Things I must have in a dog
- Size: Medium (30-60 pounds) ► Dahlia is 50 pounds.
- Coat: Long hair ► Dahlia is long-haired
- Behavior: People friendly ► Dahlia absolutely adores people and greets them all nicely.
- Behavior: Active enough to go on long hikes ► Absolutely
- Behavior: Rides well in the car as we like to drive to plenty of places to go hiking ► This was one of the first things I noticed about her. Since I met her on a transport, I had her in the car for over an hour. She settled down in the back seat and slept the whole way.
- Behavior: Affectionate ► Absolutely. This dog lives for belly rubs.
So how did we do? 6 out of 6. Excellent!
Things I can deal with/bend on/work on
- Breeds: Prefer Herding dogs or Retrievers or mixes of those breeds, but willing to step outside that idea (especially to dogs like Poodles or Huskies) ► Dahlia is a mix of Border collie and some sort of retriever. If I want to be totally honest with myself, I was unsure about getting a Border collie mix but it turns out that they are absolutely the dogs for me.
- Color: Would prefer a black dog as they have the hardest time getting out of shelters, but willing to adopt a dog of any color ► Dahlia is black.
- Age: Prefer 1-3 years old, but could get a somewhat older dog ► Dahlia was 2 to 2 1/2 years old when we adopted her.
- Gender: Prefer female dogs, but would be willing to get a male dog ► Dahlia is female.
- Behavior: House training issues ► Dahlia has no house training issues. She never had an accident in our place.
- Behavior: Jumping/mouthing/chewing/general "unruly" behavior ► Dahlia did not jump on people and her only "unruly" behavior was a nipping at our heels when we ran away from her. That was quickly stopped.
- Behavior: Dog aggression (I would prefer a dog friendly dog, but could work with a dog on this) ► Dahlia is not dog aggressive at all.
- Behavior: Afraid of children (We have none and will not have any, so this is not a huge deal, would work on it nonetheless) ► Dahlia is not afraid of children and, in fact, adores them. She's quite popular with the kids in our neighborhood.
- Behavior: Poor leash manners ► Dahlia was leash reactive when we first got her. This issue has been worked on and she's mostly good.
- Behavior: Bolting out the door ► Dahlia did bolt out the door once, but not to gain her freedom. She wanted to stick by our side. It was seeing this that made us think she could be good off leash. She is.
- Behavior: Mild fears and sound sensitivity issues ► Dahlia is noise-sensitive and has some threshold issues. She is afraid to go into some places, like our bathroom, for absolutely no reason and she has issues with going into places where things have scared her before (like the back of Petsmart because she had a bad experience with a groomer there). All of this is manageable.
- Behavior: Digging ► Dahlia is not much of a digger, but will dig a hole under bushes in the heat.
- Behavior: High prey drive ► Dahlia has a low to middle prey drive. She will chase squirrels, geese, ducks, and other small animals, but can be called off of these chases. She does not see cats or small dogs as prey.
- Medical issues: Diabetes (my partner is diabetic; we're used to diabetes in our household) ► No.
- Medical issues: Deaf (we would be comfortable adopting a deaf dog) ► No.
- Medical issues: Epilepsy ► No.
- Medical issues: Skin issues/allergies ► Dahlia has issues with chicken-based products. While not easily avoided, we have managed to do so.
- Medical issues: Mange (we have no other pets so there would be no need to quarantine; we would be happy to help a dog heal from this) ► No.
- Medical issues: Three legs ► No.
So really? Not bad at all. She has a few of the "can work on this" behaviors but fits much of the profile we were looking for.
As for the last list? Dahlia has none of the things I knew I couldn't deal with in a dog.
So is Dahlia the perfect dog? Of course not. She has her issues (one of which is stealing butter every chance she gets), but she fit in almost perfectly with what we were looking for in a dog. And we couldn't be happier with her.
I hope everyone who goes to a shelter or a rescue finds a dog that they feel this happy about!