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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Caninality + Personality


How to Match the Right Caninality to Your Personality!

Last time we talked about the age of dog you could choose-lets go a little farther and talk about characteristics that match your lifestyle and how to choose a dog based on that. There are many different breeds because people selected for specific traits. Dog genetics are so plastic-that is why we have chihuahuas and great danes.

Mismatched dogs will most likely not finish out their life with the family they begin with. They will be re homed or surrendered to a shelter or euthanized. That is why it is SO important to choose wisely.

What kinds of things do you consider when choosing a dog?- take a test! -http://www.selectsmart.com/dog/ Questions about kid compatibility, coat length, grooming requirements, intelligence and guarding ability are included. Your choices are matched to breed characteristics. Don't forget that there will always be individual differences within the breed.

When I took the test the Field Spaniel was the most compatible for me. Which makes sense because the dogs I have had have been cocker spaniels and golden retrievers.

-Think like Match.com -Caninality compatibility matters! Bring friends, ask opinion, talk to dog walker, vet, groomer for additional input and guidance. If your past dogs have had certain attributes like a gregarious Labrador and then you get an independent hound you may find yourself not as bonded to the current dog. Or, this could work in your favor-maybe you want a laid back "who cares" attitude in a dog.

What kind of Lifestyle and Homestyle preferences should you consider? Hobbies, exercise, pref to be indoor/outdoor, family composition (kids/elderly) and travel schedule. Traveling by plane is much easier with small dogs however if you road trip then any size dog that fits in your car would work. Dogs that are shy or anxious may not travel well. Highly social outgoing pooches deal with travel much better. If you entertain at your home a gregarious friendly dog will be easier to mix into the fun. A guarding type dog is more wary of newcomers and can be more prone to using his bark and teeth to keep people out. A boisterous boxer would not do well with an older adult that is unsteady on their feet.

Just because you get another dog of the same breed doesn't guarantee they will act the same. One of my clients had a Maltese that traveled everywhere with them. She flew well and they could take her anywhere because she would sit quietly. They wanted another Maltese and picked a cute puppy from a breeder.  As the dog matured it was clear that this one was not like the other.  She would guard toys, food, and locations from the other dog and people.  Her barking was constant and demanding.  This was not a dog that was fitting in well with their lifestyle.  With training they have been able to make her more manageable but she is not an easy dog to travel with like the first one had been.

-Does gender matter? I think gender most matters when you will have multiple dogs in a house. If you are a one dog show then it's personal preference. There are a considerable amount of factors to consider with gender in a multiple dog house.  That is a blog topic all in itself...

-Whether breed or mix, make sure personality and activity-level are compatible with your life. Dogs that need more activity than the house hold gives them are more likely to be surrendered to a shelter. If they are not getting enough exercise and attention behavior issues can be magnified.

Does Springfield require you register your dogs? Not all dogs need to be registered. At this time Springfield has an ordinance that requires owners of bully breeds to follow certain requirements. There is also a limit to how many dogs you can keep as pets in the city limits. Specific rules can be found on the Springfield Health Department website.(e.g. pit bulls)

-What about vaccinations? Plan for their vaccinations and boosters In Springfield the dog must wear a Rabies tag and records must be on file with a veterinarian (vet must give vaccine).

-Choose a sociable dog and evaluate one that you can bond and connect with. A dog that wants to be with you will most likely be one that you are willing to put work into keeping.

-Be smart, realistic, and responsible so you can start the relationship off on the right foot by choosing the right personality of dog for your lifestyle.


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