I’m starting to plan my next dog and I have made a few decisions about it…. I say ‘it’ as I haven’t decided on the breed or gender, or even where ‘it’ is coming from….
So I welcome any suggestions people can make….
Here is my plan, I’m calling this ‘plan A’.
However I do have a few things that I am looking for in ‘it’…
Firstly, my priority is that this dog loves to work! I am mainly getting this dog for a sport, I haven’t decided which one exactly but I shall definitely do something with ‘it’. ‘It’ has to have that can do attitude no matter what, it has to absolutely love to interact with me. It has to be totally focused on me no matter what is going on, and has to have an amazing temperament in all situations. To be honest, I’m getting to long in the tooth of having to ‘fix’ dogs, so ‘it’ has to be 200% sound. But ‘it’ has to be an amazing pet. My dogs are part of the family, and with a young child, ‘it’ has to be easy domestically.
‘It’ also has to be dog friendly. I have dogs in for training constantly and I have other dogs, so ‘it’ has to be super friendly. But not weak with other dogs, I dont want ‘it’ to get bullied.
‘It’ also has to have amazing structure, as I want a performance dog and this is paramount. ‘It’ has to be an athlete. ‘It’ has to have great play drive and great food drive, ideally in equal measures. So I can use both without conflict.
‘It’ had to have a really sound temperament in all environments, I travel a lot for work and may take this dog abroad and need ‘it’ to accept this warts and all. But I don’t want ‘it’ to be into anyone else but me. This is massively important for a working dog, or even a pet dog. They have to be totally into me so I dont have them running off and leaving me, or being distracted.
As mentioned, i’m not sure what sport i’ll do with it, but ‘it’ has to be able to jump correctly…. ‘it’ has to have the correct angles to be able to jump effortlessly and save ‘its’ body. I want to have a long career with this dog, as I have had to retire dogs prematurely due to physical issues, so this dog definitely has to be sound.
‘It’ may also do bitework, so I want that ‘edge’ you need for dynamic and explosive bites. But not too much or control may be an issue. But he still has to have enough strength to take a challenge or re-attack…. but I want him to be sound with Neave and anyone that comes to our home. ‘It’ cant show any aggression. Thats a definite. It cant show aggression to any dog, person, animal or thing ever.
‘it’ also has to have great structure for obedience, I want ‘it’ to have the ability to have a upright position and move in a flamboyant manner…. but ‘it’ also has to be able to keep his bum straight and also a level topline as I don’t want a low backend.
‘It’ has to love to run, and chase. Both of these are needed for what I plan to do with ‘it’. But not too much, as I have a young child and she’ll be moving quickly and I dont want ‘it’ to bite her. And my time is getting less and less, so the most I can walk a day is 30mins… but ‘it’ has to be able to chill at home.
‘It’ has to be ‘biddable’, so that ‘it’ doesn’t object to me handling him or if I need to take ‘it’ to the vet ever, ‘it’ accepts the vet or anyone else looking over them.
‘It’ also has to be clever. I want to do multiple sports and I want to get ‘it’ trained as quickly as possible, so ‘it’ has to be clever. But not too clever where ‘it’ can work out what not to do, and doesn’t question me.
‘It’ has to love repetition, as the majority of training can be repetitive, so ‘it’ has to be able to thrive on that, but I don’t want ‘it’ to be obsessive. I sometimes don’t have time to train every day, so ‘it’ needs to accept that and have an ‘off’ button.
‘It’ has to be able to live in the house and be well behaved. I dont like dogs in furniture, or dogs that jump up, or dogs that go out of doors before me. So ‘it’ has to be nice to live with.
‘It’ also has to have a coat, I dont want it ‘short-short’… the really short coat as in obedience it may show a gap on my leg, and I may get marked for it. But I don’t like dog hair everywhere, so ‘it’ can’t have too much hair.
‘It’ also has to have nice markings, and good colour. I want ‘it’ to have even markings, but I like dogs that are unique and stand out as being ‘different’. I think this makes for a better picture, and makes us more eye catching.
And finally, I may have a litter from ‘it’. So ‘it’ cant be spayed/castrated but I dont want ‘it’ to have any hormone issues. Bitches can go off work with seasons and dogs can be distracted by bitches. I definitely dont want any of that with ‘it’. But I want a pup from ‘it’ in the future… so neutering isn’t an option.
Anyone got any ideas about where I could find ‘it’?
If you are looking to the sky at this point, you may not be fair wrong!
Or I do have a plan b.
Get a dog I like, love it, train it and accept it. Work with what you’ve got. Be a dog trainer and dog lover. Full stop.
Bet you were wondering where I was going with ‘plan a’. Those that know me, will have assumed I had a personality transplant or that this blog had been hijacked!
As a professional dog trainer or both dog sports and domestic people, the search for ‘it’ and the above conversations I have on a regular basis…… I regularly get emails and calls with exactly the above requirements….. or ‘problems’. Or have conversations with exactly these phrases or sentences.
And as a professional dog trainer, behaviour consultant and sports dog coach, I need to be well rounded and able to empathise with those that come to me for help.
The list of expectations we have of our dogs is HUGE! And often we forget how un-dog like we are asking them to be. Dont chew the furniture that smells like meat, dont chase the small furry thing that runs fast, as its the neighbors cat! Dont bite the strange dog that tries to invade your personal space, don’t bite the man that comes to our door to deliver stuff, even though you dont know him, never met him and he wears a strange hat.
‘Personality traits’ are all interlinked. So fear is linked to aggression, herding instinct and prey drive, aggression is linked to prey drive, ‘biddable’ is related to submissiveness…. the individual trait is just a varying degree on the spectrum of that particular ‘attribute’.
So when you look for a dog to have a certain quality, the chances of finding one where the needle falls at exactly the right spot on each ‘personality trait barometer’, is unlikely. And to find one with all the needles falling in exactly the right place on every ‘personality trait barometer’, is nearly impossible. And before you, all declare that your very own fido or rover is ‘perfect’, take a moment to think about that.
The key is to find the dog that suits you. Or adapt and be a better dog trainer, not just someone that can train a ‘type’. So your ‘perfect’ dog, probably wasn’t perfect, but rather perfect for YOU! And thats the secret.
I bred a litter of pups and every owner is delighted with them. They are all close friends, so I know they would be honest with me, but they all literally adore them.
Why would that be? How did all of them get a ‘perfect’ puppy…. Obviously because they were out of my two ‘perfect’ dogs 😉
Well that partly true.
But more because we had a discussion about the pup, what they wanted and I know them all well enough to say what would suit them. So the pup they choose was a collaborative decision, and as such everyone has turned out perfect. They match the person who has them. If they had chosen differently, it may not have been quite so perfect.
One of the pups was in a horrible accident and died. I take solace on knowing that her family thought she was ‘perfect’, that no matter what happened, she was loved, accepted and adored. This puppy was a surprise arranged by me and my friends partner. He didn’t get to see her and he didn’t get to choose. But from day one, she was perfect to Liam, she was perfect when she wouldn’t sleep through the night, she was perfect when she was car sick as a tiny pup, she was perfect when she didn’t tug at first. She was perfect tearing through tunnels and over jumps, or sleeping on the bed. She was perfect.
Every one of us, are looking for someone that sees us as perfect. Dogs are no different. Accept them for what they are, educate them, love them and cherish them. Their time with us is precious and short.
See then as perfect, and they just might be.