The Wrong Breed Of Dog? – Phoenix Scottsdale AZ Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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Did you get the wrong breed of dog?

For example, I see apartment dwellers getting breeds that are too territorial for such close quarters with other people and other dogs. So, the dog bark its head off at every noise or sight of a stranger, and lunging at other dogs and people going down hallways. Or I see elderly people that can barely walk a block get big, energetic, athletic dogs. Or families with children getting breeds that are not known to be patient with children, or more likely to escape out a door that is left open, or too protective around guests when the children are present. Or athletic people getting breeds that are not athletic, but being forced to jog or hike for miles, or made to be in weather that isn’t suitable for their body and coat type. Or getting breeds that are susceptible to being killed by natural predators when left in the back yard. Or getting a breed based on some breeder’s advertising program instead of doing more research and verifying if the dog in the ad is what the dog breed is really like.

I’ve seen competition dog owners get the wrong breed, too. Sometimes a certain breed doesn’t end up meshing with your training style, your temperament, your physical strengths and weaknesses, or the sport you’re in.

I’ve seen people get big, aggressive guard dogs, only to find out that the dogs were too much for them to handle. And in some cases, these people become afraid of their own dogs, since some can take over a home if not properly led, trained, deployed, managed and exercised.

I remember working with a family that had an older Doberman puppy. It was a nice dog, but untrained and poorly managed. So, they’d get mad at the dog for pooping in the home (they didn’t take the dog outside regularly to eliminate); didn’t do the homework (they never had time); didn’t exercise the dog (didn’t have time); made up their own solutions for what to do when I wasn’t around (which always involved punishing the dog unfairly). They said they had wanted a calm dog that would hang out with them and obey them when commanded. It was a no win situation for the dog. I talked to a Doberman breeder who was willing to help find the dog another home. I talked to them and told them that this situation wasn’t going to work out for them. I told them I’d found the dog a new home, and what they really should have gotten was an older rescue dog, a couch potato. Well, they didn’t want that answer. So, they built an outside kennel for the dog. Dobermans do NOT like being left in a kennel, they become very dissatisfied and even more difficult to manage. They had the wrong breed. And most likely, they shouldn’t have purchased a dog at all. Just remember this: all good breeders will take back a dog if it isn’t working out for you. That doesn’t mean you’ll get a refund. You are the one that made the mistake, not them. Call and make the arrangements, pay for the shipping if necessary, and do what is right for the dog. Your home will also be at peace again.

I got an inquiry the other day, asking what could be done to get their Labrador Retriever to bite strangers. First off, this isn’t a protection breed. It is a water dog, created to retrieve ducks. Second, when I get questions like that, I know I’m dealing with someone who is a bit strange. Normally, if you are going to place a protection dog with someone, they need to describe a situation where they might need protection from criminals. Not all strangers are criminals. Trespassers, violent stalkers, robbers, rapists, and such are the type of person you might need protection from. And you need to be capable of handling a man stopping dog, both physically and mentally. So, in this case, wrong breed, and most likely someone that shouldn’t own a dog.

And we all know of those folks that get a pit bull breed (there are several pit fighting breeds, and new ones being created as well) for the wrong reasons. Look, they make great pets, therapy dogs, obedience competition dogs, search and rescue dogs, farm and ranch dogs, and agility dogs. It is illegal and immoral to use them for fighting. No, they don’t make you look tough. Yes, if you use them for illegal purposes, you are dooming others to death because the public perception is that these dogs are crazy. There are serious efforts to make these breeds go extinct. Get one for the right reasons, or don’t get one at all.

Then again, I see people get dogs that are too large or small; shed too much; cost too much; have needs the people can’t meet (exercise, protection, herding, hunting); or are the latest fad designer breed.

Getting the right breed is one of the keys to having a good dog owning experience. It is important not to make impulse decisions, or to make a dog into something that it isn’t.

If you did get the wrong breed, you have some hard thinking to do. Ask yourself: what is going to be best life I can now give my dog? It doesn’t always mean getting rid of the dog you’ve got. It can mean more training, or a change in emphasis as to what you do with the dog, or adapting to your dog, or enrolling your dog in some different and fun activities. And sometimes, adding that second dog, that more closely fits your needs, creates the proper balance.

In the end, it is important to love the dog you have, and not get angry, disdainful, neglectful, or overly rough with them. They don’t deserve to be forced to be something that they are not.

Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.




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