So you are ready to bring a puppy or dog into your life?
What is your plan for choosing the perfect dog? Do you look at a picture of the litter and try to spot the cutest one? Look at an ad on poster or commercial?
Well, I’m here to tell you, that is the WORST way to pick a puppy or dog that is right for you! There are realities to the type of dog you bring into your life, and you need to be prepared and ready to live a life that is beneficial to that individual dog you welcome into your home. This is a decision that can have a decades-long impact, so enter into your search wisely and in a thoughtful way. Emotions can work against you when picking out your Perfect Match Pooch!
I assess and train dogs the same whether a dog is rescued, found, bought or free. I believe a dog when they tell me something about themselves. Listen to what the dog says because he is telling you exactly what he thinks and giving you a peek into who he is and what motivates him in life.
Here are some examples: I play with toys with the puppy. Does the dog growl at the toy and shake it, lay on it or toss it around? This matters! If you want a protection dog that will take down an intruder or bite sport dog and the dog doesn’t engage with a toy and could care less and just walks up to you and sits down, this is not a dog that is a contender for that type of lifestyle.
I hide food to see if they find it and how enthusiastic they are once they find it. This matters! If you need a diabetic alert dog and the dog didn’t even smell for the food or find it this dog will not be a contender for that life.
I drop metal bowls to make a startling noise and notice how easily they rebound from the startle. If you are a regular family with children, there are tons of noises and things that will go BUMP in the night. If you get a dog that startles easily to every sound and goes and hides under the chair, that is not a great contender for an active, young family. This is merely a sampling of all the types of things to consider when looking for your future dog. All these reactions give you insights into who this dog is and what life can look when living with this dog.
Here are my TOP TIPS for finding your perfect dog!
🐶 Get a competent trainer to help you assess your future four-legged friend! I help owners consider traits of a future puppy or dog that should be included in the decision process beyond an adorable face. It is my goal to give you the tools you need to help you evaluate your future pooch and determine which puppy is best for you in terms of temperament, mind-set, and energy. I also assess prey drive, pack drive and defensive drive! A dog’s natural traits have a huge impact on the kind of life they need to live to be satisfied and fulfilled. It matters to know who your dog is before training, in order to make a match that fits with who you are!
🐶 Breed does matter! Like it or not, it’s true. Select a breed that is best suited to your season in life, where you live, how active you are and how much time you are willing & able to invest in training your pooch. You must be honest with yourself!!! If you want a husky but you only walk around the block once a day in your neighborhood, you are setting you and your dog up for failure. You must be realistic!!
🐶 If you are purchasing a puppy, find an amazing, ethical, intentional breeder that health tests its breeding animals. Make sure this is a breeder you can work with and that you trust. Meet the parents whenever possible. MEET THE PUPPY! Spend time either in person or spend lots of time on FACETIME. See that puppy ‘real time’ interacting with people, other dogs, sounds, noises, etc. If you have a young family, pick a dog that is not startled by noises and doesn’t mind being touched happily. If you are a senior that lives a quieter life, don’t get the puppy that is bouncing off the walls, look for the puppy that is a bit more reserved. If you are working from home, have a yard and have time, are consistent and persistent, you can select a more energetic puppy.
🐶 If you are rescuing a puppy or dog, find an amazing, ethical & honest rescue that can give you an accurate assessment of that dog’s natural temperament. SPEND time with the puppy or dog in a variety of situations to actually SEE who that dog is. You must be realistic about what you are seeing and understand those implications to you and your life. DO NOT TAKE anyone’s word for it. If the dog has been returned 3 times from a family with young children, and you have a young child, you should run the other way. Unicorn thinking does not help you when assessing rescues.
🐶 Get Puppy Prepared. Find a great trainer that is well versed in a variety of tools and methods to get you started out on the right path! Take a great online course. Read a great dog training book. You don’t have to get lost on the information highway, I have a great book, a great online course and incomparable in person training. Get advice from someone that makes sense to you and has a great track record of actually working dogs. Lots of them. Seeing is believing. Select a trainer that you can see dogs they have personally trained.
Finding your PERFECT MATCH for a dog and your home is possible, you just have to be willing to take an honest look in the mirror and be willing to let go of old notions. And most importantly you have to be willing to say, “this one isn’t it”. After training thousands of pooches, I promise you, there will be another dog. It’s worth it to wait for your Perfect Match.