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  #21  
Old 15.06.2020, 15:10
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

We brought our Lab from CA, where we had a garden, to a top floor apartment with no garden. She had no trouble adjusting and as we were close to the Limmat, she got to swim almost every day. We were quite well known in our neighborhood and people used to take video of her swimming near the power station (on leash) during the all 4 seasons. During the Summer, we would all swim from Escher Wyss to the dam. She was always up for a good hike, as well (look out for ticks - they are everywhere! That's why we preferred swimming).

People think big dogs are more work than smaller ones, but with a Lab, we never found that to be the case. Our two females were very happy as long as they got a daily walk or swim... which is great for us, as well. Agree with the shedding part. Our 1st Lab had very short hair, so was less of a problem than our longer haired Lab that we have now. We also stay away from Golden Retrievers because of the (typical) longer hair.
We love the Lab breed as they are equally content cuddling as they are out exploring. We just adopted a Mastiff/Shepherd mix, and he needs almost constant stimulation; a big adjustment for us...

Many will tell you that you MUST adopt, and while I encourage it (our 2nd Lab and the Mastiff were rescues), fit is key! By all means, visit the rescues/shelters and breeders if that feels right for YOU.

Good luck! Having dogs is the best!

PS - Choosing the sex is also important. Personally, I prefer a spayed female. Our Mastiff boy, was neutered at 9 months and I just find male dogs to be more complicated. However, YMMV...

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A Labrador ticks a lot of boxes for you. Intelligent, calm, tolerant and adjusts well to new situations, kids and other pets.

We were also apprehensive getting one in our 1st floor apartment, but the apprehensions turned out to be unfounded.

The one big downside, they shed a lot of hair. Other than that pretty happy with our decision.


We went with a kennel club breeder and got a puppy. Toilet training was stressful, but not as long as I feared. Few weeks IIRC.
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  #22  
Old 15.06.2020, 16:24
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

Having had dogs all my life, I will strongly second your thinking :-)
That said, the questions you and others have raised are very important.
Making sure you have the time to spend with the dog, recognising that this is a multi-decade commitment (hopefully), making sure the dog has the time and space to be outdoors and enjoy the nature and finally being prepared for the eventual heartbreak when they decide to go to the great kennel in the sky. After losing my last dog in 2011, I have not had the courage to get another dog simply because the heartbreak was very tough (he left is very unpleasant circumstances). That said I dont regret a moment I spent with him (only that he left too soon). He was a Golden Retreiver but was super happy in the apartment. But I took him for long walks twice a day and then over the weekend (also got some fresh air). But now I would have someone to come and walk him when I am in the office so that he can get more air and exercise. And finally depending on the breed of the dog, you can get very different experiences. Having had 6 different breeds, it was a completely different experience. However GR remains my favorite just for their heart and spirit. All the best and hope it goes really well for you.
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Old 15.06.2020, 17:28
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

Hi OP,

There is already lots of great advice given but with all the points you have mentioned, I would go with a small to medium dog as well.

I love dogs of all sizes and I have had dogs ever since I was 9. Yes, my dream dog was and still is a large one, but I have always had small dogs due to living conditions and circumstances.

At the moment with my lifestyle, I couldn't imagine a big dog as a small-medium dog IS easier in terms of:

1. Unless the dogs is already very well trained, the bigger they are, the stronger they are.

2. When you DO decide to go on holiday where you can't take your dog with you, it is easier to find friends who are willing to look after your dog when it is smaller.

3. Someone else wrote this, but there may come a time your dog gets old and ill and cannot walk up stairs etc anymore and it will be hard to carry, so with a smaller one you don't have that problem.

4. You can very easily shower/dry your dog at home by yourself. (a big one too of course...just a bit more work)

5. Buying food is much easier (and cheaper ). 4kg food bags as opposed to 30kg bags

6. Travelling around by public transport is very easy with a smaller one, trains and flights (in-cabin), all possible. Our dog goes everywhere with us except when we holiday on long-haul flights.

7. People tend to think you can only be active and sporty with big dogs. WRONG! We have a chihuahua and we do very long strenuous hikes (he will partially get in a K9 bag but walks a lot of it himself), he goes snow-shoe walking with us, and we just got him a life vest to come on the SUP with us And also, small dogs DO NOT mean yappy: all depends on your training!

8. When it is raining cats & dogs, a smaller dog won't need a long walk and would be happy to just quickly pee and get back inside

I would also think about whether you mind shedding? If yes, you should go for certain breeds that don't BUT those breeds need grooming (trimming etc, which will be extra cost unless you do it yourself with a clipper).

Also, yes, every breed has its characteristics, but like meloncollie said, even the same breed can be totally different. I would choose size first, and then meet different dogs and feel your fit.

I cannot imagine life without dogs. During the hardest times of my life, the presence of my dog has always, always helped me through. Good luck with your search and share a pic once you've welcomed your new family member!
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Old 15.06.2020, 17:45
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

I have heard from people who have greyhounds that they are very easy pets. They are quite lazy, but can also go running with you, don't bark usually, have low prey drive so can coexist with other smaller animals...
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Old 17.06.2020, 18:31
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

I think, in addition to what everyone else has said, the main thing is to assume the dog will simply become part of your life. Not an ornament to be left at home decoratively when you go out, not a child to completely turn your life upside down for and deprive yourself of all the things you enjoy in life, but simply a third member of the family that goes where you go, does what you do. When you go swimming, swim in the lake with your dog. When you go for a hike, dog goes too. When you go on holiday, you go by car (unless dog is small enough for a plane cabin - and FWIW we had a lot of success using holiday sitters from trustedhousesitters.com for the cat). When you go to the pub, it's your evening walk with dog. When you go for a meal, dog curls up under the table in the restaurant. When you curl up in front of the fire watching telly, dog curls up with or near you (usually after having turned round 3 times first).

Compared with this belonging to one another, living arrangements (flat or house etc) really don't matter - *you* are your dog's home. And given that, whilst it's always nice to rescue (with the usual caveats about dealing with any "baggage" the dog may have), the source for your dog is secondary to getting the *right* dog - not the right type of dog, the right individual.

My giant schnauzer Heros, the ship's dog, lived with me/us in a house with garden, a 4th floor flat with tiny balcony in a building where the nearest grass was 250 m away, a 2nd floor flat with large balcony by the lake, and finally a ground floor garden flat on the edge of a nature reserve. And, of course, sailed for 3 months a year on a 45-foot yacht. Point being, he was just happy to be with us, he was family and we made sure his needs were met. I tell you, if I were a dog, I'd want the life he had!

We miss him terribly, but 5 months on I'm just beginning to start to miss having a dog generally too so (don't tell himself ) I might be on the verge of starting to look around (damn the demise of the Tierdatenbank!). There's also still a massive deerhound-shaped hole in my life, and he died in 2011. A sighthound and supposedly a prey-driven breed - but the American Deerhound Association describe them as perfect watchdogs because they just lie back and watch everything that's going on (providing they get a high-speed run once a day). After all, they were bred for a high-intensity deer hunt in Scotland followed by the rest of the day sprawled in front of the fire in the laird's great hall.
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Old 18.06.2020, 07:00
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

No matter how much you think it over and research things it really comes down to luck as well. I've had many dogs, rescues mostly. I finally got a pure bred dog, after much research, chose a puppy for the children's sake, the breeders are lovely people, etc.

Our dog is insane, he failed dog school twice and when I tried to sign him up a third time they told me they were full (they weren't). We cannot take him anywhere because he cannot contain his joy at the sight of children, bikes, sheep, etc. The dog trainer suggested he 'has something'. We love him dearly, but having a baby was easier.

You have to be willing to accept what comes no matter how much you prepare.
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Old 18.06.2020, 07:18
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

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No matter how much you think it over and research things it really comes down to luck as well. I've had many dogs, rescues mostly. I finally got a pure bred dog, after much research, chose a puppy for the children's sake, the breeders are lovely people, etc.

Our dog is insane, he failed dog school twice and when I tried to sign him up a third time they told me they were full (they weren't). We cannot take him anywhere because he cannot contain his joy at the sight of children, bikes, sheep, etc. The dog trainer suggested he 'has something'. We love him dearly, but having a baby was easier.

You have to be willing to accept what comes no matter how much you prepare.
He sounds exactly like my boy! I wish he would realise that he would get to do much more, have more fun get more attention from strangers etc if he just calmed the hell down!!!

(This is why I say get a small dog, big strong & mental is not a great combo!)
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Old 18.06.2020, 07:52
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

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He sounds exactly like my boy! I wish he would realise that he would get to do much more, have more fun get more attention from strangers etc if he just calmed the hell down!!!

(This is why I say get a small dog, big strong & mental is not a great combo!)
I completely agree! My neighbours dog is equally crazy (thank god) but it's small and even at it's worst looks cute. When he misbehaves, she picks him up and carries him away. Our dog scares people with his happiness.
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Old 18.06.2020, 08:22
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

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Our dog is insane, he failed dog school twice and when I tried to sign him up a third time they told me they were full (they weren't). We cannot take him anywhere because he cannot contain his joy at the sight of children, bikes, sheep, etc. The dog trainer suggested he 'has something'. We love him dearly, but having a baby was easier.

You have to be willing to accept what comes no matter how much you prepare.

Do you mind me asking what breed is he and what does he do when out? Are you certain that his body language is joy and that he is not trying to tell you something else. Perhaps dog school was just too overwhelming and over stimulating and he would be better in a calmer one on one situation.

I am a firm believer that dogs need mental stimulation with calming canine enrichment, nosing and sniffing games, which will tire them out in a good way. There are many excellent games and calming methods you could work on but, they do all take a great deal of time and patience but worth the effort
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Old 18.06.2020, 08:44
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

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Do you mind me asking what breed is he and what does he do when out? Are you certain that his body language is joy and that he is not trying to tell you something else. Perhaps dog school was just too overwhelming and over stimulating and he would be better in a calmer one on one situation.

I am a firm believer that dogs need mental stimulation with calming canine enrichment, nosing and sniffing games, which will tire them out in a good way. There are many excellent games and calming methods you could work on but, they do all take a great deal of time and patience but worth the effort
He is a Viszla. Everything is too stimulating for him and he is extremely emotional. If you are too strict he is absolutely crushed, if you praise him too much he forgets what he is doing and does it wrong. He needs a lot of calm and a lot of love all the time.

We took him to agility, but he is very afraid of heights so that didn't work out. We bought mental games where he has to search for the treat and he ate the wooden game pieces before we could stop him. He was not motivated by treats after the first few minutes. The trainer decided he was too attached to us and needed to learn to be separated. She had us switch dogs. He threw himself on the ground and cried until she gave up. He is simply crazy. He wants to please us and do things right but his brain gets in the way. He does come slowly forward, but not in the standard way.
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Old 18.06.2020, 08:45
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

Commend you for a being thoughtful about this decision

- Have included some links to resource for picking a breed that matched your personality and lifestyle. It is import to understand dogs have been bred for something specific, so they will have tendencies. My experience as an adult owner aligned me to a sporting dog. This breeds were for hunting mainly and therefore always needed to move and get exercise. This meant I had to take them for daily walks, despite bad weather, long hours of work, or a down mood that day or you’re not really meeting their built-in needs
https://www.pedigree.com/getting-a-new-dog/breed-match
https://www.akc.org/dog-breed-selector/

- In my opinion, very important to match a dog to your personality, so do that and then go to a breeder. If you are super adaptable and easy going enough you can pay attention to a dogs needs, history, and tendencies, shelter is a nice way to go.
- Personal preference, but in my opinion getting a puppy and training is sort of part of the process. Helps in building a bond with the dog and I can say I didn’t like changing diapers with 3 kids, but was just part of the deal and we’re through that now.
- In Switzerland, not really of to leave them alone for extended period. When moving here many moons ago, I brought 2 dogs with me. Back home I had 1 acre they could run around while I was at work. However, coming over was an adjustment for them too emotionally. They barked when I wasn’t home and didn’t have the same space. Neighbors got angry the police were called and it all ended in tears. I learned a lot about cultural dog ownership differences quickly. Point being, Police told me you can’t leave them at home all day while you are working. You have to arrange to come at least at lunch to take them out etc… and was told they can’t bark and disturb the neighbors, which is hard for one to control when not at home

Hope that helps
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Old 18.06.2020, 09:29
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

Wow thanks for all the posts guys. There are too many to reply to individually so I just picked some out that I found I had further comments or questions. All posts were appreciated and I have a lot to digest over the coming weeks while making my decisions! There will be a lot to think about before making such a commitment as I need to factor in my love of skiing, which in Winter would not be so dog friendly unless the ski resorts have a doggy daycare. I guess being a pet owner is all about compromises and sacrifices.

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You will always need a dog walker, IMHO. Perhaps even on the days you are home.

I'm WFH with my partner, we still have the dog walker for the lunchtime excursion.

Why? He goes out with the gang and runs wild, and enjoys himself for a couple of hours. A quick walk round the park in between meetings doesn't cut it.

All depends on circumstance and changing circumstances, but my advice is factor in the cost of a dog walker everyday, just in case.
FYI I pay @800 on a full month.
For many dogs (at least also the ones in my family) I think a 30min morning, 30 min afternoon and a long evening walk would suffice. Not every dog needs to go hell for leather 3x a day.
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Yes, that is exactly what the NHB theory is designed for, both in terms of dog ownership in general and the specific Swiss aspects as well. A good way to start the process.
At the moment dog schools are restricted to four people plus a trainer due to COVID. You likely won't be able to observe a class until that restriction is lifted.

2. Research dog sitters/holiday care options!

Good dog care is difficult to find. Even if you anticipate your holiday travels will include your dog, there are always times when you might need a sitter.

3. Read this book, 'How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves', by Dr Sophia Yin:
https://www.amazon.de/How-Behave-You...2127017&sr=1-1


This is an exciting time - again, all the best.
I just noticed there are dog training schools at Albisguetli, which makes sense as there's a lot of space for it. Thanks for all the advice I will need to take my time and digest it all.

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One thing for the OP to consider is whether or not you will be able to have someone look after the dog if you plan to travel (unless you can take the dog with you). Also, maybe try to get a breed that is not known to have issues with separation anxiety. My Dad had a Vizsla dog with such bad separation anxiety that he couldn't leave the house without the dog freaking out and it had all sorts of health problems due to constant anxiety. Also, be sure to have the dog socialized well with other people and other dogs so that it doesn't freak out when you take it for walks, etc.

Just some thoughts...
I have a couple of girlfriends who would be very happy to look after a dog if I bought one. One of my friends is already trying to get me to buy a French Bulldog, although I told her there would be no chance of that.

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A Labrador ticks a lot of boxes for you. Intelligent, calm, tolerant and adjusts well to new situations, kids and other pets.

We were also apprehensive getting one in our 1st floor apartment, but the apprehensions turned out to be unfounded.

The one big downside, they shed a lot of hair. Other than that pretty happy with our decision.

We went with a kennel club breeder and got a puppy. Toilet training was stressful, but not as long as I feared. Few weeks IIRC.
Yes, labs do seem like great all-rounders in physicality and temperament. How are the health issues?

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One thing to consider is whether your building has an elevator. Before we bought our new place, we did consider some flats above ground floor that did not have a lift. Fortunately we picked a place with a lift.

Right after we moved in, our old sheepdog/poodle mix ended up with cancer in a knee. Stairs became impossible. Our new dog has hip problems. Stairs will eventually become impossible. The old dog and the new was/is much to big to carry up and down the stairs multiple times per day.
I don't have an elevator, but I guess that kind of worry aould be 7+ years away depending on the size/age of the dog.

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PS - Choosing the sex is also important. Personally, I prefer a spayed female. Our Mastiff boy, was neutered at 9 months and I just find male dogs to be more complicated. However, YMMV...
Thanks, interesting. Can anyone else please confirm this from their experience?

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I have heard from people who have greyhounds that they are very easy pets. They are quite lazy, but can also go running with you, don't bark usually, have low prey drive so can coexist with other smaller animals...
I was under the impression that greyhounds have a high prey drive, hence why racing uses a mechanical rabbit flying around a track.

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No matter how much you think it over and research things it really comes down to luck as well. I've had many dogs, rescues mostly. I finally got a pure bred dog, after much research, chose a puppy for the children's sake, the breeders are lovely people, etc.

Our dog is insane, he failed dog school twice and when I tried to sign him up a third time they told me they were full (they weren't). We cannot take him anywhere because he cannot contain his joy at the sight of children, bikes, sheep, etc. The dog trainer suggested he 'has something'. We love him dearly, but having a baby was easier.

You have to be willing to accept what comes no matter how much you prepare.
This really doesn't sound good if a dog cannot behave in normal circumstances or be successfgully trained even after multiple courses... maybe the breeder did not have a good lineage or had some more significant inbreeding to cause mental abnormalities? Either way that sounds like something genuinely life impacting.

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Commend you for a being thoughtful about this decision

- Have included some links to resource for picking a breed that matched your personality and lifestyle. It is import to understand dogs have been bred for something specific, so they will have tendencies. My experience as an adult owner aligned me to a sporting dog. This breeds were for hunting mainly and therefore always needed to move and get exercise. This meant I had to take them for daily walks, despite bad weather, long hours of work, or a down mood that day or you’re not really meeting their built-in needs
https://www.pedigree.com/getting-a-new-dog/breed-match
https://www.akc.org/dog-breed-selector/

- In my opinion, very important to match a dog to your personality, so do that and then go to a breeder. If you are super adaptable and easy going enough you can pay attention to a dogs needs, history, and tendencies, shelter is a nice way to go.
- Personal preference, but in my opinion getting a puppy and training is sort of part of the process. Helps in building a bond with the dog and I can say I didn’t like changing diapers with 3 kids, but was just part of the deal and we’re through that now.
- In Switzerland, not really of to leave them alone for extended period. When moving here many moons ago, I brought 2 dogs with me. Back home I had 1 acre they could run around while I was at work. However, coming over was an adjustment for them too emotionally. They barked when I wasn’t home and didn’t have the same space. Neighbors got angry the police were called and it all ended in tears. I learned a lot about cultural dog ownership differences quickly. Point being, Police told me you can’t leave them at home all day while you are working. You have to arrange to come at least at lunch to take them out etc… and was told they can’t bark and disturb the neighbors, which is hard for one to control when not at home

Hope that helps
Sorry to hear that.

Last edited by Chuff; 18.06.2020 at 09:44.
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Old 18.06.2020, 11:12
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

Apologies to Chuff for taking this a bit off topic for a moment, but I want to toss out some suggestions for Where2:

---

Where2, have you tried working with a different Hundeschule or a different trainer, or working with a behaviourist?

Trainers and behaviourists focus on somewhat different aspects, and even within each field there are vastly different approaches. Perhaps finding someone who has a different outlook or different methods might be more effective with you and your dog. Sometimes it's a question of simple chemistry - you, the trainer, and your dog have to 'mesh'.

For example, I found that a combination of both private sessions and group classes turned out to be the winning formula with Hooligan.

In the private sessions we worked on the basics, then in the group classes we put what we had learned in the one-to-one sessions into practice in a controlled environment.

In the beginning, our group class goal was simply to remain calm from a distance while the other dogs did their exercises. Over time, keeping up with the one-to-one and attainable goals with the group, Hooligan gained the confidence and self-control she needed. We also continued private sessions on our walks, taking her new skills into the real world. For Hooligan the Hundeschule has been a life-long activity.

It was a long road, but eventually Hooligan not only mastered Familienhund, but also Agility, Team Training, Flyball, and Triebball. And even more importantly, interactions with the unknown on our walks. At 15 now, deaf, wobbly and a tad daft in her old age, she still enjoys the Hundeschule.

I've had several fruitbat nutcase dogs - if I have learned anything over the years it's that there is no one size fits all to dog training. If one approach doesn't work, look for someone who can help you devise another.

If you are anywhere near Wollerau SZ, I can recommend my trainer, Jeanette Schuler:
https://kurse-fuer-hunde.ch

If you are close to Winterthur, another recommendation is Anna Papenberg, who follows Martin Rütter's program:
https://www.martinruetter.com/winterthur-kloten/

---

ETA:

A trainer who knows the Visla breed well might be a good place to look for help. I did a quick browse of the Visla club website, and saw that four members are also trainers. One is in Forch.
https://www.vizslaclub.ch/infos/angebote-von-mitgledern

---

Maybe start a post asking for other recommendations. It's always good to get a sense of how a trainer works from other dog owners.


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.
The dog trainer suggested he 'has something'.
This jumped out at me. Do you honestly think there may be something more than canine high spirits/over enthusiasm/need for more self control practice?

If you think that there might be something more going on, perhaps a consultation with Dr Maya Bräm might be helpful. She is a specialist in veterinary behavioural medicine, she works both at the Tierspital in Zürich and through her private practice in Basel. She can travel to do home consultations within a reasonable distance.

Dr Bräm's contact details at the Tierspital:
https://www.tierspital.uzh.ch/de/kle...gie/braem.html
And her private practice
http://mayanimal.ch/index.html

We are working with Dr Bräm to help Robin Goodfellow. Long, long story short - we have come to believe that his outbursts could be connected to neurological issues. We have a very long way to go yet, but Dr Bräm has, quite literally, saved his life.

With Robin we are taking multiple approaches, both training, more traditional behavioural work, and behavioural medicine.

If you think your dog really might 'has something' I can heartily recommend Dr Bräm. An initial consultation might give you additional insights.

Anyway, just a few thoughts. I wish you and your pup all the very best.



---

Now back to the this thread:

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.You have to be willing to accept what comes no matter how much you prepare.
Truer words were never spoken!

This is fundamental to responsible dog ownership. We prepare ourselves, we educate ourselves, we make the best choices we can... and then we just have to roll with the punches.

Dogs. Gotta luv 'em.

Last edited by meloncollie; 18.06.2020 at 13:23.
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Old 18.06.2020, 13:51
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

Just to follow up on the derailing (my apologies as well Chuff!), I did not try another trainer or behaviourist as our budget is limited. I also had the feeling I did not want to break his spirit and that he was not going to come anywhere with the dominate your dog or bribe them methods.
I spoke to the vet who told me our dog is definitely a baby in his mind. We changed our expectations and give him lots of extra time to grow up. He is now 4, and I can go running with him but have to walk and block him in if any other people or dogs pass. For the first two years it wasn't even possible to go for a walk easily. He spends a lot of time at home which seems to be ok for him.
What he is very good at is being a part of the family, and doing anything the kids do. He happily opens Christmas presents and finds Easter baskets, and tends to all emotional wounds with sad faces and cuddles.
So, no it's not really the sporty trainable dog I signed up for, but with blind focus on his positive qualities and controlling his environment we've come find our normal.
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Old 18.06.2020, 14:22
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

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Just to follow up on the derailing (my apologies as well Chuff!), I did not try another trainer or behaviourist as our budget is limited. I also had the feeling I did not want to break his spirit and that he was not going to come anywhere with the dominate your dog or bribe them methods.
I spoke to the vet who told me our dog is definitely a baby in his mind. We changed our expectations and give him lots of extra time to grow up. He is now 4, and I can go running with him but have to walk and block him in if any other people or dogs pass. For the first two years it wasn't even possible to go for a walk easily. He spends a lot of time at home which seems to be ok for him.
What he is very good at is being a part of the family, and doing anything the kids do. He happily opens Christmas presents and finds Easter baskets, and tends to all emotional wounds with sad faces and cuddles.
So, no it's not really the sporty trainable dog I signed up for, but with blind focus on his positive qualities and controlling his environment we've come find our normal.

From what you have said, I would judge the trainer to be at fault/not properly equipped to handle the individual needs of your dog. It would not have gone well if she had tried to swap with my dog either and this may well have become a traumatic experience for your boy.
There are many trainers with completely outdated ideas on how to train a dog using "dominance" and "alpha pack leader" but aversive techniques are now, thankfully, becoming discredited with new research. You had a bad trainer but there are plenty of good trainers out there who are also extremely knowledgeable behaviourists who would never do anything that might break his spirit

Chuff when you get your dog happy to share what to look for in a good trainer and when to run a mile in the opposite direction. In short everyone should always chose a force free positive reward trainer and giving treats is not bribery. Here is a link on why force free training. Also run a mile from the new "balanced" trainer who use both rewards and aversive techniques
https://www.companionanimalpsycholog...based-dog.html


Where2. Completely agree with Meloncollie's post and also one of the things that I have learned with behavioural issues is to always have the pet checked for undiagnosed pain. Dogs can be pretty stoic and not communicate it to the owners. If you are happy with your boy exactly as he is, that is good. If you want to at least do a zoom conference call with some first rate trainers/behaviourists then do let me know. Good luck
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Old 19.06.2020, 07:42
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

Well the trainer had a mix of dominate your dog, treats and clicker approach. She had good ideas but he couldn't handle many of them. The base course was already too high level for him. When he got upset he howled endlessly or cried, both very loudly, and she couldn't talk over him.
He was so interested in the other dogs and people he could hardly contain himself much less sit down and listen while she explained something. He failed all self control exercises, like take only your own dog toy from the middle. He didn't really care about treats, no matter how good they were, the clicker seemed to annoy his ears and he got nothing positive out of it. She designed tracking courses for his brain, and he just sniffed other random things in the course. We made hunt your treats in the garden at home and he just sat down and looked at me.
If she got annoyed with me and raised her voice to say something, he would bark at her and it was just a disaster. He really only responds to being interested in what he is doing and liking who he is with, and things have to be calm.
We are fine with his specialness and I keep trying different approaches. Something eventually works in the end, but it takes a lot of effort.
Thank you to all for the feedback and ideas. I have a close friend who received her dog training certificate and she has nerves of steel, so we will eventually spend time with her and her dogs. He is a huge baby about any kind of pain, so I'm sure he would show it and there are no issues there.
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

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At the moment dog schools are restricted to four people plus a trainer due to COVID. You likely won't be able to observe a class until that restriction is lifted.
This rule has been lifted. However, the smaller the class the higher the quality.
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

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Our dog is insane, he failed dog school twice and when I tried to sign him up a third time they told me they were full (they weren't). We cannot take him anywhere because he cannot contain his joy at the sight of children, bikes, sheep, etc. The dog trainer suggested he 'has something'.
???

Do you want to let me know more in a PM?
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Old 19.06.2020, 09:33
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

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Well the trainer had a mix of dominate your dog, treats and clicker approach. She had good ideas but he couldn't handle many of them. The base course was already too high level for him. When he got upset he howled endlessly or cried, both very loudly, and she couldn't talk over him.
He was so interested in the other dogs and people he could hardly contain himself much less sit down and listen while she explained something. He failed all self control exercises, like take only your own dog toy from the middle. He didn't really care about treats, no matter how good they were, the clicker seemed to annoy his ears and he got nothing positive out of it. She designed tracking courses for his brain, and he just sniffed other random things in the course. We made hunt your treats in the garden at home and he just sat down and looked at me.
If she got annoyed with me and raised her voice to say something, he would bark at her and it was just a disaster. He really only responds to being interested in what he is doing and liking who he is with, and things have to be calm.
We are fine with his specialness and I keep trying different approaches. Something eventually works in the end, but it takes a lot of effort.
Thank you to all for the feedback and ideas. I have a close friend who received her dog training certificate and she has nerves of steel, so we will eventually spend time with her and her dogs. He is a huge baby about any kind of pain, so I'm sure he would show it and there are no issues there.

First, the trainer sounds completely unqualified to train dogs so it was not your fault or your dog's fault but hers alone. Unfortunately, dog trainer isn't a professional qualification and with very little training and experience anyone can call themselves that. Many likely could not even pass a test on dog anatomy.

That said, there are some wonderful trainers out there who have many years of experience and numerous relevant qualifications, whether that be in training, canine behaviour or therapies. They also never stop learning, not because of CPD requirements but because it means they are better able to help the dog. Can I suggest that you be a little wary using your friend if she is not highly experienced, which is what I believe your dog needs to help him.

I would also not keep trying different approaches as that will only confuse your boy more. Whatever approach is taken expect it to take a lot of time and patience and progress will be only in baby steps

On a general note for everryone, if your dog is obviously uncomfortable and becoming stressed with the training and you have doubts about the methods your trainer is using and expecting you to use then don't stick it out but walk away, even mid class. You are your dog's advocate and his voice and training should be a happy experience for both of you. When looking for a trainer, sit in on classes without dog first of all to see how the trainer performs and ask them lots of question before committing to anything. If possible, ask to speak to other clients to get their private feedback (don't go by website testimonials)

Last edited by Mr Dog; 19.06.2020 at 11:33.
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Old 20.06.2020, 11:46
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Re: Thinking of getting my first dog... advice needed please!

I have to say that the other dogs seemed ok, and she was well liked in the school. I guess there was some difficulty between the approach being good for all others and not him.
He reacted to the stress of that and her too. I didn't know what to do, and there were almost no dog courses available as the requirement had just been dropped. I don't give up easily and wanted to find a solution. So did she, but perhaps from a different viewpoint than I had.
I often wonder if it wouldn't have been better to train him on my own from the start.
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