Lucy is a rescue success story. Adopted by a loving family, this once timid, submissive youngster is a now a friendly, fun-loving companion.
Dalmatian rescue organizations all over the country are overburdened with homeless dogs. The stress of doing rescue causes a lot of burn out and frustration for rescue workers. If you are thinking about adding a Dalmatian to your family, please consider a rescue dog. “New Dog, New Home” is a good article about what to expect from your rescue dog. It is from Labrador Retriever rescue but the advice offered applies just as well to Dalmatians. In fact, there are several articles of interest on that website. If you are considering putting your Dalmatian up for adoption please read this article and our Rescue FAQs page. Your local Dalmatian rescue group could use your help and support in fundraising, finding adoptive homes, fostering, public education and many other endeavors or consider a donation to DCARE to help many rescue groups. If you are a shelter or humane society worker and have a Dalmatian in need of a home, you may wish to list the dog on our Dalmatians in Shelters page. If you are trying to place a Dalmatian on your own, this article will give you many tips on choosing a good adoptive home.
Enter information about a Dalmatian available for adoption: in a shelter.
All too often people get a Dalmatian without knowing enough about the breed. There are more than 400 breeds of dogs and no one breed is right for every person. There are pros and cons to owning every breed. The Dalmatian is a wonderful breed of dog but is not the right breed for everyone. Find out if a Dalmatian is right for you before you buy or adopt one. If you decide you are a good candidate for Dalmatian ownership and want a puppy, find out how to select a breeder. We can think of at least 101 things you should know to help with your decision.
This excellent information on massaging your dog was written by Kimberley Schreyer. She has very generously allowed me to post it on this website. Permission to reprint for non-profit purposes such as club newsletters is granted provided the article is printed as written and full credit is given to the author.Needless to say these massage techniques are applicable to all breeds of dog.
Massaging your dog has many benefits:
1)Relaxes your dog.
2) Soothes tired or sore muscles.
3) Eases pain from surgery or other injuries.
4) Helps your dog suffering from ailments caused by old age to feel better.
5) Gains your dog’s trust.
6) Noticeably increases the bond between you and your dog.
Many people hardly ever touch their dogs any more other than just petting or an occasional brushing. I believe dogs feel love and affection and need to be touched by their loved ones just like humans do. Take 5 minutes a day and massage your dog on almost every part of its body from his head to his toes and you will not only get to know your dog better, but your touch will also stimulate something in your dog that will make your dog respond to you in ways I cannot explain. I guarantee you will notice the change in your dog’s attitude within as little as 2 – 3 days!!!! Instructions for dog massage: Use a very light oil. (I recommend Neutrogena Light Sesame Body Oil but baby oil is O.K.) Rub a very small amount (the size of a dime) into your hands and start at the top of the head and slowly stroke down the back to the base of the tail 3 – 4 times. Do an additional 2 – 3 times including the tail this time all the way to the tip. Use a very gentle but firm “squeeze-grip” on the tail as you slide your hand down to the tip, starting with a pause as you squeeze at the base of the tail, keeping your grip all the way to the tip of the tail. Next, gently rub the back of the neck behind the ears with your forefingers for a few seconds. Then, hold your dog’s head in your hands by the cheeks and under the ears (with the dog facing you) and rock the head gently side-to-side 4 – 5 times. Massage the ears, taking care when you finish by inserting the tip of your thumb into the ear (about 1/8″) and rub the ears between your thumb and forefinger.
Massage your dog’s eyes (they will close automatically) very lightly with your thumbs and stroke your forefinger down the nose, starting between the eyes. Gently pinch your dog’s cheeks and lips several times and finally stroke the throat and chin. Add a drop more oil to your hands and massage the chest (while the dog is standing), moving your hands under the armpits and rubbing gently. Allow your hands to slide from the armpits to the forelegs. Slide your hands down the forelegs (like you did for the tail) with a soft but firm grip all the way down to the paws.
Gently hold the paws (one at a time) and squeeze gently for a few seconds. Repeat this procedure, starting with the chest, 2 – 3 times. *A note: It is best to straddle your dog standing over him like you would sit on a horse when you start with the chest massage (don’t sit on him!!!). Then turn the opposite direction and massage the buttock, sliding your hands down the hind legs and massaging down to the paws. (Just as you did for the forelegs.) You can also massage the chest, armpits, legs and paws while your dog is laying down. Either on his side or on his back. And during the whole procedure, speak to your dog in a sweet, soft voice……….
Kimberly and Bruno(Boonie) CGC, NJC and 1/3 AD. GardenGrove, CA
We get a lot of visitors to Dalmatians.us that own other breeds of dogs so I thought it was time to include some general dog care and responsible ownership information. many of the articles on this website that are written specifically for Dalmatians offer good tips for other breeds as well. For example any dog would benefit from the techniques described in the article about training.The advice on selecting a breeder is universally applicable…just change the name of the breed and what health clearances are required. The same can be said of the article on breeding responsibilities.
Articles specifically for this section of the Dalmatian Information Station: Dog Massage by Kimberley Schreyer who very generously allowed me to post it on this site Cancer in Dogs by Todd Bessinger who very generously allowed me to post it on this site Improving Diet
Once you have decided that you can provide a proper home for a Dalmatian you will need to start contacting reputable breeders. NEVER buy from a pet shop, commercial breeder or backyard breeder. A reputable hobby breeder is your best option for purchasing a healthy, well-adjusted Dalmatian puppy who will be a welcome addition to your family. Never buy on impulse. The puppy will be a part of your family for 12-14 years. This is not a decision to be made in haste. You can get referrals to reputable breeders from your local all-breed or specialty club or check the Dalmatian Club of America Breeder Referral page.A good way to begin the conversation is to ask if the puppies have been BAER tested and if the parents have been BAER tested, have been OFA certified for hips and elbows, have a CERF clearance including the test for iris hypoplasia, have normal thyroid function, and no history of stones, seizures, or chronic allergies. If you get a negative response or the breeder has no idea what you are talking about, say thanks and hang up. Be wary of anyone selling Dalmations. A reputable breeder would certainly know the correct spelling is Dalmatians.
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entertaining his puppies.
Look for a breeder who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the breed. A reputable breeder is usually highly involved in dog activities like showing, obedience, agility, tracking, public education, pet therapy and/or rescue. Look for membership in the Dalmatian Club of America, a regional specialty club, and/or a local all-breed or obedience club. An experienced breeder will act as your mentor and will be there to guide you throughout the life of the dog. A commercial or backyard breeder is through with you as soon as your check clears.
A reputable breeder will interview you at length to be certain you are a good candidate for ownership of a Dalmatian. The breeder will point out the good points as well as the bad points of the breed. In fact, breeders frequently emphasize the bad points so there is no doubt the prospective owner is well versed on the negative aspects of Dalmatian ownership. The breeder will explain why she did this particular breeding, that is, what strengths each parent brought to the breeding. The breeder will want to be certain you are willing to make a lifetime commitment to providing care for this puppy. As you talk to the breeder you should get the feeling that this person is very experienced and very knowledgeable. Check to see that the sire and dam have all applicable health clearances. Ideally both parents are bilateral hearing, have OFA certified hips and elbows, have a CERF clearance including the test for iris hypoplasia (which should be noted on the exam sheet), have normal thyroid, and no evidence of stones, seizures or chronic allergies.
Ask about the parents’ show records. If you are considering buying a show puppy it should come from show parents. Beware of breeders who advertise show quality puppies but do not show dogs. Inquire about other dogs in the pedigree. A reputable breeder will be able to give you chapter and verse about the puppies’ parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. If you are considering a performance career for your puppy, then look for a breeder whose dogs do well in performance events.
The puppies should have been BAER tested and there will be certification to this effect. A reputable breeder will not sell or giveaway a deaf puppy. The puppies should be at least 7 weeks old and weaned from the mother. Check state laws. Some states require that a puppy be 8 weeks old prior to placement. The puppies should have had preliminary puppy vaccinations as well as regular vet care to include fecal exams and a check-up. The breeder should allow you 2 – 3 business days to have the puppy examined by a veterinarian of your choice.A reputable breeder will require you to buy a crate for the puppy to facilitate housebreaking. A crate is also very useful when you are traveling or to confine a dog that is not mature enough to handle the responsibility of being loose in the house. Young puppies should be crated (but never for more than a couple of hours at a time) when they cannot be supervised.
A reputable breeder will require you to take the puppy to a puppy kindergarten class or basic obedience class or both. The breeder will be able to offer you suggestions about choosing a class or instructor and will give you tips or written instruction about early training.
Be observant when you go to see the puppies. Are the puppies clean and healthy looking? Are they friendly and inquisitive? Is the dam friendly and nice-looking? If the sire is there, is he friendly and nice-looking? Frequently the sire will not be available. A reputable breeder may use a stud dog in another state or even another country if that is the best match. Is there evidence of the breeder’s involvement in shows such as pictures of wins, title certificates from AKC, awards, etc. What kind of relationship does the breeder seem to have with the dogs? Are all the dogs kept in clean quarters? How many litters does the breeder have per year? It is unusual for a truly responsible breeder to have more than one or two litters per year.
A reputable breeder will have a written sales contract that outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties and and that lists any guarantees. The breeder will require that pet quality puppies be spayed or neutered by a specified date and will not give registration papers until this has been done. A breeder will require that puppies purchased as show quality be shown to their championship (or to some level of success) and have applicable health clearances before breeding. Remember, if a dispute should arise, only those items that are actually in writing will have any effect on AKC or a court. Be wary of contracts that require you to breed the dog even if you do not want to do so.
A reputable breeder will give you a supply of the puppy’s food, a four or five generation pedigree, health records, a list of necessary supplies, and written instructions on caring for the puppy. Some breeders include pictures of the litter and pictures of both parents. You will probably get a call every few days for the first couple of weeks to be sure everything is going well. Reputable breeders will encourage you to contact them if you have problems or questions.
May be too lively for very young children. Small children should always have adult supervision when playing with ANY dog.
Intelligent, willing to please, quick to learn.
Need gentle, motivational obedience training as early as possible. Not for people who will not set clear limits. Do not respond well to pain avoidance training.
People oriented, excellent house dog and indoor-outdoor companion.
Not a yard/kennel dog – needs to be part of family.
Natural affinity for horses, likes hiking, jogging, biking and rollerblading with owner.
Natural watch dog, polite when introduced properly, loyal to family and close friends, will protect when appropriate, not a biter unless provoked.
Puppies require proper socialization with a variety of people. Improperly socialized puppies may become shy or aggressive.
Generally good with other dogs, especially if well-socialized. Many households have multiple Dals (or other breeds).
May be quarrelsome with strange dogs if not properly socialized.
Very easy to groom. Clean and little doggy odor.
Sheds continuously throughout the year – shorthair clings to clothes and furniture.
Generally healthy, easy keepers, little hip dysplasia, very low incidence of eye problems, hardy but short coat makes them unsuitable for staying outdoors in very cold weather.
Deafness affects about 8% of the breed. Buy only a BAER tested puppy. Requires low purine diet to prevent urate stone forming.
A Dalmatian from a reputable breeder makes a wonderful, loving, intelligent, healthy family companion. Adult Dalmatians from Dalmatian Club of America or Dalsavers affiliated rescue groups are ideal for those who do not have the time to devote to raising a puppy.
Popularity has caused irresponsible breeding by greedy commercial breeders and unknowledgeable backyard breeders. Some well-meaning rescuers will place any dog. Buy only from a reputable breeders or adopt from a DCA or Dalsavers affiliated rescue group.
Years ago, training was really in the dark ages. Choke collars and harsh correction were the only tools used to coerce dogs into obedience. This was especially difficult for sensitive, intelligent breeds like the Dalmatian. I believe that Dals enjoy working and that they have a great desire to please but it has to be done as a partnership with the owner. I truly feel that one of the reasons Dalmatians have a reputation for being hard to train is that many owners rely on pain avoidance methods. Dalmatians do not like to be jerked, pulled, and given sharp corrections with a choke collar. I have always felt that dogs operate on the “What’s in it for me?” principle. Certainly a dog would be more motivated to work for treats, praise, and playtime than to work just to avoid being jerked on the neck. Positive reinforcement training methods, particularly operant conditioning, help strengthen the bond between the dog and owner and encourage the dog to be a willing partner in the learning process.
What is positive reinforcement training? It is rewarding a dog for doing the right thing and ignoring or reshaping undesirable behaviors. For example, if I am trying to teach a dog to sit I can stand there all day and yell “Sit” but if I haven’t taught him what the word means it will do me no good. With positive reinforcement I will use a toy or treat, called a lure or motivator, and use it to shape the behavior. I can move the treat towards the dog’s nose and he will sit in order to get it. If he bounces up to get it I say nothing to correct him but I also do not give him the treat. When he does sit, he gets praise and the treat. After a few such episodes the dog will sit every time I bring the treat towards his nose. Now I can add a word to tell him what he is doing. I will say “Sit” just as he sits. Soon he will have the connection between the word and the action. Now he will get a treat after he complies with the verbal command. As the behavior becomes more and more established I start to vary the reward system. Sometimes he gets a treat, sometimes just praise. Sometimes I surprise him with a jackpot, an extra good treat or several treats. The dog will stay enthusiastic about working because he never knows when he might get that jackpot.
Clicker training, or operant conditioning, is based on the training used to train performing dolphins and whales. It is impractical to put a choke collar on a killer whale and haul off and give him a sharp correction. Trainers found they could use a device, usually a whistle, to let the animal know when they performed correctly. The sound of the whistle means “You did it right. Come get a treat.” For use with dogs, a clicker (just like the little cricket toys we had as kids…oh come on, you remember!) is used as the signaling device. The dog is first conditioned to the clicker. The handler clicks and then rewards the dog with a food tidbit. This might be done 20 or 30 times so the dog learns the click means a treat is coming. Then a motivator or lure is used to shape a behavior. When the dog does it right he gets a click and then a reward. If he gets it wrong there is no correction but there is also no click and no reward. The clicker can be used to “capture” a behavior. For example, if you don’t mind taking a lot of time to train a dog to sit, you could just stand around with the clicker. When the dog sits on his own you click and give him a reward. Every time he sits you click and reward. He will soon get the idea. Then you can add the verbal command. Of course, you could stand around waiting for a very long time if you were trying to teach something like the teeter totter in agility. It might be days or weeks before the dog goes over to the teeter on his own and walks across it. You get much faster results by using a lure, as in the example above, to shape the behavior and then using the clicker to let the dog know when he gets it right.
Owners who want to use these methods to train a dog should seek out instructors who are well-versed in the techniques. Visit the class and see what is going on. If everyone is using a choke collar and jerking the dog around this is not a good class for your Dalmatian. Look for a place where the handlers use treats, toys, buckle collars, and, perhaps, clickers to train. The dogs will be wagging their tails and working eagerly. Positive reinforcement training allows the dog to learn to think on his own. The dog will not be afraid to learn new things. He will experiment to see what behaviors bring rewards.
The ideal time to start training is when you first get your puppy. Sign up for a puppy kindergarten class as soon as possible. The puppy class should be taught with buckle collars not choke collars. It should provide ample opportunity for the puppy to socialize with the other dogs and handlers. However, it should also provide instruction on how to teach the puppy to sit, down, come when called, walk on a leash, etc. The puppy will learn attention, that is to look up at the owner and to try to maintain eye contact with the owner. It is a lot easier to train a dog when he is looking at you. The basics of housebreaking and problem prevention should be covered. Many puppy kindergartens use agility equipment such as ramps and tunnels to teach confidence and coordination.
After puppy kindergarten take a basic obedience class. Again the class should be taught using positive reinforcement. The dogs should be worked on loose leads and the instructor should stress praising and rewarding good behavior rather than correcting undesirable behavior. Attention work will be emphasized. There will be more going on than heeling in a circle. The dog will learn to pay attention to the owner and work in spite of distractions.
If your Dalmatian is already an adult and in need of training, take heart. These methods can work very well for you too. If your dog is badly out of control I suggest a few private lessons with the instructor to work on attention and some basic control. Then you can go on to a group class. Some people may advise you to try a prong or pinch collar. DON’T DO IT!!! If you really have a wild, lunging dog, try a Halti, Gentle Leader, or other type of head collar (similar to halters used on horses) instead. Be sure to get instruction on the use of the headcollar as improper use can cause damage to the dog’s neck.
There are a number of benefits to positive reinforcement training. A 15 minute obedience session is excellent exercise, helps burn off some excess energy, inceases the bond between dog and owner, and results in a well-trained dog. What a deal! The better trained your dog is, the more time you will want to spend with him. This will make both of you a lot happier.
Once your dog has some of the basics down pat, you might like to try earning a Canine Good Citizen certificate. This 10 part test is offered by many dog clubs and training organizations and is open to any dog over six months of age. When your dog passes you will get a neat certificate that you can frame and hang on the wall above Spot’s bed. The Canine Good Citizen Test should be a goal for every dog owner.
Keep up with the obedience training even after you have completed the classes. The old adage that you lose what you don’t use is true for dogs too.