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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone...I am new to the forum today...so far I am loving all the info there is here...a little background on me...a year and a half ago I had to put down my St. Bernard who was 12 years old ? So he had a very long and fun life...eventually he could not stand up on his back legs on his own which was the reason I had to call it quits for him...so anyways

I just put money down on a Saint Bernard puppy and want some opinions...I have a 2 day weekend coming up and at that time the puppy would be 6 1/2 weeks old...a week and a half after that I have a 4 day weekend to spend time with the puppy...at that time of course he would be 8 weeks old...my question is would u take him at the earlier or later date...being that 8 weeks is probably better then 6 plus I will have 4 full days to spend with him I'm thinking that's the better choice? The breeder says the vet says they would be OK to go right now and they are 5 1/2 weeks old...just giving u an idea of what the breeder thinks there progress is oh and they are eating puppy food
 

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Personally, I would be very, very leery of a breeder willing to let puppies go at 5 1/2 weeks. Puppies are NOT ready to be separated from their mother and litter mates at 5 1/2 weeks. In many states in the US, it is actually illegal to be selling a puppy before 8 weeks. I believe in some the minimum age may be 6 weeks, but for most that have a law dictating that it is 8 weeks. A puppy isn't really ready to be separated from its mother and litter when it is eating solid food. The time between weaning and 8-12 weeks old is what is referred to as a "critical period of socialization", meaning that the puppy is especially receptive to socialization experiences and is forming important memories and associations that will have a huge impact on temperament, confidence, and general demeanor for the rest of its life.

Puppies learn important things from their mother and litter mates at this age- most notably bite inhibition (how hard they can bite another dog before it hurts that dog and that dog reacts), healthy play behavior, and manners. Puppies separated from their litter before 8 weeks are very, very prone to over mouthiness and issues with biting as they age. It is often evident in adult behavior when a dog was separated from its litter before 8 weeks.

There is some push within the dog community to be waiting until closer to 10-12 weeks to be separating litters, which I don't disagree with but also don't think is completely necessary. I do hold firm that leaving the litter and mother before 8 weeks is opening yourself up to some possible behavioral issues later on, though, and does often have consequences in the adult behavior of the dog to the trained eye.

Some links elaborating on this:
Puppy Behavior Basics : The Humane Society of the United States
Is This the Reason Why Adult Dogs Have Behavior Problems?

Honestly, I would be worried about overall quality of dogs being produced by a breeder letting their pups go at 5 1/2 or 6 weeks. Saint Bernards are not a healthy breed these days; most notably they are prone to orthopedic issues. Is this breeder doing health testing on their dogs, or keeping track of dogs they are producing so they can track health issues in their lines?

Obviously, my opinion is if you do decide to go with this breeder, wait until 8 weeks. Don't be surprised if there are others who are even more vocal about warning away from this breeder.

And welcome to the forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
thanks moon...

I live in such a small town type place that this is always the way I have grown up buying dogs with my mom and dad...my whole life all we have ever done was find a family who has a litter of puppies and pick one and go with it...this is exactly what I did when I bought my saint who lived for 12 years...was just looked online for puppies for sale and said oh heres a litter of saints lets go get one...of course I got darn lucky on that one but im glad I did it...im not saying it was the right choice but I really didn't know any better

anyways I completely agree with you and will be waiting the entire 8 weeks until I pick up the puppy...from what I can tell the mother and father of the litter look amazingly healthy and all the little guys look great as well...I of course am no expert in this so I guess only time will tell if it was a bad move on my part...thanks for your help though I appreciate it...

I have been reading non stop on this website about puppy training and so on...so I will be giving it my best shot...
 

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Not caring about health testing is totally fine- I'm of the opinion that people these days are too militant about breeders. People should be getting their dogs where they want to, even if they are getting from breeders that others feel a little bit lacking. Really the only thing I think is an absolute MUST from a breeder is that they are doing everything they can to make sure the dogs they produce aren't ending up in shelters and have a clause in their contract that states they have the right of first refusal if the dog needs to be re-homed.

My current Boston Terrier is from a "hobby" breeder most people would consider a Back Yard Breeder (BYB, which is a term used to breeders people think are breeding for the "wrong" reasons and possibly adding to over population). Her breeder does have a clause in her contract requiring puppies be returned to her if the new owner can't keep them (vs going to a shelter), but she doesn't show or "do" anything with her dogs, she doesn't have a super extensive screening process and does advertise the puppies online, and she doesn't do any formal health testing. Mostly, she's breeding Boston because her family has had them for decades, and the dogs she has are a continuation of a line her sister has been breeding at least 10 years back, and she's breeding her pets together. I don't like what is winning in the breed ring, and the breeders that ARE doing health testing are almost exclusively show breeders. I want a dog with a bit of a muzzle that can run in the heat, and that's what I got with this more BYB type dog. I'm fine with that, and I was fine with the fact that me buying this puppy from this particular woman meant that she was going to breed again because she was able to move this puppy. I'm very happy with the dog I have (though a lot of her temperament is probably careful socialization and training on my part, I do credit good genetics with the fact that she's much more bearable excitement wise than most Bostons I know), and I'm OK with the fact that she isn't from health tested lines. This woman has been breeding the dogs she has long enough to know whether the parents have health problems, and my experience is that she does try to maintain some contact after they go home.

However- it is important to realize that there are more dogs in the world than there are homes for those dogs. Some breeds do tend to be over bred more than others, and some breeds/types are very common in shelters. If you were getting a Husky or a Bully breed I'd probably urge you to check shelters- realistically you're not going to find a young St Bernard hanging around most local shelters. In A shelter, somewhere, yes, but probably not close by. Do make sure you're fully comfortable with these breeders and the fact that buying a puppy from them makes it more likely they're going to have litters on the ground in the future.

I'm not going to say don't get this puppy, but I will say don't assume that because the parents were bred and look healthy the puppy will be healthy. It's fine to be OK with that gamble- a lot of people are- but be aware that it IS a gamble.

Definitely let us know when the puppy comes home and how raising it goes! We like to hear about puppies!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks again for your feedback moon...I guess I don't realize what makes someone a breeder...like I said...in my lifetime I have just found someone who had 2 saints and had puppies and called it a day :)...Just seems now days research is so over the top which is good if the info is out there why not educate yourself as I suppose I'm trying to do by talking with u and joining this site :)

I'm assuming from your last statement...if I were to have a male and female Saint and they had puppies I am not considered a breeder...I didn't realize there were licenses...and maybe I misread what u said...like I said I'm from a small town and this is the way it seems like things are done lol...these ppl I'm getting the puppy from seem to me like they are a mom and pop who just had 2 saints and had puppies...maybe I should consider doing a little research on these ppl but like I said I just didn't realize it was necessary and thought u just look online and find some puppies for sale nearby and go see if u like them :)

But again thanks for taking the time to give feedback I really appreciate it

I will hopefully have positive updates when I get him home...oh and I think I am naming him grimace...most ppl like the name a couple don't so far lol
 

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It's more what makes someone a "responsible breeder" vs an "irresponsible breeder". There is a problem with dog over population, and there are some breeds that are more over populated than others.

People tend to get pretty intense these days about what makes someone a good/responsible breeder vs a back yard breeder. Most people would agree that letting 2 pet dogs breed because you think they're both nice dogs is not a good reason to be breeding, especially if both dogs haven't had the recommended health tests for their breed- these are screenings that look at the diseases common in the breed that often pop up in lines. For many dogs this involves X rays of joints to be sure the parents have good joints, hearing tests and certain genetic tests to make sure they aren't carrying recessive genetic diseases that could show up in their pups. People will have all sorts of things that they hold a "good" breeder to, from things that I agree are good like having a right of first refusal in their contract to not making money (ever) on a litter, not breeding more than a certain number of litters a year, only breeding dogs with a purpose (for some, confirmation showing is enough, some want to see the breed being put to work in a way reminiscent of their original purpose or doing sport work like agility), or extensive health testing of their breeding dogs and sometimes even all the puppies they produce as well.

Anyone who has a litter on the ground that they either bred intentionally or ended up with accidentally because they had 2 intact (not neutered/spayed) dogs in the house had bred dogs and IMO classifies as a "breeder" (as in "breeder of dogs"). Whether they are a good breeder or not is always the point in question.

The reality is that there ARE irresponsible breeders that add to over population. IMO, when buying a dog from someone who produced that litter intentionally, it is important to question whether or not YOU feel that THIS breeder is someone adding to that, and also question whether or not YOU feel the price this breeder is asking for their puppies is worth it to YOU.

I like this article a lot as a way of explaining the faults in having so many stipulations of what makes someone a "good' or "responsible" breeder: What Makes a Good Breeder?

PS: I LOVE the name Grimace- you could call him Grimm for short!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks again...your full of info :~}

I also love the name grimace and also love the name Grimm which is some what of the reason i picked it...actually I originally was looking at neopolitan mastiffs and thought there head and face kind of looked like death or the Grimm reaper lol so the name grimace popped into my head if I were to ever get that type of dog...seeing as how that's not gonna happen I opted to just use the name for a St. Bernard lol...

Looking back at getting my first Saint I can't believe I even attempted it...we were for roommates in our 20's and said hey lets go get a big ass dog which we know nothing about and it will be awesome lol...amazingly enough like I said he loved 12 years for me and was the best thing I've ever experienced...

Now looking at this new one I feel so overwhelmed with research and information because I want this dog to be even better then my last...I want to be able to bring him anywhere and never worry about his behavior...and this whole house training a puppy thing all over again is scaring me lol...like I said I have no idea how my last dog did so well considering we knew nothing about training or how to properly take care of one...

Anyways thanks for the responses it's fun learning this stuff and having someone who is willing to give positive feedback :~}
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One more thing I forgot...

is there a time frame as to when it is ok to travel with your puppy? I had plans to stay with my brother for a couple days who lives 4 hours away and one of the day's while I'm visiting we may be gone for a good 8 hours running around...this won't be until October 1 which at that time the puppy will be 11 weeks old...now that I'm typing this I'm thinking that trip is not gonna happen lol...

is there some sort of a guideline I can look at online that kind of gives you a time frame on goals you should be reaching by a certain number of weeks and such...for example your puppy should be house trained by 14 weeks...your puppy should be able to sit stay come by 20 weeks etc? Like I said I wanna do my best to raise him right so I'm willing to put in the work :~}
 

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One very important thing to keep in mind when traveling with puppies/planning outings into the world is their vaccination schedule and the risk of common diseases in your area. Puppies get 3 rounds of "puppy shots", usually at 6-8 weeks, again at 10-12 weeks, and finally at 14-16 weeks. The shots are spaced out 2 weeks at a time, and they usually get their first shot at their breeder's house. Optimally, a breeder will have a contract stating terms of sale (usually giving some kind of short term health guarentee for things the pup could catch with the breeder, as well as outlining the pup must be returned to the breeder if the owner can't keep it, or at least be offered to be returned) and will also include a print out of the veterinary records for that puppy and all vet care it received since birth. It sounds like the person you may be getting this puppy from is more a "back yard breeder" who may or may not have a contact- as I said, if you're comfortable with that it's fine, but do be sure you get information about the vaccine and deworming treatments that may or may not have been done on the puppy, and if they have had things done ask for the medical records from their vet. It is probably a good idea to let them know you want this a week before you're going to pick up the puppy so they have time to get a hold of it from their vet.

In terms of traveling with the puppy- like I said, you do have to keep in mind the vaccine schedule. A young puppy (under 12-16 weeks) DOES need to be out experiencing the world, but they are also still at a high risk for certain diseases that can kill and/or cause long lasting health problems. You definitely want to avoid places where lots of other dogs are- dog parks, parks where dogs frequent but aren't dedicated to them, busy dog walking areas, and houses where lots of dogs often come and go. In some areas, trainers do have "puppy play groups" where puppies get to play all together in a clean environment, personally I like those and think they are a good chance for early socialization. with a professional watching to be sure nothing gets out of hand. They are also a good way to experience dog play, which can look scary to some new owners who aren't used to the rough and tumble, loud way most dogs play.

I would recommend asking your vet what the risk of disease is in the area and whether or not it is OK to walk your puppy before he has all his shots. In some places disease risk is very low and you don't have to worry, and in some lpaces the risk is very, very high.

Pretty much- yes, it's OK to bring the puppy somewhere, but traveling is very stressful and an unvaccinated puppy is still at high risk for getting sick. Personally, I like to have a few quiet days after I bring my puppy home and then plan short socialization trips to friend's houses, puppy training classes, to play with older, vaccinated, gentle dogs I know, and to meet people and see new places. I do try to carry my puppies until they've been vaccinated and if I do put them down I wipe their paws with baby wipes. Definitely keep them away from other dog's stools.

In terms of when puppies should be doing what- all dogs learn differently. How quickly a puppy learns things depends on how good a trainer their owner(s) is/are as well as that individual puppy's drive to work with a human and learn. The latter is going to depend on the breed and type of the dog as well- ie, what work that breed was developed to do. There is no set guideline for when a dog should do what. Training a puppy that is 8 weeks old should still (IMO) be all about fun, working together, developing a bond, and teaching that puppy how to learn. You want to impress on that dog that its behavior has effects on the environment and it can garner reward (treats, praise, play, petting) by offering different behaviors that you either ask for (by giving a cue or command that has been taught to the puppy) or that you just want to see repeated more often (for example, sitting without being cued when there is food around vs jumping up for it).

I would highly, highly, highly recommend looking for a good puppy training class to teach basic obedience. Usually these classes will go over how to teach the most basic obedience things, how to deal with puppy issues like jumping on people and house training, and also include an aspect of play/socialization to give the puppies breaks.

Kikopup and Zack George also have some good videos of puppy training on Youtube you might check out, and both are very easy to understand/follow directions of.

For house training- house training is hard. Very, very few puppies are gong to be fully house trained by 14 weeks. I have a year old dog and she just started being fully house trained/reliable about not having accidents when she hit a year.

I would recommend tracking food and water intake so you know when the dog will have to go (usually 15-30 minutes after eating or drinking) and also be very strict about watching the puppy (I keep my puppies being house trained tethered to me on a 6' leash and harness so they can't get out of my sight) and crate him when you can't be watching him (dogs don't like to go in their "dens" and in a properly sized crate will hold their bladder and bowel for longer than if they were loose). Physically a puppy can hold their potty for an hour for every month they are alive, I think. So- don't leave an 8 week old puppy in a crate without a bathroom break for more than 2 hours, not more than 3 for a 12 week old, not more than 4 for a 16 week old, etc. Overall, I try not to leave dogs in crate for more than 4-6 hours; I put my own dog in a playpen she can't get out of for when I'm gone all day and far prefer that to a true crate. I would suggets taking the puppy out every 30min when he's young until you figure out what signs he shows before he goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry for all the questions I'm just eager to learn lol

Do u think it's beneficial to bring a puppy to a trainer? I've heard trainers keeping puppies for a week or whatever and then giving the puppy back to the owner? If not I assume u believe in just educating yourself and putting in the time on your own? I know u mentioned obedience classes so I can learn some things about training...that to me seems like things I can easily learn on you tube though?

Also my parents have a 3 and 5 year old pugs...the 5 year old is a great dog...the 3 year old was a shelter dog and has lots of behavioral issues...he kind of goes really wild when playing with bigger dogs...nipping at the ears tails and genitals...is this something I should keep my puppy away from? It's kind of hard when it's my parents dogs and I am close with my parents and visit them all the time...any recommendations on this?

Oh and I will likely keep him in a fold up fencing thing that I will keep in the kitchen and then move to my bedroom at night

Thanks again!
 

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Basic obedience should be fairly easy to teach on your own, but I would still highly recommend taking a class with your puppy. There are "puppy kindergarten" classes available that you attend with your puppy, usually once a week for 6-8 weeks. I'm attending one with my new puppy, not because I can't train him on my own, but because the classes give me a guideline for what to teach and when, and having a little "homework" each week gives me an extra incentive to train regularly. Socialization is usually the focus of puppy classes - exposing them to a variety of dogs, people, objects and experiences while they're young to help them become confident, trustworthy adult dogs. The training courses that keep the dog for an extended period of time aren't as reliable. It's best when the owner learns to work with the dog themselves, so they can continue to reinforce the training after the formal class is over.

As far as interacting with your parents dogs, I would be sure to introduce them slowly and not let them approach each other if either seems anxious or uncomfortable. If it turns out that they don't interact well, you can try the crate-and-rotate method. Take turns with one dog in a crate with a kong (or on a leash if not crate trained) while the other is out. I used this for my puppy and older dog at first when they were too rough with each other, and over time they got used to each other and learned to play nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Basic obedience should be fairly easy to teach on your own, but I would still highly recommend taking a class with your puppy. There are "puppy kindergarten" classes available that you attend with your puppy, usually once a week for 6-8 weeks. I'm attending one with my new puppy, not because I can't train him on my own, but because the classes give me a guideline for what to teach and when, and having a little "homework" each week gives me an extra incentive to train regularly. Socialization is usually the focus of puppy classes - exposing them to a variety of dogs, people, objects and experiences while they're young to help them become confident, trustworthy adult dogs. The training courses that keep the dog for an extended period of time aren't as reliable. It's best when the owner learns to work with the dog themselves, so they can continue to reinforce the training after the formal class is over.

As far as interacting with your parents dogs, I would be sure to introduce them slowly and not let them approach each other if either seems anxious or uncomfortable. If it turns out that they don't interact well, you can try the crate-and-rotate method. Take turns with one dog in a crate with a kong (or on a leash if not crate trained) while the other is out. I used this for my puppy and older dog at first when they were too rough with each other, and over time they got used to each other and learned to play nicely.
thanks molly...I will definitely be looking into training classes cuz like u said that is a nice socialization tool and training and motivational guide...

as far as my parents pug...its not really that he doesn't play nice...hes not trying to be mean like I said he was just raised all wrong so theres a lot of puppy in him for being like 3 years old...and the other thing is in a st Bernard perspective, the pug will have all of 5 minutes before the saint is twice his size lol...

I was more thinking about the bad habits my puppy could pick up from the pug while visiting my parents...barking, begging, not listening etc? how impressionable will he be from other dogs I guess might be what im asking?:)
 

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Oh, I see! I don't have much knowledge about how puppies learn from older dogs like that, but I can say that our older dog has a bad habit of barking at people out our window, and in 5 weeks, the puppy hasn't yet given any indication that he's going to pick up that habit.

In my experience, individual dogs have different play styles, regardless of the play styles of the dogs they were socialized with. Our older dog has always only played with dogs that have a nip-and-chase play style, and she prefers a sort of body-slam style that I think came naturally, not learned. I wouldn't worry too much about the puppy picking up the bad behaviors the pug has, especially if you're able to reinforce the behavior you want, and prevent the development of any bad habits if he starts to show signs of them.
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Discussion Starter #15
cool thanks molly...I sort of assumed the same thing...as long as I take him back home and am aware of what to look for and teach him not to do those things im sure it will be fine like you said...
 

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Sorry for all the questions I'm just eager to learn lol

Do u think it's beneficial to bring a puppy to a trainer? I've heard trainers keeping puppies for a week or whatever and then giving the puppy back to the owner? If not I assume u believe in just educating yourself and putting in the time on your own? I know u mentioned obedience classes so I can learn some things about training...that to me seems like things I can easily learn on you tube though?

Also my parents have a 3 and 5 year old pugs...the 5 year old is a great dog...the 3 year old was a shelter dog and has lots of behavioral issues...he kind of goes really wild when playing with bigger dogs...nipping at the ears tails and genitals...is this something I should keep my puppy away from? It's kind of hard when it's my parents dogs and I am close with my parents and visit them all the time...any recommendations on this?

Oh and I will likely keep him in a fold up fencing thing that I will keep in the kitchen and then move to my bedroom at night

Thanks again!
In my opinion, one of the best things you can do is to take a puppy to at the very least a puppy kindergarten type class. These classes usually involve a component of the normal positional/basic commands (sit/down/come/stay/drop it/leave it) and provide some helps with teaching manners (not jumping up on people, house training) and have a socialization component (usually you'll work on the cues for a little, and then do some play and then work on the cues again, etc). I recommend trying to find a trainer you like and trust; most trainers will be OK with an email or phone consultation for a little while to talk about their methods and see if they'll be a good fit for you.

As for allowing play with you parents dog- IMO it really depends on the puppy. With some puppies, they'll get used to that and end up OK around that dog as an adult. With others, they may eventually act out aggressively to ward off the other dog. I would be far more concerned with the pug being hurt than the puppy being hurt, because even at 8 weeks old a St Bernard puppy is going to be almost the size of, if not larger than, a Pug puppy.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the help everyone...I know I've asked about what treats to use and some have suggested chicken and deli meats...I assume I can just buy the canned 100% real chicken bite sized pieces and that would be just fine?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi everyone...my first Saint I had I didn't know about the bloat issue and everything turned out ok and he never got it...

This new one I'm wondering on your opinions...is it a surgery that I should definitely have done on him? If so any recommendations on how old He should be when having it done? Thanks everyone
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi there...so we r in our 4th night together...going ok so far couple sleepless nights...

I'm wondering at night when in the crate he will get up and start crying like he might have to go out and go potty...but when i bring him out he just plops down in the grass and goes to bed...what do others do about this scenario...do I bring him outside each time he whines although he just plops down in the grass and sleeps instantly?

Thanks
 
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