• Nadine Whittal, dog trainer writes:
So, you’ve read my articles, you’ve probably seen a dog show or two, and are considering training your own dog. That’s a brilliant idea! Dogs are great for your physical and emotional health; they are great for families, and the training gets you out of the house into an active and productive social environment. But now you have to decide which breed to choose.
You might see the super cool Border Collies and Malinois running around and think they’re the perfect dog for you. But beware, all dogs have their own set of characteristic traits, and some may require more experienced handling than others. That’s why it’s important to start your dog training career with a dog that suits both your lifestyle and your ability to learn.
A number of trainers regret their choice of breed and want the chance to train with a breed that is more suitable for beginner trainers.
Here is my advice. Of course, any dog you choose should fit your lifestyle. For example, if you want your dog to go on long runs with you, I wouldn’t necessarily choose an English Bulldog. On the other hand, if you’re a first-time handler, I wouldn’t suggest a Border Collie. Although they are great to run, they require experienced handling and develop bad habits very quickly.
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It is much more advisable to choose a breed that will be more forgiving of the mistakes you will make in the beginning. In other words, choose a dog that won’t immediately pick up a habit that you accidentally trained him in. A good first time dog includes something like a Labrador or a Golden Retriever. They’re food-motivated, which makes them trainable, but they’re less likely to develop bad habits at the rate a Malinois or Border Collie would. If you’re looking for smaller breeds, Yorkshire Terriers, Boston Terriers, and even Staffies are a great option. They love food and are fairly easy to train.
When choosing a dog for the first time, consider your options carefully. Consider your lifestyle, family members, and what you would like to accomplish with your dog.
Do your research on the medical and behavioral characteristics of different breeds. Then consult a professional. Approach other dog handlers or even dog schools and ask for advice. This will give you the best chance of success in your training efforts.