Dogs!

Hi. I’m new to Scrivener and new to writing. I’m working on my first book about getting a new puppy and all that’s involved with that… so if you’re a dog owner and you don’t mind helping with some research, please could you post why you chose the breed you did, and anything you wish you’d known beforehand.

Thanks muchly :smiley:

Large mutts (Dozer and Good Girl Mindy Marshmallow)
Why: virtually free of genetic issues due to breed specific inbreeding.
Where with a why: Dozer is from the pound because they are cheap (free in most cases) and well known by the handlers. Mindy was a foster fail with the organization that helped us understand what we were getting into with Dozer (he is labeled a pitt bull here and we wanted some folks to work with)
What I wished I had known: just how prejudiced everyone really is even when they think they aren’t. Both our dogs are gentle but folk are convinced they are fighting dogs just because they are “barrels”. Really lets you know who you don’t want to associate with.

The genetic differences between dog breeds are very very slight. There is more variation between two same sex siblings than between a Great Dane and a Chihuahua. It is interesting to see how the selective breeding done over centuries has isolated the key genes to allow specific behavioral tendencies to come forward in each breed. But you’ll uncover all that.

BTW, not a fan of puppies. They are fun, but the older guys and gals… more like adopting a cooperative kid than having a newborn. But that’s my preference.

A Westie (West Highland White Terrier).
Originally it was because that was the breed my wife wanted, although I was instant convert when a Westie puppy introduced himself to me while I was having a coffee one day. Good thing, because I suspect my wife only agreed to become so because I became a Westie convert. The day after we bought our house, my wife rang the breeder. Six weeks later, Frank came to town.

Positives about the breed: Westies are great fun; very(!) companionable; small enough to pick up and carry when needed, but with enough character to fill a room. When my wife (then girlfriend) was first trying to convince me of the breed, she kept showing me descriptions in dog books. The one that sticks in my mind was from a 1950s book that described Westies (and their close cousins, Cairn Terriers) as “keen motorists”. Turns out that is very apt description: I can’t think of anything that Frank likes more than going for a drive.
Westies can be game for anything, and are usually very intelligent and curious. They are long lived (I have met Westies as old as 18 years) and generally, despite the inbreeding inherent to all pure-breeds, very healthy. They are good with most ages: from primary school children through to elder adults.

Downsides of the breed: Westies need regular grooming and trimming. Otherwise you end up with a small dog who can’t see and is covered with enormous, white, dreadlocks. Even with regular grooming and trimming, you can end up with a small dog covered in enormous white dreadlocks. They can be wary around very young children, and need to be supervised closely (as do most dogs). A weird habit of the breed is they tend to lick their front paws and one rear paw - this can lead to discolouration of the fur on their feet. I haven’t yet read an explanation of why they only lick 3 paws.

Things to know beforehand (about puppies in general):
First, decide whether you want an inside dog or an outside dog. This is important. I grew up with side dogs, my wife grew up with outside dogs. While it’s fine to celebrate differences, when you only have one dog, you need to choose. To my distress, but for the sake of marital harmony, we agreed on outside dog. As we were slowly moving puppy-Frank a little closer each night towards the back door, salvation came from a dog trainer we saw. His magic question was, “What type of relationship do you want to have with your dog?” Outside dogs can be friendly, but belong in the yard. Inside dogs are family. That night, Frank’s basket was moved into our bedroom and has remained there ever since.

It is worth going to a dog trainer if you can afford it. Puppy school is a close second. The thing to know is that, despite their names, they don’t train dogs or puppies: They train humans how to live and work with dogs and puppies which is much more cool. Dog trainers are awesome (and not just because of the inside/outside dog thing).

Know that puppies have small bladders that need to be emptied often. Including whenever they get excited, get a fright, or have been waiting 5 seconds too long. This includes throughout the night. Of course, it’s not just bladders that they empty. If you don’t want a mess on the floor, someone will need to get up through the night to rouse the cute bundle of fur and stand in the rain until the wee beasty wees (or more). Sometimes that’s a long wait.

Golden Retrievers.

Why? Child-friendly, loyal, loving, stoical, optimistic and, above all, intelligent and eager to please - they seldom need to be seriously trained - they somehow know what you want them to do, and do it.

Downsides: liable to shed hair everywhere, often poor travellers, prone to disabling conditions of the hips and eyes, and diseases such as cancer (where the stoicism becomes important on the part of both dog and human). Oh, and expensive to feed and care for, especially when ill. (I knew all that before I began, but I wouldn’t have not embarked on the experience. For anything, really.)