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Ask-a-Trainer Thursday
Ask-a-Trainer Thursday: How to Pick a Puppy
June 2, 2016 at 8:26 am 0

Ask-a-Trainer Thursday

Welcome to our regular blog feature called Ask-a-Trainer Thursday. We take questions from our social media audiences and then ask a positive based trainer for their advice in each situation.

This week, Jess Croezen of Impressive Canines answers one of the most common questions she's asked as a trainer: "how do I pick out a new puppy?".

 

How do I pick a puppy?

When looking for a new puppy, I tell clients to do their research.

If you’d like a purebred dog, find a breeder that loves their job and has a passion for raising amazing well rounded family pets. A good breeder will let you meet the parents and grandparents of the litter (if possible). They’ll also happily supply you with testimonials about previous litters and tests which prove their health background and genetics are in good standing. I also recommend spending as much time with the litter you are looking at as possible and if you feel uneasy at any time, don't feel bad about moving on and continuing your search.

boxer puppies

image from blog.thecozypet.com

When spending time with the actual puppies, I look for the ‘middle of the road’ personality. A lot of people like the one that runs up and wants to be the centre of attention all the time, or the shy quiet one in the corner. I want the happy one that likes to be with me, but also enjoys exploring and playing with their littermates. Ideally the puppy should seem calm but also happy-go-lucky.

Does that mean that the other puppies are not a good choice? Not at all.

The in your face kind of personality may test you a bit more. They might get demanding, need a lot of mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis or get bored easily for example.

The shy pup hiding in the corner on the other hand might be more prone to developing fear, separation anxiety, or need some confidence building. They may also require a lot of positive socialization exposure as well as might struggle a bit more with change such as a new home and may be nervous with a highly active family.

These are just some examples and it truly depends on each litter and each puppy. In some litters all of the puppies can seem pretty similar personality wise.

Some of the really good breeders I recommend actually pick a puppy for you based on your lifestyle, your experience with puppies and knowledge of that specific breed. Another breeder I’m familiar with, will choose a puppy for you based on whether you want a pet or show dog. She will also ask you if you prefer a male or female and if you have a preferred colour. After sorting through all of the criteria she’s collected, she will pick the pup that she believes is best suited for you.

litter labrador retriever puppies

image from waggingtails.ca

Another important aspect to be aware of when picking a new puppy is genetics. Genetics can play a big role in the puppy’s health and temperament. If the parents seems really loud and intense (or alternatively really shy and submissive) those traits may show up in your puppy. This is another reason why meeting the family beforehand is an important part of choosing a puppy.

I also like when the breeder has exposed the puppies to different real world scenarios: polite children, various sights, sounds, smells, and gets them comfortable wearing a collar and leash. Being exposed to all of these things at an early age means the puppy is less likely to find issue with them when they are older.

 

Adopting from a rescue

Another option for finding a great puppy or dog is to consider adopting from a rescue group. Rescue dogs are a bit different because most of the time you can't get an accurate history on them or see the relatives. It can also be hard to tell the exact breed (or breeds) sometimes.

Fortunately, you can get a good sense of personality when you meet them. Rescue groups are also experienced in dealing with lots of different dogs and will be honest if they see issues or problems you may need to train through when you get your dog. If the rescue you are looking at is in a foster home you can get a really good sense of what they are like in a home environment from their foster family.

If the dog is coming from a humane society setting, I tell my clients to just keep an open mind because it can be a harder environment for the dogs. The dog may be nervous, vocal or hyper simply because of the environment. In a home setting, the same dog may be totally fine. I know of one particular dog that would intimidate people when he barked in the humane society setting based on his stress levels, but in a home setting is a very sweet, quiet boy.

 

I'm here to help

I am a firm believer that if you put your mind to it and take the time and patience to understand how your dog thinks, feels and thrives, all dogs and puppies can be amazing.

Before you consider getting a dog, it’s important to be honest with yourself and the kind of lifestyle you have. Not all dogs can handle quiet, inactive homes and others won’t do well in an active and busy household.

If you’re thinking about bringing a dog into your life, I do offer assistance. I’m happy to help you find a reputable breeder, or evaluate a rescue — so feel free to contact me for further assistance.

dalmation litter

image from ovulationpads.info

Unless the pet store specifically offers pets from a rescue or humane society, it’s best to stay away from these places. It’s hard to walk away from a cute puppy, but in many cases, these dogs are from puppy mills and can cause you big headaches (and vet bills down the road).

No matter what kind of dog or puppy you choose for your family, training should be considered mandatory. Find a good positive based trainer and teach the dog to become the kind of family you want them to be instead of trying to undo bad behaviour down the road. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and you’ll be so happy when you have a dog you can take with you anywhere.

For more information on finding a puppy or to inquire about my school or classes, please feel free to contact me at Impressive Canines using the information below.

 

Do you have a question?

Do you have a question about dog behaviour in general or why your dog acts a certain way? Leave your question in the comments below and we’ll get a positive based dog trainer to answer it for you.

 

 

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Dog Advice
Don’t Buy a Puppy from a Pet Store
May 14, 2016 at 2:29 pm 0

How much is that doggy in the window?

The answer is: usually much more than you initially expected. Even though it can be hard to walk by those sad, cute little faces, you can end up with a lot more than you bargained for. Leaving you with the potential for an empty wallet, unhealthy dog and sometimes a broken heart. 

In the vast majority of cases, dogs (and cats) that are sold in pet stores are from puppy mills. Not sure what a puppy mill is? They're "unregulated breeding facilities owned by disreputable breeders". An article from Dogster goes on to describe them as places where "dogs are often bred far too frequently, are kept cramped together in squalor and are not socialized with humans. In addition, these these breeders do not always care about the health and strength of the breed, which often results in genetic illnesses, poor health in general and unlikable personality traits."

golden retriever puppies cage

image from Dogster.com

All of a sudden that cute puppy isn't so cute after all, huh?


A sad story about a puppy from a pet store

Cruella is the story of a dog from Guelph who was bought at a pet store in Southwestern Ontario and ended up having serious health issues. The little puppy cost her owner Susan more than $4,500 in vet bills within the first month of her being home.

In a story written by the Guelph Mercury, Susan says on the day she bought Cruella, she was at the mall looking for a television. She and her daughter walked by a pet store and decided the ever-so-cute black and white shih-tzu/poodle cross was too hard to resist.

Six days after Susan and her daughter brought home Cruella from the pet store, she had lost weight and was no longer active. She lost consciousness when she was taken outside to pee and that's when her family rushed her to the vet. 

Cruella ended up having parvovirus, a highly contagious viral disease. She spent a week at an animal hospital on intravenous and drugged up on medication until she was fully recovered.

The pet store refunded Susan her $700 when confronted about how sick their puppy got, but Susan said she'll spend the next two years repaying the $4,500 loan she took out to pay for Cruella's vet bills.  

puppy mills canada

image from nopuppymillscanada.ca

Canadian law and puppy mills

Quebec is Canada's puppy mill capital. According to Humane Society International, although puppy mills exist all across Canada, Quebec hosts a large portion of Canadian puppy mills due to their poor legislation and enforcement of commercial dog breeding operations. 

Fortunately, some cities across Canada are starting to pass laws that prevent the sale of cats and dogs from puppy mills. Back in 2011, the city of Toronto passed a by-law stating that cats and dogs sold in pet stores must come from shelters, humane societies or rescue groups. 

Just this year, Ottawa has set in place a new by-law (similar to the one in Toronto) which restricts the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. The stores will have to provide a certificate that indicates the source of the pet that is being sold. Pet stores that currently sell commercially bred cats and dogs will have five years to transition to the adoption-only model. Some say (myself included) that five years is too long to transition into these new laws, but at least it's a step in the right direction. 


How can I help?

  • Start by informing people you know. Let them know the dangers of buying puppies and kittens from pet stores that aren't from a rescue or humane society. Many people don't see any harm in bringing home a dog or cat they see in a shop window, but that's part of the problem.

    The reason why puppy mills continue to operate is because they continue to be profitable. I know it's hard to walk by that cute puppy saying "please take me home" but you have to remember that it's part of a bigger picture. Not only may you end up with a very sick puppy like the story of Cruella above, you're feeding an industry which profits off the systematic cruelty of animals. Google 'puppy mills' and if you're not already convinced they are horrible places, you will be.

    husky puppies pet store

    image from youtube.com

  • Show your support. There are many groups on Facebook such as People Against Puppy Mills of Ontario which you can join to keep up to date on laws and legislations as they change. If you see something happening in your local city, get involved! 

    Even before something is happening where you are, don't be afraid to email your city councillors and let them know how important these laws are to you. You have the power to make a difference, you just need to speak up. 

  • Are you thinking of adopting a dog or cat? Make sure it's either from a reputable breeder, such as one listed on the Canadian Kennel Club website, or from a local rescue organization. Again, part of stopping puppy mills means hitting them where it hurts — their wallets.

    Here's a list of a few local rescue organizations where you can start the hunt for your new best friend:

    Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue

    Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society

    Guelph Humane Society

    Cambridge & District Humane Society

 

 

Make sure that you're following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not only do we share pictures of cute dogs and interesting articles, we also share pictures of animals looking for a forever home. You might just meet your new best friend when you least expect it. 

 

 

 

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Resources
Popular Puppy Names in 2015
February 19, 2016 at 10:31 am 0

What's in a name?

When you get a new puppy, one of the first things you do is pick out a name for your cute little friend. For me, I've always picked out a human-like name because I talk to my dogs like they're people. I'd find it hard to have a conversation with a dog named "Pickle" (and to take their opinion seriously). I met a dog named Burger once and I absolutely loved that name, so I'm not totally against non-traditional names.

Whether you name your dog after your favourite food, celebrity, or anything else, your puppy's name becomes an important part of their personality. Sometimes seeing what other people have named their dogs can help you to decide on one for your own. On the other hand, if you like to go against the grain, seeing what other people have named their dog can let you know what names you could avoid.

Dog Burger Halloween Costume

image from thefashionspot.com

From a training perspective, I recommend my students pick names that have either two or three syllables. A name like "Leo" is easier to distinguish for your dog than "Leonardo" or "Lee".  In the end though, it's completely up to you. My grandpa had six dogs since my mom was a little girl. Five of those six dogs were named Mickey and just one was named Chico. I guess when you find something you like, it's good to stick with it.

Here are some popular dog names that can help get your creative juices flowing.

 

Top 100

The American Kennel Club has put together a list of the top 100 dog names based on the thousands of dogs who've entered their competitions over the years. Is your dog's name  somewhere on this list?

Abby
Ace
Addie
Adele
Annie
Apollo
Aspen
Bailey
Beamer
Bear
Belle
Bella
Birdie
Bling
Blue
Bogey
Body
Boomer
Bowen
Breeze
Brie
Brody
Buzz
Callaway
Casey
Cash
Catcher
Chaos
Chase
Chili
CiCi
Cody
Cole
Comet
Cooper
Cruise
Crush
Daisy
Dare
Dash
Dawson
Dazzle
Demi
Denali
Diva
Dixie
Echo
Eli
Ellie
Emmy
Evie
Finn
Flash
Frankie
Frisco
Gator
Georgia
Ginger
Grace
Haley
Happy
Harley
Hattie
Hope
Hunter
Indy
Jack
Jamie
Jax
Jazz
Jenna
Jersey
Jet
Jinx
JoJo
Josie
Joy
Juno
Karma
Kenzi
Kiva
Kona
Kyra
Lacie
Lark
Laser
Latte
Levi
Lilly
Linx
Logan
Lucy
Luke
Max
Mia
Mojo
Molly
Murphy
Nike
Nova
Obie
Ollie
Peach
Penny
Pepper
Piper
Prada
Ranger
Raven
Reggie
Remington
Riley
Ripley
Riot
River
Roxie
Ruby
Rumor
Salsa
Scarlett
Scout
Shadow
Shiloh
Skye
Slater
Sophie
Spark
Spencer
Spirit
Spring
Star
Storm
Strider
Summer
Tally
Tango
Tank
Taylor
Tease
Tessa
Token
Tori
Tripp
Trooper
Tucker
Tux
Whip
Wyatt
Zeke
Zip

Trendy names

Have you heard of Toby the hipster dog? He's the trendiest dog I've ever seen. He's got a popular Instagram account that you can check out here.

Toby Hipster Dog

image from boredpanda.com

Just like fashion and music, name trends change from year to year. Here are some of the trendier names that were popular last year.

MaleFemale
Sawyer
Jack
Hudson
Bear
Puppy
Max
Kai
Cooper
Finn
Emerson
Elsa
Bella
Stella
Quinn
Sophie
Ivy
Charlie
Aurora
Avery
Lila

 

Most popular for 2015

For years, the most popular dog breed has been the Labrador Retriever. When you're picking out a name, do you go with what's popular or with something unique?

Labrador Retriever Puppies

image from puppyou.com

Whether your style is to go with the flow or to avoid having the same name as other dog owners, here are the most popular dog names for 2015.

MaleFemale
Tucker
Bear
Duke
Toby
Rocky
Bailey
Chloe
Sophie
Maggie
Sadie

 

What do you call your dog and where did that name come from? Does it suit their personality, did you like the sound of it or was it something else? Did you wait until you met your new puppy to name it, or did you know right away what any dog you had was going to be called?

 

Share your story in the comments below. We'd love to hear about your cute pups and as always, feel free to upload pictures on our Facebook page.

 

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