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Old 22.11.2011, 14:45
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Re: family dog choices

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... although people tell me that females are more biddable.
Bwaaaaahaaaaahaaaa!

My girls, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed and Hooligan, came by their names honestly. Never a dull moment.

On the other hand, Prudence Treadlightly, my little-girl-gone-too-soon, was an angel long before she got her wings.



Seriously, it really is more a matter of personality than gender.


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In any case I imagine that we would get our pet neutered.
Please, please do.

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Old 22.11.2011, 14:55
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Re: family dog choices

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My experience with female dogs are completely the opposite: they are less affectionate, much more moody, territorial (they mark alot!) independent and stubborn!

In many packs, a bitch is typically the Alpha.
I second that.

In my younger years I always wanted girl dogs thinking they were kinder, gentler and sweeter -- "the fairer sex."

Then I got my first boy dog by default rather than by choice. And every dog after him has been a boy. They really are much more affectionate, easier to train, loyal, and willing to obey. Sure they still do boy things like lift their leg (which is why I never wanted one) but the only downside to that is it takes them a bit longer to fully empty their bladders because they have to pee on everything.

Given the choice of gender on a dog again... I will never have another female dog.
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Old 22.11.2011, 15:16
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Re: family dog choices

I think Gender is a matter of personal preference........ and that's all.


My dogs were male and female, and I loved them both - differently but equally.


If I was to pass on my 'observations' rather than my opinion, I'd say the following:

"There is a strong trend is to select a dog of the opposite sex to the owner"

More females tend to have male dogs, and more males tend to have female dogs.
(clearly there are exceptions to this.... as I said, it's a 'trend', not a rule)

I don't know why this is, or what it means, and the data set is purely from my observations (but from a LOT of dogs and their owners).

In conclusion,
Selecting on gender there is no right or wrong. Go with what you think is best.
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Old 22.11.2011, 15:29
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Re: family dog choices

I have got to agree with the other Lab owners. Our 8 yr old yellow girl has been an incredible dog. Loves to swim and be with people. Will chase a ball endlessly and loves playing with kids.

Will be no question what we will choose for our next dog.

fduvall

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I second that. My 18 month lab likes to carry everything to her bed. Luckily I catch her before it's destroyed She has very high play drive and when we are on walks wants to play with everything that moves. I'm told it's a phase and they grow out of it. I just have to keep going back to basic training when she gets too much I.e. Pulling on the lead, barking running off on walks

It's hard work but it pays off as she loves us to bits and cracks me up in fits of laughter sometimes. Remember a dog is for life not just for Christmas.
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Old 22.11.2011, 17:06
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Re: family dog choices

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I second that.

In my younger years I always wanted girl dogs thinking they were kinder, gentler and sweeter -- "the fairer sex."

Then I got my first boy dog by default rather than by choice. And every dog after him has been a boy. They really are much more affectionate, easier to train, loyal, and willing to obey. Sure they still do boy things like lift their leg (which is why I never wanted one) but the only downside to that is it takes them a bit longer to fully empty their bladders because they have to pee on everything.

Given the choice of gender on a dog again... I will never have another female dog.
Have one of each....The bitch is moody, head strong and very independent. The dog is affectionate, careless and some what clumbsy.

Both dogs are a pain to train and they will do what each other does and ignore me UNLESS I have a handful of Käse, then its like watching puppets

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My experience with female dogs are completely the opposite: they are less affectionate, much more moody, territorial (they mark alot!) independent and stubborn!

In many packs, a bitch is typically the Alpha.

I've had female dogs all my life and did indeed wanted another female. My experience and past preference with female dogs is due to my previous dog. She always had ambitions to be the pack leader (which was why the family didnt know how to take her in hand and gave her up) and needed a really firm hand (she had to be disciplined constantly to remember her place as she didnt really want to respect the rest of my family) but she was highly intelligent and so so loyal. I would classify her as a true Alpha. I've rescued and fostered many dogs through out her lifetime - we even adopted one more - and one growl from her could silence the entire pack.

But my little one changed my perspective. He is terribly affectionate. A friend of mine even commented that he really is "mummy's little boy"
I totally agree on the Alpha thing...even to the point she tries to hump the dog However, she's incredibly loyal, always happy to see me and always gets lovely comments from non dog owners on how 'sehr schön' she is Unfortunately, the dog seems to get overly excited when people come to greet us and roles over with his lipstick hanging out
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Old 22.11.2011, 17:20
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Re: family dog choices

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My daughter was very taken with one little pup, who seemed a little bit calmer that the others, a male. I had thought I'd have a preference for a female .
well that's easy. take one of each.

edited to add - I have one of each and while they have different personalities, I would not say that one is harder to handle than the other. The girl is calm and never jumped or pulled too much, while her brother is more energetic and was harder to train. Then again, he listens better now and she tends to be a bit stubborn sometimes. They play a lot together so if your kids cannot decide, why not 2? Twice the fun, not really any more trouble.

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Old 22.11.2011, 18:14
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Re: family dog choices

So, all things considered seems like a French Bulldog is a logical choice
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Old 24.11.2011, 13:00
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Re: family dog choices

I was talking with a bloke yesterday about pup selection and he told me about a book he and his wife used to select their dog*.

The book is titled:
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"The perfect puppy"
How to choose your dog by its behaviour

by
Benjamin L. Hart, D.V.M.
Lynette A. Hart
My opinion on the book is that it is pretty basic........ but in saying that, and for someone who hasn't had a dog before, it's an excellent easy read.

The material is quite wide and general, however for me it does offer some insight as to what to expect from various breeds.

The science and the data was a little questionable (as how they drew their conclusions wasn't clear) however, in most cases it seemed OK.

The book discusses:
  • Breed selection by 'your' living environment
  • tips on raising a puppy
  • differences between male and female dogs
  • Key points on a behavioural selection of 56 popular breeds
As I said, I don't know who or how the 'tests' were conducted, and irrespective of this, I still thought that the book still highlighted important areas of interest such as:
  • Dominance
  • Barking
  • Training
  • Protection
  • Learning ability
  • Aggression
The information is listed graphically, so it's ease of refference by both breed and trait was extremely useful for a 'glance' at a particular breeds profile.


As I said, I found the book very general, however If I was selecting a dog for a first time, I would still recommend this book.

For detail though, I wouldn't trust the book as 'the bible'.
But for a short quick, easy read to open your mind to 'new ideas', I think the book is great.
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Old 24.11.2011, 14:15
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Re: family dog choices

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I was talking with a bloke yesterday about pup selection and he told me about a book he and his wife used to select their dog*.

The book is titled:


My opinion on the book is that it is pretty basic........ but in saying that, and for someone who hasn't had a dog before, it's an excellent easy read.

The material is quite wide and general, however for me it does offer some insight as to what to expect from various breeds.

The science and the data was a little questionable (as how they drew their conclusions wasn't clear) however, in most cases it seemed OK.

The book discusses:
  • Breed selection by 'your' living environment
  • tips on raising a puppy
  • differences between male and female dogs
  • Key points on a behavioural selection of 56 popular breeds
As I said, I don't know who or how the 'tests' were conducted, and irrespective of this, I still thought that the book still highlighted important areas of interest such as:
  • Dominance
  • Barking
  • Training
  • Protection
  • Learning ability
  • Aggression
The information is listed graphically, so it's ease of refference by both breed and trait was extremely useful for a 'glance' at a particular breeds profile.


As I said, I found the book very general, however If I was selecting a dog for a first time, I would still recommend this book.

For detail though, I wouldn't trust the book as 'the bible'.
But for a short quick, easy read to open your mind to 'new ideas', I think the book is great.
Before getting my first pup I bought 'the perfect puppy' by Gwen Bailey. Had great reviews when I bought it and to be honest was great for me.

It also helps you choose a puppy based on size, socialisation needs, strength of will and activity levels. This was good as you can match your activity levels and training styles accordingly.

It also talked about :

The pupys view of e world
Integration into the family
Developmental stages
Life with the puppy
Socialisation
House training
Behaviour control and leadership
Toys and games
Preventing biting and aggression
Chewing
Handling and grooming
Good manners
Learning to be alone
Training your puppy
Adolescent and beyond

My pup is now 18 months. I still look back at the book for help on behaviour and training. It has a great section to tick of socialisation exercises I.e. children, cars, vets and at what ages they should do them.

It's a step up from what you've talked about but a very useful tool. A tip for you. Choose only one or two books at e most. Anymore and you'll find yourself getting confused.

Good luck.
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Old 24.11.2011, 14:48
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Re: family dog choices

And while we are on the subject of canine books, may I also suggest:

'How To Behave So Your Dog Behaves', by Dr. Sophia Yin.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Behave-Y...2138072&sr=1-1

This has nothing to do with choosing a puppy , but rather with preparing yourself for living with your puppy - and teenage yob, and mature adult, and senior citizen. This is my current favorite owner's guide to behavior and training - based on solid science and ethical practice.

It's an easy guide - but does not talk down to owners, discussing much of the science and theory underlying the practice. I wish this had been available twenty some years ago when I stumbled haphazardly into dog ownership.

Dr Yin is both a veteriarian and behaviorist - not many authors/practioners have both qualifications. I very much respect her work.

When I look back to how utterly clueless I was when my first dog appeared out of the blue, when I look back on the many mistakes I made, knowing now what I didn't know then - how I wish I had been better prepared.
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Old 24.11.2011, 14:51
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Re: family dog choices

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I bought 'the perfect puppy' by Gwen Bailey.

It's a step up from what you've talked about but a very useful tool. A tip for you. Choose only one or two books at the most. Anymore and you'll find yourself getting confused.

Good luck.
I completely agree on limiting your book choices.

I bought too many books, some with conflicting information, and others that were just intollerable to read.

I just wanted a 'guide' to get me by........ after all, a dog rarely 'sticks to the plan' anyway.



Seems to be that "The Perfect Puppy" is a popular title for a book.
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Old 24.11.2011, 15:02
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Re: family dog choices

all of this puppy talk has me looking forward to the next little furball that will enter my life...

...but for now I'm very happy with the two I've got and hope they'll be around for many more years to come.
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Old 24.11.2011, 15:21
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Re: family dog choices

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I'm hoping to get some feedback and advice from the knowledgeable dog owners on the forum.

We've decided that we'd like to welcome a dog into our family and are now considering all our options. Having read a lot here (thank you all for the useful posts) I'm booking myself on the theory course, and know I have to complete the practical training. I'm also very conscious that it's a little like taking on an extra kid and am prepared to take that responsibility.

We are a family of 5 with two teenagers and one much younger child. Partly we would like a dog to make sure that our youngest child doesn't experience a complete vacuum when our older two leave home in the next few years. Our middle child is also a little bit afraid of dogs and we feel that the experience of having a dog in the family will help him learn how to handle dogs and lose his fear. The eldest (and myself) could do with a bit more exercise and my husband just needs a bit more unconditional love (said with tongue firmly in cheek).

We often go to the mountains at the weekend but to places where we could take a dog, and there's pretty much usually someone at home - at the moment I don't work and even if I did would need to get someone in for the children anyway.
We live in our own house with a garden so have plenty of room, and the woods are 2 minutes walk away.
We're generally pretty responsible and pragmatic.


The main questions I have concern what breeds are most suitable for our situation.
My husband grew up with labradors and is not keen on them, I have a soft spot for border collies but I know they can be a lot of work.

Beyond that we are quite open and really would like to hear you recommendations - I know you can just google this info but our choice will inevitably be influenced by the fact that we live in Switzerland and there are certain 'dog expectations', as well as the availability of dogs here - no point pining for a breed that is rare here or just not available.

I am open to rescue dogs if there was one that was young enough and could fit into a family easily. Everyone else and particularly my youngest loves the idea of a puppy and maybe that would work well as they could bond quite nicely (ages of kids are 6, 13,15). I'm ambivalent as I've already dealt with three poo-ing, night waking, whining newborns!


All feedback greatfully received!
In my opinion, any dogs can be perfect for a family, if they are well trained.

When we first took care of Jasper (he's a Labrador and used to be a dog of our neighbours), he was a mess, panicking and running amok in the house all the time. My husband trained him for 2 weeks intensively and Jasper turned out to be an obedient and sweet dog. We had a very strong chemistry and bond with him. When I fell down from the stairs, Jasper witnessed the accident and since then, he was constantly walking ahead of me and turning his head frequently to check on me. When I called him in the dark, immediately I felt his nose under my palm and he would lead the way.

When he went back to his owners, I cried, my husband missed him dearly and so did Jasper. I kid you not, he was depressed, lost his appetite and always found the opportunities to run back to our front door.

Jasper is now our dog
Our neighbours could not bear to see him so depressed and gave him to us.
He is our bundle our joy and the mascot of the village.
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Old 24.11.2011, 15:57
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Re: family dog choices

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In my opinion, any dogs can be perfect for a family, if they are well trained.

When we first took care of Jasper (he's a Labrador and used to be a dog of our neighbours), he was a mess, panicking and running amok in the house all the time. My husband trained him for 2 weeks intensively and Jasper turned out to be an obedient and sweet dog. We had a very strong chemistry and bond with him. When I fell down from the stairs, Jasper witnessed the accident and since then, he was constantly walking ahead of me and turning his head frequently to check on me. When I called him in the dark, immediately I felt his nose under my palm and he would lead the way.

When he went back to his owners, I cried, my husband missed him dearly and so did Jasper. I kid you not, he was depressed, lost his appetite and always found the opportunities to run back to our front door.

Jasper is now our dog
Our neighbours could not bear to see him so depressed and gave him to us.
He is our bundle our joy and the mascot of the village.
While this whole thread would completely disagree with your statement that 'any dog' can be great for a family, I think your story regarding Jasper was fantastic.

Unfortunately the truth is 'any dog' can be great....... but it takes the right people to do that.


I lost my uncle when I was young, and my Grandmother took over responsibility of his German Shepard.
The dog was amazing, but my Grandmother just wasn't strong enough (both physically and authoritively (if that's a word) to control the dog)
We passed the dog onto other friends of my uncles who were much better suited...... and of course, the dog responded well and was awesome again.

This is an extreme example, but I think it highlights that not everyone is awesome with dogs.
My grandmother was good with dogs generally, and the dog was great, but the fit was poor.

Personally, I think it pays to have a good hard look at yourself first to see what breed of dog suits your lifestyle first. It works out better for both man and dog in the long run...... rather that taking a 'cosmetic or aesthetic' approach to just simply choosing a dog on it's appearance or emotion.
(definitely not you Mei, I'm just talking generally)

I for one know I can handle any breed of dog, and I know which breeds I love.
But my lifestyle here in Switzerland...... and logic...... dictates that the two don't go together.

If I was to choose a dog here, I would have a very different set of parameters to what I would have when I was in Australia.

Last edited by TidakApa; 24.11.2011 at 16:12. Reason: forgot a word
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Old 24.11.2011, 15:59
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Re: family dog choices

I've ordered the perfect puppy book on amazon and will try and pick up dr yins one when I go to the UK in December.

Actually having to go to the obedience classes is great, even though at first I was surprised that they were obligatory. I'm sure we'll learn a lot at these and it'll be a real help to getting our dog well trained. I think that a fair amount about dog behaviour is explained if you look at where they have come from - they are pack animals, with a strong sense of heirachy and expect you to be their pack leader - so, I guess if you can get that bit right you're half way to winning (not terribly unlike children really).

I'm interested also in the idea of crate training - I know a post by summerrain was mentioned but does anyone have any other good links to any sites or books that deal with this. also, is it suitable for all dogs - the pups we're looking at are appenzeller mongrels, so active dogs, maybe they wouldn't take to crate training well.
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Old 24.11.2011, 16:10
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Re: family dog choices

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I
I'm interested also in the idea of crate training - I know a post by summerrain was mentioned but does anyone have any other good links to any sites or books that deal with this.
A crate is a tool, one of many in the owner's/trainer's toolbox. As with any tool, a crate can be used correctly and the dog benefits - or used poorly, to the detriment of the pup.

The key is to understand in what situations a crate is helpful and why, and to understand that a crate is for short-term use only. The dog should always find the crate a place of comfort, safety, well-being - and never a punishment.

A crate is never to be used for hours on end.

Here is a simple but comprehensive article by Dr Yin giving instructions for her father to continue house training (as well as other training/socialization tips) with his new puppy:

http://drsophiayin.com/docs/articles...earns2Earn.pdf
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Old 24.11.2011, 17:29
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Re: family dog choices

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A crate is a tool, one of many in the owner's/trainer's toolbox. As with any tool, a crate can be used correctly and the dog benefits - or used poorly, to the detriment of the pup.

The key is to understand in what situations a crate is helpful and why, and to understand that a crate is for short-term use only. The dog should always find the crate a place of comfort, safety, well-being - and never a punishment.

A crate is never to be used for hours on end.

Here is a simple but comprehensive article by Dr Yin giving instructions for her father to continue house training (as well as other training/socialization tips) with his new puppy:

http://drsophiayin.com/docs/articles...earns2Earn.pdf
I second that. It's supposed to be used as their safe haven. Never a place to be sent to when they do wrong. It's a den for them. I didn't use crates to start with just a plastic bed and she slept there and was trained to go to bed...a Kennel CLub requirement for passing silver.

When we moved to Switzerland I had to introduce a large travel crate to her. We put all her bedding in it and she took to in within days. Loved it and was not afraid to go in. This helped her flit seem less stressful. On top of that we use it in the car and she feels safe. Before she used to whine a lot when in the car without her crate.

I would recommend it purely for training aid. It's good for nights as they tend not to mess in their BUT do not leave them in there for hours. I'd say max 4 and even for a small pup that is too long. Also, gradual introduction by first letting them sniff around it, put treats inside but don't close the door the first time they go in otherwise they will freak out. Allow them to go in and out. And use it whilst you are in the room to start with and build up the time they are in there in blocks of 5 mins.

Crates also help destructive pups and dogs be less destructive if used correctly. They will not destroy their 'den'.

Our breeder recommended them and used them. Although we didn't use them to start with I would definitely recommend them at puppy age at least.
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Old 24.11.2011, 17:57
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Re: family dog choices

thanks meloncollie for that link - I think I am going to rather like Dr Yins method - I saw something similar to tethering to you on a French programme years ago (well, the French title was 'mon chien me rend chevre', but it was an American guy doing the training). The dog expert took in hopeless hooligans and trained both them and the families and the first step he took was to tie the dog to the responsible adult so they had to follow all the time - I'd try to avoid having to do that with an adult dog - I kind of think it'll be easier to train from the start.

All the dogs I know have had the command to 'go to bed' and had a basket (usually tucked away under a kitchen top I notice). All the kids keep away to allow the dog some piece andit seems to work out quite well. Although I guess that the dog will have to learn that although the crate or basket is it's safe haven it isn't its territory - I own everything!
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Old 24.11.2011, 18:46
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Re: family dog choices

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The dog expert took in hopeless hooligans and trained both them and the families and the first step he took was to tie the dog to the responsible adult so they had to follow all the time - I'd try to avoid having to do that with an adult dog - I kind of think it'll be easier to train from the start.
!
This is where I would be cautious, and look at any training technique in light of:

What is it that I wish to accomplish?
Will this technique help to reach that goal?
Is this technique the best approach to reaching that goal?
Is this technique suited to my dog's behavior/learning stage/reaction threshold?
And, most importantly, does this technique fit into my positive, reward-based non-adversive toolkit?

In the article, Dr Yin uses the tethering technique with a very young puppy, one who cannot yet control bodily functions. The idea behind it is that because the puppy at this age has little bladder control the owner has to be alert and on-the-spot at all times. Allowing accidents to happen sends a very confusing message to the puppy - at a time when their little brains are only learning to learn. Tethering is a brilliant approach for a very young pup who has not reached the physical development house training requires.

Whether this technique is appropriate for a older dog is something that one would have to assess on an individual basis - and by individual, I mean both the dog and owner.

To give you an example: The Belltie, my current problem child. His barking is partly driven by attention seeking - which is driven by jealousy - which is an artefact of his insecurity. Yes, tethering him to me does indeed stop his barking and keeps the neighbors off my back. However, the barking is only a symptom - I need to change the emotions underlying the behavior. In this case, tethering would reward and reinforce exactly the behavior I need to stop. The Belltie would love nothing better that to be glued to me 24/7 - not only would he have my attention, but he would have me all to himself. So - wrong approach for the Belltie.

Instead, I need to reinforce the desired behavior, in this case trying to teach him that he doesn't really need to voice every thought and whim. Very slow going. (And there is a lot of other stuff going on in his mixed-up little brain that also needs dealing with...)

When it comes to training ideas, methods, and philosophies - I like to research the whys and wherefores, and then think how the technique would fit my dogs and their 'ishoos'. Training is never one-size-fits-all.

I don't want to give the wrong impression of Dr Yin - her work is clearly in the positive reinforcement camp, based on operant conditioning - and not on the 'dominance' school of thought. She is quite critical of the popular perception of what 'dominance' has come to mean and of the techniques some of it's more famous practitioners use, as this has lead to much misunderstanding - to the detriment of many of our dogs.

But 'positive' does not by any means mean permissive - quite the opposite. And 'leadership' does not mean 'dominance'. I think most of us agree that setting clear goals and boundaries, communicating a language the dog can understand, being consistent in one's approach, motivating the dog to learn - these are the building blocks of all good training.

(Do read through her website, especially the training articles.)

Anyway, we are straying far from the topic of this thread. But it is always good to think about what we want from our dogs, and how to get it - while giving them a happy, healthy, 'artgerecht' life with us.


Enough nattering.

(Oh, and once you bring your puplet home... pics, please! )
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Old 24.11.2011, 19:12
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Re: family dog choices

Hello, I think it's great getting a dog for the family! I grew up with loads if animals, and the only pet my husband had is a guinea pig and a cat, so he isn't keen on dogs! If I had space as you have, and the dedication, time and diligence to look after and walk them, I'd get one. We had loads of animals as my uncle is a vet and head of the local animal welfare society so was always 'dropping off' a dog or cat, chicken or duck for the weekend knowing well that on Sunday evening, we wouldn't let it go. Our favourites were border collies. They all Really became one of the family. At one stage, we had 3, which was a lot of work but we had the space and there was always someone about to run them. They were so easy to train as so intelligent and obedient...whenever I see a dog, I don't flinch, but my husband stays clear if them. I suppose the difference of growing up with them? Jack Russell's a great little dogs. Intelligent too! If size and too much fur is not your thing (even though shorter hair collies a possibility), jack Russell's are great! Obviously depending on your dog's personality, it can become an invaluable member of your family. Dogs love you and listen to you not matter what. I have even been told that they are the best friend to have while giving a speech as will adore you no matter what you say! a rescue dog is a great idea as you know you're helping the animal and can give it a loving home. It is always advisable to get a dog as young as possible due to past trauma issues, as that could come out, especially snapping at younger kids. The younger they are, the easier they are to train.
A good idea is to go to the kennel a rescue center and have you all spend time with the dog(s) / puppy so you're all happy about your choice! Rescue dogs may also had had all the required shots etc. good luck!
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