gowalkeaze


How to Choose a Dog Breeder

Rosie and I have been going to Obedience training at the breeder where I bought her. It’s EZ Brook Kennel in Nottingham, PA, USA, owned and run by Susie Zeiner. This is the type of breeder you should be looking for, Susie stays very involved in her dog’s lives beginning to end, and has a clause in her contract that she can repossess a dog if it is not being treated/cared for properly. She has done that a couple of times in the short time that I’ve known her – she really cares.

We took Teresa and Fiona the Border Collie along for some lessons. If you don’t know already, you should know, that the term “Dog Training” is a misnomer. It really is the humans that are being trained. If we aren’t trained properly, we let the dogs get away with whatever bad behaviors they want, or we are too strict or anxious and cause bad behaviors in our dogs. We should all have to do the same kind of training before we have children! 🙂

The weather was horrid on our second trip. Probably over 100 degrees with high humidity and not a cloud in the sky. We were all trying to stay under the shade and work our dogs. Not Susie! She was determined that each person/dog team got the individual attention and work that they needed. This was a very mixed group, there were a couple of 12 week old puppies, a few dogs that were older but still under a year, then some adults and a couple of dogs that had just whelped litters and were still with Susie. The people were a mixed bag too. Some of us have always had dogs, but want to learn other ways of teaching our new dogs, some had never had a dog ever, and needed to learn everything from the beginning, others were somewhere in between. What impresses me so much, is that Susie knows every single dog’s individual personality, what they and their owner need to work on to progress, and how to explain to a human exactly what the dog is understanding every time we interact with them. We learn more from her in an hour than I’ve learned in entire 6 or 8 week programs at other places.

This is what makes EZ Brook a truly unique place though – Susie keeps tabs on all of her dogs to the best of her ability, and is always willing and eager to answer any questions that she can about training, health, general care, anything that will make the human-dog bond better. There is a Facebook site for all of the owners to talk and share pictures of our “babies”. Every new one is welcomed as wholeheartedly as the long-timers. Everyone shares successes, heartbreaks and tips, and everyone is entitled to say their piece. Not only does this help us as owners to know that we have support, but Susie knows how her dogs are doing once they go out into the world. She also holds “Puppy Play Day” once or twice a year, all the dogs are welcome to come and see each other, and we owners can finally meet face to face. The last one that was held this spring had 37 GSDs playing in ine huge fenced yard, off-leash, no fights or aggression. It was amazing – here are some photos…

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I’m not saying that everyone has to go buy a GSD! Get the right dog for you and your family. The point that I am trying to make is to find a breeder who will be your partner and helper in raising your dog(s). Take the time to do the research. Look up the AKC or UKC registered breeders, call and talk to them a bit. You will quickly get a feel for whether they are involved for the long haul or not.

You will also come across some interesting people! In our search for a good breeder, we found a woman whose female had a litter. When we got to the house, the puppies were in the open yard unattended, they had fleas and were listless. The stud dog’s owner had passed away, and they couldn’t find the papers, so the litter couldn’t be registered. We said no thank you to her. I also talked to a man on the phone that had so many puppies, that he was keeping them at friends’ houses and in a neighbor’s barn. He wasn’t even sure how many he had. We told him no thank you also.

When we met Susie, I knew we were in the right place. She has quite a few dogs, they live happily together in the basement and play in her 2 acre yard. When strangers come to the house, the adult dogs come calmly to the door and greet everyone nicely. If you walked in there blindfolded, you wouldn’t even know the dogs were there. It smells like bleach, not like dog, and Susie is adamant about cleaning up after the puppies right away when they go in the house. That really worked in our favor, Rosie never had an accident in the house. When anyone has a question about their dog’s health or behavior, she encourages them to contact her so that she can either answer, or point the owner in the right direction to get help.

Good luck in your search for your new best friend! If you have any questions that you think I can answer, don’t hesitate to get in touch. My email is cbyron@GoWalkEaze.com, if I don’t know the answer, I will at least point you in a direction where you can find the answer you need.

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