December 08, 2005

Tricks of the Trade

The book starts with a chapter on tools, recommending that you purchase good quality, durable:
  • leather kennel leads,
  • grooming table with a low crossbeam,
  • sturdy, hinged grooming arm.

Chapter two looks at puppy evaluations, saying that a breeder's goal should be to breed for:

The evaluation process consists of:

  1. For structure, evaluate puppies only at eight weeks, give or take three days either way.
  2. Evaluate the whole litter.
  3. Keep a written record of each evaluation.
  4. Select an objective grading system.
  5. Evaluate puppies at a place completely unfamiliar to them.
  6. Have someone unfamiliar to the puppies handle them for the evaluation.
  7. Evaluate puppies in a mirror.
  8. Let your fingertips be your best set of eyes.
  9. Be consistent in your evaluation steps: check temperament, look at the puppy in a suspended position, look at the whole puppy in a standing position, look for overall balance, check proportions, evaluate nutritional effects on structure.

Pat emphasises the value of good nutrition, but says that 'good' nutrition does not mean high powered puppy formula with supplements. Over feeding is as dangerous as underfeeding, she says in the chapter on nutrition, and that the food that keeps your adult dogs in good condition is safe to feed to your puppies from day one.

The last chapters of the book deal with 'teaching' rather than 'training' - puppies grow up more confident if the are taught to think for themselves rather than follow routines - with general management tips in caring for a show dog - professional handlers win because they take better care of the dogs than owners do - with displaying the dog's structure in the show ring - the appearance of a show dog is created by head and neck carriage - with grooming - the best groomed dogs at a show should be the agility dogs, becuse they are the ones that the public watches - and with presenting the dog's attributes in advertising for sale.

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