Featuring Ed Carmichael of Carmichael Canine. Ed is a trainer and breeder with over 25 years experience in training dogs for security and companionship. He is a dog lover, advocate, and throughout his career, has witnessed some perfect two and four-legged matches, along with some lessons learned.
We recently sat down and talked about what makes a good match, and some questions to think about when adding a new four-legger to our family. Adding a puppy or adult dog into your life, can be the most rewarding, beautiful and challenging thing all wrapped up into one. And like any wonderful relationship, it helps understanding the needs of yourself, and your four-legged partner before you take the plunge.
Would you say there is such a thing as the right dog for you, based on the your personality, activity level, age, or family dynamic? Ed believes all of these factors should come into consideration when deciding what breed best fits your family.
Some examples -
Pairing a high energy hunting dog, like a Labrador Retriever with an older couple who may not be able to control a strong dog, and provide the exercise it needs. Many of times in these cases, owners can become frustrated with their dogs because they are destructive due to pent up energy. Or in some cases, they may accidentally injure their owner by pulling them due to the dog’s strength. A better fit could be a smaller breed, an older dog, or less energetic large breed that is more relaxed, requiring less physical activity.
If you have small children in your house, bringing a large puppy like a Great Dane into your home might be a hard pairing for your family and the dog at this stage of your life. Although a puppy, Great Dane’s are big, and like many puppies will jump, bite, and play rough which can sometimes frighten young children.
What about training?
Not all dogs require the same amount of training. Some breeds like golden retrievers are eager to please, and are considered easier to train than even a doodle, which can be strong willed or a German Shepherd who requires more direction and leadership from their pack. If you are not a disciplinarian or do not have the time to put into continuous training, breeds like a German Shepherd or Rottweiler may not be the best fit for you.
And what about a rescue?
It can be hard to know how they will fit into your home. The best thing you can do here is to be honest with yourself on how much time and patience you have when taking in your new family member. This is not the case always, but unfortunately many of the amazing dogs we rescue have not so pleasant pasts, requiring us parents to put in extra time and energy into helping them feel safe, get over their fears, and adapt to their new environment.
With all the lesson learned, there are also so many perfect pairings out there as well. We see them on our social pages, emails we receive, along with success stories Ed can share of the “perfect match”.
A high energy dog like a Border Collie who’s owner loves to run, hike, and take their dog with them on every outdoor adventure. A couple who is patient, and has the time to take in rescue who has challenges. A Chesapeake Bay Retriever who is gentle with a new baby addition. A Australian Labradoodle who is silly, likes to be with his owner, and enjoys working (: A young couple, with a French Bulldog in the city.
Ed’s suggestion on all of this is, do your research. Don’t rush in and don’t get a breed solely based on how cute it is on Instagram, or how popular the breed may be a the time.
If you are looking to get a dog from a breeder, ask questions, like “what are their parents are like?”, “What type of exercise and training do they need?”. Try to meet the parents of the dogs if possible, and share with the breeder your lifestyle, and activities. Most breeders can begin to tell a dog’s personality at a young age, and be able to pair that pup with the right family based on its personality.
If rescuing is best for you, talk to the rescue organization about him or her. Do they know about their past, any medical conditions, how do they interact with others? And if possible foster first. Fostering is a wonderful way to provide a loving home, allowing you both to get to know each other and determine if you are a good pair.
Lastly, Ed suggests consulting with a trainer prior to adopting or adding a new dog into your family. Talking to a professional, can help steer you as to the best fit. Although this may require a little time upfront initially, Ed has seen it be a tremendous benefit to many dogs and their owners in the future.
We would love to hear your thoughts, and stories of a wonderful pair or a lesson learned.
If you would like to reach out to Ed directly with any questions, please do so at: @edcark9 or schutzengelshepherds.com