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Tuesday Training Byte: Selecting the Right Dog

Quite often I get calls from people telling me about the issues they are having with their dog. I start off by asking two important questions: what breed is your dog, and how old was the dog when you got it? Dogs are great and there are close to 200 different breeds out of seven different groups (working, herding, sporting, terrier, hound, toy, non-sporting), so it is likely there is a breed that is a good fit for you. People often do not research the various breeds to find this out, but instead pick a dog based on looks or that they saw that breed in a movie or TV show and really liked it. Beagles for example, as cute as can be. But over 35 years of competing in the obedience ring, I have only seen one in there! Beagles are independent and breed to run. They will take off if you do not have a securely fenced yard, or they will slip out the door or gate at the slightest opportunity. Some other hounds bark. A LOT! Some breeds, terriers in particular, tend to dig- because that is what they were bred to do. Some breeds have a very high need for exercise and mental stimulation. Some shed continually and need professional grooming, while others may not shed as much, but still have high grooming maintenance, like a poodle. Poodles do shed, but the hair gets stuck on the dog and forms mats, so frequent brushing and clipping is necessary. The American Kennel Club has a tool where you input info and it selects potential breed matches for you. Then you can compare the breeds side by side on various categories, such as health, training ease, good with children, good with other dogs, shedding, barking, and so forth. Reputable breeders are great sources of information and help. Many will actually not sell a puppy if they do not believe your home is the right fit. Here is the AKC tool to get started!

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