A dog's breed and personality have a significant influence on their behavior and the kind of attention they need. While it is common for people to say that “my dog chose me!”, pet parents must be careful to pick a furry friend that is compatible with their living situation, schedule, personality, and other demands.
Read on to see this process in action with Sorsha, and the many considerations involved with picking a pet.
A Dog Like No Other
This is Sorsha.
Sorsha is a mixed breed, but what she lacks in pedigree she makes up for in personality. Half Newfoundland and half Maremma, Sorsha is a large (huge) critter.
Both of her breeds are from the working class - Newfoundlands were water dogs that were used to rescue sailors that had fallen overboard on ships, and Maremmas are a herding breed similar to other livestock-guarding white mountain dogs, like the Great Pyrenees. What this means is that Sorsha is independent, protective, and excellent with kids, whom she sees as sheep.
It also means that Sorsha is not the type of dog that is appropriate for many of the activities and situations that younger pet owners tend to favor. For example, many Millennials choose to live in apartments or tiny houses. Such accommodations are unacceptable for animals that need room to run.
Similarly, although walking a dog on a leash is great exercise, many animals aren't leash trainable. Maremmas and other types of herding dogs are bred to be independent and make their own decisions. Being attached to a leash or harness is against their nature, and training them to walk nicely just isn't in the cards.
Another consideration tied to living conditions is whether you have neighbors and if they have dogs or other animals. Many critters can be dog-aggressive, so while your pet may be great with people, being next to (or across the fence from) other dogs may make it agitated and uncomfortable.
This doesn't mean that Sorsha is disobedient. She is stubborn, but behaves well in the house and yard. She comes when called, knows to sit and lay down, and is the perfect alarm system. All of this took work, practice, and patience (on my part, of course).
These were all factors we considered when we got the opportunity to take Sorsha home. We weren't so foolish as to believe that we could mould the stubbornness and independence out of Sorsha. Rather, we took into account or circumstances (our living situation, our free time, and our own commitment to training) and made a decision based on these factors.
Luckily, we have a fenced in yard with plenty of room to run and three little kids for Sorsha to herd and take care of. Sorsha is happy to have a home with conditions that can accommodate and satisfy the needs of her breeds and personality, and we are happy to have a furry addition to our family.