The Right Dog

We’ve been in a conversation about helping others (and ourselves) if and when we get frustrated by our dogs. It’s been a great one, thanks for all your comments. I thought of something important that I haven’t mentioned yet, and I thought it deserved it’s own forum.

It seems to me that an important part of whether a dog frustrates someone is based on whether their personalities match. Look at all the comments on earlier posts that said “…. and then I got THIS dog…”.

Lassie and Willie are wonderful dogs for me. I’m a bit of a Border Collie myself: I like the cold, I hate hot, humid weather, love working sheep, love working, and am so sound sensitive that I’d rather starve than eat in a noisy restaurant. Granted, I wish that every once in a while I could yell “naughty words” without them looking concerned, (Liz F commented that her grand mother actually said the words “naughty words” when she was upset, in place of saying real naughty words. I’m going to take that it on, just thinking about it makes me laugh.) but they are responsive, and fun-loving and social and smart and I love their fresh, perky faces and commitment to connecting with me.

I took care of a dog once for about five months who was an absolute star at pushing my buttons. I think it’s the only dog I’ve ever had that really got to me. I figure I’ve had at least 15 dogs here for at least five or six months, and she was the only one who I literally had to stop, take a breath and count before I responded to her. She just plain and simply made me mad, I think because she was such a “player” and seemed to have so little interest in any real social interaction. She was stubborn, and wily and downright mean to my other dogs. She’d hold a grudge and wait until she could get back at them for any imagined slight. And so, what I’ve been thinking about is the importance of matching the right dog to the right owner. So many of my clients over the years were good people who simply had the wrong dog. Or a special dog who deserved special people, and was stuck in an impossible situation.

That’s why I loved hearing about a new project outside of Philadelphia called Main Line Mutt Match. Meg Boscov and partner Liz Maslow recently had an article written in the Philadelphia Inquirer about their match making services, and I wish there were more places in the country who offered the same service. So much of what makes a dog a good match isn’t obvious to the general public. Many of us know how commonly it is believed that any wagging tail is a sign of friendliness, even when the rest of the dog’s body is stiff as a board. One of my clients refused to take any dog at a shelter who wouldn’t return his gaze and stare back directly into his eyes for a prolonged period of time–and the guy had five kids under the age of eight.

We need to do all we can do to use our knowledge to help people get the right dog. I know that there are other ‘matching making’ services around the country: I think it would be a great service to add to the repertoire of a dog training business. Meg and Liz work with a large number of rescue and shelters, and the organizations love the help. What a great thing to do.

Dogs need the right buddies too. This is a photo of Willie’s girlfriend, Mishka. Although Will is always more nervous around dogs larger than he is, he fell for Mishka pretty hard. She’s perfect for him, playful and able to stand up for herself (when Will tries to play “Let’s herd the Dobbie by nipping at her chest”). And she’s mellow and non-reactive and able to keep Will on his best behavior. Will got a bit nervous when she was in the house last, when she ran up and over him, and as his mouth began to pucker (and as I said “Will Will” to re-direct him to me), she pulled away and let him be. What a girl. Mishka’s house mate, a male Doberman, is exactly like Willie: playful but nervous, controlling but fearful, and there’s no question they’d be a terrible match. His owner and I laugh that if we ever get them together it’d be an Anderson Cooper moment (host on CNN, a station famous for loving drama). Not gonna happen. Look at Willie’s eyes carefully–the image is a little dark, but you can still see that he has his eye on the prize: the beautiful Mishka.

Comments

  1. says

    My current dog- my first dog- was a total impulse. I hadn’t thought about getting a dog, but there she was, and I just had to have her. (Let’s not talk about all the things I did wrong in acquiring her.)

    She’s a difficult dog- reactive, has health problems, compulsive… and I love her, and can’t imagine having any other dog. I have no idea why, but it’s gotta to be about how well we match up. I’m always laughing that we have very similar personalities. We like- and hate- many of the same things, although I often wonder if that’s coincidence, or if we’ve rubbed off on each other…

    I’m so thankful that my impulse puppy turned out to be such a good match for me, both for my sake and for hers.

  2. says

    Mutt Match is a brilliant idea! I wish there were more of such things out there.

    When we decided to get a dog, I used an idea I had gotten from therapy when I was struggling with (human) relationships. I put three categories down on a piece of paper and my partner and I thought very hard about things that fit into each category:

    1. Things we absolutely had to have in a dog.

    2. Things we absolutely could NOT deal with in a dog.

    3. Things we knew we could bend on or knew we could work with the dog on.

    We included everything, from size to coat length to personality traits and anything else we could think of. Things like lack of house training, jumping, and fearful behaviors made the “can deal with/work with” list. Things like separation anxiety made the list of things we knew we couldn’t deal with (living in an apartment could be bad with such a thing!). Things like size (medium to large) and coat length (long), age (adult) plus affectionate and people-oriented, made the must have list.

    We didn’t even think about breed. Just qualities we wanted in a dog.

    And then on a transport (I do rescue transports) I met the sweetest most gorgeous long-haired border collie mix. She matched what we wanted and needed perfectly (and thensome). She’s been the perfect dog for us. She truly completes are family.*

    *That being said, if a red and white rough coated border collie who was a good agility candidate and had similar personality traits came along, I’d probably think our family wasn’t QUITE complete.

  3. says

    I can’t agree with you more- it’s all in the match making. To this day, I still feel bad -but my first dog was a mis-match and it was heartbreaking for both of us I think. He was a lab mix and turned out to be a very nervous under-socialized dog – who growled a lot out of fear – I was a new owner, didn’t know anything about dog training and his behavior flat out scared me. He ended up being a resource guarder and lunged and growled at one of my friends. I didn’t really know how to handle this type of behavior, so he ended up being returned to his rescue group (he’s now adopted and very happy with his new family.)

    It was a BAD MATCH. I truly believe this dog knew that I was not a confident leader and he felt my stress, that made things worse. Had he been with a more experienced owner, he would have been better off right from the start.

    Fast forward to Daisy – got her as a puppy at 3 1/2 mos, energetic not over the top, likes her own space at times, as do I – knows how to chill in the house. I don’t know how or why I was blessed to have a Brit who chills in the house – but she DOES and it’s wonderful. She’s happy with one walk , or bike ride a day (thank god for my Springer attachment) and she leaves my cats alone most of the time. This is good match!

    Since getting her – my life with dogs has totally changed – I’m now a trainer – and Daisy works with me at times to help socialize puppies. She enjoys showing off her many tricks at the store and I like teaching them.

    I wish more shelters and rescue groups used programs like the ASPCA’s Meet Your Match as I think that survey really helps potential adopters find dogs that suit their personality and energy level etc.

    Just like Will, Daisy has her own buddies too – one is a female BC mix and one is a male Basenji. They compliment each other beautiful – BC mix wants to be in charge, and Daisy has no problem letting her be in charge – same with the Basenji- and all three have the same energy level and tire each other out – I’m soo lucky she has GREAT buddies to play with.

  4. says

    I foster a couple times a year and this post was timed perfectly. I love your story about your foster :) It’s always so much easier when you know others can relate!

    All I ask for from whichever group I take the foster in is that 1- the foster love love loves dogs 2- no guarding toys as I have 4dogs so it’s not the best environment to bring in 1 who guards toys. Other than that, I’m happy to work with any issues.

    I was told this foster was fearful of men and lunged at trucks…which I have experience with fear related issues and emotional control games in my training tickle trunk. I also work with a trainer as well, as I want to be able to provide a warm, loving, and also teach them as many life skills that will put them to the top of the “adoptable” dog list.

    I thought it wouldn’t be a problemo…until the foster proved to be more “possessive” of toys, spaces and whomever he determines his “people’ is rather than fearful.

    What tipped me off was that I was video’n him playing ball with my beagle ( I create blogs for my fosters so people can see challenges and what we do to overcome them along with the cute stuff) and was able to capture some lunge nip action after the fact that a toy was not in his possession but….REMINDED my beagle that it was HIS.

    When I watched the video again…her expression is just priceless! The first time she did a quick look away, then I swear after he lunged and nipped at her, she had a look direct at me as if to say…”did you see that… i can’t believe what just happened!” .

    He used the same technique on my partner only added multiple nips/bites. This was after having absolutely no issues with him at all, full body wags to say hello et al….My partner just happened to walk into a room where I and the foster were relaxing . That was my partner’s only crime. He didn’t even make eye contact, just walked by and that sent the foster into full lunge, multiple bite drama (no skin broken..thanks to jeans).

    I agree 100% to doing your best to match and educate people of dog behaviour..especially for dog owners (thank you for The Other end of the leash & For the Love of a dog) but also us foster people please.

    cheers,

    kate

  5. Kat says

    I probably did everything wrong in picking Ranger from the shelter and yet it has been such a perfect match. I shudder to think what kind of dog he would have become in the wrong hands. He is calm and confident and highly dominant. He’s extremely good at getting his own way. And he’s not above making threats although I think he’d prefer not to have to carry them out as he doesn’t like conflict. I think of him as living by the principle that “a soft answer turns away wrath.” I’m very good at getting my own way too and am calm and confident. I prefer to avoid conflict and find that a soft answer does turn away anger most of the time. In a household with fearful people who’d let him get away with anything because he growled or living with someone who takes things as a personal challenge he’d be a monster. He’d walk all over nervous people and set his own rules for them to follow and he’d be constantly at odds with someone who insisted he be submissive. I don’t think of our relationship in terms of dominance or submissiveness. I consider him my partner and expect that he have good manners. That’s been my philosophy from the day we brought him home and the dog I have is calm, confident, reliable, intelligent, well-mannered and highly dominant. I think of our relationship as riding a tandem bike; only one person gets to steer but without both people pedaling it won’t work. From time to time he’ll suggest that he should get to steer but we live in a human society so my job is to steer us through what is and isn’t appropriate behavior.

    Here’s a story about one time he thought he should be in charge and how I dealt with it. Maybe six months after we’d adopted him Ranger and I were at the dog park and he’d climbed up on the picnic table and laid down–dominant dog laying claim to the high place. I don’t believe that 90 lb dogs belong on picnic tables so I told him to get off. He ignored me. I reached for his collar to encourage him to get down and he snapped. He didn’t come anywhere near to biting me but he told me he could. I put my hand down, and thinking fast, waited a moment and took a step back. I stood there looking calmly at him as if to say, now what? He looked at me for a second or two and broke into a big doggy grin and laughed as if he was saying “that was a good joke wasn’t it Mom?” I tried to keep a serious look but I could’t so I laughed with him and told him to get off the table. He jumped down and ran off to play. Imagine how that would have played out with someone who was frightened by his behavior or with someone who had escalated things because they needed to physically dominate the dog. Ranger and I suit one another perfectly we were both so very lucky that day when I went to the shelter and found him.

  6. Jez says

    Well, you’ve opened the can of worms….are you going to let us know what breed of dog actually got to you? (pretty please)

    Your post resonates with me and my own affinity with my dogs. I’m absolutely a Terrier and my dogs have always been Cairn Terriers. All frustrating, charming, smart, problem solving, cheeky little clowns that have made me count to ten and double over with laughter. Oh, and I’m stubborn too.

    Did you know that the teeth of a 7 month old Cairn can crush Peridots? Well, they can and I saved one of the earrings to prove it. If I hadn’t left them on my nightstand, I would never know this fact. At the time, I was more than a little cranky, but the thought that kept me from throttling my adorable puppy was that we would not be spending the night in Emergency removing the earrings from her intestines.

    Every now and then, I open that jewelry box, pull out the earring and then look over at my now 7 year old girl and say, “you have one fine set of choppers.”

    I’ve lost more than one pair of earrings to my dog, but I’d give all my jewelry up to have her in my life forever. (

  7. Anna says

    Everyone’s story is different but for me doing research before adding a dog to my home was just natural. I run a tax prep business from my home and during tax season I have 300 to 400 people coming and going from my home so I wanted to get the right temperment dog for me and my clients. I spent quite a bit of time on the AKC site before choosing the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Then I found a reputable PWC breeder who helped me be sure I did find the right breed and then made the best puppy match for me and my needs. That was 8 years ago and I am now have my third corgi and it is going well. As I socalize my new 5 month old corgi I find everyone is suckered in by her face and wants one just like her… fortunately for me my best match happens to be adorable!!!! Now we start with puppy class training to build that bond and she will be a “perfect match” just like her borthers.

  8. Emily says

    I’m so fortunate to have my doggie match in Mick. I did a LOT of research (basically I spent the first 15 years of my life reading obsessively about dogs and dog breeds), but Brittanies vary so much, especially with Mick being a long-distance purchase. He and I are so alike it’s almost ridiculous. We’re easily bored with repetition, stubborn, logical, a bit serious, highly focused, not particularly reactive, goofy once you get to know us, reserved with strangers, not all that cuddly and fast learners.

    I shudder to think what Mick would’ve been like in the wrong home, the amount of exercise and training this dog has needed is huge. He was so completely excitable as a puppy that he would get himself worked up ’til he crashed and threw a tantrum, I did a lot of work just teaching him that being calm was what got him ahead in life. Now people remark all the time, “wow, I always thought Brittanies were crazy, but he’s so calm and gentle!”

    But despite his setbacks he has been truly amazing for me, and he will try anything I ask of him, and try his very hardest. He always lets me know when I’m not being clear or going to fast with training, and his occasional rebellions (he’s approaching his terrible twos at the moment) make me get creative with effective, positive training techniques.

    I love the looks of sighthounds, but I’m reasonably certain that I couldn’t stand owning one. I’ve got cats, I’m not interested in another pet with selective hearing! LOL

  9. says

    I spent a good eight weeks finding the perfect dog for my lifestyle – a calm, young but not a puppy, kennel-traied, athletic, cat friendly, housetrained dog that could go on long runs. Ace has been the perfect dog, and I’m glad I didn’t adopt the first dog I liked at the shelter. Or the second …

    Now that I work with rescue groups I have about five dogs I’d love to adopt. I have to admit they probably aren’t the ideal dogs for me as they are higher energy than my current dog.

    How do you get around the emotion of knowing you are able to and wanting to help a dog with “issues” vs. keeping in mind your own sanity and the sanity of your current animals? It’ll be a lot harder for me to find the “right” dog when I adopt a second dog.

  10. rheather says

    I’ve lucked out with my dogs meshing well with me, and no major issues with each other. My main regret is having been overly harsh in the past. I just cringe at the leash pops it took to get (super sweet)Sara to heel and remind myself that feeling guilty doesn’t change anything. Doing it better does.

    And I try to say ‘bad word!’ or if extremely irritated ‘very bad words!’ at work. But at home I can relax and drop f-bombs when needed. In a very sweet voice. Or not, like when I found the ponies had finagled half a bale of hay into reach yesterday. Barbequed pony, anyone?

  11. Trini says

    I’m madly in love with my dog – she’s not for everyone, she’s dog-dog reactive and definitely opinionated and more than a little bit bossy as well – but it’s like someone took half of me and stuffed it into a furry 50 pound body. I’ve learned SO much about dogs and training (which has indirectly taught me how to be better with people as well) and I wouldn’t have made that journey without her. She’s my soulmate dog and I can’t imagine being closer to another dog – we were fortunate in that I was a student the first 4 years of her life, so we got to spend all sorts of time together.

    We have another dog in the house, a perfectly nice goldendoodle who wouldn’t harm a fly. He’s about the easiest dog you can imagine – he’ll lay around on the couch for a week straight if that’s what you’re doing, or he’ll merrily go on 3-day hikes. He aims to please but isn’t in your face. I mean, he’d be great for just about anyone. And still, it took me over 2 years to finally feel like I loved this dog, and in the end, I think my love for him is based on the fact that he is probably the only dog who could live in the same house as my own dog without causing WWIII.

    It’s weird, isn’t it, which dogs capture your heart?

  12. Alexandra says

    What a wonderful topic! It is also one with which I can really identify. For my first dog I wanted a happy, sociable hiking companion who would play fetch, swim, and go to family social events with me. What I got was Izzy, a fear-reactive, undersociaized, possibly abused lab mix who hates the water, is totally unreliable off leash while hiking, and skipped the chapter in the Labrador handbook about retrieving.

    Definitely NOT the dog I wanted. But, after owning her for six years now I have realized that she was the dog I needed.

    Izzy and I have had some rough times, but I am so grateful for everything she has taught me. Learning how to help her and make her safe to take out in public opened up an entire world of dig behavior, training and dog-human relationship that I would never have known was out there if not for her.

    I was able to apply everything I learned from owning Izzy to selecting and raising my second dog, Copper. So, I think Izzy is also to thank for what a wonderful dog Copper has become.

  13. Alexandra says

    Sorry for the typos. It is weird which dogs capture your heart, Trini. I forgot to add that Izzy taught me a lot about love. It took me a long time to feel like I really loved her, in large part because she gave nothing back to me for so long. When trust finally started to come, it was very gradual and subtle. Copper is different; it was literally love at first sight for both of us and I absolutely adore him. To be honest we are probably a bit codependent. I like to say that Izzy is the one with the dignity between my two dogs. At this point in her life she seems to be able to be independent without being completely aloof anymore, which is still much less interaction than I would like, but I understand now that it is just her way and personality.

  14. Kerry L. says

    Alice, my first dog (ACD mix), turned out to be a good match because she was so even tempered, easy going and very tolerant of my mistakes. She loved obedience classes so that allowed me time to learn from the trainers at our school. With Walter I’ve had to work harder to make it a match. The obedience school trainers had warned me that corgis are not small dogs, but big dogs with short legs. Because he is more reactive and not nearly as easy-going as Alice, I truly wondered for the first few months, if adopting him had been a mistake. The match works now because, at my core, I am a very disciplined person (Walter grew up in a home with several small children and was given up because he just ran wild) so even though Walter doesn’t enjoy the structure and discipline of obedience classes, I’ve created a structured and disciplined environment for him, at home and at work, where he knows what to expect and what’s expected of him. Within that structure he is happy, easy-going and a great cuddler.

  15. Joan says

    I have a great rescued brittany which I got from ABR, but my daughter read about a dog on Craig’s list that was going to be euthanized the next day etc. so of course this pulled at daughter’s heart strings and she drove a zillion miles to get this dog. (the ethics of this bother me a bit. On the one hand it worked by bringing to light the reality of the daily death in many of the shelters, and people need to be aware of that, on the other hand because it personalized it, it took advantage of my daughters emotions and made this less than a rational adoption.) Anyway after her coat grew out and she got some meat on her bones, scruffy looking dog turned out to be a roti-mix. She is a nice dog but the wrong dog for daughter who works a lot and lives in an apartment. Worse of all, dog has strong prey drive and has killed two cats, the most recent being one of ours who had the audacity to hiss in her face. So my question is what do you do when you have the “wrong” dog and its large and black to boot. “No kill” shelters are full and do not want to take owner surrenders, I agree that people should not discard dogs casually but sometimes it is the wrong match. How much do you ethically owe it to the dog to work with it? I’ve read about the lengths some people go to for their dogs, but in all honesty I’m not sure I would. Most trainers charge a lot, and they deserve it, but people on limited incomes cannot afford them. I do need to say that the dog has made great progress over the year, and daughter loves her a lot. But dog, (not daughter,) is no longer welcome here, we still have one remaining cat.

  16. Denise says

    It’s undeniable that a good match is crucial but it’s not necessarily obvious right away whether a dog/human team is a good match. And good matches may sometimes be developed with time and effort. At the very top top top of my list of things I never ever wanted was a nervous, reactive dog. Hate ‘em. Can’t bear them. Will never never NEVER own one!!!! Told the breeder that, many times. She assured me this pup’s parents were lovely, mellow dogs and this pup was the same. My first dog from her was a wonderful, socially savvy sweetheart who loved everyone and everything. “Not” is an understatement with this boy. He’s hypervigilent, clinically anxious and socially awkward (yes, all intertwined, I know now.) He has been the most difficult dog I have ever lived with, scaring me, embarrasing me, frustrating me to tears again and again. Sometimes I almost hated him. I’ve spent untold dollars on books, behaviorists, trainers and hours upon hours working with him. For almost five years now. It’s been a rugged journey and my learning “curve” was nearly vertical but know what? When I look at him now, sprawled on a chair, watching me for cues, he melts my heart. When I tell him he’s “the best boy ever” it’s not sarcasim – I mean it. Don’t care who you are, you don’t have a better dog than I do. He may be hypervigilent and anxious but he’s also incredibly smart, inventive, funny and yes, sweet. Every day of anguish and frustration has been worth it in spades. He has truly become my “heart” dog, something I would have sworn could never happen. Would I take on another pup like him? Hmmmm. I wouldn’t say no categorically but let’s leave it at not likely. On the other hand, I might be missing something truly wonderful if I took the easy route. I’d have to consider that very carefully before making a decision.

  17. says

    When my soul-dog Cindy died I was heartbroken. Fast forward a few months, when I went to the local shelter in search of (literally!) replacement. I found Kelsie. She was a doberman-shepherd mix that had some resemblance with the dog I had just lost and who I loved more than life itself.
    Kelsie seemed what the doctor ordered for my broken heart. NOT ! ! ! This dog cost me years of my life. Poor thing – she was supposed to be euthanized the day I adopted her and her life must have been hell before I got her. She was the most nervous and neurotic dog I had ever experienced. She had to be tranquilized if you wanted to take her on a trip by car. Cars made her nervous beyond belief and she drooled like a faucet from beginning to end and her character and temperament were anything but pleasant. I worked with her for more than three years and when she attempted to put an end to my other dog’s life, I knew I had to find a new home for her and I did.
    I packed her up and took her all the way from VA to MN where she still lives on a 100 acre horse farm with a dear friend of mine and has found her calling in harrassing the local coyotes and other forms of wildlife coming into the horse pastures. That dog made me cry on a daily basis, because she seemed to be so learning resistant. She went through the motions of obedience and knew all the exercises required to pass a CDX. However – she was “useless” for daily life and mostly a danger to herself and other dogs. I never gave up on a dog before and I hopefully never will have to give up on another ever again, but I was at the end of my wits with this one. She trusted no one and I never trusted her either. Not a good basis for a successful relationship . . .

    My little puppymill rescue is a challenge too, but manageable. She seems a bit mentally handicapped and has the hardest of times to learn new things. She is a prime example for doggy development gone wrong. She is missing many stages of puppy development and social skills, but is trying to fit in. It took more than three years to get to the point where she starts to trust me. (But only, if I lay flat on the floor. Standing is not an option) It took almost two years to get her housebroken and what seems easy for every dog to do, is hard for her. I love her more each day and I love her just the way she is. She somehow reminds me of a somewhat tamed wild animal and I have no problem with that kind of mind set. I can work with that. :)

    I have three dogs. Two are rescues and one I had from the start. What a difference and what a joy it is, to shape one’s own dog from the beginning and not having to patch together those fallen apart little souls that other people leave behind with shattered minds and often injured bodies.
    Rescues will always be a big part of my dog owning life, but occasionally I treat myself to a puppy from a reputable breeder. It does wonders for one’s sanity. :)

  18. says

    As always, a wonderful topic. A little over six years ago I was looking to bring a dog into my lonely home. My husband had just passed away at the ripe old age of 47 and I was looking for some companionship. I was tired of coming home to an empty house. I wanted someone to greet me when I walked in the door. I wanted a dog.

    I’d never owned a dog before. I had some idea of what I wanted and what I didn’t want. Like others have commented, I made list. Then I went online and found the myriad of online dog matching services. I must have taken at least a dozen surveys and each and every one of them came back with Italian Greyhound. OK – I’d never even HEARD of an Italian Greyhound, but they looked interesting and they certainly met all of my criteria. I started doing more research, contacted the breed club, went to dog shows and met dozens of breeders. The whole process took about 6 months.

    Am I happy with my choice? Unequivocally yes! I now have three of them (they really are like potato chips – you can’t have just one). They are the perfect breed FOR ME. I know they’re not the perfect breed for everyone. I’m very glad I took the time to do the research or else I’d have never known about this lovely breed. Do I love other breeds? Most certainly. I think Border Collies are the bees knees (we do agility so we meet a lot of them). But could I live with one? No way! :-)

    I’m glad that there are more Matching Services available. To have resources such as the one mentioned in the post available at shelters would be a dream come true.

  19. Mary Beth says

    This is my personal mission statement that is the driving force behind the work I do as an animal control officer, which I think is very much summed up by this topic! So many dogs end up in the shelter where we are given the duty of finding the right match. By the way, my coon hound puppy only had one potential adopter before I took him home….a lady with two kids under the age of 6 who wanted a dog that would hang close to home and be quiet. A coonhound?! This dog sings to the heavens in my yard every night, races around my three fenced acres, and uses up every bit of patience I have, but I adore him! Now to the mission:
    Once someone said to me, upon listening to my ad lib voice-overs that I was giving to a group of horses that we were watching at play, “You know, I never knew that horses had personalities, but now I can see that they do!”

    My mission is not to anthropomorphize animals or to falsely project any human trait upon them. Rather, my mission is to reduce the overpopulation and the dumping of animals at shelters and rescues by sharing the beauty of each animal’s individual persona with the world. If people can be taught to treasure each animal for its personality, whether its wild, feral or domestic, whether couch potato or chained, mutt or champion; perhaps then people won’t be so quick to abandon, abuse or neglect the lives of the animals around them.

    My mission is to share my “tricks of the trade.” To teach people ways to better the lives of their pets and to better the lives of the pet owners through behavior modification and training. Each pet I’ve owned has shared new lessons with me. I wish to share those gifts with as many people as I can. To prevent life’s hard knocks through shared knowledge. I realized this after I noticed that the rescued animals that most upset me were the ones that were the easiest to train. These ones often came into the shelter with a bad habit, but it was incredibly stupidly easy to fix it. Instead of being relieved at the ease of the solution, I was doubly mad that the owners hadn’t handled it themselves. It’s easy to understand when a tough to train animal is turned over to the pros. It’s hard to understand when the easy ones are dumped. Perhaps that’s a message I need to understand. The ones that seem easy to me to fix must have seemed impossible to live with to the person who dumped their problem on to the shelter. May I find a way to intercede.

  20. says

    my blue heeler is pretty indifferent to other dogs despite his helping me train shelter dogs and having had various foster dogs over the years, but he was smitten by a stray that showed up. She was a 10 year old border collie heeler mix spayed female. She was the same age, height, and weight as my heeler, and they were like an old married couple together. She was however much smarter or at least, more ambitious than he was and would open the front door, liberating both of them and open drawers in the kitchen. We adored her and planned on keeping her after posting signs everywhere and alerting the animal shelter and not getting any response. She kept getting all excited in the car about 4 miles from my house. I did some sleuthing and sure enough she belonged there. The owner didn’t bother to look for her because she thought the dog wandered off to die. So my poor little heeler lost the love of his neutered little life.They sure were cute together while it lasted

  21. Kristy says

    Sabine and Joan
    I feel your pain. I have a sinking feeling creep up on me when working with Otter at times. I have always been a model pet owner. I am very active in a local rescue organization for my other pets. I have never had issues with doubt in the past with any pet.

    What do you do if you are in a wrong match type situation? Otter’s rescue wants nothing to do with us or him. He is a Pit mix. He has anxiety problems, OCD type behaviors, best as an only dog, and food aggression-he is only managable on medication. BUT he is smart as a whip, sweet, and wants to please so badly but he just keeps REALLY messing up even in controlled situations that are set up for him to win. He is out of options if I “give up”. If I do “give up”, what about getting another dog in time? I don’t want to be black listed in my next search for a lovable mutt by rescues and shelters.

    I feel like you, Trisha, in your description of the dog that pushed your buttons. I often find Otter just rubs me the wrong way and I have to take a step back to deal with him so I don’t react badly. I see a good dog in there, but it so rarely gets to shine.

  22. says

    I actually do offer this service, free of charge, to potential clients. In Las Vegas, pet overpopulation is an understatement. The pet stores run rampant, good breeders are few and far between, and many people buy the “trendy” dog on impulse. Our local SPCA has a humane education program that is gaining speed, and that is starting to help.

  23. KateH says

    I have been pretty fortunate with the dogs we have, most of whom I have chosen – or they chose me and it took me a while to figure out they were smarter than me in making the decision. The first dog was a HBC, brought to me and after a bath, and some food, a small sparkle appeared in her eyes, and while she was most definitely not the greyhound we were planning on (an AmEskimo/Lab/maybe Husky mix), there was no way I wasn’t sure she was perfect for us – which I know she was hoping for right from the start. I think she could have been perfect for a lot of other people too – she was super friendly with other dogs, and friendly with calm, quit-spoken people, didn’t really resource-guard (barked at other dogs who took ‘her’ toys), and was easy to train and remember commands we didn’t work on way down the line. She also stood and let me clip her nails as a demo dog (she was so perfect, they were all white!), and even let me deal with fatty pustules as she got older.

    With the exception of a couple dogs I found and helped along to a chance at better places, the other two dogs I found on the streets have been almost as good as the first. They’re both more dog-aggressive, and one of them bit several other dogs of ours over the years, but since her good qualities outweigh her bad, she stayed and we’re glad. The second stray became my heart dog, even though I was trying to place him, and it wasn’t until I’d found a home that *I* would have liked to have been a dog in, and he emphatically said “No, it’s YOU I want to stay with” (by trying to go through their picture window as I walked to my car), that I realized what he’d known from the instant he looked at me in the rear view mirror.

    However, one of the dogs we have now is a dog I wouldn’t have picked. My friend did, and while the two of them are good pals (he just wants a dog that is happy when he’s around), if my friend had (dog-forbid) died, I would have tried to find another home for him. The sad thing is that he’s not a bad dog. He’s just the stupidest dog I’ve ever known, and he’s clumsier than a teenage boy. He’s run into and over older dogs, causing them pain, and it’s hard to forgive him, even though I know he doesn’t mean to do it. He’s bruised me many times, in many places with his rearing and whirling antics, and he’s impossible to pill. (He has a horrible overbite and a serious dent in his skull, so maybe people messing with his mouth when he was a puppy ingrained his response to trying to do anything with his jaws – and the dent may have something to do with his brainless actions.) He does have two advantages, though, now that the first dog has passed on. Like her, he can curl into a small spot and share a couch very nicely, and I can walk him with other dogs without having any issues. In fact, he has to be walked with other dogs so he doesn’t panic at traffic and other ‘weird’ things, even though he’s ten and I’ve introduced him to many, many things. He just doesn’t remember and needs another dog to show him there’s nothing to panic over. All in all, it’s probably best he’s with us, because I know many, many people who would have taken him back after a week.

  24. says

    I either adapt well, or have gotten very lucky to acquire dogs that suite me well. :o) I am fairly horrible in that I generally get my dogs on a whim. Dog #1 probably had the most thought put into it, simply because I had to wait two days to bring him home from the Humane Society while they did the background check (I applied for him on a Saturday). I darn near backed out in those two days out of fear, but thankfully I went forward and he is the best dog ever. I absolutely got lucky with him, because I really didn’t know much about training dogs at the time and more or less trained him like one of my horses. lol

    Dog number two…. I didn’t meet him until I met the breeder at the airport to pick him up. I had told her what kind of dog I was looking for, but (bless her soul) she really didn’t know a thing about dog agility or the type of personality I was looking for. Kaiser is an Alaskan Klee Kai, and IMO this is not a breed for everyone. They certainly come with their challenges! I definitely think I adapted to Kaiser more so than him immediately gelling with my wants/needs. I always said I would never own a dog you can’t trust off leash and a bazillion hours of training later, the agility ring is still the only time the little turd is off leash.

    Dog number three was a complete whim. I found her on the Border Collie rescue site on a Thursday, met her on Saturday after a dog show and picked her up at the end of the day Sunday. TOTALLY not prepaired…. She’s also my very first girl, and I was honestly scared to death about taking that leap (in addition to owning my first BC, something I’ve wanted for well over a year).

    In my search for the “perfect” Border Collie, I researched several different breeders and had visions of getting to pick from a litter after doing puppy tests, etc. I expected to know the full history behind both parents to have somewhat of an idea what I was getting into. With my girl, Secret, this is ALL unknown and I feel rather like I jumped into the ocean without a raft. I have no idea what to expect as she grows up!

    Maybe I’m just a sucker, but I was a puddle of mush for her by day two. They say that being around puppies releases hormones similar to what new moms feel. I’m not a “kid person” and can’t speak for that, but I know I’m dearly attached to all three of my furkids. There has to be something hormonal involved.

    That said, there are definitely breeds I know I would never, ever be able to live with. With those particular breeds, I don’t think that even puppy hormones could reel me in. :o) I would have zero interest in raising a Golden Retriever or Lab, for instance. They drive me nuts.

  25. Liz F. says

    The Unabridged Story of Nala aka How Good Things Come In Deceptive Keeshond Packages

    I looked for a second dog to add to our home for about six months. I surfed rescue websites daily, met dogs when appropriate, and honed in on what was going to work for us. I was pretty surprised by my ability to be discerning amongst so many dogs in need, meeting several without taking any home.
    One day, a litter of Keeshond mix puppies appeared on the local humane society

  26. JJ says

    Like a previous poster, I did the research and made reasonable lists of “must haves” and “can’t haves”. I settled on a Great Dane as the breed. At one point, I tried to adopt an unwanted, adult Great Dane from a reputable breeder. I said I wanted a dog-park dog and one who was friendly to people. The breeder told me that a Great Dane was not the breed for me. Based on all my research, contact with many Great Danes at dog parks, and my own experience with my own Great Dane who I got from a pound instead of her, the breeder was totally wrong.

    That experience along with some stories I have heard about people trying to adopt dogs from our local pound are what makes me a bit nervous about the idea of matching dogs to people. It sounds so great in theory. But it’s obviously not a science. If I had listened to that expert, I would not have gotten the dog of my dreams, the PERFECT dog for me. What happens if a pound has a program like this and enforces their opinion on a prospective owner who knows otherwise? Just something to think about. If you have such a program, is it offered as a wonderful service, or does it turn into a binding screening tool?

    I also have to say that despite my lists and careful thoughts over months of time, I wasn’t entirely accurate. On the “can’t have” list, I had originally included: “not a big big drooler”. In the end, I knew that Duke was going to be a drooler, but I got him anyway. And guess what happened? It turns out I don’t really care about that after all. Duke has so much else going for him, I didn’t end up minding washing drool marks off the tops of the walls, the furniture, my clothing (how does he manage to get me just before work when I’m wearing my very best?!?), etc., etc., etc.

    For the record, the rest of the items on those two lists were accurate in terms of what was important to me and what I luckily ended up getting. :-)

  27. Mihaela says

    Trisha, you are darn right and in more than one way. For instance, it’s not just the personality that has to match but also the level of activity of the owner and the dog. So many people go for one look or another when they pick dogs, but don’t bother to think about the compatibility of their level of energy and that of the dog.
    I was thinking about this the other day at the dog park, while watching this young boxer that was running around like a lunatic who has also just taken a hit of speed (by the way, I also witnessed a very hard and audible muzzle punch that he delivered to this other dog that he was trying to entice into playing with him). And then I thought about this couple that I know, the nicest sweetest people in the world, but somewhat on the heavy side and quite the antithesis of active sportsy people. The wife loves boxers and wouldn’t have any other kind of dog. But the last one they had ate pretty much all the important parts of their dining room furniture and destroyed so much more in the house, that her husband wouldn’t let her have any dogs for now (the furniture eater has sadly died of a tumor). Sounds like a lot of re-directed excess energy… Match-makers could definitely help with advice in that direction, too!

  28. Shalea says

    Trish, are you familiar with the ASPCA’s “Meet Your Match” program ? http://www.aspca.org/adoption/meet-your-match/

    I was “lucky” in that I was out of work for a while when I began seriously thinking about what I wanted for my first dog as an adult, so I had plenty of time to research. I ended up with a greyhound, and the only point of incompatibility with that first dog was that he was pretty physically aloof.

    After we lost him and before we adopted our current boy, I had opportunity to keep a friend’s keeshond for several days. Although she was a very civilised little dog (had both manners and competition obedience training), her activity level and volume reminded me why I chose a greyhound in the first place. :)

    She did highlight for me that I was ready to adopt again, so I had my current boy just a few weeks after she went home. He’s again, almost perfect – he’s much cuddlier than my first ‘hound – but he does have the drawback that he’s also much more opinionated. He’s also, three years later at the age of nearly five, almost completely blind, which has posed its own challenges but nothing that his intelligence and sweet temperament haven’t made completely manageable.

  29. says

    I am currently working my fifth Seeing Eye Dog. We don’t get to pick our dogs, though we can give input into what kind of dog we would like each time we return to the school.

    The matching process is part science, and mostly art.

    I have had two matches that were the right dog at the right time in my life; two where the dogs an I made the match work; and two that were not good matches.

    I love the idea of a “Canine match making service.”

    Five of my matches have been Labs, and one was a German Shepherd. I learned that I’m not a “Shepherd,” person. I love the Lab desire to please, and their temprament. To me they epitomise the old Tom Paxton song, “Home To Me Is Anywhere You are.”

    I’ve learned what I can tolerate in a guide, what I need, and what i won’t accept. I don’t mind the Lab’s food orientation, I won’t abide vocalising in my guides, (because I’m in public a good deal) and I need a dog that can problem solve and make decisions, while at the same time being sensitive to my commands.

    Everyone has their “drop dead,” lines in the sand.

    I’ve also learned that what I may want, isn’t always what I need.

    With each dog, I learn more about myself. My dogs have been some of my best teachers.

    This is a great topic!

  30. JJ says

    I also wanted to comment on the part of the blog post concerning finding matches for our dogs to play with too. I’ve noticed this from the beginning of getting my dog. Duke is so happy when we go to the dog park and he finds “his kind of dog”. It doesn’t matter how many dogs are present at the dog park, Duke is going to be bored or perhaps a bit sad if there are not any play buddies that match his style.

    What is interesting to me is how often the match seems (to me) to be an instant hit or miss. Duke usually plays very quietly. Even though he is a tugging-fiend, he doesn’t play growl. He rarely does any wrestling type of playing. Dogs who try to engage Duke in wresting usually find Duke moving away from them. Often he tries to hide behind me. Quite a feat for a Great Dane.

    I remember one time being at the dog park and Duke started really wrestling hard with an English Mastiff–within about a second of meeting the guy. Duke also started vocalizing like he was tearing the other guy’s throat out. It was fairly scary. But two things prevented me from full panic. 1) I had heard Duke make those noises and play like that before when he was playing with his very best friend. Though that was a dog Duke had known for a long time. 2) When I looked at the owner of the Mastiff, she didn’t appear to be concerned at all.

    And sure enough, they were perfectly fine, palling around and doing all the right things that friendly dogs do.

    Other times, I’ve seen Duke run up happily to a pair of medium sized young dogs who were wrestling and having fun. With loose body, and quick play bow, Duke would get close to the dogs and try to join in. And without fail – they either totally stop (because, gosh, that’s a giant monster) or totally ignore him. No playmates there. Poor Duke.

    I love the picture of Willy with his friend. I noticed Willie’s eyes right off. It is clearly love. But I had fun asking myself why I was so sure it was an adoring look on Willie’s face and not whale eye. Did I think that just because of your description of the pair? Or is there more in the picture to make me think that? It was a fun exercise.

  31. says

    Thanks so much, Trisha, for the mention on the blog; we are huge, huge fans of your blog and your work.

    We’ve been enjoying reading the comments and love Michelle’s idea of asking people:

    1. Things they absolutely have to have in a dog.

    2. Things they absolutely could NOT deal with in a dog.

    3. Things they think they could bend on or would be willing to work on with a dog.

    We hope you don’t mind if we borrow this and add it to our intake form.

    We do want to clarify the services we provide.

    We are a non-profit and, although we have a suggested donation, much of the work we do is pro bono (and we never ask for anything from the shelters and rescues). We came up with this idea of matchmaking because we often encountered families who had rescued a dog that ended up being the wrong dog for their household. Our heart went out to both these families and dogs, for neither was to blame. The problem was that they had been mismatched. These dogs sometimes ended up going back to the shelter or rescue, the result being a heartbroken family and dog. Mutt Match developed out of the desire to get families to think more reflectively and deeply about their decision, to give them the opportunity to meet a number of dogs and for them to choose a dog, with the support and advice of foster families, shelters, rescues, and Mutt Match. The “match” is made between the families and the dog, and that moment is every bit as magical as one can imagine. That’s the moment that makes our work so rewarding. We want to help families who want to rescue but feel uncertain. These families, with support, can still find their “mutt match.” Our primary goal is to get more people to consider rescuing a dog, and for the “match” to be a lasting one, so dogs don’t “bounce back” into the rescues or shelters.

    The love for dogs that shines through Trisha’s blogs and all its readers is so inspiring. What a joy it is to read these stories and for there to be such a supportive space to share them. Thanks, Trisha, and thanks Trisha’s fans for all the great comments.

    Meg Boscov & Liz Maslow

  32. Trisha says

    Good question JJ: I think the “eye on the prize” to Willie is getting ahead of Mishka. He may love her, but mostly, when they are playing, he wants to get in front and then, AH HA!, stop Mishka from moving forward. She tolerates that to some extent, but sometimes charges him, teeth displayed, and he goes all spaniel face and backs up, then starts another round of let’s race! Interesting point about attributions: I didn’t think I was describing adoration when I wrote what I did, but when I go back and read it I see how it easily could be interpreted that way. Oh, the limits of language!

  33. Elizabeth says

    What a great concept. So often people pick dogs by what they look like – “101 Dalmations” and “Babe” led to a lot of unhappy dogs and people, I think. I admit we did that with our first dog – my husband saw a picture of a Komondor and that’s what he wanted. She was a great dog, but definitely NOT a city dog and way too much for first dog owners to handle (fortunately for us she had a very sweet temperament and put up with us.) I then got a golden retriever because everything I’d heard made me think they were perfect for me…NOT. She drove me nuts, eating everything she could get her mouth on (including dog poop), shedding everywhere. But another sweet dog. Third dog was a rescue mutt from an aboriginal reserve, who at age two became completely unpredictable with other dogs (except our golden). Wonderful with people, and in her old age a perfect dog (as long as we stayed away from other dogs). We just kept getting it wrong. Now we have Daisy, 11 months old, 1/2 standard poodle, 1/4 golden retriever, 1/4 Wheaten, genetically shy…and she is our soul dog. We had no idea she was shy and it’s opened a whole new area of dog ownership to us (and introduced us to positive and clicker training). She is absolutely perfect for us other than her shyness…and I can’t see any way we could have predicted this. How would we ever be able to replace her? I don’t think it’s as simple as saying “this is the breed for me”- which of the three breeds is it that Daisy is showing signs of that fit with us? Or is it this particular mix, or her particular parents? There must be dogs with the same genetic makeup that wouldn’t be compatible – I’ve heard of lots of doodles who are high strung, etc… I’ve known laid back goldens and insane goldens… I guess I’ll just put it down to karma and enjoy the coming years we have with Daisy.

  34. says

    So interesting! I work with A LOT of dogs on a daily basis and some of them I simply adore, while others really irk me. My dogs, though they both do irritating things, rarely tick me off. They are border collies so a lot of their strange behaviors (Kelso’s light obsession, Idgie’s business) irriate other people, but since I am so enamored with this breed, and with my dogs in general, they don’t bug me at all. I have often had clients matched poorly with their dogs, and vice versa, and it really is a sad situation. You can modify behavior, but you can’t make the dog someone he is not.
    Keep the pictures of Willie and Mishka coming, my BC bitch is IN LOVE with my friend’s red dobe boy, and he with her. They are both intact, and we joke about the super-breed that would take over the universe….Borderman Pollies.

  35. Laurie says

    I’m wondering if we can ever really know what a dog will be like in a new environment. I have seen dogs whose behavior completely changed with a new home or just being out of a shelter situation. I adopted a Shepherd/Akita mix after she had been given up three times. I was warned about her seperation anxiety ( she destroyed an entire room of furniture) and supposedly she killed a cat. In the three years she has been with us we haven’t seen any of those problems. The cats like to cuddle up with her and I haven’t seen any seperation anxiety. We did, however, discover a counter surfing issue . She isn’t perfect but she comes very close.

  36. Amy W. says

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I volunteer at a dog shelter, and people frequently ask me how can you do it, don’t you want to bring all the dogs home with you? Honestly, no. There are some dogs I am more than willing to help take care of, and I sincerely hope they find a good, loving home, but I don’t want to bring them home with me. And it definitely has to do with the personality of the dog. After thinking about it, maybe the dogs feel the same way – some dogs from our initial meeting are indifferent towards me – they are happy to be out of their cage and will go on a walk with me, but they aren’t really interested in me – I am just any bi-ped at ‘the other end of the leash’ (sorry, I just couldn’t resist).

  37. Liz says

    My very first dog was a greyhound, a rescued racer. He had come in dead last in each race he had. The day we picked him up he was terrified, dirty and skinny. He blessed our house for 12 years. There is no other way to describe him but as the perfect gentleman. I had to wait a year after losing him to even think about another dog. I have another retired racer now but during that year I fell in love with some Borzoi’s I met. At the same time we got our new rescue we added a 5 month old Borzoi. She drives me crazy sometimes but she is pure joy. I have never met a happier,sweeter dog. However the research I did on the breed and the trainers that I spoke with kept telling me that these dogs are on the lowest rung of the canine intelligence ladder. In general I now just shrug it off knowing what I value in her is not measured that way. But it did give me pause when I was looking for dogs. With our relationships with people and our animals sometimes we just have to follow our heart.

  38. Pike says

    After traveling a couple of weeks in Europe, I am thrilled to come back to these fascinating threads about frustration in dog training and how important it is to be have compatible dogs and owners.

    My previous dogs and I have been good matches out of sheer luck. Actually, my last hound mix Megan was my once-in-a-lifetime dog and, naturally, the frustration level was very low then. It is now, with my current hound mix Ronja that things have become frustrating more often. Which seems to make it doubly frustrating because I know so much more about dog training now than I did then.

    I don

  39. says

    Mutt Match — please do use it! It was very helpful in finding our perfect dog and if it’s helpful for others, that’s wonderful!

  40. says

    This is an interesting topic- and all the great stories in reply! I love Australian Shepherds, and can’t really imagine having another breed of dog. But each one is so different and some of them really match my personality and some don’t. Last year I sold one dog that I had trained and trialed through advanced level stock work. As much as I loved working with him and as good as he was at his job, I could barely stand him in the house- not because he was badly behaved but just something about him. Yet he was desperate for companionship and could not be a kennel dog. The person who got him is very happy, Kip gets to herd all kinds of animals on a large farm and they are great buddies. Sometimes there is a better place for a dog than the original home.

  41. JJ says

    Trisha: Thank you for the clarification.

    Given Lassie’s situation right now, I don’t expect this posting to get read or responded to. I just wanted to write it out while I still remembered.

    I just finished watching your video on dog play this weekend. As usual with your videos, I enjoyed it. One part really stuck with me, because it resonates with this blog post and my own dilemma. In the video, you wondered how important it might be to have on-going dog friends for our dogs as opposed to always meeting new dogs at say the dog park. You said that Willie’s best friend had moved away and you were looking for another on-going play mate. I wonder if you found such a friend for Willie? Perhaps the dog pictured on this blog?

    I’m in the same situation with Duke. We used to get together every week with Duke’s best friend, Tux, and his human – until they moved out of state. That was a *year* ago, and I have yet to find a replacement – though not for lack of trying. Here is what makes it difficult:

    1) You have to find dog(s) that are a good match for your dog(s). Not always so easy.

    2) You have to find a good human match for yourself. That’s important also – at least up to a point. I don’t need a new BFF. However, I’m going to be spending a fair amount of time talking to this human. I need to be able to relate and enjoy the human to some degree. Or at least not have it be a personality that rubs me wrong.

    3) The human must have somewhat similar ideas on how to raise a dog and what type of play is acceptable. I’m not going to sweat the small stuff, but if our ideas are vastly different, I’m not going to feel comfortable letting Duke play with the other dog or would get too depressed watching another dog be treated in a way I think is bad.

    4) The schedules have to match up. So that we can actually get together.

    5) We have to have similar ideas of what constitutes a fun play date. When I take Duke out for a one-on-one play date with a dog, it is not about having two dogs in the living room or someone’s back yard. I want to go on a walk in the country or something like that. Tux’s human liked the same thing. If I found someone who didn’t like physical exercise or couldn’t do it, that wouldn’t really work out for Duke and I.

    That’s a tough list. I didn’t realize how good I had it until we lost Tux and his human. I hope you have found something that works for you and Willie.

  42. Ed says

    I’ve been very lucky with a couple of dogs, so I guess it’s okay that I ended up with a dog who flunked out of rescue. She has many fine qualities, and couple of serious issues. Ironically, one of my reasons for fostering rescues was to find an ideal dog. The best laid plans…

    On the other hand, I’ve seen some great matches with less reactive fosters and am very impressed by how well some rescue and shelter workers steer people to the right dog.

  43. Ann W in PA says

    I decided to adopt an Australian Cattle Dog after years of deliberation. Rowdy is opportunistic, rather a bully, requires generous mental and physical exercise, and thinks

  44. says

    Just found your website. I’m fascinated by your “naughty words” comment. We have a border collie, Bree. She is quite timid and much like myself. We didn’t get her as a pup and so we sometimes wonder if some of her traits are learned or taught. If my husband swears she jumps up on him (front legs only) and tries to “get him to calm down”. Or it gets her excited. We aren’t sure. My husband always figured she had been taught it but I suspected she is just reacting to his anger. Anyway, we didn’t know that this was a border collie thing. She is constantly impressing me with what she knows and how she works out a way to get what she wants!

  45. Ellen says

    So true. I am an English Springer Spaniel, my husband is a golden retriever. We own an older golden and two springers. The springers, especially when they are young and full of trouble, drive him crazy. I on the other hand am amused by it and enjoy the challenge of training. Our golden, even as a puppy, had an old soul. She came into my life before my husband but even then they would have been a great match.

  46. says

    I love the idea of Mutt Match, that is why I created it two years ago. I have been matching families to dogs and created Mutt Match as a way to help more people. I love that it is catching on like wildfire and hope that there are more places that can offer services like this. There are so many people out there that can be great dog owners if they just get the chance to meet and fall in love with the right dog and shelters have so many of these dogs available.

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