Choosing a Companion Dog

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   A Companion Dog simply means keeping owners company. It’s a very simple concept that gets lost in the overall idea of having a dog.  Dogs full-fill particular needs for owners on a personal level. In this article “Companion Dog” will be used in the broad sense of the word. It is not meant to concentrate on therapy/service dogs with certifications. With or without certifications all dogs have the potential to be Therapy Dogs to their owners.

   Nowadays it’s common to accept a dog as part of the family. However, it’s important to ask what is the dog’s role in the family. Will the dog fit in with the overall structure of the family? Bringing in a puppy or older dog into the home means the owners must lead by instruction.  Without clear instructions the dog will have no reference to fall back on and it’s role in the family will be unknown.

   There’s dozens of factors to consider before bringing a new Companion Dog into the family. The issues mentioned  here are just a couple of things considered very important.

  They are:

1.  Will owners have the proper time to spend with the Companion Dog.Labrador-Retriever-Puppies

2. Will the Companion Dog be properly suitable for the owners.

  Having time to spend with the Companion Dog is very important. An older dog generally will always be open to follow a strong leader. A puppy doesn’t know any better and will make many mistakes.  If  strong leadership isn’t established early on the dog will eventually follow its own instincts. These instincts  may be inappropriate and cause headaches for the owner in the present and future.  Being a strong leader doesn’t mean ruling with an iron fist. It means giving clear directions, enforcing, and reinforcing.  Just like any relationship quality time must take place to establish an understanding of each other.

  How much quality time is needed to establish a great relationship? Quality time should be ongoing because training is an ongoing process. Formal training is only a small part of the Companion Dogs learning. Generally the more time spent with your dog the better. An owner should have  time to take their dog out a couple of hours a day. They could go on walks or the dog park. They could go jogging together or go play fetch in a field.  For a dog to be well-balanced it needs to get out. When an owner and dog play together they are establishing a bond beyond compare. When the dog is out with the owner its learning invaluable lessons about the owner. The main lesson learned is the Owner controls everything. The dog learns that every good thing comes through the owner. This establishes the dogs dependence on the owner. Once established the dog becomes more willing to comply.

Bailey  A dog instinctively watches everything in its environment. They’re forever making associations. They’re always watching everything to understand what things mean. If an owner is absent from the Companion Dog 20 hours a day that owner will have little positive impact on that dog.  The dog is left to learn things on its own. In the meantime the dog may develop a strong desire for the owner’s attention. If the attention isn’t received behavior problems could be not far behind.

   Before a potential owner decides on a Companion Dog they must ask themselves if they truly have the extra time. Latchkey dogs develop behavior problems that could eventually need professional help.  Owners unable to deal with behavior problems  typically put their dogs into shelters or rescue homes.

  What is an appropriate Companion Dog for a particular house hold?  There’s so many answers regarding  this one question. First of all, 1. Always consider the breed or breed mix of a dog,  2. Make sure the dog and owner have the proper personality and temperament for each other.

  There are many different types of Companion Dogs. There are Working dogs (Bullmastiff, Rottweiler), Sporting dogs (Pointers, labradors), Hound breeds ( Beagles, Basenjis), Terriers ( Airedales, Bull Terriers), Herding breeds( Collies, Cattle dogs), Toy breeds ( Maltese, Pugs), Non-sporting dogs( Bulldog, Boston Terrier), and the many mixes between these breeds.

  Each of these breeds have common needs and have specific needs. It’s up to the potential owners to know what these needs are. If a person wants a sporting Companion Dog they better have a lot of energy and like the outdoors. If a person likes a more laid back lifestyle a Pug or French Bulldog might be a better fit. While Sporting dogs are very easy to train French Bulldogs can be stubborn and harder to train. Chihuahuas as cute as they are sometimes  live  like house cats.  Chihuahuas are very different to train and usually have special needs which makes them unique. It’s very common for some dog trainers  not to work with Chihuahuas. With mixed breeds different characteristics may come into play. If at all possible getting the history of a mixed breed is always important.

  Whether  large or a small breed some Companion Dogs can be difficult for some people. Sometimes a dog’s personality, temperament,  and energy level can be stronger than a potential owner.  An owner shouldn’t just look at the beauty or cuteness of a dog. They need to consider the behavior of the dog first and foremost. If it’s a puppy an owner can consider the breed. However, a person can mold a puppy through constant training and hopefully have a dream dog no matter the type of breed. If a person has a strong personality and is a take charge kind of person a Working Breed might be a nice fit. A hard to manage dog no matter the size might also fit in with this personality type. However, it’s always recommended this person remember the saying, ” Be firm but be fair”.

  Choosing the right dog sometimes takes an educated decision with a little luck. If a potential owner wants to buy from a breeder checking the history of that breeder should be easy.  If the potential for a healthy and well-balanced Companion Dog  is there things should be fine. Then it’s just a matter of properly training your new family member. shelter-Dog-400x300

  If you’re thinking of using a shelter or rescue facility get as much information as possible. Something to remember is a dog in a shelter sometimes  doesn’t show its true personality for a few weeks. The same is true when it enters a new household.  Once it becomes more accustomed to its surroundings its true personality comes out for better or worse. Another thing to remember is shelters are desperate to find homes for the dogs. This causes them to overlook some important details about the dogs leaving. One thing to always ask is if the dog has dog on dog aggression. The typical answer is , ” Not that we know of “. It appears they’re not as concerned about this issue as much as dog on human aggression due to the liability.

  When choosing a puppy or older Companion Dog it’s always important to remember  you’re committing yourself to this dog for better or worse. Make the right decision from the beginning on how much time you have to give to a new dog. Whether young or old dogs depend on humans for their care. Hopefully with that special care, love, and attention your dog will grow up being that special Companion Dog.

More things to consider when choosing a Companion Dog:

1. finances

2. Number of people in household

3. Are there children in home

4. Are there other dogs in the home

5. Is potential owner experienced with dogs

6. Is potential owner experienced with large or small dogs

7. Do you love dogs

8. Are you out-of-town on leisure or business trips a lot

  Giovannas Dog Training provides Dog Group Training, Private Dog Training Puppy Group Training, and Private Puppy Training.  Happy Training.

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