HELP & ADVICE
The above articles are based on personal experience and answers to questions put to me during my 12yrs as a Breed Club Secretary.
They are intended as a guide only, other breeder's may have differing methods.
As with any breed of dog you should ask yourself the following questions before rushing out to obtain a puppy:-
Am I at home for the best part of /or all day?
Can I give the love and care that is necessary?
Do I have time and patience to house and lead train a puppy?
Do I have the time to exercise and groom a dog?
Can I afford all the costs responsible dog ownership brings?
Unless you can answer yes to the above then my advice, is don't even contemplate owning any breed of dog. If you feel you can meet all of the above and decide on a Scottie puppy your next question should be:-
Where can I find a reputable breeder?
There are many sources available, however, one should be very careful in their selection as unfortunately Scottish Terriers are one of the many breeds targeted by 'Puppy Farmers'. These are people that breed very indiscriminately purely for profit. Horrifying stories have been relayed of the appalling conditions puppies have been reared in and of the health problems encountered by them at a later date. Having purchased a puppy from one of these people at their usual "Knock Down Price" it is no surprise that the seemingly cheap cost of the puppy quadruples in a few months once you have finished paying for endless trips to your vet!
So where DO you find a reputable breeder?
In the UK there are eight Scottish Terrier Breed Clubs run by Committee's that consist of Scottie enthusiasts. Many of the clubs members are breeder's, some with many years of experience behind them. Every club has a Secretary whose address, telephone number / email address can be found by clicking a club listed on my links page. Each Secretary should be able to put you in touch with a rEPUTABLE breeder when they have puppies available. A high percentage of these breeder's are members of most, if not all of the clubs, and many are usually known personally by the Secretary. Of course most of the breeders know each other also, so this can be another good source of locating a puppy.
Once having been given details of a breeder with puppies available it is up to you to make contact, it is helpful to break the ice by informing the breeder where you have obtained their number. Don't be alarmed or put off if you are faced with a barrage of questions, it is just as important to the breeder that their puppies go to caring, loving homes. After all, breeder's decide to bring puppies into the world and for the first eight - ten weeks of the pups life it will have received the very best of care, the breeders need to know that this level of care and love will continue. Of course you will have questions of your own so don't be afraid to ask, a good breeder will welcome your questions and will be as helpful as possible.
Your next move.
So you have made contact with a breeder who has puppies available, your next step will be to visit the breeder to view the pups. This visit also presents a good opportunity to satisfy yourself of the conditions in which the puppies have been reared. Tiny baby pups are very susceptible to infection which can be transmitted via shoes and clothing etc, most breeders will not allow visitors until the puppies are at least 5 weeks old so don't be offended if you are asked to wait until then. Once a date and time has been set for your visit please be punctual, at +5 weeks puppies are very demanding on a breeder's time especially if it is a large litter, just like babies they need to be fed and their toilet needs seen to at regular hours.
Once inside the breeders premises and formalities are over you should be allowed to see the puppies, always ask to see the dam also. It is not usually possible to see the puppies sire as most breeders will use a dog from another kennel but sometimes there is the exception. Do not handle the puppies unless you are told you can and always get down to the puppies level it is very easy to drop a wriggly puppy and great damage can be caused if it is dropped from a height. Puppies of 5-6 weeks of age should be walking around their pen, playing (and squabbling) with their litter mates. They should have a shiny coat with no evidence of fleas, clean eyes, ears and rear ends and no spots on their tummies. They should be well rounded but should not be 'pot' bellied as this is a sure sign of worms. They should be outgoing, inquisitive and ready to greet visitors. Before leaving the breeders premises make arrangements for collection of your chosen puppy. The earliest I let a puppy go to it's new home is 8 weeks of age, which is around the average time for most breeders, although some like to let their pups go a little later around 10 weeks of age.
The Big Day Arrives.
It's time to collect your puppy and before you leave home please ensure you have a suitable container in which to carry your little one, it is not a good idea to transport the puppy on your lap for obvious reasons! Arm yourself with plenty of towels etc. the puppy will most probably not be used to travelling by car and will, inevitably, vomit a little. Arrive at the breeder's at the arranged time. Before leaving with your new puppy you should expect to be given a copy of the pups pedigree, a diet/care sheet , advice on trimming and its Kennel Club registration document, although sometimes the latter may not have been received back from the KC by the breeder, but it should be forwarded on to you by post. Follow any advice the breeder gives you especially the puppy's inoculation, worming and feeding regime's. Sometimes you will be given six weeks free insurance, arranged by the breeder, which covers the puppy from the moment he/she is entrusted into your care. This is not compulsory, if not offered, it is in your own interests that you transfer the ownership of your puppy, via the KC registration document, as soon as possible as six weeks free insurance is given by them. Further insurance cover can be arranged once the six week period expires. Reputable breeders should offer you an after sales service, so please do not hesitate to make contact should the future present you with any questions or worries.
Your new puppy will probably be feeling a little lost, and most need a couple of days to 'settle' in. It is important that you feed your puppy at regular hours, with as much variety as possible, arranging its daily diet from the information given by the breeder. For the first few days a puppy can be fussy with his / her food, this is normally caused by the many distractions in it's new home, and because there is no longer the need to fight for a share with it's littermates. Do not worry if this happens, the appetite will soon be regained. Leave the puppy in a quiet place with it's food for about 10 minutes then remove the dish until the next feed. A puppy of 8 weeks old will need four small meals per day, do not be tempted to change its diet initially, as this will result in digestive upsets, any changes can be made gradually over the coming weeks. Your puppy will need a bed, somewhere of it's own where it can feel safe and secure. There are many types available, one that is suitable is a matter of personal choice. Just like human babies puppies need plenty of sleep so a cosy bed in a quiet place is a must.
Of course you will want to protect your puppy against the various canine diseases so it is advisable to get your puppy inoculated at the first available opportunity. My vet gives the first injection at 9 weeks of age. I advise keeping a puppy away from parks and streets and from coming into contact with other dogs until a 2 week period after the second injection has elapsed. Your puppy should have been wormed at regular intervals your vet will advise on suitable products, which again should be given as is necessary.
Regular grooming is essential, in fact it is the duty of any responsible owner. Your puppy should be taught to accept any necessary handling from an early age. Allowing your puppy to become matted and tangled will result in long and painful grooming sessions later on, allowing this to happen is just as neglectful as ill treatment. As it grows your puppy will need regular trimming to keep the classic Scottie shape and should be done by an expert. There are some breeder's who also offer a trimming service, but if not they can usually put you in touch with someone in your area who does.
Nature has made your new puppy inquisitive and because of this its safety should be paramount at all times. A young puppy does not distinguish between a new toy, an electric cable or your precious piece of Chippendale, vigilance will be needed. I advise against leaving a puppy alone with rubber toys, puppies have very sharp teeth and can easily destroy a toy and swallow bits of rubber which can have disastrous results. Garden ponds can also be disastrous, as with a human child even a shallow amount of water can cause drowning. Stones and pebbles seem to hold a great attraction and some puppies love to chew these, but if swallowed they can cause a blockage if too large to be passed by nature's calling. Of course you cannot be expected to spend 24/7 watching your puppy and there will be times when you have to go out. Small puppy pens can be purchased from most good pet stores, I always advise new owners to get one of these, they are not too expensive, will ensure the puppy's safety and give you peace of mind.
Your new puppy depends on YOU for guidance, kindness and understanding are essential as is the correct form of discipline. Coupled with LOTS OF LOVE and attention your new puppy will grow into a well behaved companion who will adjust to all situations, be a credit to it's breed and be a pleasure to own.
© Sue Baker 2005.