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Dog Tails: The Adventures Of Indiana Bones

THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER ANDY IN MY LIFE AGAIN.
I KNOW SHE WAS A GIFT FROM UP ABOVE.

In the back seat of my car she laid all curled up in a tiny satin silk ball. She was a seven-week-old female Weimaraner puppy. I knew then that I had a good companion.

I came about her name as I was driving to the home of her breeder in Fort Wayne, Indiana. So I thought to myself INDIANA! INDIANA! I'm from Indiana. Indiana Indiana Jones. Of course, INDIANA BONES!

I loved her temperament. At seven weeks old she was so elegantly quiet. As a behaviorist, I recognized my good fortune. All good owners know how important the temperament really is in any environment. I believe preserving the temperament is more important than instilling any formal obedience. You can put all the obedience on the animal but unless you have the right temperament it will come back to haunt you. So it was so very nice to know I was starting out ahead of the game.

Did I mention she was also beautiful. The breeder said she was a type bitch. I didn't even know what that meant. I would later dive into the world of show business that is, the Confirmation ring.

Indy's first introduction to her new family nucleus was a family gathering in Union Pier, Michigan. There were many children ranging from four to sixty- nine years old. She was amazingly sociable. I observed her behavior and had anticipated a wide variety of puppy anecdotes... jumping up on the fast moving screaming kid, running around with a carelessly tossed sandal or nipping at prancing bare feet never did transpire. She was remarkable.

My only job was to try to maintain this precious temperament. I knew soon she would be entering that critical time of her socialization period that could have a life long effect on her emotional stability.

The socialization period starts away from the dam and litter mates at the forty-ninth day. A very important period in a puppy's life is between the eight and tenth week. I wanted to minimize anything traumatic happening during this phase because it could easily trigger a life long problem.

Psychological problems that develop during this period can be set off by seemingly insignificant happenings. They can go unnoticed until a history is obtained surrounding a behavioral problem. For this reason alone, many concerned breeders won't place puppies between the eight and tenth week.

Many dog owners, not unlike myself, want to minimize the mistakes and end up with the perfect dog. I was fortunate to see the entire litter and ended up having the pick of the litter. I was torn between Indy and her sister. I am frequently asked about the dilemma of which puppy to choose.

My reply is always look at the dam or mother first. If you don't like what you see then go look at other litters. The mother will dictate a good majority of the temperament of your puppy. So, if the mother is extremely hyperactive, shy or aggressive these traits will have a major effect on how the puppy will view life and training in general. If the mother is under nourished and ill cared for that physical and mental strain will effect the temperament and health of your puppy. This could mean inflated vet bills and under socialized puppies lacking in confidence.

You will see behavioral problems such as barking, fear, aggression, submissive wetting and housebreaking difficulties. They could become territorial or sound sensitive leading to aggression or bolting. Daily trips to the park could become tedious and detract from the joy of the dog/owner relationship.

When I arrived Saturday morning to see the puppies in August, they were all running around outside playing with each other. I was pleased to see the whole litter was pretty stable and uniformed as a whole. I did the impossible and that was narrow it down to two. I was leaning towards the bigger bone of the two. The final test was the recall.

I had previously taken each puppy off to the side to perform all the little things to see how they would adjust to changes in their environment. I knew this puppy would become a city dog and leave this quiet surrounding of the suburbs.

I threw all the puppies back into the pack and positioned myself around the litter whistling. Out of a river of gray furry creatures popped the head of this tiny puppy that scurried over to me. Secretly I admired the other puppy so I decided to make it two out of three, then three out of five.

The other puppy ignored me every single time. Thoroughly convinced that this was the right relationship, I picked up my puppy and we started for home.

The moral of the story is the puppy usually ends up picking the owner.


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