Hellos and Well Wishes!
I am new both to this forum and to Cavaliers. I grew up with a beagle and collies. I never thought about owning a toy breed, and never really educated myself on breeds in this category the way I did with other groups. My mind made the silly conclusions that one can draw about teacups and pursedogs, and I'll admit I was terribly biased; I hope you all can forgive me. Well, my girlfriend's chihuahua and my little cavalier changed my mind on that!
Anyway, how I got my Cav.
I was looking for an Aussie. I know, I know, nothing alike. I was looking for a dog to serve the purpose as my service dog; I suffer from various medical conditions that will make it difficult when I need to live without any sort of housemate in a couple of years. My doctor urged me to look into getting a service animal, and due to the specificity of my disability, it made the most sense to hire a private trainer.
Every time my trainer found a pup, I would go with her to look at it, and second guess myself too much to say yes. She was concerned about me handling a larger dog with my health/stature, and as my health declined over the course of the search, the energy of a shepherd seemed an impossibility. So I told her: you make the decision.
Long story short, she picked out Naomi for me.
I got her at 8 weeks. Naomi is now 18 weeks, and weighs in at 13 pounds. She's going to be a big cav!! She's the sweetest thing and loves to learn; even my trainer is impressed with her progress. We spend 90% of our time together, and that number is only going to go up!
I'm looking forward to learning a lot on this site. I've never owned a spaniel before, and certainly not a cavalier. I might have my trainer helping me with obedience and what not, but breed specific health and behavior I am really in the dark about. I have many questions I can think of, and thousands more I haven't thought of yet.
I can't wait to meet everyone here and share Naomi and My's story as she progresses (hopefully) to a full working dog!
Bumping this with a picture that's too cute to say no to!
Hi! and welcome to the forum :)
They are great dogs, and now that you have one, you will wish you had gotten one sooner!
Naomi is beatiful. I have always loved the tricolours :)
Personally I think you have the smartest trainer in the world to bring you Naomi :) Beside the fact that cavaliers are super smart and totally trainable they are so loving and compassionate. Naomi will happy to be beside you either working or cuddling on day you aren't your best. She's going to not just bring you the service you need but lots of love as well.
First the good news. Cavaliers as you already know are people dogs and don't really care too much to be left alone for long periods of time. Which works great for your situation. Typical cavaliers are extremely friendly get alone well with other animals and almost all people (I can attest they are a great kid dog too). They aim to please but are so smart they can easily train us. Cavaliers also are known to fit into many different live styles, they are happy to do anything WITH you. I have even taken Fletcher kayaking but he also has no problem when we just stay home and chill all day. Personally, I will never not own a cavalier again as long as I live they are the perfect dog to me.
Bad news time: Cavaliers have plenty of health related problems. Most purebred dog do I think its simply because we know so much about them specifically. For many owners its a nonstop balance between worry and enjoy. Please read over http://www.cavalierhealth.com/ its a lot of information and then spend time reading cavalier talk too. We are all a little cavalier crazy around here :)
Naomi is a beauty for sure, I'm sure you are already totally in love.
I certainly love her tons! Even though we are still working on obedience, and have not begun task training, she's already done so much to mitigate my disability. She really tunes into my moods, and changes her behavior to match that.
I hadn't known much about Cavaliers prior to receiving her, and I'll admit I was terrified when I first read all the issues. You are very right in saying all purebreds have health related problems due to their genetics.
I know her breeder focused on healthy heart and knees, with 6 gen of no MVD. Actually, it was this selection that resulted in a slightly larger Cavalier, and I could see her easily growing to 25 lbs (her mother's size).
I am terrified of SM. She has exhibited one of the symptoms, and that is the scratching of the neck, and occasionally the air. I am not sure if she is scratching due to early SM symptoms, or if it is because her collar bothers her, or something else. She has puppy coordination, so it's very possible the air scratching is meant to be collar scratching. Still, I am very worried.
I have tried putting pressure around her neck, shoulders and ears to see if there is any sign of discomfort, even if she just shifts slightly away. She seems to enjoy the touch as much as she enjoys being pet anywhere else, with no sign of discomfort... I am not sure if this should reassure me or not though.
Try not to borrow trouble... She is lovely, and you're going to enjoy being a Cavalier's person a great deal. Welcome!