Are you ready for a puppy?

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I’ve started to use  a “puppy checklist” with those nice people who are contacting me because they are starting to look for their first family Fauve. The first step is seeing just how deterred they are when they learn about the scent hound attitude to recall – as many never bother to reply to my first e mail asking if they know their hound will need a definite training commitment and an owner who needn’t expect to see one of this breed turn on a farthing and dash back to their side as a well trained gun dog would. There are some lovely obedient fauves out in the world , whose owners usually include the phrases ” he is incredibly greedy, even for a Basset Fauve” and ” Tesco cocktail sausages, cheese or chicken bits go out for walks with us”. Yet if your walk takes you past a freshly dug rabbit warren…. expect transgressions, as fresh rabbit is clearly a very strong racial memory for this breed.I have a dog who can easily spend two hours looking at a mouse hole waiting for its occupant to come out . If you happen to have a business meeting sooner than your hound is ready to give up its station deep in the brambles, this could turn into a problem…….

I hope the questions make sense.

1    Where is the puppy going to live ? Which rooms can he or she access, and what will be out of bounds indoors?
2   Your garden. What type of fencing do you have, would you consider your garden safely fenced? Where will you be taking the puppy to go to the toilet – perhaps in the middle of the night?
  1. Your front door. Do you have a front door opening onto the street, or a fenced front garden with a gate that closes before you get to the road? Can you, for instance, insert a child or dog safety gate across the door of the  room which the puppy will be using to ensure he or she will be safely contained? This will be especially important if children are around, or adults who don’t understand your puppy will have no road sense if he or she gets out of the house alone.
  1. Safety. Do you have any areas where you have used cocoa mulch or any  plants ( laburnums, poinsettias) which are poisonous to dogs? How can you make these areas inaccessible?  Do you have steep/rocky areas inside the garden , or a deep pond  or swimming pool – and can the puppy be kept away from potential dangers?
  1. Livestock. Do you keep chickens, rabbits or have any small pets, are these safely contained ? Does your neighbour have anything next door which would tempt your fauve to dig to get to it?
  1. If you have cats and a cat flap – does this let into a safely fenced garden ( as the puppy will be able to use an unlocked flap from an early age)
  1. What other arrangements will you  make for his or her care while you are away from home ? ( For holidays or emergencies I will look after a fauve bred here, if you are close enough).
  1. Planning for the future. Who will be responsible for your pet if anything should happen so you cannot keep him or her ? Do they know my contact details,  as if no one in the immediate family can provide care your Basset Fauve should not be passed on, resold or sent to a rescue centre – as they might not know enough about the breed to be the right home.( We will sign a contract together in which you agree to only bring him or her back to me for re homing, at whatever age).
  1. How much time can you give to the exercise of your adult fauve every day  – and do you have any canine playmates lined up for him, if an only dog?
  1. Your vet. Have you details of their emergency service, should you need them out of hours ? Will you be insuring your dog?

 

Most would be owners are sensible – yet I have been surprised over the years. I’ve been told that a puppy would be perfectly OK in a third floor flat ” overlooking Battersea Park” with two working owners who planned to leave the puppy with the nanny and two under fives for 10 hours a day. I wasn’t at all sure the nanny had been informed of this additional duty. I’ve had a splendid couple decide they really couldn’t do sufficient fencing to keep their hound safely within their bounds – their gun dogs had always stopped at the dry ditch, but I could see one of the basset breed treating the ditch as a very fine place to hunt from. One fauve has escaped from her garden, she went under the garden shed and discovered it wasn’t fenced behind there,had gone into the village and been hit by a speeding car. She was fortunate not to be killed and its the reason you suggest insurance – the main cause of death for this breed is road traffic accidents. I’ve been visited by a lovely lady who was too disabled to walk a dog and thought a garden the size of a concreted postage stamp would suffice for his needs. Rothko went to a home with cats, and was diving through the cat flap with gusto – fortunately into their safe garden. Missy skipped out of the house, and was found at the local pub scrounging crisps when partying visitors left too many doors open in a row. Dylan has had to be fished out of the swimming pool….. and so it goes on. If someone hasn’t owned a fast moving puppy before – if there is any trouble they can get into, then they will!

I was once part of a chain of Fauve breeders returning a puppy from the South coast to a Northern breeder in stages – as the new elderly owner wasn’t able to manage the puppy, yet her family didn’t want to confess this to the breeder and make the long trip to return the pup. This youngster was put up for sale within the week on a Free Ads site. Could I avert this situation arising, had I been this breeder? I don’t know, as people do lie to obtain their dream. Years ago I sold a Wolfhound to a lovely couple who seemed the perfect home – except the wife had a terminal cancer diagnosis and the husband was fulfilling her wishes by obtaining a puppy of the breed she always wanted. Nine months later this beautiful hound was bereaved and looking for a new home. Perhaps had I asked more about exercising the adult hound something more might have come out.

My instructions are re written regularly, incorporating so much previous owners have told me – possibly too much, as it means the new owners look in their “bible” and don’t necessarily feel the need to give me a call. Yet we keep in touch, and as the Fauve family spreads outwards, so the enquiries come back in again. ” I met one of your owners in xyz place/ my friend has one of your fauves/ i saw your website and wondered if…..” and off we go again. Its a rare litter of fauves when one is not going to a previous owner of the breed.