“My next dog will be awesome!”
A reasonable sentiment for most dog people.
“My next dog will be super awesome at this thing I’m a novice at but I really like and I would love to continue this in the future!”
“My next dog will be the best dog ever at this thing I’ve never really seen outside of youtube or the odd morning cable station but I’m pretty sure it’ll be a prodigy like Mozart or that kid I saw on Ellen! I read about it on the internet and therefore I know this to be true.”
Considerably less reasonable, also apt to piss off about 50 people who know more than you and aren’t in the mood to tell you all the ways you are wrong because it’s exhausting and they don’t feel like being “the meanest person ever”/’Hater/”just jealous!” before 9am.
Occasionally Potnoodle gets a little song of her own invention stuck in her head while reading through facebook groups and forum posts. She has a horrible singing voice, so she won’t perform it for you. All you need to know is the title is “Train the one you’re with” and it goes to the tune of ‘Love The One You’re With’.
Answer us this, Dear Readers, what is it about young eager dog people that makes them constantly plan for the near-mythical next dog? The type of person that starts a sentence with “My next dog…” often has a perfectly good mixed breed/backyard bred lab-ish thing that is wasting his talent on occasional bouts of fetch and maybe a novice agility class while the owner sighs and dreams of Malinois and Border Collies yet to be.
We get it. You have a dog who isn’t the class prodigy. It is too old, not as drivey as you think you deserve, too not interested, or doesn’t have the same aptitude for what you are trying to accomplish as that other woman’s border collie who is her 6th OTCH/MACH/HC/ONYX and obviously that’s the dog you need to succeed with…. Umm. No.
Here’s the thing, most high drive dogs are a giant pain in the ass. You nod like you understand, but if you’ve never lived with it you have no clue. And you want to know the serious kick in the ass? Those super-high drive dogs are a bitch to train. You are bottling lightning with little regard for personal safety and a super interest in literally everything. The most successful performance dogs do not always have the highest drive… we know, shocker right? Also the more you bandy about the word drive, the more we hate you.
Did we also mention high drive dogs (Or even medium drive dogs) are assholes? Potnoodle and Fang can attest to teeth related injuries because one of the dumbasses decided they needed “THAT THING RIGHT NOW NOW NOW NOW!* and guess whose delicate and prone to bleeding teeny human fingers/wrists/legs got in the way? It’s not even the occasional asshole moment, it is a cavalcade of consistently assholic behavior packaged into a furry beast whose adorableness can and does wear very thin particularly when you’re prone on the ground writhing in agony because that bastard bit your pinkie again while taking you down at the knees over a tug toy and this time you swear you’ll file down his canines into divots! Did we also mention these are the fully trained adult dogs? Not even the assy adolescents? We joke about brain-damage to own some of these dogs but on some level, it’s really not a joke. These dogs are a lifestyle and while you’re just starting to walk, and really talking more about walking than making actual steps, it’s not a good idea to get an ultra-marathoner who already does everything better than you do.
So here’s a secret. Your dog will be screwed up. It’s probably not the dog’s fault. It’s your fault and that’s okay! You’re new! You’re allowed to fuck stuff up. We’ve all done it. That affable pet you have now is going to be incredibly more forgiving (BusyBee can attest to this) than that super drivey hell beast you have planned for your next dog. Trust us. The woman on her 6th absurdly talented dog had a fat little Sheltie or Beagle or Lab who started her on the journey too.
Another secret, no decent breeder is going to sell you a drivey hell beast if you haven’t done SOMETHING with a dog before. Decent being the key word here. Those who fall over themselves to hand you a dog, probably don’t actually own the drivey hell-beasts and haven’t seen it turn into nightmare scenarios with previous purchasers just like you. Sure, you can run out and get a crappy backyard bred dog of your desired breed, and then you get to use the excuse of his poor breeding and you’re back in “My Next Dog…” land. The lovely land of internet forums also makes it so you can also talk a good enough game to appear knowledgeable and fleece a good breeder who isn’t as naturally skeptical of buzzwords as others. That makes you an asshole.
Basically kids, you need to learn what it is that you really want, rather than what you think you want. So you think you might want a Bordernoisterriattle Shepherd? Go visit people with them. Make nice. See if you can borrow or dog sit for a day or even just hang out. Talk to owners about trials and tribulations. Compare battle scars (Not that you have any yet). That woman with six dogs who have more titles than you thought existed? She’s paid her dues in literal blood, sweat and tears. Until you’re bleeding, sweaty and crying, you don’t need that dog and we promise you, you really don’t want that dog just yet. Keep your training wheels on for a while yet and dance with the dog you came with.
Who says success only comes in one package?