Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Taking Personal and Canine Inventory

Not all dogs are the same. 

Some breeds almost never bark, some were bred to bark. 

Some breeds are coded for herding, others for following scent, some for retrieving, others for finding birds. 

Some breeds are designed for speed, others to plod along. 

Some breeds are designed to act aggressively and to think independently, others for phlegmatic bidability.

Not every dog has a strong code within, but many working breeds do, and it's for that reason that pet owners should think twice before picking a breed out of an all-breed book. 

Selecting a dog is not the same as picking a living room color or a car model from a catalogue! 

Failure to fully understand this simple fact too often results in misery for owners and dogs alike!

Still thinking about getting a dog? 

Great, but before you do so, read my ten simple tips for selecting a happier and healthier canine companion and my ten tips about the canine marketplace

Then ask yourself who you really are, and how much daily exercise you are really prepared to give a dog.  How much noise can you can really stand?  Are you going to be OK with a puppy that pees on your carpets for two or three months, or that chews up your house shoes?  

Go slow and think it through.  You have a duty to the dog and that duty starts weeks and months before that dog is acquired. 

And remember this:  a dog is really not cut out for the modern life of long work hours away from home, and a world with increasingly unstable job markets, marriages, and housing situations. 

It's OK not to get a dog, and it's perfectly fine to get a large, lazy dog-like cat instead.

1 comment:

James Paxon said...

As the owner of a patterdale terrier I am absolutely dismayed at the idea that people buy high energy, high drive dogs and coop them up in a house or a suburban yard all day.

To give you an idea as to the amount of energy these animals have, before work I attach her to my bike (via a bike tow leash) and take her for a 4:30 AM 30 minute spin through the neighborhood at a steady 11 mph clip.

After work, we go up to the open space four about a 45 minute mountain bike jaunt.

In between, she plays with the lunge whip with the kids and chases squirrels and associated varmints around the yard and three days a week goes trail running with my wife.

On weekends, we do longer bike rides (sometimes up to 9 miles).

Despite all of this, she still has a healthy reserve of energy.

Too many people underestimate a dog's need for mental and physical exercise and the whine about how badly their dogs misbehave.