Ask the Trainer

You want a Mastiff because they look tough? You love the sleek look and beauty of German Shorthaired Pointers and your friend has a really cool one! You saw Border Collies on TV doing agility and loved their intelligence and intenseness. That Pit Bull in the shelter looks so sad you just want to help and give him a home. That designer breed in the pet store was so cute you just HAD to buy her!

Do you REALLY know what you are getting in to and can you REALLY provide the rules, structure, manners, training, and exercise it takes for the breed you think that you want!?!?

I would like to think that if you were buying a new car, you did some research. You test drove it, looked at ratings for that car, made sure it had the power you needed (Mustang or work truck) or was better on fuel mileage with a smaller engine and less power. Homework, research, thought and consideration correct?

Where is that same mindset when people get dogs?

All too often as trainers at QK Dogs, we are blown away by the forms that people fill out about their dogs, the behavioral issues that they are having, and what they want to be corrected. I can mostly say in response, I feel bad for the dogs!

One of my favorite dog books about this topic is by Dr. Ian Dunbar called “Before You Get A Puppy”, a quick read that most people could accomplish in just an hour with the kids!  This book details the many things to consider BEFORE you get a new puppy, whether it comes from a breeder or shelter.

Here’s one of his BRILLIANT ideas: BEFORE you actually buy or adopt a certain breed, go find at least TWELVE of those dogs, all ages, and see if you can handle them! This may seem like a lot of work, BUT owning a dog is even more work, and owning the WRONG dog can be life-changing.  If you are pulled to the ground by a Mastiff, then maybe you lack the leadership or strength to handle that dog. If the German Shepherd growls and you are afraid and intimidated… nope – probably the wrong dog. If you are more of a couch potato, stay away from working and field dogs! If you love to hunt and want a great field partner, go to a reputable breeder who owns titled, working dogs with superior genetics, NOT a pet store or backyard breeder. If you have small children, nipping, herding breeds might not be the best family pet. If you just think owning a dog means a fenced-in backyard or invisible fence, a doggy door, free run of your home AND you can work all day… best to just get a cat or maybe some fish.

The message here is that most dogs were specifically bred for a purpose to work, herd, retrieve, guard, fight, dig, kill vermin, hunt and more. That means that no matter our ‘domestication’, the burning desire to perform a job runs through these dog’s veins. If you do not fulfill their energy and working (intelligence and problem solving) requirements, my goodness do they make up their own jobs. And I promise you, they are NOT good!

Dogs in general really do not want to lie around all day waiting for you to come home just so that you can love on them and pet them. That is selfish on the owner’s part. Most dogs love to feel fulfilled by thinking, working and exercising. When they experience this, they are happy and can enjoy sleep, rest, relaxation, patience and they feel happy, tired and fulfilled. I am always saying:

A TIRED, TRAINED DOG IS A HAPPY DOG!

The message here is:

Please do not get a dog based on its looks

Research the breed and understand what the requirements are to train that dog (Dominant breed? Easy to train?) as well as energy, grooming, and wellness requirements.

Do not know the breed of a shelter mutt, then spend some time with that dog first! Can you handle it, how about an evaluation with a trainer, does the dog have issues already? If so, you better be willing to spend months training and rehabilitating with lots of patience, persistence, time and repetition.

Dominant breeds (Pit Bulls, Bull Dogs, Rottweilers, GSDs) as well as rescue dogs with behavioral issues are NOT a choice for first time dog owners!!!!

If you want a good hunting dog, go to a reputable breeder and watch the parents work!

If you are getting a dog from any breeder, meet the parents. If the sire or dam is unapproachable, mean, or has behavioral issues… RUN AWAY!

Let QK Dogs help you! Reach to owner Jennifer Broome to discuss dog breeds, good places to acquire dogs, and resources to look and meet dogs in your search for your wonderful next companion. jbroome@qkdogs.com

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