Adopting a Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers are a common sight in the movies. People are used to seeing people running for their lives as aggressive dogs lunge at them with demonic looking eyes.

However, in real life, most Dobermans are actually loyal, intelligent family pets. The American Kennel Club classifies the Doberman Pinscher as a member of its Working Group. These dogs were originally bred to be police dogs. They were also commonly used in the German military. The sight of one of these big, dangerous looking dogs coming toward them filled people with dread.

After all, they are extremely powerful animals. The Doberman Pinscher is a square dog with a powerful chest and a bullet shaped head. This breed weighs in at anywhere from 55 to 90 pounds and stands 24 to 28 inches tall. The Doberman’s short coat is black, red, blue, or fawn with tan markings. Occasionally, these dogs have a white spot on their chests. Its almond shaped eyes are dark in color. Most Dobermans have their tails docked. While this may sound cruel, a docked tail can prevent painful accidents in the future. More than one undocked Doberman has accidentally broken his tail.

Dobermans are not high energy dogs, but they have amazing endurance capabilities. These dogs do need exercise and do not do well in apartment settings. A fenced yard is a much better fit for them. Dobermans enjoy spending time with their owners, so even if you have a fenced yard, you should be prepared to take your dog for a daily walk. Despite the bad publicity this breed receives, most Dobermans are great with children and other pets. These devoted family dogs will do anything to please their owners and are highly trainable. However, you do need to be careful if you have young children and a Doberman puppy. Puppies can accidentally knock your children down, since they do not realize their own strength and are very energetic. You will need to begin training and socializing your Doberman as soon as you bring him home to avoid problem behaviors. Dobermans are very intelligent and can get into quite a lot of mischief if they are left to themselves. Puppy obedience classes are a good idea, since the classes will help you train and socialize your puppy while he is young and easy to control. After all, who wants to wait until their dog weighs almost as much as they do before they try to teach him to sit. Dobermans are big, muscular dogs and need a substantial amount of dog food. Be sure to feed your dog a food formulated for large breeds to be sure he gets the nutrition he needs. Doberman Pinschers are prone to hypothyroidism and a hereditary condition called von Willebrand’s disease. They also can develop heart problems. As they age, these oversized lap dogs are prone to becoming overweight, so you may want to check with your veterinarian to find out about special foods for older dogs. It is easy to groom a Doberman. You may want to brush your dog once a week to remove dirt and loose hair and you should check his nails to be sure they are not too long, but they rarely need any further grooming.

Doberman Pinschers may look like hardened killers, but they are actually crème puffs around their family. If you want a dog that will protect your home but still loves to snuggle up beside you at night, then a Doberman may be the right breed for you.

Adopting an English Bulldog

A Bulldog is much more than a pair of sad eyes and droopy jaws, but this dog’s appearance is a major reason for its popularity. The other reason these dogs are so popular is that they have a sweet and gentle nature. This breed was originally created to help butchers slaughter bulls.

Some people used the tenacious nature of the Bulldog to turn their dogs into bull baiters. When this ugly sport was outlawed, people that loved the breed began breeding only the sweetest dogs. Today, these dogs are sociable, friendly animals. The Bulldog is a medium sized dog, but is still very powerful. These dogs weigh 40 to 50 pounds and stand 12 to 16 inches high. A Bulldog has a squat body, a flat forehead, and large jaws. This breed has dark, gentle eyes. Some Bulldogs have corkscrew tails, but they can also have straight tails.

The American Kennel Club classifies this breed as a member of the Non-Sporting Group. These odd looking dogs have one purpose, to be devoted companions. Luckily, they are well suited to their role. Bulldogs are the ideal pets for apartment owners. They are very low energy and do not need to spend a lot of time exercising. Of course, they still enjoy taking a leisurely evening walk with their owners. Of course, like any breed, the Bulldog does have a few flaws. When you live with a Bulldog, you may feel as though you are living in a frat house, since this breed will snore, drool, and pass gas frequently. Sometimes, one of these normally sweet natured dogs will bully other dogs, especially if there is food involved. Despite their size, Bulldogs can be quite powerful. Because of this, it will be much easier for you to start training your dog as a puppy.

Luckily, these dogs are eager to please their owners, although they are not always quick learners. In fact, some Bulldogs cannot understand even the simplest commands until they are six months old. A Bulldog has a bit of a reputation as a chow hound. This breed likes to eat. However, you will need to be sure that you do not let your Bulldog overeat, since obesity can lead to serious health problems. Other health problems these charmers face are allergies, hip dysplasia, eye problems, and breathing problems. Bulldog owners need to be especially careful to keep their dogs out of the sun. These dogs can overheat easily, which can prove fatal.

Also, since this breed is prone to breathing problems, Bulldogs should never be walked using a choke collar. A harness will help you prevent their already small tracheas from being damaged. With their short coats, Bulldogs need very little grooming. However, the wrinkles on their face require careful cleaning. If you do not keep your Bulldog’s wrinkles clean, he could develop skin infections, not to mention a nasty odor. If you want a loving family pet and can overlook the fact that your little guy is a bit odoriferous, then a Bulldog may just be the right breed for you.

Adopting a Collie

Almost every child wants to own Lassie, the wonder Collie. Unfortunately, if the child really expects one dog to be that incredible, a Collie puppy may be a bit of a disappointment.

After all, in real life, Lassie is actually played by several hard working Collies. The Collie was originally bred to herd sheep and still has a strong protective instinct, which makes the breed an excellent choice for a family dog. Of course, not every Collie is a highly intelligent, diligent protector. Some of these dogs are high strung and nervous, but most are wonderful with children. The American Kennel Club classifies the Collie as part of the Herding Group.

These dogs weigh 55 to 80 pounds and stand 22 to 26 inches tall. The Collie is strong and graceful and has plenty of endurance. This dog’s almond shaped eyes seem to sparkle with intelligence, whether they are brown or blue in color. The Collie’s prick ears give it an alert appearance. The Collie can be rough or smooth coated. The rough coat is longer and fuller than the smooth coat. This breed can come in sable and white, tricolor, or blue merle colors. The Collie enjoys living in the midst of an active family.

This breed is not a good choice for apartment living, since it loves to spend time outside. A home with a large yard is ideal for the Collie breed. Although the Collie is friendly and outgoing, this dog is protective of its family and takes its duties as a watchdog seriously. Your Collie will bark at intruders, whether they are people, cats, squirrels, or pieces of trash blowing around the yard. The Collie can be quite headstrong and can get into quite a lot of mischief as a puppy. You should consider attending puppy obedience classes with your Collie, since it is easier to train a small puppy who hasn’t developed bad habits than a sixty pound dog that has. Also, be sure to be firm with your puppy about staying on the floor if you do not want Collie hair on all of your furniture. Once you allow your dog on the furniture, he will feel that he has a right to be there any time you leave the room. The Collie breed has very few health problems. Eye diseases and PRA are the most common problems these dogs face. In fact, you are much more likely to take your puppy to the veterinarian because he has injured himself while jumping from a moving vehicle or exploring his surroundings than you will for a health problem. Collies are quite happy to pack away plenty of food. These dogs have a tendency to overeat, so it is best to give them three small meals a day.

If your Collie develops a bulge around his middle, talk to your veterinarian about switching to a food that promotes weight loss. Although a rough coated Collie has long hair, the Collie does not need extensive grooming. Brush through your dog’s coat several times a week to avoid mats, paying close attention to the hair around his face, behind his ears, and around his legs. The Collie is an intelligent family dog. If you want a dog who will protect your family and will play with the kids, the Collie may just be the perfect pet for you.

Adopting a Golden Retriever

So, you read THE WATCHER a dozen times, you’ve seen Golden Retrievers working as guide dogs, and now you want to buy a Golden Retriever puppy of your own.

However, before you bring one of these cuddly yellow fuzz balls home, you need to be sure a Golden Retriever is really the right dog for you and your family. The Golden Retriever is a big, muscular dog, weighing in at 55 to 75 pounds and standing 21 ½ to 24 inches tall at the shoulder. This dog breed has a broad skull, which may be why Golden Retrievers are so intelligent. Coat colors range from a deep, honey colored gold to a light gold that is almost white. The palest gold or darkest gold colors are considered to be undesirable, as are any white patches or markings.

Did you know that Golden Retrievers were originally bred to be working dogs? They are members of the Sporting Group. These dogs are high energy animals and need plenty of exercise, especially while they are less than three years of age. This desire to stay busy is one reason that Golden Retrievers make good rescue, Seeing Eye, or drug sniffing dogs. If you do not keep them occupied, they will find ways to amuse themselves, such as eating your entire shoe collection. If you are an avid gardener, you will need to be sure you have a separate area where you can contain your dog, since most Golden Retrievers love to dig. While they are going through their puppy stage, they are also prone to chewing up shrubs.

Since Golden Retrievers are large dogs, you may want to consider the cost of food before buying your puppy. These dogs eat a lot. Also, since Golden Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, you may want to ask your veterinarian about feeding your puppy food that is especially formulated to help large breeds grow properly. If you have small children, you may need to consider whether a Golden Retriever puppy will be too boisterous for them. Although adult Goldens are excellent family dogs, puppies can be quite mouthy and rowdy. They may accidentally knock toddlers down while they are playing. If you do buy a puppy when you have small children, you will need to find time to teach him good manners quickly. You may want to attend obedience classes with him, so that he is used to other dogs and people and learns how to act when he is outside the house. Training your puppy before he is too strong for you to control easily is a good idea.

Golden Retrievers need frequent grooming to keep their coats from tangling. You will need to pay special attention to the area behind your dog’s ears, as it is prone to developing large mats. Frequent grooming will also help you alleviate dog hair on furniture, which can be quite heavy when your dog is shedding his coat. In addition, you will need to have enough time to check your dog for ticks after he goes for a romp in the park or other grassy and wooded areas. If you still feel that this is the breed for you, be sure to look for a good breeder to buy your puppy from. A healthy, good tempered Golden Retriever makes a wonderful, intelligent companion.

Adopting a Labrador Retriever

If you want a dog that has a bubbly personality and a strong desire to make you happy, you may want to consider buying a Labrador Retriever. Of course, these big, exuberant dogs aren’t for everyone.

Before you buy one of these roly-poly little puppies, you may want to consider some of the plusses and minuses of the breed. The Labrador Retriever is a powerful, dependable dog. This breed weighs from 55 to 80 pounds and stand 21 to 24 ½ inches tall at the shoulder. These dogs have quite a lot of stamina and can work or play for hours on end. Labs are known for their soft chocolate brown eyes and thick, rounded tail. Their coats can be black, yellow or chocolate, with black Labs being most commonly available.

The dense hair of the Labrador Retriever’s coat is almost waterproof. Labrador Retrievers are classified as part of the American Kennel Club’s Sporting Group. These dogs were bred to spend hours retrieving game from areas that hunters had trouble getting in to. Labs usually enjoy the water, which makes them ideal boating or fishing companions. These dogs require plenty of exercise, especially when they are young and full of energy. They do not make good apartment dogs, as they require plenty of room to run and play. A home with a fenced yard is the ideal situation for a Lab. Even if he has space to play, he may need to go for a daily walk or romp in the park to burn off some energy.

Since Labrador Retrievers are high energy dogs with plenty of muscle, they eat quite a bit of food. While your puppy is growing up, you may want to feed it food that is especially formulated to help large breed dogs develop healthy bones. If you are planning to use your Lab as a hunting dog, you will need to buy dog food that contains plenty of protein. Most Labrador Retrievers make excellent family dogs and love being around children. However, some Labs do not have good temperaments, so, if it is at all possible, be sure you meet both parents before buying a puppy. If your children are still small, you may want to wait until they are steady on their feet before buying a Lab puppy.

These dogs can knock toddlers over just by wagging their powerful tails. Since Labs are such big dogs, it is important to start training your puppy at eight to twelve weeks of age. Be sure you work with your puppy to keep it from jumping up, as a full grown Lab can bowl people over with an enthusiastic greeting. You may want to take puppy obedience classes to socialize him and get some training help, as Labs can be a bit head strong at times. Labrador Retrievers need very little grooming. You should brush your dog once a week to remove loose hair and dirt. Also, you will need to trim his nails when they grow too long. Finally, you will have to check for ticks after your dog has been playing outdoors. If you want a friendly dog who is eager to please and don’t mind some occasional stubbornness, then a Labrador Retriever may very well be the perfect breed for you.

My Real Estate Attorney Adopts A New Puppy… Here’s What I Recommended

I received a call last week about the news.

My good friend and real estate attorney, Charlie Brown (yes, that’s his real name!) finally “gave in” to his three kids and let them have a dog.

They were out at a friend’s ranch, and an 8 month-old collie-mix happened to wonder up and start playing with the kids, age 11, 7, and 5.

The dog looked healthy and was very social, which is the only reason Charlie’s wife let the kids play with the dog.  In fact, Charlie thought the dog must belong to someone, he was in such good shape.

Charlie asked the ranch hand if anybody owned the dog.  The ranch hand told him that they’d checked around, but it was a stray.  The dog just showed up several days prior, and that nobody in the surrounding area knew who’s it was.

This happens a lot in the country.  Somebody owns a dog, can’t keep it and they dump it off in the country, thinking it will survive on it’s own.

Well, this dog got lucky when he found Charlie Brown and family.

“Can we keep him?  Can we keep him?” the kids begged.

Apparently, the dog was smart enough to stick around and since he was still hanging around the next morning–Charlie made the decision:  “Okay… we’ll keep him.”

Now, normally I’d issue the typical warnings about “letting the kids” adopt a dog, as the burden of responsibility always falls on the parents’ shoulders.  But Charlie knew this already.  In fact,
he’d been planning on getting the kids a dog for quite some time, but secretly knew it would really be “his dog.”

“So, Charlie Brown… are you going to call him, ‘Snoopy’?” I ribbed him.

“No,” he replied smugly.  “I think I’m going to call YOU Snoopy. We’re calling the dog ‘Chamberlain.”

“And by the way, Mr. Dog Trainer…” Charlie continued, “… What do I do, now?”

The first thing I advised Charlie to do is to take ‘Chamberlain’ to his local veterinarian for a full check up… including blood work.

Next, I advised him to download a copy of, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer: An Insider’s Guide To The Most Jealously Guarded Dog Training Secrets In History!” from the Download Library at  (See column at left).

Charlie started reading our article on “Housebreaking In A Hurry” and realized that he needed a crate so that his new dog won’t get into trouble or have “accidents” in the house when he’s

I also recommended a training collar, a tab (a one foot leash for the house) and a leather six foot leash.  (Charlie is also reading “The Perfect Puppy E-book” – also available in our download
library–to get more detailed information.  Like any good real estate attorney, Charlie likes to learn as much as he can about a subject and pay attention to details.  These are good qualities for responsible dog owners, too).

Charlie wanted to know what type of bowls he should feed “Chamberlain” with.

We’ve always used stainless steel bowls.  I use one for water and one for feeding.  (Feeding should be done twice a day for an 8 month-old puppy.  The food should be left out for only 5 minutes, after which it gets thrown away).  I’ve been told that the metal bowls do not allow bacterial growth like the plastic ones do.

Well– I received an email from Charlie this morning, telling me that they are having A TON of fun with their new dog, and that everything is working out fine.  I love these kind of updates,
because they make me feel like my life’s work has some meaning.

Adopting a Rottweiler

Do you need a protective dog that is intelligent and devoted to its owners? If so, you may want to consider buying a Rottweiler.

These big dogs were bred to be very versatile working dogs. They guard their homes and families, excel in agility training, and think that they are tiny lapdogs when they are with their owners. The Rottweiler is fairly large and very muscular.

These powerful dogs weigh between 85 to 130 pounds and stand 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder. A Rottweiler has a sleek black and brown coat and deep, soulful brown eyes. The Rottweiler is a part of the American Kennel Club’s Working Group. These powerful dogs are often used as guard dogs.

Unfortunately, some Rottweiler owners have mistreated their dogs in an attempt to make them more aggressive. These abused Rottweilers have given the breed an undeserved reputation as a dangerous breed. Rottweilers that are bred and raised properly are actually wonderful, loving family pets. Rottweilers are not the best breed for an apartment. These dogs are big and powerful and they need room to run.

Ideally, Rottweiler owners should own a home with a fenced yard. If you do not have a fenced yard, you should be prepared to take your dog for frequent runs in the park to burn off excess energy. The Rottweiler is an extremely intelligent dog and this breed does best when it has something to do.

Give your Rottweiler a job, such as keeping pests out of the garden, and you will have a happy dog. It is important to begin training a Rottweiler puppy at a young age, as these dogs quickly grow into large, powerful animals. Also, puppy obedience classes are a wonderful opportunity for you to provide your Rottweiler with plenty of socialization at a young age. Luckily, this breed enjoys learning, as long as the trainer uses love and patience. These dogs respond eagerly to new challenges, which is why the Rottweiler does well in agility trials.

Because of their size and strength, Rottweilers may not be the best choice for a family with a toddler. A six month old puppy may not realize his own strength and could accidentally injure small children while he is romping around. If your heart is set on a Rottweiler puppy, you may want to wait until your children are old enough to walk well. Of course, a dog with the size and energy of a Rottweiler can burn up quite a few calories. You should be prepared to buy quite a lot of food for your puppy.

Also, it is important to make sure that your puppy’s nutritional needs are being met, since Rottweilers can develop joint problems when they are older. Since a Rottweiler has such a short coat, grooming one of these dogs is not very time consuming. Brush your dog once a week with a slicker brush to keep his coat looking shiny and glossy. Also, be sure you take the time to check his nails to be sure they become not too long.

When your dog is a puppy, you may also want to accustom him to having his teeth brushed. If the thought of having a hundred pound dog attempt to crawl into your lap as though he weighs ten pounds horrifies you, then a Rottweiler may not be the breed for you. After all, not everyone wants a dog who has the appearance of a killer and the heart of a marshmallow.

Adopting a Yorkshire Terrier

If you like small dogs with big dog attitudes, you may want to consider a Yorkshire Terrier.

These dogs are so sure that they are just as big and bad as the other guy, that they will not hesitate to take on a Great Dane. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Yorkshire Terriers aren’t lap dogs.

The Yorkie can cuddle with the best of them. The Yorkshire Terrier is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Toy Group. In the show ring, a Yorkie seems to glide across the ground, since the dog’s long, flowing coat hides its tiny feet. Although Yorkies can be as small as one pound, most breeders do not recommend trying to breed dogs this tiny, and for good reason. When dogs are bred to be this tiny, health is often sacrificed for size and weight.

The AKC calls for the Yorkie to be under seven pounds, but does not have a minimum required weight. Yorkshire Terriers have long flowing coats of silver, blue or black hair, with tan on their heads and legs. Yorkie puppies are all born with black and tan coloring.

This breed has dark, intelligent eyes. The Yorkshire Terrier is an ideal apartment dog. Of course, your Yorkie would enjoy having a yard to romp in, but he can survive without it. In fact, some Yorkshire Terriers do not go out at all. These dogs are litter trained, instead. If you do not take your Yorkie for daily walks, you should look for ways to help him get some exercise, such as playing an indoor game of fetch.

If you do have a yard, be sure that there are no gaps under the fence, as Yorkies love to explore. Since these dogs are so small and cute, a Yorkshire Terrier doesn’t always have a chance to get back home before a passerby takes the little dog home, thinking it is lost or abandoned. Yorkshire Terriers are sociable little dogs and enjoy being in the midst of all the activity and bustle of family life. However, these dogs are not a good choice for families with toddlers.

This is not because Yorkies are untrustworthy with children, but because they are delicate little dogs and can be easily injured. A Yorkshire Terrier with a good temperament will allow children to squeeze, poke and pull on him, but it is unfair to subject a little dog to that treatment. Despite the fact that a Yorkie is small, you should still take your puppy to obedience classes. These little guys have a tendency to become stubborn and set in their ways without proper training.

Also, obedience training may save your Yorkshire Terrier’s life if you are able to call him back to you if he escapes out the front door. Yorkshire Terriers have few serious health problems. They do often have dental problems, such as retained baby teeth. Other problems these little guys can have are hernias and hypoglycemia.

Food for your Yorkshire Terrier will probably be your smallest expense. These little dogs don’t eat much. However, you will have to be careful that you don’t spoil your puppy with soft food or he may refuse to eat dry food, which will help you keep his teeth in better shape. Most Yorkies should be groomed at least three times a week to keep their hair from matting. Dogs with silkier coats may only need to be groomed once a week. Also, since Yorkies are prone to dental problems, you should brush your dog’s teeth several times a week.

If you want a pocket sized dog with plenty of spunk, then a Yorkie may be the perfect breed for you.

Two Questions You Must Ask Before Adopting A Dog From A Shelter

Ask these two questions to any animal shelter you’re thinking of adopting a dog from.  The answers may surprise you

“What medical care has already been provided, and should I be aware of… before adopting a dog from you?”

There are certain baseline medical needs that must be met before you take a dog from a shelter: she needs to have been wormed; her blood needs to have been checked for heartworms (in most areas of the country); and her ears and skin need to have been checked or treated for mites and other parasites. And she needs to have had her first vaccinations for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza (DHLPP), as well as bordetella, coronavirus and (if she’s old enough) rabies.

Be certain that any shelter you contact provides at least these basic services. Spaying or neutering is another basic medical requirement that a shelter may or may not provide. Many shelters spay or neuter all dogs six months of age or older before they leave the facility, and that’s ideal for you.

But lots of shelters, understandably, don’t have the money to provide such services, before adopting a dog.  Nevertheless, they’re acutely aware of the importance of stemming canine overpopulation, so good shelters always require adopters to have their dogs spayed or neutered within a reasonable time period after adoption. Some require a deposit, which is refunded upon submission of proof of spaying or neutering, while others give adopters low-cost spaying/neutering certificates from area veterinarians or provide low-cost services themselves.

In some areas, it’s becoming common practice for shelters to spay or neuter all their dogs – even those under the traditional minimum six-month age. Opinions are mixed on this approach to population control. Cities and counties whose shelters alter 100 percent of their animals report a dramatic decrease in the numbers of stray animals on their streets and of animals euthanized in shelters. But some experts believe that medical complications can arise in dogs who are spayed or neutered too young.

If you adopt a dog, make sure she’s been operated on by a reputable veterinarian and is certified healthy before you take her home.

The second question is: “Do you evaluate your dogs’ temperaments, before adopting them out?” At some shelters, you’ll find formal temperament evaluations posted on each dog’s cage that you can read, before adopting a dog. At others, you’ll find staff members who can tell you all about each dog’s personality.

Either approach is fine. What’s not fine is a shelter whose employees know little or nothing about the natures of its animals. Since you’ll have only a limited time to spend with the dogs you meet, you’ll want to find out about their habits, quirks, assets and drawbacks from the people who have been caring for them. Ask whether the shelter does any formal temperament testing of its animals (that is, specific exercises designed to assess a dog’s level of dominance, submissiveness, protectiveness, etc.). If the answer is no, ask whether the staff has spent enough time with the dogs to know their dispositions and to know what kinds of adoptive homes will likely be best for them.