FINDING THE RIGHT DOG
An All-breed Dog Club Sanctioned by the American Kennel Club
Things to Consider ~ Adopting an Older Dog ~ Male vs. Female ~ Adding a Second Dog
Also, visit the MACOMB KENNEL CLUB’S BREEDER DIRECTORY (tab above)
FINDING YOUR PERFECT DOG
Most likely you will choose a breed of dog that compliments your lifestyle and your personal preference. However, the decision as to which breed is best for you should be made only after careful study and thought. Size, temperament, natural instincts, grooming requirements, exercise needs, and sex are just a few items to consider when selecting a dog for you and your family. An excellent reference source is the American Kennel Club (AKC) website. Access descriptions of 175+ breeds at http://www.akc.org/breeds/ . Another helpful resource is the American Kennel Club’s "The Complete Dog Book," which is available at bookstores and from the public library.
Also important is you, the new dog owner. Do you have the time, finances and level of commitment to give?
Before you deciding on a particular breed, it is a good idea to attend a local dog show, visit training classes to observe puppies and adult dogs interacting with both owners and other dogs. It is also advisable to talk to breeders (more than one), other owners, as well as perusing national breed club and individual breeders’ websites and message boards. In short, do your homework. Make a list of what you are looking for and are not looking for in a dog. The right dog with the right family can ensure a wonderful relationship to last a lifetime. (Check further down on this page for a ‘Directory of Breeders’ who are members of Macomb Kennel Club and subscribe to the Code of Ethics fostered by the Club.)
Other popular resources are the book: "The Right Dog For You" by Daniel F. Tortora, and several online sites that evaluate your wishes and needs with various breeds’ characteristics.
SALE/ADOPTION DOCUMENTS AND AKC REGISTRATION
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the principal agency for the registration of purebred dogs in the United States. An AKC Registration Certificate means that the dog cited is the product of a registered purebred sire and dam of the same breed. A dog’s pedigree is a recorded "family tree" for the cited dog. An AKC Registration Certificate or a dog’s Pedigree does not indicate nor guarantee the quality or health of a dog, it merely establishes its lineage.
When you purchase your purebred puppy, at some point in the process you will be given a bill of sale, possibly a contract and/or written guarantee. These and the AKC registration application form should be signed by seller. Also provided should be the name of the breed, the registered names and numbers of the sire and dam, your dog’s date of birth, the name of the breeder and, if available, the AKC litter number. Any special conditions or agreements should be in writing and signed by both buyer and seller at time of purchase.
COST OF OWNERSHIP
The expense of dog ownership entails much more than the initial purchase price of your puppy. Health care, food, toys, and bedding must be taken into account, as well as the time investment required for play, exercise and proper socialization. If you travel and cannot take your dog with you, you will need to find a good boarding facility or employ an in-house dog sitting service. Many breeds require extensive grooming. Professional grooming services may be necessary if you cannot perform the grooming chores yourself. For some breeds this may be a monthly occurrence. Providing your dog with a safe environment includes a fenced yard or kennel run. The use of a stake and chain or tie out is unsuitable for the safety and well-being of your dog and not recommended.
Your puppy will require a veterinarian. All dogs require proper immunization against major infectious diseases, as well as regular examinations. Select a veterinarian who is responsive to both you and your dog’s needs. Throughout your dog’s life and especially during puppyhood your veterinarian should do frequent checks for internal parasites. Just like humans, dental care is also important for your dog. Regular brushing and recreational "chew time" with good-quality chew toys is essential for dental hygiene.
Proper diet, adequate housing and regular grooming are essential for all dogs, no matter which breed. Food of a proper nutritional formula is extremely important during the puppy’s early growth, as well as the dog’s entire life. Appropriate daily exercise is also necessary for proper growth, overall health and well-being. Consult with your breeder about the best type of food for your dog based on its breed and activity level.
DON’T OVERLOOK AN OLDER DOG!
While older dogs want your attention, they are generally more mellow, more patient, and more eager to bond than their noisy, hooligan 8-wk to 5 month counterparts. While puppies are great, for the busy person, juggling job and family, a mature dog might be ready to fit right into a routine.
An older, more mature dog is also trainable. Focusing an older dog on basic commands (come, sit, off, down, stay) – if they don’t already know these, is often easier that it is to focus a puppy or younger dog.
Once acquainted with you and lavished with attention, the older dog settles in, finds his place and quickly fits into the routine.
Dogs are non-verbal. They pick up messages you give them. Unlike a puppy, the older dog is already used to absorbing and translating non-verbal clues. When your messages are ones of kindness, love and praise, the older dog knows right away what to expect and how to behave. With those messages – ones that only you can give him – communicate patience, understanding and comfort, your older dog will respond quickly and return that love and affection.
MALE OR FEMALE?
In some ways, choosing between male and female dogs is a matter of personal preference. However, there are some characteristics which are common in females and other characteristics which are common in males. It is important to evaluate these characteristics and determine which gender would fit best with your home situation. Additionally, choosing between male and female dogs is important if you already have another female or male dog and are choosing an additional dog.
Stubborn – In many packs, a female is typically the Alpha. Female dogs crave more control of situations and are quick to respond to perceived challenges with fierceness.
Territorial – Female dogs mark in the same way male dogs do. A spayed female may continue to mark for her entire lifetime regardless of when she is spayed while most males will cease marking behaviors shortly after they are neutered and the testosterone levels subside.
Reserved – Some females cane be less affectionate and friendly than male dogs. This characteristic is noticeable in puppies and becomes more pronounced with age.
Changes in Mood or Behavior – It is also important to note that if you do not spay your bitch, she will come into heat at approximately one year of age and approximately every six months thereafter. During this time, there will be some bleeding as well as a change in mood or behavior. This change in behavior can be anything from loss of appetite, more affectionate, less affectionate, more reactive to other dogs, etc.
THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS OFTEN APPLY TO MALE DOGS:
Affectionate – Male dogs can be more affectionate than females. They tend to crave attention from their owners more than females and as a result, display more affectionate behaviors.
Exuberant – A male dog is also more likely to be fun-loving and outgoing throughout his lifetime than a female. While a female tends to become more reserved as she ages, a male dog maintains a more puppy-like exuberance throughout his lifetime.
Food-Motivated – Males can be more motivated by food. This food motivation can make training extremely easy as treats can be used to lure and reward a dog to display desired behaviors.
Attentive – While females tend to be more independent, males tend to be more focused on their human companions. They want to always be close to the human and are very eager to please.
Aggressive Behaviors – It is also important to note that intact adult males may display more aggressive behaviors toward other males or exhibit marking behaviors. Additionally, intact males should be kept away from females in heat unless a breeding is planned.
THINKING OF ADDING A SECOND DOG TO YOUR FAMILY?
Dog owners who are adding an additional dog to their home should carefully consider the ramifications of adding a dog of either gender. This is important because the makeup of the existing pack may be more accepting to either a male or a female dog.
The following are general tips for selecting the gender of a second dog:
If you already have a male or a female, a dog of the opposite gender is generally the best choice. Dogs of the same gender are more likely to have issues than dogs of the opposite gender.
If you already have a male dog, he is likely to be more accepting of a female and you are likely to have fewer dominance issues if you add a female to the pack. However, if you opt to add another male to the pack, they can peacefully co-exist and become friends. It is important to closely monitor their interactions early on to ensure aggressive behaviors do not become common.
If you already have a female dog, she is likely to be more accepting of a male. Most males tend to be submissive. If he does not challenge your resident female, she is not likely to have a reason to fight with him. Adding a female dog to the pack, however, may result in complications. The worst combination of dogs is two females because they are more likely to have issues than a male and a female or two males. However, many dog owners have two or more females that live together without problems. As long as there is an established alpha and the other females know their place in the pack, there will not be dominance struggles often, although they may still occur.
Selecting a male or female dog is largely a matter of personal preference. The above characteristics are generalizations, and it is certainly possible to acquire a female puppy who displays male characteristics or a male puppy who displays the typical female characteristics. Additionally, adult females that are spayed and adult dogs that are neutered often do not have the gender-specific problems a (hormonal ) problems an intact dog would have. There are really very few reasons not to spay or neuter most dogs; the benefits are far greater in temperament, health, and owner convenience.
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