1 January 2017
- Where is Kensington Kennel located?
- How many litters do you have each year?
- How much do you charge for a puppy?
- Is a Tibetan Terrier right for me?
- Should I buy a Tibetan Terrier for my child?
- How much care does a Tibetan Terrier require?
- What about training for agility?
- Do Tibetan Terriers get along with other animals?
- Are there gender differences?
- How come I see so many different colors in their coats?
- What kind of home life do you suggest?
- What about outdoors?
- How do I housetrain my new puppy?
- Can I teach a Tibetan Terrier tricks?
- Is there an advantage to bringing two puppies home at the same time?
- I know you require that the puppy be neutered. When should that happen?
- How do you travel with a Tibetan Terrier?
- What about food and feeding?
Kensington Kennel is located in Stowe, Vermont, right in the historic part of the village on Route 100. Our property abuts Sunset Hill and the woods begin behind our driveway. We welcome visits from potential forever families by appointment and have a guest house, for those who are coming from so far away that they need to stay overnight.
Sometimes, we keep the pick bitch or dog puppy, if we get a puppy who looks to be better than anything we’ve bred to date out of their mother. However, we are very careful not to increase the size of our home pack, without retiring an older animal. It is mandatory to us that we have the time and focus to train and encourage each of our Tibetan Terrier puppies to blossom. That includes consistency of routine and an opportunity to watch the family’s goings-on, from a safe place. Depending upon the animal’s physical and emotional maturity – and the condition of the coat – that ‘pick’ puppy goes on the show circuit to compete in Conformation under highly accomplished and skilled handlers in one of several classes, according to age. Pamela and Mark Desrosiers have been handling Kensington Tibetan Terriers, since 2007. Back in 1992, Wendell Sammet handled our first dog.
This is a good question. We find that the medium size of a Tibetan is a great size with which to live and travel. Tibetan Terriers also bring high quality intelligence and personality to the table. We’re not talking about a big dog personality, like a Bernese or a German Shepherd or even a Golden Retriever. These big breeds won’t test you the way a Tibetan Terrier will, because the temperament is different. Tibetans are independent and precocious. They’re very much like six year old children – and while they can be distracted into obedience, they also have some of their own ideas. They tend to be affectionate and sensitive – you’ll find that they can intuit when you might need comfort or when you’re angry. I’ve found that a Tibetan Terrier will act as though he ‘feels badly’, even before you scold him. And I’ve found that silence and turning your back work much better than yelling at the dog. I would also encourage you to clap your hands or whistle, to try to ‘manage by sound’, instead of managing by voice. And you can also train with hand signals. I point to the ground, when I want an animal to ‘sit’. If you train them correctly, this works very well outdoors and can be INVALUABLE on sidewalks.
So, you ask whether a Tibetan Terrier is right for you? If you or someone in your house has an anger issue – pick a different breed. Lots of loud noise or screaming in your household? Pick a different breed. Lots of kids in the household? It depends upon the children. Young children who wave their hands around in the air and run through the house? Not ideal, for a Tibetan puppy. But one of the best things about Tibetan Terriers is that they will remove themselves from the chaos and noise of lots of children and go find a table, under which to lie. Or they’ll find a couch or chair, on which to jump to escape, or go upstairs or outside. But do you really want to expose a sensitive animal to regular chaos, knowing that it will be YOUR responsibility to raise a well mannered dog and that behavioural problems stem from environmental and training issues? Maybe think about a different breed, like a Lab. ;>)
Another thing to consider is the potential longevity of the breed. Our first Kensington Tibetan Terriers lived to be sixteen. Max and Mia were littermates from Nina Wagner’s Shalimar Kennel. Max was a very good boy and especially gentle. He was a love machine and wonderful with kids. He never lost his athleticism and was fit until the end. Mia was an acrobat and could jump four feet into the air from a standing position. She should have been in the circus! She was the most nimble of all of the Tibetan Terriers we’ve had (until Georgie Girl and Billie Jean) and also lived until she was 16. Older doggies are slower and sometimes can’t hold it – so, the challenges change, as the animals mature. Elderly dogs make wonderful companions for older people, as they move more slowly and like to sleep in your lap or lie curled up next to you or stand guard perched on a chair, looking out the window. How old will you be in fifteen years? And your children? Think about it. Remember, a puppy grows up into a young dog. And then, into an adult dog. Those are the greatest years – between two years old when the puppy matures – until ten, when they begin to enjoy shorter hikes, instead of fifteen mile traverses! But if you exercise regularly and feed your dog well — and you live in a smoke-free home with NO exposure to fertilizers or pesticides — your Tibetan Terrier may well live to fifteen or sixteen years old, as ours have done. If you haven’t had the opportunity to get to know a Tibetan, my suggestion to you is to come for a visit. Visit every breeder you are considering, to see how they live and how the animals are raised. We have Tibetan Terriers of several ages and this is one of the reasons we always have an older animal in residence to help raise a pup. These days, it’s ‘Old Man Oliver’. His corrections are predictable and he takes no guff. Shows his teeth, growls long and low – and NEVER lunges, nips or frightens a young puppy. His role is that of Emily Post, our Mr. Manners.
Some families or couples are better with an animal who is a little older and has a little more training. Housebreaking a puppy might be too much for them. Or perhaps, they don’t want to go through the higher energy level of a puppy. We have Tibetan Terriers of a variety of ages, should you decide that you might like to consider an older puppy or young dog. We might have one now or it might be in a year or two. More and more small families are seeking older animals, for a variety of reasons. We charge the same, regardless of age of the animal. Cost of spaying and neutering will be your responsibility – but we are willing to have it done by our vet and manage the post-surgical care, if that is too much for you, too. Regardless of what anyone might say, when you see Tibetan Terriers playing among themselves and you have a chance to interact with them 3D, it will help you better understand whether this breed is right for you.
Please read the answer to question four. If you think that your child can manage a six year old, then, perhaps your child is old enough for a Tibetan Terrier. Pictured at the right is Levi, an unusually intuitive, responsible and intelligent seven year old. Last year, he and his younger sister Claire visited and we deemed him almost ready to get a puppy of his own, as his family was still grieving the loss of their much loved Lab. After six months of discussion, we’re all in agreement now that Levi is capable of participating in the training and care of a new dog for the family. This family is in line for one of Gigi’s puppies and we are all quite excited about it. It’s a fine match and Levi is looking forward to helping to socialize the young puppies, once they hit the ground later this spring.
I would never suggest that you buy a young child a puppy of his or her own – everyone must be involved and an older dog for the family could be perfect and might be better. It depends upon the situation and the level of experience living with dogs. If you’re talking about a child who has newly moved into an area and needs a friend who will be shared by the whole family – it might be a great idea. Every idea deserves discussion and I’d be happy to speak with you about your personal situation. This is also one of the reasons that I require at least one 3D visit to meet the pack, so that we can watch animal behaviours together and discuss breed suitability. A Tibetan Terrier may or may NOT be the breed that’s right for your family. I do not want to take that risk, nor should you. We are protective of this breed, as they have earned the nickname ‘Little People’ and for good reason. They can be challenging as adolescent puppies and require proper training, exercise and positive feedback.
There is a puppy from Izzie’s first litter named Beau. Beau is a natural for agility and we hope that his human parents will encourage him to learn the competitive sport of agility. All dogs can learn to do agility – once again, all it takes is consistency, patience and regular training. But since we spend most of our time raising young pups and training older ones, we haven’t had a chance to try our hands at agility with any of our own dogs. So, to see the real answer to your question, go to youtube.com and search for Tibetan Terriers doing agility. There are a couple of highly skilled adult Tibetan Terriers who will knock your socks off, when you see what they can do. They can dance and sing, too.
Clicker training is something we are just learning and Beckham, our young male from Markus Gisslen in Sweden, is LOVING it!
Intact animals will often behave differently than neutered animals. We sell with a spay/neuter contract. This means that you are required to have your puppy spayed or neutered, once it has reached sexual maturity. It is very important to understand a dog’s natural instinct to protect and defend his pack. Alpha dogs will always be more alert to strangers and more wary of them. They have a job to do. Fortunately, there are very few alpha dogs in the Tibetan breed. However, it should always be emphasized that you want to introduce adult animals to one another with respect and in carefully controlled environments. Some dogs are different on-leash, rather than off-leash. It’s important to understand your animal’s personality. Puppies who are raised with other animals will treat any new animal like a friend. We’ve raised Tibetan Terriers with cats, horses, Bernese Mountain Dogs, chickens, ducks and cockatiels. How you work to socialize an animal will be reflected in that animal’s future behavior. And once you eliminate the testosterone from a boy doggie at neutering, those behaviors are pretty much guaranteed to be what you get long term, unless there are other factors at play. Aggressive children or animals are not something you want around a new puppy. New puppies are happy and playful and still a little fragile. They’ve never had a bad experience and it is not fair to jeopardize an animal’s welfare with aggressive behavior from another. This is absolutely NOT something you want to ignore! Just as people contribute to the development of scary pit bulls, you can contribute to the development of a frightened, angry Tibetan that will not be a good reflection of the breed. We have seen some very sorry animals come out of Tibetan Terrier puppy mills and some of these animals never recover. The key to raising a friendly and respectful animal who gets along well with other animals is proper socializing and healthy play, beginning at a very young age.
It has been our experience that females tend to be a little more independent and males tend to be playful love machines. But it must also be noted that in nature, females are the ones genetically programmed to whelp, feed, raise & protect the puppies. Males, on the other hand, have only one thing genetically programmed into them and that is to make puppies, when the opportunity presents itself. At all other times, their only responsibility is to play! So, boy puppies can be challenging, when all they want to do is play! Dig deep and find your sense of humor. Boy doggies are cuddle muffins and want nothing more than to curl up, make eye contact and have bodily contact with you, once they’re tired! Females are queens and enjoy being adored. Kensington females are healthy and spirited. Obedience & good manners are things that are trained into an animal, regardless of gender – so, remember, that’s your responsibility. Obedience is not automatic!
There is no color standard in the Tibetan Terrier breed. And there are something like sixteen genes involved in the genetics of canine coat color. So, while white is the absence of color and is dominant, the double coat of a Tibetan often comes with at least two colors – and those might be black and some white. Once an animal has white in its coat, it will never produce a puppy without white – even just a little bit! To make things even more interesting, Tibetan Terriers change their coat colors, as they mature. You’ll find at two or so years of age, your black dog might go charcoal. Or your red brindle dog might go blonde. Here at Kensington, we have had a red brindle who has gone whiskey with black tipping – a red brindle who has gone blonde with black tipping – two black and white who have gone charcoal and white – a white and black who has gone white and charcoal — and a black and white who changed to charcoal and white at two – and then, back to very black and white, at four! You should never base the selection of a puppy on coat color alone. Instead, you should ALWAYS base a puppy selection on temperament and health – but having a coat color preference is certainly understood. In fact, I have one forever family who has been waiting through three litters for the coat color they want.
Tibetan Terriers can take a fair amount of variety in their home lives, as long as they know they’re welcome, who’s the boss and where they’re supposed to sleep. This is one of the reasons we recommend crate training. It very much aids in happy travel experiences and also, in a predictable home life. What kind of a home life do I suggest? A happy one, without a whole lot of unnecessary loud noise. Someone to play with, whether with two legs or four. A variety of dog toys to chew on and to carry – enough money and time to provide proper veterinary care, good quality dog kibble and attention to fresh water. At least one dog bed or crate – a blanket to throw on the couch, if you choose to allow your dog to share the couch with you. Tibetan Terriers love their humans, especially the one(s) that play with them! So, share the feeding & exercise duties with your kids or your spouse and everyone can share in the love. A fenced yard is very important, for peace of mind and for ease of housetraining. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to leash walk your dog at least four or five times a day while they’re young. As they grow, their little bladders will grow, too, and they’ll be better able to ‘hold it’ during the day. When they’re left alone in their crates and their humans leave, they’ll expect and need to be let out immediately after you return – that is, after they’ve showered you with love and licks. If you wait to take them out, they might have an accident. It’s all part of the excitement of your walking in the door – so, please be kind and remember to take your doggie out first thing, after returning home. You are responsible for your dog’s success.
Another thing to address and emphasize is TICK PROTECTION. Ticks spread Lyme Disease and it is terrible thing to witness. The fever comes on fast and is very high. The lameness and lethargy come on even faster. You will watch your animal deteriorate, right in front of your eyes and not know what’s wrong.
I believe in having your yard sprayed with TickKilz, as it is totally natural and like garden plant insecticides, it is a soap based spray with essential oils to deter/kill ticks. It works. I use it in Massachusetts and was amazed at how successful it was at eradicating the ticks from around my house last year. Please talk with your local pest control service, if you live in a State known for its deer tick population.
Come! Now, that’s a special command and one where you will have to be consistent and use lots of rewards. I don’t always use food rewards. I use verbal praise and petting just as often, because I don’t want the dog to think that he’s going to get a treat EVERY time he obeys. Pick up a dog training book, if you’d like to do a really good job training your dog. You can read about ‘clicker’ training, agility and some animal behavior theory, all of which will give you good ideas to think about.
But there is a flip side to it and the possibility that the two puppies will bond more to one another than to you. In order to fully eliminate that possibility, some of my forever families choose to bring puppies home from successive litters. That way, each puppy gets to be a puppy! and then, when the second puppy comes home? There is an older animal to help teach them the ropes. Everything comes easier and faster for the second puppy, often because they learn by watching the older animal’s behaviour with you.
But there is twice the expense and that includes food and veterinary care. Think carefully about this.
Crate training pairs allows them to entertain each other. They seem to thoroughly enjoy having a companion in their crate and will kennel together, when given the choice of multiple kennels. Many of my clients have come to me to find a second Tibetan Terrier for a Tibetan Terrier they’ve already owned for a while. A younger pup rejuvenates an older dog and the older one tends to train the younger one to follow in his or her footsteps. Regardless of gender, the older Tibetan Terrier usually lets the younger Tibetan Terrier ‘rule the roost’. But that older dog also keeps the younger one in line. Some people have come back to me to purchase a second Kensington Tibetan Terrier, one year after having purchased their first. In all of these instances, we have people who have the space & time – and who want the best for their Tibetan Terrier. They often see that a companion will be the best gift they can give their favored pet and two is at least double the fun – and not as much as double the work.