my career as a dog trainer/consultant one of the most difficult
decisions, I have found, that people have to make is deciding
on what breed of dog is best suited for their household.
The factors that come into play for this decision are infinite,
and the home environment determines these factors. The home
environment determines the personality of the dog that will
fit into that environment. In other words, one would not
suggest a Doberman with a high activity level to be placed
in a home where the individuals will have no time to properly
exercise that breed.
I start to give more information on this subject, there
is something that needs to be said. If you are thinking
of bringing a puppy into a household, evaluated the four
points below before you make that decision.
A puppy must be fed at least six to eight times per day
(a puppy will eat the same amount as a full grown dog but
since their stomachs are much smaller they must be fed more
times per day).
A puppy should never be left more than four hours per day.
Since they are on a housebreaking schedule, they must be
walked religiously before and after each feeding, and in
between feedings. If a dog is not housebroken properly can
they develop "dirty dog syndrome". Dirty dog syndrome is
just another name for dirty toiletry habits: not caring
whether they go to the bathroom in your house or outside.
If a dog has developed true "dirty dog syndrome" it can
never be corrected. Besides for the fact that they can develop
this syndrome, dogs are usually very fastidious and when
a dog has to be near where he/she has gone to the bathroom,
it is emotionally damaging for the dog
The most formative weeks in a puppy's life is from seven
to twelve weeks. This period is where the most imprinting
takes hold. Imprinting is the map (mental outlook) that
your dog will have for the rest of his/her life. Mistakes
made in this period last for life and can be very rarely,
if ever, fixed.
My suggestion is if you cannot meet the basic criteria discussed
above, do not get a puppy. Wait until your lifestyle changes
whereby you can properly take care of the animal.
FACTORS TO BE LOOKED AT
stated above the environmental factors of the household
determine what breeds of dogs should be investigated. Factors
to be considered are:
Are there children in the house?
2. What are the ages of the children?
3. Is it an extended family (where more than the nuclear
family resides in the house)?
4. If it is an extended family, what are the ages of the
relatives and do they suffer any disabilities or impairments?
5. Within the nuclear family, does any one suffer from any
disabilities or impairments?
6. What are the working hours of the adults in the household?
7. Are the children that are living in the household (or
extended family) capable of taking direction and caring
for the animal when the working members of the family are
8. What size house or apartment do you have?
9. What size yard will be available to the dog?
10. If you do not have a yard for housebreaking, do you
have another area available to you?
11. If indoors, where do you plan on putting his wire training
12. Are all housebreaking, feeding, exercise periods accounted
for, and who will be responsible for them?
13. Is there anyone in the household who has allergies?
14. Is there anyone in the house who will be responsible
enough or have the time to take the dog out for proper exercise?
15. Is there anyone in the house who has the inclination,
maturity, or interest to obedience train the dog?
16. Besides for being a house pet, are there any future
plans for the dog (i.e. protection work, Schutzhund, etc.)?
17. Do you have enough money to take care of the dog's medical
needs (vaccination shots, if the dog gets hurt, etc.)?
18. Do you have enough money to take care of the dog's everyday
needs (food, toys, equipment, vitamins, etc.)?
19. What size dog is the best for your household?
20. Is a dog with a long or short coat best for your household?
21. If you get a dog with a long coat, do you have the money
to get him professionally groomed, or the time to do it
22. What is the basic temperament of the adults living in
the household (are they easygoing or constantly nervous,
agitated, yelling, etc.)?
23. Is the dog going to live outdoors or indoors?
MOMENT OF TRUTH
are just a couple of the factors that should be taken into
consideration. Lastly, what breed do you prefer and does
it fit into the lifestyle you have. I found an easy way
how to get to the head of all these questions. What I usually
do for my clients is I give them paperwork that has about
45 points on them. I distribute it to everyone in the household
to fill out. After the paperwork is filled out I come back
to their home and we compare all the answers that have been
written down. These answers are then categorized in similar
and dissimilar information. I then derive all the pluses
from the answers and then resolve all the negatives. Once
a profile has been attained, the search goes on for the
perfect dog for that household. I usually consult a dog
book that has approximately 140 breeds in it and we narrow
it down so we can find the perfect breed characteristics
for that particular family. Most of the time, there can
be anywhere from five to ten choices of different dogs.
above points and indicators may seem like a tremendous amount
of work but what I have experienced is that when people
do not take an objective and realistic account of the dog
they want there usually is trouble. That trouble shows itself
in the dog being abused because the people's lifestyles
and the dog's needs conflict. They don't know how to deal
with the dog's temperament and frustration leads to abuse.
Or, when the situation becomes to uncontrollable for the
people, they either uproot the dog and give him to someone
else, or the dog is destroyed. Weigh your questions and
answers carefully, be honest, and then provide the animal
you pick with as much love, tenderness and comfort you can
by Neal Seaman