Messages From A Dog Lover

Sharing Experiences and Random Thoughts


I have been accused of being a breed profiler. In many ways I suppose I am. I have seen way too many dogs destroyed, bounced from home to home, or end up in a shelter on a euthanasia list simply because they can’t change who they are, who they were born to be. Breed profiling could have prevented the stress this causes the dog and the person who couldn’t handle the dog.

I believe that dog breeds are both physically and mentally bred for specific purposes. Genetically programmed to act and behave in certain ways. A good example of this is the Labrador Retriever. They were bred to RETRIEVE. Shepherds and Rottweilers, originally bred as large livestock herding dogs, are also protectors. This is what they were genetically programmed to do. This is who they are.

It’s all in how they are raised??

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “it’s all in how they’re raised”. Well, if you’re looking for a jogging partner, a huge fluffy Great Pyrenees may not be the best choice. Regardless of how they are raised, a Great Pyrenees with their double/triple coat and lumbering body, is not going to be a good jogging partner. Are there exceptions to the rule? Yes, of course there are exceptions, but not as a general rule. Instead of falling in love with pretty blue eyes or huge fluffy coat, the better question to ask before deciding on a dog breed is “what dog will fit my lifestyle?” Long haired dogs need consistent brushing and grooming. Working dogs need to be mentally and physically exercised daily and some more than once a day. Seriously, they don’t call them Malingators (Belgian Malinois) for nothing…

Do your research!

In addition to doing research on your breed of choice, call breed specific rescues in your area and get a better insight on what that breed needs from you to make life wonderful for both you and the dog. They can usually tell you why it didn’t work out with the dogs previous home. AKC has some pretty good info on each breed as well as categorizing them. Dog Breeds – Types Of Dogs – American Kennel Club (

I always encourage everyone to consider adopting from a shelter or rescue organization before going to a breeder. There are way too many good dogs, and yes, a lot of pure-bred dogs, in shelters everywhere simply because of who that dog was bred to be, and it wasn’t a match for the person who wanted it because they liked the physical appearance.

Train the Dog In Front of You

I will start this post by stating I don’t remember who said it or first published the phrase “Train the Dog in Front of You” but it’s something that has stuck in my mind for a very long time and I repeat it to myself with every dog I train. With that being said, I would like to THANK the person who coined that phrase.

I recently repeated that phrase “Train the dog in front of you” while talking to a neighbor whose dogs are always bolting out the gate and running the streets, ignoring her calls for them to come back. She literally spends most of her days “searching” for her dogs who ran off. Her statement to me was “my other dogs never did that”.

So what does the statement “Train the dog in front of you” mean to me? It means that EVERY dog is unique. Every dog learns at different levels. You cannot assume or expect that your new dog will behave or react like your previous dog. Some dogs may learn or understand slower than others. Some dogs may learn faster, catch on quicker. Every dog IS capable of learning, but sometimes you may need to break it down in simpler terms for them. Make clear what is expected of them. Train them, teach them. Give them more time to understand how to behave like you want them to or, if they seem to learn quickly, challenge them more during training periods so they don’t get bored.

Not all dogs are created equal. They are individual, living, breathing, thinking creatures and should be treated with the love, patience, and respect they deserve.

Our training styles should be diverse enough to accommodate the learning style of each dog.

So, go ahead…

TRAIN The Dog In Front of You!

Hello Fellow Dog Lovers!

I’m a dog lover! I am obsessed with learning about canine behavior, training, and most of all spending time with my dogs. This spot will become a place for me to share my experiences and random thoughts . I hope you enjoy following my journey.