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From: Ina Dick
Date: 18 Jun 1999 


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 to visit.

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 questions.

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 comments.

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, lively dog.

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


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