Not many dog owners realize the problem until it is too late. Frustrated, they then seek professional advice but in too many cases, the problem is the owner
Prospective dog owners often dream about their future dog. They look ahead and see their life filled with joy beside a loyal canine companion. Some may have a particular breed in mind. Let it be a German Shepherd, a Border Collie or a Labrador Retriever. Yet, once the puppy grows, owners gradually come to realize that things were not like they expected.
Definition of Working Line Dogs
Working line dogs are purebred dogs bred for decades or even for centuries, to do what they know how to do best: work. If you are looking at a working line Labrador very likely the breeder has had its dogs engage in bird hunting or compete in hunting trials. If you are looking at a working line Border Collie very likely the breeder has had its breeding specimens work in herding livestock on a ranch or compete in herding trials. German Shepherds, on the other hand, may be used in law enforcement or in personal protection sports.
Breeders of working line dogs selectively breed to produce specific traits generation after generation. These traits are those required for the dog to do its job best. A good line of German Shepherds bred for protection, for instance, should have specific qualities such as being highly trainable, courageous, intelligent, eager to work and with a steady temperament.
A good herding dog, on the other hand, must demonstrate obedience, trainability, responsiveness and good judgment. These are dogs that have been introduced to livestock at an early age. A good line of bird dogs must have a good degree of intelligence, loyalty, love of hunting and what is called ‘bird sense’. All these dogs therefore were selectively bred for these qualities so they could excel in their jobs.
Problems in Adopting Working Line Dogs as Pets
Generally, the working abilities of dogs are not apparent until the dog is between one or two years old, according to Save Our Dogs. It takes some time for the dog to mature both mentally and physically before one is able to establish its strengths. This can turn out being a problem for those who have purchased their dog as a pet.
The cute puppy that simply seemed to a bit too much exuberant, once mature, may become unmanageable. However, what appears to be a problem dog in reality has just end up with the wrong type of owner.
Many Border Collie owners therefore may question if there is some magic pill to ‘calm their dog down’ or Golden Retriever owners may wonder how to lower their dog’s high prey drive. Belgian Malinois owners, on the other hand, may ask why their dog has become so difficult to live with.
Put all these dogs in a stimulating environment similar to what they were bred for and they will thrive. Keep them at home with family all day and they may quickly develop behavioral problems. The ultimate solution? Pet owners must either rehome the dog or work on providing the stimulating environment the dog was bred to live in. When they do so, things usually change for the better.
Preventing Working Line Dogs from Becoming Pets
Breeders who have worked for decades on selecting their specimens for their working qualities must ensure their puppies go to the right home. Interviewing the owners in regards to the future of a puppy is a must. The most important questions to ask are those pertaining to the type of environment the dog will live in and the level of commitment the owner is willing to give.
Prospective pet owners on the other hand must also do their homework before adopting certain breeds of dogs. Many behavior problems in dogs stem from lack of exercise and boredom. Pet owners must ensure they are able to provide a sufficiently stimulating environment for their dogs. Good research on breeds is a must.
Dog trainers must also address the issue of bad dog and dog owner matches. Often prospective dog owners come up to trainers for advice on what dog breed to adopt. Sometimes they already have a particular breed in mind and it is the trainer’s job to go along with their wishes or discourage them from making a big mistake.
If breeders, dog trainers and pet owners work together before making impulsive decisions there may be less dogs abandoned to shelters and more happy matches. Getting a new puppy is not a light hearted decision to take lightly. Careful thinking is required to avoid unpleasant surprises.