Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What kind of dog should I get?

Well this is a hard question.

A lot of this is in personal preference.  What kind of dogs do you like, and why?  Browse some breeds online and see what you think.  When you have a few breeds in mind, do your research.  Research the breed as much as possible.  What's the breed's history, what were they originally bread for?  Breed characteristics are important when training a dog.  Herding breeds can be more prone to nipping, terriers may be more likely to dig and hunt for small animals in your back yard, and sometimes non-sporting breeds can be difficult to motivate for training.  Once you learn more about a breed you're interested, ask yourself again, is this the type of dog I want, and why?

Don't fall into the, I want this breed because I think they're cute.  That's the worst possible thing you could do!  Figure out what you really want out of dog.

Look at your own life as it currently is.  What's YOUR energy level??
Are you a high-energy person that goes running every morning, or does it take you 30 minutes to wake up while you slowly sip your coffee?  Most dog's energy levels falls into 4 LEVELS:  low, medium, high, and very high.  You should always adopt a dog that is AT or BELOW your energy level, NEVER above!  Does the breed you picked match your general level of energy?

Once you have decided on a breed(s) you like and think would fit well into your home, it's time to decide where you could get your new pet from.
You basically have three options:
1.  Your local shelter or rescue.
2.  Breeders
3.  Pet store

1.  I would highly recommend you choose one of the first two options.  It is best to adopt from your local shelter whenever possible.  You will not only be getting a new addition to your family, but helping out an animal in need.  Also when considering adoption, shelters offer many different age groups for adoption.  Perhaps you would like to skip the puppy potty training stage and adopt an adolescent dog.  It's always nice when someone considers adopting older dogs as well, many are already trained and at a lower level of energy.  Another great thing shelters offer is variety.  I firmly believe that mutts are the way to go!  Mixed breed dogs tend to have better temperaments and less health problems in the long run.
A great local Minneapolis dog rescue is MARS (Midwest Animal Rescue & Services).

2.  Breeders are definitely a good option if you're looking to get a pure-bred dog.  Again, it is very important to do your homework.  You want to make sure you are getting your dog from a reputable breeder. This breeder will breed for good temperament and health.  There are many "back yard" breeders out there. These people are just looking to make a quick buck.  These breeders do not breed for health or temperament and do not always take very good care of their dogs.  A good trick to ask a potential breeder is, "May I see the puppies with their mom?"  If the breeder refuses, stay away!  Look for a breeder with a good history of healthy lines of dogs.

3.  Pet store are actually one of the worst places to get a new dog.  Pet stores many times carry animals from Puppy Mills.  These are places where again, they are just looking to make a quick buck, but on a much larger scale.  Puppy Mills are places you have seen horror stores in the news about.  These places definitely do not breed for health and temperament.  If you get a dog from a place like this, it is HIGHLY likely you will have numerous problems down the road.  You don't want to start off training a dog that's bred to already be crazy.  It makes everything you do much more difficult!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Dog crates come in various forms.  For all crates, the dog should have enough room to stand up and turn around with comfort.  Crates should NEVER be used as a form of punishment.  A dog must see his crate as a comfortable place that he enjoys going in.  A dog should not be left in a crate for too long of a time period.  Crates are helpful training tools for puppies and new dogs.  They can assist in prevention of potty training accidents and avoiding destructive behavior.

Airline crates have a wire door on the front with a solid plastic crate outside.  These are designed to acceptable airline standards, but can be used as a regular in house crate also.

Wire crates have an all wire construction on three sides and the top, with a hard plastic or metal bottom that is removable for cleaning.  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Breed of the Month--Maltese


Color:  White, lemon or light tan markings
Height:  Males:  8.5-10 inches/  Females:  7.5-9 inches
Weight:  6-9 lbs
Life Span:  15 years or more

Breed Health Concerns:  white shaker dog syndrome, patent ductus arterioles, hypoglycemia, patellar lunation, portosystemic shunts.

Coat:  Dense, flat, long, silky single coat.
Country of Origin:  Italy

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

Although the exact origin of the Maltese is a mystery, most historians believe the breed to be from the island of Malta, located off Italy.  The Maltese has been a favorite companion of the wealthy for centuries, including the Greek and Romans, and the British empire.

The Maltese is a very playful breed that is affectionate, adorable, mischievous, and spirited.  They enjoy being with their family as much as possible.  It is important to properly train this breed and not overly spoil them so they will continue to be a well-behaved member of the family.

The Maltese, and many Maltese mixes have become increasing popular in the last several years.  I have seen more and more of these cute little white, fluffy dogs.  As with all small breed dogs, it is important to train this breed properly so you will not have, what I like to call, "small dog syndrome," problems in the future.  Many people do not believe small dogs need the same rules and boundaries as bigger dogs do.  But if you truly want a well-rounded dog that gets along with all other dogs and people, it is important to train them just as you would any dog.  All dogs need rules and exercise!

Although many people enjoy carrying these dogs around, it is important to let them walk along-side you to help drain their energy.  They may be small dogs, but they are strong dogs that need their daily walks.

Show dogs of this breed must maintain their long, flowing coat.  This coat is very high maintenance and must be brushed daily to keep it free and knots and tangles.  Most "pet" Maltese get clipped to help maintain a nice coat and make the grooming easier on the family.

The Maltese enjoys interacting with humans and is easily trained using positive reinforcement methods. Housebreaking this breed may require extra patience.  Socialization is very important for this breed so he is always accepting of strangers.

The pet popular, hair-clipped look.

Maltese puppies.