Friday, March 5, 2010

Choosing The Right Dog For You

Someone recently asked me if there is a book about dog personalities. I recall this awesome book, The Right Dog For You: Choosing a breed that matches your personality, family and life-style by Daniel F. Tortora, Ph.D. and dog psychologist. I read this book about five years ago before we got Brodie. I wanted to be ready when we decided to get another dog. I thought I should open my mind to the possibility of something other than a lab. I requested books from the library on dog breeds. This was a jewel and a must read for anyone who is considering a dog. I'm going to quote from the back of this book:

"Here is a systematic and enjoyable way to choose a dog. This highly informative and useful book will take the guesswork out of choosing a dog while leaving in the fun. It will tell you about more than 110 breeds and help you to select a dog compatible with your personality, family and lifestyle. Choosing a dog can become easy and enjoyable as you learn everything there is to know about the breeds, including:
  • physical characteristics-heights, weight, strength, coat color and texture, tendency to shed, and food requirements
  • temperamental characteristics-indoor/outdoor activity level, emotional stability, sociability, training potential and watchdog/guard-dog ability
  • popularity, background, and unique qualities of each breed
This fully illustrated guide includes easy to read tables and pages of practical advice, plus a mini-questionnaire to help you narrow down your selection to the perfect match for you, your family and your lifestyle. "

I read the different sections and learned quite a lot. I didn't realize that even though some dogs are active outside doesn't mean they are as active inside. I learned about dogs' ability to learn being different than how long they can retain that training without practice. The difference in levels of reasoning ability. Dogs' loyalty ranges from no person to multiple people as well as their willingness to take commands. Some dogs will take commands easily from almost anyone while some will only take commands from a single person. Even if you just want to learn about dogs this is a fascinating book. I read the sections about the dogs I thought I was interested. Then took all the little quizzes. My results were that the dogs best suited for me are the Newfoundland, Great Dane and Labrador Retriever. Who would have imagined that! Although I had considered a Newfoundland, I had not considered a Great Dane. Since I knew I could not afford the food and medications for such massive dogs as those, nor did I feel it was fair to squish them into our small home, I knew that for now we should stick with our loving labs. So I probably always knew that labs were the best choice for us. But it seemed only fair to be open to the options and get that outside confirmation of my choice. Then when Brodie came along I was sure, beyond just heart's calling, that he was the right dog for us.

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