Kaboom, my new Belgian Malinois puppy arrived at the Detroit Airport from California aboard a Continental Airline flight. Most of the airlines have travel restrictions during cold and hot temperature climates but Continental does not. This is because Continental assigns an employee as a pet ambassador that ensures the animals are not on the tarmac for any length of time before departure or upon arrival. The risk to animals’ health is not in the cargo hold as they are now days climate controlled. The risk occurs during the time they spend on a hot or cold tarmac. So if you need to ship a dog, choose Continental Air Cargo.
He arrived in a puppy approved airline crate with a towel to lay on (it provides comfort and helps if the puppy soils the crate during the flight) and with a knuckle-bone to chew. I was surprised he didn’t look a little frightened as it can be scary for a puppy to make a first flight and see new strangers through his crate door. Instead, he had this look on his face that said, “Hello there, nice to meet you. My name is Kaboom. What’s yours?”
He then immediately snuggled into my chest for comfort and was a little more reserved exposed in the new environment outside of his crate. He remained that way for about a half hour and then his question went from “What’s your name?” to “Do you want to play?” And, it’s been non stop play since then.
According to research studies, the best time to get a puppy is eight weeks of age. Puppies younger than that may have a harder time playing appropriately with other dogs later in life and not develop good bite inhibition and puppies older than that may have a harder time being confident with people unless the breeder continued the socialization process with people.
I have plans to compete with Kaboom in Mondio-Ring which is a protection and obedience sport well suited to Belgian Malinois. Otherwise if I had not planned to compete in Mondio-Ring, I would have sought out a puppy or dog to adopt from the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
When seeking a pure bred puppy, it is crucial to research the breeder. In my case, the breeder was Michael Ellis a very well-known professional dog trainer, competitor and Malinois breeder of high energy dogs whom have excelled in many dog sports. His breeding kennel name is Loups du Soleil. Additionally, I had the opportunity to meet him and his male dog “Pi”, Mondio-Ring 3 during four weeks of seminars at his school for dog trainers. I was very impressed with Pi’s drive for the work, full confident bite and focused energy. And, Michael told me that his female dog “Basa” was ready for her Mondio-Ring 1 title and had a full confident bite. From one of Michael’s videos, I watched Basa working in obedience when she was just four months old and was also impressed with her focused energy and drive. Also, I observed Kaboom’s uncle Shrek (brother to Pi) do obedience and protection demonstrations which showcased his extreme drive and energy. Additionally, during the Decoy class I had the opportunity to take bites from both Pi and Shrek. They strike with so much power and show ultimate control and precision work in their protection and obedience routines.
Michael Ellis also provided me with a link to a video cam showing how the puppies were being cared for by Basa and that the pups were being socialized with adults and children. Lastly, he was always responsive to my questions and very knowledgeable about his dogs’ genetic lines. He even knew about the genetic lines of other breeder’s dogs. These are the characteristics you want to find in a professional breeder.
Before the puppy’s arrival, inquire about what the puppy has eaten and have it available for your pup. If you wish to change the food, do so gradually to avoid upsetting the puppy’s stomach. Feed your puppy a high quality food such as Life Abundance (which is developed by a holistic vet and shipped right to your door ensuring freshness of six weeks or less because many store-bought kibble food is 12-24 months old), if store-bought then choose something such as Taste of the Wild, Wellness or Primal frozen raw food. They contain quality ingredients with no meat by-products.
Your puppy was probably de-wormed by the breeder two or three times and given the first of a series of vaccinations. Right away, take a stool sample into your vet to test for worms and schedule your puppy’s first wellness check and the second series of vaccinations. You should wait to introduce your puppy to strange dogs or enter a puppy socialization / obedience dog training class until one week has passed the second series of vaccinations (there is no need to isolate your puppy from your other dog provided your other dog is healthy and not exposed to high risk situations).
While not offering full protection, most veterinarians recognize that this protocol provides most puppies enough protection to start socialization classes. Studies have shown that more puppies are put down due to later behavioral problems than illness when socialization was delayed until after the third series of vaccinations.
So Kaboom has arrived safe and sound at the age of 8 weeks from an excellent breeder. I had his scheduled food available for him along with Nylabone puppy chew bones. I placed his crate in our bedroom so I would be awakened during the night to take him outside. The following day I took his stool sample to the vet which tested negative and scheduled his wellness check and second vaccination for October 3, 2012.
I’ll keep you updated on his ongoing training and adventures. Hopefully, his journal will give you ideas and tips for welcoming your new puppy or adult dog into your home.