So many dogs end up in shelters for the simple fact that the owner didn’t understand the breed they brought home
I was talking with a friend today about specific breed natures. I felt I no longer had wonderful Golden Retrievers and was handed a Neapolitan Mastiff because I personally had to learn something about my own nature – actually he is such a blessing and a gift I’d have it no other way. Neos are a rather stubborn breed while Goldens are typically obedient and sweet. I know that sounds so philosophical and it is in a way. For me it’s deeper and more spiritual than that but I won’t go there in this short blog post.
More to my point my Golden Retrievers were always two things:
1. High energy
2. Eager to please me
They were bred for hunting in water, with their cute, big webbed feet and their utter delight in pleasing their owners. We could learn so much from dog nature, that the sheer magnitude of what they can teach us if we’re listening is overwhelming. My Goldens were so obedient and willing to please with the never ending wagging of their tails and happy smiley faces. This time around though I was given a Neapolitan Mastiff with all the drool. I have learned more about myself with this dog than any other I’ve ever owned with maybe the exception of my Great Dane.
Both the Neapolitan Mastiff and Great Dane are a form of hunting breeds along with the Golden Retriever, but more classified as working breeds now. However Goldens help the hunter with bird game, and other more tender game while the Mastiffs took on large game like bear. Neos -as they’re more commonly called – were also bred as guardians. That means they’d have to be a bit independent thinking, more able to make a decision on their own , more tenacious which often means that our idea of obedience can fly in the face of their specific breeding.
It really pays to know all about the breed you decide to bring home for that purpose or you could be in for such a big surprise your sweet little JRT for example ends up in the shelter because you wanted a nice, sweet lap dog.
There aren’t any bad dogs, just bad owners in my opinion. I don’t think my dog is really being disobedient when I perceive it as such – he’s being a dog with dominant traits who needs know, through my own confidence that I am the alpha dog not him. I’ve learned to work with his own specific breeding to get him to do exactly what I want while he thinks it’s his idea.
Something really hilarious happened the other day though while we were walking our dogs off lead on the dog side of the park we go to in the wee hours of the morning when no one else is out and about. My dog, Shadrach, had lagged a bit behind, so we stopped and turned around and I said, “If you don’t get up here right now boy you’re going to be on lead the rest of the time we’re here“. I said it just like that, nothing else, and he got the goofiest look on his face and came dashing toward us really fast and ran just past us. It’s hard for a Humvee tank to stop really quickly! Think of an eighteen wheeler trying to stop and that’s my Shadrach, all 130 pounds of him!
It was pretty funny but he came, and he stayed by me the rest of the walk. I like to humor myself and believe he understood my words exactly. Maybe he did or didn’t but he sure did understand my tone of voice I’m certain. I didn’t get excited or start screaming like I see a lot of owners do when their dogs aren’t “behaving” according to how they believe they should. I remained calm and very matter-of-factly called him brooking no argument from him, so he came. If we work with a breed’s nature while remaining confident and in control the way our dogs expect their leader to be, then we may find our dogs “ain’t misbehavin’ ” at all – it’s lack of human leadership that’s misbehavin’ not the dogs!
Have a tail waggin’ day!
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Dr. Kim Bloomer is an animal naturopath consulting on canine and feline nutrition and wellness. In addition, Dr. Kim is a proficient blogger, writer, speaker and presenter on natural pet care as well as the author/co-author of three books including, Whole Healthy for Happy Dogs, Animals Taught Me That and Essential Oils in Animal Care: A Naturopathic Approach. Dr. Kim’s articles have been featured in various publications in both print and online. Dr. Kim is passionate about using and sharing Young Living Essential Oils. She is the host of the DOGgone Truth podcast AND the DOGgone Wellness audio course so you can learn on the go!
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