I came across an article the other day naming 15 dog breeds that do not make good pets. The list included hunting and working dogs, some with an ancient history of protection. To name a few of the breeds on the list was Bulldog, German shepherd, Dutch Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Dalmatian, Rottweiler, Doberman Pincher, Akita, Husky, Boarder collie, St Bernard and Jack Russell Terrier. You notice American Bull Terrier, (AKA Pit bull) didn’t make the list? Some breeds just get a bad rap.
Many of these dogs do not make good pets because they are genetically created to guard, hunt, and protect. I once rescued a Jack Russell Terrier that could not be homed due to tearing up the house and climbing six foot chain link fence to escape. The little dog had a ton of energy and no obedience when we got her. We crate trained her and taught her to come when called. We had to tie her out if we were not going to watch her because no fence could contain her. We also learned to keep food off the kitchen counter and table because when we were not present she would jump upon the table and eat everything left out. She knew she was not allowed on the counter but, smart as dogs are would only do it when we were out of site. If she heard us walking and she always would jump down. So, we never left food out. Cakes were kept in the oven. That is how we lived with our little Jack Russell for 14 years. Keep in mind I am a professional dog trainer. What I taught her is to come when called even with distractions. She knew sit, down, walk nice on a leash, but I could not curb her instinct to hunt. Her hunting is what made her want to run outdoors and seek out any food she could find. She was a great pet who did lots of tricks and my children loved her.
I recently worked with a woman with a Brittany spaniel who wanted the dog to walk nice on a leash. This dog had a ton of drive and all it wanted to do is hunt birds when outdoors; instinct. We were able to teach the dog to come when called and walking on a leash had improved greatly, however, the dog had no focus on the owner. The dog was constantly looking and was in hunt mode as soon as it went outdoors. I explained to her this is probably as good as its going to get. You have a hunting dog and you want to make it a pet. You are fighting genetics.
Whenever you are looking for a pet, do your research. If you indeed want a loving, laid back pet, don’t go to someone who breeds dogs to hunt or do any dog sport. These dogs will be confidant, very high energy dogs that will be a pain to live with. If you are looking for pet find someone who breeds pets. Better yet go to your local shelter or humane society. There you will find lots of dogs for adoption, in my area many are Pit Bull Terriers. If you are not wanting this breed of dog, do not let your emotions and kindness get the best of you. In my area there are several shelters. Look around and you should be able to find a dog that matches your family and lifestyle.
When adopting an older dog, 6 months to 5 years, they will most likely need training. Be prepared to hire a professional trainer to help you with your rescue. These dogs don’t end up in the dog pound because they were easy well behaved obedient dogs. They are given up due to behavioral issues; running away, jumping, chewing, separation anxiety and so on.
Crate train your dog. I hear “my dog doesn’t like the crate”. Rubish! We can teach your dog to go into a crate and they will end up liking it, because crates mimic dens. Never purchase a wire collapsible crate. They are not secure and are always the one’s people tell me their dogs have broken out of. The plastic shipping style crates are the best because they give the dog more privacy and more den like. If you have a giant size breed be prepared to spend some money. It’s better to crate your dog than to lock him in a room where he can chew up the door, carpet, and ultimately injure himself.
When introducing a crate to your dog, toss treats inside. Let your dog go in and out. They sleep in their crate. Feed them in their crate. Food is a primary reward, they need food for survival. If they always eat and sleep in their crate they will love their crate. Part of our day care program includes crate training. When introducing the crate to your dog, make sure they calm down before letting them out. Most dogs fuss when first introduced to a crate. Do not let them out when they are barking or fussing. If you do they learn that causing a fuss gets them out. They need to learn calm behavior gets the door to open not fussing. Be diligent don’t do not give in. Once your dog accepts the crate life will be much easier. My dogs travel in my vehicle in the crate, so I know they are safe.
Dogs can be wonderful pets, but be careful what your wish for. Dogs on television are owned and trained by professional dog trainers. These high energy dogs are worked daily and stimulated physically and mentally. When I see a Border collie fetching a Frisbee, think how cool would that be to have a dog that performs like that? These dogs if not challenged can cause a lot issues and will run not to mention all the hair that will be on your clothes and in the house. If you want a pet, look for a low energy, confident, not nervous pup and you should be fine.