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  • Writer's pictureHeather Brendle

Everyone deserves a "good" dog.

I was recently listening to a podcast episode, and it was a highlight of a breeder and a litter she recently raised. She is a dog trainer by trade but started a small breeding program for companion dogs. She was inspired to start the program because she has seen a downward turn in the overall behavioral health of dogs in her area, and there is an actual shortage. I know most of us in the Phoenix-metro area can't imagine a dog shortage but in many parts of the country, this is a reality. Dogs are being transported in, but not enough to meet demand and not a variety that meets the needs of an average family, in most cases. So, she started a small program to fill the void and she is breeding what seem to be, some super adaptable and desirable companions. While she expected her litter to go primarily to families, all of them were sought after by, and purchased by fellow dog trainers.

I have to tell you; this is not a surprising outcome to me. Dog trainers seeking out solid, adaptable, even tempered, nice dogs is something I see more often than not. We spend our days helping others sort out all sorts of issues with their dogs, from simple stuff to behavior modification for aggression, depending on the trainer's specialty. Working on the more complex cases day after day, makes a dog trainer long for coming home to an "easy" dog who requires very little be happy and satiated in life. It makes them long for a dog with no complex issues or behavior modification required.

But I am here to tell you, I want that for EVERYONE. I want everyone to have the opportunity to own a stable, behaviorally sound dog, regardless of their origin. I want everyone to have the dog they envision, not just the dog they feel pressured or societally obligated to own. I want every single person that comes to me with a puppy to feel excitement and promise and hope for an amazing future with their family pet (once they survive puppyhood). I don't want anyone to worry about if their new puppy will be able to handle the world, they are living in. If they will be able to handle being left alone. If they will be able to handle traveling. If they will be able to handle what life throws at them as they age, and their lives inevitably evolve and shift.

I do not mean to imply that ANY dog (even Thiago) is perfect. Dogs are living, breathing things that have needs and drives. Every dog can be a mess if they are not getting their needs met, every dog can have issues throughout their life. But I do think that there is an extra layer of ease for the dog and human, when a dog starts its life with a solid temperament. Whether that dog comes from a rescue, a shelter, or a breeder. Everyone's definition of "good" is different. If you are looking towards your next dog, no matter the age, and you don't know how to assess soundness and temperament, I would advise that you loop in someone who does. I truly believe it will be worth the time and effort you devote to finding the right dog. You aren't striving for perfection (which doesn't exist), you are getting honest about what your life looks like and then making the most educated choice when finding the dog that will live alongside you. You are not choosing the first dog or the dog that "needs you most", you are finding the RIGHT dog. When you are honest about your needs and find the dog that matches them, it makes everything infinitely easier. Living with a dog who is prepared to be a part of your world, is truly a thing of beauty for both the dog and the human.


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