|Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M|
I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
|Barked: Sun Feb 28, '10 9:59pm PST |
|Well this list is great fun for me to do, as Gunner and I have a very similar romantic concept about life with dogs, but coming from different angles....Gunner from the more social sporting dog end, me from the strong character protection breed end. But the romance of it is the same. I also see Gunner as someone ready to explore new canine horizons. She is very doggy and knows quite a lot, but has been having epiphanies....Am Cockers WOW! I didn't know they could be that! Mini Schnauzers WOW! I didn't know they could be that! A year ago she had a total knee jerk response to terriers.....don't even know if you remember that, Gunner .....and now even jokes to herself she might be a terrier person.
Gunner is someone who definitely has a heart breed. Now sometimes, I find a person who says that to be somewhat in delusion....they just simply haven't gotten out there and lived enough, known enough. But for Gunner, I would say that chance has landed her on her heart breed more truly. Even as she matures more, wants "more dog" and has greater training ambitions, she is already on a breed with plenty of room to grow on. At the same time, Gunner also has lived side-by-side with her heart breed and one of the dog world's truly grand characters....aka the Basset Hound, which is the master manipulator a GSP could never be....and so inherently understands how different breeds bring different things to the table that, heart breed or no, brings a breadth to one dog's experiences and opens up doors to other horizons. If you are a dog person, truly passionate about dogs, having other breeds in your life is part of that ultimate adventure.
Gunner is young and I think up for that adventure, and is entering a time when she is primed to enjoy it, so this is a fun adventure for me as well. In a way, doing Gunner is annoying because she is too open minded! That's so....so....sporting breed of her! Too easygoing. Doing Lola will be a whole different trip because she is as catty as the Spoodles she loves. Now SHE has her opinions and snark.
Ultimately, I do question if long term Gunner could appreciate some of the more hyper focused, intense dogs....I think they may come off as too serious, which may translate as unliberated. I have been there, Gunner. A little so with the Germans, where at your age I would stare over at a retriever and wish my dogs could just lighten up a little. You have such a carefree side to your passionately free spirited nature. Not sure that would work for you, or a remarkably hard, testing dog either. Time will tell, but should you want to try that at some point, my advice, much as I was giving to Sachi, was to start with a well matched "interim" breed, one hardER or more intense, but not so removed from the GSP tree...i.e., a dog who can enjoy life....as to land you on so unfamiliar an island.
This is going to be one of the odder breed recommendation lists I have come up with, simply because there are so many ways, so many different reasons, towards which Gunner could shoot. I will give those reasons along with why I feel the breed is a good match. There are breeds who are good interim breeds, breeds whose apple falls close to the GSP/Basset tree, breeds who would be superb "life's adventure" dogs, which she can really grow with, breeds who avail pursuits of training, activities and competitions, although GSPs themselves are very good with that so I haven't dug all that deep for those....a GSP is one of the most flexible and versatile dogs in the world.
There is one breed, though, that does make me smile particularly widely. This is a breed who just by chance seems to mix together so many GSP and Basset qualities; a breed who reminds of Gunner's mom herself a bit, and has a loooong list of things that connect with her. This ALSO is a breed that would press Gunner forward, though, sort of take her to some next level. One that would demand from her a firmer leadership, expose her to just a wee bit of hardness so that she can see how that goes. A breed who training isn't near as easy as a GSP, but not near as impossible as that of someone seduced by an antic-y Basset, and who has enough potential fallouts to demand that Gunner have expectations and good, firm and self assured leader, rather than perpetually indulge herself in something so willing as a GSP, or the shoulder shrugs a Basset is to encourage in an owner. To flex her doggie muscles and press forward her training skills whilst also having a dog she can get such a kick out of as to be having the time of her life. My strongest recommendation is for -
The PETIT BASSET GRIFFON VENDEEN. And come on.....how cute would THAT be as a companion buddy to a GSP! It just craaaazy the amount of trouble the two would get mixed up with! Now Gunner, dear, I know you don't want a mandate from some dog that you need to be in charge, but you have to gain your chops somewhere if you are ever to get a GWP, Rhodesian Ridgeback or something of that ilk, so you might as well give it up and earn your chops on something as enjoyable as THIS. It isn't exhausting with this guys.....just raising them right, being consistent, knowing when you need to set some definite boundaries, and some high spirits can be tolerated. You will enjoy this breed beyond measure. Few manage to combine boisterous, frisky and cheerful on a par with this infectious breed, which is good heart AND big hearted. Always in good humor and always up to something, the PBGV has marvelous social inclination, and is the "happy pants" sort of dog with which you connect so well. But able to kick it, umphy with all they do. They LOVE active and outdoorsy lives, and would be a perfect fit in Gunner's life in that aspect, offering a vibrant companion with great potential for hunting and agility, and a nifty size to fit wherever Gunner might find herself. The passion, vigor and intensity with which they do things, their inexhaustible endurance and physicality, all of these always intermingled with their decidedly infectious charm....totally works. TOTALLY! Resilient enough and welcoming to accept whatever is around them. But, Gunner, they also would demand you step up! It's fine to basically surrender yourself to the fact that Bassets get away with stuff and "dogs being dogs" is a fine thing, but there is a LOT a PBGV can get away with and their version of "dogs being dogs" can hit some rather unacceptable heights. A lover of the master and VERY willing to please, PBGV's are nonetheless strong willed, stubborn, active AND creative. This is a more dominant dog than you are used to. They are true lovers of the master and VERY willing to please, but if you aren't packing, then they aren't listening. They can get tough minded with other dogs IF you let them run a muck (particularly the ladies), have a rather impressive ability at being destructive, they ALWAYS will bark but with no controls will quite frankly never shut up, they will dig a trench in your backyard, and not give a hoot about your opinions if they feel they rule the roost. A natural ham who is somewhat bossy, rather mischievous and always happy, they will thrive with the outdoorsy leanings you have to offer, but they will need you to be the take charge part of the relationship if you want them to be responsible members of your society. If you can get yourself there, this is a highly trainable dog with amazing vigor and reliability, life is always a party and adventure with them. And they'll let you know if being firm and consistent and having those regular expectations upon a dog is a place you long term want to be.
The PBGV is definitely the breed I recommend to you when you are ready to take something on that will flex your muscles a bit. See how you go with a stronger willed breed while at the same time having a breed that is almost a guaranteed thrill fest for you. BUT, that's a lot of dog, a lot of happy chaos. At this time in your life, what might suit you more is something sweetly companionable perhaps. Something more easily managed, and something, too, that is nice to come home to when you are stressed and fed up, or to console you when you are feeling lonely and getting dragged down by all that yucko responsible adult stuff. I am not going to be your shrink as well , but that is fun....fun and appropriate for you to think about. And yet a dog who could fulfill all these sides to you that you have referred to dogs to fulfill. That can still be up for those adventures, have just as much passion, umph and awesomeness. Those are there too. Here are the best o' them.
AMERICAN COCKER SPANIEL. Of course, you have had your "aha" Cocker moment, so there is much that you get. Their amazing cheerfulness, and their passion and boisterousness as well. What I can tell you too, Gunner, are the things about Cockers you may not know. They really are as a retreat....some perfect landscape you can escape to. That is full of joy, passion, sweetness and frolic....a perfect place of innocence. No breed rivals the American Cocker in this regard. The passion and umphy joy with which they do things, coupled with their cheerful natures is like no place else. And when what you want to do is have those intimate, peaceful moments, they are amazing lap dogs. Now for you and who you are, I would highly recommend that you get a buff, or the darker red, who in the breed are known as the "silly wildmen"....just about your speed, right? They are the ones focused most upon by those who are working the Am Cocker out in the field....drive-y and intense is WELL within their vocabulary. They are fieldy by nature and a more umphy version. The Cocker challenges you will face, ones that are off your normal, are that, firstly, they are heaps more sensitive than the breeds you are most comfortable with. "Ugly" stresses them out. They must be trained positively and with affirmation. Socialized regularly and well. Do that, and they are a highly trainable dog. They love agility, can do well in obedience and, as noted, the buffs are outdoorsy and fieldy. Secondly, there is some propensity towards separation anxiety, so if your schedule changes to where they will be alone a bit, that is something you need to be dedicated to - keeping them well managed enough to where they can stomach alone time successfully. You WOULD need to be more of a mom to an Am Cocker, but you, like me, would be too enraptured to care.
Another fine choice for you would be the MINIATURE SCHNAUZER. Now of course, like the Am Cocker, another breed that gave you an "aha" moment. Minis truly are one of the finest breeds on earth. They are cheerful, witty, social, "up for it," loyal and always bright, and just brilliantly, BRILLIANTLY adaptable and resilient. If in your life stage you envision doing well with a strong emotional connection and dependency, an Am Cocker is the way to go. In that relationship, you will find yourself more of a nurturer, protector and "mom," and they will reward that tenfold, as not only infectious perfect landscapes, but as passionate playmates and field raiders. If, on the other hand, you view your upcoming time as one of demand, of multiple, even rapid transitions, then a Mini is your best bet. Minis still are terriers....super hard to knock off center, as resilient and "whatever, I am a Schnauzer!" as can be. Their cheerful natures, love of engagement, that singular character of wit and charm, always being up for whatever "it" there might be to be up for will fit the bill nicely. And yet, too, they are adaptable and can be charming on the lap as well, yet have a nice independent streak to their natures that can be beneficial. This breed would match very well with a GSP in a tightly bonded way....they think the same in parts and have that same vigorous high spirit. You will need to set guidelines, for they can be a pain in the butt if allowed to rule the roost, but they are not nearly the trouble finders that a PBGV would be, and are an ultra, ultra easy dog to manage. Thicker skinned and able to hold their ground than an Am Cocker, but just as much cheerful and social adventurers. They do have a shade of terrier drama, but are reasonable, witty, resilient and fun!
And then some others......
An IRISH SETTER. Like you didn't see THAT one coming, eh? Now this would be an interesting side trail for you. You knew your uncle's dog, but I believe he was chained? I am not sure if you have seen the best this amazing dog can be or have gotten into his soul. I do think you would be in love in a way that a breed has yet to take you. The Irish is a very gentle soul, very kind and understanding. He has vigor to compete with the best of them, but the sweet gentleness in his heart is profound. To have that energy and fieldiness on such a gentleman may well melt you. Did me. A good Irish really touches the heart. And they don't like to kill things, which is nice for a fieldy dog, making them more manageable than some other sporting breeds. For all his gentleness and wisdom, however, the Irish is one of the ultimate extroverts in dogdom....which of course would please you to no end. He is a rambunctious and infectious clown who does not allow dull moments, and is one of the silliest of all jesters. The Irish takes things seriously not at all....he is an animated and life inhaling vat of vigor, and is a dog who never lets you be down. Just a joy, particularly to have all this MUCH, all this Irish-ness, on such a gentle animal. He is affectionate and devoted to the max, but it is never cloying....this is NOT a dog who asks you to love him, but rather one to proclaim that he will love YOU! His pushy nature is beautifully counterbalanced by having a streak independence to his character....he is not a follower, he is not a leader, he is himself. I cannot stress enough that EXERCISE is a paramount consideration with this breed. If they don't get it, you will not get the good of an Irish. There are few I recommend this breed to for that reason, but you are such a fan of energy and outdoorsy-ness, that I can trust you on this front. An Irish who doesn't get his exercise and doesn't get to experience the joy of the run....this breed has a LOT of stamina, so you really need to stretch them.....can tip to a more neurotic side, and also can be far more difficult to train. They MUST spend their energy out regularly to be at their best. You have called them stupid, I think....well I promise you, they are not. They are highly intelligent, but belong in the right home. You must exercise them, and in training you must never force or punish them. They do not get that. They are a very willing to please dog, but you need to get their yah-yahs out and THEN start the training session, showing patience and not pressure, and lots of motivational fun. Now THAT, they get! You are exceedingly well matched to the Irish as your spirit of adventure and good cheer suits them entirely. Their clownishness and rambunctiousness will entertain you to no end, their simplicity will sway you, and their amazing gentleness amidst all the vigor may make you a fan for life. Dr Watson, of course, may recommend an English, but as regards you, I doubt you'd find them nearly as connecting as this guy. A great frakkin breed for you.
Now of course, I could pick ANY retriever, couldn't I? So could you. Toll' away should you so choose! But for you and the purposes of this, I picked the FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER. Part for you, and part for me in that I think at this time in life you should be expanding your horizons in some way. Now the "for you" part is that Flatties are a puppyish sort of retriever, and particularly, they don't seem to slow down the way most retriever breeds do....the crickety Lab or greying Golden. I can imagine you would appreciate something more timeless (much a reason why I am drawn Giants over GSDs). Now for me, I would recommend this breed to you for while highly trainable, Flatties are the biggest training challenge. The are very driven to please, as all retrievers are, but tend to need their minds kept engaged a bit more to keep focused on task. They have just a streak of stubbornness and things CAN be too repetitive or boring for them. So I like that for you and think it will keep things more interesting. That said, any retriever you like is one that would do nicely. The boisterousness of the Flattie comes second only to King Boister himself, aka the Lab, which is another point in their favor, and yet as well, they are probably the most steady nerved of the lot. You need to know your lines with this breed and avoid timidity trends, and they are borderline as the companion dog for a transitional time in your life, for while I am sure you can meet their exercise requirements, Flatties least of all retrievers do well with stretched out alone times and have the greatest propensity towards SSA.
But really, Gunner, just a point that you've peaked outside of your box and found certain surprising breeds appealing to you. I think that might be something to listen to a bit, and to consider perhaps what would be one of the ultimate journey dogs for you - a GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG. A rescue, not a puppy. Once past age 2 1/2, you get a good glance at health and character. What you have here is one of the finest dogs with which to share a personal and evolving relationship. The GSD has a marvelous handler bond, as much or beyond any breed on this earth. He has a sense of duty that will sway your heart, but he is not stodgy about it - his character is amazingly vibrant, His adaptability is truly awesome and he is just a dog you are proud to be with and to know. His trainability is his legend, as is his adaptability....he can be as much as you want him to be, go as far as you will him to go, and holds a pretty tight fort when your life is too busy for him. Of the protection breeds, he has the best social inclination and acceptance, and a playful, spirited nature. If participating with your dog one-on-one and seeing things grow is part of your thing, this is one breed you must walk a mile or two with to get the whole picture.
Or, I could totally see you with a STANDARD POODLE...a fine way to push you past your comfort zone a bit. They have so much of what you fancy - social and frisky, active and enthusiastic - but with a cetain tinge of arrogance you do not yet know, and a owner bond that is a bit more on the diva side, more of a demand to be the center of attention in a good-natured and flirtatious way. That's the pushy that you like, played with a more manipulative hand. Spoodles are one of the ultimate breeds to train.....they are very amenable to it, have a training brilliance no one can match, and an often underrated scope to their potential. I don't always agree that they are hard hitting, but they can SEEM as hard hitting, they only difference being a flit in the eye that everything in life is a frolic to them. This is a vain, brilliant dog with a very strong drive to please, as socially reliable as you could want, masters of enlivening any scene, and they can be vigorous enough for anything. I think ALL "real dog" folk out there need to work with a Spoodle to get a full range of the equation.
BEARDED COLLIE. Ah, now this I snarkily say would be your comeuppance breed....the "be careful what you wish for or you just might get it" dog Sweet, innocent Gunner....how spoiled you have been by your sporting dogs, who are so biddable and would never choose to make a fool of you for the sake of their own entertainment Not the Beardies aren't as cheerful, social and boisterously fun loving as you would fantasize for yourself. Frequently lesser known in dog circles, the bouncing Beardie makes a Border Collie seem to be a pent up poindexter and the Collie look like a slow moving suckup. He has a grand sense of humor, and so must you. A little on the bossy side, nonetheless a Beardie is extremely social, accepting and affectionate towards all. He is a higher energy dog with a infectiously playful side, and his life always is a party. This is an incredibly intelligent breed that often outhoofs his owner. They have a willful streak, amazing wit and a naturally clownish disposition that can make training a little bit of a challenge and a lot a bit of brain exercise for you, but they really do need it for they are boisterous scamps who think all things ought be fun. Beardies are very jolly, have loads of energy, love to chase stuff and are always in high spirits. A cool dog to have as well, for people seldom see them. Despite the training challenges and occasional independent mindedness, this is a highly intelligent and bonded breed who can be trained to do a great deal. You need to exercise them a lot and expect their rowdiness from time to time, but they are beyond personable and definitely move at "Gunner speed," as long as you are up them.
OTTERHOUND. Oh good gumdrops! It's not like I get to recommend these guys often. Ot-ter-Hound! I love these guys! Teddy almost got them recommended, but Otterhounds really don't do mellow so good. Resiliently social and good natured....almost to a fault....they are oafish by nature, which is hysterical with their good guy persona and huge scruffy look. Good intentioned always, but clumsy, exuberant, "oops sorry did I knock you down and how are you anyway?" This is one of the most resiliently well intentioned dogs on the planet, they are ALWAYS in a good mood, and one of the kings of play. Love to do it, are vigorous enough to do a lot of it, and have that intertwined through their nature a dog that takes not much seriously, yet is enthusiastic about everything, often seems clueless (but frankly it is darling) are are very big hearted. They are a little bit like bulldozers of good will....physically, in affect, and intellectually they are neither dumb nor slow, but they definitely are stubborn. Not in a defiant way, but in a houndy one, which you know allllll about, given the Basset initiation thing? Only they aren't manipulative, they are just happy-houndy, life's a party, and a bit independent, so they aren't really looking for direction, only some lovin' and fun. You do need to start training early with an Otterhound, be patient, kind and upbeat, and try to outpace the fact that they will grow to be strong, independent self doers with way too good a nature to be scolded. What can you DO with them? Well, let's see. They are hunting dogs, love the trails, LOVE the water, do super good with tracking. And they are scruffy. Scruffy, big, unusual.
PEMBROKE WELSH CORGI. Sort of a "duh" breed I think....wonder if you have considered them at any point. Different than what you know just in terms of working specification, but there is a lot of familiarity there also. Bright, resiliently happy, active, vigorous, socially engaging, umphy, always up for a good time.....I doubt you don't know the drill. You may not know how trainable they are....perhaps you do....but if you want an upper level OB dog, they are surely a candidate, and for agility as well. They love everything they do, and with a fearless style you can admire. They are sickly easy to train and massively willing to please you, but will get bored if you are boring. You be up and they will be up for it. They are busy little dogs and if the time is upbeat, then they are in! Little pockets of chaos, but fearless, frolicsome and very devoted. If you want a very outgoing Corgi, you would need to socialize the carp out of him when he is young, for they have a healthy natural suspicion of strange people and strange dogs that can be quickly thwarted if their puppy socialization is strong. If you have a male, fix him early, for on occasion they can be somewhat scrappy with other males, but seldom to the point of a flat out SSA. Corgis have just enough edge to push you a little out of your zone, but are still enough to be familiar, are super fun to share your life with, and have a surprising amount of training potential and a lot of heart.
Edited by author Sun Feb 28, '10 10:10pm PST
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