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     Anyone arriving on this page is probably curious enough to want to learn more about owning a Black Russian Terrier. Many people approach me every day and ask me something about Luba. It is honestly an enigma to us. We had no idea how many people would approach us to ask some kind of question about Luba. She is like a celebrity who falls short of being asked for an autograph. She has had her picture taken well over 200 times.
Living with a Celebrity 
    My wife used to dig me about how much I spent to buy Luba. To her the money I spent was very excessive for a dog but she would say now that the price was well worth the pleasure we get from her. She loves Luba dearly. So it all started as contest which turned into a register. The number 1 question people would ask us is, “What kind of dog is that?” So we started back in 2008 when Luba was just 8 months old and we were at a show in Santa Barbara, CA. We would sort of count how many people would ask this number 1 question. We would pretend that each time the question was asked we would charge $1.00 for the answer. That weekend we had counted up $143.00. To date we stopped counting at over 3000 times. Far be it that we would ever charge to answer a question on our girl but it was enough to motivate us to learn how fascinating our girl is to others.
       So besides the fact that if you brought a "celebrity" BRT puppy into your home, it would also have special needs which you should know about. Since this dog was created for military purposes, you may have a specific need for this type of breed. Some people train for the working aspects of this breed. These dogs are great in Schutzhund, Search & Rescue, Carting, and Therapy work. For the simplicity of this page I will address the family pet. You will need to know that the whole family needs to interact with the puppy. Socialization begins with the family and then later with strangers. After the puppy has had its inoculations and the Vet clears him for the outside world it is important that they learn to tolerate strangers and not be shy with them. Bring him to Petco, Petsmart, Lowes, the park, and any public place which allow dogs. Encourage people to pet your dog. Don’t worry, you will still have a watch dog when he matures but you don’t want one that will bite a person in a public place. Laws are strict these days especially in the cities. Never allow your dog to growl at you. A growling dog is trying to become Alpha and be the boss.   
Are you the Alpha?
      Besides socialization the family has to decide who is going to feed the dog. The one who feeds the dog is going to be the one which your dog will most be attached to. So the feeder should also be the trainer. Know too that these dogs have a capacity to bond with their master like no other breed. Many Russians call these dogs the shadow. Simply because they will follow the feeder from room to room just to be close to them. As I am typing this story Luba as lying at my feet with her warm chin on my left foot. This is also important to know that if a family gives one of these dogs up it can be very traumatizing for them and takes a long time to adapt to a new owner. Your Black Russian Terrier will have an undying love for you that can be matched by no other. This is one of the reasons why we take such a strict method in screening possible candidates for ownership.
     Now that the whole family has decided who the Alpha is in the family, it is time to think about training. You can begin training your baby as early as a couple of weeks after he comes home with you. The basic commands are sit, stay, and down. Your puppy will love food. Baiting is an excellent way to begin this work. You will find your BRT will try to please you and be a sponge when it comes to learning. You MUST take him to obedience classes. There is no way around it. Your dog will be able to pull you down when walking on a leash. If he does this to you it will be because YOU failed to train him properly. When your puppy is doing something wrong do not scold him. Redirect him. Example, he is barking at a cat, you say “Fido, look at this.” Perhaps a toy to distract him, it will immediately distract him and he will forget about the cat. Eventually, the dog’s name will be replaced with a word which means not to bark. I use “Cut”. If you man handle, scold, or abuse your BRT you will make him timid and cowering to you. He will do this because you have taught him that is what he is supposed to do. They are sensitive creatures and want nothing but to please you. We did three months of training on a weekly basis with Luba. * We took a group class for 10.00 per class. It was very much fun for Me, my Wife, and Luba.
    One more thing with children, they love to play with their “brothers and sisters”. In doing so they love to use their front paws to bat you. Be careful with that. Lying on the floor looking to play with your BRT puppy will almost guarantee a bat to the face. I almost lost an eye from Luba’s right hook!     
     This breed should not be a backyard dog. They need to live inside the home with the family. Isolation can make them anti-social which will make them aggressive. They are mostly non-allergenic because of their low shedding ability. Regular brushing is a must (at least once a week). With that said indoor living should be planned. Never leave your dog outside in hot climates for more than 15 minutes. We live in Las Vegas and we have temperatures of 110F average in the summer. * Luba gets her walks early morning and late evening and no excessive running. She is never left outside. If you are allergic to dander your breeder should allow you into their home so you can sit with their dog for an hour or so to see if you can live with a BRT. There is nothing worse than to have to give up a puppy because they are an environmental threat to you.
     Your puppy will want to run and chase toys, to jump and play. In doing this, great care and planning must be shared. Your puppy at one year old is still a puppy. It is still growing and the bones are taking shape. The skeletal development is very important and the bones are soft. Because of this NO EXCESSIVE RUNNING is allowed. Let’s be honest here, your dog will run and play but park time is for walking. Injury is likely to occur to the joints if the dog is overexerted. This is very important. You must think also about the environment in your home. Do you have carpet, tile, or wood floors? Tile and wood can cause accidents which could lead to your puppy slipping and limping. The cute uncoordinated, clumsy puppy is vulnerable to accidents and you must take care for him in this way. At 18 months you can start a progressive exercise program. You will be grateful you waited. Don’t forget your puppy reaches maturity at 2 years of age. Don’t let yourself associate its size with its age. At 15 months he is still a puppy mentally.
     In our health page I outlined the BRT health issues to be aware of. For this section I would like to address a more general aspect of puppy ownership. It is most important you begin by finding a good Vet. Most Vets, when meeting your dog, will say, “This is the first time I’ve seen one of these”. That might be a good thing because every new breed for a Vet is a challenge. It is also an important factor in canine ownership to have a good eye for symptoms. Your Vet will have flyers on symptoms, toxins, and behavioral signs which can harm your pet. When I first got Luba I bought health insurance and still have it today. I think with the rising cost of canine care it is a must. One trip to the vet for an illness will pay for most of your annual premium. Getting the insurance right away will prevent you from being denied for “Pre-existing” conditions. There are many ways to save money but pet insurance is essential. When you consider a new puppy make sure to figure this cost with your expectations in costs of owning a dog. I look at it this way, accidents can happen and it can be a nightmare if you ever have to ask yourself this question, “Should I pay the 7000 for the surgery or should I put the dog down?” You know if you had insurance that question will never be an issue. *My pet insurance premium is about 240.00 per year.  
     Your puppy will grow exponentially. I swear there were days when my wife and I woke up in the morning and saw an increase in Luba’s size overnight! It is amazing. I would weigh her every month and keep a record of her growth (she averaged about 3 LBS a month). It is almost comical when remembering this process. As your dog grows at a remarkable rate diet is most important. Many breeders I know feed their BRT raw food. I tried it because it made sense to me. To feed raw was to eliminate the additives you find in dog food. So I started her on raw food and do not recommend it. The reason why I do not feed raw is because Luba got very sick when we tried this diet. She had diarrhea for weeks at the age of 7 months. A breeder I know told me that the diarrhea was common and the dog would adjust to it. Well that never happened. The Vet told me that raw food is susceptible to bacteria which can harm your dog. So at that time I put her on a good kibble puppy food. After 18 months of age I started to get her into an adult food. Transition is very important when you change their food because they can have problems. You must gradually mix the new food in with the old until there is all new food. The change takes about a week. It took 3 brands to find the right food for her. What works best for our girl is grain free kibbles. * She gets 2.5 cups of kibbles, 1/4 lb of cooked lean ground beef, and one cup of boiled carrots. She still dances for her food every day. * My average cost is about 77.00 per month. That is less than what my wife spent on our two cats when they were alive. 

It is my desire not to sway anyone from considering this breed for their family. If by reading this you have found concerns to prevent you from bringing one of these babies home it is best for yourself and the baby not to. Black Russian Terriers are a large breed, have high energy, need exercise, food, and care. They are also a wonderful creature which needs to be loved and nurtured. The rewards are tenfold because in exchange for this you will receive undying love and loyalty for the rest of their life. 

*Living conditions and cost of living may vary between dogs, region, and households.
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