Matching to an Owner's Personality
What is required to give advice as to most appropriate breeds to consider for a client depends on what the client has in mind.
A family with children will be particularly interested in a dog that is affectionate, somewhat lively, as well as low on snapping
and other aspects of aggression. A family interested in companionship, but with no children, may not care as much about snapping,
but many want a dog that is affectionate with a low tendency to be aggressive towards adult people. Other clients could be
interested in a dog that combines some hunting prowess with family-friendly traits. Still others want a good solid watch dog.
It is suggested that one come up with several breeds to provide some flexibility with regard to size, body shape and hair
Role of Gender
For many people the question of whether to get a male or a female dog is as puzzling as the choice of a breed. Fortunately,
the sex of the dog does appear to influence its behavior in a number of predictable ways and you can use gender in the selection
process. As a function of gender, dogs vary on the same traits for which breeds were ranked, allowing you to help a client
balance a breed characteristic that may be in the wrong direction. Males typically outrank females with regard to the traits
dealing with aggressive behavior, including guarding behavior, and females tend to outrank males with regard to trainability
and affection to demand. The extent of differences between males and females depends on the particular trait.
Role of Neutering
The question of if, and when, a dog should be spayed or neutered invariably comes up in discussions of adopting a companion
dog. There are two issues to be concerned with regard to spaying or neutering. One is whether or not the procedure reduces
desirable behaviors such as watchdog barking or housetraining. The other is the degree to which this procedure changes behaviors
viewed as undesirable. The traits that may be reduced in males by neutering include various aspects of aggressive behavior
and urine marking. There is no evidence of an effect of neutering in reducing desirable behaviors. An important point to be
made is that the age at which the animal is neutered, and the experience it already has, are independent of any influence
of neutering on those behaviors that tend to be changed.
Advice on Early Training
There are some ideas and tips you can pass along to clients for avoiding problem behaviors. One is housetraining. This is
probably the most frequently asked topic in puppy raising. This is covered in a number of books on raising and training dogs.
Another topic deals with separation anxiety which can be understood as a normal behavior when puppies are deserted and we
will deal with some tips to pass along to clients. Fear of loud noises is a behavioral characteristic that can be attenuated
by early experience that the owner provides to the animal. Problems related to aggression can often be avoided by the use
of certain techniques in raising. Obnoxious begging, barking and scratching behaviors can be dealt with by certain suggestions
you could pass along to clients.