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PET’S CORNER Matching a dog to your lifestyle

Living

Matching a dog to your lifestyle
LOVEABLE LABS?Labradors are perfect family dogs and are great with kids.

Matching a dog to your lifestyle


Consider breed personality before getting a new dog

Ask the vet
Esther Van Luipen

A vast number of dogs that end up in our national dog pounds do so because of behavioural issues. Some people buy a puppy without knowing enough about the character traits of certain breeds. So a dog that would be an excellent dog in one environment can become a nuisance – or even dangerous – in another.  
For example, collies are sometimes bought as family pets. In some situations this might turn out fine, especially when the dog gets lots of outdoor walks and other activity. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time for this, and if the dog is kept in a home with a few young kids, the situation could become completely out of hand.
A collie likes to work and can become highly strung or bored without stimulation. Collies were bred to round up cattle or sheep. So, I wasn’t surprised when one of my clients told me that they wanted to let go of their dog because of one day, when she was cooking dinner in the kitchen, she heard the children scream in the sitting room. When she ran out to see what had happened, it appeared that the dog had rounded up the children in a corner of the room and was biting their ankles.
The dog had been biting the ankles of the kids a few times before, so I was asked to put the dog to sleep. Once I explained to the owners that this is what collies do to keep a herd together and that this was their natural behaviour, we decided to look for another home for this dog. The dog is now living on a farm. He was easily trained and turned into an excellent working dog.
When choosing a puppy it is vitally important to choose a breed that fits the dog’s desired purpose in your life. If you want a dog to work for you, then choose a proper breed for the type of work the dog will do. If you want a dog as a family pet, choose a breed that is kind for children, like a cavalier King Charles spaniel or a lovely Labrador.
Get yourself well informed about the breed and about the various ailments that the different breeds are prone to. When getting a puppy, also make sure that you know or meet the parents of the pup. If the character of the parents is gentle, the puppies will often turn out the same way.
Every puppy is adorable and so tempting to bring home, but remember, that puppy will soon grow into an adult. When getting a puppy consider all the options and then consider it again. A puppy is for life. You might like the look of it, but you also need to be able to live with it.

> Esther van Luipen is a veterinary surgeon in Claremorris Small Animal Practice. Feel free to contact her with any of your small-animal concerns on 094 9373955 or at living@mayonews.ie.