Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More about meeting the puppies, pet insurance and food

Pre pickup 1 week 3 days old

So I have mostly recovered from our trip and the flood of medication the evil place pumped into me the day after we got back (they had to put the cannula into a vein virtually on TOP of my forefinger knuckle....owwwwies lots of nerves there!!). I managed to get out and see the last Harry Potter movie today, so sad in bits!

Anyway, time for more about the pups.

They were such sweet warm bundles, I do hope one of them passes the temperament tests with flying colours (or more than one!). As I mentioned last post, they had only just come out of the whelping box and were pretty unresponsive still, happy to sleep in the sun. One of them - the small one I mentioned - had a go at pawing at a ball a bit but other than that they mostly just slept as I watched them, entranced. The breeder tried to wake them by calling them a couple of times, which did at least work as a very rough hearing test, although I will do another at 7 weeks old. They did respond..... before sleeping again. Awwww, too cute.

One good thing I found out is they come with six weeks pet insurance, which is great. I was worried about getting the new pet insurance to start as soon as we got our bundle at eight weeks. However, six weeks is a great buffer to have, and will cover a lot of the early problems that may come up. It may also let me experience a pet insurer, although hopefully the pup - assuming it is going to happen and one passes well - doesn't get sick of course.

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I talked to the breeder about what she feed she sends her puppies home with... she says she alters between IAMS and Supercoat. From what I have read, I am not all that happy with those choices. I don't really want to start altering the pups food as soon as he gets to me, so I might buy a 3kg bag of whatever she is sending him home with, and then at the end of the bag probably try him on Pro Plan and see how he goes. It'd be either that or Canidae. I really like the look of Canidae but it's much harder to get here in Australia. We'll see how he does on Pro Plan first I reckon. I also plan to do a slow growth feeding plan, as I mentioned quite a few posts ago. This involves feeding slightly less to the pup and keeping him on the slim side so that he grows quite slowly through the 8-20 weeks period. It is the time when a dogs joints are being formed and fast growth can contribute to joint problems later in life. This is particularly true in breeds that have genetic joint disorders like Golden Retrievers. The other thing you do, apart from feeding slightly less and carefully monitoring the puppies weight during that fast growing puppy period, is to swap earlier to an adult dog food. It has less protein in it, and that will turn into yet again, slower but better growth. It means it will take longer for any pup to reach his growth potential, but being leaner is much better for him. This is true for his whole life - especially for a working dog who will have lots of wear and tear on his joints. I would probably change him over to an adult dog food at 5 months or so.

I was a stupid idiot and forgot to take a clicker with me, so no joy on getting the breeder to click every mealtime.

Connie was a lovely dog, very good natured and happy to be around people, which was good to see. Unfortunately her retrieval instinct was pretty much dead, to the embarrassment of the breeder who was trying to show of something she apparently did recently. So hopefully the daddy dog is a great retriever and has passed it onto the boys! Either way, you can still teach a retrieve to a dog without a retrieve gene.

I have my letter to landlords/property manager to formally ask for permission to keep a assistance dog prospect/in training on the property pretty much finished, and have a letter from one of my medical team, with two more on the way, supporting me. I have to say, I am pretty confident of getting a prompt positive answer. The letter written for me would be very hard to say no to! I'm adding some information I've put together about what assistance/service dogs are generally, and what a mobility assistance dog is specifically. I just hope it can all remain friendly. The reason I have waited until this rather late stage to ask is because we have just signed a new lease to add my husband to it, and I didn't want to give them the ability to throw us out because we no longer pleased them! (well, deny us renewal, but that is what it would really be) This way they are stuck with me, and have to deal with what I think is a very reasonable request.

Anyway, we are signing the lease tomorrow, and then hopefully the very next day I will get in my 'application' to have a cute little pup. I am also starting some volunteer work on that very same day, the first work of any kind I have done since I had to quit all work and study about three years ago when the whole illness thing started. Pretty exciting really, hopefully my life is starting to slowly turn around.

*** Update, lease all signed, and all medical letters written in support. Will put it in tomorrow, cross your fingers for me!


  1. If you want a really settled dog, you want a breeder who won't let the pups go until 16 - 26 weeks plus. The dog will get a better maturity if left with the mama until they're better able to cope with the outside world.

  2. Actually, it is commonly thought within the service dog raising world that a puppy needs to meet at least 100 different people by the time it is 12 weeks old, and many many more than that by the time it is 24. Add to that the need for socialising it to many different places and other dogs (fully vaccinated), and it becomes hard to keep it with its mother. Of course if the breeder can work that hard to socialise all the puppies, it does mean you will end up with a dog with excellent bite inhibition (dogs teach that to puppies best), but even then experts recommend not leaving pups with their mothers past 12 weeks of age - and I would only consider that with an exemplary breeder with lots of spare time. A puppy should be fairly well able to cope with the outside world from 8 weeks, barring the occasional fear period. This is the practice with guide, assistance, medical alert etc dogs all around the world.