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6 Tips to Deal With Problem Puppy Behaviour

Damage Limitation: 6 ways to help you manage your puppy

This week I have been asked for advice from a few people having to deal with all the usual puppy issues. I thought it would be helpful to share some of my experiences and thoughts with you.

Puppies are so annoying and challenging! They just don’t do what we think they will. We imagine our life with a wonderful dog and it just doesn’t seem like that straight away. I have written about this a few times, including in the post about getting the perfect dog. One of the biggest problems is that we don’t ‘speak dog‘ and irritatingly, they don’t speak human! I saw a post about an app that claimed to help you speak dog (it was rubbish).

Problem puppy
Gorgeous Rusty

Seriously though, there are ways of understanding our dogs and coping with their behaviours. Sometimes, it’s about managing that behaviour, rather than trying (and failing) to change it. Here are my top 6 annoying behaviours that you might find it easier to manage than to train away.

Barking at the doorbell

The doorbell rings, the dog barks. Fact. I was thinking this morning about how you might train this association out of your dog. You might be able to do this by sitting calmly with your dog, completely ignoring the doorbell. Acting as though nothing has happened.

Of course you can’t do that, because if the doorbell rings, you MUST answer it! So what happens when the bell rings? You react. You get up, you go out, you answer the door, you speak. In the past, someone would then enter the house. These are all actions that are exciting for your dog. So if you have to answer the door, your dog very quickly learns that they MUST bark!

Problem puppy behaviour
Luna is better than any doorbell

Our natural instinct in this situation is to shout at the dog to be quiet. SHUT UP! What the dog hears now is you joining in with the barking. That’s a brilliant game! He barks, you bark. How exciting!

ACTION: When the doorbell rings, calmly put the dog away in another room. Don’t speak to your dog, or touch it more than you have to. Shut the door and go and answer the front door. It’s not very exciting for the dog and nothing much happens. NB: You will NOT stop your dog barking. Don’t try. Just manage the situation.

Barking at squirrels, cats and birds from the window

This is almost exactly the same as the doorbell situation, with a pretty similar solution. Barking at squirrels, cats and birds is a dog’s job. It’s what they live for. So if you have a dog that can sit at a window and watch other animals in the garden, they will obviously bark at them. You should be saying “Good boy! Well done for barking and doing your dog job”. I’m guessing you don’t do that?

Problem puppy behaviour
It’s a CAT!

ACTION: Don’t let your dog sit at the window and bark, unless you like him doing it. Don’t shout at him (joining in). Just move him away from the window. Move your furniture around if you have to. Block off part of the window with frosting. Best of all, put your dog in a part of the house with no access to a view of the garden.

Then spend time with your dog, just chillin’. Watch TV together, or sit and work, with your dog lying calmly at your feet. Then take him for a nice walk, off lead, where he can chase those pesky squirrels and bark at all the birds!

Coming when called

Recall of your dog is the subject of whole training courses. I have written several posts about recall on this website (search ‘recall‘). But it’s a massive issue for everyone and the one thing that causes endless hassle. Because if your dog doesn’t come when you call it, you can’t let it off the lead. You can’t open the front door without worrying he will run off. You’re always on tenterhooks in case he runs onto a road.

ACTION: Let’s get straight to it. The easiest way to get your dog to come back to you is TO PRACTISE! I don’t mean when you are out on a walk and you get to the end of it and want to put him back on the lead. I mean every 5 minutes!

Ounce is nearly 4 years old and I STILL practise recalling her a few times every day on our walks. ‘Ounce come!’ and then give her a treat.

Start in the house. Call your dog “Dog come!” Use their name, with the word come. Be clear and exciting, positive and purposeful. Wait for them to come and then give a reward. This can be a tasty treat, or a toy and a game, or a fuss and a pat, or just a bit of lovely praise. “Well done! What a good boy.”

When you dog comes to you around the house, they are more likely to come when you are out. If you are interesting and rewarding, why wouldn’t they want to be with you?

Running up to other dogs

Following on from the challenge of recall, we have the problem of your dog running up to other dogs. This is often an unwanted behaviour, because the other dog may not be friendly. Again, I’m afraid the solution is PRACTISE RECALL! It really is that simple.

ACTION: You need to teach your dog to have good manners. Your dog needs to be able to say hello politely and to come away when needed. It takes time and patience, but it can be achieved.

dog greeting, problem puppy
Nice to meet you

I saw a lovely example of a young German Shepherd puppy, around four months old, doing exactly this. The owner engaged the pup with a toy before we were near. As we walked past, the owner had gone ahead, so the pup inevitably came jauntily up to my dogs. They weren’t impressed, but the pup was already learning that bouncing and jumping were not required. The owner then called the pup and off it went to its dad. Hurray! How lovely. Of course it will get worse before it’s perfect, as the dog hits adolescence, but hey, it’s a work in progress.

Barking at other dogs

Dogs bark at other dogs because they are either excited or scared. When dogs are off lead they rarely bark at other dogs, so that’s the easiest action to take. Again, a good recall is vital.

If your dog is on lead, you can start by deciding whether he is desperate to play with the other dogs, or worried that they might come near you. If they are worried, is that because you are worried?

problem puppy behaviour
What do you think dad?

ACTION: Ignore the other dog. It means nothing to you. It is of no interest. Your dog? Your dog is fantastic! You want to play with your dog! The more exciting, interesting and confident you are, the less your dog will take any notice of other dogs. Please DO NOT stand still, anxiously gripping your dog’s lead and worrying that the other dog might rush over to attack you and your dog? Honestly, most dogs have better things to do.

Dogs who live together mating (or trying to)

I’m including this last point because someone contacted me about this specific situation. I was really disappointed that a breeder had sold her brother and sister pups and not told her how to deal with this situation. I also felt the vet should have advised getting the male castrated at 6 months. Although we like to try and leave neutering a bit longer these days, some situations make it more important to get it done. We do NOT want accidental matings, particularly of brother and sister!

So can you train this behaviour out of your dogs? You could more easily hold back the sea. Of course you can keep them shut in different rooms, but you may well end up with howling, scratching dogs, off their food and generally being a complete wreck.

Sisters and brother together

ACTION: Send one of your dogs (usually the boy) to stay with family or friends. This is another case of ‘damage limitation’ and honestly, it is much better to have peace of mind than try and manage it.

The first week of a bitch’s season is usually not too bad. Once they stop bleeding as much, they are fertile and that’s when the fun starts. So be prepared and take the easy action to manage your problem puppies?

I hope you find this helpful. Good luck with your puppy!

Remember..

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Enrichment Activities for your Dog – Guest Post by Karen Young

This post is taken from Karen Young’s website: Safe Hands Clinical Canine Massage

Is every day feeling like Groundhog Day?

Groundhog Day is an American custom held on the 2nd February every year. If the hibernating Groundhog comes out of its den to sunshine he will see his shadow. Legend states this will mean 6 more weeks of winter and so the Groundhog will return to his den and go back to sleep. If the day is cloudy with no shadows the Groundhog will stay out of his den and spring is just around the corner. I am definitely hoping for cloudy!

Of course, Groundhog Day is better known in the UK for the 1993 Andie MacDowell and Bill Murray film where every day is literally the same day, over and over again. With Covid restrictions, home learning and working and limited entertainment options I have a much better understanding of how Bill Murray’s character would have felt.

Resting dog
Life can be boring for our dogs

An opportunity for our dogs

But perhaps, this year has also given us an amazing opportunity to relate better to our pets and particularly our dogs. Most dogs live in a permanent state of Groundhog day. They are completely reliant on us and we usually set their daily routine at least during the week.

I realise that our dogs are no longer wolves, but if you compare the variety involved in a wolf packs day – socialising, playing, sleeping, hunting, patrolling, arguing, exploring and investigating throughout the day – with the average UK dog you may begin to see what I mean.

We have all been at home more over the last year and our dogs will have got used to our presence and our new routines. But as the metaphorical spring – with the roll out of vaccinations – is around the corner our routines are likely to change once more. This could mean our dogs will once again be left for extended periods of time and the days become even more regimented once more. There are likely to be some behavioural issues associated with separation anxiety, boredom and general stress for many of our dogs as they try to cope.

There are many blogs out there on helping your dog with separation anxiety so I won’t go into any detail here. But there are simple things you can do to help your dog break out of the routine and enhance your dogs quality of life.

Enriching your dog’s life can help your dog relax and cope

There are many things you can do to enrich your dogs life experiences, here are just a few:

Learning & Training

Most dogs love to learn, but many will only experience ‘training’ as puppies whilst we teach them the things we expect from them – toilet training, sitting, recall, stay, lead walking and oddly, give paw.

Canine Conditioniing
Karen’s dog Eva learning to pick up her feet

But dogs, like us, love to learn throughout their lives. Teaching new skills can be extremely rewarding – why not try to teach them to walk backwards, spin (both ways), shake on command, stretch, or take them to a fun agility class?

Your dogs ability to learn is often limited by your own imagination and you only need to watch dogs ‘dancing to music’ to see how much they can really do.

“Tidy Up” by Helen Greenley, Animal Behaviourist, Aberdeenshire

Feeding

For many dogs their dinners are the highlight of their day. But given that most dogs are fed in a bowl and the food is gone in seconds this highlight is very short lived. Feeding using interactive feeders will mean your dog is using their body and brain. Eating is slowed down making the whole process far more rewarding and also more natural.

Your dogs’ ancestors would hunt, catch, kill and eat their prey. Simulating some of this behaviour with scatter feeding, hiding food and feeding out of slow feeders such as Kong will all mimic their natural behaviours. Feeding raw bones, hairy ears and cartilage based food (such as tracheae, chicken feet and bird necks) can also take your dog longer to eat and will give them valuable nutrients. There are lots of excellent independent pet shops that will be able to advise you on this, my personal favourite is McGrumpy and Snuffles, in Aylesbury.

Little Mia, above, has some neck pain, so this fun food game is also really helpful for getting her to stretch her neck downwards.

Play and Exercise

Dog balancing on a fallen tree
Eva loves to get higher and walk on obstacles

All dogs need opportunities to express themselves and explore their world. This is one of the reasons dogs need to go out for walks, so why not look at ways you can enrich this experience for them.

Taking their favourite toys out on walks and hiding them for your dog to find can be super rewarding for your dog. If your dog is ball obsessed reconsider using a ball thrower – I have already produced a blog on why I don’t particularly like them. You can always use the ball as a reward for some impromptu training. Why not train a send away, reinforce the recall or a sit and stay?

Dog with legs crossed
Benji supervising my blog writing

Sniffing and exploring

Let your dog sniff and explore their area. I see too many dogs being marched around on walks with owners or dog walkers completely focussed on their phones. But walking the dog is a sociable activity for most dogs. If they were part of a dog pack they would often go off together to patrol or explore and they would communicate and interact with each other whilst on the move. If you are on your phone you are missing an excellent opportunity to really bond with, and deepen your relationship with your dog.

Dogs are incredible, intelligent, loving and loyal and deserve the very best from us. I would love to hear what you will be doing differently to enrich your dogs life.

The things your dog can learn are limited by your imagination.

Playing Dead

Remember..

Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

Thank you to Karen for letting me share one of her excellent blog posts. There is a lot more information on her website: Safe Hands Clinical Canine Massage. If you would like me to share one of your blog posts, please get in touch?

YKC – Activities for Dogs and Kids

Young Kennel Club: fun for all the family!

Hollie is 19 years old and has two dogs, Blue who is a Harrier Hound mix aged 8 and Pixie, a 3 year-old Border Collie (and Dentbros pup!) Hollie says that mum Sarah originally started doing agility because she attended obedience classes at a group that also did agility.  It looked like fun and Blue needed something to tire his brain as well as body as he was quite an active dog that easily got bored.

YKC agility

Hollie went along to shows with Mum and started competing in junior classes 5 years ago, competing at Crufts with Blue for the last 3 years. She also competed with Pixie in 2020, making me a very proud breeder!

The best dog for the job?

Blue is a hound cross and this can make agility training a challenge, as he’s more interested in sniffing than agility.  However this can make any successes all the sweeter, especially if they compete at Crufts.

YKC agility

Hollie says “I was lucky to get my own dog nearly 4 years ago.  She was chosen specifically with agility in mind.  Collies are intelligent, fast and agile, the perfect combination for agility.  We were lucky to qualify for Crufts in the Young Kennel Club competitions when she was just 2 years old.” Pixie has already achieved a number of great results and looks set to go on to greater things, the pandemic notwithstanding!

YKC agility

Hollie says the beauty of agility is that pretty much any dog can have a go (even dachshunds).  Agility is an energetic sport and can put a strain on breathing, muscles and joints, so short-nosed dogs who have trouble breathing on vigorous exercise and heavy-set dogs, are not suitable.

Agility is fun

Agility is run in a similar way to show jumping. The fastest dog with the least faults that wins.  You get 5 faults for each jump the dog knocks down or refuses.  There are agility obstacles which have ‘contact points’ that the dog must touch while completing them – the seesaw, the A-frame and the dog walk.  Faults are given if the dog misses these contact points (to stop them damaging their joints).  You get eliminated if you take any jumps in the wrong order.

YKC agility

There are a lot of competitions for all levels of competitors, whether you are a beginner and want to have a go at a local club show or you’re an agility professional aiming for the main ring at Crufts and representing your country in European and World championships.  It is an inclusive activity and lots of fun for you and your dog!

Why do you like it?

Hollie says “It’s a great way to have fun with your dog.  It’s so rewarding when the hard work you’ve put in training pays off in the competition ring.” Agility is a very social sport, people support each other, whether you’re having a great day or it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped. It encourages you to keep fit, so you can be as fast as you can around the competition courses.

YKC agility

However, Hollie says it is important to remember that dogs are not machines and it takes dedication to train a dog to compete in agility.  You need to be resilient. Because no matter how hard you train, it quite often doesn’t go the way you planned!

Hollie says she trains and competes in all weathers.  If you like being outdoors that’s great, but there can be a lot of waiting around at competitions.  If you start to get really involved, the cost of entering competitions can add up, along with entry fees. You may also need to book overnight accommodation if the competition is a distance away. 

Who’s in charge and what do you need?

The governing body is the The Kennel Club. Juniors can compete in Young Kennel Club competitions, competing in one of two age groups; up to 12 and over 12 years. There are also lots of agility clubs that run independent shows not governed by the kennel club.

YKC agility

Agility equipment takes up quite a lot of space, so most people train at an agility club where they have full sets of equipment and space for you and your dog to train safely. All you need is a pair of trainers, comfy clothes, your dog and plenty of tasty treats or a toy they love to reward you dog for their hard work.

If you decide to really get involved in the sport you can do some training with 1 or 2 jumps and some weaves in your garden.  Hollie and Sarah have also taken equipment to the local park, but she says you do get an audience 😊!

Getting started

Hollie trains in a class once a week for an hour.  She says that lots of people do more training, depending on what level they are at. You can really train anywhere, even while on your walks, sending your dog around obstacles, or practising a wait, which is really important.  Keeping your dog’s general level of fitness is key as agility puts a lot of strain on a dogs joints and muscles and they can get injured.

YKC agility

Thank you so much Hollie for this invaluable insight. We wish you lots of luck on your journey with Pixie in agility!

Remember..

Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

The Kennel Club – Friend Or Foe?

Why we should support the Kennel Club

I am receiving large numbers of enquiries for puppies once again, as people realise that a dog will improve their lives. It is so frustrating not to be able to offer any support to these people, because puppies are not toilet paper and cannot be made to order.

I always recommend that people contact the other Kennel Club Assured Breeders and ask to go onto their waiting lists. I’m delighted to have recently had my three-yearly inspection as part of this scheme. However, I am disappointed that there isn’t wider recognition and take-up of this scheme.

The history and purpose of the Kennel Club

It’s a very old organisation that runs dog shows. I think that is the public perception of the Kennel Club. The organisation was set up in 1873 “to have a consistent set of rules for governing the popular new activities of dog showing and field trials. It was the first national kennel club in the world.”

dog showing
dog showing

The home page of the brand new Kennel Club website now states it is:

The largest organisation in the UK devoted to dog health, welfare and training. Our objective is to ensure that dogs live healthy, happy lives with responsible owners.

What does the Kennel Club do?

It does still run dog shows. Although most people are aware of Crufts, the world’s oldest and largest dog show, they probably don’t know everything that happens there. The show really is a celebration of dogs! You can find out about different dogs, watch dogs at work, doing what they do best and enjoy the amazing relationships between dogs and owners.

I love watching the heelwork to music displays and the excitement of the flyball. Of course I love watching the agility and was very proud as a breeder to have one of my pups competing last year. It’s a great place to learn about dogs and what brings them into our lives. And there is LOTS of shopping to be done!

heelwork to music
heelwork to music

Other dog shows around the country are run by the Kennel Club. Breed shows promote the enormous range of dog breeds we have available to us in the this country. Sadly though, this is still viewed as an elite hobby and one that is regarded as subject to corruption and bias. I do feel that something based on the subjective opinions of individuals is likely to be a bit unfair. However, through writing the Breed Index, I have learnt that there are breed standards and that these are rigorously checked.

Healthier Dogs?

I do believe that the Kennel Club is a force for better dog health. There have been scandals in recent years about dogs with poor conformation winning prizes, but I think that on the whole, there is a momentum of support for healthier dogs.

health and health screening
health and health screening

The Kennel Club claims the following:

“We help improve the lives of dogs, now and in the future, through research, collaboration, resources and health schemes.”

For pedigree dog breeders, there is a wealth of information and support. As an Assured Breeder, I am not able to register my puppies as pedigree Border Collies without meeting the health testing requirements for my breed. If I want to use someone else’s dog to mate with mine, I am able to check the health records of that dog and ensure that the dogs are a good match.

Sadly, the Kennel Club is not as rigorous in recording the health of all dogs. Crossbreeds are not required to be tested. Puppies can still be ‘registered’ with the Kennel Club, but this is just a record of existence, not a certificate of proven parentage and health. I don’t know how this could be improved?

Getting a dog

Just as I have tried to support people in finding a dog, the Kennel Club have a huge amount of support and resource to help people. You can find out about different breeds, check the health of a dog’s parents, and think about what different dogs might need in terms of care. The Kennel Club provide support on finding a rescue dog and help you find an Assured Breeder.

finding a dog
finding a dog

Admin issues

Part of the problem the Kennel Club has is to do with the sheer volume of information it holds and the demand for dogs in this country. Last year was an extremely challenging one for the organisation as the massive increase in demand coincided with a transfer of records to a new IT system.

In this message to its users published yesterday, the Chief Executive Mark Beazley said “we know that many of our customers have not had the experience they deserve and expect from The Kennel Club in recent months.” The message details the progress that has been made to work through and resolve these issues. There is still work to be done, but with 40 million records to transfer, I can quite see why this is a challenge!

What do we want from the Kennel Club?

I have said that we need more responsible breeders. It would be great if this could be promoted and managed more assertively by the Kennel Club.

Personally, I would like there to be a much clearer message about dog breeding and health. It makes me sad that someone with a mixed crossbreed dog can embark on breeding with no thought for checking the health of their dog beforehand. They can produce a litter of pups and sell these to random strangers for thousands of pounds. People ‘don’t care about paperwork’ so they don’t ask to see proof of parentage and health testing.

We do now have an understanding that if we keep demanding puppies, that there are unscrupulous people who will force dogs to breed continuously, in horrible conditions – a puppy farmer. But we are not yet savvy enough to spot a dog that has been bred this way. We still buy dogs from unregulated online adverts, meaning we can easily be the victims of fraud. This affects us all, because getting a dog without proper care and due diligence can result in emotional trauma.

introduction to breeding
introduction to breeding

Equally, there is absolutely no requirement for breeders to vet prospective owners of dogs. I can breed from my dogs and send them off to complete strangers, without any checks. There is no guidance on the questions to ask prospective homes. Sadly, it is the puppies that are ‘carelessly homed’ that end up in rescue. Good breeders take their puppies back, and provide a lifetime of support to their owners.

Please let me know what you think? What do you think the Kennel Club should do better? How do you think things should change?

Remember..

If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.  Please CONTACT ME if you would like me to write about a specific topic?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think?

What is a Puppy Farmer?

Puppy Farmers – how do you know when you see one?

A Puppy Farmer breeds dogs for money. So anyone who breeds from their dog simply to make some money could be seen as a farmer, but that’s not it. Having one or two litters from your pet dog is not the same as setting up a business and doing it on a large scale.

Breeding professionally is not necessarily the same as breeding commercially. If you LOVE your dogs and decide to promote them, show them and then breed from them, you might end up with lots of dogs. They might have lots of puppies. You might then decide to have a professional setup, which involves kennels and outdoor runs. (Or you might just end up with lots of dogs in your house, on your sofas, on your beds, by your feet…)

puppy farmer

It might seem a fine line then, between breeding for the love of dogs and breeding for the love of money. If you love your dogs, you might find the money generated from having puppies comes in handy to pay for your dogs. But that isn’t really true. If you LOVE your dogs, you will spend ALL your money on them.

Puppy Farming – Definition

“Puppy farmers produce lots of puppies in poor conditions and with little consideration for their health and welfare.”

The Kennel Club: avoiding puppy farmers

What does that mean exactly?  Quite simply, it means that the breeder cares more about making money than how healthy and happy their dogs are.  They do not care about their customers either; they are simply the mugs stupid enough to buy whatever is being sold, at any price.

puppy farmer

What does a Puppy Farmer do differently?

Here’s a description of someone’s experience of buying a puppy:

“She went through the puppy pack with all the breed details from mum and dad with us but didn’t give it to us to take away. She is a ‘breeder’ rather than the same as you (breeding your pets). Albeit a well organised breeder. She breeds 4/5 different ‘types’ and has a big set up. Was all very professional, clean, spacious etc but not ‘pets’. Lived in a massive beautiful house with lots of land and kennels. She clearly make lots of money from it! “

puppy farmer
Is it a Labradoodle?

Here are the alarm bells for me:

  • Didn’t give away details of parents – were they actually the parents of that pup? Had they been health tested appropriately for their breed? Unless you are given copies of paperwork, you can’t easily verify what your puppy is and where it has come from.
  • A breeder, but not ‘breeding pets’.  Sorry? Aren’t you buying a pet?  Why would you want something not bred as a pet?  That’s the very definition of doing it as a business.
  • She breeds 4/5 different types and has a big set up.  Not pedigree dogs, defined by their characteristics and lineage, just random mongrels.  A big set up – 20 dogs? 50? Not much time for them then. No personal care and cuddling. These puppies may never see a human being before they are sent off.
  • She clearly makes lots of money from it!  No other income? Relying on this income to live on means the litter must be profitable.  So not spending money on health testing, toys and good quality food. Not to mention health tests. It costs a LOT of money to breed well.

Paperwork is essential

If I had a pound for every time someone said to me “I’m not interested in the paperwork, I don’t want to show/breed from my dog”, then I’d be a rich person. I recently realised that buying a dog should be like buying a car – it’s a big, expensive purchase that you have for years. Unlike a car of course, dogs are living, breathing animals that are part of your family!

So, would you go along to some tatty garage and pick up a car that looked like it was cobbled together from different cars? Would you pay thousands for a car with no paperwork? There is a registration system for cars, so that we know where they are from and who has owned them before us. We need cars to have health checks (services and MOTs).

puppy farmer

Dogs need these things too, We need to record where they are born and who their parents are. It is vital that we take advantage of health tests available, to ensure we produce healthier dogs.

One ‘type’ of dogs is enough

If you care passionately about your dogs and want to breed from them, you don’t often have more than one or two different breeds. When you DON’T care about what you are producing, you might mix and match to get whatever the buyer wants. You might even tell the buyer a dog is one type of crossbreed, when it is something else entirely! That is fraud, pure and simple, but it happens all the time.

Questions for the breeder

Here are a few questions you could ask your breeder:

  1.  How many dogs do you have?  Can I see them?  Where do they live?  Good breeders might have a number of dogs, but they will be part of the family.  They might spend some time each day in crates or runs, but should be in the house for most of the time.
  2.  How many litters do you have per year?  How many does each dog have?    How old are they when they have the first litter?  And the last?  A litter of puppies is extremely time consuming (or should be!) So the more litters you have, the harder it is to spend time cuddling the pups.  Dogs should have no more than 4 litters each, between the ages of two and eight.
  3.  Who is the sire?  Why was he chosen? How closely related is he to the mother of the litter?  What is the in-breeding coefficient? Stud dogs should be from good lines, fully health tested and with a good temperament.  They should be similar in breeding to the bitch without being too closely related.
  4. What health tests have the parents had?  Can I have copies of these test certificates?  If the correct tests have been done for the breed, copies of these tests should be given to you as part of your puppy pack.

If the puppies are pedigree dogs, all this information is available on the Kennel Club website.  You can look up dogs and breeders and see who has had what, how they are related and what health tests they have had.  As soon as you move away from pedigree dogs, this information is not compulsory, therefore breeders don’t need to bother following the KC rules.

border collie breeder
NOT a puppy farmer

What to do if you suspect someone is puppy farming

People are (unfortunately) cunning and devious. They know many ways to take your money. Equally, there are good people out there with the best of intentions, who don’t know how to do the right thing.

If you think that a breeder may be a puppy farmer, or is breeding irresponsibly:

  • Never purchase a puppy from them, even if you think you are rescuing the puppy. That puppy may be better off going home with you, but by giving the “breeder” money, you are funding them to breed even more dogs, possibly from the puppies’ mother, in horrible and unethical conditions
  • Report them to the RSPCA, the police or your local authority –local councils, animal health officers and the police have the power to enforce the law.

Taken from The Kennel Club: avoiding puppy farmers

A final thought

“Dogs owned by people who spent more than an hour researching where to buy them from are likely to live twice as long as those who spent under 20 minutes choosing a puppy, with mean mortality ages of 8.8 and 4.3 respectively.”

Taken from the KC report ‘Collaboration is the Key – the Way Forward for Breeding Regulations’

As a result of buying from puppy farms, people claim to have suffered emotional and financial hardship, the KC report. Do your research! Read how to get a perfect dog!

Remember..

If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.  Please CONTACT ME if you would like me to write about a specific topic?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think?

Dog Breeders Wanted

URGENT: More breeders are needed!

Warning: controversial post! We recently had a massive hoo-ha over a proposed TV programme about people wanting to ‘make money by breeding from their dogs’. I do not want to cause a sensation in writing this, but I feel I must write about this topic.

want dog

We do not have enough RESPONSIBLE dog breeders in this country. This causes massive heartache to dog owners and wannabe dog owners. It also leads to thousands of unhealthy, poorly-bred dogs. And a huge market for unscrupulous, money-grabbing people who breed commercially. Finally, it drives the existence and persistence of rescue centres, where dogs are dumped unceremoniously on a daily basis.

Where there is a market, there will be puppies

The Kennel Club registered 250,000 puppies last year, including pedigree and crossbreeds. Isn’t that an amazing figure? We want puppies! Last year everybody wanted a dog, but of course we soon run out – see my post on why dogs are not toilet paper.

border collie puppies

We do absolutely adore dogs in this country and they are a massive part of our lifestyle and culture. Sadly, dogs don’t live as long as we do, so we are likely to own multiple dogs in our lifetimes. We also want more than one, because we are greedy consumers! Although not everyone is lucky enough to have five like me. So there is an enormous market for dogs and this will not go away.

Go to a rescue

I see endless people on social media moaning about dog breeders and telling people to ‘get from a rescue’. Rescue centres are heroic and I applaud them all. I love the work they do and particularly the way they vet new homes. However, I do know that new homes often don’t work out and the dog ends up going to multiple homes before ending up in their ‘forever home’. Poor dog.

The Sunday Times issued an article this week about Lockdown puppies being dumped, just as we knew they would be. “Hundreds of “lockdown puppies” that were purchased in the pandemic are being sold online or handed to rescue centres, only months after the owners had taken them home.”

Disillusioned buyers say they are unable to cope with their dog’s lifestyle or have found it too difficult to juggle work and a puppy. One person, selling a six-month-old collie-spaniel cross for £1,500, writes: “Unfortunately, due to work commitments now we are no longer able to give him the loving and care he requires and deserves.” Heartbreaking, I’m sure you’ll agree.

puppies

People see rescue centres as being like shops. You go along and choose a dog from the ones available and take it home straight away. Then you try it out and see if you like it. If not, you simply take it back to the shop. We have successfully introduced Lucy’s Law, to exert controls over commercial breeding and stop ‘third party selling’ ie selling dogs in pet shops. But what is the difference between buying from a pet shop and buying from a rescue centre? Not that much, if you think about it.

Responsible breeding

Let me ask you a question: How many of my puppies do you think have ended up in rescue? Yeah you’re right, none. Why do you think that is? Because for me, breeding is a lifelong commitment. When one of the owners from my second litter rang me a few months ago, I guessed it was bad news. He cried, I cried. That dog was so loved, for all of his eight years. Of course that owner will be having another one from me, fingers crossed.

Responsible breeders will consider the health of their puppies to be a priority, which increases the probability that they will go on to live long and happy lives.

want dog

When I began my breeding journey over a decade ago, I knew I wanted to be a responsible breeder, to ‘do it right’. I had experience of my mum’s breeding and knew about health testing. My ethos right from the start was ‘Beautiful Border Collies, bred for better temperament and health’. That is what I do and who I am. I’m proud to say that my puppies are pretty healthy, with currently 51/54 alive and living happy lives. My first litter will be 11 years old tomorrow.

Get started

The Kennel Club provide a huge amount of advice and support to first time breeders. Unfortunately, people don’t realise that this should be their first port of call.

I am extremely proud to be a registered Kennel Club Assured Breeder. Only 5% of the puppies registered last year were bred by an Assured Breeder. It’s a scheme with rigorous standards, including an inspection every 3 years. Unfortunately, last year the Kennel Club closed to new applicants during the pandemic and when they re-opened they had 300 applicants. I believe we should be demanding an increase in the places available on this scheme.

breeder

If you are hoping for just one litter from your dog, you can still breed responsibly. After you have read the Kennel Club advice and done the relevant health tests, you are ready to go.

My no 1 piece of advice? Get a mentor, someone who has done some breeding and can provide support and information.

Remember..

Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think. 

If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

Advent Calendar – Day 30

Welcome to the Dentbros Dogs Advent Calendar

Happy Christmas!

24th December 2020

This photo is one of the Lovely Litter. I hope you have enjoyed this calendar over the past 30 days and that you have donated £3 to Canine Concern? Let me know if it has brightened up your days? Thank you for your support.

Donation request

I am doing this calendar to celebrate my dogs, but also to politely request that you consider donating £3 to Canine Concern. This is the charity that supports me going into school with my dogs and supports hundreds of other volunteers around the country, visiting lots of other places.

The charity is run very simply, by an extremely small team, with limited resources, but it does a huge amount of good. The volunteers are incredibly valued wherever they go, this year more than any other.

Thank you for your support.

Remember..

Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think. 

If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

Advent Calendar – Day 29

Welcome to the Dentbros Dogs Advent Calendar

Dentbros Dogs

23rd December 2020

Up until Christmas every day I will publish one of my favourite photos of my dogs and puppies taken this year. I hope you like them!

This photo is one I am quite pleased with. Nice and colourful, good arrangement of the girls, with only the grass across Aura’s face to annoy me! I could edit that out but I quite like to keep it real.

Donation request

I am doing this calendar to celebrate my dogs, but also to politely request that you consider donating £3 to Canine Concern. This is the charity that supports me going into school with my dogs and supports hundreds of other volunteers around the country, visiting lots of other places.

The charity is run very simply, by an extremely small team, with limited resources, but it does a huge amount of good. The volunteers are incredibly valued wherever they go, this year more than any other.

Thank you for your support.

Remember..

Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think. 

If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

Advent Calendar – Day 28

Welcome to the Dentbros Dogs Advent Calendar

Dentbros Lilac Wine

22nd December 2020

Up until Christmas every day I will publish one of my favourite photos of my dogs and puppies taken this year. I hope you like them!

This photo is one of Ounce. She looks so amazing against the heather.

Donation request

I am doing this calendar to celebrate my dogs, but also to politely request that you consider donating £3 to Canine Concern. This is the charity that supports me going into school with my dogs and supports hundreds of other volunteers around the country, visiting lots of other places.

The charity is run very simply, by an extremely small team, with limited resources, but it does a huge amount of good. The volunteers are incredibly valued wherever they go, this year more than any other.

Thank you for your support.

Remember..

Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think. 

If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

Advent Calendar – Day 27

Welcome to the Dentbros Dogs Advent Calendar

Summer days

21st December 2020

Up until Christmas every day I will publish one of my favourite photos of my dogs and puppies taken this year. I hope you like them!

This photo is Busy and Ounce at the seaside. I have a nice one of these two, but this one makes me laugh!

Donation request

I am doing this calendar to celebrate my dogs, but also to politely request that you consider donating £3 to Canine Concern. This is the charity that supports me going into school with my dogs and supports hundreds of other volunteers around the country, visiting lots of other places.

The charity is run very simply, by an extremely small team, with limited resources, but it does a huge amount of good. The volunteers are incredibly valued wherever they go, this year more than any other.

Thank you for your support.

Remember..

Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think. 

If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.