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How to Select the Ideal Canine for the Family

Story by Jeremy Brown, The Complete Canine
Setting your family up for success is crucial when selecting your newest furry family member at a shelter, through a rescue group or a breeder. In fact, there are a few things to look at to help guide your decision and make everyone successful for years to come. I think potential new dog owners should look at their own energy level and find a canine friend that has a similar level. What potential does your new canine friend have for training and working, and is that compatible with your abilities and the time you can put forth? The sociability of the breed is also something to consider, as certain breeds are more favorable for certain situations. Handler experience level is also important to look at since this can make the process more enjoyable and less stressful for the canine and human alike. What is home life like, are there children, how big is the property are a few other questions to ponder.

Selecting a specific breed or mixed breed doesn’t mean that they all will act this way or do these tasks, but humans have bred canines for specific looks, abilities and characteristics that can easily help guide the process. Working dogs deserve a job as much as a lap dog deserves a lap, so finding a canine that enjoys what you enjoy can be a big difference maker. While I get it, picking a breed off of looks is the worst decision. Furthermore, many of these puppies end up in the shelter as they age because the human could not give what was needed for the canine to be successful in their home. Size of the home, how large is the current yard space and what is the walking situation likely are a few questions I ask, for these questions can help narrow down the selection process.

Some breeds really enjoy training and will literally be the best dog you’ll ever have with a little work; others need extensive work and would have a better relationship with their handler and family with training. Do you have the time to put into training if they are a higher energy or low impulse control canine? What is your ability to stimulate the breed as needed? Do research on the breed, ask people you know who have had the breed before and what are their best abilities and worst abilities? The more you know before, the more successful we all are later. I often get calls before the dog comes into the home to help with training, and these are the people that are even more successful because they were able to plan ahead.

How social are you when it comes to life, and does the breed you desire enjoy the same? While socialization is such an important part, some breeds are more inclined to be the life of the party while others would enjoy being alone. In fact, I think it is so funny how similar we actually are to our canines! Do you want a canine family member who can go to difficult situations with ease or a couch potato? As a trainer, it is very funny to me how often people with a certain breed want the dog to do something that goes against what they were bred for or the bad behavior is what they were actually bred to do! Training can be implemented with any dog and socialization is imperative for all but knowing the attributes of the breed or breeds can make everyone live a happy and less stressful life as well!

Another thing to consider is your future. Are you planning a move in the future? Having children or are there children in the family they would be around? These and more questions can also help guide the process and allow everyone involved a prosperous life to come.

Big things to consider when selecting:
#1 Human and canine energy level.
#2 Sociability, does this match yours?
#3 Your experience as a trainer.
#4 Your life situations i.e., children, yard size, exercise space etc.

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