Breed is an important trade that comes with your dog.
Why is breed so important?
Breeds were created and developed by humans for dogs to perform a specific activity or a job.
One of the traits humans favored in most breeds is High-Drive and High-intensity performance.
Working type dogs or hunting breeds are more prone to have more intense and challenging behaviors, which will require more skills on your part to tame them.
You don’t want your border collie herding cars, bikes, kids or squirrels in your city or town. You don’t want your Pitbull or any bully breeds putting up fights with other dogs. You don’t want your husky pulling you as if you were a sled. You don’t want your bulldog biting and not letting go. Or your terrier going on “tracking mode” looking for rats or who knows what. The list goes on
Having said that, It’s perfectly possible to succesfully have any breed as a family dog. No matter what breed you have to ask yourself a much more important question:
Do you want a family dog or a working dog?
If your answer is I want a family dog keep reading.
90% of the problems people have with family dogs have to do with skills related to calming your dog down not teaching your dogs on high-performance obedience and commands.
Most family dogs need to learn calm activities like going for a walk, greeting without jumping, playing off leash without getting in trouble, not destroying your backyard or furniture, no to bark excessively, not to pull on leash, laying down calmly in your house, social skills and things like that.
The first thing you want to do with a family dog is to “tame” the breed. Unless you want to win tournaments on agility or dog sports, you don’t want to encourage high-drive skills on your dog. Especially working type breeds.
#1 Mistake when training any breed as family dogs
A family dog, no matter what breed, should be trained to be a family dog not a working dog. This means more self control skills and more socialization with both humans and dogs.
A very common mistake is to encourage dog’s breeds with the thinking that they need to“fulfill” their breed needs. Breed was created by humans not by nature. It was meant to fulfill humans needs not Dog’s needs. so they have nothing to fulfill.
Another common mistake is to train a family dog on high intensity mode (“boot camp”) for a month or two thinking that once they are trained they are going to relax in your house.
This is like training a Navy seal on intense skills and once you’re done with the training asking to watch seven hours a day of TV. If you do that expect the Navy SEAL to go insane and destroy your house.
The more you fulfill their breed needs the more problems you’ll have and the more you’ll have to micromanage.
The one skill that no one teaches
Family dogs need to acquire the skill to do nothing. Yes you heard right, doing nothing is a skill and a very important one that comes with nature not with the breed. Did you know that Lions sleep 18 hours a day! Yes you heard right and that’s a high-Drive type animal. Don’t get me started with cows.
I come from the mountains where dogs are outside off-leash all the time. Their backyard is the mountains and guess what they do most of the time? They’re laying down doing nothing. They are not depressed ant they do not need to be entertained all the time with Netflix. Calm energy is still energy and a very powerful one. Contemplation is not boredom and relaxation is the cure to anxiety.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do activities and have fun with your dog. You should. What I’m saying is that your dog should have the skill to do nothing and you should too. Doing nothing is a skill that comes with nature. Most humans not only lost this skill, but even worse they project the lack of it it on their dogs.
No matter what breed you have, you need to have clarity on what kind of training and what kind of skills you want your dog to have. Training a family dog is a very specific way of training that is often overlooked or misunderstood.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved December 2022