Best dog breed for the 'outdoors'? (For new dog owner too)

leigti

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
7,030
Location (City and/or State)
southeast Washington
The word "socialize" means so many different things to so many people. To me socializing dogs means my dog is over here with me, on leash and under control, and your dog is over there with you on leash and under control. Turning dogs loose at dog parks, or letting them sniff butts and noses serves no good purpose and in fact leads to major problems.
So are you saying that if you have two well behaved "Stable" dogs that they should never be allowed to just romp and play and run around together? I'm not talking at the dog park, I hate dog parks but that's a whole other topic :) I'm saying like two friends that happen to have dogs and they get together in the backyard.
 

leigti

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
7,030
Location (City and/or State)
southeast Washington
@Tom I agree that research can lead to bad information. But you don't know what's bad information until you've done enough research. Just like I figured out this site is the best one on the Internet for information about tortoises. But I read a butt load of bad information before I figure that out. And I think it makes sense to agree and disagree with half of what is written because unless the person wants to write 5000 page article they are not going to be able to be as specific as is sometimes needed. There are many exceptions to every blanket statement made.
 

FLINTUS

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
1,402
Location (City and/or State)
Watery Wiltshire in the UK
While I do appreciate the need for discipline with dogs or if you have a dog with multiple behavior problems, I am not a fan of 'leash' owners. OK, I accept cities and towns are slightly different to villages(especially in the UK where we have a very good footpath system), but generally, dogs that are kept on a lead 90% of the time tend to be much more aggressive or nervous, try to protect their owner and end up barking and growling at the other dog. Around here, dog encounters are much more friendly if both are off-lead - on a track in opposite directions, they might have a half minute sniff and then move on, if walking with someone else or on a public field i.e. village green, school playing fields, then they will probably have a good five minutes of free roam and play, and then calm down and just walk together for the rest of the walk. The greyhounds and labs in particular around here, convey very nervous opinion when kept on the lead and another dog approaches, which in turn causes the other dogs to be unsettled. Terriers here also seem to be significantly more 'tolerant' of larger dogs when off-lead.
Now this is not to say that you should let your dog chase horses and the like, nor would I have my dog off in a city or town with proper roads-although, having been to Prague just under 3 months ago, the dogs there were often off-lead and very well trained-, but I do believe, and have seen, that keeping the dog completely on lead, at least in the countryside, can lead to behavior problems when they are older.
 

leigti

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
7,030
Location (City and/or State)
southeast Washington
While I do appreciate the need for discipline with dogs or if you have a dog with multiple behavior problems, I am not a fan of 'leash' owners. OK, I accept cities and towns are slightly different to villages(especially in the UK where we have a very good footpath system), but generally, dogs that are kept on a lead 90% of the time tend to be much more aggressive or nervous, try to protect their owner and end up barking and growling at the other dog. Around here, dog encounters are much more friendly if both are off-lead - on a track in opposite directions, they might have a half minute sniff and then move on, if walking with someone else or on a public field i.e. village green, school playing fields, then they will probably have a good five minutes of free roam and play, and then calm down and just walk together for the rest of the walk. The greyhounds and labs in particular around here, convey very nervous opinion when kept on the lead and another dog approaches, which in turn causes the other dogs to be unsettled. Terriers here also seem to be significantly more 'tolerant' of larger dogs when off-lead.
Now this is not to say that you should let your dog chase horses and the like, nor would I have my dog off in a city or town with proper roads-although, having been to Prague just under 3 months ago, the dogs there were often off-lead and very well trained-, but I do believe, and have seen, that keeping the dog completely on lead, at least in the countryside, can lead to behavior problems when they are older.
I definitely think that dog behavior is different out in the country versus the city. And I understand what you're saying about being more aggressive etc. on a leash. Dogs will act more natural off the leash. I do think it is important that your dog be able to behave in the country or in the city however. On and off leash. There is something to be said to have a group of dogs all getting along nicely, no conflicts etc. my friends and I could go camping and of course we all brought our dogs, there would be six or seven people and maybe 10 dogs. They didn't chase deer, they all got along, they all came when called, it was wonderful. It helped that all the dogs were basically well behaved before they got together. They spent much of their lives out in the woods and the country running around. But they could behave in town also. I think this is what the person who started this thread is looking for.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,443
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
So are you saying that if you have two well behaved "Stable" dogs that they should never be allowed to just romp and play and run around together? I'm not talking at the dog park, I hate dog parks but that's a whole other topic :) I'm saying like two friends that happen to have dogs and they get together in the backyard.

I'm talking about strangers met on the street or in a park. There is benefit to a proper introduction and play sessions with another dog that you will be seeing frequently.
 

Cowboy_Ken

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2011
Messages
17,539
Location (City and/or State)
Suburban-life in Salem, Oregon
When Ava met her first dog it was here at my place with 5'acres of pasture to just romp and play and be dogs. Mind you she was at the time somewhere around 2 yrs old. She was so happy you could see it in her body language. She would check in with me during the romp as if to show that she still knew her roots or maybe it was her just checking in because she was insecure and needed reassurance that all was good in her world. It was though so great to see her just run while not chasing wildlife back into the woods. Just having fun and not having to be on duty as it were.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,443
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
While I do appreciate the need for discipline with dogs or if you have a dog with multiple behavior problems, I am not a fan of 'leash' owners. OK, I accept cities and towns are slightly different to villages(especially in the UK where we have a very good footpath system), but generally, dogs that are kept on a lead 90% of the time tend to be much more aggressive or nervous, try to protect their owner and end up barking and growling at the other dog. Around here, dog encounters are much more friendly if both are off-lead - on a track in opposite directions, they might have a half minute sniff and then move on, if walking with someone else or on a public field i.e. village green, school playing fields, then they will probably have a good five minutes of free roam and play, and then calm down and just walk together for the rest of the walk. The greyhounds and labs in particular around here, convey very nervous opinion when kept on the lead and another dog approaches, which in turn causes the other dogs to be unsettled. Terriers here also seem to be significantly more 'tolerant' of larger dogs when off-lead.
Now this is not to say that you should let your dog chase horses and the like, nor would I have my dog off in a city or town with proper roads-although, having been to Prague just under 3 months ago, the dogs there were often off-lead and very well trained-, but I do believe, and have seen, that keeping the dog completely on lead, at least in the countryside, can lead to behavior problems when they are older.

What you are observing can be easily explained, but you, like most people, have drawn the wrong conclusions.

First off, people who have ill-behaved or aggressive dogs are more likely to want to keep them on a leash all the time. This single fact will explain much of what you have observed.

Another factor is ignorance. I don't know how it is in the UK, but over here, almost everyone is ignorant about dog behavior and training. I was, my whole family was, everyone I knew was until I met and apprenticed under the man who changed my life back in the early 90's. When the leash is mishandled and used as a restraining device instead of a communication tool it can lead to behavior problems. Handled correctly the leash solves problems. Handled incorrectly, which is what most people do, the leash can increase frustration which can lead to aggression issues.

Lastly, having strange dogs "meet" is dangerous, risky and serves no useful purpose. Ideally dogs should go about their business and ignore each other. When I have a dog out in public we do whatever we are doing and I won't allow any sort of contact between my dog and any other dog. I frequently enjoy conversation with other dog owner and trainers, but my dog stays on a sit or down stay with me while their dog stays over there with them. The dogs learn to be in each others presence without all the frantic sniffing and posturing. They each learn that their pack leaders have control of the situation and their intervention is not needed or wanted.
 

COLENORTHCAROLINA

New Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2015
Messages
1
I would go with a lab for a first dog. The German shepherd is my personal favorite but as you mentioned your a first time dog owner and GSD's need experienced dog owners imo. Husky seems like another good option with all that hiking, you definitely need a dog who can handle that long hike.

My 2 GSD's do great off leash hiking, however we can't go long distances in warmer days as they easily overheat.

I agree labs are great for walking with my yellow lab is great for hiking while not on a leash.
 

Astrochelys

Member
Joined
May 7, 2015
Messages
76
@Tom Gotcha! I'll make sure to do that. Do the pet stores just do basic training or do they practice with more complex techniques (like to stay calm and not to whine, help reduce separation anxiety, etc.)? Thank you so much for your help!

@leigti I think you already know me enough that I'll research too in depth with everything! haha. But I'll tone it down and concentrate on it more as time gets on and I'm closer to getting a pup. Thanks for your response!

@FLINTUS One of my big things about keeping dogs on leashes is when, like you said, they're in cities with multitudes of people and certain town areas. But also in natural areas. I'm not pro leash all the time, but bad dog owners have let their pets wreak havoc on natural ecosystems, killing/chasing off deer, rabbits, and other small animals. Not to mention spread some viruses/diseases to wild populations. But this is no way shape or form the fault of the dog, just the owner. But I understand what you're saying. I'd love for my dog to be able walk side by side with me without a leash. That would be my dream, along with them listening to me properly. However, just in case something does happen, I'd like to have control of the situation for the safety of other people/animals and my dog, and that entails having a leash. From what I've read I agree with Tom on the part that he says a leashed dogs handled correctly solves problems. But thank you for your response!

I'm most probably going to get a lab. So far I'm sold on them for a first dog and then when I get a permanent place to settle into I'll get a GSP or Weim (or another breed similar).

Thanks for the responses guys!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,443
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom Gotcha! I'll make sure to do that. Do the pet stores just do basic training or do they practice with more complex techniques (like to stay calm and not to whine, help reduce separation anxiety, etc.)? Thank you so much for your help!

The pet store classes are typically just an introduction to the basic commands.

Being calm, whining or not, and separation anxiety are things that are eliminated by proper training and handling. Giving the dog a job, like obedience training for example, and taking the dog for long walks, like your hikes, will likely prevent these issues for you. These are relationship issues. If you follow the right steps for training you should have a great relationship with your dog and these things are unlikely to be a problem.
 

Astrochelys

Member
Joined
May 7, 2015
Messages
76
The pet store classes are typically just an introduction to the basic commands.

Being calm, whining or not, and separation anxiety are things that are eliminated by proper training and handling. Giving the dog a job, like obedience training for example, and taking the dog for long walks, like your hikes, will likely prevent these issues for you. These are relationship issues. If you follow the right steps for training you should have a great relationship with your dog and these things are unlikely to be a problem.

Gotcha. And then does the private trainer do more basic commands just without the distractions of other dogs, or are they a bit more complex?

I'll make sure to take them on long walks everyday if I'm not hiking. I myself usually walk about 2-4 miles in the morning and then 2-5 miles in the evening (not to mention some fetch here and there) so I'm hoping that I will be able to keep them healthy. And I'm hoping I'll follow all the right steps properly! haha
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,443
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Gotcha. And then does the private trainer do more basic commands just without the distractions of other dogs, or are they a bit more complex?

I'll make sure to take them on long walks everyday if I'm not hiking. I myself usually walk about 2-4 miles in the morning and then 2-5 miles in the evening (not to mention some fetch here and there) so I'm hoping that I will be able to keep them healthy. And I'm hoping I'll follow all the right steps properly! haha

The pet store class will introduce the basic commands in a positive, fun and rewarding way. Doing this amongst the distraction of other dogs is a good way to get in some desensitization too.

The private trainer will help solidify the basic obedience commands and really teach YOU how to work your dog and do things correctly.

Advanced and off leash training is above and beyond what we have discussed thus far. Get the basics done, and done correctly first, and the answers to these more advanced questions will become obvious to you. Once you learn how to work a dog correctly with basic commands and deal with all the millions of things that can go wrong, the concept of more advanced training becomes an easy to understand next step.

4-9 miles a day will be too much for a puppy. You'll need to wait until the pup is around a year old to start getting him/her in shape for walks of that length. Start with shorter walks and build up to that level. You can damage their young forming hips and joints of you do too much exercise at too young of an age. I run my dogs with a car or dirt bike for 2-3 miles, but I don't start that until they are 16-18 months old and I start them with short runs at first.
 

Astrochelys

Member
Joined
May 7, 2015
Messages
76
Even though it's in the future, I'm getting pretty excited for this haha.

@Tom So it doesn't matter if the puppy is past the age where teaching is pretty easy for them (forgot the months) to teach them some advanced things? I'm only asking this in case I'm still trying to solidify the basic commands up until they hit the end of the easier learning period.

I'm definitely not going to take a puppy with me for those distances. I'm also going to try avoid walking on pavement with them when they're young since I read that can cause problems for them. I don't exactly run too often or if I do it's short bursts (something similar HITT) because of health problems, but I can make up for it by trying to go out to a park more and playing with them. By running them with your dirt bike/car do you just hold on to the leash or let them run side by side at their pace?

Thanks!
 

FLINTUS

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
1,402
Location (City and/or State)
Watery Wiltshire in the UK
What you are observing can be easily explained, but you, like most people, have drawn the wrong conclusions.

First off, people who have ill-behaved or aggressive dogs are more likely to want to keep them on a leash all the time. This single fact will explain much of what you have observed.
Obviously, and I'm sure you're in a much better place than me to have seen this

Another factor is ignorance. I don't know how it is in the UK, but over here, almost everyone is ignorant about dog behavior and training. I was, my whole family was, everyone I knew was until I met and apprenticed under the man who changed my life back in the early 90's. When the leash is mishandled and used as a restraining device instead of a communication tool it can lead to behavior problems. Handled correctly the leash solves problems. Handled incorrectly, which is what most people do, the leash can increase frustration which can lead to aggression issues.
I do agree about restraining. There are a lot of (lead-walker) owners around here, who when they see another dog, immediately to put it the best way I can, reel their dog in if you know what I mean. And I also appreciate that a gentle tug on the lead can, done in the right way, just remind the dog who is in control and what he/she should be doing. However, I've also seen that 'communication' being used by pulling the lead so hard that the dog gets lifted up the ground, as well as owners using walking sticks etc. to hit the dog. Over here-perhaps more polarised than in The States-, certainly in more rural areas, there are three distinct types of owners: off-lead (primarily, except for next to busy roads) walkers, cautious walkers who keep their dogs on the leads without ever having them under control but will eventually let them play, and almost all the time lead walkers, who tend to be pretty nasty towards their own dogs.

Lastly, having strange dogs "meet" is dangerous, risky and serves no useful purpose. Ideally dogs should go about their business and ignore each other. When I have a dog out in public we do whatever we are doing and I won't allow any sort of contact between my dog and any other dog. I frequently enjoy conversation with other dog owner and trainers, but my dog stays on a sit or down stay with me while their dog stays over there with them. The dogs learn to be in each others presence without all the frantic sniffing and posturing. They each learn that their pack leaders have control of the situation and their intervention is not needed or wanted.
I understand the need for this in your situation, however I do still believe that if both owners are happy to let their dogs off and play that is fine, and benefits the dog. If both dogs are well-socialised, in an ideal world it shouldn't be risky. Obviously wildlife and ecology are a different matter.
 

leigti

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
7,030
Location (City and/or State)
southeast Washington
@Astrochely how far in the future do you plan on getting a dog? Are we talking weeks months or years? If it is years I would suggest just doing a lot of observation. Start paying attention to the dogs around you, your friends or family ones at the park etc. Observe some dog training classes. If you have not had any real contact with dogs, or positive contact that is, then a lot of this is just abstract information. It won't mean much until you're there with your own dog.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,443
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Even though it's in the future, I'm getting pretty excited for this haha.

@Tom So it doesn't matter if the puppy is past the age where teaching is pretty easy for them (forgot the months) to teach them some advanced things? I'm only asking this in case I'm still trying to solidify the basic commands up until they hit the end of the easier learning period.

I'm definitely not going to take a puppy with me for those distances. I'm also going to try avoid walking on pavement with them when they're young since I read that can cause problems for them. I don't exactly run too often or if I do it's short bursts (something similar HITT) because of health problems, but I can make up for it by trying to go out to a park more and playing with them. By running them with your dirt bike/car do you just hold on to the leash or let them run side by side at their pace?

Thanks!

Years ago I had completely untrained older dogs go through my classes. One notable case was a ten year old that had ruled the roost his whole life. He became the star student of the class, partly because he had been everywhere and seen everything so he was a lot less distracted than his younger fellow students. It is NO problem to teach older dogs anything. My dog Bullet was learning new tricks at 10 years old too. He was 10 when I had to teach him a hind leg lift (simulated peeing). He was supposed to pee on John Malkovich's leg for the movie Jonah Hex. Anyway... the point is that you can teach any dog at any age regardless of its history. I do it all the time. I can stop dog aggression in about 30 seconds. I can make a dog heel in less than 30 seconds even when its been pulling on a leash its whole life. My wife has me perform my magic tricks for friends and family at parties. Its great fun for her to make me her performing monkey... Its okay though. She rewards me later.

I mention those ages for you to go by because doing too much too soon will squash drive and kill confidence. If you wait too long to get started, the only consequence is dealing with an untrained and possibly ill-behaved dog for longer. This is of course assuming you find a good trainer to work with. Just like vets, there are a lot of mediocre ones out there.

My dogs are all off-leash trained. How I run them depends on the dog and our history. My last group would lead me and I would shout left, right, hurry up, easy or stop commands from the car. THey would pull a wheeled sled the same way. My current main dog courses back and forth in front of the car and slows me down, so I pass him and he sprints after me at 40+ mph. My Czech shepard runs alongside nicely and I can talk to him through the open window for the whole run. I go through a whole long process and several vehicles to work up to this point. It takes months or years, but its pretty cool when I get where I want to be.
 

Astrochelys

Member
Joined
May 7, 2015
Messages
76
@leigti At least 3-4 years minimum but it can be 6-7 years depending if I choose to go to grad school right away. I understand that it's a long time, but I like to know the basics or have a good source of background knowledge before getting an animal that needs as much care as a dog does. I've had contact with dogs, mainly small, had to take care of my sisters bfs Chihuahua mix for a few days, but I've also had contact with dogs at a shelter I volunteered at. I'm planning to go to a shelter next semester to volunteer for some time to check out more of the larger breeds, such as labs, to see how I'd fair with them. I've already had contact with some so I should be fine.

@Tom That's pretty cool you could run with your dogs like that and how you can control them! And I'd make sure to look up different trainers before I plan on getting a dog soon. What I don't want is an unruly and ill behaved dog because I know my parents and family are already skittish of them and with one bad experience, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want to visit me again aha. Not only that, I don't want to be the kind of dog owner where whenever I go somewhere, like a for a walk on the trail, where the dog is in control of me. I've always seen some dog owners getting pulled around by their dogs, yet I only see a few that have their dogs to the side of them, which is what I would like (unless it's off leash or running around). It just makes me question why people get dogs if they aren't going to properly train them and let them run loose wherever they go.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,443
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@FLINTUS

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect yours. I always enjoy our discussions, so I would love for you to elaborate a bit for me on what you think is beneficial about two strange dogs running around loose together. To start the discussion I will explain what I think are the reasons to not engage in this practice.
1. Disease potential. Kennel cough etc...
2. Agression. I can't even count how many times I've seen this practice end in bloodshed and reinforcement of bad habits.
3. Injury. I've witnessed a lot of dogs come up lame after these romps. Shoulder jams, ACLs etc.
4. The absolute worse thing for me, and the least understood by most people that I try to explain it to is what this practice does to a dogs mental state. Running around loose with other unknown dogs reinforces social tendencies that are NOT good for a dog that is supposed to integrate into human society. Dominant dogs learn to be more dominant and submissive dogs learn to be more submissive. All dogs learn to ignore commands and begin to assimilate themselves into a dog pack society instead of our human society. The more people do this the worse their behavioral problems get. I'm the guy that gets called in to "fix" the problems after they are created. It would be so much easier if they had just not created the problem in the first place.

What are the good points?

Exercise? My dogs exercise and play with me and with other people.

Fun? My dogs have the most fun they ever have doing things with me.

In general, you will never see a happier more well adjusted dog than one that has a job working with people. Movie dogs, police dogs, hunting dogs, herding dogs, service dogs... All of these dogs are as content as can be. Dog park dogs, not so much...
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,443
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
It just makes me question why people get dogs if they aren't going to properly train them and let them run loose wherever they go.

I often wonder the same thing...

When I see a Husky pulling a guy down the street in Phoenix AZ, I wonder why. Why on earth did that person pick that breed for this situation?

So many times I see people get the entirely wrong dog for the entirely wrong reasons and then wonder why they have a problem. The problem is made worse by them thinking there is a magic pill to buy to make their dog listen to them, psychic know what they want and do everything perfect all the time. Somehow some people are completely out of touch with reality when it comes to dogs and what dogs require.

That is why I am happy to help someone like your self who is trying to learn BEFORE making the common mistakes.
 

Astrochelys

Member
Joined
May 7, 2015
Messages
76
@Tom Thanks tom! And to everyone who has helped too! I know I'm going to make a mistake when it comes to training or with the dog itself, nobody's perfect, but I want to be able to fall back on my knowledge base that I already accumulated over the years to try to fix or improve the mistake.

And I have another question lol, would a lab be a good apartment pet? I'm pretty sure my first few years of my future work will require me to move on and off so I'd want to make it as stress-less for the dog as possible. I know I probably won't get a puppy since it might require more work in the beginning and being in an apartment any real damage would cost me an arm and a leg.
 
Top