Setting you and your next dog up for success
Perhaps one of the most complained about problems within the dog training community is “square peg, round hole”. That is, clients with dogs who don’t fit the owner’s lifestyle. The runner who got a bulldog, the couch potato that adopted a husky, the dog park lover with an Akita. Sometimes, there is no training cure for the dog owner who made a wrong choice. Amongst the training professionals, such inquiries are lamented over on private forums:
Dog Breed: Border Collie
Age: 2 ½
Behavior Problems: Herding
When looking for your next dog, the “my neighbor had a really nice one” mentality is insufficient research.
When, as dog trainers and dog lovers, we are confronted with a client appalled by the dogs’ genetic tendencies, it can be a bit of a tight rope walk. While we don’t want to make excuses for bad behavior, we also need a client to understand the behavior is potentially very difficult for the dog to suppress and, sometimes, downright unfair. One recent call was from a sweet, elderly gentleman who had purchased a Labrador puppy. He listed off the typical lack of exercise problems; digging, chewing and excessive energy. When I told him his dog needed daily, outside exercise, exceeding his regular 15 minute loop around the block, he was appalled, stating he had no energy for such daily exercise. Saddened, I suggested the possibility of finding a more suitable home. Well, he explained, his wife would never hear of it as they had become quite attached to the dog.
This dog and her owners are likely still struggling with this impossible situation. Square peg, round hole.
Be kind to not only yourself, but your next dog. Thoroughly research breeds (AKC parent clubs are an honest start), foster rescues before committing to adopt and, for goodness sake, if you can’t give a couple rigorous 30 minute exercise sessions a day, stick with a cat.