Who am I to offer advice on Deerhound Ownership
– really I’m just a Lover of Deerhounds
I have no claim to fame, I don’t show dogs, I don’t breed dogs, I don’t sell dogs. The only thing that makes me, I suppose is someone who has no vested interest and therefore maybe, uniquely qualified to disseminate the information I have learned from reading, observing, doing and questioning.
Where I fall short and I know it is I don’t have decades of experience, I haven’t suffered the heartbreak and losses that so many have experienced in their long love of this breed. If someone else had started this blog I wouldn’t have felt a need to.
I was out walking Cailean tonight and started thinking about this and things that I have neglected to mention. Having a deerhound isn’t all sweetness and light.
There’s puppy training as with any other breed, there’s teething too. Occasionally there will be a deerhound that is hard to break of the chewing habit. There are nervous deerhounds, easy going dh’s, there are shy deerhounds, smart dh’s, dumb as a post dh’s. Buying from a well respected breeder is the best guarantee you’ll have that the positive qualities in their temperaments have been of paramount importance in their breeding program. Everything that can go wrong with any breed can also affect a deerhound. I have met an incredible variety of personalities within the deerhounds that I have met.
I have a friend who has a jumping deerhound– this deerhound handily jumps over the half door from the mudroom into the dining kitchen area whenever she feels like it. Another friend has a dh puppy (after having many puppies previously) who is an escape artist. Whatever configuration of x-pens she put together she would find he’d get out of it. An elaborate system of boards and pens was put together to contain this little Dennis the Menace type. I know a really sweet, pretty female deerhound that loves people and children but doesn’t care much for other dh. This same dog is a pack-rat, like a crow she collects things- tea towels, paring knives, pens, gloves, jar lids and carries them all to her bed; she doesn’t chew them she just collects them. A sign of insecurity we think. Weird isn’t it?
Some deerhounds do stairs, others are exceedingly reluctant. Some deerhounds freak out over too- smooth floors others could care less. Some dh happily eat whatever you put in front of them, others seem indifferent to the fuel their rapidly growing bodies require to grow and thrive. Some dh would never stray far even if loose on hundreds of acres, others are gone in a flash. The best thing you can do with your puppy is take them with you to as many different places as you can (always assessing their comfort level and minimizing anxiety.) Never Ever trust a deerhound off leash anywhere that moving cars are near!
My deerhound Cailean is a little bit hyper (sometimes a lot hyper) even if I’m tired, sick and don’t feel like it I pretty much have to take her out twice a day- for about an hour each time. If I don’t she noses me, she pushes my leg with her nose, she pushes the book I am reading with her nose, she’ll pace around come back and push again. If I’m watching a movie she’ll stand in front of the tv so I can’t see. Stubborn! Stubborn! Stubborn! Cailean didn’t sleep through the night until she was about 2 years old. She would wake us up at least once in the night. That all stopped once we got rid of the gate & put a bed in our room for her. Now she only sleeps in our room a couple of times a week. The rest of the time she is content on her favourite bed – the living room sofa (which she only was allowed on after she turned 2 as well. Look at all the trouble we could have saved ourselves if we had done it properly from the beginning. Len was sure that since Brody the Dh Len had when we met was never allowed upstairs we were going to do the same with Cailean. (The difference was that Brody had Zack the German Shepherd.) Ergo Deerhounds bonded to their owner generally want to be close to their owner most of the time. Deerhounds raised in pairs or amongst a larger pack of dogs will usually be less closely bonded to their master. It may sound to some as though I am spoiling Cailean by giving in and taking her for a walk at night when I don’t feel like it. I am not spoiling her at all. I am meeting her needs, I know she needs to run, walk smell and be a dog. I knew that when I got her. It would be much easier if we had another dog to be a companion for her,we don’t so I am it.
Some deerhounds can be left alone for hours and they will be angels, others not so much. There is no sure way to know what the personality of the puppy you fall in love with will be like. The best thing to do is begin as you mean to go on. Be affectionate, loving & indulgent even but stern and unmoveable as a mountain when required. All dogs will take advantage of what they perceive as weakness. Aggression should never be tolerated in a puppy or adult. Momentary fear might make a puppy behave in a way that is more aggressive than you expect and should be sharply corrected. Always, always call your breeder or someone in the breed if you feel your dog’s behaviour is problematic. There may be a simple solution and then again there might not, but all responsible breeders want to help and support the people who have taken their dogs.