From wolf to cream puff: New info for matching dog breeds to clients (Proceedings) - Veterinary Healthcare


From wolf to cream puff: New info for matching dog breeds to clients (Proceedings)
Tips on raising puppies


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 coat.

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.


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