Choosing and Raising a Dog Thats Right For You (a Quick Guide)
This myth persists from the days when many dogs were left to wander unsupervised in the community where they lived. Once sexually mature, male dogs usually want to roam to find a mate. Female dogs may do this too, especially when they are in heat, but roaming is more common in males. A dog proof perimeter around your garden or yard will solve this problem and help keep your dog safe from traffic or theft. But it is true? Whether male dogs are more aggressive than females is not as clear cut as it might seem.
Both male and female dogs can be aggressive. Evidence suggests that male dogs are more likely to posture, threaten and challenge as part of social ordering behavior. Fights between two male dogs are often ritualistic and cause little harm. While female dogs are less likely to exhibit threatening behavior, they have a stronger tendency to enforce their dominance in the social hierarchy.
Fights between two female dogs are more likely to occur than fights between two male dogs. In addition, female dog fights are typically more damaging. Dog bites are more often attributed to male dogs than female dogs and more often to intact males than neutered males. These facts may not be as significant as they seems because they only report numbers and not reasons.
Studies have shown that dog bites are the result of a wide variety of factors related to both the human and the dog involved in each incident. There may be more dog bite incidents involving male dogs due to increased contact related to roaming behavior, for example. And, of course, this behavior is stronger among intact male dogs. In addition, one study found breed differences in aggressive and biting behaviors. Specifically, that increased aggression among intact males as opposed to neutered males in two of the breeds studied did not apply to the other breeds of dog in the study.
That is why early socialization and training of your dog is critical for the long term health and happiness of everyone in your home. Children are the most frequent victims of dog bites, so teaching children how to behave around dogs is also important for dog bite prevention. A male dog from a breed that is known to be generally friendly may be friendlier than a female from a more aggressive breed. If on the other hand, you are looking at a breed with known temperament or aggression issues, then you may want to give the question of boy dog vs girl dog a bit more thought.
Selecting a responsible breeder is an important factor for friendliness for two important reasons. If you want a friendly dog, you want a breeder that has taken care to only breed from dogs that are not aggressive. In addition, early socialization and handling are critical to ensure that your dog is comfortable and friendly around people and other animals. One study found that male dogs are more inclined to engage in social play with humans than females. While females are inclined to engage in cooperative behavior with humans.
Interestingly, male dogs predominate in a number of sports, which might indicate that they are easier to train, rather than harder. But again, we need to tease out the facts. In competitive sports, successful dogs are valuable as breeding stock and are rarely neutered. Females can be tricky to compete as they may lose valuable competition and training time by coming into season or being tied up with pregnancy and lactation.
So the predominance of males may say more about their ability to be free from obligations than how easy they are to train. There are differences in male and female canine brains, and studies have shown that there are differences in the way male and female dogs think. One study looking at social learning and spatial information indicated that male dogs are quicker than females to adopt a different strategy to locate an item.
However, another study found that females dogs have a superior ability to focus, which may make training easier. How much impact this has on how trainable they are is questionable. Anecdotal evidence from dog trainers indicates little significant difference between the sexes. Many experienced dog owners have a natural preference for one gender or another. Sometimes this is based on their perception of male and female temperaments. The differences between males and females in many breeds are minimal and the evidence on trainability is not conclusive.
A dog that will retrieve for you as a puppy will be willing to be trained. Sit on the floor. Put the puppy in your lap, facing away from you. Toss a wadded up piece of paper in front of you about two or three feet away. Make sure the puppy sees the paper being tossed. Do this a few times as the puppy may not have noticed the paper toss the first time or needs to think about it.
You want the puppy to leave your lap, get the paper, and bring it back to your lap. A puppy that leaves your lap, grabs the paper and drops it on the way back to you is an acceptable response also. This is one of the best indicators that a dog can do any kind of work. Drop a metal pan on a hard floor near the pup. The puppy can startle but should recover quickly and perhaps show some curiosity. Pop open an umbrella and set it down. Again, the puppy can startle but should recover quickly and perhaps even investigate the umbrella.
I would not bring a dog that fails this test into a home with children either. Never take the puppy that runs up to you first and then runs away. The first puppy will be a handful and have his own ideas about things. The second puppy will bond easily with you and be more likely to follow your moods and stay by your side. I prefer a puppy to feel limp when I pick them up.
The puppy might wiggle a little at first, but the puppy you want settles quickly and cuddles. This is something that can be changed a bit by the breeder. Speak softly to the puppy and begin walking away. You want the puppy that quietly follows you because he will follow your lead in life. Also, the urge to push can feel, to the bitch, as if she has to defecate. A well-trained bitch will not want to break housetraining and will fight the urge to push, delaying labor.
If the bitch is willing to go outdoors, keep a close eye on her. If its dark, take a flashlight. A maiden bitch, in particular, may not know what to do with a new puppy and may abandon it. If labor continues for more than three hours without producing a puppy, call your vet! You will probably need to take the bitch into the vet. Assuming labor continues normally, the contractions will come faster and the bitch will start pushing seriously.
The water sac will appear, probably break, and then the puppy will be delivered shortly. The placenta may or may not be ready to be delivered at this point. You can gently pull on the cord to see if it will come but you should never pull on the puppy to check. You may pull the cord off the puppy and risk an umbilical hernia. The bitch may want to eat the placentas. Opinions vary about whether or not this is a good idea.
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Others feel that the bitch will get diarrhea from eating them. Some breeders compromise by letting the bitch eat one and then keeping them away from her. Whatever you do, you want to make sure that you have a placenta for each puppy born. If the bitch should retain a placenta, she is at risk of having a serious uterine infection. Hold the puppy upside down to help drain fluid and mucus from its nose and throat. Rub the puppy very vigorously — even roughly — with a dry, clean towel until the puppy squeaks. This rubbing will both clean the puppy and stimulate it to start breathing.
Many people allow the bitch to clean the puppy and chew off the umbilical cord.
Others worry that the bitch may chew the cord off too close to the puppy resulting in an umbilical hernia and choose to deal with this themselves just to be safe. Dip the tip and the floss in Betadine solution or another disinfectant such as iodine. It will dry up and drop off in a day or so. Rickrack ribbon works very well.
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This is only necessary if your puppies are very similar. Other ways to mark the puppies include clipping bits of their fur on different parts of their bodies or marking them with nail polish. If the bitch is having a break between puppies, you should let the puppy nurse. The colostrum milk produced in the first 24 hours is extremely important for the puppies. It carries immunities that protect the puppies from infection. Take a chance to rest and relax while you can.
They can go several hours without getting milk with no problem. Once labor starts up again, move the puppies into the incubator box for safety while the dam is distracted. Very often there will be a longish break between puppies about halfway through. You can take the bitch outside, although she may not want to leave the puppies you should encourage her!
The puppies can come as quickly as 15 minutes apart or as long as an hour apart. If the bitch goes more than an hour and you are think there are more puppies, call your vet! Her breathing will slow and the contractions will stop. You should take the bitch and her puppies to the vet within the next four or five hours if at all possible. If the bitch has a retained puppy or placenta, she is at risk for serious infection. If any of the puppies have cleft palates or other deformities, you need to know as soon as possible.
Such puppies are usually humanely euthanized by your vet as they are generally not likely to live. There are a variety of problems you may run into. Some breeders suggest keeping some drugs on hand to help the bitch should she have trouble delivering. This drug is very strong and can cause serious complications if the problem is a large puppy blocking the birth canal. A better option is to keep in contact with your vet and take your bitch in if necessary. There are some alternative medications that many breeders are using and recommending now that have similar results without the risk of injury.
For a bitch whose labor is slowing down, there is a homeopathic treatment called Caulophyllum Blue Cohash. This should be administered when the bitch is in non-productive labor. Do not use it unless the bitch is clearly in labor. You would just put a couple of drops on the puppies tongue. They are extremely gentle. For more information on this topic, see the Resource section below.
There are a couple of books on Natural Health. First, you should try walking her around outside to see if that helps her relax enough to start pushing. This can help stimulate stronger contractions. You will probably be making a trip in to get some expert care.
The vet will probably x-ray your bitch to determine how many puppies are waiting to be born and whether or not you are dealing with a malpresentation puppy trying to go out the wrong way. These injections often stimulate strong contractions and get the labor moving along.
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C-sections should not be taken lightly but they are often unavoidable. They are very expensive and put the life of the mother and puppies at great risk. You should decide at this time whether or not you want the vet to spay your bitch during the C-section. If the uterus is badly damaged or infected, they will have to spay your bitch at this time. Once you reach the point of a c-section, many of the decisions will be taken out of your hands. Discussing this possibility with your vet ahead of time is a good idea so you can find out what procedures they use and how amenable they are to your helping to revive the puppies as they are delivered.
Many vets will not allow you into their examination area, however, some are grateful for the additional hands in reviving puppies. One of the biggest problems with a C-section is the anesthesia given the bitch. Because the puppies are still attached to her system, they will, inevitably, be anesthetized as well.
It is really important that your vet take this into consideration when anesthetizing the bitch. This means that the vet administers isoflourene gas to start her off, rather than administering a drug like Valium-Ketamine to put her to sleep before starting the gas. The gas is much easier on the puppies systems and they will be much easier to revive. The recovery of your bitch will be difficult after a c-section. It is major abdominal surgery and puts a huge strain on her system. However, if all goes well, she will still be able to care for and nurse her litter. Your vet will give you detailed instructions for her care.
They will often prescribe antibiotics to help her avoid infection. You should be careful administering any antibiotics as they will generally cause both the dam and the pups to have diarrhea. Every puppy should be rubbed vigorously until they squeak and start moving around. The centrifugal force can clear the nose and throat. While you are working on the pup, keep rubbing it vigorously and make sure it stays warm. At some point, however, you may have to give up on a puppy.
Consult with your veterinarian about what to do with the dead puppy. Again, there is no shame in calling your vet for help. Get professional help! Make sure the bitch has relieved herself and gotten some fluids. Give her a sponge bath so she is clean and fresh. Feeding her chicken broth with brown rice is a good first meal after whelping as it will be gentle on her stomach but give her plenty of fluid and nutrition. A first-time mother may have some serious doubts about these puppies, particularly if the delivery was painful for her.
This is another time where obedience training comes in handy. It is extremely important that you get the puppies nursing both for their sake and hers. Put the bitch on a down-stay, get in the whelping box with her to reassure her, and put the puppies on her.