"In the last 4-5 years, parvovirus in the US has
been the biggest problem for kennels, even in vaccinated dogs."
"She was a seven-month-old, gorgeous, taupe-colored
devil in dogs clothing. But I loved her."
"The diet of our companion animals is deplorable. So
many dogs and cats eat out of bags full of poor ingredients, rancid fats and
Command; he thee obeys most readily.
If so thou wilt, a collar he will wear;
"The more confidence you have in your dog, the more he
will believe in you."
"The housebound dog leads a stressed existence. It
cannot express its natural behaviors: stalking, chasing, exploring,
SHOULD I Own a Caucasian Ovtcharka?
To me, "alpha" means consistency. Setting the rules, and then following those rules every - single - time - from - the -very -beginning. That's what happens in a wolf pack. If the alpha wolf were to let his rule drop just one time, he'd not be the alpha any longer; another pack member would take his place. And if you have ever witnessed a bitch with her puppies, she lays down the law and does not take any "static" from them. As John and Mary Holmes put in their book, The Complete Australian Cattle Dog, "Unlike many human parents, a bitch is never dominated by her puppies, in spite of there being a whole litter of them. If she wants a bone, she takes it. If a puppy were to be so rash as to try to take it from her, that pup soon regrets the action."
There are also alpha/dominance areas within our living situations. That is one reason we don't let dogs on the couch or bed. Our dogs love to come into the house and consider it a privilege just to lie on the carpet by our feet. They are happy; we are happy. No potential arguments about pulling dogs off couches, no muddy feet or hair on the cushions. They literally "know their place," and feel secure and happy in that knowledge.
Plus, let me tell you, I am not at all interested in "stringing up" a 150-pound Caucasian! My dogs are just going to have to learn the rules and all their manners when they are pick-up-and-carry sized puppies.
2. A person considering buying a Caucasian Ovtcharka should be an experienced dog owner. If you have never had a dog before, especially a large, robust dog, I suggest that perhaps you start with a smaller variety and "practice" with him or her. For example, mistakes made with a little French Poodle could mean, "Ooooh, cute and funny," as he jumps onto the back of the sofa and rams into the picture window, then races to the door and gloms onto the vistor's leg. Out of control? Yes. Cute and funny? Well, I wouldn't say so (I think all dogs should be well-mannered regardless of size), but some people might. Now, can you imagine the same scenario with your CO? Absolutely not! Training mistakes or no training at all with your CO could make your life miserable and/or mean the end of that CO's life.
When you get little "Frenchy" to the point where he is obedience-trained, has wonderful manners, obeys your commands, is controllable on and off leash; when you have gained knowledge of proper canine nutrition and simple first aid techniques; when you have developed an understanding of basic canine psychology/pack sociology; and most importantly, when you have trained yourself to respond to your best friend with respect, patience and understanding, then buy a Caucasian, from a breeder who has dogs with the kind of temperament that you need. Then and only then can you mold your new Caucasian pup into a dog that will be your best friend ever.
I don't mean to discourage you. In a lot of ways, the CO is easier to train than a lot of breeds. We have found the CO to be very intelligent and very eager to please - a winning combination in anyone's book. While I could take a 2x4 (figuratively speaking, of course!) to my Blue Heeler and it wouldn't phase him, a simple, soft-voiced command is all that is necessary with my big shaggy guys.
Different breeds for different purposes. You might want an independent Border Collie to take it upon himself to chase a sheep back to the flock without your having to tell him. You might esteem stubbornness in a Blue Heeler who will get kicked in the head by a cow but go immediately back to his job. With the CO we find a certain amount of ruthlessness when it comes to predators; and in a guard that is what we want. However - and this is very important - that trait had better be balanced with good judgment and controllability.
Our dogs tend to live up (or down) to our expectations. I expect my dogs to be well-behaved in the house and car. If you expect them to come when called, if you expect them to obey your commands, guess what? They will; because you will train them with that result in mind.
3. Examine your own personality. Know this: Your anger must never be vented on this dog! Devoted to their masters, but also very physically strong and powerful, as well as proud and sensitive, Caucasians do not take well to being beaten or threatened. In other words, do NOT loose your temper with your dog! It is up to you to lead, to punish only if warranted and only if he knows he has done wrong. Again, the rules must be taught before they can be enforced.
4. Do you have a job for your Caucasian? Please do not expect your CO to merely be a "fixture" or "conversation piece," left and forgotten, alone in his kennel day after day. Our dogs crave the attention and interaction with their people. Pent up energy can become destructive if not given an appropriate outlet. The Caucasian Ovtcharka is a working breed. Use him as he was intended as much as possible. As a guard for person, property or livestock, he will need no training; as a companion, he is completely devoted, versatile. Spend as much time with him as you can. If you must be away at work many hours a day, consider getting a second dog or cat to keep each other company. Put yourself in your dog's place. Forced "solitary confinement" for long periods can be torture.
Okay, so let's come right out and sum it up: When raised correctly with firmness, consistency, understanding, patience and love, this breed has the potential for being the best dog you have always dreamed of!
So, knowing all this and with careful consideration, you decide that a Caucasian is the dog for you, I congratulate you! I wish for you and your Caucasian Ovtcharka a happy and interesting life together!
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