What’s My Dog??
Why is it so important knowing who your mixed breed is? The answer lies in a creating a harmonious household and showing this dog that he is special enough for you to want to communicate with him as best you can. Remember…communication is the key to successful training and stress free cohabitation with all companion animals.
Dogs come with what I call a “Bill of Rights” in order for them to fit in to our community in a safe and well mannered way. These “Rights” include:
- I have a right to a home who will accept me for who I am, by KNOWING who I am
- I have the right to learn what is appropriate in the human world (training)
- I have the right to proper nutrition that is in keeping with my needs
- I have the right to be loved and cared for….for all my days.
Simple…and all these things can be achieved so much easier when you know who your dog is. As a behaviorist I have always found it fascinating to figure out the make-up of a mixed breed dog. Often it changes the whole course of training. If I see Akita in there I know I’ve got an independent thinker, if I see Lab, I know I have an easy learner. Knowledge is the key to your dog’s mind.Purebred dogs come with a virtual blueprint of behavior. They have been genetically bred to have certain predisposed behavior. The Border Collie Herds, the Jack Russell hunts, the Labrador retrieves. This gives us a key to their history and hence a key to what makes them tick. If we know this…. it makes communication easier.
Imagine you have an unexpected guest from a foreign country. You are more likely to communicate at a higher rate if you study his or her background and culture so you know how to act and not offend. It is the key to who they are. It’s the same with dogs. You don’t train or communicate with a German Shepherd as you do with a Beagle. Different backgrounds, different histories and different ways they LEARN. This brings us back to your mixed breed. Knowing your dog has Terrier in him, will explain why he keeps torturing your cat! Having a collie mix would explain why your dog keeps chasing bicycles…….he thinks they are sheep. Once you have the solved the puzzle of who your mixed breed is you can communicate better…….and hence train better. Training is always unique to the dog. If I were training a husky I would be very animated and use a lot of movement in my commands. Huskys were bred to be stimulated by movement. So if this is the type of mix you have…here’s your key to a shared and effective language.
So let’s break this down. Knowing what breeds make up your mixed breed can produce the following:
- An understanding of behavior that tells you whether this is part of the dog’s make-up, or simply a learned behavior. Either way you win. Once you know the facts, facts are power and this will lead to better success at achieving appropriate behavior.
- Opening up better communication is an amazing by-product. If you find out what breeds are in your dog’s background, the language you open up is limitless. Say you find out your dog is part poodle. Poodles are easy to train BUT they need the training to be always be fun and positive…lots of rewards. Now you have a better way to “speak” to your poodle and get him to follow your lead!!
- Dogs are family. The better you know someone, the closer you feel to them. This is the same with your dog. The more you know the more special he is…his place in this world makes him uniquely YOURS!!