trips outside, by the time your puppy's bladder is mature enough to hold it for eight or more hours a day, he may have already adopted some bad habits.

When you first bring a new dog home, whether puppy or adult, bring him to the place you want him to go to the bathroom before you go anywhere else. If he goes, praise him liberally. You may even want to save some special treats for just these occasions. Once a dog eliminates in a certain spot, he is more likely to use that spot again. Add the praise and treats, and he is sure to want to repeat the behavior.

Once you bring the dog into the house, do not allow him to have free run of the place. Again, once he goes in a certain spot, he is likely to return to use that spot. Don't let him have access to areas you don't want him to consider his potty. Keep the dog confined to one area. Crates are great for this purpose. Bring him outside frequently until he eliminates in the area you have designated for this purpose. Remember, when he eliminates in this spot to give him lots of praise. He should also be rewarded with some playtime or a walk or another activity he enjoys. One common mistake people make is bringing their dog outside, and than immediately returning indoors once he has done his business. The dog than learns that eliminating means an end to his time outdoors, and he is less likely to want to perform this behavior for you.

One thing to avoid is punishing your dog for making mistakes. In reality, if a dog has an accident on your carpet or another spot where you would rather he didn't eliminate, the fault lies with the person who allowed him access to the area, not with the dog. Also, by yelling at the dog, rubbing his nose in the mess, or hitting him with a rolled up newspaper, you are not teaching him not to eliminate on the carpet. What you are teaching the dog is not to eliminate in front of you. Not a good thing if you're hoping that your dog will eliminate while you are holding the other end of the leash!

Most dogs are relatively easy to housebreak. Establish a routine so your pet will know when to expect the opportunity to relieve himself, use lots of praise and treats, and keep him confined when you can't supervise him in the house. With these steps, you'll be setting your dog up for success!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Shepperd Dogs

Around the time of the California Gold Rush and the American Civil War, the need for clothing made of wool to keep warm on the homefront led to the introduction of a breed of dogs called the Shepherd. This dog was to become not only a guardian for man but also a guardian for a very much prized possession, the sheep.

The Australian Shepherd

The origin of the Australian Shepherd originated either in Australia and could have also developed in Spain. The Spanish sheepdog was used in New Mexico and were often larger with a yellowish-white color. The breed served mankind by guarding livestock and was characterized as having plenty of energy; after all, it had to run after the sheep and other animals

Among the early breeds of shepherd dogs was the blue merle, a marbled gray and black dog. There were also black and white dogs with no spots or blending of colors. These dogs were called either the
English or Australian Shepherd.

According to Linda Rorem in her article A View of Australian Shepherd History,1987, there existed another breed of Shepherd from Spain and France, or the Basque region, which was employed to guard sheep and assist in the fields.

An interesting fact is that the tails of these dogs took on different appearances. It was the English Spepherd that had the natural bob tail, but the Australian Shepherds had longer tails.

The herding Basque dog which came from Spain and France could have both a shaggy face or a smooth face.

The Welsh Heeler

A breed of dog developed in Germany and was called the Koolie. This dog soon was introduced by German settlers into Australia. It was within this continent, that it interbred with the shepherds of Britain to form the Welsh Heeler. The dogs from England were called English Shepherds; whereas, the dogs from Australia were called Australian Shepherds.

A Miniature Shepherd

There is also a very cute variety of Shepherd called the miniature Australian Shepherd which is suited as a house dog. It is quite lovable and agile. There are so many varieties and colors of Australian, but they are all beautiful, intelligent. and sociable creatures.
The German Shepherd

Like the Australian shepherd the German shepherd had its origin as a guardian dog or working dog, but it also exhibited other fine attributes such as strength and keen intelligence.

In 1899 Captain Max Von Stephanitz introduced a dog which was to be the first German Shepherd. The dog was named Horan and was a composite of different varieties of shepherds including the long hair and short hair varieties. Von Stephanitz wanted to develop the breed for its intelligence and strength.

According to the website, breeders began calling the German Shepherd the Alsatian Wolf Dog due to the war with Germany and the reputation of the wolf. This changed in 1977 when the dog was once again called the German Shepherd.

The German Shepherd variety originated with wolf breeds, but it is a strong breed of dog devoted to its human and wary of strangers.

Both breeds are used today in many ways including guide dogs, ranch dogs, police work, and family dogs.

Canine Heart Disease: An Overview for Dog Owners

Keeping your beloved pets healthy should be of great concern to an owner. Not many people realize that, like humans, dogs can acquire or be born with heart disease. This can lead to an early death for your dog if it results in heart failure. Know that preventative actions can be taken to ensure your dog's safety.

It is important to take your dog to his regular veterinary visits. As you would for a baby or child, you need to keep up with well-patient visits and shots. Heart disease affects over 3 million dogs in the United States. This is a staggering number and most owners don't even realize their dogs are at risk.

Signs of heart disease in your dog may include: coughing, sluggishness, weight loss, and wheezing. However, there are many cases (especially those suffering from early heart disease) that have no symptoms at all. That is why it is so important to have a physician give your dog regular exams. It could mean the difference between life and death.

There is no known cure for canine heart disease. However, there are new treatments available, should your dog be diagnosed. Be sure to discuss all possible treatments with your veterinarian. In the meantime, take proper care of your dog. Ensure that he is getting a properly balanced diet, adequate exercise, and lots of TLC.

In the case of canine heart disease, preventative medicine is really your best option. With regular doctor's visits and good care, your dog should be able to live to a ripe old age. In the case of congenital heart disease, your attention to detailed care could put off the inevitable. Remember, it is your responsibility to make your dog's life a long and healthy one.

Cleaning Your Pool

If you own a swimming pool you should definitely know how to properly care for it. If you neglect to clean your pool you may be jeopardizing the health of anybody who swims in it. Also, cleaning your pool will help to keep it in top notch condition and ensure that it lasts a long time.

One of the biggest misconceptions that pool owners believe is that if they have an automatic cleaning system that they do not have to manually clean the pool. This is simply not true. Automatic cleaning systems can be very helpful, but at the same time they do miss certain areas of the pool.

In order to combat this, a pool owner should manually clean the pool at least once a week. The walls and floor of your pool can be easily cleaned with a manual brush and pool vacuum. Buy a manual brush that comes with a telescoping handle so that you can do all of your cleaning from the side of the pool.

You should pay particularly close attention to any areas of your pool that do not get a lot of circulation. They include: corners of the pool and stairs that lead in and out of the water. These areas tend to get the dirtiest, and need special attention when you are doing your weekly cleaning.

Also, always remember to use the proper amount of chlorine and sanitizers in your pool. This will help to cut down on bacteria build up which can be harmful to swimmers.

By putting in the time and effort to clean your pool once a week you will be ensuring the health and well being of anybody who uses it. It is well worth your time!