Video – Choosing a Dog Breeder
Eukanuba has a video up that gives a good overview of what to look for when selecting the breeder of your new puppy.
Like many other viewers, I do have one quibble – the outdated vaccination information. The video suggests that your puppy should have two sets of shots by eight weeks. Honestly, I don’t know of a single veterinarian who is still suggested this outdated vaccination protocol. Personally, we follow Dr. Jean Dodds’ minimal vaccination protocol, which I’ve outlined below the cut, as well as provided a link to. In essence, she suggests that the puppy receive its first shot at 9 – 10 weeks, and that this shot should consist only of Distemper and Parvovirus.
This brings us to the second question – when should is your puppy old enough to go to its new home? Joanna, on her Ruffly Speaking blog, has provided a wonderful argument for the choice to send puppies home at 8 weeks of age.
I have, over the last few years, been slowly keeping my puppies longer and longer. In part, this is because of my preference to not give their first shots until ten weeks. I then prefer to keep them here at home for a week after they’ve received this first shot, in case of any adverse reactions. I agree with Joanna, however – it’s very difficult to give an entire litter of puppies the kind of constant, varied socialization that they require if you plan to keep them this long. We’ve done our best, but it rapidly becomes a full time job. I take puppies in to work with me, as well to the Hardware store, the bank, the Co Op and any where else that pets are welcomed. Even so, this means that I’m going one to two pups out at a time, max.
Keeping puppies for this long also means that I tend to form very strong attachments to them. I’d like to think this is mutual, but in typical French Bulldog fashion most of them seem to barely spare me a backwards glance. For my part, letting two of the older pups from my last litter go left me absolutely devastated, and swearing that I’d never, ever go through that again.
I’ve decided that, with our upcoming litters, we’ll do our first shots at seven and a half weeks, with the goal of having them leave by eight and a half. This means that the puppies I am keeping will get their fair share of socialization, and that the puppies that are leaving get to their new homes in time for that crucial socialization period.
I will not, however, be sending them home with two sets of shots – and neither should any other breeder who isn’t still living in the 1950’s.
Full Jean Dodds’ Minimal Vaccination protocol, below the cut.
MINIMAL VACCINE USE
W. Jean Dodds, DVM
938 Stanford Street
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Fax: 310/ 453-5240 ** Please Note — NEW FAX # for Home Office **
e-mail: hemopet at hotmail com
(remove spaces, use @ symbol and .com)
|Age of Pups||Vaccine Type|
|9 – 10 weeks||Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV (e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy DPV)|
|14 weeks||Same as above|
|16 -18 weeks (optional)||Same as above – optional|
|20 weeks or older, if allowable by law||Rabies|
|1 year||Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV|
|1 year||Rabies, killed 3-year product (give 3-4 weeks apart from distemper/parvovirus booster)|
Perform vaccine antibody titers for distemper and parvovirus every three years thereafter, or more often, if desired. Vaccinate for rabies virus according to the law, except where circumstances indicate that a written waiver needs to be obtained from the primary care veterinarian. In that case, a rabies antibody titer can also be performed to accompany the waiver request. See www rabieschallengefund.org
I also wish the Eukanuba video had replaced “has a passion for the breed” with “is involved somehow with their breed.” Doesn’t have to be conformation; it could be any number of things. But something beyond “I’m passionate about them because they make such great pets.”
The timing of new homes is always tricky. I didn’t mean to imply that you HAVE to place them at eight weeks. What I did want to say is that after eight weeks your job as a breeder becomes overwhelming for most people, because that’s when they need solo socialization. I DON’T see your puppies in photos in a big pile in an ex pen, every picture every time, which is what I’ve seen a lot of lately. It’s obvious that these litters of beautifully bred puppies are spending 99% of their time in a pen, but their owners are congratulating themselves for being better than those who put puppies in a home at eight weeks.
What I try to do is temperament test at 49 days, vaccinate two days before the puppy evals, then get them out the door the weekend after the evals. So somewhere between eight and nine. That was what everyone did in Danes, my first breed, because individual socialization is SO stressed. It was honestly a huge shock to move to a smaller breed and see people (not just in my breed, but across the spectrum of dogs that are small, easy puppies) willing to keep puppies indoors and in a pen for upwards of four months. A dog’s a dog, whether it’s a Maltese or a Mastiff, and their brains all work the same way – they will stick in whatever record groove you’ve played for them. It has made me completely rethink the whole “horrible small dog” cliche – I always assumed it was because people let them get away with so much, but now I think a lot of it is just plain fear, because they’ve never been exposed to anything.
.-= Joanna Kimball´s last blog ..Wonderful video =-.
I do actually think some of it has to do with breed. Mastiffs are notoriously spooky if you don’t get them out there and do some hard core socialization. Frenchies, on the other hand, are notorious for the opposite reason – they come out of the most HORRIFIC situations with wonderful, outgoing temperaments. Puppy mill rescues, and they still bound out happy to meet everyone. This is bad, actually – bad for the individual puppies, in that it means people can get away with doing less with them. I want mine to be not just ‘good natured’, but *bomb proof*, and that takes getting them out there and socialized. My grandmother had a guy who did nothing but take her pups to the train station, the market, everyplace – all day, every day, puppies out in shifts. That’s… not practical for most of us! Although I wish it was. As you say, it’s work getting them out there and taking them as many places as possible, especially since they need that ‘solo time’ to really enjoy the full benefits. I don’t know how people with non pet friendly work environments do it.
A lot of my decision to place them earlier is how simply devastated I was to place two of them from my last litter. I was actually distraught – crying, feeling guilty, the usual bag of silliness. It wasn’t that the pups were hurt by being here longer – all are seemingly well rounded members of their new families, with no memories of *me* whatsoever – but that I was hurt by it. It’s also helpful that the NEW new minimal shot regime suggested has downgraded the intial shot age from twelve weeks to nine.
Joana´s words make me think about getting a guard dog for myself.
About my spoiled baby frenchies, as they are raised inside the house, with us, messing all around, I prefer send them after 12 weeks. Actually, over here, the human family has a lot of traumas about socializing the puppies – surely, when they leave us.
But, we crazily can´t stop doing this.
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Too. Funny. I know the fabulous Martin Deeley.
Also, I wrote a post a while ago about things to watch out for when buying puppies on the internet. You need to do really careful research when buying a puppy from a breeder you haven’t met and checked out in person. It’s really easy to lie on the internet…