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segunda-feira, 8 de julho de 2019

Why Millennials Are So Obsessed With Dogs

I've been with Lily the whippet for under a minute and she's quivering like she's shitting blades. It smells like Wotsits and rotting meat. The turd is so pungent that, despite being eight to ten metres away, it smells like Lily has defecated over my shoes. "She's on the lamb," says owner Ali, by way of explanation. This isn't a euphemism for something else, like dog periods; Lily is literally just being fed a lot of proper meat.

Ali and her girlfriend are both in their early thirties and currently live in north London – a move they planned around Lily, the dog they were going to buy together. It was only there they'd have the necessary space for her: Hampstead Heath, where I've joined them on their morning walk. Everything about their life revolves around the dog: nights out (or lack of), freelance working schedules, exercise. Ali tells me: "I was looking at Instagram the other day and noticed I barely posted in 2017, and was like, 'What were we doing in 2017?' It's because we had a puppy: we literally didn't go out. You just end up talking about dogs all the time."
A bit like having a baby! I offer. "I don't want to be the one to say that," she says, "but I did have a friend who said, 'You've had it harder with your puppy than we had with our baby.'"

A recent study found that 44 percent of millennials see their pets as "practice" for babies, given the fact this generation is getting married and having children later in life than the generations before them. Increasingly, they're not just practice, but an alternative to children. This is perhaps a city-centric observation, but none of my friends in their late twenties talk openly about hopes of having a baby; rather, we flinch when we see a child walking around, out in public, on its hind legs. It's a fluffy friend we want. One that'll love us, not drain our minimum finances and not get in the way too much.

As Bob, 35, and Molly, 29, who own Billie, the chihuahua pug, put it: "She costs nothing, sleeps through the night, and our single friends still want to hang out with us." For someone single, sociable, career-minded and renting who can't imagine their life five years ahead, let alone owning a house and having a baby, it's an achievable dream. Something to grow up for.

"In your twenties and thirties, you want to feel responsible for something, but you don't want to have a family. We still feel very, very young," says Julian Victoria, editor of DOG, a chic lifestyle magazine for dog owners. DOG's readership are of millennial age and mostly independent artists, creatives or freelancers. "When you see a bunch of mothers sitting around having coffees with babies in prams, that's the same as with dog-owners," Julian continues. "You end up going to the same places, to the park, you meet others walking dogs. It's a community that a lot of young people are realising they want to be a part of."

That was the motivation of Ali, who says, "It was more about the lifestyle, if that doesn't sound too tacky; of being outside more and having companionship during the day."

It's obviously relevant, too, that millennials are the freelance generation. Businesses get it; WeWork-type office spaces allow dogs to sit alongside humans where they can, and some offices even offer a dog-walker. A poll recently went around the VICE UK office about allowing employees to bring dogs to work, and when a rumour spread that one member of staff had been seen clicking "no", many publicly seethed with rage.

It's during this new age of loneliness in which we've learnt that the love and bonding hormone, oxytocin, is sparked in both dog and owner when they look at each other. A generation reporting high rates of anxiety and depression is well aware that caring for animals contributes to a lower blood pressure and rates of stress. "It's a boost to have someone run around the house shouting with excitement just because you came home after work. Unconditional love feels great," say Bob and Molly of Billie. "She's hilarious and brings you out of yourself when you're down in the dumps, just by sneezing and looking confused, or something like that. She's a real serotonin boost, I've no doubt."

"They're so, so much work, but I can see why people want dogs," Ali had said when I explained the premise of our meeting. "You have to stick to your little routine. There's something really steadying about having a dog. It's lovely, actually."

And as I near the end of my walk with Ali and Lily at Hampstead Heath, I do feel a sense of calm and stabilisation. It could be the shades of green, the dappled light, the slight exertion on my pathetic body. It could also be the dog.

segunda-feira, 13 de maio de 2019

Becoming a Dog Breeder

There is more to becoming a good #dog breeder than getting a male and female dog together and letting them "hook-up"!

Anyone ever tells you that all you need to do is get a #male and #female dog and let them breed and you can sell the puppies and make money?

Well, that may be true somewhat. Then you will be known as a "backyard breeder". Backyard breeders do not get the respect of other breeders or the buying public. They are usually not the expert on the breed.

There are some basic rules or guidelines that people look for when buying a puppy.

The breeder knows and loves the breed they are selling. The breeder is an expert on the breed they raise and sell, or at the very least, a very dedicated student. He/she will be able to answer any question you might have about the breed, or be able to find the answer for you. They will know the history of the breed and for what purpose they were bred. They know about any particular health problem that might be common with the breed, temperament, breed behavior, etc.
The breeder will focus on their breed. If the breeder is truly dedicated to this breed, then you will know when you talk with them. You will hear the excitement and enthusiasm in their voice. You will not see this breeder selling several different breeds of dogs. You might see this breeder selling a large dog for one market and a smaller dog (or lap dog) for a completely different market. For example; if you see a breeder selling Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers, does this person truly believe in one breed? They are both large dogs and pretty much serve the same market. But, if a breeder is selling a Rottweiler and a Yorkie, then they are selling a large guard type dog and a lap dog. There is no real conflict of opinion there.

They put their dog’s health first. These people do not use cheap dog food, you will find that they are using premium dog food. Dogs get all their nutrition from only one source and that food needs to provide everything the dogs needs to promote good health. They will usually give their dogs a vitamin supplement as well.
They care about good homes for the puppies. Responsible breeders know that they have only one chance to find that perfect home for their puppy. They don’t rush to get the puppies out of their house when they are 6 weeks old or right after they are weaned. We have found that the puppies will better adjust to their new homes if they are 8-9 weeks old before being placed. They seem to develop mentally after 7 weeks and are ready to bond to their new family.
Good Dog Breeders will have a Contract or Purchase Agreement.It is always better to have everything in writing when making a purchase. This will clearly state what is expected from the breeder (seller) and of the buyer. This protects everyone involved in the transaction. Included in the agreement will be any health guarantee.

Registration papers. Professional dog breeders will sell dogs with AKC (American Kennel Club) or CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) registration papers. I would not buy a dog without these registration papers and do not suggest that you do this either. This includes you; if you become a breeder then sell quality, sell a puppy with AKC or CKC registration papers.
Good breeders will be there after the sale. But in order for the good breeders to be there after the sale, they must make a profit on the dogs they sell.

Making a profit is not a crime! Don't feel guilty or intimidated by other breeders or the "inner circle" for making a profit breeding dogs. Breeders should not be expected to do a good job and not make any money for their efforts. The feeding, shots, worming, imprinting and socializing of a puppy cost money and takes time. You are providing a service to the people that want to have a beautiful, quality puppy and companion. A superior breeder does not have a day job, this is their job. Be responsible and be professional.

sábado, 4 de maio de 2019

Puppy Bath Time: When and How to Bathe A Puppy

Puppy first bath age

Puppy bath time needn’t be a daily occurrence. Small puppies don’t need daily baths in the way that human babies do.

And you may be surprised to know that some folks with clean healthy dogs never bathe their puppies at all

Unless the puppy gets poop on themselves or steps in something equally unpleasant.

More of that in a moment

What that means in practical terms is that there is no specific date on which you should give your puppy his first bath.

Can you bathe a puppy at 8 weeks old

You can certainly bathe a puppy at 8 weeks old if he needs a bath.

And most puppies will at some point as they are prone to falling and stepping in poops and puddles.

However, a small puppy’s fur doesn’t need washing with shampoo on a daily basis. And little marks, a bit of spilled food, for example, can be simply wiped off a short-coated puppy with a damp sponge.

When can you bathe a puppy regularly

You can bathe a puppy regularly from the day he arrives home. Whether you should or not is another question.

There are a couple of downsides to bathing dogs regularly, especially once they are out and about in the world.

There are some benefits too, so we’ll look at those too

The disadvantages of regular baths are that even the gentlest of shampoo is likely to disrupt the natural balance of your puppy’s skin and fur to some extent.

And that it disrupts the natural waterproofing that fur develops as the puppy matures.

Under your puppy’s fur is a little environment or microworld of friendly bacteria that help to maintain your puppy’s skin at exactly the right level of acidity. Altering that balance with shampoo may reduce your puppy’s natural resistance to skin problems and infections

Your puppy’s soft baby coat is replaced by a typical adult coat during the first few months of life.

Between six and twelve months old, most puppies will have grown their adult fur.
One of the characteristics of adult fur in many dogs is that it is fairly waterproof.

This waterproofing is created by oils from the skin. It helps keep your dog warm and comfortable when he swims or goes out in the rain. And makes the smears you’ll see on a white wall if your dog regularly sleeps up against it!

Shampoo strips out those natural oils allowing water to penetrate your dog’s coat right through to the skin.

For those reasons, regular baths are neither essential nor even a particularly good thing. But surely your pup needs a wash from time to time or he’ll get smelly? So just how often can you bathe a puppy?

How often can you bathe a puppy

Here’s a puppy bathing schedule for you to use as a guide.
  • Once a week until three months old
  • Once a month until six months old
  • Twice a year thereafter or as necessary
Bear in mind that it probably won’t hurt your puppy if you never bathe them at all, but let’s explain the reasons for the schedule above
I mentioned that there were some benefits to regular bathing, let’s look at those now.
One of the benefits is to enable the puppy to get used to being bathed. Let’s face it. He’s almost certainly going to need a bath at some point in his life.
Your puppy may need a bath
  • For medical reasons (infections, parasites, allergies)
  • To remove nasty substances from fur
  • To reduce odor
If a puppy has never experienced one before, a bath on his third birthday because he meets a skunk or steps in some engine oil, is going to be a pretty traumatic experience.
The other benefit is really for you.
Some breeds of dog, especially some of the sporting breeds have a naturally strong body odor.
Labradors and other gun dogs can be particularly smelly. With some individual dogs being affected more than others.
My yellow Lab, for example, smells very strong if not bathed occasionally, while my chocolate Lab has only the mildest body odor.
Many dogs smell stronger as they get older, and elderly dogs can get very smelly if not bathed occasionally
Sharing your home with a Lab that hasn’t had a bath for a couple of months can be a pretty intense experience.
So, to avoid upsetting your older dog if you need to start giving them baths from time to time, it’s a good idea to get a puppy used to baths right now.
This means it’s a good thing for all puppies to be accustomed to happy bath times from an early age.
If you bathe your puppy once a week for the first three or four weeks, then once a month until they are six months old, then at least twice a year thereafter, bath-time should be a peaceful non-event for your dog.
He won’t be scared when he sees the shampoo come out. The whole experience will be no big deal.

What to wash a puppy with

Don’t be tempted to use human shampoo on a puppy. If you get it in his eyes they will sting and he won’t want to have another bath, ever again.

Where to bath a puppy

Some puppies may panic if plunged into a giant white bathtub.
Which if you think about it, is hardly surprising.
You can help accustom your puppy to the big bath by standing him in it for a few seconds, a few times a day, and giving him some treats to eat while he’s in there.
A popular alternative for bathing a puppy is the kitchen sink. But be careful as wet puppies are slippery and if he wriggles out he may fall and hurt himself
A safer place is in a plastic washing up bowl on the kitchen floor!
If the weather is fine you can do the whole thing outside, using a portable shower.