Do Your Research!--the Importance Of Choosing The Right Breed For You

Discussion in 'Dog Breeds' started by tx_cowgirl, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Ugh, back when I worked at Petsmart I loved loved loved training questions and behavior issues, but I also got so so so frustrated with people.
    We once had a 60 year old woman who did classes with her new BORDER COLLIE PUPPY.
    "My husband grew up with one, and he said his dog was so wonderful I just decided to get one."
    WHAT?!?!?! She loved this dog to pieces, but geez she had soooo many issues. She was not in the best shape herself, I wouldn't say so much due to her age, more that she was just a couch-potato type person who wanted a couch-potato type dog. Out of 8 weeks, she came to only 3 classes. She had no patience for the dog at all. A few times she was at her wit's end and ready to rehome her, which would have been best for everyone. Each time I practically groveled at her feet to let me take her, lol, I was in love with this little pup. But she was wishy washy and actually said, "She drives me crazy and I'm too lazy and impatient to make her better but I don't want anyone else to have her." :mad: And she was actually a very low-energy BC...but still a BC nonetheless. Not sure what ever happened to her. They both quit coming in.
    So many stories like this from my Petsmart days.
    But, there were others that gave me hope, that did everything possible to make sure their dog was the right fit for them and that they were the right fit for their dog. The client I'm working with now is one of those. :) It's refreshing.

  2. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    wow, what a story, Tx!
    I've met or heard of ppl who go for the breed their family had as kids,
    unaware that a dog living with lively active children playing outdoors a lot
    is not the same set up
    as a dog living with sedentary older person watching tv all evening.
    Plus, it's possible as a small kid to be a lil oblivious to how difficult the parent might have found the dog.:rolleyes:


    It does seem more and more ppl are finally becoming aware,
    there is such a thing as high energy dogs
    and lower energy dogs,
    and that they should try to match their own energy with their dogs energy level.........
    NOT just go by what breed they "like".:rolleyes:
  3. bekah1001 Honored Member

    My dogs drive my mom crazy, they don't bother me one bit :p

    Even though I have two dogs, I still want to have another one.... later in life (5 years hopefully :p)
    Anyways I did research on the top 5 dog breeds that I want to own. I have information saved and tons of sites favourited. I would love to own a border collie, australian shepherd, and a german shepherd but they are very energetic. It would be very different lifestyle owning one compared to having golden retrievers
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    that is AWESOME, Bekah, that you DO research a breed before just adding a dog to your home. It sounds like YOU are considering carefully whether or not a high-energy dog would truly be happy in your lifestyle, wish more ppl took the time to think it over carefully, the way you are.

    How bored a dog might be living with a person is something to think about, too.
    Some breeds can tolerate boredom without being real real destructive, some breeds can't do boredom well at all, not at all. Either way, a bored dog is not a happy dog...and often has behavior problems, because they are BORED. Then the humans are unhappy, too...cuz their dog is acting nutz day after day after day....(not that your dog would be bored, i'm just saying, for anyone else reading along, it's something to think about honestly).


    NO matter how much one might crave a certain breed, if they have lives that are not set up for that breed's needs, and if they can't keep that dog busy and happy, that dog will most likely add stress to the human's life.

    Also, many young ppl, have to also look ahead to their college years. If the young person leaves for college, can they bring their dog?
    Would they have time for their dogs, if they are in school full time, doing homework, working a job, and partying with friends? Will the dog still get enough of their time? Can be done, but wow, it takes an energetic determined person to make sure the dogs get the time they need.


    Stuff like that should also be taken into consideration in choosing a dog for those who are young, cuz, five years from now.... eight years from now......... who knows what their future moves might bring? who knows if they might want to move into some apt with their best friends, but it doesn't allow dogs........................ or fall in love with some person who is allergic to dogs................. or get a job in another town which requires frequent travel, etc etc.

    Lots of unknowns about their futures for many ppl in the younger age groups especially. True enough, these things could also happen to adults, too,
    but with young ppl, is good chance,
    that their life setup in their teen years
    will not match their life setup 5 or 10 years from now.

    maybe the oncoming life changes of a young person might work out great for the dog,
    maybe, not so much. But, it's something to think about.
  5. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Also, many young ppl, have to also look ahead to their college years. If the young person leaves for college, can they bring their dog?
    Would they have time for their dogs, if they are in school full time, doing homework, working a job, and partying with friends? Will the dog still get enough of their time? Can be done, but wow, it takes an energetic determined person to make sure the dogs get the time they need.

    MANY YOUNG PPL GET DOGS AS KIDS OR WHILE THEY ARE TEENS,
    and they might be wise to consider, will THEIR PARENTS be able to keep up the dogs' needs when the teen grows up and moves out??
    Will this breed work out well for THEIR PARENTS to care for?

    Stuff like that should also be taken into consideration in choosing a dog for those who are young, cuz, five years from now.... eight years from now....... who knows what their future moves might bring? who knows if they might want to move into some apt with their best friends, but it doesn't allow dogs........................ or fall in love with some person who is allergic to dogs................. or get a job in another town which requires frequent travel, etc etc.

    Lots of unknowns about their futures for many ppl in the younger age groups especially. True enough, these things could also happen to adults, too,
    but with young ppl, is good chance,
    that their life setup in their teen years
    will not match their life setup 5 or 10 years from now.

    maybe the oncoming life changes of a young person might work out great for the dog,
    maybe, not so much.

    But, it's something to think about, too, when researching getting a dog.


    PS-----also, if one already has dogs that they can't quite control, or are in need of training, they might be wise to focus on training the dogs they already have, before adding more dogs to the home, of any breed.
    Dogster and bekah1001 like this.
  6. Pawbla Experienced Member

    Ah, college CAN be done with dogs. I live with mine. He spends a lot of time on his own but he doesn't seem to mind, we go for daily walks... I often have to go back during 2-hours breaks when I should be having lunch to get a potty break for him. But it's all good as long as I can get to be with him.
    k9 crazed likes this.
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    I'm stoked you were able to bring your dog to college with you!
    Yes, like i said, it can be done, but, it takes an energetic person to do college, homework, often a job, having parties and friends, and still have time to train a dog, as well as finding housing that allows dogs. Some breeds would lousy during finals week....:rolleyes:

    That is great you were able to bring your dog to college, But many young ppl leave their dogs behind with their parents, who may,
    or may not,
    be into training, exercising and walking the dogs left behind.
    bekah1001, Dogster and Jean Cote like this.
  8. Dogster Honored Member

    LOVE the post TX!!!!:love: Sooo true!!!!! I've met a lot of people that own (or have owned) a dog that they can't take care of. I remember one dog in particular, a dalmation. The owners didn't give him as much exercise as he needed, and he started becoming aggressive towards dogs and people.:cry: The owners eventually gave the poor dog away to another family. But here's the twist. The dalmation became a happy, go-lucky dog like he was supposed to be!!!! The new owners just exercised him as much as he needed. He lost his agression!!! This proves you need to do your research on what breed fits your lifestyle, if you want the best possible dog for you!!!!:D
  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    //"The new owners just exercised him as much as he needed. He lost his agression!!!"//

    off topic, but, amazing story, Dogster.:eek: Ahtough many blogs with zero footnotes <--(NO research done, is just opinion of the author posting it)
    put forth that dog aggression can be caused by lack of exercise, i find it hard to believe. Destructive behaviors, YES! Yessss, i completely believe that dogs who are destructive are usually BORED dogs.
    but aggressive?????----a dog who bites ppl or other dogs on a regular basis??? from lack of exercise?

    I belong to several other dog websites, which are specific for owners of aggressive dogs, and increasing the exercise has NOT worked for any of us with truly aggressive dogs. Not even one of us there, has made the claim exercise had "cured" our aggressive dogs, nor even reduced our dog's aggression.
    But now, i have finally heard of such a dog. Btw, my dog runs full speed every day with few exceptions, walks 4 to 8 miles per day, gets several training and vigorous plays sesssions a day,
    and has been aggressive every day of his whole life since i met him.

    My dog could finish an hour of running full speed, and then do another hour of agility, every day, and still want to attack your dog on the way home, if he saw him....i WISH WISH WISH exercise "cured" aggression...i really do.
    Millions of us across America wish exercise "cured" dog aggression. Aggression in dogs is soooooooooo hard to "cure", that it is THE NUMBER ONE reason that dogs are euthanized.........more than cancer, more than accidents, more than fatal illnesses or pain, the #1 reason owners have their own dogs put to sleep is uncurable aggression. It breaks their hearts,:cry: and if running the dog had worked, trust me, they would not have put their dog down.

    but, despite this not working for any of the 100s of us on each of the multiple dog-aggression webboards--------- one can "never say never" i guess!!!!
    bekah1001 and Dogster like this.
  10. TiflovesBCs Experienced Member

    Before I changed my mind about the uni course I was doing I commuted and hour n a half each way on the train to uni and back as I stayed living at home so I can be with my dogs, would never leave them with my mum, infact thats why I'm commuting again (thankfully only 40 mins on train) when I start university in September.
  11. Pawbla Experienced Member

    That's what I mean. If you want it, it can be done!

    On the housing thing, it's very hard. They have forbidden me to bring my dog again on ridiculous claims - so I'll fight back and hopefully I won't need to move until the end of the year.
  12. Dogster Honored Member

    To Tigerlily: I think lack of exercise actually fed the dalmation's aggression. He was not aggressive as a puppy (didn't need as much exercise) but after he got older, I guess he didn't have a place to put all that bent-up energy. it IS very peculiar though, how more exercise cured his aggression. Never seen anything like THAT before.O_o
  13. Mutt Experienced Member

    This is quite an old thread but still: you wrote it amazingly!
    It sure deserves to be a 'sticky'
    Exactly what I always think when I hear why/how/for which reasons someone got a dog (breed)!
  14. Khya Active Member

    Oh soooo well said. Your definitely worthy of a sticker lol. I am on my 3rd rescue dog over the last 20yrs. Each one has had a problem...that's why they were there in the first place but with lot's of luv and great leadership they have turned out to be my best friends. My local shelter has 140 dogs that they are looking for homes for, it brings tears to my eyes just looking at them. If I had a big enough house..............
    Dogster, southerngirl and Dice Smith like this.
  15. LeviTheOutlaw Well-Known Member

    We moved into our house about 6 months ago. The Lady across the street has a BC. She clearly is not an active person and I feel so bad for the dog. He's very sweet and I hear him often whining. I suspect he sees Levi and me outside playing and is whining from the window. I rarely see her bring the dog outside. I kept thinking why on earth did she get that type of dog. Well, a couple months ago, I saw her outside with the dog (I can't remember his name) and I went over to introduce myself. She's a very nice lady. Probably in her 60's. I could tell that she was frustrated and having a very hard time handling the dog. We started talking about the dog and she said it was her husbands and he had passed last year. She said her husband loved the dog so much. She knew he was too much for her to handle but she couldn't bring herself to find him a new home. She was getting teary eyed then so we changed the subject but I felt so bad for her situation. I wish there was something I could do to help her but I don't know what to do. I would love to bring her dog over to play with us but I have a feeling Levi would be very unhappy about that. I'm not even she she would let me. It just tears at my heart to hear that dog whining while Levi and I are having fun.
  16. threenorns Well-Known Member

    my own thoughts on the matter:

    first off, i really wish the term "aggression" would be codified and enforced. "aggression" doesn't mean freaking out, ripping up the carpet, chewing the furniture. it doesn't mean jumping all over people and it doesn't necessarily mean biting and snapping at people.

    an aggressive dog has one thing in mind: it wants to eat your face. it wants to chew your head off and pee on your remains. an aggressive dog is a dog that wants to destroy: a toy, another dog, a human, doesn't matter. these dogs are not as common as ppl think and they need serious help.

    anything else, is just a hyper dog. find out what the problem is, correct it, and there's no more "aggressive" behaviour. a truly aggressive dog is NOT going to be fixed by suddenly walking him properly or getting him into agility.

    second, sometimes it's not a matter of getting the dog that fits the owner - sometimes the owner has to bend to fit the dog.

    that's what happened to me - i was the absolute worst candidate for a border collie. honestly, i was a horrible candidate to have a puppy, period. i'd only ever had older dogs. i had just found out my daughter was profoundly developmentally delayed and needed all kinds of therapies. my marriage had broken down catastrophically and i was stuck living in the middle of the bush in a house that was falling down around my ears. i'm talking if i didn't go to the river with buckets to fill up the barrel in the basement, we had no running water.

    so yeah - my dog was *BAD*. he was the neighbourhood nightmare. cars crawled past my house doing 15kph, the driver's head making like a lighthouse because they *knew* "that damned dog" was going to jump out from somewhere between the highway the bridge. ppl on skidoos and ATVs generally took the alternate route if they didn't want a personal escort running out off "his" property. the wkenders across the road would call me to let me know they were coming in so i could call him back to the house else he'd bark insanely and not let them out of their car. it was not possible to keep him in the house - he would scale ladders and climb out from under the roof to get onto the porch roof and off he'd go. everybody said the same thing - "he's not a *mean* dog, but.... *damn*!".

    it got to the point he snatched a hotdog from my daughter's mouth as she was eating it - i was looking at the red scrapes on her top lip and thinking "just a little more pressure or a little bit closer" and envisioning the horrible damage that would have resulted and i couldn't do it any more. i called my mom bawling my eyes out and she said "you have to get rid of the dog" and said she'd come by on the wkend to take him to the shelter in the city. i said "he'd be killed - he's a black dog, he's out of control, and he's not a city dog - he wouldn't have a prayer" and then i thought "he was perfectly fine when i got him - he's a healthy, normal dog, so the only thing that could've ruined him is me!"

    bringing dandy into my house forced me to become the kind of person that is actually pretty good with dogs now. ppl often ask me for advice to fix problems - i have an akita mix and an aussie shepherd i'm helping now. it's slow going, though, because it's difficult for ppl to understand that there's no point my "fixing" the dog if they're going to carry on business as usual.
    Evie likes this.
  17. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    I know exactly what you mean! I have a part time job at Petsmart now, as a trainer. The other trainer their had an elderly couple with a Portuguese water dog pup who had just been spayed and ripped out her stitches and they were beside themselves, literately head in hands overwhelmed, desperate and annoyed.

    Then you get the..."oh I just got my 10 week old puppy from um I think it was the Amish, maybe. Oh I think they only lived in a kennel, I don't think they ever were in the house. What! My Labrador Retriever is going to be much bigger then this!? Oh, I'm sorry I had no idea my puppy was covered with fleas because I am afraid of the puppy getting close to me and that's why it is my husbands responsibility."

    YES THIS ACTUALLY DID OCCUR!!!!!
    SERIOUSLY!!!!
  18. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Oh my. :confused: I feel for those dogs. But, at least they found you!

    That makes me think of a Boxer that I met when I worked at Petsmart too...kids wanted a puppy so dad went and got one. He was pretty high strung even for a Boxer, and they had NO clue what to do with him. He had zero manners and the mother hated him. When they came in, either mom or dad had the leash cutting off the circulation in one hand while they used the other to attempt to keep him on a short leash while trying to stay upright. He mouthed, jumped, pulled, barked, pretty much everything. He was always very clean, nails clipped, well fed, but the only time he got walked was when they brought him in to get dog food. He was clearly very bored. He was a super sweet dog, and seemed like he would be really smart but they blew off any advice we gave them and flat out refused training classes. When he was about a year and a half old they quit coming in at all. I suspect they didn't keep him.

    Another family had a BC/Aussie mix that I was completely in love with. Her name was Bailey, and she was also really bored. They said she chewed on everything, mouthed, jumped, etc too. I asked how often she got walked and they said, "Well we have a pretty good sized backyard and the kids play with her sometimes." So I explained nicely that that was nowhere near enough for a BC/Aussie mix and that she needed at least a few walks a week. I also said that training would be really good for her because dogs like that get a lot out of training, they need mental stimulation as well as exercise. Her response was, "Are you kidding? She drags me everywhere, I'm not taking her for a few walks a week." To which I said that's exactly why you need help from a trainer...she can learn how to walk nicely, among other things. But she came back with, "I'm not bringing her to training classes and working with her all the time. All the dogs I grew up with were just good and didn't need training. She's just not a good dog."

    You can imagine I was livid since I was crazy about this sweet girl and her owner was just flat lazy and always sounded like she hated her every time I saw them. So I politely asked if they had ever thought of rehoming her if they didn't have enough time for her. Apparently the husband liked her and he wouldn't let them find her another home.

    But, lucky for sweet Bailey, they finally caved about a year later and started bringing her to classes. :LOL: The wife was still a *&^$% but she did start liking Bailey a little more.
  19. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Sometimes researching the breed still isn't enough, especially with mixes. When I was shopping for a dog on Petfinder, I carefully read as much as I could find about all of the breeds I didn't know about, as well as watching Dogs 101 on YouTube. I am a distance runner myself, so I wanted a fairly high-energy breed to go on long runs with me. We found Brody and his sister at the local SPCA, border collie mix, 7 months old. I had my two youngest kids with me at the time, they met both dogs, who were a little shy at first, but warmed up quickly and seemed quite affectionate. No signs of fear or aggression. Next day, brought my husband and older daughter to meet both dogs. We were able to walk them together, and they appeared happy, friendly and good-tempered. We all chose Brody, and were able to bring him home later that week after he was neutered. The only cautions we were given by the staff were about some barrier aggression and lack of socialization with people. I told them I was not concerned, as we have a large family and I would walk him every day to get him comfortable with other people. Four months later, after giving him daily walks, fetch sessions of 40-60 minutes each day, basic training plus some tricks, I now have a fearful/reactive dog who reacts on leash to dogs and people. I cannot take him with me on my runs, as the trails are too narrow and curving for me to be able to see someone approaching. We cannot have visitors to the house without risking putting him over threshold. I haven't been able to take him to the park for fetch for the last week as he had several encounters on one walk that put him so over threshold he tried to bite me. I am now very reluctant to recommend to anyone to adopt a shelter dog unless it has been in foster care. The reports that the owners who surrender their dogs give are misleading, and dogs in shelters do not behave normally. I don't know what else I could have done to be better prepared for Brody.
  20. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Sadly, you have a situation that happens all too often. If only choosing a dog were as easy as choosing a new pair of shoes -- but it's not. Dogs are living, breathing, thinking, feeling, emotional beings - and altho you may have been given an assessment based on what they knew so far, you took in a puppy who had not yet matured. The thing is, you could have gotten an 8 week old puppy from a reputable breeder, and altho you may have met two charming parents and had a good chance that your puppy would have turned out wonderfully, there would have also been the chance that it may have been " a fearful/reactive dog who reacts on leash to dogs and people". No guarantees come with any dog. If you had adopted a dog over two years old, you most likely would have had a much better clue as to who he really was, what his personality really was going to be. A seven month old dog is still a puppy, still maturing, still learning about the world, still has a fear period to pass thru, and isn't yet the dog he will become. Any time we take a living breathing creature into our homes and lives, we gamble - there just aren't guarantees as to their personality, temperaments, nature. I'm so sorry Brody didn't end up being the dog you wanted him to be - he's just the dog he is. With patience and guidance my bet is he can learn to be "better" - but he may never be the dog of your dreams. I guess the question is: can you adjust your dreams so he can fit in there someplace? Or will he forever be the dog who just didn't fit the bill? It's not fair to him if he's always the dog who doesn't measure up. Four months isn't all that long - altho it can seem like an eternity if you're frustrated and don't want to deal with him anymore.

    You were told Brody had a lack of socialization to people - yet you figured that wouldn't be a problem. It's proving to be. You can't take him on runs, as the trails are too narrow, you can't see people coming, etc... Is it possible to run someplace else, where you could take Brody? Or is running on narrow trails the only option - and Brody just won't fit into this "picture"? Are you taking him out daily to work on his socialization/fear issues? I ask this, as having a fear-aggressive dog (dogs only, great with people) I had to work with her daily for several years. Hearing "after four months" and my first thought was "that's only the tip of the iceberg". I think you need to decide just how much time you want to devote to Brody. More than likely, with lots of time and patience, and loads of hard work, you'll see Brody turn around and improve. Will Brody ever do meet-n-greets with other dogs, and go running to meet every new person he sees? Very possibly not. But will you be able to go running with him? Very possibly. But most likely not next month - and maybe not next year.

    Is it fair to lump all shelter dogs into the same category? Absolutely not. Are some people honest when they turn in their dogs? Sure. Are some dishonest? Absolutely. Do some turn in their dogs because they never bothered to spend any time with them, teach them anything, play with them, provide any kind of life, medical care, etc? Absolutely. Is any of this the dog's fault? No. Can we turn these dogs around? Most of the time, yes. But it's a long-term committment, and a truckload of work. You need to decide if you're up for the job. It's a decision only you can make, and not fair to Brody to not be the dog of your dreams, but instead to be the dog who just never measures up to your expectations.
    Dogster, tx_cowgirl, Pawbla and 3 others like this.

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