How To Choose A Dog: Part 1

Choosing a Breed and a Breeder

So far, for a blog called “Rock the Dogs” I’ve done very little talking ABOUT the dogs. Working as a vet tech and being a little dog crazy, I get asked a lot by friends and family and acquaintances how they should go about looking for a dog.  Also, in light of the fact that Bubba is being returned to the rescue, I think it is very important for people to really, really, REALLY think about what kind of dog is right for them, and where they get that dog. I thought that I might be able to sum it up fairly nicely here for anyone out there who might be interested. Part 1 will summarize how to choose a breeder and a breeder if that is how you are planning on looking for a dog.  Part 2 will talk about rescues and adoptions, while Part 3 will talk about what to do when you get your dog home.

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1. Choose a breed that’s right for your family and lifestyle.

This might seem obvious, but for a lot of people the breed they would LIKE to own doesn’t work with their lifestyle or circumstances.  Someone who works 12 hours a day and spends a lot of their spare time watching repeats of CSI on Spike (not that I’m doing that as I write this….not at all…) probably shouldn’t get a breed with a high energy level or that requires a lot of exercise or mental stimulation.  Similarly, someone who has an active lifestyle and, say, wants a dog to run with probably shouldn’t consider a basset hound.

There are many resources to find out the characteristics of the different dog breeds, as well as links to quizzes that can give you an idea of what kind of dog might be right for you. The Animal Planet dog breed quiz is short and fun, and actually had the labrador retriever as a 96% match for me when I filled it out. Don’t tell Scout and Rocky, though, they think they are a 100% match hands down.

As for breed characteristics, the American Kennel Club and Canada’s Guide to Dogs are excellent resources.   On each site you can find out the history of the breed as well as their characteristics, to compare the breeds to your lifestyle and your expectations.

Please keep in mind that no matter what some people say, dogs that are CROSSES are NOT BREEDS. That includes cockapoos (cocker spaniel x poodle), morkies (maltese x yorkie), labradoodles (lab x poodle), goldendoodles (golden retriever x poodle).  THESE ARE NOT BREEDS.  They cannot be reproduced from generation to generation (at least not predictably) – this means that you might be able to breeder 2 morkies together, but you cannot reliably predict what they will look like or what their behaviour will be like.  This is not true of PUREBRED dogs, where you can breed 2 labs together and always get puppies that are labs, looks like labs, and behave like labs.

I have absolutely nothing against mixed breed dogs (and yes, these dogs are MIXED breeds, NOT purebreds.  You cannot get a purebred goldendoodle) but I do have something against people breeding mixed breeds and selling them for the same price as or more than a purebred dog with an impeccable pedigree. These so-called breeders are ripping you off and just want your money – they might care about their dogs and their puppies but they are breeding to make money instead of bettering a breed, like GOOD purebred breeders do. One final thing – in Canada it is ILLEGAL to call a dog a purebred without providing CKC papers. Purebred puppies MUST be registered in Canada in order to be called purebred.  Off my soap box, and onto the next section:

2. Choosing the right breeder

When looking for a breeder there are so many things to take into consideration.  When we went looking for a breeder for our first puppy, we scoured the internet as well as Canada’s Guide to Dogs’ magazine.  We made a list of breeders that we liked the look of, then looked at their websites, checked their policies, and contacted exactly ONE of those breeders.

Grandriver Kennels is where we got Scout.  We had to fill out an application online before we could see the dogs or the kennel – this was so that the breeder could go over our information first to see if he was comfortable with us initially.  Good breeders care where they place their puppies – they don’t want them to end up in a home where they will be neglected, or abused, or rehomed.  They want them to go to a home where they will be well taken care of and where they will stay for life.

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Once he looked over our application he contacted us about doing a face-to-face meeting.  This was so he could ask us questions, we could ask him questions and see the facility, and also so we could meet all the dogs.  Our “brief” meeting turned into something closer to 3 hours as we just had so much to talk about.  At the end of the meeting he asked if we wanted to make a deposit on a puppy, and since we were impressed with him, the facility and the quality of the dogs, we said yes! Scout is very happy things happened this way, I’m sure.

The Canadian Kennel Club has a great list of Golden Rules to finding a breeder.  I’ll quickly summarize them here but please visit the link for further detail:

1 – Always visit the property.  As I stated above, this is to see how the dogs live, how many dogs are on the property, where the puppies will be born, etc.

2 – Always meet the mother dog.  If you can’t meet her, this is a big deal breaker.

3 – Your puppy should be registered. Like I said before, in Canada it is illegal to call a dog a purebred unless it is registered with the CKC and permanently identified.  The permanent id used to be tattoo (Rocky is tattooed) but most breeders now are microchipping their pups (Scout came with a microchip).

4 – Your breeder should show their dogs.  This is to prove that their dogs are good at what they do or are an excellent representation of the breed.  If they don’t show conformation, then they should be in obedience, or flyball, or tracking, or SOMETHING.  If their dogs are not exceptional, then why are they breeding them? (Brag – Scout’s breeder had the number 1 lab puppy in Canada in 2010 in conformation, and the same dog is currently the number 1 lab in Canada for 2011).

5- Your breeder should have all proper health tests performed on the breeding dogs – so hips, elbows, eyes, heart, etc.  Do your research and find out what tests are applicable to the breed you are interested in.

As you can tell I am very passionate about puppies and picking the proper puppy.  I’m a bit of a puppy snob, I guess, but I’m also concerned about the welfare of each and every dog.  If people are breeding for money and don’t care where their puppies go, or sell them sight unseen over the internet without meeting the new owner, or sell them to a pet store, or sell them on the side of the road – what’s to guarantee these dogs are not going to end up in a shelter, or on the street, or worse. And for the people who buy these puppies, what’s to guarantee you are getting a healthy dog, or one without behavioural problems, etc.

I hope this was somewhat informative and not too long or wordy – stay tuned for the next Picking a Puppy post on adopting from a rescue!

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Monday Musings

1.  I learned last week that my last foster dog (who pretty much stole my heart) is being returned to the rescue, and therefore me.  His mom was definitely not prepared to deal with a dog like him – ya know, a stubborn 10 month old lab.  It makes me sad, and angry, but also happy we get him back. This is Bubba:

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2.  I have clearly sucked at blogging this last week.  Nothing new has really happened  – had a great run at the Running Room last Wednesday, a great (no – amazing) run on my own on Friday, and then I worked all weekend. It was fairly quiet for a weekend, especially for a full moon, but we still had some interesting cases.

3.  This coming weekend at the gym we are having a workout “fundraiser” for the local food bank.  Entry to this workout is a non perishable food item and we have the “pleasure” of doing “Fran”, which is:

21-15-9 reps of 95lb thrusters (remember those??) and pull ups

I am going to die. Then I have a long run on the Sunday at the Running Room. Body = broken.

4.  Tonight I plan on hitting the gym and I will go for real this time and not just say I will and instead end up sitting on the couch all night watching Dr Phil or Dr Oz.

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to all of those who live south of the border! Please enjoy lots of turkey for me, and stuffing, and cranberry sauce…oh and apple pie.  I love apple pie.  I cannot stand pumpkin anything, unless I am carving or painting one for Hallowe’en.

Anyway, even though I don’t think you  need one day a year to be thankful (because you should be thankful and grateful EVERY DAY), I thought I’d just take this opportunity to give a little thanks of my own, even though Canadian Thanksgiving was last month.

Things I Am Thankful For

  • My family – my parents, brothers, sisters in law, brothers in law, aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family, honourary family, etc.  I have a fabulous family and support system and wouldn’t be who I am today without them
  • My husband – he puts up with all of my crap, and craziness, and supports my yearly new adventures, and let me have 2 dogs even though my dog is a trouble maker (but his dog still pees on the floor. So there).  I couldn’t be where I am in life today without him and I couldn’t imagine life any other way. Love you Shawn!
  • My dogs and cats, even though the dogs are driving me up the wall right now and flipping cushions off the couch. Way to go, guys
  • My health – I may have GI issues, I may have random pains and aches that won’t go away, but overall I really have nothing to complain about.  I can lift heavy and run long and far and what more could I ask for?
  • My job – I can’t imagine being anything else or doing anything else. I love what I do and where it can take me.
  • My country – I love it here and really truly can’t ever imagine living anywhere else, as messed up as our government can be

Now for a few more frivolous things I am thankful for:

  • Knee socks. They are cute, and they keep my legs warm at the gym and when I am running
  • Candy canes. I know I talk about them a lot but they are delicious and the chocolate mint ones are fantabulous.
  • Gluten free bread and pasta – so I can feel a little bit more normal
  • Pizza. How could you not be thankful for pizza???

I think as part of this blog I will try to do a “what I am grateful for” blurb on every post, just because, as I said before, we should be thankful and grateful every day of our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving, happy Thursday, happy 2011. I wish you all nothing but the best that life can offer you!

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All Dressed Up And No Where To Go

I had a gym date tonight that never happened. This made me sad.

See? This is my sad face. Or perturbed. One or the other.

Oh, I dressed up all right, and even drove to the Body Boomers a few towns over to meet a friend of mine who is a member there.  Earlier in the fall I purchased a DealFind voucher for 30 classes as well as unlimited gym access before and after classes for a local Body Boomers.  Apparently, however, I had made it for a different location so didn’t bring the voucher with me.

I then attempted to sign up for the 7 day free pass they advertise online, however they have to approve your information first before they will send you the pass. Not sure how they are going to approve my name or email address, but ok.

I decided to risk it and head over to meet my friend anyway.  I filled her in on everything when we met up, and she shook her head when I told her I left the voucher at home. ANYWAY my slowness aside, we tried to get me into the gym but to no avail.  I was told that the guest pass was $20!!! Which, to me, is a little crazy.  I have paid $6.50 for the local rec centre, and $10 for GoodLife (I LOVE GoodLife, even still, can never talk that gym up enough. I miss it!) but $20 seems excessive for 30 min on the treadmill and maybe the use of some of the free weights. So I called it a night and came home.

I guess I really do need a rest day after yesterday, my body is sore and I am tired.  But I don’t feel complete without a workout nowadays. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day and  I plan on finally activating my voucher at the Body Boomers closest to me to get a spin class in, then hit up my Crossfit gym before I head to work.  Today made me realize just how much I love my Crossfit gym and the whole Crossfit mentality compared to the “globo” gyms (other than GoodLife – again I LOVED it there and would still be there if I could afford both memberships).

Time for stretching, relaxing and old school 90210. Oh Kelly, how can you  be so BLIND?

Whitby Waterfront Races Review

Apparently it is PR weekend!! Finished the race today in 1:06:12, which is the fastest I have ever done a 10k, although this was my first 10k race.

The race was held at the Whitby Waterfront, with the start/finish and registration area located at the Whitby Yacht Club.  There was a 1k for kids at 10:45, then the 5k, 10k and 10 miler started at 11. There was a fair amount of free parking along one of the roads leading to the yacht club but by the time we got there (around 9:30) the line of cars had already stretched pretty far from the entrance.  In a race email last week the director had said there would be parking for $4 at a local hospital that was within walking distance.  I’m not really sure where this $4 parking was, because for the 3 hours we planned on being there, we had to pay $9. Slightly ridiculous.

The weather was overcast and the wind was cool bordering on cold, and the walk from the car to the bib pick up was freezing.  Since we had arrived early there was no line for bib pick up and it went quickly.  After braving the wind again we dropped our stuff back at my car, since there was no official bag check (although, again, in the aforementioned email they said there would be a bag check).

At 10:45 we headed out to watch the kids start their run.  On the way out a fellow runner mentioned that the 1k was delayed, which meant our race was delayed as well.  There was no announcement to the people waiting inside the yacht club.

The kids’ run was probably the cutest thing I had seen in a long time.  It was awesome to see how excited they were, and the winner did the 1k in 4:00! Speedy kid!

They had us start lining up before the 1k was officially over so we had to keep moving backwards to let the kids cross the finish line.  There were no pace categories so we lined towards the back of the middle section.

At 11:15 they sounded the horn and we were off! I started my Nike Plus app on my iPhone and started grooving.  Jenni and I had decided to start out at a 6:45 pace for the first few km’s, then edge up to 6:30, then see how it went from there. The mistake we made at the 8k Toronto Women’s Run was that we started out WAY too fast and could not sustain that pace at all.  I’m happy to say that we kept our pace pretty consistent and even with walk breaks I managed to end with a 6:45/km pace.

The route was mostly flat, with a few mild rolling hills thrown in.  It wound through the parks along the waterfront, and the prettiest part was running along the boardwalk right on the beach by the lake. There was one water station at 2.5km.  Everyone ran the first 2.5km together, and after that it started to thin out as it was just us 10k’ers and the 10 milers.

We kept our pace pretty well where we wanted it, took walk breaks when we needed too, and made it to the 5k turn around faster than I have ever done a 5k before.  Around 7.5k I started to struggle a little (mostly mentally although my foot was really started to bother me by this point).  As I started to go a bit slower Jenni went on ahead, which we had discussed would be an option if I decided to be an idiot and not push myself.  At this point we were also running straight into the wind which was driving me crazy.

I pushed it through the last 2 km and crossed the finish line at 1:06:12!  Jenni finished with an awesome 1:04:05. We got our medals and headed inside – I had seen some people walking around with chocolate milk and wanted some desperately.  The race included free chili and beer but I just wanted chocolate milk – which I couldn’t find anywhere! After we had found our official times, we decided to skip out on the chili and beer and go find some cupcakes.  Perfect post race fuel (and yes, I got my chocolate milk).

All in all the race was a lot of fun, and I am super proud of my medal and my finishing time.  Means that my 2:10 half marathon might be in reach in March!

Scout was proud of the medal, too

Regardless, I’m super stoked for the Chilly Half in Burlington in March now!! That’s my next race and I cannot wait :)

PR Day!!

Lindsay Smith 295lb Deadlift

I’ve pretty much been on cloud 9 since I left the gym at 1:30 today.  Did a 400m warmup on the rower, foam rolled and stretched, then started squat work.  The Crossfit total is the total weight of back squat, press and deadlift 1 rep max.

I’m not super comfortable squatting and I could have probably done more, but I am still pretty pleased with my 150lb squat, considering it’s now more than I weigh!

Press is HARD – I lack a lot of upper body strength and putting weight overhead is hard for me.  I managed 60lbs.  Wish I could have done push press or a jerk as I could have done way more weight that way, but such is life!

NOW onto my deadlift! I haven’t played around with the deadlift for a few months and after how sore I am from yesterday’s workout I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to manage.  I started today at 135lbs, then 155lbs, 175lbs, 185lbs, 195lbs, then the magic 205lbs!!! Freaking PR baby!! It was not pretty and I could barely get it up (that’s what she said) but I did it and it was amazing!!

Foam rolled, stretched and rowed another 400m for cool down.

Cloud 9, I tell ya. I love Crossfit <3

I am in the process of figuring out which strength program I want to continue with, alongside Crossfit, but that’s a whole other post. One of my coaches told me today he wants to start a 2 day a week strength program in the new year and I told him that would be a fabulous idea. Looking forward to making my 2012 resolution of “get strong” a reality :)

Hitting the gym again in the morning, will probably not run tomorrow but will post a review of the Whitby Waterfront 10K on Sunday.  Looking forward to the free beer afterwards (even though I don’t drink beer haha). Off to indulge in some wine with a great friend!

Happy Friday friends! And 2 posts in one day, holy crap. Makes up for my lack of posts over the week.

Random Friday Facts #2

1. This is why I was up until 12:30 am last night:

I love werewolves!

Yeah the movie kinda blows as did the book but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Also Jacob was in like 75% of the movie so that in itself was worth my $10.50

2. I don’t eat red meat or pork.

3. I’m terrified of chickens and turkeys and a lot of birds in general – which is how I justify eating chickens and turkeys. I don’t eat small birds tho. They aren’t as creepy.

4. I actually like working. Which I think explains why I have 2 jobs currently

5. I still want to lose 10lbs even though no one else thinks I should and my coaches say “it’s not all about the scale”.  I know it’s not. But I like the lower number.

6. I can deadlift 200lbs and I’m hoping to break that today.

7. I miss Marble Slab ice cream. No matter the intestinal drama I’m so having some this weekend.

8. I’m running my first 10K race this Sunday.  I’m more terrified of it than I am of my half marathon in March.

9. Puppets are terrifying.  Even more so than chickens.

10. I have no will power when it comes to candy canes as I have learned this week. But they are. so. good. And only come out at Christmas

11. I still think Adele’s music only sounds good when sung by the cast of Glee.  Santana singing Someone Like You was incredible. So much PASSION!!

 

TGIF friends! Enjoy your weekends! And good luck to those racing this weekend!

Tempo Schempo

Last night was my first tempo run with the Running Room but most importantly the first tempo run with the faster group.

Thankfully we did 10 and 1s so I didn’t feel too badly. I was out of breath and it wasn’t easy but it wasn’t the worst thing I had ever done (Crossfit is so much worse most times haha). We maintained about a 6-6:20/km pace for the 3km of tempo, with about a 1km warmup and cool down. It was awesome to discover that I really can maintain a faster pace for a longer period of time. I am improving so much every week. Have I mentioned I LOVE running??

Tonight is a steady run, and I plan in doing 3km easy on Saturday. Sunday is the 10km run. I don’t have any real goals for this – my running buddy wants to do it in under an hour. That seems crazy for me but I’m gonna give it a shot. Hoping for a PR!

Did a crazy Crossfit workout at lunch time today. 6 rounds for time of 20 sledgehammer strikes left hand/20 sledgehammer strikes right hand/10 chin ups. Can I just say that chin ups are just so much worse than pull ups? I couldn’t open my car door when I got home and my shoulders are aching. Ahh all for the love of fitness!

I also got my hair cut and coloured today by a girl I work with and she did a phenomenal job. I went darker brown with reddy brown highlights. Looks fabulous! I will get pictures at some point I promise.

Hope your week has gone well and I apologize for the lack of photos in this post! Just wait – I have a few posts in the works that will be mostly pictures haha.

Be good to each other!!

My Inner Geek Breaks Free

First of all I want to thank those mysterious people who have been stopping by over the last few days! I haven’t blogged since Friday and yet I’ve had some wicked view numbers over the weekend and so far today.  Thanks again!!

Second – working 37 hours in 3 days (all overnights) on 4 hours of sleep each day really takes a lot out of a girl.  I’m dragging today but I am definitely getting 7km done this afternoon/evening as well as heading to Crossfit.  I haven’t worked out since Thursday and I feel like a good sweat session or two is definitely on order. I have a 10km race this coming Sunday (just a little race, no chip timing, but it’s local and in an area that I haven’t run before) so I don’t want to go too crazy this week but the half marathon training plan called for a 7km LSD yesterday. It got pushed to today as I clearly prefer sleeping over running when on my weekend of nights.

Third – I mentioned in my Random Friday Facts post that we were going to look at a house yesterday – well…let me just say that just because you slapped a bunch of drywall up doesn’t mean you should call it a +1 bedroom. And I’m sorry, but to me a 4 piece bathroom means a stand up shower, toilet, sink and tub. You can’t call it a 4 piece just because you have a tub and shower combo. And if you live by a train track and the train blows its horn every. single. time. it goes by the house, you really might have a hard time selling it. Whew.  Good thing we aren’t in a hurry to move.

Have any of you heard of the website Think Geek ? I have this shirt from the site:

It makes me laugh every time I look at it haha. It’s a play on Hello Kitty and Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment.  I once flirted with the idea of becoming an astrophysicist and even took a year of physics and astronomy at university, so theoretical physics always makes me excited. Sad, I know.

I also found this on the site. And yes, I would seriously use it. And yes, I realize how this post is making me look. I like science and I’m not ashamed.

Finally, this trailer was shown to me today and even though I was skeptical of some of the casting originally, and I was concerned how they would turn this fantastic book into a movie, the trailer looks phenomenal. March 23 2012 cannot come soon enough!!! If you are a fan of dystopia-type books, young adult fiction, or just a great story I definitely recommend the Hunger Games trilogy.

Off to finish some laundry then decide if I want to run outside or on the treadmill (which means I have to pay for a drop in pass at the rec centre) and then head over to Crossfit.  Happy Monday everyone :)

Scout as a puppy. How cute was she!!