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As a first time dog owner I know that I didn't adopted the "easiest" of dogs but I hardly believe that any dog is truly an "easy" dog. It actually causes me to have a visceral reaction when I hear people say choose the "easy" dog. My question is why choose that "easy" dog as your first dog? All dogs require training and love and rules. The "non-easy" ones just require a little more love to show them they can trust again, a lot more rules, a strict training program.

It is my opinion that if you have mad a true connection with a dog does it matter that he is timid or shy. As long are you did not only pick them because you think you can "save" or "fix" them but because you felt like they felt comfortable around you then there is nothing wrong with taking them home as a first time pet parent. I don't really think that teaching my dog though DS/CC that the people outside the window aren't scary is all that different than teach a dog only to jump up on people when they are given a command to do so. One many take a little longer but generally I consider them the same.

From having a reactive dog as my first dog I have quickly learned that I probably have it "easier" that if I had an "easy" dog because from day one I had to set rules, I had to keep a set schedule, I had to work on my bond with him every day, I had to work on DS/CC with him, I had to make sure he had amazing leash skills, I had to learn dog body language and calming signals, I had to read a ton about dog training, I had to implement a training program, etc. While overall it is more work in the end I have when my dog makes tiny improvements I feel like my heart might explode and when he makes big ones I think I have died and gone to heaven. I was never out to "fix" or "save" him, instead when he choose me I was out to manage him. If he had never made a single improvement that would have been okay too, but I was at least going to give it the old college try to give him a little more sense of security. I think this is the key to having a "non-easy" dog as your first dog to accept them but still try.

P.S. I personally don't think any dog is really an "easy" pet if you want an "easy" pet get a cat.

I would really love to heard some other peoples thoughts on this. I think it just bothers me that a first time adopter would pass a dog they feel like they connected with up just because they were timid. To me timid would never be a deal breaker (it isn't I am a multiple offer person mauler).
 
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I think ultimately people need to decide what is a deal breaker for them. If they constantly have people over, for example, a super timid dog may not be the best fit.

To me, timid isn't a deal breaker but I'm not a first time dog owner either. I've had dogs that I'm sure would come across as timid (my Sheltie for example) when he was just sensitive and was actually pretty confident.

That said, having Chisum I'm glad I'm NOT a first time owner. Im always learning from him and he leaves me scratching my head and downright frustrated at times, but I know (and have been told by my trainer) that many of his behaviors that I handle would have had him back in the pound quickly. And he was super friendly and social when I first went to see him! Further proof that you just can't always tell right away.
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I think both of my dogs could be considered easy but also...not easy? They're quite easy in the sense that they are confident, happy, non-reactive, and probably easiest of all, very quick to pick things up and understand commands.
However, they would probably destroy my house, yard, and relationships if I didn't work with them as much as I do. I am constantly trying to be one step ahead of Heidi, and she often surpasses my expectations for her. So yes they are "easy", but they could also easily make me pull my hair out.
I've had tons of people tell me I'm crazy for having two herding breeds and why didn't I pick an easier breed like (insert breed here, I've heard them all). Why? Because I LOVE the herding breeds, and I don't care if they provide some challenges, I wouldn't have it any other way.
 
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Hi Truckers Mom,

I'm guessing that you've created this thread in response to a comment I made in BrittaS's thread. I responded to you there, but I appreciate that you've started a new thread so that all of us can participate in a broader discussion.

I've been quite open about my own experiences with adopting shelter dogs as a new, inexperienced, first-time dog owner, and much of my interest in participating in this forum is reaching out to similar new and prospective owners.

As an active member here for over two years, I've seen numerous first-time owners show up overwhelmed with their new dogs, and unfortunately, despite much effort made by the members here to counsel them, I've seen many of these first-time owners give up. When an adoption doesn't work out, these dogs often end up in shelters, and where I live, owner-surrendered dogs are the first to be euthanized in our high-kill shelters.

In retrospect, I wish I had found this forum a week before, not a week after, I adopted my first dog. I wish that someone, anyone, would have pointed out the obvious to me: my first dog and I were not a good match for each other in any way. I was too naive and inexperienced, and because of that, I made a mistake that could have had devastating consequences for that dog if I had not been able to place him in a no-kill facility. With his reactivity, he most likely would have been euthanized if I taken him to my local county shelter.

I've read some of your posts about your own experience of adopting a fearful, high needs dog as a first-time owner, and I commend you for your dedication and patience. However, I think you would agree that most first-time owners would probably give up on a dog like that and then he'd be back in the shelter system.

My current dog Miles is an "easy" dog. He's a happy-go-lucky dog who happily walks with me around my local neighborhood. He takes everything in stride - people of all ages, dogs, cars, lawnmowers, anything at all. He's an older dog, but his energy level suits my own lifestyle. I absolutely adore him.

An adoption should be for the life of the dog, and because of that, I try to help prospective owners who show up on this forum to select the most suitable dogs for their families, and that's what I mean by an "easy" dog rather than a "project" dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That said, having Chisum I'm glad I'm NOT a first time owner. Im always learning from him and he leaves me scratching my head and downright frustrated at times, but I know (and have been told by my trainer) that many of his behaviors that I handle would have had him back in the pound quickly. And he was super friendly and social when I first went to see him! Further proof that you just can't always tell right away.
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The funny thing is I hear this about Trucker too and I think I would have taken a "normal" or "easy" dog back. I actually think I would have but some how I knew that Trucker and I were just really kind of "meant" for each other. So I guess that is where I have the problem with this is. That people push people away from dogs that may have been the dogs that where "meant" for them just because they think that they are tough but aren't all dogs tough.
 

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@Shandula Exactly, I don't know what breed a first time dog owner would get if they wanted a "easy" starter breed. Not a Herder breed or a Hound, or a Working breed, etc. Maybe a Companion breed. :ponder:
 

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"Easy" means different things to different people when it comes to dogs....
And certain behaviors are a big problem for some but not an issue, managed easily, or even wanted for others.

I don't normally have an issue with someone coming in looking for ''easy'' dogs at the shelter I am involved with. Often when staff actually sit down and talk with them, easy means ''friendly, low or medium energy, and fairly polite.'' It's not unusual for there to be a couple mature or senior dogs that fit. These dogs, despite being lovely, can be difficult to place just because of age so we LOVE people willing to adopt the older guys.

What IS a problem are people whose definition of "easy" is involves completely unrealistic expectations...
Like: ''no barking, non-shedding, no biting, no jumping, housetrained, impeccable manners, perfect obedience (sit, down, stay, heel, come) in all situations, crate trained, etc." AND it has to be an 8-10 week old puppy, sometimes a specific breed....
 

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I think you need to pick the dog you are 'in love' with, and then when the 'work' comes up, you are ready and willing and able to make the adjustments.
If you are not 'in love' it will all be a chore & the dog a burden.
When Dynamo passed, I was very used to having a senior dog with minor needs (as a friend said, senior dogs turn into cats), and I wasn't sure I wanted another Dynamo (high drive dog), but when I thought of 'easy' dogs I just wasn't into getting another dog because it wasn't 'my type' of dog.
That said, I do think people should carefully consider their lifestyle. If the dog's personality is such that they can't join you on your daily activities, there will be a lot of isolation involved for all parties. So I'll go with 'find a good match'.
And it turns out I ended up with another Dynamo (Sonic), a pita, and fun.
Oooh, and should add, that while Dynamo was not my first dog, she was my first high drive puppy, and oh my gosh, it was an hair-raising, exciting, frustrating, wonderful, amazing training journey. I learned so much, so many opportunities, and because she was my 'dream dog' I was up to it.
 
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Hi Truckers Mom,

I'm guessing that you've created this thread in response to a comment I made in BrittaS's thread. I responded to you there, but I appreciate that you've started a new thread so that all of us can participate in a broader discussion.

I've been quite open about my own experiences with adopting shelter dogs as a new, inexperienced, first-time dog owner, and much of my interest in participating in this forum is reaching out to similar new and prospective owners.

As an active member here for over two years, I've seen numerous first-time owners show up overwhelmed with their new dogs, and unfortunately, despite much effort made by the members here to counsel them, I've seen many of these first-time owners give up. When an adoption doesn't work out, these dogs often end up in shelters, and where I live, owner-surrendered dogs are the first to be euthanized in our high-kill shelters.

In retrospect, I wish I had found this forum a week before, not a week after, I adopted my first dog. I wish that someone, anyone, would have pointed out the obvious to me: my first dog and I were not a good match for each other in any way. I was too naive and inexperienced, and because of that, I made a mistake that could have had devastating consequences for that dog if I had not been able to place him in a no-kill facility. With his reactivity, he most likely would have been euthanized if I taken him to my local county shelter.

I've read some of your posts about your own experience of adopting a fearful, high needs dog as a first-time owner, and I commend you for your dedication and patience. However, I think you would agree that most first-time owners would probably give up on a dog like that and then he'd be back in the shelter system.

My current dog Miles is an "easy" dog. He's a happy-go-lucky dog who happily walks with me around my local neighborhood. He takes everything in stride - people of all ages, dogs, cars, lawnmowers, anything at all. He's an older dog, but his energy level suits my own lifestyle. I absolutely adore him.

An adoption should be for the life of the dog, and because of that, I try to help prospective owners who show up on this forum to select the most suitable dogs for their families, and that's what I mean by an "easy" dog rather than a "project" dog.
Yeah, I didn't want to derail her thread. I know I definitely have some strong feeling about it and just figured it was better to start it's own topic. :)

I joined this forum 1 month after adopting Trucker and since then I seen countless threads from dog owners from owners of multiple dogs who own "easy" dogs and first time "easy" dog owners who seem as frustrated if not more frustrated or having some of the same problems than I am but the thing they don't seem to be getting out of it is the sheer joy at the end of the day.

I totally agree that you shouldn't pick a "project" dog but I don't think you should pick an "easy" dog either. If I had picked the "easy" dog I would have ended up with Nikko a Black and While 9 year old American Bulldog who I probably would have regretted adopting every day for the rest of his life and wondering what had happened to that beautiful Redbone Coonhound Trucker. Every single person and animal in that situation would have been miserable all because I avoided the dog that need a little extra work. Reactivity does not necessarily make a bad match.

I have owned my "non-easy" but oh-so-perfect match for a little over 3 months now and I will never lie about the fact that it is work but when I get my next dog if he is an "easy" dog I will put this much work into him because Trucker has taught me what a bond truly is. What I have with this "non-easy" dog is something special.

It is just frustrating because I don't believe any dog isn't a "project" to some extent they all require work they all need to be taught what is expected of them and with a timid/fearful/reactive dog you are just teaching them not to expect something to hurt them.
 

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@Artdog I 1,000,000% agree with this. I am so In Love with Trucker that his reactivity is just a road block that we work on and if it doesn't change then we will manage it. And he is so In Love with me that he trusted me instantly event though I was a big, bad, scary person.
 

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I don't have an issue with someone passing up a dog that they connected with because they did not feel that they could properly handle the dogs issues or the dog would not fit into their lifestyle. Ryker was my first dog and my hardest (severe SA, resource guarding, among other things). It was a very stressful 2 years and many times I doubted my abilities to handle him. Gypsy is also not an easy dog (extremely reactive, DA to strange dogs, and cat aggressive). They have made me a better trainer because of these things though.

Panzer is by far my easiest dog and it has been such a relief and weight off my shoulders that he is a dog that I can take anywhere and do anything with.

I would get a million more Panzers, but I would not intentionally seek out more Rykers or Gypsys.
 

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I think that people should get the dog they feel they can handle the best- and only they can decide that.

To me, Aspen is 'easy'. Would others consider her to be so? Maybe, maybe not. She's mischievous, hyper and needs about 23 hours of stimulation/day. Funny, those are traits that I also use to describe myself. Perfect fit. If I sat on the couch so much that cushion was molded to the shape of my booty, I don't think Aspen and I would get along so well. She would likely torment the cat, eat my furniture and who knows what else.
 

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What's easy for one person, may be hell on earth for another.

I'd rather see a first time owner get a dog with minimum behavioral problems, and one that fits their lifestyle, then to get one they fell in love with and connected with but who's energy level and behavioral problems are going to make them miserable and that they may make worse because they have no idea how to correctly correct the problems.

Cats are not easy pets, not if they are properly taken care of, and not if they have any behavioral problems. The ones that are unconfident can take up spraying around the house and it can be incredibly hard to fix. Some are fear aggressive just like dogs and may take to attacking visitors. Others will decide to use a persons good furniture as a scratching post. Some like getting on counters much to their owners objections. My cat took as much care as my dogs, just a different type, but then my terrier mix had different quirks and needs then my Chow Chow mix did.
 

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@Rain So maybe I have had 2 of the worlds easiest cats which have given me the impression that they are much easier than a dog. And my current and past cat were and are very well taken care.

So I will say that Nikko would have better fit my lifestyle, had no behavior problems, caused me less stress but I felt no connection at all. I would have regretted the adoption from day one. With Trucker I feel so much love that even when I started to regret it at the beginning because I was overwhelmed I felt like we could make it through it.

While I agree you shouldn't take on more than you can handle you shouldn't pick a pet just because it is the logical choice.
 

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While I agree you shouldn't take on more than you can handle you shouldn't pick a pet just because it is the logical choice.
huh? This thread is somewhat confusing. Are you saying people should chose the dogs with issues over the ones without because they will be forced to be more involved that way?
 

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P.S. I personally don't think any dog is really an "easy" pet if you want an "easy" pet get a cat.
I almost cried from laughing so hard when I read this. I wish you could have known my cat, Kayla. :rofl: By far the most difficult animal I ever owned, and I never thought I would say that after my dog, Hey You passed away....that nothing could be worse than that.

I think because I asked so many questions from the shelters when I looked at dogs, I've been able to get 'easy' dogs. I bypassed soooo many dogs I would have loved to have had, but my 'deal breaker' is I don't want a dog that shows any signs of aggression towards other animals or humans. I don't want or need a guard dog that growls if someone comes to the door. I'm a gun owner...I have my own ways of protecting my home....lol.

I also never wanted high energy dogs. I like the kind that are too lazy to raise a hackle. : )

I had one dog, that I mentioned above, Hey You, who was...well...she was just a 'butt'. :p She never begged, but she stole food. She growled all the time but never ever snapped or bit any other dog or person. She sounded like she was going to rip your throat out, as she stood over her food bowl, bone, or toy, but a 2 year old could bend over and take anything from Hey You and at that point, Hey You would stop growling and wag her tail. She was sheer bluff when it came to that....but it was annoying hearing her growl all the time. And, she loved people...but she never bonded with anyone in particular...including me and I had her since she was a new born pup.

Jaya, has been an experience...but I knew what I was getting when I adopted her...knowing and experiencing it are two different things...lol. But I fell in love with her looks first...and spent hours talking with the gal at the rescue who was in charge of Jaya. She finally broke down and cried, and I mean, really cried, when she realized Jaya found a home with someone with the right temperament, and dog behavior knowledge and confidence to take on a dog like her. She had fallen in love with Jaya and had been worried sick that Jaya would probably spend most of her life in a kennel, and not getting the one on one time and home life she really needed.

HaHa's learning difficulty hasn't been much of an issue....but he sure is a time waster! I cannot go Anywhere in my home without him in front of me, facing me, walking backwards...because he can't stand not being within 6 inches of me or not seeing me for half a second.

And I can't teach HaHa to lay down and stay...laid down. lol. I would just love to stride through my house...but nope...gotta do these stupid little half steps, stutters steps, while trying to work my way around the dang dog or just deal with the dog being in front of me because I'm in the hallway and can't get around him. The poo head. Good thing he's so dang cute...lol...or it would be a lot more irritating..lol ;)

Stormy
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
huh? This thread is somewhat confusing. Are you saying people should chose the dogs with issues over the ones without because they will be forced to be more involved that way?
I am saying that you shouldn't take a dog's "issues" as a reason to write them off as a potential adoption candidate if everything else is right.
 

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I am saying that you shouldn't take a dog's "issues" as a reason to write them off as a potential adoption candidate if everything else is right.
I disagree. People taking in dogs with issues that they are incapable of dealing with is the reason that many dogs bounce from home to home.
@StormyPeak - you had a dog named "Hey You"? Awesome. :D
 

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@Aspen726 I didn't say adopt them I said write them off as potential adoption candidates. I think you should look at multiple dogs and look at what you can and can't hand in each case.
 
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