Puppy Josh just loves his little box kennel.
The magazine your dog would want you to read
Editorial February 2002:
HELLO everyone. For this issue I have been reading news clippings about dogs - hundreds of them - and many of them made me wonder if the greater part of the population even knows the most meagre basics of what makes a dog tick ... what its needs are and what makes it an intelligent companion as opposed to a self-serving, kept animal.
Some of the news clippings were horrific; some were of dogs so loyal to their owners that they would protect them with their own lives; some were of dogs that had been treated so badly that you know the type of people who would do such things to a dog would also do the same things to other people or their own family; some were of dogs kept in cages as 'stock' to supply pet shops with puppies; and some told of dogs that had achieved great things in their lives in the showring, search and rescue, police work, farm work, agility or obedience, hunter trials or orienteering, and all the rest of the whole spectrum of dog activity.
Modern trainers are beginning to realise that the way a dog's life unfolds depends hugely on the first 12 weeks of its life ... it needs to be highly socialised, to learn by association that obedience is rewarded, to have no fear of the people it comes into contact with, to meet as many other people, dogs and other pets as possible so that it accepts them all and is calm and unfearful in their presence.
The bitch has a large influence on the way a pup reacts - if she is afraid of people or timid of other dogs the pups will react in the same way. Even before their eyes open they will notice if the mother they are snuggled up to stiffens, shakes or reacts nervously and they will also notice the sounds of what causes this reaction in her.
That pattern can be established by the time they open their eyes to observe the 'creature' that is making their mother so nervous. And from this you will see that buying a pup from a pet shop is not the best way ... you do need to see its mother at least, and even better if you can view the father too, as fear can be a genetic trait as well as a learned one.
Another thing that dogs need to be able to reach their full potential is good health. As with humans, the pup that is hungry and uncomfortable will not do well at 'school'! Neither will the pup that is troubled with worms, fleas or any other form of ill health. Again, you must see the dam to assess her health. If you are not able to do this then the breeder must have something to hide.
When you buy a pup from a legitimate, registered breeder you are paying a bit extra (but not much extra if the prices of some 'pedigree' pet shop dogs are anything to go by) but you get your pup's pedigree, as well as the history and pedigree of both parents, usually a written guarantee of soundness or money back, and most good breeders will put a clause in their sale that if for any reason the dog becomes unwanted the breeder will want it returned. This is because they do not want any dog they have carefully bred and cared for to be abandoned or treated cruelly.
Most breeders will try and resell a returned dog, often after a time of recovery (most breeders can tell of dogs that have been brought back and many from families who have genuinely thought they were treating it right). Some have been chained to a kennel most of the day, almost never taken for a walk, never trained, never taken to anything interesting like agility or obedience classes, almost never bathed, never taken on family outings ... and these dogs are bored out of their poor, shrinking minds! Is it any wonder they develop habits like chewing themselves, digging holes, chewing their kennel, eating their poo, shredding their rug (if they are lucky enough to have one), and putting holes in their food or water dish?
And that is the state of many dogs that breeders have returned to them. Then they have to undo the damage before they try to resell. I was happy to notice that people who are cruel to dogs are receiving quite harsh treatment in America - among the ones I read about there were sentences of up to three years in jail! Obviously the judges there have realised that those who treat dogs badly and sometimes killing them are very likely to do the same to a friend or family member as the next progression of their disease.
Dogs that attack (maul) people without logical reason are never to be trusted again and usually put down as a consequence (I must stress here that the dog that sets out to maul is a totally different creature to the one who snaps because a child pulls its very sore ear or stands on an already injured paw). And in the same way people who attack dogs without logical reason (and 'because it barked and woke me up' is NOT a logical reason) should also be acknowledged as capable of illogical behaviour, unreliable, likely to kill in any enraged moment, and basically out of the control of themselves or anyone else.
These sorts of people, like their canine counterparts, have no place in civilised society and must always be treated with caution. - Elezabeth