How to Choose a Dog

Choosing a Dog, are you READY?

There are many factors that come into play and I will do my best to cover them all, in saying that I just realized I do not want to write an entire encyclopedia, so I will do my best to cover everything you will need to know. To start are you really ready to have a dog, they do need a good amount of your time, if you intend to leave the dog in a crate at night and while you are at work …..THINK again your life style does not support having a dog, to place a dog in this environment will only result in problems, and in my opinion it is cruel yes cruel to the dog to be left alone confined for that many hours a day, wait until your life style more in style to having a dog, like when you have a companion or children willing to interact with the dog, you and the dog will be happier and get much more out of the relationship. Please consider carefully, if you are not able to supply the dog what the dog needs then you will not get what you want out of the dog. The bond that forms between you and your dog can be beyond imagination and the benefits will transcend into both better mental and physical health, BUT it must be done properly, you must be able to provide the dog what the dog needs.

“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life”

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our life whole”

-Roger Caras-

What does a Dog need?

A dog needs a stable environment, he needs to be able to rely on; that he will go for a walk, eat, play, and relax (with you) at certain times of the day every day. Dogs need:

  1. Exercise, several times a day every day: They need to walk by your side every day. They need to run and play with you and other dogs every day or at least four times a week.  70%
  2. Dogs need discipline: They require knowing and obeying the laws of the household, to know how to heal, sit, and stay. (Training)  20%
  3. Dogs require an owner who can stay calm and consistent. 99%
  4. Dogs require the physical application of Love and affection.  10%

As you have noticed there is a percentage indicated after each requirement, this indicates how much of each the dog requires, many dog owners give the dog 2% of #1 and 90% of # 4 or only 5% of #3 this will only lead to the dog becoming stressed and unable to cope properly with their environment, this is where we can get dogs that are overly aggressive and destructive.

Can you give a dog what they need, be honest with yourself?

“If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.”

-Woodrow Wilson-

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What kind of Dog is right for you?

This mostly depends on what kind of person you are, are you active, do you run, or are you the person that takes leisurely strolls, or are you egger to go out and play sports, or would you rather sit and enjoy a nice sunset, or do you like them all? This information is important in choosing a dog, yes it is time for that dreaded soul-searching, who and what kind of person am I? Am I quick to anger, am I afraid of things or situations, and am I outgoing, laid back, reclusive. The better you know yourself the more information you will have to choose the correct dog for you.

“A dog reflects the family life.laid

Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one?

Snarling people have snarling dogs,

dangerous people have dangerous ones”

-Arthur Conan Doyle-

Arthur Conan Doyle Español: Arthur Conan Doyle...

Arthur Conan Doyle Español: Arthur Conan Doyle Deutsch: Arthur Conan Doyle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When choosing a dog I have always preferred the mixed breads, I have found them to be healthier with more varied abilities although not the expert at any specific task as a pure bred dog. If you are a hunter and want a good hunting dog then go get a bread specific dog, or you want to run a dog sled otherwise in this article I will not be talking about breeds but about the dog and its temperament. I do strongly believe that there are no bad dogs; yes there are some that are sick just like people dogs can have mental illness, or constant pain that can make them unpredictable or even dangerous. Then there are the dogs that suffer from constant pain and hide it, dogs never want to show any form of weakness as in the pack it could mean less food or even death so they have become experts at hiding it. Even constant pain will not always make a dog vicious, my daughter and her husband got a Rottweiler from the pound she had a great temperament great around people and children they were told the dog was four or five years old as it turned out she was eight to ten years old and had a severe problem causing her constant ever-growing pain, but she continued to be a good loving dog and only lasted a year in their home before she died. Even only after a year her loss was devastating to everyone who knew her, her name was Berlin.

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really”

-Anges Sligh Turnbull-

! Love My Dog(s) November '06 Mosaic

! Love My Dog(s) November ’06 Mosaic (Photo credit: Lynne Hand)

How to determine a Dog’s temperament:

First we should look at what is meant by temperament, a dog’s temperament has to do with its attude around different stimuli; people, children, dogs, other animals, noises, being left alone, ease of training, being touched, looked at, etc. To simplify things we will discuss four temperament types, now all dogs have at least one but usually a combination of all four in different proportions of each.

  1. Dominant:

This is a dog that wants to be the leader of the pack; they require an owner that is familiar with owning, training dogs, and demonstrating their leadership to the dog. Dogs that stand their ground, sometimes attacks, always hold their head and tail high. These dogs are more difficult to train epically by a novice. These dogs require experienced owners who know how to show their dominance over the dog without cruelty.

  1. Follower:

This is a dog that is content to remain in the middle of the pack but will take charge if no other dog/person does. These dogs are easy to train and usually have very few issues such as fear and anxiety and are a delight to own. These dogs are eager to please, meet, and interact with people and other dogs.

  1. Timid:

This dog is found at the bottom of a pack structure, they will approach very cautiously holding their ears back tail between their legs wiggling back and forth. These dogs are usually easy to train and will often seem egger to lie on their back showing their belly (a submissive position).

  1. Fearful: 

This is also a bottom of the pack dog, this is a dog that without proper training can become aggressive, a barker, and unable to perdict, this type of dog is more difficult to train and not for the novice. Fear is the beginning of aggression even in humans and most defiantly can become a problem with a dog, in knowledgeable hands they can become wonderful pets

A good suggestion if you are a novice dog owner its go to a dog park watch the dogs talk to the owners, there is nothing that a dog owner would prefer to talk about than their dog, interact with the dogs get to know some of them.

On Talking Terms with DogsThere is an excellent book about understanding dogs by watching how they move,

every dog owner should have this book

On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas,

Dogwise Publishing ISBN: 978-1-9292-36-8.

Male or Female Dog:

There are a lot of old wives sayings that one or the other is better or best, they are all rubbish and often lead people to make wrong decisions this is what you should consider The differences between individual dogs is far greater than the differences between the sex of the dog in regards to personality. The sex or the breed of the dog is far less important than the temperament or personality of the dog. It does cost much more to have a female dog neutered and the recuperation time is longer and a neutered dog makes for a much better pet and easier to control and train, all dogs should be neutered do your part in stopping the need for rescue shelters.

When you go to a shelter or dog rescue center

to choose a dog this is what you should do:

The following steps will enable you to access the correct dog for you, be warned it is easy to let your heart take over at an animal shelter, there are so many dogs and everyone is special keep your head in the game you don’t to be the person to bring a dog to an animal shelter because you made the wrong decision. Talk to the shelter staff find out how long the dog has been at the shelter a dog that has been there for only two days will not be acting it’s self still not accustomed to the surroundings it can take a dog 3 to 5 days to be able to relax in a new location. Get as much background information on the dog as you can and some people lie when taking a dog to a shelter but not always. Meet as many dogs at the shelter as you can. When you meet a dog do the following:

  1. Use the sniff, look touch method! let the dog sniff you first do not look directly at the dog, if this goes well look at the dog and talk to it staying calm don’t get excited. Social will respond instantly to this approach coming to greet you with a body or head  rub unless otherwise trained you are looking for a dog that wants to make contact and interact with you.
  2. Pet the dog, grab it by the cheeks with both hands, watch for a reaction a social dog will have no problem with this.
  3. After meeting dogs this way do not try meeting a few try to meet them all or as many as you can, then you may have a few that you are interested in, have the staff arrange for you ti interact with the dog in a quiet location, ignore the dog if the dog is sociable it will try to get your attention this is good if the dog ignores you and does not seem to care or moves away from you even if you squat not looking at the dog this could be a sign of problems  for a novice dog owner.
  4. Touch the dog give good firm pets 10 to 20 times does the dog move in closer or does it pull away a social dog will stay or move closer wanting more this test also informs you of how tolerant the dog is to being touched.
  5. Get the dog excited, run around, jump, slap your thighs, how excited does the dog get, does he jump on you, does she listen to command down if she jumps, when you stop cross your arms and look away how long does it take for the dog to calm down it should be instantaneous unless the dog is under a year old.
  6. Leave the dog; go out of the dog’s sight how does the dog react? If you can leave it in a room listen for sounds does it bark, wine or is it quiet when you return look for signs that the dog was under stress, large amounts of drool, panting, and ears back. These are signs of separation anxiety, not all sings are always present but just one is a warning.
  7. If you can take the dog for a walk, use a brisk pace stay calm ignore the dog, how does the dog react to other dogs, people, traffic, bicycles, other animals. There should be no signs of aggression to anything. This is a shelter dog and does not get a lot of walks he may get really excited or be overly interested to all the new smells or just may want to go and pull this is not a problem.
  8. Check to see if you can find the dogs motivation, some are easily motivated by a treat, play, toy, or praise, for the lucky owner all of them! If you know what easily motivates the dog the easier the dog will be to train. If you cannot find a motivation you will have a difficult time training this dog.
  9. Do you have children? If you do you must see how the dog reacts to children, with adults and children in the same room the dog should go to the children first and be willing to be handled with joy by the children.

 Have a rewarding and happy time with your new companion.

One comment on “How to Choose a Dog

  1. Pingback: A Dog Reflects The Family Life? - Pablo's (P)Awesome Wisdom

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