Choosing Your Dog: The Importance Of Breed Traits
By listendogtraining, Nov 10 2016 10:40AM
Today’s dog exists in a wide and wonderful array of breeds. This diverse spectrum of shapes, sizes and colours is bursting with dogs which have been uniquely ‘designed’ to serve a purpose - or selection of purposes - befitting the requirements of man; from companion, to hunter, to protector, to herder, and so on.
As a result of the multiplicity of roles available today for man’s best friend to serve in, dogs are selectively bred to strongly possess any traits relevant to the selected task at hand, which would make them well-suited to the role.
A favourable trait for a hunting dog, for example would be a keen and strong nose; hounds are notoriously adept at picking up scent trails and locating prey based on this trait. A working dog like a sled-pulling Husky, on the other hand, has a completely different purpose, for which a keen sense of smell is not a priority; (in fact it would be detrimental to have a sledding dog stop the smell the roses every 5 yards!) in this case, a dog may be bred with increased strength, stamina and endurance in mind. And finally, if the dog’s purpose is to serve as a protector or guardian, (to provide security to a property or person) they may be bred to be moderately more aggressive, with increased alertness.
Always take a breed’s primary purpose into consideration when choosing a puppy – think about the effect owning an energetic working dog, for example, might have on your family, and ask yourself whether you are able to offer the dog all the appropriate outlets for all that energy and endurance on a regular basis, in order to prevent frustration, and problem behaviours manifesting.
Remember, all dogs display instinctual behaviours – things they are naturally driven to do, and things which some owners may find problematic, such as chasing small animals, or digging up the garden. Rather than trying to prevent these behaviours altogether, it is better to try and channel the dog’s focus and energy into another, more positive or ‘civilized’ activity, or the dog will become frustrated. One example of such an activity, designed to exercise both a dog’s mind and his body, as well as releasing any pent up energy, is agility.
A well-exercised and adequately mentally stimulated dog is less likely to become bored, or frustrated at home.
If a dog displays a strong prey drive, and is always chasing after cats and squirrels, then hunting or retrieving is an excellent activity to utilise and channel this behaviour into something positive. Flyball is another great form of exercise, for dogs who enjoy running, jumping and retrieving.
The key to keeping your dog content (on top of providing him with a safe home, a good diet, and adequate exercise) is to ensure that his natural drives and instincts are fulfilled in healthy ways. If in doubt, do not hesitate to get in touch!