Choose the Right Dog

No Bad Dogs! Only the Right Dog with the Wrong Owner

The number one mistake pet owners make that I've witnessed over the years is called, "The right dog with the wrong owner syndrome". So many sad situations have occurred because an owner picked out a dog that is completely unsuitable for their personality, physical conditions and/or home environment. The mismatched dog eventually is labeled as "out of control", "undisciplined", "untrainable", a "nuisance" or, the worst label of all, a "bad dog". There are no "bad dogs" by nature. Only by lack of nurture does a dog become a problem pet. All dogs have the potential to lead happy lives if they are in the right environment.

If you are considering adopting a new pet, cat or dog, please consider your personality, your physical abilities, your home environment and your family's personality and physical abilities. I know the joys and rewards of a well-matched pet/owner relationship. Do take the time to research the different breeds and their temperaments. A mixed breed dog is my personal favorite, from personal experience. One breed's weaknesses can be balanced out in many ways when the dog is a mix. My girl, Abby, for instance, is a Border Collie/Labrador mix. The high-strung, workaholic nature of the Border collie is tempered by the laid-back, easygoing disposition of the Labrador.

As I write this article, I am attempting to relocate a beautiful, sweet tempered, two-year old, 100+ lb. Golden Retriever to a new, more suitable home. He was purchased by an 80 year old couple as a puppy because the wife said, "I want a full-blooded dog and pick out the puppy with the biggest feet!" What was she thinking? Neither she nor her husband, who weighs only a little more than 100 lbs. himself and has a bad heart, can physically handle this magnificent dog! They tried to take him to training classes, but the husband could not hold the dog without being pulled over. This has been a dangerous arrangement. This lovely dog has had to live his two short years locked in a small bedroom day after day. Why did this woman want the pedigree? Why did she want the "biggest feet"? Frankly, I believe this particular woman wanted this type of dog for selfish reasons. She also owns two other small "pedigree" dogs with their expensively groomed hair that must be done up in fresh bows each week. She wanted all these dogs for the same reason she decorates her house so lavishly: She wants to show off her excellent taste.

Okay, yes, I'm angry. Can you tell? A dog is not a new piece of furniture you can discard when it no longer suits your tastes or lifestyle. I know that most of you reading this have never purchased a dog in order to just "show off" your "good taste". But I do know of many beautiful dogs who have been miss-matched with the wrong owners. They suffer and their owners suffer. But if, for whatever reason, you chose a dog or cat already that do not suit you or your home environment, please take the time and research all the options for relocating your pet into a better, more suitable home.

Every potential pet owner should walk through the local animal shelter before picking out a new pet, or "pedigree" dog. Read through the want ads in the paper. Why pay so much money into an industry that creates dogs-for-sale, dogs with so much specialized "breeding" that hip dysplasia, blindness, and many other maladies have now become chronic? Take an afternoon and visit the "pound" or the shelter and look at the needy animals before you pay big bucks for that puppy with the biggest feet.

Related Links

Purina has a nifty quiz you can take to help decide what breed of dog is best suited for you.
HSUS - Selecting the right pet and the right breed
Petfinder - An online database of over 7,000 animal shelters throughout the USA, all filled with animals needing homes.


Written by Suzi Bailey. She is a musician, artist, avid pet lover and pet advocate.