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What makes a great dog?

Old 06-02-2007, 08:42 AM
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Default What makes a great dog?

Our family is looking for a shelter/rescue dog to adopt. This would be our first dog. Because we are near the water, I was thinking a Lab mix would be a good start. But, With so many to chose from I was wondering if anyone could tell me, what makes a great dog and how do i pick one?
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

Good for you for getting a shelter dog. All of our dogs have been rescues.

Given enough love and comforts, we have never had any trouble with any of our dogs, despite histories (our malamute is 150 # and was abused and almost starved to death.)

Start looking, chances are you will know when you find him/her. There are lots of rescue leagues online as well...

Good luck!

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Old 06-02-2007, 09:14 AM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

We have an Australian Shepard, its our second. One we have now came from a great breeder here in Maine. I was raised with dogs and have been around many more. In my opinion, the smartest, most willing to please, and obedient dogs out there. He can understand my gestures, facial expressions and will obey the most simple commands. He's super around kids and allways ready for anything. In the morning when I leave the house, no matter where he is, I snap my fingers, and he comes running. He has never growled, ever. When people show up at the house, he greets everyone by lifting his gums and smiles.
I attribute alot of those things to the fact that he spent the first 6 months with me, everyday all day.
My best advice to anyone is,
Go meet some breeders
Meet the parents of the litter
Spend some time with the pup you like
Become educated on the breed you pick
Spend lots of time with them.
I think adopting, for some, is a good thing, but for your first dog, again in my opinion, I would not.
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

Breeding and temperament are but a couple of things that can and will become important as the dog grows up. Look for a high level breeder that specializes in the breed of your choice.

There are waaaay too many "pet grade" puppy mills out there that are diluting the gene pool.

I am a blooded Lab person because I hunt and the dog must hunt also. You don't "teach" a dog to hunt, it must have the instinct (which comes from the parents, grandparents, etal) and you only learn and teach control to the instinct.

Most people don't realize the time required to make a dog "great" and therefore never enjoy the full capability of the animal. With Bailey I held "school" (short sessions of 15 to 20 minutes each) several times per day. She already had above average intelligence I just had to teach her how to use it correctly.

Find some books on the specific breed, read them, re-read them and then keep them handy for reference. It's like being a school teacher, keep the manual handy and be prepared to spend countless hours teaching the dog. Your time here will pay off in the future with a companion that knows what you want before you know you want it..... Good luck......
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:40 AM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

Golden Retrievers are great dogs, but be prepared to spend A LOT of time playing in the water if you end up with a retriever!

I would just check out the dog's personality to see how he reacts to other pets or kids when he's out of his cage. Personally, I'd probably pick the one who licked me when I leaned down to pet him. Then again, dogs and kids almost always love me, it's "grown-ups" I seem to have problems with!

Based on my experience, "pound puppies" can make the very best dogs in terms of a true companion. Maybe I give them too much credit, but I think they appreciate the fact someone cared enough to rescue them, and they never forget it.

Good luck, and my hat's off to you for going the rescue route!
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:47 AM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

http://www.grrmf.org/ We adopted Petey 2 months ago he was 100 lbs. and left outside
24\7 He's now around 85 lbs. with his diet. He's 6 years and the best dog. How do I know he is the best dog?, He doesn't SH!T in the house. Good luck
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

Good for you! My current dog is a rescue dog. Great pet. Just keep looking around. You'll know the right dog when you see it. The trick to a great dog is to give it lots of love and attention and train it right. Its really hard to get a 'bad' dog if you raise it right.

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Old 06-02-2007, 09:51 AM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

forgot to add the photo
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Old 06-02-2007, 11:17 AM
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Default RE: What makes a great dog?

Rescue dogs can be great. My current dog is lab / pit mix taken off death row at 10 months of age. He is now 10 years old and still rather froggy. No hip problems yet although he's a bit gray in the muzzle. I'd clone him a second.
He's pushing 80lbs and has a head the sisze of a soccer ball.

Attributes:
No leash required, generally speaking....
Handsome
Loyal
energetic but not hyper
Water fiend-coconut fetching-sand rolling-child entertainment device-crazed nut ball at the beach
Eats live shrimp and baitfish when offered
Keeps pelicans away while filleting fish
Would trust him in room full of even bad, mean, bratty kids with sticks and chocolate.
Can whistle him off a cat fight.
Don't need a house gun for preventative safety.

That's his good points, I got lucky, he's a good dog and we gave him love.
I looked for an attractive dog of the general size and age I wanted.

So you asked: "what do you look for?"

I looked for the usual signs of intelligence and demeanor.

Attention, excitement levels, etc.

Just like boat shopping really, know what you want and what it looks like.

One thing that caught my eye with Chance was how he sat still in the center of the cage and watched, didn't bark and came to me warily when invited.
He also took a biscuit from my hand with a soft mouth.
That was pretty much his interview.

Is that the kind of info you need?










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Old 06-02-2007, 11:43 AM
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Default RE: What makes a great dog?

What makes a great dog depends on it's owner's expectations. Our last three dogs have been "rescues". The first was a Catahoula Leopard (Curr) that was adopted at 10 weeks from a rescue facility. Our second was a Siberian Husky that a lady we knew paid us $60 to take because he was literally distroying her sister's family. Our third and current pooch is a German Short-Hair Pointer that we "adopted" from his 2nd home at a little over a year old because his family couldn't handle his personality.

Decide a couple of things before you go "shopping". What would you like out of the dog? Play with the kids, guard the house, lay in your lap? How big of a dog are you willing to live with? Will it be an inside or an outside dog? Once you have decided what you are looking for and find a match, be ready to accept him/her for what he/she is. Most rescue facilities will be honest about the dog's history and what it will and will not tolerate (cats, kids, etc).

The two things that make any dog great is training and a job. Our first two dogs went through several levels of obedience classes at the local rescue facility and I have done the training on our current pup myself (he was pretty well trained before we got him). Dogs also need a "job" and that means that you have to be constant in your efforts to find things for your dog to do (toys, games, etc).

Just remember, a tired dog is a happy dog and a board dog will find something to do!
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Old 06-02-2007, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

You are doing it ALL WRONG! A lot of the advice you are being give, while well meaning and good hearted, is bad advice!!!

When acquiring a dog you start with YOU, not the dog. You need to decide how that critter is going to fit into your life, outdoor dog or indoor dog. If indoor, are you ok with a dog shedding fur or do you want a dog with hair that does not shed. Do you want to pick up bog poops or little poops. Do you want an active dog that needs walks twice a dog, will he be on his own, or around other dogs/animals/people? Do you want the thing to be a lap dog, a guard dog, a wimp, what? Will it be a companion, just an animal that lives outside, or will it integrate into the family as a member? Get the idea?!?

Then you shop breeds. One way to do that is to decide how the dog will fit into your life and then come back here, or better yet, go to a dog lovers forum, and say, “I want a dog that is…, and will…that is this size… What breed should I be looking at?” Then some folks can start pointing you into the right direction for a dog.

Dogs come in over 200 breeds for a lot of reasons that took centuries to develop thru selective breeding. Each breed has strong points and weak points. But each breed is very predictable as to the type of animal you will get. This is why pure-bred dogs remain in demand. They have distinct advantages over ‘mutts’.

If this is your first dog you may want to rethink a ‘rescued’ animal. They may come with emotional problems that turnout to be more than you were excepting or willing to hand. All dogs are good dogs until they are made to be otherwise. I love dogs, have a dog but the breed I have may not fit into your life style or expectations.

In my world a dog is like a child in that you do not get to ignore it, ever; you are loyal to each other, always; and you are together until the end. If you are not willing to see a dog thru to the end, get a rabbit for a pet.

Btw, ‘smart’ or ‘dumb’ breed?...it makes a big difference in how the dog integrates.


Edit: 165Striper has the right idea, too. And his suggestion about training is very important. Dogs live in a 'dominate or be dominated' world. That means if you have any dog around you, you now live in that world as well. You don't have a choice about that. So, unless you are ok with being dominated because any dog can/will dominate you, training is going to be a part of the having a dog experience.

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Old 06-02-2007, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

So far what I'm getting is that past the basics the difference between a good dog and a great dog is love and training and exercise. In other words-good owners make great dogs?
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Old 06-02-2007, 12:14 PM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

JGarman - 6/3/2007 8:56 AM

So far what I'm getting is that past the basics the difference between a good dog and a great dog is love and training and exercise. In other words-good owners make great dogs?
No. All dogs are great dogs. A good match of dog breed and owner expectations coupled with appropriate training will yield the maximum enjoyment for both the animal and the owner; the dog thrives, you’ll be happiest, everyone wins.

Have you considered a rabbit?
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Old 06-02-2007, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

Eyeball - Except for your first sentence where you are too forceful in making your point, the rest of the advice is very sound.

I especially think you are right on the money as follows:

"If this is your first dog you may want to rethink a ‘rescued’ animal. They may come with emotional problems that turnout to be more than you were excepting or willing to hand."

My wife volunteers at a local no-kill shelter and we adopted one of their animals, a 2-year-old German Shepard / Lab mix. While she's a wonderful dog, she has emotional issues (cowering, hiding, etc) that must be dealt with using different techniques than we use with our other dog. We went in knowing we would have to work slowly with her over time to help her overcome her "emotional baggage."



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Old 06-02-2007, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

Shelter dog is the way to go,what you put into the relationship you will get out 10fold.Best of Luck!
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Old 06-02-2007, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

phoeker - 6/2/2007 4:21 PM

Eyeball - Except for your first sentence where you are too forceful in making your point, the rest of the advice is very sound.

I especially think you are right on the money as follows:

"If this is your first dog you may want to rethink a ‘rescued’ animal. They may come with emotional problems that turnout to be more than you were excepting or willing to hand."

My wife volunteers at a local no-kill shelter and we adopted one of their animals, a 2-year-old German Shepard / Lab mix. While she's a wonderful dog, she has emotional issues (cowering, hiding, etc) that must be dealt with using different techniques than we use with our other dog. We went in knowing we would have to work slowly with her over time to help her overcome her "emotional baggage."


I hat to turn this particular topic into a debate, but there are many examples of dogs who were rescued from shelters who went on to star in TV shows and movies.

Sure, you can get a whacked out German Shepherd from the pound, but you can get one as a puppy in a pet store as well. From my understanding, that breed has been inbread to the extent it has caused problems for that particular breed.

You can go spend hundreds on a "new" dog, but that's no guarantee. Maybe you can find the "perfect" dog in a pound, but I doubt it. Most people who make large monetary investments in animals don't normally give them up like that.

All that said, I think you need to just go to a pound, maybe several, and just pick one that suits you as best as he can. Yes, you will be the main factor in how the dog satisfies you in the end, assuming of course you don't one that's too old or has health problems. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks, but the dog is only as good as his teacher.
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Old 06-02-2007, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

JGarman

Good for you. Plenty of good dogs the currently reside in shelters need homes. And they need you!

While pure breed dogs have their plusses, just think of the hybrid vigor a heintz 57 comes with.

True Elmo is a pure breed chiuahua, but he needed a home. Currently we have two cats and Elmo all were rescues.

I disagree with Eyeball on this particular issue, dogs of all breeds, ages and temperment can be found at shelters.
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Old 06-02-2007, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

I you want to rescue a golden from GRRMF this is the process. First you write them an essay to tell them why you deserve to rescue a golden. Then they call you for two phone interviews. Then the old surprise we are at your front door to see if your house and owner are up to snuff. Then you tell them male female age color healthy four legs tripod. What ever type of dog you want. It's almost like playing doggy god. All this may take 3-4 months it may take allot longer, you'll have to pay for the dog. All of this is done to help insure them that you will indeed love the dog after taking all of those steps. It's not just going to a home pointing and saying get in the truck. We got exactly what we asked for and you should be able to as well.
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Old 06-02-2007, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

TN FREEBIRD - 6/3/2007 3:36 PM

... Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks, but the dog is only as good as his teacher.
No dog will ever be any better than it is genetically capable of being, so no, a dog is not as good as its teacher. A dog is only as good as its genetics. A teacher (trainer) can only exploit those genetics. Hence the variety of breeds.

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Old 06-02-2007, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: What makes a great dog?

We are a huge pet family. Currently have two cats and two Basset hounds, one of which is blind. Before we got the second Basset from a breeder, we went to a shelter and got a 7 yr old Collie/Shephard mix mutt. Wonderful in the shelter. Wonderful with my kids. Wonderful with my blind Basset, until food was served at home. This shelter dog was raised alone you see, in a house without kids or other pets. It was exteremely threatened at feeding time. This shelter dog gave my blind basset two visits to the ER, each with 20 plus stitches across the face. We had to take him back.

The moral of my story is when you go to the shelter, make sure any prospective pet has been raised in a manner similar to your home (IE the dog is comfortable around other dogs and kids, especially at feeding time).

The trip back to the shelter was very hard on me. My son to this day loves that dog.
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