I’ve always been an animal lover. It’s an empty home without the pitter-patter of padded paws. With the passing of my beloved bulldog and the ever increasing awareness of our future plans, our desire to add a new furry family member has been the decision of the decade for us.
So this is my Women’s Perspective on … The (Prepper) Family Pet.
Such a hard decision to make – puppy or an older, trained dog? Purebred or rescue? We are no longer the same people we were 30 years ago … what kind of parents and partners can we be to this new family member?
So the research began. What were we looking for? It was time for a check list:
- Good with children – we need a furbaby that will be good with the grandchildren and other assorted tiny humans s/he might encounter.
- Size – we opted for a BIG dog. It’s easy to create an illusion of personal security through size and/or appearance alone. My bully boy was the absolute sweetest creature on earth, yet his (handsome!) looks often caused some folks to hesitate. Any time a potential assailant pauses to think twice because of the furry companion at your side, you’ve already won the encounter.
- Exercise/training needs – this is an important consideration. The working/protection breeds need to have a job; it’s your responsibility to ensure they’re properly exercised, trained and worked. If your preferred past-time involves a TV and a recliner, just get a
Pug and call it good.
- Security vs. protection – there is a difference; “security” can be your teacup-sized poodle that barks at every noise they hear. We have a 20-pound “security” Pug. “Protection” animals require training and many hours of interaction with their people. Discipline takes dedication … both from you and your furry family member.
- Budget – this is where you dig deep, determine your needs, set your goals and then figure out where you stand. A rescue dog can be an effective and excellent choice. A purebred pup is less money than a fully trained adult. Something I’ve learned from experience is that you can negotiate with a reputable breeder to lower a purchase price by agreeing to restricted breeding rights and limited AKC registrations. This can potentially save you hundreds on a purchase of a new pup.
So what kind of dog?
There are varying opinions on the actual rank order but the list is always the same for protection dogs (http://www.caninejournal.com/best-guard-dogs-for-families/):
- German Shepherd
- Doberman Pincher
- Great Dane
- Fila Brasileiros
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Great Pyrenees
- Saint Bernard
All of the above would be excellent choices. My personal preference lie to the Shepherds, Rottweilers and Boxers. It’s just a matter of my individual taste in animals. I’ve had a rescued Great Pyrenees and Cody was a great, great dog. Just too hairy … and WAY big!
Our Personal Journey
In July, 2015, we lost our beloved 10 year old English Bulldog.
Our hearts were broken. In our quest for a secure life, we decided that our next fur baby also needed to be a working dog; one that can protect us in our golden years; one that would be our partner in our future off grid tiny home in the woods; one that would also be our companion in our current living situation.
After much discussion, we decided on a “GSD” … a German Shepherd Dog. The down side of this decision is also a plus: this high energy, high drive dog would require a lot of our time and patience. We selected a pup from a local breeder that had impeccable lineage with ancestors from Czechoslovakia. Both parents are seasoned Schutzhund (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schutzhund) champions, combining the positive in their innate natures to make the ideal family protection dog.
At nine months old and 85 pounds we’re working on basic obedience. This boy will be well over 100 lbs when he is fully mature. So while he’s young we’re getting basic manners down – sit, stay, down, leave it, bring it, no, walk, “Leave Her” (as in leave the Pug alone because she just doesn’t want to deal with you right now). Spring is fast approaching and we’ll be finding out more of what interests this boy has. Will it Schutzhund, Obedience, Nose Work or even Dock Diving? Channel his drive. Guide him into becoming the dog we know he can be. The pup will soon enough become the dog with all of his potential manifested.
We will begin taking many trips up to our property to work on our tiny home. This will be another area of training. Wildlife abounds. There are trails frequented by deer, elk, rabbit and other critters. Squirrels and birds sounding their displeasure at the intruders in their home. The last time we took him up there he was only 3-1/2 months old. He didn’t have a lot of wandering tendencies as a young pup, but I’m certain our adolescent dog won’t have any reservations. We’ve decided to utilize an e-collar for boundary training. Beeps and buzzes to get his attention when his laser focus is trained on the squirrel in the tree taunting his very existence.
So this is my Women’s Perspective ….
This Prepper Woman’s Best Friend is going to be a personal protection family pet. A pup named Atiku who will soon be my 115 lb. shadow and will watch over our family.
Is a dog the right choice for your family? Let’s discuss ….