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Zumie05
7th June 2010, 05:11 AM
I have a dilemma I would really appreciate some opinions on!

I am currently on a mad quest to find a Cavalier, be it a 10 week old puppy, teenage pup, or adult. I don't care what color at this point (I used to want a b&t however it is very hard to find a breeder to standard who has these in a breeding program) and am focusing on the personality of the dog.

I have emailed and chatted with several beeders in my area, and have met 2. Today I met a breeder who had a 5 month old male, that both my fiance and I felt pretty good about. He was so calm, sweet, friendly, non mouthy, didn't try to jump all over us, etc you get the point. We really loved his personality and the fact that he already knows how to use a doggy door, is very quiet, and is over the whole puppy biting phase.

However, the breeder has him because she was going to keep him, and ended up choosing another pup to keep which is why he is now available. We do have 3 concerns having to do with him being over his socialization period.. at 5 months old.

1) He has never been in a crate
2) He has never been home alone without another dog
3) He has never been off of his property before (hasn't gone out and about)

Otherwise, we LOVE him and would really like to take him home. The first thing the breeder did when we got there was go over all of the paperwork showing us the health clearances of the parents and explaining the pedigree.

My fear is, if we take him home that he will not be confident in new situations. I am reading Dr. Ian Dunbar's "After You Get Your Puppy" which really emphasizes getting LOTS of socialization within 8 - 12 weeks of age for your dog, so getting an older puppy who has not had much experience realyl worries me. However, this pup was comfortable around us, not shy, however he didn't run up and jump all over us either.

Part of me wants to wait for a younger puppy so that we can socialize it by taking it out and starting puppy classes at 12 weeks old.

Any thoughts?

Nicki
7th June 2010, 09:14 AM
That's very difficult - it sounds like the breeder is very health focused in that she is showing you the certificates, but it's not good that the wee pup has never left the house.

With a confident, outgoing pup that may not be too much of a problem if you are prepared to put in a lot of work getting him used to the outside world - and other dogs. It's good that he did not shy away from you, so he has obviously met other people.

BUT he may not be confident when away from home, meeting other dogs etc {I suspect he may only have met other Cavaliers}

As you have read, he has missed many of the crucial socialisation milestones, and this could give you problems in the future. BTW well done on reading Ian Dunbar's books cl*p, I think they are ESSENTIAL reading for anyone even thinking about having a puppy.


Crate training is something you can undertake at any age - hopefully if you did decide to go ahead the breeder would work with you on this, and start that training before he left her home.

The other two issues are more of a worry - that he's never been left alone without another dog - that can be a very difficult adjustment by this age, it's hard to know how much of his confidence is coming from being around the other dogs.

Did the breeder give you the opportunity to take him out for a walk on his own away from her property? That would give you a good opportunity to judge how he would be on his own, meeting other dogs etc.



Obviously this is not the best start for life - but obtaining a puppy is always a compromise, it's extremely hard to find a breeder doing EVERYTHING that you would want. You have to decide what you are prepared to accept...


I'm sure others will post their views too.

Kate H
7th June 2010, 08:54 PM
I think the important thing is how good the puppy's basic temperament is - and it sounds OK to me. I had Oliver at a year old. Although well cared for and loved, he hadn't left home very much, except in a car to go to the vets; he lived with 6 other dogs; he'd had some basic training and came when he was called; as his owner kept a boarding kennel, he'd met a wide range of other dogs; and - finding this life rather boring - had a reputation for getting out of the garden and going off into the countryside for hours at a time! When I went to fetch him, he happily went off with a stranger, went on his first bus ride, spent half an hour on a busy railway station, went on his first train ride of over 3 hours, and settled immediately into being an only dog and sleeping on his own in the sitting room. He took everything in his stride and has continued to be the most laid back dog I have ever met: calm, happy, fearless. He is not a clingy or particularly cuddly Cavalier, but we make a good team. I think it's your relationship with your dog which matters most - if their underlying temperament is sound and they trust you, you can catch up with the socialising. Your boy sounds rather like my Oliver - is he is, you'll have a jewel!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

vikki
7th June 2010, 09:19 PM
I got maile as a pup and did my best to socialize her by taking her for walks and meeting other dogs. we did not encounter a ton of dogs but I thought she had seen enough to be socialized. with that being said she is still shy and nervous around other dogs and prefers to hide behind me rather than interact. I think when we encountered dogs when she was small they were either too big to play or they had no interest in her when she was interested. for us had she come across a dog her size that was friendly and wanted to play she would have learned how to inter act. that did not happen despite my efforts. as to the crate and walking off property I would start like you do w/a pup a little at a time, with loving encouragement will do wonders. on a side note, the dog has heard and seen me hoovering/vacuuming the carpet, taking the trash bag out of the can for 3 years now and she still acts excited and barks at it. so silly. good luck

Sullysmom
7th June 2010, 11:56 PM
Can you ask the breeder for a trial run. Say 48 hours??? It seems to me that they would think that was very responsible of you to want to make sure it's a good match. Just a suggestion...

I think the crate training would be the least of my worries. Dogs can be crate trained at any age. Many rescues go through this.

Good job on doing your research and asking lots of questions. It will pay off in the future. =)

Zumie05
8th June 2010, 02:15 AM
Thanks for the suggestions. I also think he could possibly be a jewel... we even have a name already. We have a cat named Solo, so his name would likely be Han!

I called the breeder, she is ok with having us give a trial of a week or so. Here I go to pick him up, I will probably post more about him later!

I appreciate this forum SO much, you all have been incredibly helpful. I hope all goes well with this little dude, it will be very sad if he is so under socialized that he is too far gone... we'll see!

Sullysmom
8th June 2010, 03:12 AM
Keep us posted. Can't wait to see photots!

Soushiruiuma
8th June 2010, 07:02 AM
I expect this would be a very minor problem, if at all. Keep in mind that there are dogs pulled from puppy mills or abusive situations who can take months or years to adapt to a normal home life, but for most it can be done. This pup hasn't had anything nearly as bad as these dogs, is still very young, and should adapt quite well.

Zumie05
8th June 2010, 07:36 AM
He's been home with us for a few hours. So far so good, he isn't interested in our cat, just sniffed him a few times and that was that. He settled in very well, he just wants to cuddle up with us or lay in his bed. He is not perky and playful, but responds VERY well to praise. If you baby talk him and scratch under his chin you can get his tail waggin and his little tongue lickin :).

So far we like his laid back and easy going attitude. We expected a puppy to be crazy running around and chewing on every thing in sight. This little guy went up to our shoe pile, and used a shoe as a head rest to take a nap! He doesn't lay a tooth on your skin, it is hard for him to take treats from your fingers because he licks it out instead!

Overall he seems pretty happy, just unsure right now.

We did stop by the pet store real fast to grab a leash and collar, he will NOT walk on the leash. Just sat there. He did happily allow people to come up and gush on how cute he is though hehe :D. I guess we can work on actually walking on the leash later :o

So right now, the ONLY real problem we have is he has not gone to the bathroom. No accidents in the house, but he also hasn't gone outside. Yikes!

Pics are up in the puppy gallery

Nicki
8th June 2010, 09:02 AM
I think I would book him in for a vet check just in case.

He sounds terribly quiet for a puppy - maybe he's just overwhelmed, but really you want a 5 month old puppy to be chasing around like a mad thing - that's what they do at that age.


You will need to teach him to walk on a leash and preferably a harness rather than a collar - Cavaliers have very sensitive necks. You need to find a treat or toy that motivates him, or praise if that works better. Don't drag him along but gently encourage him.

Is he toileting ok now? What was the set up at his breeders - maybe he was only used to newspaper, or wee wee pads or similar?

Zumie05
8th June 2010, 09:21 PM
He did finally potty! I got a really long pee and a nice poo from him this morning. I guess this little bugger can really hold it, he didn't have a single accident all night and pretty much slept through the night.

He slept on his bed on the floor next to our bed, and a few times did wake up to try to crawl up, but as soon as I placed him into his own bed he went back to sleep.

This morning he ate and drank, then we had success outside cl*p

He started playing with toys a tiny bit. I thew around a little rope and plush toy and he grabbed them and dragged them both into his bed.

He still isn't bouncing off the walls, but he follows me everywhere and just wants to keep licking me and cuddling with me. Surprisingly he does ok left alone too, when I showered this morning he was just hanging out in his bed when I came back into the room.

I'll set up for a vet appt soon.

tara
8th June 2010, 10:14 PM
I think it sounds like he's doing very well. Holly was never a crazy puppy -- she zoomed after bath time, but other than that was always extremely mellow. She also followed me everywhere, still does actually. This "velcro" characteristic made it easy to supervise her.

I would continue to take him out and about for positive interactions with other dogs and people. A good puppy kindergarten class can be a great thing -- provided you have the right mix of other dogs and a good instructor who uses positive reinforcement techniques.

He may just always be a mellow guy. Holly has an extremely laid back temperment -- I took advantage of that and got her canine good citizen and therapy certifications. She has been a reading therapy dog to a class of grade school kids this past year. Her temperment works really well in the classroom and Holly LOVES her "work."

Good luck and just stay really patient and positive with your new little guy.

Zumie05
9th June 2010, 01:51 AM
I think it sounds like he's doing very well. Holly was never a crazy puppy -- she zoomed after bath time, but other than that was always extremely mellow. She also followed me everywhere, still does actually. This "velcro" characteristic made it easy to supervise her.

I would continue to take him out and about for positive interactions with other dogs and people. A good puppy kindergarten class can be a great thing -- provided you have the right mix of other dogs and a good instructor who uses positive reinforcement techniques.

He may just always be a mellow guy. Holly has an extremely laid back temperment -- I took advantage of that and got her canine good citizen and therapy certifications. She has been a reading therapy dog to a class of grade school kids this past year. Her temperment works really well in the classroom and Holly LOVES her "work."

Good luck and just stay really patient and positive with your new little guy.

Yes! My whole idea with wanting a really mellow laid back puppy is because I really want to get into therapy sessions and volunteer work, going to hospitals and nursing homes. A scared mellow dog won't work though, I really gotta work on his confidence. I just hope 5 months old is not too late.

tara
9th June 2010, 05:57 AM
I tried taking Holly to a hospital before we decided to go the reading therapy route. I found the hospital setting to be a bit much for her -- she seemed a bit too reactive there. The noises, smells and overall atmosphere of the hospital seemed to overwhelm Holly -- and I started taking her in to my dad's office (he's a gastroenterologist) when she was very young. She did fine sitting on patients laps, but just never really got excited whenever we went for a visit.

The scenario was completely different with reading therapy. It may be because Holly was ultra-socialized around children -- my kids were just 2 and 6 when Holly came to live with us. The reading therapy was more of a regular routine. Same classroom, kids and schedule. She LOVED walking into the school and got right down to "work" sitting with the kids when they read to her. One thing that always interested me was how Holly gravitated to the particularly shy or quiet kids -- she seemed to know which child needed her on a given day.

Therapy work is great, but the dog needs to be very non-reactive and confident. I don't think it's ever "too late" to give it a try -- you just might want to wait a while until your little guy has some positive social experiences under his belt. Getting the certifications is a somewhat arduous process, but the good thing about that is that you really find out whether it's something your dog will enjoy.

My novice advice would be to stay really positive and patient. Keep on the alert for any and all opportunities for positive exposure to the world. I took Holly to home improvement stores, parks, outdoor coffee shops, picking up the kids from school (and letting her out to greet people), etc. She literally just molded into our everyday life. I remember once when the power went out and the electric company sent some workers to our neighborhood -- I took Holly out and asked the guys if they would give my dog a treat.

Just take it slow and make it fun. This new life with you is probably a bit overwhelming, but I bet with time and patience he'll come out of his shell.

Teresa
9th June 2010, 12:55 PM
I agree with Tara - lots of different experiences not rushed is a good idea...Try to be very relaxed in yourself too I think that helps. I've taken Barney to work with me a few times ( I work in a nursing home) and now Cassie has visited a few times but only for fifteen mins at a time. Taster sessions are good, they wear her out.

With Cassie I took her out lots in the car, blagged coffee at friends houses with dogs before her jabs and even walked by the school deliberatly at the end of day to mix with lots of people and noise.

I'm lucky with where we walk as there are loads of friendly dogs so it's like a socail outing for them everyday...

Best of luck!! ...Teresa..x