Am I the best fit for my dog? This is the question you should ask yourself before purchasing or adopting a new dog. We are all drawn to certain breeds and looks of dog, but you have to stop and ask yourself; “Besides confirmation what else do I need to know about this type of dog?” One of the hardest topics for professional dog trainer’s is breaking the news to a family that this dog is not the right fit for you. There are many components to being a “good fit’: Consider your work schedule, hobbies, activity level, structure in the home, finances, and of course time.
We have lots of clients who love such breeds and mixed breeds as Terriers, Australian Shepherds. and Border Collies. We have found over and over again that the core of most of their behavior issues has to do with lack of stimulation. These breeds were born to work, if they can’t they choose their own games to play! Problems such as: resource guarding, snapping, growling, actual bites, destruction, and simply neurotic. We had a client who was retired with health issues he had a young dog that had bitten over 4 people and was to the point of euthanasia. Once our trainer Kress Walters started in-kennel training with him those behaviors vanished very quickly. Keep in mind this is not normal for aggressive behaviors to diminish that quickly. What we found was the dog needed an outlet, he needed to be moving and thinking! So we started agility training with this little guy and he was amazing! At the end of the six week boot camp this dog was amazing with on and off leash obedience and had turned into a social butterfly. The owner’s came to pick up the dog and was astonished and after talking at length with the trainer he knew that he could not provide the lifestyle that was needed for his dog to be the best he could be. We helped the owner place the dog in a new home and we are happy to report that this dog lived happily ever after!
Pit bulls are another breed of dog that we see many problems in having the wrong types people either rescue, adopt, or purchase. It’s no secret that the bully breeds have been all but ruined by those who continue to breed highly aggressive dogs for fighting to produce more highly aggressive puppies. Its disheartening and in some areas of the United States and epidemic. We do need those volunteers and pet owners help get this breed back to where it should, but they need to understand exactly what they are getting into by learning the breed, understand the damage that backyard breeders have done, and learn that not all can be rehabilitated and you have to pick and choose your battles. For example I had an older lady that had been huge into rescue for decades and suddenly switched to focusing on only pit bulls. The problem she ran into was that she was unable to walk and work with the dogs because they were much too strong. She was pulling pit bulls directly from the shelter and many had already been exposed to dog fights. Unfortunately one rescue got a hold of her small pet dog and killed it instantly. We have rehabilitated many pit bulls here at Highland Canine it can be done, but it’s a slow process that takes work, control, and balance. All though your heart may be in the right place you have to ask yourself; Can I do this? Can I make this dogs life better? It’s much more than saving them from euthanasia, these dogs need and have to have a lifestyle change.
The other aspect people forget when deciding dog breeds is grooming and chronic health issues. Poodles (and doodles). Shi Tzu’s, Chow Chow are just a few of the breeds that must be groomed on a regular basis. We see many dog owners who love their pet unconditionally but do not have the financial resources to pay for professional grooming which includes keeping up with state mandated vaccines in order to get their spa treatment. Ears, eyes, and skin can go bad very quickly; meaning one day their ok the next they have full blown infection. English Bulldogs, Shar Pei, Golden Retrievers, and Cocker Spaniels are known to be regulars at the vets office. The prices can grow astronomical when trying to sooth your pet from ailments. Future and current pet owners should keep these issues in mind when choosing their future companions as no one wants to have their dogs suffer or guilt and humiliation of helplessness when trying treat these problems.