|Choosing a dog
|Why do you want a dog?
The decision to buy a dog is not something to be taken lightly.
All puppies are adorable but will require time, energy and money for a good number of years.
You have to socialize and train your new puppy.
Making the decision of buying a puppy impulsively, can lead to frustration,
disappointment, and eventually, may result in the surrender of the dog to a shelter, or rescue.
Here in the USA, millions of the dogs are euthanized annually and usually, it’s the owners, not the dogs, who are
responsible for their deaths because of impulsive or poorly thought out decisions.
|If you are interested in getting a dog for the RIGHT reasons:
Choosing your puppy
It's always exciting when there's a litter. We take detailed notes as each puppy is born and immediately evaluate the pup.
Don't get emotionally attached to one puppy right away. The more objective you remain, the greater your chances of
ending up with your dream dog. Remember, we may or may not have a puppy in this litter that meets your expectations.
Don't take a puppy just because it's cute, or you've been waiting a long time.
Also be aware that there are no guarantees when it comes to breeding dogs and selecting puppies. When genetics are
involved, there can be surprises. Everybody has stories about the ugly puppy who was sold as a pet, neutered and when
seen three years later turned out to be the best dog the breeder ever produced. The opposite can also be true! It's not the
breeder's, sire's or dam's fault...it just is. That's just the way the genes tumble!
Structure and aptitude
In this breed (a herding breed) we like to look at the puppies structural qualities for the first time at six weeks.
All puppies should have good structural qualities. A puppy should look as pretty moving as he does standing or sitting. Six
weeks is usually about the earliest age that you'll see these qualities more easily. At six or seven weeks, we also like to
perform tests to determine a puppy’s aptitude.
7, 10 and 11 weeks may be awful for conformation (no necks, high in the butt, etc.), while eight and 16 weeks might be
great. Every bloodline is different.
You may decide to take a puppy because it's so strong in one area that you can overlook its weakness in another area, but
make rational, rather than emotional, choices. Remember, you can fall in love with any puppy.
The standard Puppy Aptitude Test Forms allow you to score the puppy from 1 to 6, and they tell you that pups that score
mostly 3s and 4s make the best pets and companions. They also advise that pups that score mostly 1s and 2s are more
dominant and require experienced, assertive owners. The PAT states that pups that score mainly 5s and 6s have a
tendency toward fear based behavior including aggression, and should be placed with owners who know how to handle this
type of dog.
In general, these conclusions might be correct. But before you make any final selection, observe each pup playing and
moving individually as well as together, with us as his breeders, with the dam, etc. After all, a test is important but can be
different from week to week and also depends on how the pup feels that day.
A higher energy dog will need more attention and exercise, but will probably be better for most obedience and performance
activities. A lower energy dog will typically make a better house pet.
You’re neither looking for a pup who is a dominant bully 100% of the time, nor for a pup who is submissive and whiny and
nippy 100% of the time.
The more demanding, busy, always-getting-into-trouble puppies do best with intelligent, straightforward and assertive
The sweet, easy-going, less-demanding puppy is considered a safe choice for the average or less experienced owner. This
pup will be willing to go along with the program, not challenge the owner for pack leadership, and rebound easily from
owner training mistakes. This puppy is best for the more permissive and/or submissive owners.
The insecure dog: Insecurity can work toward the owner's advantage, if handled properly. This type of pup is only for a
more experienced owner and trainer.
The independent puppy, or the pup that’d rather be with his litter mates than with people, usually does not make the best
obedience candidate, although it might make a great conformation or field dog. This type of pup will be happy with less
human interaction, but will probably need another dog in the family to stay out of trouble. This dog often works well with
owners who just want a pet and don't really care about competition.
Male or Female puppy
Most people seem to have a preference for females. Everybody wants a “sweet girl” Nobody believes that females can
show Alpha behavior like marking or humping.
People believe that the females are more docile, obedient and don’t fight over dominance. Well, it isn't true! A bitch is not
called a bitch for nothing.
Very often, the females rule the pack. They too can engage in territorial behavior. Fights can break out between females as
they can break out between males.
A female is less likely to wage a dominance battle with you but is like any woman, cunning and resourceful in getting her
Male dogs are sometimes competitive by nature and don't trust other male dogs, so it is very important to let them interact
with other male dogs as soon as possible. But males are usually more affectionate and attentive. They ask more affection
and are very attached to their pack. (Read: their people)
Males are often more reliable and less moody and they can take quicker to children and other pets. It’s often easier to
motivate them by food and praise and they’re eager to please.
Females can have mood swings. One day she’s affectionate and sweet, the next she’s grumpy or withdrawn.
Males are often easier to train but are easily distracted because they like to play, no matter what age. They’re more likely to
act silly and act more pup like. Males are fun loving until the day they die whereas females are more reserved or dignified
as they age.
Males get bigger than females, and look generally more impressive.
A male that has been neutered in time will rarely exhibit secondary sexual behavior such as humping and marking once the
Testosterone levels have receded. If neutered too late, don't think it will eliminate dominant behavior.
Females have periods of being in heat unless she’s spayed. These periods usually occur twice a year and can be a
demanding month long nuisance for herself, for you and for every dog and dog owner in the neighborhood.
During these periods, the female can leave a trail of blood drops wherever she goes, although the Dutch Shepherd is a
very clean animal and will always try to “clean up” after themselves. They can also be a touch more moody and emotional
during those periods. You might want to consider having her spayed.
Neutering a male will generally cost half the price of spaying a female. But beware; you’ll have to adapt their diet if you don’t
want them to gain a lot of weight.
It’s up to you to decide weather you want a male or a female. Usually, we will be able to tell you if a puppy is suited for you
or not. If we think that a certain puppy will be too much of a handful for you, you will not get that puppy. Our first goal is to
match the right puppy to the right owner. In any case, both genders need the same quantity of veterinary attention,
socialization, and exercising, training and general care.
Your puppy is going home with you.
If a puppy has to be shipped across the country many breeders avoid shipping during the 8-10 week fear period.
Some people advice to wait until the pup is 10 to 11 weeks.
Puppies that don't begin crate training and separation time by 6 or 7 weeks can have problems with separation anxiety,
bonding with people (instead of dogs), etc.
The first few weeks at home, establish a routine for the pup and stick with it as much as possible.
Crate, potty and feed at set times, nap and play on a fairly regular schedule. This will help make the transition go as
smoothly as possible.
Try to maintain the same routine on your days off, as well.
For the first several weeks your goals in raising your competition and obedience prospect are to teach the puppy
household manners and housebreaking.
Encourage those traits you enjoy and redirect those you don't.
Teach him his name
Teach him his name and baby attention by giving him a tiny piece of food whenever you say his name and/or he looks at
you on his own.
Socialize him with other people.
Have everyone offer him cookies, hold him and play with him -- without your involvement (you can watch, but be quiet!).
Make sure you coach these people on handling fear behaviors, biting, etc. Don't allow them to coddle a fearful pup, and
don't over correct the pup for uppity, self-confident behavior. Redirect it to a toy.
After 12 weeks begin socialization with other dogs that you trust.
Your puppy's first interactions with other dogs are critical to raising a well-adjusted dog that gets along with other dogs. If
your pup is shy, then limit interactions to low-key, submissive dogs on a down stay until the pup gains confidence. If your
pup is dominant, expose the pup to standing, more self-confident (but not aggressive) dogs. Be very careful about disease,
particularly until the pup is 12 weeks old. Use common sense and don't let the pup interact with dogs you don't know or sniff
strange feces or urine when not fully vaccinated. Don't take the pup to a dog show or public park where there might be sick
dogs when not fully vaccinated. Be sure to follow your vet's vaccination schedule. Allow your puppy to be outgoing, self-
confident and even somewhat obnoxious at times. The best obedience and conformation dogs are full of themselves,
without being overly dominant or aggressive.
Typically wait until the puppy is about 12 weeks old before starting his baby training. Sessions are full of food, they're short
and there are no corrections. The pup is lured into positions with food where appropriate, he eats the food when he's
correct and food is withheld when he's wrong. The following exercises are started at home or in locations with as few
distractions as possible.
On a buckle collar and light, snug leash, walk the puppy around your exercise area. There is no food visible and don't look
at the dog as you're moving. Walk fast enough that the puppy trots. If he gallops, just slow down. End the gaiting by
stepping in front of him and presenting a cookie in front of his nose, which teaches him the first baby step of free stacking.
With a cookie held nose level, and a snug leash, lure the puppy into a stack by letting him suck or nibble on a hard biscuit.
Never mind if he's not stacked correctly, just teach him what this body position means. Do some of this on the floor and
some on a grooming table.
Wait until the puppy is much older. It takes too much concentration for a puppy to be still long enough for you to hand stack
Toss a cookie out on the floor, let the pup eat it and then call him to you. As he approaches, show him a cookie. Lure him
up to and through your legs, and then toss the cookie so he can eat it. Leash and long line are used as necessary, but no
Stretch-Forward Tuck Sit
On a floor or table, use your left hand to guide the puppy's butt into a tuck sit while holding a cookie in your right hand
slightly up and forward from his nose. Teach the pup to hold his head up and stretch forward as he tuck sits. Ask him to sit,
never allow a rock back or sloppy sit. Tell the pup Okay when he decides to move, and only increase time when he's ready.
With pup sitting and cookie under your hand moving towards the floor and then on the floor away from the pup’s nose, lure
the pup down until in down position. He gets the cookie when he's in position. Tell the pup Okay when he decides to move,
and increase time only when he's ready.
Stand, Drop, Sit Combination
With pup sitting sideways in front of you (his head pointed to your right), lure the pup into the step-forward stand and give
him the cookie. Then lure him into a fold-back drop and give him the cookie. Next, lure him into a back-up sit and give him
the cookie. This is patterning his body for the utility signal exercise.
With a cookie in one hand and leash in the other, quietly say Yes and start walking while the puppy holds his head up to
nibble on the cookie. After a few steps, step in front of him and say Okay. Make sure the puppy is eating the entire time
he's heeling and be careful not to wear him out. If he jumps for the food, you’re holding it too high. If he's too distracted to
heel, wait until he's more attentive and/or get better food.
Don't bother to teach these until the pup is much older and has enough physical and mental concentration to hold still.
The age at which you start formal classes varies from dog to dog. It’s usually good to start formal competition obedience
between four and six months of age. A dog that's quite shy should start conformation classes fairly young for socialization
purposes -- not to force the dog to stand perfectly still. A highly distracted, social, outgoing dog should wait a while to start
conformation -- gain some control through obedience training first. But practice the exercises described above at home, on
your own. Remember --Your puppy will be an adolescent for two to three years. He may get ugly and obnoxious for a while.
He'll return to the same, gorgeous, eager, willing dog that he was when you selected him -- provided, of course, that you do
your part. Remember that socialization never ends. Fear periods can recur at any time...and probably will. Dominance
episodes will come and go so don't let them get out of hand. Continually work on separation anxiety. The puppy should be
super excited to see you, but not neurotic when you're gone. And remember that the most important thing that you
accomplish during the first few months of life with your new pup is building a strong, trusting relationship. The HOW of
teaching your puppy things is much more important than learning a lot in a short period of time. Your first 10, 20 or 30
training sessions set the stage for how your puppy views conformation and obedience for the rest of his life. Keep the
learning light, fun and leave the pup wanting more!
to show your dog, there will be money involved in showing and traveling.
Then there's classes for your dog such as agility, obedience, fly ball or other (competition) sports.