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Working Dogs, part 3

Posted on: November 4th, 2021

We are picking up right where we left off last month in our deep dive into dog breeds and the work they do. It is really important to note that just because a dog breed is known for any particular traits, be that behavior or health, there will always be dogs that don’t exhibit them to the degree associated with their breed, or even at all. Knowing a dog’s breed can help you prepare for the needs of a new dog and offer insight into how one you currently have behaves. That knowledge can also help you figure out what kind of dog is best suited for your personal circumstances.

Last month we talked about herding breeds, which are a great example of making sure you can provide the proper environment that a given breed will thrive in. Herding breeds are built for the exercise that comes with moving livestock, and have an intelligence to match. As a result, many dogs belonging to these breeds are extremely high energy, with their owners being well acquainted with how difficult it is to tire them out. These dogs can be a handful for first time owners, with their boundless energy and some of them instinctually exhibiting herding behavior without training. As with any breed, a bit of research into their needs is important for both owner and dog.

By looking into both their breed and your dog’s own individual behavior, you can gain an understanding of why they act a certain way, and then make sure that you can take steps that allow both of you to live happy and healthy together. For example, some guarding breeds can have anxiety when separated from their home or family, and knowing this can help you prepare for moves or overnight stays away from your dog. Another example is some higher energy breeds being known for their destructive tendencies when left to their own devices, such as huskies, so you can adjust your expectations as well as work with your veterinarian to manage those situations.

With most breeds having been created to fulfill some sort of role, many will inherently have behaviors, attitudes, and temperaments intended to suit their job. As a result, when looking into getting a new dog, there are resources available that will detail the needs and behaviors of specific breeds that can help you determine which ones are a good fit for your lifestyle. This can also apply to a dog you already own and want to understand better. It is important to note, that aside from breed predispositions, the owner’s role in how the dog is managed, exercised and cared for cannot be understated.

Doing all this hard work can be overwhelming but an honest evaluation of your lifestyle to match up with a perfect breed choice can pay off in spades making you and your dog a true dynamic duo!  Remember, veterinary staff (veterinarians and veterinary technicians) are wonderful resources and their bottomless experience can really help form your choices.  Often they are unbiased about breed suitability for you, they want a successful pairing just as much as you do!

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