Life with a Kensington Tibetan Terrier

A young Emmett James

A young Emmett James, 2011

1 January 2017

Ah, where to start?  Well, let’s start with some information about potty training and crate training.

Life with your Kensington Tibetan will begin with that first car ride, from my house to your house.  Your puppy will be a clean slate who has been well socialized to humans & other dogs – and exposed to many household & travel situations – and environmental noises.  He or she will have started crate training and will have slept in the crate overnight for at least two weeks, starting with several puppies in a crate and then, down to solo sleep.  The crate is a wonderful thing and a constant in an animal’s life that will ease boarding, travel and any overnight vet visits, should that ever be necessary.  I require that you crate train your animal, as it sets the animal up for success, especially with potty training.

Ziggy, at home in his crate

Ziggy, at home in his crate

In the beginning, you or someone will need to be with the puppy 24/7 for at least the first week.  This is being kind to the puppy and will be good for you, as you’ll need time to figure things out and develop your own routine.  If you have multiple people in your household, you’ll need to clearly define roles and responsibilities among the players.

Izzie smiling, nursing her black & white babies

Izzie smiling, nursing her black & white babies, April 2009

Hopefully, in the beginning, the puppy will wake only once at night to pee and then, sleep until 6am.  You’ll have a new baby in the house!  The first couple of weeks require more attention and consistency of schedule.  You will want to take your puppy outside to do peeps and poops MORE frequently than you even think the puppy might need, because you want to stay ahead of the situation where the puppy really NEEDS to pee and just squats.  That way, there will be LOTS of praise and the puppy just might make the connection more quickly, between peeing and peeing outside!

BFF, A man and his dogs, June 2016

BFF, A man and his dogs, June 2016

You and the puppy are on the same side of this battle – it’s just that communication can be weak in the beginning and neither of you really know the other’s language.  As the puppy matures, you will learn to recognize his or her special ‘dance’ . . .  and at some point, the puppy will figure out how to connect that you want it to let you know, when it’s time to do both peeps and poops.  When that day comes, it may be cause for celebration – but the training is NOT over.  Keep your schedule.  Use the crate and never let the animal have free reign over your home; not until it is clear that the animal knows how to and the value of asking to be let out.  Never take potty training for granted!

OK.  So, let’s put potty training behind us and talk about exposure to your lifestyle.

Considering his next move, Magic at play

Considering his next move, Magic at play

Billie's 2015 litter of three puppies, Day One, August 2015

Billie’s litter of three puppies, Day One, August 2015

I like to consider size, as well as temperament, when pairing a puppy with a forever family.  The more active the family, the larger the puppy.  The less active the family, the smaller and less gregarious the puppy.  I look for self entertaining orientation, if the puppy will be the sole dog in a household with fewer humans.  And I keep the most active and precocious puppies for homes with experience raising dogs or for myself.  It is not uncommon that I might have an older puppy living with me for study who won’t end up in my breeding program.  And occasionally, I retire older animals (3 or more years of age), so as to keep the size of my pack down and allow me to bring a new puppy in for study.  Those older and beautifully trained animals are sometimes available to new forever homes.  The cost for each animal is the same, regardless of age, and it includes the first eight week veterinary appointment, so that I have each animal that I’ve bred in my personal records with my vet.

Chris and Griffin 2016

Griffin loves the pool, especially on a hot day! August 2016

We have quite a few Kensington TTs who love the water, although the breed is not known for this attribute.  They naturally love snow and running – but not swimming.  This is where you will need to expose your new puppy to your lifestyle carefully and sensitively, if you’re wanting a constant companion for a variety of activities.  Ava went to live with Sage as an older puppy.  I was on the fence about bringing her into my breeding program and then, met a wonderful couple who wanted a companion for a TT they already had – and it worked out well.  I had Ava spayed and managed the post-surgical care, and Ava now has acres and acres to run, with ponds in which to swim, boat rides in the warm weather and humans of all ages who love her.  We use kiddie pools, the hose and the Waterbury Reservoir in summer, to help develop familiarity with water adventures in our warm weather puppies.

Henry loving Rocket and Izzie

Henry loving Rocket and Izzie

The puppy stage can last up to a couple of years.  Tibetan Terriers vary in how quickly they mature emotionally.  The first nine months are spent housetraining and then, it will soon be time for spaying.  I require that a female go through her first season, to ensure that her genitals are fully developed.  Neutering a male is a less invasive procedure but shouldn’t be scheduled before eighteen months and two years, if possible.  Testosterone is a valuable hormone for the development of joints and skeleton in males.  We urge you to research the topic and discuss thoughts with your vet, before scheduling this very important procedure.

The stage spanning nine to fifteen months, is where you really start to see the personality come out and the animal begin to show its companionship orientation.  Once the animal is somewhere between 18 and 24 months, it will have matured into a young adult and now, the fun really begins.

Izzie's bro, Quigley; Om, Moon and Domino - August 2010

Izzie’s bro, Quigley; Om, Moon and Domino – August 2010

Tibetans love their humans.  They were bred for companionship and also love being one of two dogs in a home.  And they deserve to be included in much of your home life but I believe in privilege rooms and privilege activities.  I think these animals are very smart and they watch to see who gets what – but they aren’t terribly competitive about not getting it, whatever ‘it’ is.  Having more than one TT in a household is great for everyone, as long as you can afford the added cost and the additional attention required from you.  Most, however, are single dogs living with two or more people and happy as can be.

Ready for paddle boarding

Ready for paddle boarding & mountain biking

We have single dogs living with single ladies, couples and families with children.  I am not a big fan of children who wave their hands around in the air and run through the house.  No puppy will understand this behaviour and will want to play with the child more actively, as though it were a larger dog.  It will take an exceptionally attentive non-working parent(s) to manage bringing a puppy into a home with very active very young children and I do not encourage this.  I feel responsible for the animals I’ve bred and there are other AKC breeds who do better in situations with very active very young children, like Golden Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs.  Even though Tibetan Terriers are known for their gentility with children, I see no reason to put any animal into that sort of challenging environment.

James, relaxing at Birch Hill

James, relaxing at Birch Hill

Adult life is the most wonderful time and after that, the Golden Years.  Tibetans often live to 15 or 16 years of age.  And as with humans, their quality of health & life depends on the quality of food, activity, veterinary care and minimizing exposure to carcinogenic substances.  As you strive to safeguard your child from second hand smoke, you will want to do the same with your dog.  Fertilizers, weed killers, Febreze and Swiffer are things you should eradicate from your house.  They are associated with today’s higher incidence of canine cancers and birth defects, as well.  Live a gentler lifestyle with kinder cleaners and everyone in the home will benefit.  We strongly endorse Persil (by the Henckels/Miele companies) and pHurity household cleaners – LOVE pHurity’s liquid dish soap and laundry soap, too.  And I am a huge advocate of annual teeth cleaning for your dog, regardless of the breed.  Keeping the teeth clean helps to keep the blood clean – and blood born issues can lead to disease.  I have also been using probiotics proactively, since August of 2015.  One of my more holistically inclined Vermont vets told me of the research showing correlation between early, consistent and proactive use of probiotics and reduced incidence of dermatological issues and allergies.  While our breed isn’t prone to such things, the research led me to try this approach.  And now, we have absolutely no mouth odor throughout the pack and that, is a wonderful thing.  Woof!

Please call me (781.254.9941) or email me @ wendyll.behrend@gmail.com with any questions you might have.