To Breed or Not to Breed

When talking about things to do with your dog, breeding your dog is something that might come to mind. Bringing new lives into the world is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly, especially in a world where millions of unwanted dogs are killed every year.

There are different kinds of breeders. Good breeders strive to breed the healthiest, most beautiful dogs with the best temperaments possible. They show their dogs to get an objective opinion about the quality of their dogs. They are knowledgeable about the genetic diseases of their breed and have had their dogs tested to reduce the possibility of passing these genes on. These puppies come with a health and temperament guarantee.

Good breeders are also very selective about the homes in which they place their puppies. They will interview prospective buyers extensively. If they cannot find the right homes, they are prepared to keep the puppies until they do. They put great effort into educating their puppy buyers about how to raise and care for their dog. If for any reason you cannot keep your dog, good breeders want to know about it because they feel responsible for each and every puppy they have produced. If there is any way they can, they will take the dog back, at any age. Their passion for their breed is evident when you speak to them.

There are also what is commonly referred to as "backyard" breeders. These are people with no real knowledge of the breed. They just think their dog is nice and that it would be fun to have puppies. Besides, they might be able to make some money. After all, they paid enough for their dog. These casual breeders' choice of stud is based on convenience rather than quality; they use any dog of the same breed who happens to live close by. They have probably heard of hip dysplasia but don't really know what it is. Their dog seems fine, so they are not worried about the disease. They don't know that their dog is too young to show any signs of the hereditary disease unless she was X-rayed. Their knowledge of how to housebreak and train a puppy is limited, so they won't be able to give you any advice. This kind of breeder doesn't really care anyway. That's the buyer's problem. As long as you have the money, the puppy is yours.

What kind of breeder would you rather buy a puppy from? What kind of breeder do you want to be? If you can't be a good breeder, you shouldn't be a breeder at all.

If you want to be a good breeder, the first question you should ask yourself is whether your dog is of good enough quality to breed. Just because your

Many dogs love to go swimming. (Golden Retriever)

dog is a nice family pet with AKC papers is not reason enough. Because there are a limited number of good homes available, only the best dogs should be bred. Your dog should have a perfect temperament, be a good specimen of his or her breed, and be free of all hereditary diseases. Hereditary diseases are abundant in purebred dogs. Just because your dog seems healthy does not mean he doesn't have such diseases as hip dysplasia or cataracts. You don't know if you haven't had him checked. It is irresponsible to breed a dog without a thorough check for all hereditary diseases known to occur in the breed.

Be honest with yourself in assessing your dog's temperament. Don't make excuses for your dog's shy or aggressive personality. There is no way to know for certain if the problem is hereditary or not, so don't take the chance of breeding more puppies with a similar problem. Also consider your dog's trainability in evaluating his temperament.

The second thing you should ask yourself is if you have the qualities and knowledge necessary to be a good breeder. Do you know the signs that your dog is having difficulty delivering a puppy and is in need of immediate veterinary attention? Do you know what to do if a puppy doesn't start breathing when delivered? Do you know how to choose a stud? Do you know what your state laws are regarding the sale of puppies?

Do you have the time? Several things can cause a mother dog to be unable to nurse her puppies, such as mastitis (an infection of the breasts). In such cases, you will need to feed the puppies often and around the clock. Even after they are weaned, you will have to be there four times a day to feed them. You will also spend a lot of time cleaning up after them. If your life is already hectic, do you really have the time?

Then there is the problem of placing the puppies. Do you feel you can adequately screen buyers to prevent your puppy from being placed in a home where he will not be properly cared for? For instance, what are your feelings about placing a puppy in a home without a fenced yard? Are you sure there is a demand for puppies of your breed? If your breed is popular, there may not only be a demand for puppies, but there may also be a flood of them advertised in the newspaper. What are you going to do if you cannot find homes for the puppies?

You can be responsible for a tremendous amount of dog suffering if you do not carefully interview and screen your buyers. An all-too-common story is a puppy who is left alone all day without being confined while his owners work. When the owners return home to find their furniture ripped to shreds and messes all over the floor, they beat the dog and chain him up in the backyard. The dog suffers at the end of the chain, receiving inadequate care and no love, until he is abandoned at the local animal shelter and mercifully euthanized. Don't kid yourself. This happens to purebred dogs as well as to mixed breeds.

A Belgian Tervuren is flying off the box that shoots out tennis balls for flyball competitions.

A Belgian Tervuren is flying off the box that shoots out tennis balls for flyball competitions.

Think about the millions of unwanted dogs who are killed annually. Is it really necessary for you to breed your dog?

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How To Housetrain Any Dog

How To Housetrain Any Dog

Fundamentals of Dog and Puppy Training. Although dogs shouldn't be attributed with having human characteristics, they are intelligent enough to be able to understand the concept of, and execute, certain actions that their owners require of them - if these actions are asked in a way that dogs find rewarding.

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