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What to Look for as You Search for a Reputable Lhasa Apso Breeder
By Joyce Johanson
What should you, a potential Lhasa Apso owner, look for as you search for a Lhasa Apso breeder? Just what is a reputable breeder and what should you reasonably expect from him/her?
The first thing you should expect from a reputable breeder is questions. . .lots and lots of questions. We're a nosy bunch! Some of us will ask these questions as we talk to you on the phone. Others will mail you a questionnaire. We'll ask why you want a Lhasa Apso; what your past experiences with the breed have been; what other pets you have; the ages of your children or grandchildren who visit often; your philosophy of raising and training a dog; your philosophy about making a dog a part of your family; and your philosophy of crate training. We'll ask for information about the research you have done on the breed (especially if you have never had a Lhasa before) and where you found the information. We'll want to know if you have a fenced in yard and, if you don't, how you intend to protect and exercise your Lhasa. We'll ask if you understand the amount of care a Lhasa's coat takes and if you have made arrangements for a groomer to care for your dog or if you plan to do the grooming yourself. We'll ask if you want a male or a female (and why) and if you're looking for a companion puppy or a show prospect. We'll ask what you understand about the Lhasa's personality. (For example, what does "chary of strangers" mean?) And, if you don't know the answers to some of our questions, that's okay. We'll take the opportunity to educate you on some of the joys and tribulations of owning a Lhasa. Oh. . . and we may ask for names and contact information of references, and it's just fine for you to ask the same in return.
The next thing you should expect from a breeder is answers to your questions. You can be nosy too! You should be given ample opportunity to ask questions about the breed in general and the breeder's dogs in particular. Make a list before you make the phone call and add to the list during the conversation if necessary. Many of your questions should be generated from the reading you have done about the breed. Don't be afraid to ask questions regarding how and where the puppies are raised and socialized, the number of litters the breeder has each year, the number of years the breeder has been involved with the breed, the breeder's practices regarding waiting lists and deposits, and the breeder's health guarantees, return policies, policies on spaying/neutering, policies on withholding AKC registration paperwork, and prices. Ask whatever you think you need to know to help you find a puppy that is right for you.
You should expect information. A good breeder wants you to know everything you need to know before you welcome a Lhasa Apso into your life and a relationship that could last 15 years or longer. Most of us enjoy talking about the breed - and our own Lhasas - so we might give you more information than you really want. A good breeder will be able to provide you with resources for finding more information, especially if you seem not to have done your homework before you called!
You should expect honesty and integrity. A breeder's value system should reflect the "treat others as you want to be treated" philosophy. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and more than one puppy buyer has been hoodwinked by a breeder who seemed honest and sincere. (I might also add that more than one breeder has been taken in by a puppy buyer who was less than honest. The trust factor works both ways.) The American Lhasa Apso Club (ALAC) has endorsed a Code of Ethics for its members that covers behavior related to breeding practices, kennel management, sales, advertising, written agreements, and health guarantees.
Once you've chosen a breeder, you should expect the following:
1. An opportunity to meet the puppy's dam and sire. If the breeder does not own the sire, he will not be available for you to meet and that's okay, but you should be able to meet the puppy's mother.
2. An opportunity to meet other Lhasas the breeder has produced (most of us enjoy showing off our dogs!) Ask to see siblings of the sire or dam or other offspring of either dog. Many breeders can pull out photo albums to show you pictures of the puppy's relatives back many generations.
3. A health guarantee that outlines how long the guarantee is in effect, what particular diseases or conditions are covered by the guarantee, and what procedures to follow if a health problem arises while the guarantee is in effect. Don't expect the guarantee to cover injuries or illness caused by accidents, neglect, or abuse, including improper diet, improper grooming and coat care, or inadequate veterinary care while the dog is in your possession.
4. A sales agreement with return policy that explains under what circumstances the dog may be returned for money back or for a replacement puppy. You can also expect the breeder to request the right of "first refusal," meaning you are expected to contact him/her should circumstances prevent your keeping the Lhasa, even when he/she grows up. The breeder may take the dog back (usually no money changes hands) or may help you find the dog another home.
5. Your puppy's AKC paperwork. Depending on the sales agreement, the AKC registration paperwork may be provided at the time of the sale or at a later date. Most breeders require that puppies sold as pets be spayed or neutered and will only provide AKC registration paperwork once they receive documentation of the procedure. This is entirely within their rights as a breeder, but you must be sure to get a sales agreement that states the paperwork will come to you. If the breeder does not intend to provide paperwork, a statement of that fact should be part of the signed contract.
6. Continued support. Most breeders want to maintain some kind of contact with puppy buyers. They realize that their job as a breeder does not stop with the puppy sale. Your breeder should be a resource for you as your Lhasa grows and should welcome your questions as opportunities to educate you further about the breed. By maintaining even intermittent contact with puppy buyers, a breeder becomes educated about his/her lines, how they mature, and the problems that may arise. By keeping in contact with your breeder, you are doing him/her as well as yourself a favor. (P.S. Breeders always appreciate occasional photos of the Lhasas they have bred.)
Good Lhasa Apso breeders are not hard to find, but you need to do your homework about the breed so you know the kinds of questions to ask and can feel comfortable with the answers you receive. Again, thanks for being interested in the Lhasa Apso. Good luck as you search for the right breeder who has just the puppy you've been waiting for!
14 year old Pepper, owned by Becky Hughes, clearing a bar jump.
AM/Can CH Ob-One's Ky-Ann Pepper UD RE
Aleck, owned by Bobbie Wood and Sarah Fitzgerald, returning over a jump with his dumbbell.
CH Anbara Alasara Smart Aleck CDX RE
An obedience trial is an event at which dogs and handlers perform exercises as set forth in the American Kennel Club's Obedience Regulations. Dogs are scored on the performance by AKC approved judges.
There are three levels of training. Through the Novice Class, dogs earn the Companion Dog (CD) title, through the Open Class, the Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title; and through the Utility Class, the Utility Dog (UD) title. The team (handler and dog) compete against a top score of 200 to win A.K.C. Obedience titles. To earn a title, a team must qualify in three trials under three different judges by receiving at least 170 points out of a possible 200, and, in each exercise must receive more than half of the available points allotted. In order to qualify, a dog must, on one command or signal, perform the principal feature of each exercise in an acceptable manner. A table, available on the website linked below, includes the order of exercises in each class, and the principal feature of that exercise. Also, the available points for each exercise are given.
Obedience is a fun way to meet other students training their dogs and learn to be a team with your dog. Lhasas learn very quickly and if you keep it fun and positive, they love their training sessions. Always choose a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) Trainer to help you learn the rules and train your dog.
Josie has Rally titles, agility titles, Grand Champion and Champion titles proving that the Lhasa Apso is trainable and versatile!
GCH CH MACH11 PACH Indian Hill Melou's Josie RA MXB3 MJG3 MXP3 MXPB MJP3 MJPB PAX XF T2B TKN
Myth makes the weavepoles look easy! She demonstrates agileness and flexibility.
GCH CH MACH3 Melou Shambhala MXG MJC T2B TKN
Agility is a fun sport that emphasizes teamwork between the dog and the handler. A course of obstacles (jumps, weave poles, tunnels, A-frame, dogwalk, teeter-totter and more jumps) is set up in an approximately 100’ X 100’ area. Courses are designed by the agility judge. The running path is such that the dog would not be able to complete the obstacles in their designated running order by himself and must have direction from the human on the team. Speed and accuracy are important to being successful in agility. Positive reinforcement and being more interesting than dirt are necessary for the handler to get the Lhasa Apso to perform!
There are two types of courses that are run: a Standard course uses the teeter, A-frame, dogwalk, pause table, jumps, weaves and tunnels; a Jumpers course has jumps, weaves and tunnels. Dogs are measured and jump at jump heights that are possible for them to do. Dogs that are 11” or less at the withers jump 8” in AKC agility trials. There is also a Preferred jump height where the dog jumps 4” less than the standard height for them.
Teams start competing at the Novice level, progressing to Open and then Excellent. 3 qualifying legs are needed to earn the basic titles in these divisions. After earning the Excellent Jumpers with Weaves and Excellent Standard titles, teams can compete for the Master Excellent Jumpers or Master Excellent Standard titles and then earn a MACH (Master Agility Champion) title.
The training builds better communications between dog and handler. The relationship that forms with the one-on-one training and better communication is especially strong.
Aleck, owned by Bobbie Wood and Sarah Fitzgerald, working on a Rally course with Bobbie.
CH Anbara Alasara Smart Aleck CDX RE
Emmy watches Bobbie for cues while working on her RAE.
CH Kumi Kian Forget Me Not CD RAE
Rally Obedience is definitely a sport for the novice exhibitor to begin competition with their Lhasa Apso. It builds on the dog and handler learning to communicate with each other in a fun way.
Rally Obedience is a form of dog obedience with a twist - a total focus on fun and excitement for the dog, handler and spectator. Dog and handler teams follow a set course, performing the exercise indicated by 10-20 consecutive signs. Signs are numbered to indicate the course the handler and dog take during the performance.
There is a lot of variety with each rally course. And Rally Obedience is different than Obedience in that handlers may talk to their dogs, praise them, and give them needed verbal commands. Handlers can even use hand signals, point and in Novice and Advanced, clap as often as the handler needs. And it's not only allowed, but encouraged - making it a really fun sport!
Here is a link to more information at AKC. http://www.akc.org/events/rally/index.cfm
Maestro watches Bobbie for the next command while on the Rally course.
AKC Scent Work is a sport that mimics the task of working detection dogs to locate a scent and communicate to the handler that the scent has been found. Real-life detection dogs are trained to search for a variety of things--drugs, explosives, human remains, currency, other contraband, living humans (such as for Search and Rescue), and much more. AKC Scent Work takes this amazing working relationship and turns it into a fun game that any dog can play.
AKC Scent Work is broken down into two divisions. The Odor Search Division, in which the dog is searching for the odor of one or more specific essential oils, and the Handler Discrimination Division, in which the dog is searching for the scent of their handler.
Searches in AKC Scent Work are completed in a variety of environments, known as "Elements." The Elements in AKC Scent Work are:
•Container: The target odor is concealed within a container (such as a cardboard box or briefcase), and the dog must indicate in which container the scent is hidden.
•Interior: The target odor is concealed on or in an object in an indoor search area.
•Exterior: The target odor is concealed on or in an object in an outdoor search area--this requires the dog to locate the scent despite changing airflow patterns, weather conditions, and natural distractions.
•Buried: The target odor is concealed within a small container and then buried underneath the ground.
Reese, owned by Marsha Susag demonstrates container, interior and buried searches.CH MLS Dakota The Man in the Suit
The Difficulty Levels
Each element in the Odor Search Division, and the Handler Discrimination Division, has four difficulty levels: Novice, Advanced, Excellent, and Master. Dogs will begin with the Novice level classes and move up as they earn titles, and may progress through the elements at different speeds (i.e., a dog may compete in the Novice Interior class and the Advanced Container class). Factors such as the size of the search area, the number of hides, whether the number of hides is known or unknown to the handler, and the maximum height of the hides will change with the difficulty level.
The Odor Search Division of AKC Scent Work uses four odors: Birch (Betula lenta), Anise (Pimpinella anisum), Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata), and Cypress (Cupressus sempevirens). Novice searches are for Birch only, Advanced searches are for Birch and/or Anise, Excellent searches are for Birch and/or Anise and/or Clove, and Master searches are for Birch and/or Anise and/or Clove and/or Cypress.
Therapy dogs go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people.
Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are dogs who are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability. An example of a service dog is a dog who guides an owner who is blind, or a dog who assists someone who has a physical disability. Service dogs stay with their person and have special access privileges in public places such as on planes, restaurants, etc. Therapy dogs, the dogs who will be earning the AKC Therapy Dog™ title, do not have the same special access as service dogs.
It is unethical to attempt to pass off a therapy dog as a service dog for purposes such as flying on a plane or being admitted to a restaurant.
The Purpose of This Program
The purpose of this program is to recognize AKC dogs and their owners who have given their time and helped people by volunteering as a therapy dog and owner team.
•AKC does not certify therapy dogs; the certification and training is done by qualified therapy dog organizations. The certification organizations are the experts in this area and their efforts should be acknowledged and appreciated.
•AKC Therapy Dog titles can be earned by dogs who have been certified by AKC recognized therapy dog organizations and have performed the required number of visits.
•The AKC Therapy Dog™ program awards official AKC titles to dogs who have worked to improve the lives of the people they have visited.
Therapy Dog Titles
Cruiser, owned by Jill Kozeluh, brings big smiles and joy to many patients in nursing homes.
Ch Northwind The Savvy Traveler CGC TDIAO
From the 1920’s and 1940’s when trick dogs such as Rin Tin Tin and Lassie won peoples’ hearts, trick dog training has become one of the most exciting new areas in dog training today.
AKC Trick Dog titles are official AKC titles listed on the dog’s title record.
4 TRICK DOG TITLES -
•Novice Trick Dog (TKN)
The dog performs 10 skills from the Novice list. (see link to “Application” below for lists of skills). If a dog has a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate or title on record at AKC, it can do 5 Novice tricks (CGC + 5) to earn the Novice title.
•Intermediate Trick Dog (TKI)
The dog must have the Novice title, plus perform 10 Intermediate tricks.
Advanced Trick Dog (TKA)
The dog must have the Intermediate title, plus perform 5 tricks from the Advanced list.
•Trick Dog Performer (TKP)
In this title, handlers perform a short routine with at least 10 tricks previously learned.
The Coursing Ability Test (CAT) is an introductory event fashioned after the sport of lure coursing. It tests a dog’s basic coursing instinct or hunting-by-sight ability. The dog chases an artificial lure, and the test is a non-competitive pass/fail event with dogs run one at a time. To pass the test, a dog running alone must pursue a lure, completing the course with enthusiasm and without interruption within a given time. Most dogs will happily go after the lure! The CAT provides a lively and healthy activity attractive to many dog owners.
The purpose of the AKC FAST CAT® event is to provide all dogs and their owners an enjoyable, healthy activity in which they can participate. Dogs run singularly. The dog's time to complete the 100 yard dash is converted into MPH. Dogs earn points based on their handicapped speed. Titles are awarded when a dog has accumulated a given number of points
Dogs have a very keen sense of smell—100,000 times stronger than humans! That’s why dogs are often used to find lost people and animals, drugs, avalanche and disaster victims, and even to detect cancer and oncoming seizures. AKC Tracking is a canine sport that demonstrates a dog’s natural ability to recognize and follow a scent, and is the foundation of canine search and rescue work. In tracking the dog is completely in charge, because only he knows how to use his nose to find and follow the track. For many, the greatest pleasure of tracking are the hours spent outside, training and interacting with their dogs.