Monday, 21 August 2017

Choosing a Border Terrier Puppy

One of the questions I am asked most by friends and people referred by friends and family (and occasionally online) is "what should I look for when I'm choosing a Border Terrier puppy?" 

To answer that question and help guide new prospective owners, I've written this summary of what I think based on my experience both as a breeder and as a long term owner of Border Terriers. 

I strongly recommend that you buy from a breeder that is Kennel Club Registered (UK) and has certificates and documents for you to see (both for himself and for his dogs). This link will take you to the Kennel Club Border Terrier Puppy search page. 

If you've never had a Border Terrier before; please do lots of research and a good place to start is the Border Terrier Club and look at other pages and posts within this blog. The only thing I will say is that they shed hair - a lot; all year round and that is something that some folks will not like. However a vacuum cleaner that is specifically designed for pet owners is a good solution as they pick up hair efficiently and filter out all the dust. This link takes you to some of the best selling Pet Hair Vacuum Cleaners. Personally I prefer the bag-less pull along type with a long flexible hose as it is the most versatile.

Remember that the Border Terrier is a hardy and very intelligent dog and learns very quickly, so assess the breeder first as the early weeks environment is very important. Are the puppies exposed to family life and noises (like vacuum cleaners and washing machines) or are they kept outside in a barn or a shed? Does the breeder own both parents? If yes make sure you see them, if not ask to see some photo's of the Father and see copies of the stud dogs certificates.

Visit the Breeder twice (first at around 7 weeks and again the week before you collect) and try and see several Breeders if you can. Border Terrier puppies seem to be available all the time but peak times seem to me to be during January / February and again during August / September. 

You may get very excited and want to see the puppies before they are seven weeks old, but it it really isn't worth it as you will not be able to assess them effectively. 


Genetic Disorders

The first thing to be aware of is that there are some genetic disorders that may be present. Thankfully they are very rare and I have only covered the ones that you can spot during your visits (although there are others like early stage cataracts from one year old and heart problems and very rarely gut problems that only a Vet will find after testing the dog). These disorders don't mean the dog is not suitable for you but they may cause problems in the dogs later life and that usually means cost of ownership is higher. If you knowingly take on a dog with a birth disorder love it as you would a normal one (because the dog doesn't know he / she is not normal but please don't breed with it).  disorders are;


  • Overshot or undershot bottom jaw, (meaning that the bottom jaw is either too long or too short). What it means for the dog is that the teeth top and bottom will be out of sync and will not mesh together when chewing. As the second teeth come through they could be distorted and your Vet may recommend taking some out as they come through to improve the bite.
  • Hip Dysplasia. This is where the hip ball joint does not fit snugly and deeply into the hip socket. You can feel this when you pick the puppy up. Use your thumb to gently but firmly stroke up the hind leg and over the hip. If the joint feels knobbly or the puppies leg does not move fluidly it may be an early sign. Ask if the puppies have seen a Vet yet as all Kennel Club puppies will have seen a Vet and been tested.

Finally remember that genetic disorders can skip several generations and may only affect one puppy in a litter and that most litters are born healthy with no disorders. Only a Vet can diagnose any condition and advise you on a treatment or care of a specific puppy. 

The Visit.


Take someone with you and arrive when you said you would. Take an old sock or an old unwashed tee shirt as well. If you're going to be late phone ahead and say when you expect to get there as the breeder may have several appointments scheduled. If you buy a puppy (reserve) on your first visit leave the breeder your old tee shirt or sock so that the puppy becomes used to your smell.

Listen carefully to what the breeder tells you about the breed, about the parents and about themselves. This will tell you what the motives of the breeder are and the environment the puppies are experiencing. 

Ask to see all the puppies including any that are already sold or that the breeder is keeping. If the breeder is keeping any ask why? It may be the breeder wants one for competition showing or future breeding or because the puppy has a disorder. Seeing all the puppies together gives you the chance to see them interact with their siblings. 

If the breeder is Kennel Club registered they will show you their certificates and registration documents and this is when to ask if they have "shown" any dogs in competition. Ask how many litters the Mother has had and when as this will give you an insight into the Mothers underlying health.

Choosing Your Puppy.

All Border Terrier puppies are beautiful but which one is right for you? Lets look objectively at the puppy pack.

Watch all the puppies with their Mother before you interact with any. Some will play with each other, some may stay close to their mother and some will be exploring away from the others. Notice also the difference in sizes. 

There is always at least one greedy one that grows quickest so ask the breeder if they have given supplementary feed to any puppies and if so which ones. These ones I think make the best pup for a new owner. They are healthy and have already learned that there is life outside their Mothers suckle so they adapt quickly to new settings.

The greedy one who is bigger than the rest makes a good working dog. Already used to getting it's own way by pushing others out of the way it adapts quickly to hunting. This dog also makes a good solo companion dog.

The ones who explore are the ones that are ahead of the development curve and already testing the boundaries. These puppies will be easy to train but in my experience they are "the escapers." They are bold and courageous but will need a firm upbringing. Watch them when the front door opens and make sure your rear garden is secure. That said they make great family dogs and if you already have a dog this little explorer will fit in easier than the greedy one who will try to be top dog when he / she begins to mature.

The ones who stay close to their mother or stay mostly in a small group if she is not there are the ones who are also easily trained; but this time it's because they are a little behind the development curve, and so they will also take a little longer to get used to their new life. These dogs make the best companions for children as they become playful and full of life once they are settled. They also make the loyalist of companions as they know and value their place in the pack. Don't get me wrong all Border Terriers are very loyal, but these little puppies will grow into dogs that know they belong in the family pack and are loyal to every member of the pack (whether it's a parent or child or another dog), as opposed to being rather more focused as a one person dog in the family pack.

Do not automatically choose the puppy that seems to choose you, as one will come wandering up to you. Think about it rationally based on what I've said because I know the impulse to choose the puppy that chose you can be overwhelming. This is when your friend or partner steps in and talks about the pups based on my summary above and any other research you have completed.

If you like one buy it there and then (this means normally leaving a deposit with the balance due on collection). Make sure the price includes vaccinations, vet checks and certificates. If you don't want to buy; trust your intuition and walk away.

Finally on a sober solemn note. Puppies at seven weeks are still fragile and it is not unheard of for a puppy that was chosen and deposit paid to suffer some trauma, maybe an accident when the tired mother crushes the pup overnight or an illness takes it's life. If that happens to you the breeder may offer you another puppy. Do not say yes automatically without seeing the puppy and making a rational assessment.

It is hard but try not to get to excited about your new puppy until you have him or her home.

This little dog will be your companion for many years and whilst you will have to work at training him / her (and there will be periods of exasperation for both of you), you will not find a better family dog. One of mine is nearly seventeen (see my others posts) and still a happy active (if not very stiff) family member.

I hope my thoughts will help you choose the right Border Terrier puppy for you.

Have a great day.

Cheers

Mike

Check out these Puppy Products on Amazon.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Summer Life

Since my last post we've been very busy travelling (sometimes with our dogs and sometimes without). If you follow me on twitter (@Michae11O) you'll see some of my photo's and you can buy them as Art prints at FineArt America or as downloads at Shutterstock if you like them.

The June heatwave has finished and yesterdays temperature of 34' C (93'F) has been replaced with a comparatively rather chilly 18'C (64'F). It's overcast and grey outside and rain showers are forecast; so it's back to a usual West Country Summer (the Glastonbury Festival has started so it's bound to rain this weekend even if it's not forecast).

My dogs are not too bothered by the heat and Buffy will often sit outside on a patio chair in the sunshine and after a while come inside and sit on the stairs. In the summer typically all our outside doors are open and the dogs can come and go as they please.

Bobbie (pictured below on Tuesday and who will be seventeen in September) alternates between lying on her soft memory foam bed and the tiled kitchen floor. I change their water on average three times a day during very hot weather.

Bobbie watching children dance
Bobbies arthritis continues to cause her mobility problems and she is on regular medication and supplements that help her (see my previous posts), but even so some days are worse than others and she struggles to lift her front paws high enough to get in the back door. Yet on a good day she will break into a run when she's out on our walks. She has become hard of hearing (I hesitate to say deaf) and so all walks are now on her long extender lead. Even though she is obviously stiff, if she sights (or scents) a rabbit, or an unwitting bird gets too close she will give chase and have every intention of trying to catch it. Border Terriers never lose the "chase" instinct however old they get.

Her intelligence spirit and character have not diminished with age and she is still a very loving attentive dog. I now count the days that we have left with her. I shouldn't, I know I shouldn't, but she is such a special dog and we all love her so dearly that I can't help fearing the day that we will lose her. I think as we lost Buster unexpectedly on 6th Jan 2016 to a stroke; which was very poignant as I'm a stroke survivor. It has made me even more aware of the fragility of life and we treasure every moment with our dogs and with each other. 

As a special treat Bobbie now sleeps at the end of our bed and hardly moves all night long. She has to be carried upstairs and carried back again downstairs. When the time for bed comes, she sits at the bottom of the stairs waiting without even attempting the climb. It's worth mentioning that if you carry your dog occasionally, you must always support their back legs. If you carry your dog with it's back legs unsupported you risk causing a back injury (especially in older dogs). 

Whilst it may read as if I'm overly fearful of losing her; I want to reassure you that the situation is that I'm a realist and that my focus is on appreciating her life and making sure she enjoys the rest of her days with us and us with her. 

Life is for living and a little pampering doesn't hurt.

Thanks for spending some time with me and my dogs.

Cheers


Mike





Monday, 21 November 2016

Ageing Border Terriers & Supplements

It's a bright cold morning and it's still below zero outside. The lawn is crisp and white and the bushes and trees in my garden are dusted with sparkling silvery white frost that glints in the low sunshine. 

Both my Border Terriers are reluctant to go out and are happily dozing and snoring in their comfy bed. I often wonder what they dream about as their legs twitch and their lips curl; maybe they are dreaming of their last walk through our local woods sniffing and exploring? 



Bobby is nearly entirely deaf now and suffering from the early onset of arthritic hips and she has stiff back legs and she sees the Vet regularly. She is still a happy and cheerful Border Terrier and will still chase birds and rabbits if she see's them but she is slower and tires quicker. She is sixteen years old and I think doing great! I wanted to tell you all partly why I think that is in this update.

Sometime ago my Vet recommended the doggie version of Glucosamine Sulphate with additives, it's a YuMove product. Now I buy this one from YuMove on Amazon as it's a lot cheaper than getting the same one from the Vet (her idea because they have to add overheads and I am a monthly visitor). When I first started Bobby on them the difference was noticeable in just four days as she became more willing to move about and she was able to jump up onto her place on our Sofa. Now over a year later she is still a bit stiff in the morning but during the day she is virtually free of stiffness.

I can thoroughly recommend YuMove! One tablet a day keeps her fit and active and at just 22p a day, (prices correct for November 2016). You get two months supply of 60 tablets for £12.91 with free delivery. They make Bobby more mobile and able to still do the things she likes to do (chasing birds and exploring through the woods); and I think it is absolutely worth it. I believe every dog over twelve years old should be taking one of these a day. 

If this sounds like a promotion you are absolutely right; anything that makes my best friends life better and more enjoyable is worth telling the world about. If you have an old dog that suffers with stiff legs and joints and is becoming arthritic this product will help keep them mobile. My Bobby is living proof :)


 YuMove

I don't take her out on wet cold days anymore and she only gets a long walk in the woods once a week with short walks in between and that seems to suit her well. 

When you have an old dog you do value the time with them a lot more than when you have a young dog pestering you all the time.  You know the clock is ticking and an era is drawing to a close. That is why I do everything I can to make her golden years happier and more comfortable. I love her and having lost Buster unexpectedly in January this year it's made me more attentive to Bobby and Buffy. 

Thank you for reading my updates about my Border Terriers. I hope you and your dog(s) have a great day. 

Best wishes.


Mike
(updated January 2017).

#dogs #BorderTerriers #dogcare #ilovemydog #dogsupplements

Ageing Border Terriers & Supplements

As I write Storm "Angus" is battering Britain, it's a cold and dark morning. It is raining hard and has done so all night. Both my Border Terriers are reluctant to go out and are happily dozing and snoring in their comfy bed. I often wonder what they dream about as their legs twitch and their lips curl; maybe they are dreaming of their last leafy walk through our local woods sniffing and exploring? 



Bobby is nearly entirely deaf now and suffering from the early onset of arthritic hips and she has stiff back legs and she sees the Vet regularly. She is still a happy and cheerful Border Terrier and will still chase birds and rabbits if she see's them but she is slower and tires quicker. She is sixteen years old and I think doing great! I wanted to tell you all partly why I think that is in this update.

Sometime ago my Vet recommended the doggie version of Glucosamine Sulphate with additives, it's a YuMove product. Now I buy this one from YuMove on Amazon as it's a lot cheaper than getting the same one from the Vet (her idea because they have to add overheads and I am a monthly visitor). When I first started Bobby on them the difference was noticeable in just four days as she became more willing to move about and she was able to jump up onto her place on our Sofa. Now over a year later she is still a bit stiff in the morning but during the day she is virtually free of stiffness.

I can thoroughly recommend YuMove! One tablet a day keeps her fit and active and at just 22p a day, (prices correct for November 2016). You get two months supply of 60 tablets for £12.91 with free delivery. They make Bobby more mobile and able to still do the things she likes to do (chasing birds and exploring through the woods); and I think it is absolutely worth it. I believe every dog over twelve years old should be taking one of these a day. 

If this sounds like a promotion you are absolutely right; anything that makes my best friends life better and more enjoyable is worth telling the world about. If you have an old dog that suffers with stiff legs and joints and is becoming arthritic this product will help keep them mobile. My Bobby is living proof :)


 YuMove

I don't take her out on wet cold days anymore and she only gets a long walk in the woods once a week with short walks in between and that seems to suit her well. 

When you have an old dog you do value the time with them a lot more than when you have a young dog pestering you all the time.  You know the clock is ticking and an era is drawing to a close. That is why I do everything I can to make her golden years happier and more comfortable. I love her and having lost Buster unexpectedly in January this year it's made me more attentive to Bobby and Buffy. 

Thank you for reading my updates about my Border Terriers. I hope you and your dog(s) have a great day. 

Best wishes.


Mike

#dogs #BorderTerriers #dogcare #ilovemydog #dogsupplements

Ageing Border Terriers & Supplements

As I write Storm "Angus" is battering Britain, it's a cold and dark morning. It is raining hard and has done so all night. Both my Border Terriers are reluctant to go out and are happily dozing and snoring in their comfy bed. I often wonder what they dream about as their legs twitch and their lips curl; maybe they are dreaming of their last leafy walk through our local woods sniffing and exploring? 



Bobby is nearly entirely deaf now and suffering from the early onset of arthritic hips and she has stiff back legs and she sees the Vet regularly. She is still a happy and cheerful Border Terrier and will still chase birds and rabbits if she see's them but she is slower and tires quicker. She is sixteen years old and I think doing great! I wanted to tell you all partly why I think that is in this update.

Sometime ago my Vet recommended the doggie version of Glucosamine Sulphate with additives, it's a YuMove product. Now I buy this one from YuMove on Amazon as it's a lot cheaper than getting the same one from the Vet (her idea because they have to add overheads and I am a monthly visitor). When I first started Bobby on them the difference was noticeable in just four days as she became more willing to move about and she was able to jump up onto her place on our Sofa. Now over a year later she is still a bit stiff in the morning but during the day she is virtually free of stiffness.

I can thoroughly recommend YuMove! One tablet a day keeps her fit and active and at just 22p a day, (prices correct for November 2016). You get two months supply of 60 tablets for £12.91 with free delivery. They make Bobby more mobile and able to still do the things she likes to do (chasing birds and exploring through the woods); and I think it is absolutely worth it. I believe every dog over twelve years old should be taking one of these a day. 

If this sounds like a promotion you are absolutely right; anything that makes my best friends life better and more enjoyable is worth telling the world about. If you have an old dog that suffers with stiff legs and joints and is becoming arthritic this product will help keep them mobile. My Bobby is living proof :)


 YuMove

I don't take her out on wet cold days anymore and she only gets a long walk in the woods once a week with short walks in between and that seems to suit her well. 

When you have an old dog you do value the time with them a lot more than when you have a young dog pestering you all the time.  You know the clock is ticking and an era is drawing to a close. That is why I do everything I can to make her golden years happier and more comfortable. I love her and having lost Buster unexpectedly in January this year it's made me more attentive to Bobby and Buffy. 

Thank you for reading my updates about my Border Terriers. I hope you and your dog(s) have a great day. 

Best wishes.


Mike

#dogs #BorderTerriers #dogcare #ilovemydog #dogsupplements

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Summer is Here!

At last some decent sunshine! My Border terriers love it, Buffy jumps up on any vacant garden chair even in the garage yard to grab some sunshine. Bobby is more "a get hot, go into the shade and then go out in the sun again" dog. All our doors are open during the summer and the dogs come and go as they please (although mostly this means they are never more than ten feet from me). I have two large water bowls for them around the house so where-ever they are they're never far from a drink. I change their water twice a day whether it's low or not to keep it fresh, as insects and dust can quickly taint it.

In the middle of June we went to Swansea for the day which offers a great coastal path walk under trees and has a beautiful dog and child friendly beach. This is Bobby having been in the sea watching the children run back. We normally go more often in the Spring, Autumn and Winter when the weather is cooler but this weekend it was cool but sunny; great dog weather and great children play weather.

At a recent three monthly check up our Vet found Bobby had a bit of arthritis in one of her back legs. I had been treating her for nearly two years with Cod Liver Oil supplements and half a powdered Glucosomine Sulphate tablet twice a week. Now she has the dog version of the same things and the jury is out on which is better. Bobby is Fifteen and a half (that half matters at her age). She is still bright and cheerful and loves swimming and chasing seagulls.

We don't take her on such long walks anymore and she seems none the worse for that. Buffy is now back to health after struggling for a long time with wheat & yeast allergies. Buffy is now on a fresh meat, rice and vegetable diet and on Alpoquel and is responding very well.

As it's summer in the UK now it can get warm very quickly so keep an eye on your dogs and if they are outside provide some shade. Also remember dogs and children left in cars even in the shade is dangerous! This is what the RSPCA say about dogs in hot cars.

Enjoy your day.






Thursday, 9 June 2016

Moving On . . .

I know it has been some time since my last post and that is for a number of reasons; but if I'm honest the main one has been not wanting to write about my dogs, because losing Buster was still so fresh and raw in my mind. I still miss him and I guess I always will but time as they say is a great healer.

People often ask me (especially soon after Buster passed) if my other dogs missed him or noticed that he was no longer there?

First I need to state the obvious that dogs are not human and they do not have human emotions; even if we sometimes transpose ours upon them. They do "read" our emotional state very well and respond to it with actions but they are not feeling what you and I feel.

Both Buffy and Bobby noticed a difference in that they were more attentive to doors opening and who may come through them, but after a few weeks that passed. They both sniffed around the gardens and Bobby took to having a wee under the bush that Buster used to use for the same purpose, so maybe she was drawn to his smell?

If Busters name comes up in conversation Bobby looks up and listens but Buffy does not. 

My conclusion from this is that Bobby has some concept of Buster and that he is no longer with us but that Buffy does not. Bobby and Buster grew up together and Buffy joined us when they were aged six and five respectively so that may explain that.

Life does go on and I have to say that I value my time with my dogs now even more than than I did before (and most people would say I was attentive to them before). Losing Buster within three days of him becoming unwell, has made me more aware of how fragile and precious life really is and how quickly things can change. Bobby is over fifteen now and Buffy is over ten.

Summer is here now and recently we've enjoyed a family day out at Swansea beach with children and Bobby and Buffy. This is Bobby below watching our girls running back.



If you have dogs make sure you treasure them and love them as they love you. You never know when they will be gone.