Why You Need Help Choosing A Dog – Richard’s Story

People often ask ‘Do I really need help when choosing a dog?”

Judging by the number of people I meet who have issues with their dogs, the answer has to be “YES”.  I am out with my dogs a lot, so I meet lots of people with great dogs, and that’s brilliant.

But I also meet people who have problems.  I thought I would share some of these so you can understand where those problems came from.  Today’s story is about Richard and his Miniature Schnauzer.  This is what Richard had to say:

My wife has a dog allergy but we always wanted a dog.  The kids did too.  So we did a lot of research on the different dog breeds that might be open to us.  We decided on a miniature Schnauzer, partly because friends of ours have one and we know it well – it’s a super dog and doesn’t trigger my wife’s allergy at all.

The kids love the dog, and she also doesn’t affect my wife’s allergy.  She’s totally delightful – apart from one thing.  She barks constantly.  It drives me mad.

I’ve tried an anti-bark collar on her but it just makes her depressed.  But when we take it off it’s just ‘bark, bark, bark’ all the time.  Our friends’ dog isn’t like this at all.  Based on our experience we didn’t expect a problem.  But you knew right away what the problem was before I even mentioned it.  

Of course we love our dog very much and would never part with her now.  But I wish we’d known you before we chose her.

So where did Richard go wrong?

He chose his mini Schnauzer based on only one experience.  That was one experience of one dog owned by friends.

All dogs – even within the same breed – can be different.  There are always variations of size, temperament and health.  Different breeders emphasise and produce different attributes in their breed lines. 

To give you examples:

  • one breeder might emphasise dogs that are slightly larger
  • another breeder might breed for the show ring
  • another might breed for working in the field

Also, the parents that are used can have a major effect on the temperament of the puppies.  Plus within the litter, there will be differences in the puppies.  Some will be smaller, some larger, some more outgoing, some more reserved.  That’s because the genes combine in the puppies at random.

Richard’s friends might have bought their Schnauzer from a breeder who wants quieter dogs.  Or she might just naturally be like that.

But what Richard should have done is spent more time getting to know the Miniature Schnauzer breed – that’s meeting many of them, not just one dog.  That way he would have been more prepared for the possibility of barking – and chosen the right breeder, and the right puppy.

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