©Scott Sheaffer, CPDT-KA, USA Dog Behavior
As a dog trainer and behavior specialist, I'm frequently asked the following questions.
"What do you think are the best breeds for a family dog?"
Basset Hound - Friendly to people and pets - great with children too. Get one from rescue.
Beagle - Even tempered, gentle and enjoy company. Get one from rescue.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - I have one of these and he is just a big love nugget. I've worked with many others and they are all quite sweet. If you can't find one in rescue (which will probably be difficult), please be extremely careful about the breeder because, unfortunately, puppy-mills have discovered this breed. Cavaliers have some potential health issues that need to be considered - please consult with your veterinarian.
Havanese - One of the dog industry's best keep secrets - they just want to please and be loved. They can be hard to find in rescue.
All American - What, you've never heard of this breed? It's actually just a politically correct way of saying "mutt". There are a million beautiful and wonderful All Americans at every animal control facility and all-breed rescue organizations. Operation Kindness in Carrollton, Texas is a great place to find an All American (and other breeds too). Please tell them I sent you. Your city's animal control is also a fantastic resource for finding an All American.
"What is the best dog collar?"
Plain old-fashioned flat buckle collar. I prefer buckles because they don't slip. I prefer flat because they don't hurt the dog.
"What dog food do you recommend?"
Nutro Natural Choice. It's high quality, has multiple options for your dog's life stage and is reasonably priced. I have my dogs on this food. If your dog has special health needs, please consult with your veterinarian.
"What's the best dog training treat?"
Zuke's Mini Naturals. I think most dogs like the roasted chicken flavor best.
"What are some good dog toys?"
Chicken and bacon flavored Nylabones. Be sure to look for the ones marked for "Powerful Chewers".
Deer antlers. They can be pricey, but most dogs like them. They have nutritional value and normally don't cause some of the problems that bones can.
Kyjen plastic dog puzzle toys. These are food toys that will keep your dog mentally stimulated in your absence. You are mentally stimulating your dog in your presence, right?
"What brand of muzzle should I buy?"
Baskerville Rubber Ultra Muzzle. Comfortable for dogs yet they can still take treats and drink. It's a little difficult to properly size initially.