Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Key Considerations When Choosing the Right Breed of Dog

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At Swell Pets, we are well aware of the constantly raging debate regarding the key considerations when choosing the right breed of dog: what breed is best for my lifestyle, that of my family and the safety of everybody concerned?

Exercise and breed of dog
One of the first things to consider when choosing a breed of dog that is suitable for your family is to think about what kind of exercise and stimulation your dog needs, and whether you and your family are capable for providing it.

Some dogs tire out very slowly. Breeds like Collies for instance require plenty of long walks and plenty of stimulus from their environment to satisfy their active minds and bodies. Walks may need to be upwards of an hour in any weather, and varying routes to keep them interested and having fun. If your family can only spare 15 minutes a day to take the dog for a walk, or if you are situated in a particular urban area where countryside access if minimal, this kind of breed might not be for you, and it would be unfair to the dog it keep it locked away all day with little opportunity for exploration and fun.

Likewise, breeds such as Lurchers and Greyhounds are the complete opposite. These sprinters enjoy short bursts of exercise to keep them fit and fun loving, and so if you have a field or open public space nearby like a park, or even just a particularly sizeable garden, this might be the way forward. Given the right stimulus (e.g. a game of throw and retrieve with a suitable dog toy), dogs of sprinter breed will soon have their fill of high impact exercise and be ready for a nap, allowing your family members to get on with the day.

Training Vs Breed
Once your obligation to your dog’s exercise is taken care of, you may find yourself at the core of the debate – is your dog safe around your family.
Swell Pets come down pretty hard on this one – we believe that while every dog has enough teeth and enough jaw power to physically cause some sort of injury to you or your family, this can quickly and easily be overcome with training and education for your family.

If you have younger children, it is best to first assess whether they are mature enough to handle to the dog safely, regardless of the breed of dog. Younger children who have not yet fully developed their empathetic skills may grab at the dog, pull its tail or make it feel uncomfortable, and like most animals on earth, this may provoke an aggressive response, causing a potential danger to your child.

This means that regardless of what breed you are considering, your first assessment should not be of the dog itself, but of the children and their ability to care for the dog. Initial interactions between your children and your dog should be supervised for this reason too.

There’s no doubt that articles on the internet (often prone to sensationalism) often try to demonize certain breeds of dogs, for instance the Pit Bull and Staffordshire Bull Terrier have taken a bashing in terms of their reputation over the last few years.

While the general build of these dogs does mean that if they are aggressive, they may do more damage than say a Dachshund, in most cases this can be completely overcome with training.

Most dogs can benefit hugely from daily or weekly training sessions, teaching them to become less aggressive (usually a reaction to a perceived threat, that can be shown not to be a threat and therefore not provoke an aggressive response), and to give you more control over your dog’s behaviour, making them perfectly safe in most situations where they are well cared for.

This is key – and we can’t stress this enough for the safety of you, your dog and your family – training is important, and regardless of the physical capabilities or your dog to cause harm, training is an incredibly effective way to curb the potential for mishaps.

Provided you are willing to train your dog, and educate those who will come into contact with the dog about how to behave around it, this means that choosing a dog is simple! It goes back to how much time you can spend with your dog, and exercise them, leaving the whole range of exciting and interesting dog breeds open to you!

About the Author:
Georgina Rayner is a member of the Swell Pets team and owner of Labrador and Rottweiler cross, Presley. Swell Pets are one of the UK’s leading providers of dog food and supplies.

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