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Picking a puppy part 1Posted Monday, October 6, 2008, at 3:26 PM
I thought I'd elaborate on the comment I posted a week or so ago on the letter to the editor http://www.mccookgazette.com/story/14634... that was written by Linda Dethlefsen. Now, I'm not a trained pet behaviorist (but I can recommend on locally) and I'm not trying to fix anybody's pet problems. There is a book my Doc's recommend and I believe the library has it. It is The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell and she explains why dogs do what they do. Someday I'll go for training.
My comment was borrowed and is a list of good dog behavior:
Information compiled by Lori Martindale, BS, from JAVMA, vol. 225, no.4, pg 512
Affectionate without being needy
Friendly toward or at least tolerant of people, including children, and other members of their own species
Enjoy or at least tolerate normal, everyday handling and interactions
Eliminate only in acceptable areas
Not overly fearful of normal, everyday events or new events
Adapt to change with minimal problems
Play well with others by not becoming uncontrollable or rough
Not a nuisance or danger to the community
Can be left alone for reasonable time periods without becoming anxious or panicked
Readily relinquish control of space, food, toys, and other objects
Vocalize when appropriate but not to excess
Affectionate without being needy - Do you really want a dog that follows you around, always wants to be on your lap and washing your face? The opposite would be the dogs that go crazy without you, feels the need to protect you from friends and family? Then there are the aloof dogs who don't come near you, could careless about getting petted. A happy medium is a good place to be.
Friendly toward or at least tolerant of people, including children, and other members of their own species- This seems self explanitory but I may elaborate a little. Children are at eye level eye with most dogs and getting face to face with a dog is a challenge. It's why so many children are bitten each year. Many dogs consider themselves "the boss" and get protective of you and their territory. There is a sweet golden retriever two blocks down from where I live. He has this big bark and tends to rush the end of his cable and that may lead many nervous about his behavior. He's just anxious to have some attention. There are other dogs that have similar behaviors but entirely different personality and body language. This golden I'll go pet when walking but most other dogs, I stand there, not looking at them directly and see if they calm down. If they don't I'll keep walking.
Enjoy or at least tolerate normal, everyday handling and interactions -- I've not met many dogs that didn't like to go for walks, getting petted, chasing a ball but there are a few. Those are the dogs I wouldn't own because if you don't enjoy eachothers company, where's the fun in having a furry friend?
Eliminate only in acceptable areas - I don't know about you but I definately don't want dog stool or puddles on my kitchen floor or anywhere in my house.
Not overly fearful of normal, everyday events or new events and Adapt to change with minimal problems-- These two in my mind go hand in hand. Fearful does not mean adaptable. If you are fearful of a baby then you can't adapt to having a baby around. Animals, be it dogs, cats, bears and even some humans can be aggressive against things they are fearful of. (never leave a dog alone with children an infants)
Play well with others by not becoming uncontrollable or rough-- We've all seen it happen, a simple game of play gets out of hand and somebody gets a black eye or a broken nose. That can happen with dog/dog play, child/child play and dog/human play.
Not a nuisance or danger to the community-- This would be your stray and/or aggressive dogs. Strays are a source of spreading diseases to pets and if they are not socialized to people, may be fearful and aggressive to people that approach them (and a danger to children, law enforcement and humane society personnel). Aggressive dogs can be a danger to family, friends, children and the person walking past your house.
Can be left alone for reasonable time periods without becoming anxious or panicked -- this is what's commonly called Separation Anxiety. There are several causes of Separation Anxiety but I think the most common could be when the dog thinks he/she is "the boss" and feels the need to be with you at all times to protect you.
Readily relinquish control of space, food, toys, and other objects --This one is very important when it comes to children. Children will play with anything, dog toys, dog dishes, etc. Dogs that are territorial about their bed, their place on the sofa, their dish or toy may be a biter.
Vocalize when appropriate but not to excess-- I'd expect any dog to woof once or twice when the doorbell rings but some dogs get carried away and bark and dance and jump all over the person at the door. Those high pitched poodle barks is hard on the ears and an 80+ pound large breed dog knocking over grandma isn't going to help that inheritance either. Doors aren't the only places this happens but it is the most common.
So when your out picking a puppy, take a few minutes and watch how they react to you, do they jump up and knock you over, do they bark and carry-on when another dog approaches, can you pick up their toys and food dish, if you introduce something do they shy away or come up and sniff it? The rest you may find out once you get them home.
Next time, I'm going back to the medical side of things.
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