|Barked: Mon May 19, '08 7:47am PST |
|I LOVE my Swissy!
Her name is Spree and she's 3. She is the goofiest dog I have ever met, and is so loving. She prefers laying down wherever we are than going off on her own, which I like.
She's also very smart, and learns things very quickly through clicker training.
One thing I like about Swissies is that they are very friendly, but not uncontrollably like Goldens or Labs can be, which IMO makes them a better family dog.
Exercise wise, they are pretty good for the average owner. They arent exactly couch potatos, but they arent manic if they dont run 4 miles a day. On average, I'd say about an hour of good exercise a day is good. It seems like a lot if you are very busy (like me lol) but I break it up between a 15 min run in the AM, 15 minute walk when I get home, throw ball 20 minutes before dinner, and quick walk before bed. So really not that bad.
Also, because of how rare and preserved they are, they have fewer genetic health problems. You dont see (or hopefully dont see) Swissies in puppy mills or pet stores. The only real place to get one is from a reputable breeder. These breeders perform health tests, such as hip, elbow, thyroid, etc on their breeding stock to ensure future generations are healthy. Breeds like poodles, Goldens, German shepherds, and other popular breeds have so many health problems because they are in higher demand, so puppy mills are spitting them out with concern to future health.
In connection with the above, they have a longer life than dogs their size on average. Most "giant" breeds life spans are 7-10. Swissies can live to be 12-14.
A concern is that they do shed a lot, which I am able to cut down drastically with a monthly bath-blowdry-undercoat removal treatment. I also use the undercoat rake every 3 days in between. Adding salmon oil or flaxseed to the diet also seems to help.
They also mature slowly...my dog is just now physically maturing and is almost mentally mature (I dont think she will ever be completely mentally mature though :-P) This can be annoying when you have a 100 lb dog going through normal puppy stages.
One thing you have to do is make rules very clear from puppyhood. If you allow her to jump at 8 weeks, its harder to stop at 8 months when she's 60 lbs.
You also have to keep tables and counters clear so the dog never has a chance to develop "counter-surfing" skills This is my girl's biggest problem and we are working very hard on it, but its coming slowly because its such a reinforcing and ingrained behavior.
Edited by author Mon May 19, '08 7:57am PST
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