« Last post by BP on July 21, 2014, 04:19:34 PM »
Oh boy, dogs! I know some stuff about dogs! I live with five of them (in the country with lots of space for them--is it too many? Probably). Three small dogs of various total mutt status and two australian shepherds, one of whom is larger than average and the other of whom is significantly smaller. They're great, my parents and I love each of them.
As far as barking goes, one of them, incidentally the largest and the youngest, is still basically a lively puppy. He likes to bark at the other dogs to try and get them to play with him or at the cat to... get her to die of sonic damage, I guess. So we get him to stop. He's got a lot of bad tendencies that have to be punished and trained away while he's maturing, like getting into anything that's not nailed down, including things on the kitchen table and counters... but he is getting better about that. Maybe simply growing out of it.
The other four of them don't bark unless there's a probable reason: if a car is in front of the house, or pulls into the driveway, or one of the neighbors' idiot friends stops in front of their house and honks repeatedly to get attention instead of knocking on the door or something reasonable. The neighbors' two dogs bark seemingly endlessly at nothing, probably because nobody seems to pay them any attention or ever teach them not to. It's really unbelievable. But equally unbelievable is how little attention our dogs pay to their dogs' barking. They don't bark together.
If I were living somewhere else with less or no help to take care of them, I would definitely not live with five. Maximum would be two. Having grown up with dogs around my entire life, I wouldn't ever want to not have a dog, and I do think there are certain benefits to having more than one, if it's manageable to. Manageable including living space, whether or not there's a dog door and how often it's open, how much you can afford to spend on them (not just food, but also possible medical emergencies), how much time you have to groom them, and stuff like that.
I've especially grown attached to our oldest, a tiny pomeranian-terrier-chihuahua mix. Her personality is almost all pomeranian with the terrier's instinct to (futilely) hunt vermin and almost nothing especially chihuahua-like. So I'm thinking I'd stick with poms for my next dog. For most of my life it was large dogs only and I never even knew if I'd like small dogs, but I think I definitely prefer them smaller. They don't eat as much, if they require medicine they won't need as much of it, they aren't really inherently more feisty or yappy, they can't reach the table, they're much easier to take places, and can play and run and fetch just like a large dog. Even if it's a watch dog you need, you'll at least have an alarm dog, which could be enough of a deterrent on its own even if it's no bodyguard.
So yeah. I probably made it sound like a lot of chores, and it is, but it's totally rewarding. ...Dang. That made me sound like somebody's dad.