Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Diary of a breeder, Part II

By From page A4 | February 07, 2014

Last week, we highlighted the focused attention a responsible breeder brings to the first five weeks of a dog’s life. But the work doesn’t stop at week five, and the benefits of perseverance last a lifetime.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi breeders Steve and Kelly Porter believe that “from the moment puppies enter the world, they begin to learn and understand. We work to get newborn puppies to be confident and comfortable with their surroundings. The result is a firm foundation for training, which will ensure a happy, mentally healthy and eager-to learn-dog.”

The Porters spend upward of 12 weeks “exposing every pup to as many textures and sounds and experiences with people, animals and objects as possible — all in an effort to increase each puppy’s self-awareness and confidence.”

The intelligence behind the Porters’ puppy-rearing methods is born of their knowledge of the stages of a dog’s development. Equally important are their efforts to devote space and time to promote the individuality of each dog. This provides a gauge for how and when to introduce a pup to the many faces of the world at large.

Every nuance of this process ultimately serves both the dog and his future owner. Responsible breeders make every effort to raise healthy, confident dogs. For most, the reward is in the journey, which ends not with the sale of a puppy but with the making of a perfect match.

The creme de la creme of breeders don’t sell dogs; they interview people. They have more than a financial stake in their dogs. They have a heart investment. They have a bond. And they’re looking for an owner who will give “their” dog the love and attention he deserves — and to which he’s become accustomed.

Some dog lovers have strong ideas of where a person should get their dog. Many people who turn to a breeder have a specific reason for doing so. There’s a reason farmers love collies. There’s a reason hunters have a proclivity toward retrievers. There’s a reason K-9 units are almost exclusively staffed with German shepherds and search-and-rescue teams usually include a trusty hound dog.

Some people want dogs for protection. Others need dogs for physical or psychological reasons. There are even those people for whom a certain type of dog is literally prescribed.

The important thing is to know your options, and a good dog breeder is certainly one of them. So if you’re the proud owner of a golf course haunted by gophers, go and out and find the best Jack Russell terrier breeder around. You won’t regret it, and now you know what to look for.


Dog trainer Matthew “Uncle Matty” Margolis is the co-author of 18 books about dogs, a behaviorist, a popular radio and television guest, and the host of the PBS series “WOOF! It’s a Dog’s Life!” Read all of Uncle Matty’s columns at, and visit him at Send your questions to [email protected] or by mail to Uncle Matty at P.O. Box 3300, Diamond Springs, CA 95619.

Matthew Margolis

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