AKC Gazette – February 2021
Welsh WAG - August 2021

What do we do with those dogs no longer needed in our breeding program? If we have raised them right and trained them well, they should be quite able to f it into someone’s household and family and become house pets that new owners will be thrilled to have in their families. However, raising dogs from birth in a way that makes them good housedogs as well as good show dogs does take some extra effort.

Since it would be difficult to determine when they are little puppies which are going to be show and breeding stock and which ones are better off as companion animals only, all puppies must be handled, socialized, and cared for in ways that make them adapt-able for both show and companion animals. The time spent socializing all the puppies, teaching them to come when called, getting them used to wearing a collar, having their nails cut, and being brushed, plus playing with each puppy individually as well as all together will be of great advantage to those puppies going into pet homes, but it will also be of great value for those puppies who will become show dogs and breeding stock. No, you are not spoiling them; you are teaching them to handle all new experiences as adventures, not anything to be afraid of.

When the puppies are 8 to 10 weeks old, it should be possible to get a better idea about each individual puppy as far as his show potential but remember that puppies don’t all develop at the same rate, particularly males. Train them all to be show dogs. Get them used to being handled by strangers and being brushed and stripped. They should learn to walk on a show lead in addition to walking on their regular lead and collar. If all are trained that way, it will give you more flexibility in deciding which to keep and which to place in pet homes. Keep in mind that sometimes a really nice puppy is a late developer, but if all are schooled for conformation showing as well as obedience and companion activities, they will all be better off. I have had a few sold as pets who ended up getting their championships and several obedience titles as well as making wonderful house pets, and all were better off with the extra experience they got along the way.

After the ones you kept have finished their show careers and produced a couple of litters, they too will probably go to good forever homes. Yes, most breeders do have a few dogs who stay in their homes all their lives, but since we cannot keep them all and give each the attention he deserves, many will be placed with very special people in their forever homes. I have been fortunate enough over the years to have found enough great people for my retired dogs, and many of these people have over the years had the privilege of sharing their homes with several Counselor Welsh Terriers, so our “family” has grown a lot.

Preparing the dog to go into his new home is usually not difficult. If it is a home that has had Welsh before, that is helpful, even more so if the other dog was related to the one they will be getting now. Things that will make the transition easier, of course, include some bedding from the breeder’s home, a simple leash and collar that the dog is familiar with, and a few days’ supply of the food you have been feeding, plus feeding instructions. Since we feed Purina ProPlan and that is generally available almost everywhere, providing a small bag of food is not difficult. Since I usually add a small amount of canned cat food to keep the dog eating, one small can also go with the dog. Ideally the new owner will have purchased a suitable crate before getting the dog.

Welsh are very adaptable, and retired show dogs are used to coping with new situations and new schedules, which helps the transfer go smoothly. Be sure that the medical records are available for the new owner. If the dog has not been microchipped already, do so before the new owner comes for the dog. Mine are microchipped at 8 weeks, but other breeders have their own schedule. Most of the WTCA breeders say that they will provide whatever help they can for the lifetime of the dog, as we are more concerned about the dog’s health and happiness than anything else. If you ask any of them, they will tell you that their concerns are for the welfare of the dog. That’s why we breed dogs and make them our life’s work.

Diane Orange

Welsh Terrier Club of America

AKC Gazette – February 2021
Welsh Terrier Column
Reprinted from the AKC Gazette