Chapter 5
How To Know The Best Source For Your Dog
How does the dog get along with other dogs on and off leash? If you ever plan to allow your dog to interact with other dogs it's important to know how it gets along with other dogs both on- and off-leash. Some dogs are great in off-leash scenarios but may become aggressive when on-leash. Some dogs may not get along with other dogs in any situation. If you plan to take your dog out in public on leashed walks or to dog parks and other off-leash activities, you need to know how well the dog interacts with the other dogs it encounters. Does the dog heel or walk nicely on a leash? A 100-pound dog that doesn't heel and pulls constantly on the leash probably isn't a good match for a 5-foot, 90-pound woman. Find out whether the dog heels or walks nicely on a leash. If the dog doesn't know to heel or rarely walks on a leash, you may need to spend time with leash training in order to control this dog. Is the dog housebroken? You might assume that a dog that lives indoors is housebroken but that's not necessarily a valid assumption. Some dogs are difficult to house train, especially toy breeds. Some owners of these dogs may try to give them away as a solution to their inability to train their dog. Ask the question and when you visit to meet the dog look around the house for signs that the dog may not be housebroken. Is the floor stained? Does the house smell? Are there cleaning supplies close at hand, especially an 'odor eater' like Natures Helper? These may be warning signs that the dog isn't housebroken no matter how the owner answers this question. Where does the dog spend its time? Does the dog spend the day lounging on the couch or next to the front door? Where the dog spends its time can tell you a lot about the dog. If the dog spends all day in a crate, the dog may have destructive tendencies which could be from lack of exercise or the dog may not be house trained. If the dog goes to doggy daycare every day while the owner is away, it may be getting both exercise and interaction with other dogs that, if stopped, could lead to the dog becoming destructive. Has the dog ever snapped at or bitten someone? The owner may not be honest about this question, but it should definitely be asked. A dog that has snapped at or bitten someone can be a serious liability. It may have an issue with aggression that needs to be overcome and may snap or bite again under some predictable (or unpredictable) circumstances. If an owner is forthcoming about biting or snapping, find out the circumstances surrounding the incident and determine if you can live with the issue or if it's something you'll need to address through training. Does this need to be an only dog? Some dogs simply don't get along with other dogs. Clearly, if you already have a dog you would not want a dog-aggressive animal. But also think about the possibility of adding another dog in the future. If this is something you may like to do, you shouldn't get a dog that is aggressive toward other dogs.