Prior To Your First Bouv
Preparing the Neophyte
This is how we prepared
ourselves for having a Bouv in the house.
There were still surprises, but that's the nature of life. I don't mention
all the reading we did. I think that where Bouvs are concerned, the more
actual dogs you see and interact with, the better. We suggest the same
process for those thinking about getting their First Bouv Pup:
1) Know WHY you want a bouvier. Are your reasons good ones?
2) Ask around. Who in town has a Bouv? Can you visit? Most people have lots
of information to share.
3) Contact a breeder. Run up your phone bill. Ask every question you can
think of. Answer their questions. Make sure they know about your home
situation, lifestyle, free time, experience and why you want a bouvier. Do
they think your reasons are good ones?
4) Contact another breeder. Repeat.
5) Contact another breeder. Repeat.
6) Listen to what the breeders say. If they say you need a fence, don't
think you'll be fine without one. If they say you can't single-handedly
raise a puppy and hold down a 12-hour a day job, they're right. If they
suggest a different breed for your needs, look into it. They're thinking of
what is best for the dog. You should too.
7) Check out dog training classes in your area. Find out how much classes
cost and what the time commitment is. If you can't fit classes in your
schedule, you don't have time for a dog. Find out how much a crate
costs--the biggest size. Find out how much spay/neuter, shots, heartworm
medication, and emergency visits cost. Find out how much a dog license
costs. Find out how much grooming costs. If you're on a tight budget, you
might need a lower maintenance breed. Know the city ordinances on dogs (chances
are your neighbors, or someone nearby with a grudge against dogs, knows the
ordinances inside and out). You can't afford to not know. Follow the law.
8) Read Pam Green's "Don't Buy a
Bouvier" every night for a week. She's not exaggerating.
9) Read up on at least 5 other breeds of dog. Might they be better suited to
your lifestyle? Your personality? Your pocketbook?
10) Still interested? Contact your preferred breeder again and set up a time
11) Call a fastidious friend who has a mild dislike of dogs. Ask them to do
you a great favor and accompany you on "The Visit".
12) Off you go. Warn your friend that Bouvs are big dogs. Other advice: go
unscented (some scents trigger a lot of dog sniffing and licking).
13) Be greeted at the breeder's house by a minimum of 3 adult Bouvs. One
should be an "alert" or "watch" Bouv.
14) Once you and your hyperventilating friend have crossed the threshold,
spend at least 30 minutes watching the pups, the adults, and asking more
15) You cannot leave:
- until you have had an adult Bouv step on your foot
- until you have received a Bouv kiss
- until you have received a Bouv butt sniff
(Well mannered adults won't jump up on you. But if they do, you'll learn why
you shouldn't let your pup jump up on you or on your friends)
You cannot leave:
- until you know what qualities the breeder is breeding for and why, and have seen
evidence of this in their dogs
- until you know the terms of the purchase.
- until you have seen one of the parents of the litter
- until you have received documentation of the lineage and health certification
16) Drive home. Take the scenic route. Listen to your fastidious friend's
Now you know how big your pup will get, what they will require from you in
terms of time, attention, and money, and that not everyone loves a big,
Don't let your puppy do anything that you wouldn't want a 90 pound adult dog
to do. It's hard to unteach.
Don't expect everyone to enjoy an enthusiastic Bouv welcome.
Teach your puppy manners.
Most people will love your pup. A lot of people won't love your adult Bouv.
Everyone enjoys a well trained, well behaved dog. Don't be afraid to ask for
help in training you dog.
Ina, Tim, and Ozzy