Sadly, not all people professing to be reputable and responsible breeders are. A good breeder will all butinterrogate you. You should also have the chance to question the breeder. If you are not sure or uneasy withan answer, do not hesitate to ask for an explanation. If at any time you get an uneasy feeling or just are not satisfied, look elsewhere. A few things to ask about are:

1. What is the asking price of the puppies? Some breeders will ask the same for pet quality and show potential puppies. Compare prices with other breeders of the same breed and if the price is considerably higher or lower do not hesitate to ask why. Do not hesitate to ask why if there is a big difference in pet and show pups. Unless there is a visible disqualification or the puppy visibly will not be showing potential, the younger the pup the harder it is to determine show quality. A person who really knows the breed can have a good idea what pups have show POTENTIAL and what may not.

Much happens while the puppy grows and that eight week show prospect may not be show potential at 9 months! And avoid ANY breeder who charges different for males or females or who charges extra if you want a pedigree or registration. It is not that expensive to register a litter so the potential owners can individually register puppies. (Many kennel clubs like the AKC require all litters to be registered by the breeder. Then papers are sent out that are given to buyers of puppies so the owner can register them in their name).

2. What health tests have been done on BOTH parents of the litter? Any breed should have hips (OFA or PennHip) eyes (CERF) and ideally thyroid. Then is up to you as potential buyer to know what other tests the breed you are looking at should have. The breeder should be able to show documentations of all tests. Do not blindly accept their word – some dishonest breeders will lie and say all tests have been done. And if the breeder says there is nothing in the line so testing is not important, avoid this person as well. Some health problems are polygenetic (more than one set of genes involved – not a simple dominant/recessive). Some health problems take years to show fully or may be there but not showing outwardly. For example, some dysplastic dogs never show signs of having it and it is only diagnosed upon testing.

3. What temperament testing and socialization has been done? Granted, young puppies should not leave the property due to a growing immune system; however, the breeder should expose the puppies to as many things as possible like vacuum cleaners, children, house sounds, etc. The older the puppy, the more experiences it should have. Has the breeder temperament tested and what method was used? A good breeder will help match the right personality to you. If you are a quiet family and the breeder pushes a dominant pup on you, leave. On the other hand, if you like the look of one puppy and the breeder, after interviewing you, decides it is not the right match, respect that.

4. What goals does the breeder have with the breeding program and how does the breeder go about to achieve this? If the breeder breeds just to produce more dogs, for pets only or anything that does not go towards the bettering of the breeder’s lines and the breed as a whole, go elsewhere. And if the breeder breeds for working ability first, you could end up with a handful! Look for one who breeds for companionship as well as type and working ability – unless you are looking exclusively for a working dog.

5. What does the breeder feel are the strengths and weaknesses in the breed and the breeder’s program? The breeder should be open with you about the program and where they hope to go with it. Avoid the breeder who insists there are no better dogs around then his.

6. Can you see the pedigrees of both sire and dam? Can you see at least the dam? The sire may not be on site but the dam should be. If not, you could be dealing with a broker (one who sells dogs not bred by that person). Is there any way for you to do so remotely and regularly with an outdoor webcam or trail camera device?

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7. What type of contract does the breeder have for pet or show puppies (it should include a spay/neuter agreement and health guarantee)? Do not get pressured into becoming contracted to show or breed your dog – even if you do plan to show and possibly get into breeding someday. Everything should be spelled out in the contract. And be wary of a breeder sells you a young puppy that is “definitely show quality.” So much happens during growth and development – the younger the puppy; the harder it is to tell show quality. A breeder who really knows the breed can tell if a young pup has POTENTIAL but should not be guaranteeing the dog will be a show dog.

8. What does the breeder feed the puppies? You want to try and keep the puppies on the same brand of food. If the breeder uses something you do not, gradually wean the puppy to your preferred brand. If the puppies have no boosters prior to leaving the dam, look elsewhere.

9. What inoculations have been given? Eight-week-old puppies should have had their first set of inoculations and you should be given documentation of this. If not, go elsewhere.

10. Can you get references of previous puppy buyers? If the breeder will not give them, go elsewhere.

11. Can you have your own vet examine the puppy before you fully commit? You may be asked to put down a deposit but you should have the option of having your vet examine the puppy with in a couple days after purchase (always a good idea to have this done and the breeder may require it).

12. Are you active in any breed clubs (all breed or ideally breed specialty)? Many clubs have a breeder code of ethics that they want their members to adhere to. Just being AKC registered is not a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. It just means the puppy was from registered parents and the breeder has taken the steps to begin the registration process for the puppies. Even pet stores can sell AKC registered pups if the miller registers the dogs. The AKC cannot police everyone professing to be a breeder so again, being and educated consumer is very important.

Use your gut instinct and do not get suckered by cute faces. Remember, this pup will be yours for the next ten years or much longer depending on breed. You should get the best possible puppy possible from the most responsible source you can find.

Many of these questions can be adapted to ask at a rescue as well. Do not hesitate to ask what is know about the background of the puppies (or adult dog), what medical care they have had and has the staff noticed anything about their temperaments that could be of concern? Ask about the adoption agreement and have it gone through carefully with you.

chihuahua2Puppies housebreak at different rates. Some breeds are tougher to teach to go potty outside than others. Your crate and a consistent schedule are two key ingredients to teaching puppy to potty outside. Even if you have an adult dog, you can adapt the puppy schedule…

Schedule

Depending on the age of your puppy will depend on how many meals he eats a day. Puppies up to about six months should be getting three meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner. Feed Puppy at the same time each meal and use a potty schedule that corresponds to eating. Here is an example:

6:30 a.m. – wake up and take Puppy to go potty.

6:45 a.m. – feed Puppy in crate and give him water.

7:15 a.m. – take Puppy to go potty.

Young puppies have small bladders and less capacity. They may need to go out every couple of hours during the day.

11:30 a.m. – take Puppy potty

11:45 a.m. – feed Puppy in crate

12:30 p.m. – take Puppy potty

Puppies, like children, benefit from naps after play. Put Puppy in his crate with a drink and a few safe toys and let him “go sleepies” for an hour or so.

4:30 p.m. – take Puppy potty

5:00 p.m. – feed Puppy supper in crate

5:30 p.m. – take Puppy potty

Evenings, especially in the summer when it is cooler, are a great time to take Puppy for walks and socialize him. Plus, this will help tire him out for the evening.

8:00 p.m. – pick up water for evening

9:00 p.m. – take Puppy potty

9:30 p.m. – put Puppy in crate for bed

Note: young puppies cannot be expected to hold all night. It can be months until they have enough bladder control so be patient.

dog-housetraining-bell-wall-brassLook for signals between scheduled potty times that Puppy needs to go out: sniffing around the ground, circling, etc. When you see him start this, say a sharp “AAAAH! NO” to stop the action and then say in a happy tone some thing like “Want to go out?” Take Puppy outside immediately to his potty area and encourage him to go. I use “Go Kennel!” You can use “Get Busy”, “Go Potty” or whatever you like – just use the same command each time and praise as soon as the action happens. My dogs will stand by the door to signal they have to go out. I know people who have taught dogs to rings bells, press pedals connected to loud speakers and operate the door handles.

Along with a solid schedule, puppy needs to be with you and not roaming the house unsupervised. Use baby gates or if you are walking about, umbilical cord the puppy to you with a leash. This way, puppy is never out of your sight. The best redirection (correction) is the one that happens the instant the behavior of pottying inside happens.

If puppy is wandering the house and gets to realize there are times he can potty inside, he will continue to do so. Also, a correction after the fact is a correction that is lost. If you are going to be in a position where you cannot watch him (napping, going out) crate him. And NEVER leave the leash on puppy when he is crated or when he is not tied to you. A dragging leash can get tangled and puppy could get hurt.

Should Puppy have an accident in the house, you must catch him in the act for discipline to be effective – why in the above paragraph the use of gates and a leash was brought up. If puppy has pottied five minutes ago on yuor best rug and you just see it, the correction is totally lost. Puppies and dogs forget faster and will interpret the discipline not being done because he pottied in the house but for something different. Clean up the spot well and with something that will neutralize the odor. Use one of the commercially made products or white vinegar and water.

I am against paper training or using those special pads that “encourage” Puppy to go potty on them. This teaches Puppy it is fine to potty in the house. Now you want to teach him he cannot do something once fine for him to do. It is confusing. Unless you are disabled or for some reason MUST paper train, I encourage people to avoid it.

Bear in mind that should a housebroken puppy or dog begin having accidents, there could be an underlying physical reason such as a bladder infection. Should this not be the case, there could be a behavioral issue such as submission urination or stress. Should you start having problems with a dog not prone to problems, seek medical assistance first. Also, as a dog ages, accidents may happen. Accidents also happen with fully trained dogs. Dogs not neutered or spayed have a higher incidence of eliminating in the house as well.

TN_chihuahuaOur dogs understand us better than our closest human companions, they read our body language and their sense of smell lets them know whether we are ill or indeed about to become ill. Unlike humans dogs do not have negative characteristics. They never betray us they do not talk about us behind our backs, never answer back.

Those who have shared a deep bond with their pet must expect to feel its loss very deeply and they will enter a grieving period. Common symptoms of grief include crying, feelings of anxiety and isolation. Loss of appetite and generally disinterested in life. It is not uncommon for physical symptoms to occur as well. Often just seeing other people with their pets can provoke the thought ‘ Why is that dog alive and mine isn’t?

These reactions and feelings are normal and a natural part of grieving. Once you can accept that your pet has gone forever you could well be able to get on with your life.

If you find it difficult to talk to someone about your pet it may help you to write about your pet and remember the happy times you had together, or just put down the words how you feel about your loss.

· Let yourself mourn your loss.
· Don’t fight the pain when it occurs.
· Take it into your heart and let it rest there with happy memories.
· Take your time. Grief can last for days, weeks, months or years.
· Share your emotions with someone.
· Face up to the fact that your dog will not return.
· Don’t be embarrassed about seeking professional help.

A new dog or cat

Sometime the loss of your beloved pet is so devastating that you are unable to contemplate having another pet. You just couldn’t face going through all the trauma again but you know you might have to one day. Some people replace their pet immediately, feeling that something is missing in their lives without a canine companion.

It is often wise to wait a little while before taking on a new dog or cat because you may in your grief, be trying to find a substitute for your pet. All dogs and cats have their own personality and you will not be able to stamp your old pets personality onto a new one. Some people feel they will not be able to love a new dog as much as their previous pet. If you feel this way you should not have another pet for a while.

Eventually as time passes, the pain of loosing your pet will heal. Then you may start to think of all the dogs in rescue centers waiting for new homes and may consider opening your home and heart to one of these.

Do not feel guilty or disloyal to the memory of your previous pet and give wholeheartedly to your new dog- he deserves it. He will bring happiness to your world.

It is not true that dogs are completely colourblind. While dogs do not have the same color vision as humans, they are able to tell yellow from blue. Like a human with red-green colourblindness, they are unable to tell the difference between red and green.

The reason for this limited range, in both the colourblind human and the dog, is that there are only two kinds of colour receptors in the retinas of their eyes. While most humans have three kinds of colour cells, with three different receptor molecules sensitive to blue, greenish-yellow, and red, dogs only have receptors for yellow and greenish-blue.

Canine eyes also lack another human trait: the fovea, an area especially dense with detail-sensing cells. As a result, their detail vision is not as good as ours. But they make up for this by having much better night vision and greater sensitivity to movement.

chihua2The Chihuahua is a dear breed to my heart. My mother had a little Pepe who was her shadow and was carried by Mum everywhere. When Pepe died a friend of mine who bred the Chihuahua present me with a Mongol albino’ puppy as gift. This dog who was named ‘Bouffy’ he was one of the most loveable creatures God created and Mums best friend.

Carvings found in the Monastery of Huejotzingo, constructed by Franciscan Monks around 1530 using stones from the Toltec civilization, give strong evidence as to the Chihuahua’s origins. The Toltecs had a breed of dog they called the “Techichi.” The carvings on the stones at Huejotzingo give a full head view and a picture of an entire dog that closely resembles the modern-day Chihuahua. From this evidence, we can safely assume that the Chihuahua is a descendant of the Techichi.

Chihuahuas go under the classification of “toy breeds.” They are the smallest breed of dog in the world and are, in fact, the only “natural” toy breed. That is, they are naturally small and are not a result of “breeding-down” larger breeds, as were other toy breeds.

bike rack dogChihuahuas tend to be graceful, energetic, and swift-moving canines. They have often been described as having the terrier-like qualities of being alert, observant, and keen on interacting with their masters. They are extremely loyal and get attached to one or two persons. Tiny dogs, Chihuahuas certainly seem unaware of their diminutive stature: they can be bold with other dogs much larger than themselves, and protective of their masters. They are fiercely loyal to their masters and wary of any strangers or new guests introduced into the household, which the Chihuahua considers to be its personal domain. For these reasons, Chihuahuas make good watch dogs.

The Chihuahua needs a great deal of human contact: touching, petting, and general attention. Keeping more than one Chihuahua can greatly ease the dog’s stress when left alone each day. Because they are by nature gentle, loyal, and sweet-tempered, Chihuahuas are ideal for single people, the elderly, the handicapped, and shut-ins. They will keep you company for hours by lying on your lap or beside you in bed, and treat you like royalty.

Chihuahuas are a good breed for city-dwellers, or those who just don’t have the time to walk their dogs that often. They are quite happy in apartments, as long as there is enough to play with and explore. When I need to take my Chihuahua somewhere I keep him in my hand bag or basket mounted on my bike rack. They tend towards short bursts of energy each day which quickly die down. You should provide toys for your Chihuahua to keep it occupied. Old slippers are ideal, as well as stuffed toys with squeakers inside.

Finally, while Chihuahuas do shiver when they’re cold, they also shiver when they are wary, excited, unhappy, or frightened. This is a result of having a high metabolism, and is a normal characteristic of this breed.