|Barked: Sun Jul 7, '13 11:34pm PST |
|Hi there, my name is Melissa and I am looking to add another dog to my household within the next year. I am hoping for help with picking a breed that would work well for me. I apologize in advance for how long this is; I want to be as detailed as possible.
Apart from my pets, I live alone in a largish house in the suburbs with a medium sized fully fenced in yard. The fence is solid wood and six feet tall. I do have regular human visitors (including dog-savvy children) and occasional doggy ones, and live in a safe but busy neighborhood.
I’ve had dogs all of my life. Grew up with Rottweilers, a German Shepherd, Mini Schnauzers, and Labradors, and have done a large amount of foster work over the years including Mastiffs, Pitties, Herding dogs of many sorts, Toys, and lots of mixed breeds.
I have two dogs right now, both small breed neutered males. One is an 18 lb, almost 2-year old Shih Tzu, and the other is a 7-year-old, 9 lb Terrier/Chihuahua cross. I also have a 7 1/2 year old Bengal mix cat that cheerfully rules my household.
Qualities I love and am looking for:
-A moderate to high activity level outdoors, but with a mellower activity level indoors. I LOVE hiking, long walks, and playing games with my dogs (I also live very close to a great area for dogs that enjoy swimming).
-Medium to large in size… I am hoping in the 30-100 lb range, with 35-75 being ideal.
-A gentle dog with a play-style that works well with small breeds… as much as they both love other dogs, neither of them have much patience for the rambunctious style of play that my last Pit/Boxer cross foster puppy had for example.
-I am looking for a generally healthy breed that regularly lives to 10 years or older. If I go from a breeder I am planning to neurotically search for one that does all necessary health testing.
-A generally stable, friendly temperament. Breeds that lean towards more reactive, timid or nervous temperaments wouldn’t be the best fit for me.
-An intelligent, very trainable dog would be fantastic, but if they are similar to my Chihuahua cross (naturally a well behaved dog with good doggy and people manners, but absolutely no interest in learning anything more complicated than the ‘sit’ command) that is fine too.
Qualities I have a hard time with:
-Excessive barkers (I have neighbors on three sides of my property).
-Excessive shedding and drooling. I can deal with both to a point, but no Newfies for me unfortunately. I am comfortable with dogs that require regular or professional grooming however, and have a great groomer in town.
-A high likelihood of cat/dog prey drive or aggression, including same sex dog aggression. My cat is a high-energy playful boy that bounces around the house like the feline equivalent of a pinball machine, and I do occasionally have foster dogs and cats. There is also a solid chance of me adding another high energy cat in the dog’s lifetime.
-Excessive suspicion around strangers. It is feasible that I could move to a larger city in the dog’s lifetime and it is vital that he or she be able to handle the crowds and hustle and bustle that come along with that.
One more potential complication:
I have PTSD from an incident a couple of years ago where I was almost killed by a car when walking through a crosswalk. The woman was distracted while driving and didn’t see me. To this day sometimes when around traffic/headlights I find myself tensing up, uncontrollably replaying the incident in my head and my heart starts racing. It is especially bad when the headlights come on unexpectedly so I don’t have time to prepare myself. My two dogs and several fosters/dogs I’ve babysat in the past have gotten used to that and either leaned into me or politely ignored me when that is happening (which is fantastic), but I have been around dogs that have very keenly picked up on my nervousness and have started getting nervous as well. I am getting better and it is something I am working on, but that would shred me if my own fear negatively affected my dog, and I am looking for a dog more likely to either ignore or be oblivious to my nerves when that is happening.
I hope I am not asking too much. I have a few ideas of breeds that may be a good fit, but I was hoping for input from you wonderful dog-savvy people.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, I appreciate any advice given more than I can say.
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