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Tuesday Training Byte: Picking the right dog for you

There are generally a couple of reasons why problem dog behaviors result in the owners contacting me out of frustration and desperate for a quick fix. 1. They got the puppy at 5 or 6 weeks of age (I addressed this in a previous blog of the many issues that can result). 2. They picked the wrong breed. Purebred dogs were purposefully & selectively breed to have certain traits. People often see a given breed of dog on TV or in the movies, or knew someone with that breed and thought it was "the bomb". Many of the herding and working breeds have a high need for physical and mental stimulation. Without it, they can be very destructive! Some breeds like hounds were bred to run. If you do not have a securely fenced yard, they will slip right out and keep going like they are leaving the country. Various terriers were bred to go after vermin, so expect if you leave them unsupervised in your beautifully landscaped flower garden, that they will dig it up faster than you can say 'holy moley'. I love the traditional rough collies, but opted instead for a smooth collie. She still sheds plenty, but does not require hours of brushing to keep the mats and debris out of her pretty sable coat. I have American Water Spaniels (bred to quarter and flush birds) and they tend to walk out in front of me zig-zagging the entire time. Teaching them to heel close to my left side takes some extra practice and patience. And without the leash, they may go directly into zigzag mode! The American Kennel Club has a great interactive tool for selecting a breed. You can compare several breeds together. It is hard to work against Mother Nature, so if you are looking for a cuddle bug couch potato, you may be surprised at the easy care breeds that would be great at that!

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