Choose the right breed of dog for the farm and the family – Mother Earth News

We prefer the German Shepherd for its size, loyalty, intelligence, alertness and companionship. We don’t rule out other breeds but we mostly lean towards the German Shepherd, based on our remote lifestyle. Some people prefer the pooch, others prefer specific breeds or mixed breeds. It’s a matter of personal taste and need of the property. In fact, we all love dogs, but living at 9,800 feet above sea level and remote, we couldn’t have a small dog. Eagles and birds of prey have been known to swoop down even with the parent dog present and carry off small dogs.

Choose a dog suited to your environment. We also have coyotes and other predators. I remember one time when I was walking our Border Collie/Australian Cattle (Gypsy) and German Shepherd (Ben) mix dog and a coyote swooped down and went after Gypsy while he was on a leash. expansion. Our German Shepherd showed the coyote vicious teeth, let out a low growl – sounding like it came from the very pit of hell – and the coyote ran away. With a 100% German shepherd and a human stepping on it, the coyote has lost all his courage. We therefore choose dogs adapted to our way of life and our environment.

The dog and the family must be compatible. It’s also important to adopt dogs that you like as much as they attract you. It sounds simple, but our adopted Echo was very particular. I picked him up at the shelter to transport him to the rescue and during our two hour drive he befriended me. Since I qualified potential adopters, I sent out a few potential adopters to see if he was a good fit. He sniffed them then turned his back on them, remaining distant towards them. When I learned of this, we immediately went to adopt him ourselves and I have never seen a happier dog. He was waiting for us to come back and clearly didn’t want anyone else and spent the next eight years always by my side.

Dogs reveal their inclination. It is best to make absolutely sure that the dog is attracted to you before adopting. Through no fault of your own, you may remind them of a similar person in their past that they had a bad experience with. Recently, when Carol went into town to do her shopping, she saw Lucy (pictured) in the shelter as she drove by. She returned to inquire and Lucy was immediately drawn to Carol and calmly laid at her feet. She is now a very happy member of the family, having chosen us as much as we chose her.

Watch the dog’s body language carefully. Watch for subtle body language and behavior. It’s devastating to adopt a dog and then have to bring it back to the shelter because the dog won’t respond to you or stay distant when you bring it home…or develop bad neurotic habits like chewing or other destructive habits. . By being careful in choosing a canine companion initially, you will prevent the dog from receiving the ultimate rejection when returning to the shelter. Choosing the right dog for you and your family requires considerable advance planning and astute observation when selecting the dog.

Dogs should be indoors and part of the family. The Border Collie (Gypsy) mix mentioned earlier was a surrender from some of our friends. We sometimes babysat her when they were away, but while she was with us she was inside the house and got along very well with our German Shepherd, Ben. Our friends had kept her mostly outdoors and she had close encounters with predators. We don’t believe in outdoor dogs and ours are always inside with us. Gypsy was always very happy to come and visit us if only for a week or two. When we were asked if we were going to take her, we didn’t hesitate. When I picked her up, she eagerly got into the truck and never looked back at her old home. She lived her long life as a content and happy member of our family.

Don’t believe everything you read. There are many sources to help people decide on the right breed of dog. Some are very good sources and some not so good. I recently read a not-so-good one on social media that told people not to adopt many popular dog breeds or bring them to your home. The reasons given were ridiculous and certainly contrary to my long experience with these breeds. On the long list were dog breeds like the Shih Tzu, French Bulldog, Jack Russell Terrier, Shar Pei, Basenji, Australian Shepherd, German Shepherd, Husky, Pekingese and Greyhound to name a few. cite just a few.

Dog or owner. My personal experience with several of the many breeds mentioned is totally different from what the person writing the article claims. The tragic part is that some people will assume the article is true and not adopt some of the best dog breeds. I have friends who have had Greyhounds, Pit Bull Terriers, Chows, and Jack Russell Terriers and they are the sweetest, most affectionate, well behaved dogs possible. The difference is that good dog parents equip themselves with the knowledge to handle, care for and train the dog.

Dog training. The adopter must have the skills necessary to properly train the new addition to your home. Dogs that are specific breeds have certain traits and the adopter should be familiar with those traits. I am of the opinion that the adopter should research training techniques and breed characteristics prior to adoption.

Look for the right resources. There are many different training techniques available on the internet and many books on the subject which all generally work. There are also professional dog trainers, which is how I learned, and the hands-on experience then helps to hone your technique. My trainer was a military friend who trained military dogs. My refinement later came from a wild wolf at a local sanctuary. I prefer the Lucas method, which was pointed out in a previous post. Training should always be gentle and consistent in my opinion.


Bruce McElmurray high altitude farms in the Southern Rockies with his wife, Carol. For more on their mountain lifestyle and animal sightings coupled with their odd behavior, visit Bruce’s personal blog atBruce Carol Cabin. Read all her messages MOTHER EARTH NEWS here.


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