Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When it comes to choosing the gender of your new puppy, please listen to your breeder!

A good breeder watches the puppies, handles them and plays with them. Not all dogs are created equal; even in the same litter from the same mother and father. They all have different temperaments just like children in human families. Watching puppies, really watching them with one another, their parents, the other animals in the house and the human visitors who come into the home, a good breeder will be able to match a puppy with its new home.

Some people think that female dogs make better pets. This preference seems to be ingrained in these people. Maybe that’s because they had a female dog when they were kids. It seems that most people who call for a puppy prefer a female. They don't think sweet little girls display alpha behaviors like "marking" and/or "humping". They think females are more docile and attentive than males and do not fight for dominance over their littermates.

Any breeder will tell you that is simply not the case. In a dog pack, females generally rule the roost, determine the pecking order, and compete to maintain and/or alter that order. Females are more independent, stubborn, and territorial than males. Females are much more apt to exercise their dominance by participating in alpha behaviors too.

There is a reason people utilize the word bitch for a female dog in a negative way - and it refers directly to the behaviors exhibited by the females of the dog world. Most fights usually break out between two females.

On the other hand, males are often more affectionate, exuberant, attentive, and demanding of attention. They are very attached to their humans. They are more outgoing, more accepting of other pets, and take quicker to children. Most males are easily motivated by food and praise, and they are so eager to please that training them is easier.

Because males like to play more, they can be distracted by outside events during training. No matter what age they are, a male is more likely to act silly and more puppy-like. (Almost sounds like humans, doesn’t it?) Boys are more fun-loving until the day they die. Females tend to be more reserved or dignified as they age.

Before deciding on a male or female, give consideration to any other dogs or pets that may be in your house; determine what you want from your dog. Listen to your breeder.

Personally, I often recommend a male for a home with children, unless they are older. I do this because I find males to be more tolerant of small children, and more accommodating to their needs.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lost (Icelandic) Sheep

Phyllis is back home after three weeks in the wild. Little Bo Peep of nursery rhyme fame was right, "Leave them alone and they will come home, wagging their tails behind them."

Phyllis, an Icelandic sheep living on John Bauby’s farm in Easton, Connecticut, escaped from her pen while other sheep were being sheared and had been wandering around a 750-acre nature preserve, one of the largest tracts of land in Fairfield County. She had been spotted but avoided recapture.

When Bauby went out to tend the rest of his flock the other day, and rattled the food bucket there was the lost sheep Phyllis. "I'm ecstatic," Bauby said Friday of Phyllis' return to the fold.

All he had to do was open the gate to the sheep paddock and she walked right in.

Bauby said she looked better than when she left. Now she has to get sheared.

Bauby raises the sheep for their wool. Like Icelandic Sheepdogs and Icelandic horses, the sheep show great diversity in color. They also show many horn patterns.


Tenzing is a tricolor male who carries one copy of the recessive gene for chocolate-brown. He lives in an apartment near a dog-friendly park which he visits regularly. Isn't he handsome?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Brana and Lukka

I am getting butterflies about my girls leaving their birth home soon. It's hard letting them go but I know they both will have excellent homes where they will be loved and trained.

Brana will be an agility dog; her owners have experience in that dog sport. She will also be a therapy dog and will start training almost as soon as she arrives.

Brana looks like she will have long fur. She has a white collar and blaze and a gorgeous white tail tip.

Lukka Sola with shorter fur looks like she is built for speed. I think her new owners will have their hands full keeping up with her! Ha!!

Lukka's owners also have her scheduled already for dog training classes. I believe all Icelandics need a "job". They are not just pretty dogs. They also have minds and bodies bred for hundreds of years to "do" something. I choose homes for my pups based on the new families willingness to work with and use their dogs.

Here's a photo of Arbakki Magni bred by Laura Lutz and owned by Debbie and Greg Ostrander. I think he's amazing. He carries a hidden recessive gene for chocolate-brown and also a hidden recessive gene for tricolor.