Meeting Quest for the First Time

Meeting Quest and Co

Exactly eight weeks after he was born, I flew out to Portland Maine to meet Quest for the first time and bring him home the following day. I wanted to meet him, then let him sleep at least once before I took him home. Puppies process what they experience and learn when they go to sleep. By meeting him on a Wednesday, leaving him with his litter over night, then flying back to Omaha the next day, I was helping make myself a known and trusted figure before taking him away from his littermates.

Now in this case, the Litter was much more advanced thanks to Linda McSherry of Patch Mountain Dalmatians. She did many things to set my dog up for success long before I picked him up.

Finding the right breeder can be a challenge, but don’t give up until you find one who knows what they are doing and shows an interest in helping you get the right dog. Some breeders look for someone to take their pups, a good breeder will find the pups the right home.

It may seem like Im making a really big deal out of picking a good breeder and I am. Picking the right breeder can help produce balanced, confident puppies with real advantages; a stronger heart, immune system and much better prepared to handle stress. Many of these are the result of something called the Battaglia Stimulation.

Id even recommend that you ask any potential breeders if they do any Battaglia Stimulation. This sort of early Neurological Stimulation can help a profound impact on a young puppies physical and emotional development. Good breeders will be aware of Battalia. You can still find a good breeder who doesn’t know about this (although they should), but If I’m getting a pup, I want to give it every advantage like a stronger heart, confidence, less stress and better health.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spoke to over 40 breeders across the United States before I found Linda McSherry of Patch Mountain Dalmatians.

I was specifically looking for a Dalmatian who had some specific qualities as I plan on training Quest as a service dog so I know how and so that he can fly around the country and help me help other dogs. For this reason I wanted a dog who had a medium energy level, low prey drive, was confident, people orientated and a quick startle recovery.

I was also looking for a dog who was LUA (Low Uric Acid) as my other Dalmatian Farley has a case of Urate Stones that required a few emergency surgeries as the stones got into his urethra and blocked him from being able to urinate.

This is a photo of 75% of the stones the vet removed from Farley over the course of two surgeries.

Farley's Stones

Many purebred dogs are predisposed to various health issues so be sure to do some research ahead of time once you identify the breed you want. Some of these risks can be mitigated or avoided by exercising caution at various developmental stages such as dog breeds susceptible to things like Hip Dysplasia.

Back to the search for Quest. I had also wanted a breeder who was on the same page that I was in terms of what qualities I was looking for. Some of the breeders I spoke to seemed almost dictatorial in their conversations wth me telling me they knew what was best and that I had no say in selecting the pup.

While a good breeder will do some investigating to be sure the dog is matched with guardians who are prepared and have the lifestyle needed for that particular dog, I was looking to be involved in the selection process and I just couldn’t be happier with Linda at Patch Mountain

Not only is Quest an amazing pup with all the qualities I was looking for, the rest of the litter was equally well mannered and developed. I got a prime example of this when I first arrived at Linda and Richard’s house.

Usually puppies start barking and going crazy when they see a new person. But because of all the work Linda and Richard put in, the two little pups stayed calm and quiet as they studied me from afar.

It was difficult to stay focused on the conversation with Linda and Richard as I watched the puppies out of the corner of my eye. But after a couple of minutes, it was time for the main event. I was about to meet my new little buddy Quest!

You can see that Quest was more interested in me than his litter mates when I first met him. I set this up in advance by sending over a hand towel I wiped myself off with after getting all sweaty mowing the lawn.

Id suggest wiping yourself down with a hand towel after a workout or other sweat producing activity and sending it to your breeder in a zip lock bag along with a bag of the training treats you plan to use. If you have a dog at home, do the same with a second towel (wipe it between your dog’s shoulder blades) and seal both towels in separate zip lock bags. I detailed this in another post on Quest Ed.

Linda took Quest away from his brothers and sisters for some one on one interaction once a day and laid the towel on the floor a few times a day. Each time Quest touched the towel, Linda would treat him. Id suggest having the breeder drop the treat on the towel right in front of the pup so it gets a sniff of your scent each time it gets a treat.

I didn’t see it at the time, but as luck would have it I opened the door right after Quest did sit down. That’s a great way to start things off.

It was a lot to take in. So many spots. So much cuteness literally washing over me. While I enjoyed meeting and playing with all the dogs, there was obviously one I was interested in above the rest.

You may notice I was blowing a bit into Quest’s nose in the above video. Most puppies love it when you blow in their nose that way.

Another thing to take note of was the upside down trash can lid in the play pen area. This is a great example of stimulation (we call it enrichment) that will help the dogs later in life. The first time they hear it clanging, they may recoil a bit. But after a few bangs, its no longer something they react to. Just another example of how a good breeder can put your dog in a position to excel in their life.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: