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  #61  
Old 16.11.2011, 16:27
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Re: family dog choices

I quite like the look and temperment of working dogs - English Collies, Springer Spaniels, Short-Hair Beagles (not a huge fan of the course hair).

For some reason I also like Pugs - a friend has one - and he is so funny.
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Old 16.11.2011, 17:41
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Re: family dog choices

We've got a German Shephard, who we got as a rescue when she was a year old and our son was 5 years old, she is the most loving dog and has always been extremely good with our son, very gentle and will pretty much let him do anything to her.

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Sounds like you've done your homework. I have previously had Rottweiler, Doberman, and German Shepherds and would not recommend any of these breeds, but Golden Retreiver or Airedale Terrier (full size for sure, not sure of minis). I have known them to be great family pets with relatives, friends, and the pet store owner who counseled me through training my big dogs had an Airedale in the store- said it was the best pet for children any family could get. (I was single at the time, and took in "problem dogs").
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  #63  
Old 18.11.2011, 15:57
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Re: family dog choices

Just an update, I haven't heard officially but the westie pup has disappeared from the website of the mulhouse tierheim so I guess her owner picked her up. I've sent a mail to the adoption organisation, saying that there might be a couple of other young dogs we'd be interested in -we'll see.

Otherwise, I rang the Strasbourg SPA and it seems remarkably easy to take a dog from them - you need just a piece of identity and a proof of address! No checks otherwise as far as I could tell which surprises me enormously and seems to be just a little irresponsible.

The animals from France come chipped, vaccinated and (if female) neutered and with a passport. I think that they would need to have rabies innoculations in Switzerland and also be registered - I'm thinking that this would be done at the vet and the gemiende.

Will go and search a bit more about importing from France!
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Old 18.11.2011, 17:03
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Re: family dog choices

Terramundi,

One of mine came from France; the procedure is very simple. The dog needs to be chipped and have a currently valid rabies vac and an EU passport. Many shelters are well aware of requirements, as this is the same throughout the EU.

If the dog is newly vaccinated, either for the first time or after the last vac had lapsed, there is a waiting period of 21 days after the vac. This is not necessary as long as the vac and boosters have been kept up.

(And a heads-up - do be aware of the docking ban in CH; don't fall in love with a doglet with a docked tail (sadly seen too often in France) as you couldn't bring him here.)

FYI, the BVet has a nifty little app to show what you need to do to import or travel with a dog, depending on where you are and where you are going:

http://bvet.bytix.com/plus/dbr/default.aspx?lang=de

The only thing that can be a pain is the ANIS registration. The shelter, as the previous owner, must initiate the change of ownership form. Since ANIS is a Swiss thing, the shelter might not know the procedure. Your vet will do the registration, but you might need to bring the ANIS transfer form for the shelter to sign. Best thing to do is to speak with ANIS (www.anis.ch) before you pick up your dog.

My guy is still on a french database as well as on ANIS; I asked the shelter to put in a transfer on that one as well - can't hurt. As you are close to the border anyway, having your dog registered on both databases is simply extra protection.
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Old 18.11.2011, 18:22
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Re: family dog choices

Thanks for that info Meloncollie, there seems to be a lot of dogs in the french homes. I rang the tier heim here in Basel and now have an appointment on Monday afternoon. They have some pups (apenzeller mongrel) and I know a puppy would probably be better for my dog wary kid, but I'm not so sure of appenzellers, as they are originally working dogs, so might be a bit of a handful for me.
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Old 18.11.2011, 19:09
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Re: family dog choices

we have a white, male lab. he is a great dog, full of energy, loves the outdoors and LOVES kids. neighbours have no problem bringing their 2-5 year olds over to play with him. however, from our and friends experience with labs, you need to be very patient with labs in their first 2-years as their motors are running very high. they like playing games thinking they can outsmart you, and who can forget putting everything in their mouth(first year..we bought a new football(american) every 1-2 weeks as he just had to chew on it until he destroyed it)
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  #67  
Old 19.11.2011, 01:00
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Re: family dog choices

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we have a white, male lab. he is a great dog, full of energy, loves the outdoors and LOVES kids. neighbours have no problem bringing their 2-5 year olds over to play with him. however, from our and friends experience with labs, you need to be very patient with labs in their first 2-years as their motors are running very high. they like playing games thinking they can outsmart you, and who can forget putting everything in their mouth(first year..we bought a new football(american) every 1-2 weeks as he just had to chew on it until he destroyed it)
I second that. My 18 month lab likes to carry everything to her bed. Luckily I catch her before it's destroyed She has very high play drive and when we are on walks wants to play with everything that moves. I'm told it's a phase and they grow out of it. I just have to keep going back to basic training when she gets too much I.e. Pulling on the lead, barking running off on walks

It's hard work but it pays off as she loves us to bits and cracks me up in fits of laughter sometimes. Remember a dog is for life not just for Christmas.
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Old 19.11.2011, 03:27
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Re: family dog choices

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Thanks for that info Meloncollie, there seems to be a lot of dogs in the french homes. I rang the tier heim here in Basel and now have an appointment on Monday afternoon. They have some pups (apenzeller mongrel) and I know a puppy would probably be better for my dog wary kid, but I'm not so sure of appenzellers, as they are originally working dogs, so might be a bit of a handful for me.
My own first dog was an Appenzeller that I got off a farm for CHF 50. BJ was the most loyal dog I could have wished for. She was a lovely dog but was quite possessive and could get quite jealous.

Once I brought a girl home and we took BJ out for a walk before we went out for the evening. When I got home later that night BJ had peed on my pillow. Not just anywhere but on my pillow.

Now if that wasn't a message, I don't know what would be!
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Old 19.11.2011, 04:29
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Re: family dog choices

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My own first dog was an Appenzeller that I got off a farm for CHF 50. BJ was the most loyal dog I could have wished for. She was a lovely dog but was quite possessive and could get quite jealous.

Once I brought a girl home and we took BJ out for a walk before we went out for the evening. When I got home later that night BJ had peed on my pillow. Not just anywhere but on my pillow.

Now if that wasn't a message, I don't know what would be!
Reminds me of when I got my first dog. She was 3 years old already, but the first couple of times she saw me having sex with my girlfriend she absolutely freaked out, until she realised that daddy wasn't actually hurting mummy...
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Old 19.11.2011, 10:32
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Re: family dog choices

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I second that. My 18 month lab likes to carry everything to her bed. Luckily I catch her before it's destroyed She has very high play drive and when we are on walks wants to play with everything that moves. I'm told it's a phase and they grow out of it. I just have to keep going back to basic training when she gets too much I.e. Pulling on the lead, barking running off on walks

It's hard work but it pays off as she loves us to bits and cracks me up in fits of laughter sometimes. Remember a dog is for life not just for Christmas.
yes. thankfully we have a big back yard and he has space to run. taking him along when i go jogging is great. he really challenges me..only once did i tire him out and he actually asked to stop and take a breather, but only once they are very loyal and who can forget those eyes!
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Old 19.11.2011, 10:58
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Re: family dog choices

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Thanks for that info Meloncollie, there seems to be a lot of dogs in the french homes. I rang the tier heim here in Basel and now have an appointment on Monday afternoon. They have some pups (apenzeller mongrel) and I know a puppy would probably be better for my dog wary kid, but I'm not so sure of appenzellers, as they are originally working dogs, so might be a bit of a handful for me.
Pure breeds are all originally working dogs anyway. They were developed over time to respond to the human's specific needs and way of life - herding sheep, pulling sleighs, tracking, retrieving game, helping out on the farm with vermin etc.

Even that little westie puppy you were thinking of was too. They were bred for working game and the reason why they are white is because the reddish brown/black ones are often mistaken for game (foxes etc) and shot so they bred the Westie to be white in order to avoid that (in short). So even the most well trained of terriers, put a wriggly hamster/mouse/small animal in front of them, and they'll go berserk because it simply triggers their innate instinct. Or give them a garden and they'll dig to australia.
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Old 19.11.2011, 11:07
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Re: family dog choices

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Thanks for that info Meloncollie, there seems to be a lot of dogs in the french homes. I rang the tier heim here in Basel and now have an appointment on Monday afternoon. They have some pups (apenzeller mongrel) and I know a puppy would probably be better for my dog wary kid, but I'm not so sure of appenzellers, as they are originally working dogs, so might be a bit of a handful for me.
Nosy Parker that I am, I took a peek at the TBB website, and at the pups.

Oh. My. Lawd. They are beyond adorable.

You are in luck, in that their mother is also in the Tierheim. Obviously the pups will grow into their own personalities, and there is the whole nature vs. nurture question - but you can get some idea how 'worky' the pups might be based on the mother. So when you visit, do ask to meet Cassy as well. (Be aware though, that a busy kennel is a very stressful environment for a dog who has recently whelped and is raising pups.)

Will you be able to bring your son to meet the pups?

Good luck for Monday - hope all goes well.



ETA:

As for working breeds - there are several dog sports today that provide an outlet for that working instinct, especially for the herders: agility, Treibball, flyball, etc. You don't have to get involved at competition level, casual training just for fun can provide the 'job' that many dogs need. Or, creative energetic walks - and teaching the dog to help around the house. Most of the workers I've met need mental stimulation as much if not more than physical - herders are thinkers, they problem solve on their own to work the sheep. You can harness that intelligence in so many ways to fit in with a non-rural lifestyle.
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  #73  
Old 21.11.2011, 22:50
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Re: family dog choices

Well, we went to see the pups today and they are adorable - very perky, but not too excitable, cute and puppyish. My daughter was a bit wary at first but by the end of the meeting she was petting then and stroking them well.

I saw the mum, she was quite anxious and barked a lot - understandable really considering she must have had loads of strange people coming and looking at her.

One good thing is that the tierheim also runs 'puppy course' that you can do when the puppy is around 6 months old. It's not obligatory but a good idea I think. In many ways I'm not sure that we could do better than to go with this as the pups are well socialised and I would have a connection with the tierheim for any support/courses etc.
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  #74  
Old 22.11.2011, 09:58
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Re: family dog choices

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Well, we went to see the pups today and they are adorable - very perky, but not too excitable, cute and puppyish. My daughter was a bit wary at first but by the end of the meeting she was petting then and stroking them well.

I saw the mum, she was quite anxious and barked a lot - understandable really considering she must have had loads of strange people coming and looking at her.

One good thing is that the tierheim also runs 'puppy course' that you can do when the puppy is around 6 months old. It's not obligatory but a good idea I think. In many ways I'm not sure that we could do better than to go with this as the pups are well socialised and I would have a connection with the tierheim for any support/courses etc.
Great to hear about your daughter! No one can ever resist the charms of a puppy

If you can, I suggest you go back to the tierheim and watch them play for hours. You will be able to spot the various personalities and energy levels of the pups. In a litter, there will always be a bossy one, a relaxed one, a hyperactive one, a timid one or one who has aspirations of being a pack leader and definitely wont be shy about bucking up for a promotion within the household

Once you've zoomed in on a particular pup, dont be afraid to ask the tierheim questions about the pup: whats his/her best quality? whats his worst quality? What quirks does he have?

Also, if you arent confident, ask them to help you out with a puppy temprement test. Very simple stuff like

1. Cradling the puppy in your arms, belly up in the same way you would hold a human infant and hold her there for about half a minute.

You want to look for a puppy that relaxes quickly. That shows that its an easy going one or used to being handled. If he/she struggles alot, thats the sign of a hyperactive/strong willed pup who will need an equally strong willed owner - or that he/she will need much more training and socialisation at being handled.

2. Use your thumb/index finger to gently squeeze between the toes of the pup's front foot. If the pup cries quickly, it shows that its sensitive and easier to train but not a very good match for young kids.

3. Walk a few feet away and clap your hands gently to call the pup. If it comes up to you, tail wagging and happy, its fine but puppies who come up to you, tail up and start nipping at your hands/clothing is usually a sign that its an assertive puppy which will need a firm hand in training. Dont worry if it doesnt come or walks away. It simply shows that that one is an independent spirit

I cant remember off my head the rest of the tests but I will post when they come to mind.

Disclaimer: Extreme behavior on either end, for example: puppies who are either very timid or very assertive aren't doomed to be bad dogs, but they'll need an experienced owner and lots of extra training and attention.

Most folks do best with a middle-of-the-road puppy. Also, try doing such exercises more than once. Sometimes its their first time being exposed to being cradled etc. Make it fun with treats etc. If they respond better the second time round, it's a good sign that lack of experience, not personality, that caused the reaction.

Finally, these tests are usually standard. You sometimes have to go with your heart. I cradled both my dog and his brother - they both loved it but my dog proceeded to turn sideways and chew on my sweater. I lost my heart to him then.
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Old 22.11.2011, 10:33
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Re: family dog choices

Really recommend puppy courses. We recently got Herbie , 11 weeks old at the time. My girlfriend took him on a course in Winterthur. What is really important is the dog pyschology . Learning signs and messages from your mutt. Invaluable - do it.
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  #76  
Old 22.11.2011, 11:14
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Re: family dog choices

Summerrain was bang on with her post above (#74)

...... I didn't know about point number 2, so it's always good to learn something new.



Personally,
For me, the puppy selection has a lot to do with the parents of the pup.

It concerns me that the pup's mum was excitable. This to me isn't a great trait, however I think that if the dog had a lot of visitors that day, it's fair to say that we don't know what other people were up to.

Perhaps the behaviour was normal and protective from the mothers point of view.


I would recommend that you call the people back, and try to arrange for another meeting with the pups at a time when there has been 'less interference'.


In addition to the 'arsenal' of advice Summerrain gave you above, I have one other useful tip for you.

This is something not only useful for puppy selection, but also great for the first few months of puppy training - when dogs are at their 'most useless'.

When the puppy is over excited and is biting or just a bit out of control,
roll the puppy onto it's back, and hold it down by it's belly, and look into its eyes with a stern, but not agressive face - just to show the pup who is boss.

The pup should eventually (this may take seconds in some pups, or a bit longer with the more feisty pups) yield, stop moving, and the pup will look away

When the pup looks away, let go

It's VERY important not to hold the pup for longer than this, or you can freak the dog out.

Yeah the pup will be an idiot again soon, but hey, it's a pup !

The important thing is to let the dog know that there are boundaries, just like you would teach any kid.


THE POINT with pup selection is that the longer the pup fights you, the more determined this pup will be, and a great indicator of how much hard work you have ahead of you.


This tip was given to me from the wife of a farmer who worked at the RSPCA in Australia. (so clearly nothing official, but it works a treat )
She noticed that the mum allows the pups to get so far with their playing behaviour and when they were a bit out of control, she would roll the pups over on their back and stand on their chest until the pup stopped...... then she let go and lay back down.
The pup would just sit up for a second, and generally improve their behaviour.

Once pups are a bit older they can "remember and learn" so you can begin with voice and hand commands
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Old 22.11.2011, 11:27
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Re: family dog choices

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This tip was given to me from the wife of a farmer who worked at the RSPCA in Australia. (so clearly nothing official, but it works a treat )
She noticed that the mum allows the pups to get so far with their playing behaviour and when they were a bit out of control, she would roll the pups over on their back and stand on their chest until the pup stopped...... then she let go and lay back down.
The pup would just sit up for a second, and generally improve their behaviour.

Once pups are a bit older they can "remember and learn" so you can begin with voice and hand commands
I noticed that the mums will also pick up the naughty pup by the scruff of its neck too. I did that with my dog when he was a wee pup with an "acck!" - it doesnt hurt them at all. Sends the message: "thats enough" through very effectively.

Now that he's bigger, its impossible to do that but the "ack" sound followed by a command is still very effective in stopping undesirable behaviour even from a distance - like freezing in his tracks after being caught trying to eat a rotting chestnut/walnut yesterday.
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Old 22.11.2011, 12:33
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Re: family dog choices

Good advice from Summerrain and TidakApa.

(I've never had the experience of choosing a pup from a litter, so I'm afraid I can't help there. Actually, I've never chosen a dog, full stop. Mine have always chosen me. )

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It concerns me that the pup's mum was excitable. This to me isn't a great trait, however I think that if the dog had a lot of visitors that day, it's fair to say that we don't know what other people were up to.

Perhaps the behaviour was normal and protective from the mothers point of view.
On the shelter's website, you can read a description of the mother - apparently she came into the rescue as a result of a 'Tierschutzfall'- i.e., the animal welfare folks took her away from the previous owner. Shortly there after it became apparent that she was pregnant. So it is not surprising that she is feeling insecure in her current circumstances.

Terramundi, perhaps you could try to find out what the mother went through if that information is available.

From what is on the website the pups, fortunately, have been well treated from birth.

---

Most important is the question of your child who has the fear of dogs and her reaction to the pups. Here I would ask the shelter staff to observe your child and the pups, and ask them for their advice. Visiting several times will help you and the shelter staff - and your child - get a better idea if this is a good fit. Did your child seem to bond more with one pup than another?

It's great that the Tierheim offer on-going support and training classes. After you've completed the SKN courses, please consider continuing with Familienhund classes; perhaps your child could be involved in this as well.


Wishing you, your family, and the little pups all the very best.
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Old 22.11.2011, 13:25
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Re: family dog choices

We have another appointment on Friday at the tierheim, and I am taking along just my two elder children. The little one is in school and I thought that it would give the big ones more time with the pups without their little sister complicating the mixture.

that's a great guide summerrain and I'll do them when we go back, although my daughter and I were both doing the walk away and clap for the puppy to come over, mainly because it's just lovely when they gambole over all attentive and tail wagging.

The lady in the tierhem did say that with this particular breed you needed to be a firm leader and have a good pack structure, and the dog needs to know where he fits in in the pack. But, they are mongrels so the breed characteristics may not be absolutely true or may be diluted.

My daughter was very taken with one little pup, who seemed a little bit calmer that the others, a male. I had thought I'd have a preference for a female but I don't think it much matters, although people tell me that females are more biddable. In any case I imagine that we would get our pet neutered.
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Old 22.11.2011, 13:44
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Re: family dog choices

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My daughter was very taken with one little pup, who seemed a little bit calmer that the others, a male. I had thought I'd have a preference for a female but I don't think it much matters, although people tell me that females are more biddable. In any case I imagine that we would get our pet neutered.
My experience with female dogs are completely the opposite: they are less affectionate, much more moody, territorial (they mark alot!) independent and stubborn!

In many packs, a bitch is typically the Alpha.

I've had female dogs all my life and did indeed wanted another female. My experience and past preference with female dogs is due to my previous dog. She always had ambitions to be the pack leader (which was why the family didnt know how to take her in hand and gave her up) and needed a really firm hand (she had to be disciplined constantly to remember her place as she didnt really want to respect the rest of my family) but she was highly intelligent and so so loyal. I would classify her as a true Alpha. I've rescued and fostered many dogs through out her lifetime - we even adopted one more - and one growl from her could silence the entire pack.

But my little one changed my perspective. He is terribly affectionate. A friend of mine even commented that he really is "mummy's little boy"
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