Is there such a thing as the perfect dog? – Dog Training DC
My answer to this question is absolutely!! It is the perfect dog as you the owner define it. What makes my dog perfect to me doesn’t necessarily mean that the same dog is perfect in your household. Remember, it is up to us to train our dogs to understand what it is that we want from them. I have lots of clients that have fond memories of their former “perfect” dog. Upon asking them what made the dog perfect, the answer is different by each client. Whether the comment is the “perfect couch potato” or “best running partner” or “could outperform Lassie or Rin Tin Tin” or just “loved snuggling on the couch” or “never barked” “never peed in the house” “never climbed a counter” whatever it is, perfection is defined by our own values. You can use terms like loyalty, intelligence, loving, protective, clown, active, sports minded, whatever it is to find the perfect dog.
As to breeds, I don’t believe there is a certain dog that is perfect. Certain characteristics are more important to some people than others – allergenic, short hair, long hair, size or whatever it is. Those criteria make up what some might find to be the perfect traits to them. Sure, some breeds are better known than others, golden retrievers or shepherds or labs, but honestly it comes down to the effort and time that you put into your dog.
My dogs, I will admit this, are far from “perfect” but they are PERFECT FOR ME (now). There are some things that continue to drive me bonkers, that occasional bark when I leave, the surprises left on the floor, but each time I come home I can’t wait to open that door. In the past, they had some serious issues (including leash reactivity and aggression). As rescues who were abused (my dog Sasha was held as evidence in a cruelty case) and because of my own shortcomings and lack of knowledge (this is before finding my way to becoming a dog trainer) they did not always do well with other dogs. It drove me crazy, every time I saw someone approaching me with a dog I would tense up knowing that the chances my dogs would bark and lunge were pretty high. With a lot of love, patience and consistency and boundary setting this behavior is a thing of memory. Every time we go for a walk I’ve taught them to behave when they see other dogs. They chill by my side. It makes me so proud. I look back at all the times I thought “these aren’t the right dogs for me” and can kind of chuckle. The point is that they didn’t start out this way and I have had plenty of doubts and thoughts about rehoming them. This was all training. Some people would never take on the challenge that my dogs presented, it took time and tons of patience and for them my dogs would never be perfect. To me, they pretty much are now.
The things I can’t change with training are their failure to really enjoy a good long run- but that’s okay, I may not be as fast as I was, but I love (mostly) my runs with them. They may still enjoy a good romp chasing the cat, again not ideal, but the cat can definitely defend herself. The issue I have is the speed at which they will chase each other or the cat and then as soon as we head out the door they all do a collective throw down on the grass as if to say please stop this cruelty! Can someone please explain the difference to me?
One of my many neighbors in my condo building has a small white dog, let’s call him “Devil Child,” that to me is the worst dog ever – if there could be such a thing. Every time I see this dog, with or without my own dogs in tow, the dog starts barking, lunging, growling, pulling his lips back and actually scaring the bejesus out of me. I thought I was pretty tough until this dog got under my skin. Sure he’s cute, a white, fluffy, spitz kind of looking thing, but his behavior is so out of control I can’t stand him. Yet, this couple stands firmly in love with this dog (to the detriment of those who live in the building, okay that’s just my opinion) because he is PERFECT FOR THEM. When I asked them what it is about “Devil Child” that makes all the uncomfortable moments okay for them they had the following list of criteria:
- Sweet disposition inside the home
- Never soiled in the house
- They don’t care about basic behavior
- Loyalty, Intelligence, Clownish Activities.
Now that is a pretty good list of things to look for in a dog. Well, outside of the basic behavior thing, but again their perfection is not mine. They obviously care and love this dog and have gone to great lengths to protect him from the board association. Could he be the perfect dog for me, probably not, because who knows with some training he might be the best running dog out of the bunch, he could be the calm dog in the building.
I have a couple of clients that I am working with to help them find a dog for their families. The key things that come up over and over again, a dog that is good with kids, particularly boys, has a moderate energy level, loves to play fetch, doesn’t have an over inclination towards barking, and can just be a good companion. To me and my way of thinking ANY dog has this potential. It’s the time that you can put into them to help shape them the way that you want. Sure, certain characteristics are genetic – i.e. pugs are going to be more laid back with their short nose than a hound. Chances are you will find that perfect dog. If you just take the time to train your dog (or for some I guess fail to train?).