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Neonatal health maintenance: A Wellness Program
by Philip Roudebush, D.V.M.
From Science Diet BEST, A Newsletter for Breeders and Exhibitors, Winter 1991, Vol. 2, No. 1.
Editor's note: This is the second article in a series focusing on risk factor management of dogs and cats. Further articles will focus on risk factor management of breeding stock, the mature adult and the geriatric animal.
The level of care an animal receives during its neonatal period is an important factor in its future health. Breeders who establish a health maintenance program early help ensure a high quality of life for their animals and provide an important service for those who purchase puppies and kittens.
Health maintenance during the neonatal period centers around the presence or absence of genetic or congenital defects, environmental factors, control of parasitism, and nutrition.
Over one-third of puppy deaths result from problems at birth which are due to congenital malformations, still birth, difficult labor, and injury associated with carelessness by the bitch. Another one-third of puppy deaths occur during the first week of life due to congenital malformations, injury, lactation failure and environmental exposure. Injury and environmental factors are the leading cause of death in pups after one week of age.
In kittens, still births account for up to half of all neonatal deaths. Most other deaths occur in the first week of life and are due to maternal neglect and congenital defects.
All body structures and functions are susceptible to congenital defects. The most commonly encountered defects in dogs involve the central nervous system as well as the muscular and skeletal systems, the eyes, and the cardiovascular system. Purebred dogs and cats may be more frequently affected with genetic defects than are crossbred animals. Genetic problems can spread subtly through a breed, kennel or cattery until they are difficult to control. Fortunately, many national specialty clubs have programs to monitor and control undesirable genetic traits.
Although losses due to congenital defects are less than those due to other causes, they can be a problem to individual breeders, particularly when these defects are of a genetic nature. Congenital/hereditary problems may not appear during the neonatal period, but become evident during the juvenile or adult periods.
The health of a newborn is indicated by its breathing effectiveness, birth weight and its body's response to the environment.
Weight can be used as a guide to the maturity of the newborn, as well as a determinant of survival and as a means of monitoring normal growth during the neonatal period.
As a general rule, toy canine breeds weigh 100 to 200 grams at birth; medium breeds weigh 200 to 300 grams; and large breeds weigh approximately 400 to 500 grams at birth. Specific information on normal birth weights for various breeds is lacking, however, as an experienced breeder you can usually tell whether an animal is normal weight.
Low birth weights have been associated with inadequate diets, environmental toxins, congenital defects and chronic illness. Puppies that are more than 25 percent below the average birth weight will have a higher mortality rate. Kittens with low birth weight constitute a high percentage of neonatal deaths.
Puppies usually double their birth weights by 10 to 12 days of age. Kittens will weigh from 60 to 120 grams at birth and double their weight by two weeks of age.
Newborn pups and kittens spend most of their time either sleeping, nursing or voiding during the first two weeks of life. In puppies, there is considerable motor activity during sleep for the first week or longer. This so-called active sleep in puppies is characterized by jerking, tremor, crawling, scratching and occasional vocalization. "Quiet" sleep does not develop in puppies until about two weeks of age. Newborn animals normally can be aroused from sleep and will vocalize. During the first two weeks, newborns tend to remain huddled with their mother and littermates. Beyond two weeks of age, they become more active and engage in play.
Newborns maintain a flexed body state for the first four to five days, at which time the muscles that extend the joints become more dominant. They can raise their heads at birth but cannot maintain an upright posture until two to three weeks of age. In this regard, there appears to be some breed variation among dogs. For example, Greyhound puppies can push themselves up with their pelvic limbs just 24 hours after birth, whereas, Dachshunds cannot do this for several days. The newborn puppy initially propels itself by sliding along on its abdomen using a kind of swimming motion. These movements occur most often just before feeding and become less pronounced in advance of sleep. This mode of movement persists for the first two to three weeks of life, when an upright gait is attempted.
The two most important factors affecting survival and growth of the neonate are the maintenance of a proper environment and optimum nutrition.
Puppies and kittens are not capable of adapting their body temperature to that of their environment for the first two weeks of life. They have no shivering reflex for the first six days and must depend on an external heat source such as their mother to sustain normal body temperature. To stay warm, pups and kittens often pile up with their littermates which decreases their total exposed body surface area and effectively reduces heat loss. Body temperature drops rapidly with an environmental temperature of less than 85 degrees F. Mild hypothermia is not necessarily lethal and may represent an adaptive response for young in the wild. However, moderate hypothermia (a body temperature less than 85 degrees Fahrenheit) inhibits feeding and as a result, the animal's chance for survival. From the second to the fourth weeks of life, the body temperature rises to 97-99 degrees F. After the fourth week, it is near the adult body temperature of 101-103 degrees F. for dogs, and 100.5-102.5 degrees F. for cats.
The importance of nutrition in a complete, preventive health care program is well documented. In 1968, a World Health Organization study attempted to put the relationship of human nutrition, disease, and immunity into perspective. The study concluded that infections were more likely to have serious consequences for hosts experiencing malnutrition. Researchers not only found that malnutrition resulting from deficiencies of certain essential nutrients suppress immunity, but also that excesses of certain nutrients hinder immune responsiveness.
This type of information should convince us that optimum nutrition during all ages of life is an important part of any health maintenance program.
As is the case with all newborn animals, it is important that pups and kittens receive adequate amounts of good quality mother's milk shortly after birth. Every effort should be made to see that the newborn nurses soon after birth so that transfer of passive immunity is maximized.
While nursing, the pups and kittens should be observed occasionally to be sure they all get a chance to nurse. If one is crowded out, it should be assisted in reaching a nipple. Nutritional management of the litter will be handled completely by the mother for the first three weeks. If puppies or kittens cry constantly or do not achieve the weight gain described, they are probably not receiving enough milk. Neonatal puppies and kittens have very little fat on their bodies. Their energy source is almost entirely glycogen, which is rapidly depleted after birth and not restored until after several days of nursing. If newborns do not receive adequate nourishment, they soon become dehydrated, cold, and weak.
One of the most beneficial management practices is to weigh puppies and kittens daily using a gram scale for the first two weeks and then every three days until they are one month old. A steady weight gain and normal stools are the best indications of good health and an adequate diet. Puppies and kittens should gain weight the first day of life and continue to gain daily. A more precise guide is that puppies should gain 1 to 2 grams per day per pound of anticipated adult weight. Healthy kittens typically gain 15 to 30 grams per day and should weigh 350 to 450 grams at four weeks of age.
Here's a check list to follow for your neonatal health maintenance program:
1) Ensure a clean, quiet environment with controlled temperature.
2) Closely observe the newborns during the first weeks of life when most deaths occur.
3) Weigh newborns at birth and daily thereafter to ensure proper nutrition, growth and development.
4) Monitor for flea or other external parasite infestation.
5) Ensure optimum nutrition for the lactating bitch or queen by feeding a food that promotes growth.
About the author:
Dr. Roudebush is an Associate in Clinical Nutrition for Mark Morris Associates, an animal nutrition research organization. He is a 1975 graduate of Purdue University and completed his residency in Small Animal Medicine at the University of Missouri. For two years, Dr. Roudebush was an associate in private general practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Roudebush also has served on the faculties of the University of Missouri, Department of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Clinical Sciences at Mississippi State University.
Original Doc: neo04.doc
Source: AKC Gazette, Breeders Forum column, issue unknown, pp. 26, 28.
Ailments every breeder hopes never to see in a litter.
Most litters are as routine as the sun rising in the east. There is little new under our sun - even in canine reproduction. Nevertheless, even experienced breeders can occasionally run across a condition that is new to them. For instance, the first time you see a cleft palate on a puppy, it is frightening and upsetting, no matter how often you've heard about it. A brief overview of some of the most serious neonatal conditions follow.
Anasarca: Pups suffering from this ailment are grotesquely swollen at birth with excessive amounts of fluid. They are often termed "walrus," "rubber" or "water" pups, and usually require a Caesarean delivery. This condition arises as a result of lowered plasma protein levels, lymphatic obstruction or increased venous pressure. Anasarca causes edema throughout the entire body and, in severe cases, can be fatal. Some veterinarians have successfully administered a diuretic such as furosemide to ease mild forms of this disorder. I know of several Bulldog pups saved this way.
Atresia ani: This birth defect involves the lack of an anal opening or a missing section of tissue between the bowel and anus. The pup is unable to defecate: affected individuals will appear bloated and will cry in distress. To survive, a pup with this condition must have immediate surgical repair. I know of one Bernese Mountain Dog breeder who elected to do this, knowing that she would have to keep the puppy herself and offer post-surgical care for several months.
Fading puppies: This is the broad term for when a litter stops nursing, then begins to sicken and die for no apparent reason. There are various underlying causes, including an organic birth defect, a virus or any one of a dozen different deficiencies or diseases. Fluids and warmth are vital when attempting to find the cause.
Canine herpesvirus is often a culprit while the puppies have low temperatures during the first three weeks of life. Diarrhea, listlessness, cessation of nursing and constant crying are symptoms of this viral ailment and, even if saved, survivors may have kidney damage.
Septicemia: No matter how clean breeders keep the nursery, a whelping box is not a sterile place. Before the umbilical cord dries and seals, bacteria can gain entry to the body through the cord and spread to the bloodstream. Septicemia can be prevented by dabbing the unhealed cord with tincture of iodine and keeping the box as clean as possible. If an infection occurs, it may respond to antibiotics.
Neonatal conjunctivitis: When pus forms around an unopened eye, an infection of the conjuntiva may be at fault. Keep the area clean by wiping with cotton soaked in warm water. If the eye area is swollen, however, it may be necessary for a veterinarian to separate the eyelids and drain the pus before starting follow-up treatment with ophthamalic ointment and antibiotics. A German Shepherd breeder I know thus saved the sight of a future top- winning and producing champion.
Juvenile pyoderma: This is a condition in which Staphylococcal eruptions occur on the skin. Pimples may appear on the lips, eyes and neck, or on the belly and groin where they may be aggrevated by urine soiling. Keep the infected area clean with an antiseptic disinfectant such as Betadine. Antibiotics usually cure the problem, but pups that are hypersensitive to the bacteria may develop massive swelling of the lymph nodes, often accompanied by draining abscesses. The puppy I saw with this condition looked like he had mumps, which explains wy the term "strangles" is often associated with pyoderma. These cases require aggressive cortisone treatment in addition to the anti-bacterial therapy.
Because the following defects are usually painfully fatal to pups and emotionally taxing for breeders, euthanasia is often the kindest recourse.
Cleft palate and harelip: Harelip puppies are born with a split in their upper lip that sometimes extends into the nose. This is often accompanied by a cleft palate (a split in the roof of the mouth) which allows milk to drain into the nose when the pup nurses. Pups can starve or succumb to pneumonia from inhaling milk into the lungs.
Hydrocephalus: An abnormal increase in the amount of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain which causes an enlarged, domed skull and eyes that bulge and exhibit strabismus (looking in two directions). The pressure on the brain usually causes incoordination, retardation or death.
Schistosoma reflexus: A failure of the abdominal wall to close completely resulting in organs resting outside the body. As the intestines push through the opening and become contaminated, the result is peritonitis. If the pup is born in sterile conditions, such as during a C-section, corrective surgery may be attempted.
Just like the man who served as his own lawyer and had a fool for a client, a breeder shouldn't try to practice veterinary medicine. Although therapy can sometimes be administered at home for these conditions, they must first be diagnosed by a veterinarian. While none of the congenital ailments listed here are proven to be hereditary, dogs suffering from them should not be bred.
Fortunately, even longtime breeders seldom see the alarming defects or illnesses described here. Most puppies ar healthy and blessedly normal. But when there is a deviation from the norm, even veteran breeders instantly contact a veterinarian for assistance. The most important nursery care for a breeder to remember and carry out is simple and effective: If you weigh and examine pups daily, as well as provide adequate warmth, you'll become aware of an abnormality as soon as it appears.
Ms. Walkowicz has been a breeder since the 1970s. Her book, Old Dogs, Old Friends was published in July.
Original Doc: neo7.doc
Parental Antibodies And Puppies
by Christine Wilford, D.V.M.
Source: From the AKC GAZETTE, Veterinary News column, p. 36
Immunoglobulins, a family of proteins capable of acting as antibodies, are passed to pups through placental circulation and/or colostrum. Of the five types of immunoglobulins (Ig), three - IgA, IgG and IgM - were examined for a relationship of parental immunoglobulins with morbidity and mortality of pups. IgA is the principle immunoglobulin found in secretions such as milk, respiratory and intestinal mucin, saliva and tears. IgG is predominantly found in serum. IgM is formed in nearly every immune response.
A study performed at the University of Pennsylvania documents no significance of parental antibodies to mortality of pups up to eighteen weeks of age. However, pups born to bitches with low IgA and IgM have a significant increase in incidence of sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge and conjunctivitis during the first eighteen weeks of life. Although sire immunoglobulin levels appear to have a lesser effect, low levels of IgA were associated with increased respiratory signs in puppies between ten and eighteen weeks of age. There was no significant relationship established between parental IgG and morbidity of pups.
It is conceivable that pups passively acquire less IgA in colostrum from bitches with low levels of IgA, but a genetic association of stronger maternal influence versus paternal influence has been well supported in humans. The University of Pennsylvania study showed similar associations between bitches and pups versus sires and pups. The data also strongly supports importance of non-genetic factors such as transplacental transfer of maternal IgA antibodies. These data may partially explain consistently healthier litters from certain bitches and/or sires.
References: American Journal of Veterinary Research. Vol. 51, No. 2, Feb. 1990.
Dr. Wilford received her veterinary degree at Texas A&M University. She is currently practicing in Seattle, Washington, where she lives with her husband and a Doberman.
original doc: neo8.doc
Source: icg, International Canine Genetics Inc., 271 Great Valley Parkway, Malvern PA 19355. Phone: (800) 248-8099 or (610) 640-1244; FAX (610) 640-8099. Copyright: International Canine Genetics, Inc., 1990, Rev. 4/94
The estrous cycle of the bitch consists of four stages:
Proestrus begins with the observable signs of heat, such as vulvar swelling, the onset of a bloody vaginal discharge, and attraction of males. Hormonally, Proestrus is characterized by rising estrogen levels.
Behavioral estrus is the period of female receptivity, including such behavior as "flagging" and "winking". The vulva will soften and decrease in size, and often the discharge will change from bloody to clear or straw-colored. Hormonally, estrus begins with the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge and is characterized by declining estrogen and rising progesterone levels. Ovulation and the fertile period occur during this stage.
Diestrus begins approximately 8 days (range 6Ä10 days) after the LH surge, and signifies the end of the fertile period. Progesterone levels continue to rise and remain elevated during diestrus in all normal bitches whether pregnant or not; this elevation in progesterone is necessary to maintain a pregnancy.
Anestrus is the transition period between one cycle and the next. Progesterone levels return to baseline, either abruptly just prior to whelping, or gradually in the non-pregnant bitch. The reproductive tract "rests" for several months, while some hormonal changes occur to prepare the bitch for her next cycle.
During proestrus, serum estrogen levels rise slowly over a period of 10 to 14 days, peak 2 to 3 days before estrus, and then decline rapidly. Estrogen's major role is to prepare the reproductive system for breeding; therefore peak estrogen levels are reached prior to ovulation. These changes in estrogen levels result in:
1. Behavioral changes.
2. An increased turnover rate of vaginal epithelial cells (the cells lining the wall of the vagina). This process results in the changes seen in vaginal cytology.
3. Progressive swelling of the female reproductive tract and bloody vaginal discharge.
Blood estrogen levels are not reliable for timing breedings, however, because levels vary significantly from bitch to bitch, and there is no meaningful way to standardize the results. In addition, changes in estrogen are not directly correlated to the fertile period.
Normally LH is present in very small quantities. In early estrus, a significant increase in serum LH, followed by a return to baseline values, occurs rapidly, usually over a 24-hour period. It is this surge in LH that triggers ovulation, and thus determines the fertile period of the bitch. All events subsequent to the LH surge are consistent between bitches. Therefore, LH is the most accurate diagnostic tool for timing breedings. Serial daily blood samples can be performed to measure luteinizing hormone and identify the LH surge and the fertile period.
Blood progesterone levels stay at a low baseline level during late anestrus and proestrus, and begin to rise at the time of the LH surge. Progesterone then remains elevated for two or three months. These increasing levels of progesterone, together with decreasing estrogen levels, cause the reduction in swelling of the reproductive tract that occurs during estrus. Increased progesterone is also necessary to maintain pregnancy. Measurement of blood levels of this hormone is consistent between bitches and simple to perform. Therefore, serial blood samples can be performed to identify the initial rise in progesterone that coincides with the LH surge, and breedings may be based on this parameter.
OVULATION AND THE FERTILE PERIOD
Ovulation is triggered by the LH surge, which causes the ovaries to release the developing ova, or eggs. Ovulation occurs 48 hours after the LH surge. The ova cannot be fertilized upon their immediate release from the ovaries, however. A subsequent maturation step, requiring 2 to 3 days, must occur before sperm penetration and fertilization can take place. Once the eggs are mature, they remain viable for approximately 2 to 3 more days before they begin to degenerate. Thus, the actual fertile period of the bitch is only 2 to 3 days long, begins 4 or 5 days after the LH surge (2 or 3 days after ovulation), and occurs just prior to the onset of diestrus.
Blood progesterone levels are extremely reliable for ovulation timing when doing natural breedings, fresh artificial inseminations, or chilled semen AI's. Progesterone levels can be determined by many private laboratories, although the turn-around time for test results is often too long to make this useful for ovulation timing. More practical is an in-house canine specific test, available through ICG, that your veterinarian can run in his office, with results available in less than 30 minutes.
Remember that progesterone levels are baseline early in the bitch's heat cycle, but begin to rise at the time of the LH surge. Therefore, if the date of the initial rise in progesterone is identified, the LH surge can be estimated.
LUTEINIZING HORMONE (LH) ASSAY
The most accurate parameter used in ovulation timing is the actual identification of the LH surge by direct measurement. Since the elevation in LH typically has a duration of only 24 hours, blood sampling must be performed daily to identify this surge. ICG offers a laboratory canine LH assay which allows practical identification of the LH surge, and is recommended for breedings using frozen semen or as part of a thorough infertility investigation. It may also be used for chilled extended semen breedings when increased accuracy of ovulation timing is desired.
In routine natural breedings or fresh AI with a normal, healthy stud, sperm may be expected to live within the bitch's reproductive tract 5 or more days. Thus, breedings performed a day or two before the fertile period should still be viable at the time of peak fertility. Subsequent breedings during the fertile period will maximize sperm numbers on the bitch's most fertile days. ICG recommends breedings on days 2, 4 and 6 post-LH surge if three breedings are possible. If not, perform two breedings between days 3 and 7 post-LH surge.
If using chilled or frozen semen, or performing a natural breeding or fresh AI using a stud with compromised semen, it may be assumed that the longevity of the sperm cells are decreased and early breedings will likely be wasted. Therefore, these breedings should take place during the true fertile period, days 4-7 post-LH surge.
Many diagnostic and ancillary aids are available to assist in the timing of ovulation and breedings. No single test or assay is fully reliable or completely correlates with the exact stage the bitch is in. A single examination, vaginal smear, LH or progesterone level provides very limited information. Ovulation timing is more accurate and breeding management is more successful when multiple parameters are repeatedly evaluated.
Original Doc: ovulatio.doc
Pet Evaluation Testing
A new way to find the right home for pet‑quality puppies.
By Carol Lea Benjamin
GAZETTE, Dog Trainer's Diary, September 1991, pp. 30‑31.
Breeders have their own ways of evaluating puppies with show potential; "show guesses," a breeder friend calls them. For until their adult teeth come in, until their ears go up or tip or do whatever the standard says they should, until you can check the adult coming and going and see about all the other worrisome things that determine whether or not a dog is championship material, what can you do but guess? But what about the other puppies, the majority of puppies, I am told, who go not to show homes, but to pet homes? How can breeders make sure these special dogs are going to appropriate homes?
I've devised a very easy test which displays each puppy's character in minutes. The Pet Evaluation Test is described in detail in my new book The Chosen Puppy: How to Select and Raise a Great Puppy from a Shelter. The test not only helps people select appropriate puppies from shelters, puppies for whom genetic information is rarely available, but it also is illuminating for pure‑bred dogs. Using this test, potential owners are able to judge activity level dominance, trainability, people centeredness and how aloof or affectionate a given puppy may be. These factors differ from dog to dog. The particular Basenji, Boxer or Smooth Fox Terrier perfect for me could be all wrong for you.
Let the Buyer be Aware
The acronym PET is no accident. The purpose of the test is to evaluate a pup's potential as a pet. During the test, each puppy displays his character to the very person whose pet he might become. That in itself makes it a very different kind of test. It's different, too, because each step is meant to be repeated four or five times during each test; because even after many repetitions the test is valid, even helpful, to each pup tested; because you can administer the test as early as seven or eight weeks and up to several months of age; and again, most important, different because it is the potential buyer who performs the test.
The pet evaluation test includes no action that would not normally occur to a puppy during his first few days or weeks at a new home:
observing the puppy in an area new to him
trying to get the puppy to follow a person
calling the puppy to come
petting the puppy without restraining him
gently teaching the puppy to sit
In addition, one is asked while working with each puppy to note activity level and dominance, and descriptions are given for low, medium and high ratings in each. It's a test a child can perform, and should perform if the puppy will become part of his family.
Testing‑‑l, 2, 3
How, then, is the pup's potential as a pet evaluated? Simple. If, given a bit of time, the puppy responds well to a new environment, this is how he will adjust to his new home and eventually, with a continuing program of socialization, to the larger world away from home. Second, if the puppy will follow someone (a leader), he is demonstrating not only social attraction, but the willingness to be led, i.e., trained. The puppy who won't follow or who runs ahead or gets underfoot is more dominant than the puppy who follows nicely. The puppy who ignores the tester may be highly independent or not a people‑centered dog. Unless this is the norm for your breed and your buyers know this, this pup would be a poor choice for most pet owners.
Next the potential buyer can call the puppy to come. He is not limited to doing this once. A puppy in a new environment, like a puppy exploring his new home, may feel distracted, timid, inattentive. If he comes the second or third time he's called, fine. You can see the direction he is headed and it's a good one. Furthermore, now the tester can note if the pup comes close or right up onto him. The dog who never comes at all, even given four or five tries, won't make a satisfying pet for the majority of owners. The puppy who runs people down, especially if he then gets very mouthy, is a dominant dog, certainly not the pet for young children or a first‑time owner. The puppy who comes when called and allows himself to be petted, possibly licking the hand that pets him but not biting it, will make a reasonable pet for children or adults. In either case, the next step‑‑petting‑‑will show potential owners how the dog accepts and delivers affection. And you will be right there to elaborate on what is considered ideal behavior for your breed.
Now the tester can stand up and, attracting the puppy to look up by jingling keys or squeaking a squeak toy, he can gently try teaching the puppy to sit. If the puppy is a quick study, he will be sitting by the third or fourth try. What greater incentive to new owners for gentle training! Here they will see on the spot how trainable‑‑or how difficult‑‑a puppy might be . Moreover, each step of the way they are seeing how the puppy reacts to and for them, not for someone else, someone, perhaps, more experienced or more "alpha."
Each time the test is performed, the puppy will do better at it. No problem. By being tested by different potential owners, he is being socialized and trained. He is learning important life lessons: people. are fun and not to be feared; when someone calls you sweedy, run to them; sit when you are told and someone will pet you.
Can this harm any puppy? Hardly!
No gratuitous dominance such as holding a puppy on its back or letting it dangle in the air appears in pet evaluation testing. There is no attempt to startle a pup with loud noise or pinch its toes to test its touch sensitivity. None of this is necessary in order to see what kind of a pet a puppy will make. But, more important, to treat a young puppy thus must give it an awful impression of the human race. Puppies and dogs accept corrections that are part of the natural flow of education‑‑a harsh look from a mother who has been offended by brash behavior, a slam with her foreleg for going out of bounds, then, later on, a look, a warning, a leash correction from a human alpha teaching the puppy some basics. But to be manhandled for nothing can make a young, impressionable puppy grow up to distrust the species that indulges in such practices. When handling very young dogs, one should always stop and think about how the puppies will perceive the world based on your actions.
The Perfect Match
Pet puppies should be placed as carefully as when you place each of the feet while stacking your latest show puppy. Once it is ascertained that a Westie or a Chihuahua or what have you is indeed the perfect breed for a given family, the next job is to find the perfect puppy for them; one that bonds easily, works enthusiastically, follows, kisses, wags for them; one with the right level ofdominance, one not too sedate and not too active, always for them. Even within a litter, puppies' characters can vary significantly.
For pet dogs, one more aid in appropriate selection can mean a better chance at living happily ever after. And after all, isn't that what every breeder wants for all her puppies?
Ms. Benjamin is an author and dog trainer living in New York City.