Monday, January 12, 2009

Not A First Dog

Yesterday President Elect Obama announced to the world that one of the breeds he had decided on was a Portuguese Water Dog.  Having owned PWDs for over twenty years, I think he might be making a mistake. These are wonderful, funny, lovable dogs, but they are not easy dogs to live with and I would never recommend one for a first time dog owner.

Let me give you an example of what an ordinary morning with Portuguese Water Dogs is like. First they are early risers, like before dawn early. Then there is the noisy stampede to the door. Once outside each goes to do his or her own thing. 

Today Bailey dug three new trenches in the back yard. Samba and Tess rolled in the mud requiring baths. Sky got so excited about breakfast that he jumped in the air and landed in the water bucket, splashing a large quantity of water all over his brother Noah and me. Lola though it would be interesting to see what was under her bowl, so she hit it with her big foot sending food flying around the garage. Her sisters raced to eat it before she could get to it. 

I refilled the enormous and heavy water bucket, big enough for four heads at once, and Norma Jean decided to wash her muddy feet in it. And this all before I've had a cup of coffee.

Generally, Fudge spins every time we approach a door, but today with the camera aimed at him, he chose to just stand and stare at me. With a still camera I can't get a picture because they're moving. With an action camera they stand still. Go figure.

These are working dogs who really need a great deal of exercise and almost constant attention. If bored they invent fun new games to stay busy. I could show the Obamas the hole in the center of my living room carpet that Tsar and Samba created one day while I was out. I could tell them about the drumstick that Samba stole off the turkey last week just after I took it from the oven. I could describe the 2 AM strolls under the stars that Samba loves and tries to wake me for several times a week. I could have others tell them about Fudge's antics in the show ring when he knows he has an audience.

I know the White House provides a person to care for and train the dog, but for two young girls and parents who aren't dog savvy, I can think of several other breeds that I would recommend instead of a PWD.


Georgi said...

Yeah, I agree with you, they are making a mistake. They need a little lap dog or a cocker spaniel. But hey they don't have to take care of it or clean up behind the dog, sooo. . .

Tobi said...

That is some really good info for anyone interested in the breed.

SissySees said...

BRAVO!!!! Way to advocate for your breed. I do hope they'll pick a dog that will be fun for the girls without disrupting the routines they seem to live by... (This means no terriers or hounds either!)

LizzieJane said...

I actually saw a story on TV yesterday talking about the same thing. Who better than you to give such good info about not getting a Portuguese Water Dog as a first dog. As wonderful as they are I think they may be making a big mistake too.

Nicki said...

I agree with you that a working dog is not for everyone but to look at the flip many of us got started in our breeds by accident? I knew little about border collies before taking in little 6 week old Oreo and I think your story is much the same! So although I would rather see them choose a shelter or rescue dog (what a promotion for adoption!)maybe it will be ok and they will find something constructive to do with the dog, besides I can't say I want to see Labradoodles promoted any more than "designer dogs" already are :(

Nicki said...

Sadly, publicity will hurt any breed, true advocates of the breed need to speak up and let the public know that you should not choose a dog because it's "in style" or "popular" We can only cross our fingers anytime a breed goes high profile that minimal damage will be done.

dreameyce said...

I really, really hope they choose a dog as an individual, rather than just get a random 'mail order' dog based on specific breed, or mix.

I don't care about what breed/mix they choose, but really hope they get a suitable dog for their family, and household environment.

It could go any number of ways, but I really hope that the dog they bring home, is a sound, happy, biddable, and social dog, with a high stress tolerance.