The Golden Retriever Puppy Checklist

Remembering that the essentials for any good Golden Retriever is good health, temperament, and looks?
For health, ask breeders about longevity and health of the potential pup’s ancestors. You don’t necessarily need to forget about a line with some problems as no line of dogs is ever perfect. A good breeder will have Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or PennHIP hip dysplasia clearance, a heart clearance for subaortic stenosis, and a recent CERF eye clearance. No matter how much research you do into the background of any puppy, there is no guarantee that your dog will live a long and healthy life. But why not go with the odds and choose a dog from the healthiest background possible?
When you go to see a potential puppy, take a look. Are they being raised in sanitary conditions? Do they have their puppy vaccinations? Have they been checked or treated for internal parasites?

Avoid puppies that:


  • are excessively dirty or soiled with feces.
  • are covered with fleas or ticks.
  • are missing hair.
  • have crusted or reddened skin.
  • are coughing, sneezing, or vomiting.
  • have discharge from the eyes, ears, or nose.
  • are red or irritated around the anus.
  • have diarrhea. are thin or potbellied.
  • have pale gums.
  • are apathetic, lethargic, shy, or hostile.
  • are dehydrated. You can test for dehydration by picking up a fold of the skin and releasing it. The skin should pop back into place.



When looking at the temperament of a puppy, consider the basics of the Golden Retriever standard. The ideal Golden Retriever should be eager, alert, and self-confident. Many people tend to go for the extremes in temperament, but for most family pets you are better off choosing the pup that is neither the rowdiest nor the shyest in the litter. Many people who can’t decide let the puppy pick them. It’s hard to say no to a little cute pup that stumbles over to say hello and ends up falling asleep in your lap.

When evaluating the looks of a pup, again refer to the Golden Retriever standard. The ideal Golden Retriever is a powerful, athletic dog, neither clumsy nor lanky, with a soft, kindly expression and a golden coat of medium length. If you were buying a dog to show, your criteria would be more rigid, and in that case you should rely on the advice of the breeder.
Golden Retriever  puppies are like little army tanks. They waddle along on short, wide, moving legs with a much choppier movement than they would have as adults. Pups of this breed are born light and darken with age; a very light pup may turn into a good golden shade, whereas a very dark pup may be almost red as an adult. The ear color is often a clue as to what the adult color will be. Small white markings in young puppies may go away, but by seven weeks they should be almost gone if they are going to vanish.

The younger the dog, the more difficult it is to predict how it will look and move as an adult. This means that if you are looking for a Golden Retriever with a particular look, your best bet may be to buy an adult. 

By eight weeks of age, most Golden Retriever puppies should be curious about their surroundings. While they may show some caution, they should still be willing to investigate. Most puppies should also tend to follow you, especially if you call. A puppy that consistently ignores you may be too independent. It’s a good sign if the pup chases and even retrieves a rolled ball or tossed toy, but many Goldens develop the retrieving urge at a much later age. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Adopting Your Chow Chow

You’ve asked a few friends and Chow Chow owners about the temperament and ease of looking after a pet of this breed, and you’ve received many encouraging replies.

Now, you feel encouraged to look out only for a Chow Chow. So, where do you go looking for one and how do you go about it? Let’s find out.

First, do not contemplate buying a pet from a pet store or wherever else you cannot easily see the parents of the pup before buying it. It would be in your interests to visit a good kennel where you can request to see the breeds available and then decide.

On this basis, you can make an informed choice of a good pup by just spending a little more on finding out the dog’s background, if he is in conformity with the breed standard and if he is predisposed to any diseases. This information can save you not just a lot of future grief but paying out huge vet bills too.

Characteristics of this breed:

Your pet Chow Chow could be either highly energetic or just plain placid. Chow Chows are also known to be hardheaded, obstinate, serious and introverted as also loving, good-natured and loyal.

In your pet, you could also find these traits:

1. He resembles a teddy bear and therefore comes across as cuddly and cute.

2. Stands proudly with a confident stature.

3. Is a reliable and fearsome watchdog.

4. Is inherently clean and easily housebroken.

5. Is well mannered and quiet.

6. Needs moderate exercise but must be groomed regularly Though these are the general qualities of a Chow Chow, it is equally true that you can never be sure what your pup will grow up to be like. This is because many purebred pups do not grow up conforming to the standard.

7. Why not to buy a Chow Chow: On the flip side, there are certain reasons why you might not want to take in a Chow Chow, such as:

8. He is overly suspicious or openly aggressive when unsocialized.

9. He has an aggressive streak that extends to other pets too.

10. He is very strong-willed and determined and resists being nagged. For this reason, he must be handled by an experienced and confident owner who can be the dominant partner without having to use force

11. He needs regular grooming that includes brushing and combing, particularly if he is the rough coat variety.

12. He sheds a lot.

13. He will suffer from health-related problems.

14. He has such an independent streak in him that it can result stubbornness and disobedience to his master.

15. He could also be very jealous of either your new baby or other pets, whether older than him or younger.

16. They are also known to kill small animals such as cats and rodents, often leaving a dead mouse at your door more for sport than your safety.

17. They are sometimes difficult to train. They are therefore not recommended if you are a first time pet owner or are not in a position or do not want to show your dog who is the boss.

Where you can safely buy your Chow Chow: Though there are three avenues of buying purebred pups—the pet shop, the casual or backyard breeder and the hobby breeder, perhaps the worst of them all is the pet shop.

Here, dogs are bred unselectively, often sold in wholesale lots to pet stores. They are kept caged until sold, often unsocialized, unloved and unhappy. So, it’s not surprising that they are just not right for homes, since they lack in temperament, socialization and health.

It stands to reason that if a pup has a bad beginning with a commercial breeder of this caliber, he stands a very slim chance of growing into a healthy, well-adjusted and beautiful pet. So, when you go out to select a pup, think with your head rather than your heart.

If you choose to think with the latter, you will end up buying that sad little pup who’s caged up. But for reasons mentioned above, it will be the wrong choice for you. And in any case, a greedy breeder will continue to breed more and more pups to replace him.

1. The backyard breeder: Typically, your backyard breeder buys a female of a particular breed from a pet shop on the proprietor’s assurance that a year down the line, he can safely breed her, sell the resulting pups and make back his investment on her.

A match is then made between her and the male down the street, whose owner has the same attitude to his male as the breeder has to his female—o make back his purchase price. Soon, the female gives birth to a litter of pups and though can be registered by the AKC, are of no greater quality than their parents.

This is because neither party cared to go into the physical and genetic history and makeup of each partner. When the litter was born, no care was given to the new mother and her pups and later the breeder was unmindful of giving any care and attention to socializing, training or Instead, further damage to these pups was done when the breeder weaned them earlier than usual, thereby depriving them of the necessary bonding with their mother, only to be sold as fast as possible so he could make back his investment in the mother.

2. The serious breeder: Instead of buying from an ignorant and heartless buyer, you should really seek out a committed, and serious breeder or exhibitor. Such breeders invest many, many hours studying pedigrees and lineage, evaluating and observing their dogs for faults and virtues, and all the time giving them their love, care and attention.

When you see these breeders with their dogs at dog shows, you can see the fruits of their labor. Breeders work very hard grooming and training their pups before they can be sold to good homes. It would therefore be well worth asking him about practical realities of buying a particular breed that you have in mind. So, ask him if the breed you’re considering is high on vet’s bills, how long it takes to look after newborns, how much time he spends with potential buyers, whether it costs much to groom, train and socialize them before they are quality dogs.

3. The hobby breeder: This breeder breeds dogs as a hobby and not for commercial gain. He is a very responsible breeder whose only interests are to produce the ideal dog of their breed and to show dogs—n fact, his dogs are his pets and show dogs. Often his kennels include the couch or bed. He works hard to breed only the best without any worry about time, research, money and effort spent. You can depend on him to do the genetic screening for any medical problems in their breed, spay or neuter the dog. Such a breeder is committed to every dog he produces. He sells only by referral. conditioning the new pups.

4. Where to avoid buying a pup from: If pups are being sold at flea markets, roadside stands, motel rooms and pet shops, these are the worst places to buy from as unscrupulous breeders who produce pups in large numbers sell their litters here for a quick buck.

To them, the only breeding prerequisite is that the sire and dam have AKC papers. They don’t care about the quality, health or temperament of the pup. Commercial breeders produce in large numbers and sell the weakest of the lot to these roadside sellers at a cheap price.

5. Locating a good breeder: An experienced and reputable breeder is the best person to give you a good quality puppy. He should be able to show you his stock from which you can choose and can also suggest a dog to suit your needs and lifestyle. Breeding quality dogs is a tough job, not possible by just anyone at all. It needs hands-on knowledge gleaned by constant exposure to breeders at dog shows.

You can contact these breeders from a catalog brought out by the AKC. The Chow Chow Club Inc., the national Chow breed club, also brings out a magazine titled “Chow Life” which is an excellent source of reputable breeders.

A good breeder doesn’t produce in large numbers, so you will have to wait for a puppy. He will ask you a lot of questions to make sure you are the right person to take a pup from him. In turn, you too must ask him a lot of questions.

6. What to ask the breeder: When you go to look at puppies, ask him the following questions:

1. Does he have a pedigree for the puppy?

2. Have the parents of the pup been X-rayed for Hip Dysplasia?

3. Does the pup suffer from entropion?

4. What guarantees does he offer? What happens if your pup doesn’t turn out according to the guarantee? Can he be replaced or will your money be returned?

5. Are the sire and dam available for you to see?

6. Does he have the AKC registration papers to show you?

7. Do his pups come with AKC registration?

8. Does he own the parents of this pup or at least one of them?

9. Where were the parents or mother bought?

10. Which vaccinations has he been given? Is he checked for worms?

11. What does he eat? What is he allergic to?

12. Since when has he been breeding Chow Chows?

13. How many litters does he produce every year?

14. Does he offer a health guarantee?

15. Is he affiliated to any regional or national dog clubs?

16. How much does he charge for this one?

17. What health tests have been done on BOTH parents of the litter?

18. What temperament testing and socialization have been done?

19. What goals do the breeder have with the breeding program and how does the breeder go about to achieve this?

20. What does the breeder feel are the strengths and weaknesses in the breed and the breeder’s program?

21. What type of contract does the breeder have for pet or show puppies?

22. How many champions has he finished?

23. How many champions has he bred?

24. Is either parent of the puppy a champion? Or his grandparents? If so, are there AKC championship certificates or photographs to prove this?

How to choose your pup: Ensure that you see at least one show quality litter before you buy. Once you have seen a good litter, you will make a better choice, because you will know the difference between these puppies and an ill-bred one.

When you ring to ask about a litter, ask as many questions as you can over the phone. If you find the answers not forthcoming, you know he isn’t knowledgeable and you can reconsider going over to him. Arrange to see about five to 10 litters before buying. First, look at the adults, as well as the puppies.

Reputable breeders do not sell puppies under eight weeks old. They must be free of parasites and should be kept clean and in hygienic surroundings. They should have their first series of shots. Do not pick up a pup from filthy surroundings or it will develop parasite problems.

See if your pup is alert and active but not vicious. He should not have a runny nose nor should his tongue be bluish. Does he have a short wide muzzle, heavy bone and broad chest and big body. Now, set him down and make him walk. If he moves about freely, he’s on.

If you select a quality Chow Chow, it means that he conforms to the standard recognized by the AKC. Ask the breeder to tell you the differences between show puppies and good pet quality puppies.

1 Understanding the breeder’s lingo: If you can’t understand typical jargon, communicating with your breeder will be very difficult. So, get the lowdown on what he means when he says the following:

Show potential: To be of show quality, your pup must pass a basic orthopedic examination at age 10-12 weeks. He should also have excellent breed type and that something extra that sets him off as different from all the other entrants.

Breeding quality: These pups, though essentially the same as the show type, rarely ever have that something extra that judges are looking for.

Pet quality: Healthy and beautiful, these pups may have a small flaw in them which renders them unfit for breeding or showing, for instance, a bad bite, etc.

Finding a new home for your pet: You were starry-eyed about bringing your Chow Chow home and you never thought you’d have to give him up so easily. But even if you can’t keep him, you’d still like to do your best by him. So, how about making the right future choices for him?

Bear in mind that your dog is still your responsibility. Even now he depends on you to look after him. So, even if it takes all your time, effort and patience to find him a good home, you deserve to do your best for him.

2. How to find him a new home: Consider sending your pup to any one of the following:

Animal shelters: Shelters and humane societies are meant to care for unloved and abused animals. They certainly aren’t a place where you can offload your unwanted pets. Though they admit about 100 pets each day, few of them ever leave the shelter to go to a good home. So, where does that leave your pet?

Even if your pet is a purebred, that doesn’t mean he will be the preferred choice of a prospective buyer. Besides, the reputation your Chow Chow enjoys is a deterrent since many people are frightened of Chow Chows. So, some shelters won’t put them up for adoption. Then, if he’s old, he has slimmer chances of being adopted.

3. “No-kill” shelters and breed rescue services: No one ever wants to see their pet being killed, so they don’t admit many pets. But breed rescue services are small, private groups run by volunteers who are dedicated to a particular breed. Their services are expensive and they are so much in demand that they too cannot accept every dog that comes their way.

But it can help by placing your pet by giving you referrals of people interested in your pet’s breed. Follow this advice if you want success. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited. 

Bringing Your Chow Chow Puppy Home


If you’ve decided to bring our Chow Chow home, that’s not enough. You need to get your house ready for him.

You’re going to have things to do around the house. After all pups are so much like babies, what with wanting to explore all parts of your house. But how do you know your house is safe and ready for your chow Chow. Check for these:

1. Clear your house of poisonous items: Have you cleared your house of all poisonous items and taken them out of your pup’s reach? If you haven’t, now’s the time to put away cleaners, laundry detergents, bleach, disinfectants, insecticides, cleaning fluid, fertilizers, mothballs and antifreeze in cabinets or high up on shelves. Of course, as he grows, and if he has an adventurous streak, he’s sure to jump high on to your shelves to find out what’s where.

2. Uproot all life-threatening plants: Do you have life-threatening plants at home? Even apricot pits, spinach and tomato vines are dangerous to your pup. You can also ask your vet for more such plants that could affect your pet’s health and life.

3. Put away dangerous objects: Are electrical cords hanging or loose nails lying around? If there are such dangerous objects lying around, pick them up and put them away.

4. Supervise him: Don’t let your pup be by himself unsupervised whether inside or outside the house. Also, remember to keep him away from balconies, upper porches and high decks or he may just slip through the openings and fall.

5. Keep our toilet covered: Puppies sometimes like to play in the toilet bowl water. This is harmful for him as he may swallow the toilet cleanser.

6. Get sharp objects out of the way: Put away all sharp objects such as sharp twine, sewing needles and pins far away from your puppies reach, because if he swallows these objects, he can harm his mouth and internal organs.

7. Don’t tie ribbons round his neck: Or he may chew it and this can lead to digestive problems or choke himself if the ribbon gets caught in something.

8. If he’s a plant nibbler: If he tends to nibble on grass, don’t worry, this is natural. But if he takes this habit forward and nibbles on certain other plants, he may just grow sick or die.

Dog supplies to buy before your pet arrives:

Have you bought a few musts for your pup? He’s going to need the following supplies:

Food and water bowls: Select solid and stable bowls that won’t tip over when he eats or drinks out of it. Are they easy to clean? Buy one each for food and water. Initially, buy small bowls and then as he grows older, buy him larger ones. If you do this he won’t overeat for his age nor will he fall into his water bowl whenever he goes over to drink.

Collar: True, there is a large variety of lightweight collars available for your puppy. No matter which one you choose, attach an identification tag with your puppy’s name, your address and phone number. Let his first collar be of lightweight nylon or leather. To measure his neck correctly, measure his neck size and add two inches to it. To be sure that the collar fits properly, slide two fingers between his collar and your pup’s neck. If it’s a snug fit, the size is right. But if there’s room left over, you need a smaller size, and if your fingers don’t fit comfortably, the collar size is way too small. Your pup may take a little while adjusting to his collar, so give him this time to get used to it.

Leash: Leashes too come in many lengths and styles, such as leather, nylon and retractable. If you buy a six-foot leash it would serve both as a leash for training and walking. Always keep your puppy on a leash unless he is in your fenced-in yard.

In many parts of the U.S., leash laws prevail, making it mandatory to keep your puppy on his leash at all times. If he’s unleashed, he may be fined or if he dirties a park by soiling, you will be expected to clean up after him.

Grooming supplies: Grooming him means investing in a number of tools but this will depend on the breed you buy and his coat length. For shorthaired breeds, buy a brush with natural bristles, rubber currycomb or a hand mitt, sturdy wide-toothed metal comb, flea comb and a mat splitter are needed for longhaired breeds.

Toys: To exercise your pup, buy him a few toys, as this will help him exercise and get over their chewing cravings. Choose toys specifically designed for pups—nes that can’t be splintered, torn or swallowed. What’s fun and safe to have are rawhide chips, nylon chews and hard rubber balls. And, if they don’t fit comfortably in his mouth, it’s not right for him.

Puppy food: Give him his essential nutritive foods and get him used to a feeding schedule.

Crate or sleeping bed: Fix his sleeping area in a warm and comfortable place. A crate serves very well as a den in your absence from the house. A crate may either a portable and enclosed in plastic or a wire crate. It should be large enough for him to stand up and turn around in and lie down too and should be airy.

When you buy an adult-sized crate, also buy partitions or place a cardboard box in the back to serve as a cozy space for him. Apart from the crate, set up a sleeping area for him for the time you are at home. Buy a puppy-sized bed instead of an adult-sized bed, so that he is safe and snug.

1. Stain remover and scent: To take the odor away from his nose, buy a stain and scent remover.

2. Book on puppy care: This is most important for you in your pup’s growing days. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Socializing Your Chow Chow


Socializing your pup isn’t something you do one fine day and then not again till you get the urge. It is an on-going process that begins when you bring your pup home and ends with his death.

To begin the process, right from the time you take him home, encourage visitors to come over and visit you and your new Chow Chow. Ideally, these people must belong to different races and cultures, be in different age groups and to both sexes. Let him go forward and be friendly, and respond to your friends’ toys, treats and gestures.

Once the vet certifies he is well and healthy, take him out with you on errands. When you meet a friend, let the person hold him or give him his time, attention and a treat. Your “dog friendly” friends could be good for such occasions. Socializing him means taking him out to as many places as possible so that his breadth of experience is wider and he mixes with people better.

So, take him to the convenience store, park, supermarket, mall or playground, hang around for a while till he soaks in the environment.

If, however, you don’t socialize your Chow Chow for some time, he will go back into his earlier unsocialized state and turn his earlier shy self. Immediately resume the socialization process with him. You’d know he’s regressing if he tucks his tail behind him when he sees a stranger or barks while backing off.

Socializing your pup:

Pups need a lot of positive experiences to become confident and well adjusted adults. This is why they need to be exposed to a variety of people, dogs, children and people and to sights, sounds and smells.

Adjusting to people:

Your dog is a part of your family comprising human beings, so it is necessary he get along with people. He needs to be in the company of a lot of people and earn praise or rewards for good behavior from them in order to be well behaved.

To do this:

1. Ask your friends over to meet and play with your Chow Chow. Make them crouch down and meet him at eye level.

2. Ask your kids or the neighbor’s kids to come in and play with him, if they know how to be gentle with him. If a pup doesn’t know what it means to be with a kid, he can be aggressive towards them when they’re older.

3. If kids run around squealing and shouting, it sets off prey instincts in dogs if they are not familiar with them.

4. Gently but firmly correct bad behavior right from the start.

5. Gelling with other dogs: If dogs cannot speak the way we do, they have their own means of communication—hrough body posture, facial expressions and vocalization, they get across their message of fear, anger, aggression, submission or playfulness.

If he learns canine language, he will be able to put his feelings across effectively but if raised in isolation, he may misinterpret cues from other dogs or send wrong signals that will result in anger in other animals.

Like us, they too must learn acceptable norms of behavior such as when not to nip a friend or when to jump on Mom and when not to. So, from play behavior too, they learn to live by the code of their society. How is your Chow Chow with other pets?

For many dogs, getting along with other house pets is more of a problem than dealing with other dogs. So, if you have small animals beware, since hamsters or rabbits elicit prey instincts in dogs. Fortunately, cats and larger pets aren’t at that much of risk.

If you have a multi-pet home, introduce your pets to your pup at an early age. Supervise them when they are together, and reward them with praise or treats when they behave well with your pup. When dogs and cats are raised together, the former usually accept cats.

But considering your Chow Chow has strong hunting instincts, any cats in the house are in danger.

Why is your Chow Chow shy?

Your Chow Chow may be shy if:

1. One of his parents is shy: Shyness in dogs is a dominant genetic trait. So, if one parent is shy, half the litter will also be so.

2. He’s badly socialized: Your pup should ideally be socialized between the ages of five and 12 weeks of age. If they are left unsocialized, they are probably timid and need a lot more effort to be well adjusted.

How to deal with shy dogs:

Two winning techniques to deal with such dogs are: the flooding technique and desensitization and counter-conditioning.

Flooding involves exposing the dog to a frightening situation until he is no longer scared of it.

Desensitization and counter-conditioning refers to gradually exposing the dog to the stimulus that brings on fear in a low-intensity form so that he doesn’t get frightened. By counter-conditioning, we mean that you add a reward when he proves he’s no longer scared. As he shows his confidence, gradually increase the intensity of the stimulus without bringing on fearful behavior.

3 Socializing shy dogs:

1. Ensure he’s healthy since shyness can also be due to poor eyesight or hypothyroidism.

2. List all the things that your pet is scared of before you begin training and rank them.

3. Teach him to stay in a relaxed posture, perhaps the sit-stay.

4. Next, introduce him to the situation he’s least scared of and gradually go high up in the list you made in Step 2 till you reach the highest. Ask a friend to train your dog. Put him in a sit-stay position and ask your friend to stand at some distance from him. If his presence affects your pet, the latter will begin to show signs of concern such as sneezing, hyperventilating, shaking, panting, etc. But if he isn’t concerned, he will sit in a relaxed posture. Repeat this till you’re sure he isn’t frightened of anyone.

5. Spaying and neutering your pup: If you don’t intend breeding your pup, it’s best you spay or alter him. Ask your vet the best age at which he can be spayed or altered, but usually it’s after he reaches sexual maturity.

There are many reasons why spaying or altering is considered a good idea. First, an accidental pregnancy could lead to unwanted litters that endanger the mother’s health. It also prevents the outbreak of female diseases such as pyometra. Besides, male dogs are easier to manage if neutered.

By selectively breeding the Chow Chow breed and producing only the best and the healthiest alone can you do a great service to this wonderful breed. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

I Am Your Puppy

I am your Puppy, and I will love you until the end of the Earth, but please know a few things about me. I am a Puppy, this means that my intelligence and capacity for learning are the same as an 8-month-old child.

I am a Puppy; I will chew EVERYTHING I can get my teeth on. This is how I explore and learn about the world. Even HUMAN children put things in their mouths. It’s up to you to guide me to what is mine to chew and what is not. I am a Puppy; I cannot hold my bladder for longer than 1 – 2 hours. I cannot “feel” that I need to poop until it is actually beginning to come out. I cannot vocalize nor tell you that I need to go, and I cannot have “bladder and bowel control” until 6 – 9 months.

Do not punish me if you have not let me out for 3 hours and I tinkle. It is your fault. As a Puppy, it is wise to remember that I NEED to go potty after: Eating, Sleeping, playing, Drinking and around every 2 – 3 hours in addition. If you want me to sleep through the night, then do not give me water after 8 p.m. A crate will help me learn to housebreak easier, and will avoid you being mad at me. I am a Puppy, accidents WILL happen, please be patient with me! In time I will learn. I am a Puppy, I like to play. I will run around, and chase imaginary monsters, and chase your feet and your toes and ‘attack’ you, and chase fuzz balls, other pets, and small kids. It is play; it’s what I do.

Do not be mad at me or expect me to be sedate, mellow and sleep all day. If my high energy level is too much for you, maybe you could consider an older rescue from a shelter or Rescue group. My play is beneficial, use your wisdom to guide me in my play with appropriate toys, and activities like chasing a rolling ball, or gentle tug games, or plenty of chew toys for me. If I nip you too hard, talk to me in “dog talk”, by giving a loud YELP, I will usually get the message, as this is how dogs communicate with one another. If I get too rough, simply ignore me for a few moments, or put me in my crate with an appropriate chew toy. I am a Puppy; hopefully you would not yell, hit, strike, kick or beat a 6-month-old human infant, so please do not do the same to me. I am delicate, and also very impressionable.

If you treat me harshly now, I will grow up learning to fear being hit, spanked, kicked or beat. Instead, please guide me with encouragement and wisdom. For instance, if I am chewing something wrong, say, “No chew!” and hand me a toy I CAN chew. Better yet, pick up ANYTHING that you do not want me to get into. I can’t tell the difference between your old sock and your new sock, or an old sneaker and your $200 Nikes. I am a Puppy, and I am a creature with feelings and drives much like your own, but yet also very different. Although I am NOT a human in a dog suit, neither am I an unfeeling robot who can instantly obey your every whim. I truly DO want to please you, and be a part of your family, and your life. You got me (I hope) because you want a loving partner and companion, so do not relegate me to the backyard when I get bigger, do not judge me harshly but instead mold me with gentleness and guidelines and [training->dog training] into the kind of family member you want me to be here. I am a Puppy and I am not perfect, and I know you are not perfect either.

I love you anyway. So please, learn all you can about training, and puppy behaviors and caring for me from your Veterinarian, books on dog care and even researching on the computer! Learn about my particular breed and it’s “characteristics”, it will give you understanding and insight into WHY I do all the things I do. Please teach me with love, patience, the right way to behave and socialize me with training in a puppy class or obedience class, we will BOTH have a lot of fun together. I am a Puppy and I want more than anything to love you, to be with you, and to please you. Won’t you please take time to understand how I work? We are the same you and I, in that we both feel hunger, pain, thirst, discomfort, fear, but yet we are also very different and must work to understand one another’s language, body signals, wants and needs. Some day I will be a handsome dog, hopefully one you can be proud of and one that you will love as much as I love you.

Your Puppy


Copyright 2000, by J. Ellis – Southern Shadows Rottweilers. Reprinted with Permission.

Should You Adopt This Personal Protection Dog?

Mackie writes: “My good friend who is a dog trainer offered me his 5 year old Belgian Malinois for adoption. He is trained as a protection dog so he can guard his master, bite on command, release the bite on command, stay until released and others. He has a trophy as third placer in Level 1 protection in a protection dog competition. I have two dogs at present: A one year-old and a nine month-old Labrador… both are females, obedience trained and not neutered.

I would like to adopt him and I know I can take care of him. Will he accept me after being my friend’s favorite dog for 5 years? My friend assured me that he can transfer the loyalty of the dog to me. He is a fierce dog when in competition but a very quiet dog when outside the training ring. In fact my friend brings the dog with him all the time and I know of several occasions that the dog is off leash. He is giving him up because he wants to replace him with a younger dog.

Should I take him up on his offer? ”

Dear Mackie:

Yes… the dog will transfer his loyalty to you.

Here are two major issues you should consider before adopting this dog:

1.)      The Belgian Malinois (especially one that is bred and trained for bite work and protection dog sports) will require a lot of work ON YOUR PART to learn how to handle this dog. You’re going to need a lot of training… one-on-one style… to successfully integrate this dog into your life. It’s like driving a Ferrari or a race car. The car already runs great, but if you don’t learn the right way to drive it, you’ll end up killing yourself. And just because you already know how to drive a Subaru doesn’t cut it… we’re talking Ferrari, here. And the Belgian Malinois is a Ferrari with the tricked out Turbo engine.

2.)       The breed is an extremely HIGH DRIVE breed. This dog needs TONS of exercise and mental stimulation. TONS. Please take the time to recognize that adopting this dog will be a major responsibility.

If you decide to do it, and you are successful, you’ll have an amazing companion. The breed is quite healthy and you can be content in knowing that you own a KING OF KINGS as far as working dogs are concerned.

Part of me has always wanted what you’re thinking about getting. But my lifestyle and dedication to the exercise and training requirements are something I do not have at this current point in my life.

Adopting A Curly-Coated Retriever

History and origin: The Curly-Coated Retriever is considered to be the oldest of the retrievers,  tracing his origins back to 16th century England, perhaps a result of the mixing of Irish Water Spaniel, Poodle, and setter bloodlines.  The outcome was a breed that would eagerly retrieve waterfowl from lakes or bays without being affected by the cold, thanks to his water-resistant coat.

Description: The Curly-Coated Retriever stands approximately 22 to 25 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 55 and 75 pounds.  He has a strong medium-size body.  The weather-resistant shedding coat is tightly curled.  Do not comb or brush the coat.  Just damp it down and massage with circular movements.  Trimming is also necessary.  The coat may be black or liver-colored.

About the breed: This breed is beautiful, hardy, active, intelligent, a good swimmer, and an excellent guarddog.  He is a great worker both on land and in water and will retrieve any game.  He is affectionate to his owners but less eager to please than the Labrador Retriever.  Curly-Coated Retrievers are also slightly less active, more independent, more stubborn, and not as likely to welcome strangers.  They can make good family pets, but they need more socialization than a Lab, and they will not tolerate roughhousing from children the way a Lab would.  They need plenty of vigorous exercise.  Curly-Coated Retrievers need obedience training early on, but they require a more patient training technique than a Lab.  They are more sensitive and will shut down on you if you are not slow and consistent with your technique.

Feeding: Recommended feeding for this breed is 1 ½ — 2 ½ cans (13.3oz) of high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal part or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food.

Ideal home: The Curly-Coated Retriever needs a house with a fenced yard.  Children are okay, but no roughhousing should be tolerated.  Socialization with people and dogs should begin early, as should obedience training.   A firm yet patient leader is called for with this breed.  The elderly and the disabled may have a hard time keeping up with this active dog. Cautious or nervous persons should not consider the Curly-Coated Retriever, nor should those who do not have time to work the dog.  A hunter would find this breed to be an excellent water retriever.

Adopting the Right Dog Breed – A Step By Step Guide

Did you know that there are several hundred dog breeds? With that large number of breeds to choose from, how do people manage to decide which breed is right for them? Luckily, you can narrow down the choices and find the right dog breed by following a few simple steps.

First, consider your available space. Do you live in an apartment? If so, you will want to rule out large dogs. Look for dogs in the Toy group, such as Yorkshire Terriers, or some of the smaller dogs in the Terrier group, like the Miniature Schnauzer. If you have children, you will want to consider the size of your dog, as well.

Very small dogs, such as Chihuahuas or Maltese, can be very delicate and are often accidentally injured by young children. On the other hand, very large dogs, such as Boxers or Saint Bernards, can be overly boisterous as puppies and can accidentally turn your child into a human bowling pin. Consider medium sized breeds, such as Fox Terriers or Lhasa Apsos, instead. Next, consider how much exercise you can give your dog.

If you have a home with a fenced yard, your dog will be able to get some exercise on his own. However, dog breeds in the Sporting, Hound, and Herding groups are very high energy animals and you will need to have enough time to provide them with more intensive exercise. Plan to take a lot of long walks with your dog or go for a daily romp in the park. After all, these dog breeds were bred to work hard and don’t do well unless they have a job to do or a way to burn off excess energy.

Finally, don’t forget to consider grooming needs. Some dog breeds only need a half hour or so of grooming a week, while others need to be groomed for an hour a day. If you are short on time, don’t buy a Standard Poodle or a Maltese, unless, of course, you plan to take your dog to a groom. Breeds like Boston Terriers or Whippets are good choices for people who don’t have time to do a lot of grooming.

Once you decide which breed of dog you want, you will need to consider the age of the dog. Many people opt to buy a cuddly little puppy instead of an older dog. While puppies have not developed any bad habits, it will be up to the new owner to be sure that the puppy becomes housebroken and obedience trained. Older dogs are frequently already housebroken and usually have some obedience training. They are also more likely to be less hyper and less destructive.

However, they can have behavioral problems or health problems that prompted the former owner to find them a new home. Do you want to buy a puppy? If so, you will need to find a reputable dog breeder who has a litter of the breed you are interested in.

Often, a good breeder will have a waiting list for puppies. If you aren’t the patient sort, you may be tempted to buy a puppy from a pet store. However, many pet store puppies come from puppy mills and have genetic health defects, bad temperaments, or other problems. It is usually safest to buy a puppy directly from the breeder.

If you are interested in an older dog, you may want to visit your local animal shelter or call a breed rescue. These groups evaluate the dogs’ health and temperament before adopting them out. Once you’ve narrowed down the breed choices and have decided which dog is right for you, don’t get too relaxed. After all, you still have one more important decision to make, what to name your new companion!

Adopting From a Good Dog Breeder

Have you ever purchased a car that was a lemon? Facing problem after problem robs you of the pleasure of enjoying your new car. Unfortunately, there are dogs that are lemons, too. A dog with health problems can lead to heartache and empty checkbooks.

A good dog breeder will stand behind health guarantees and do everything possible to set things right if you end up with a dog that has a serious health defect. There are several types of dog breeders. The first type is a person who shows dogs and works hard to maintain the breed standard. The puppies this breeder produces will often be more expensive than other puppies, but there are several advantages to buying one.

These breeders test their dogs for common genetic diseases and they only breed their best dogs, because they are breeding dogs to acquire a new generation of champions. This means that the resulting puppies that are not show quality are usually still quite nice. The second type of dog breeder is usually called a backyard breeder.

These breeders rarely show dogs and often have a litter of puppies just because they want other people to have a dog just like theirs. Unfortunately, few backyard breeders test for diseases or know how to look for traits that match the breed standard. The final type of dog breeder is often called a puppy mill breeder. These breeders have many different breeds of dogs and often breed their females until the dogs become run down and die.

Puppies are frequently very poor examples of the breed and may have genetic health problems as well as diseases such as Kennel Cough. Obviously, you want to find a good dog breeder. However, knowing the importance of finding a good dog breeder doesn’t always make it easy to locate one. Fortunately, if you look for signs of a good breeder and ask the breeder the right questions, you should be able to tell if you’ve found a good breeder. First, take a look at how the breeder is advertising. Breeders who advertise in newspapers are not necessarily unethical.

Some of them love their dog breed, but do not care for the show world. However, be wary of an advertisement that lists puppies from five different dog breeds and a few poodle mixes thrown in for good measure. Next, ask the breeder to allow you to stop in and look at the puppies. If the breeder refuses and offers to deliver the puppy or meets you outside with a portable pen full of puppies, it may very well be because of safety concerns.

However, it could also mean that the breeder’s kennel is dirty and the dogs are not cared for properly. Once you’ve seen those adorable puppies, do not pull out your check book. Instead, ask the breeder whether they’ve been to a vet and ask about a health guarantee. Some breeders vaccinate the puppies themselves, but there is a chance they did not give the vaccinations correctly and that the puppies are still vulnerable to disease.

Also, the puppies could have serious hereditary defects, such as a severe heart murmur, that a preliminary health exam would have uncovered. Finally, ask for references from previous owners and get the name and phone number of the breeder’s veterinarian. Then, go home and call the references and ask them about their experience with the breeder and ask how their puppies turned out. If you are satisfied with the response of the references, call the veterinarian to verify that the breeder really did bring the puppies in.

Now, you can finally buy your new puppy. Of course, first you will have to decide which of those little balls of fluff is the right dog 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.