Why You Should Veer Away From Universal Dog Owning Advice

Written By Alla Levin
April 15, 2024

Why You Should Veer Away From Universal Dog Owning Advice

It’s important to note that good dog owning advice, especially from reputable sources like dog training services, can be worth listening to.

But just as you wouldn’t listen to health advice that claims to apply to everyone, sometimes it’s better to take things with a pinch of salt as opposed to applying every recommendation you’re given.

The same goes for owning a dog for the first time or changing breeds from one extreme to another. A greyhound is functionally an entirely different animal from a chihuahua, even if they’re both dogs, as they require entirely different owning strategies, and perhaps even entirely different owners.

Let’s consider, then, some of the universal advice you should ignore, and how to specify particular recommendations to your own pet. This should make your ownership of your little ball of fluff even more enjoyable and easier to deal with:

Breeds May Experience Different Health Problems

Every breed is somewhat unique when it comes to potential health issues. Pugs and other flat-faced dogs often have breathing trouble, while big dogs can be more prone to hip dysplasia. Some might even regularly encounter heart problems, or cancers. This isn’t to bum you out, but it’s good to be aware of those breed-specific issues so you can watch out for red flags. 

But that doesn’t mean your Frenchie is guaranteed to struggle breathing or your lab will definitely have hip issues. Plenty of “high-risk” dogs go through life without any problems. Just stay on top of vet checkups and know what to monitor based on your pup’s breed, as well as giving them a healthy lifestyle such as with well-curated dog food.

If issues do pop up, catching them early gives you the best chance to manage it. It also means don’t apply health advice to your dog unless they’re talking about your specific breed.

Development, Training & Exercise Needs Can ChangeDevelopment, Training & Exercise Needs Can Change

Dogs mature at different rates depending on their size and breed. A chihuahua is basically an adult by 1 year old, and without good training can seem feral, but a Great Dane keeps on puppy-ing for a couple years. Some dogs, like Cavaliers or Retrievers may be goofy forever. 

This also goes for exercise – a high energy breed like a border collie needs way more activity than a lazy bulldog. Pay attention to what your own dog’s individual needs are rather than just following general breed advice.

Maybe your collie is actually a major couch potato. Or your “easy” breed is craving more mental stimulation. Some advice, like veering away from a Husky unless you’re willing to exercise them often each week is relatively wise, but be mindful of advice that seems to apply to size of dog, as opposed to the specific breed..

All Dogs Have Unique Personalities & Experiences

Even dogs from the same litter can end up wildly different in personality. Maybe one is super confident and the other is shy around guests. Perhaps one loves to cuddle while the other is more independent like a cat. Their past experiences, like how they were raised or trained, shape them too.

It’s amazing how much personality they get ouf of the box, so to speak. Get to know your dog as an individual and don’t force them into assumptions based on breed alone. Pay attention to their subtle idiosyncrasies – including anxiety around kids, that love of playing fetch, etc. If you mesh your personality and lifestyle with your dog’s, instead of trying to mold them, you’ll grow into fast friends.

With this advice, you’ll be sure to veer away from universal dog owning advice, but for great reasons.

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