As dog professionals we see the good, the bad and the ugly! Most of the time we see the bad and help it to become the good…but then there’s the ugly, and ugly has many faces.
The ugly can be a dog that has such bad anxiety, not even medication can solve it.
The ugly can be a very aggressive dog that hat such bad experiences in life that we can’t help it anymore. And so on....
Today I’m talking about a different ugly, I’m talking about The Bad Match! That means an owner and dog that just don’t match together. Sometimes it’s just a little unpleasant but sometimes it’s really ugly match! This ugly can be due to a person’s lack of handling skills, a dog’s unstable personality with a very emotional owner or just a life style that doesn’t match. The problem with any of these situations is that it results in an frustrated owner and unhappy unfulfilled dog that either might develop bad habits (up to the point of doing damage to property or a living being) or gets depressed.
There’s many reasons for bad matches and many different outcomes but there is definitely one thing you can do to prevent this from happening to you and your dog! Even though sometimes even that doesn’t help but then it’s definitely to no fault of not trying.
I’m talking about choosing the right dog for your situation!
Way too many people are like “let’s get a puppy, yaaaay!” “Aww look how cute it is, it will be perfect they say to the bouncy Malinois” “I always wanted a Border Collie or a Shepherd” . Pretty much enter any herding breed or bully breed into the blank but even lots of other breeds. Let’s just say enter any breed that is considered a “working breed”. The word say’s it “working breed”. They are made to do a job, and if you ignore that and just want a lap dog, please, please do yourself and the dog a favor and move on to a happy go lucky, social, relatively easy to train breed... maybe a Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel?
First of all, don’t get swept away by the cuteness factor…. DO YOUR RESEARCH!
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when choosing a dog:
Why do you want a dog?
How active are you, what is your life style?
What activities would you like to engage with your dog in?
Will you actually engage in those activities on a regular basis or do you just think agility would be cool to do but will never engage in it?
How much dog experience do you have? If not much, you shouldn’t get a hard to train dog!
How much time do you spend at work or other activities where your dog couldn’t be part of?
What’s your schedule?
How much room do you have for the dog? Do you have a yard?
Can you afford feeding an X size dog, what about savings for medical bills?
Are you planning to attend training with your dog?
Once you have answered all those questions, grab a breed book, or possibly talk to a professional trainer (by the way K9 Possible Dog Training is happy to help you find the right dog for you), and find the breeds that fits your answers and then pick a breed that you like out of those. That doesn’t mean you have to get a pure bred dog but it will give you an idea of what breeds or breed mixes and tendencies you want to look at whether it’s a pure bred dog with papers or from a shelter (please don’t buy from “back yard breeders” or people “who just wanted a litter”). Also know, a dog is only “pure bred” if it has papers and is registered with the national kennel club from the country it comes from.
But even if you did all your research and tried the best to avoid any miss matches, sometimes things go wrong. It is what it is and either you change your life style so your dog can get the life he deserves and you dedicate everything into the relationship with your dog or you admit that you are a bad match and you probably should “break up” and go separate ways. Sometimes you should admit to yourself, if you want the best for your dog anyways, re-homing the dog might be in its best interest, even if it hurts.
Honesty is important, be honest with yourself for the love of your dog!
You can always contact a professional trainer in your area and they are able to give you good advice and help you with training and changes that need to be implemented but if you are not willing to invest in the relationship with your dog and create a life style or environment that is in your dog’s best interest, the trainer won’t be able to help you either.
So it’s either make up or break up! Your choice, because your dog loves you no matter what but how much do you love your dog?
About the author:
Simone Krebser - CPDT: Owner and head dog trainer of K9 Possible Dog Training serving the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia from Osoyoos to Penticton and Kelowna with result based dog training. Certified dog trainer, certified pet first aid instructor, member of the IACP, dog crazy and chocolate/cheese addict. “My life revolves around dog’s day in and out and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is my goal to help enhance the lives of as many dogs (and their owners) as possible. Your dog is my priority and I’m as committed to your dog as you are. But I can only help those who sincerely want to help their dogs and not only themselves.”