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Rolan Tripp DVM
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Rolan Tripp DVM
About The Author



- Pet Selection-

Tripp Test for Dog Selection Expanded
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Major Category
Minor Category
Home Environment    
  Children ages and planned
1) If child is 0-3 yr old: forgo the dog and focus on training the kid
2) If planning children, best to raise child to 3 yr+ before getting pup
3) 4-12 yr old = ideal time, but choose gentle dog, not guard type
4) 12-18+ kid = only adopt pet if ready to take over dog
  Consider other pets
5) If a dog, select different gender and size to avoid competition
6) If a cat, provide safe places for cat to get away
7) Avoid two littermates since they often dogfight later in life
  Preferred location for elimination
8) Back yard: Do you have a fenced yard, and appropriate spot?
9) Nearby green belt: How close in bad weather? If no yard, better choose a small dog and train inside elimination.
10) Inside: Smaller dog is better (quantity); Puppy = easier to teach.
11) Inside and/or yard: any dog will do
  Preferred location for exercise
12) Inside (e.g. high rise) = small dog
13) Nearby green belt: More weather flexible. Any dog.
14) Back yard: Only exercise off the property counts as exercise.
  Preferred location for sleeping
15) Outside: Not recommended. Any dog should sleep near people. Plan on doghouse if outside any significant time.
16) Indoors in pet bed: Best plan. Budget for crate and pillow.
17) On my bed: Smaller and non-dominant personality dog.
  Other parameters
18) If all else the same, pick dog with same color coat as your carpeting to reduce evidence of shedding.
19) If fine furniture, choose calm, low energy, plan on kennel-training; plenty of chew toys and lots of supervision. Older dog or cat best.
Dog age and gender    
20) Puppy: Can control socialization; No bad habits to overcome.
21) Adult: Can test personality; Miss puppy time investment; may come with existing problems.
22) Senior: In calmest stage of life; more medical $; great for senior people.
23) Male: Bigger for protection, exercise; less $ to neuter
24) Male neutered: Benefits of male with less behavior issues.
25) Female: Less roaming, fighting, marking; better for training.
26) Female spayed: Benefits of female, less medical problems, no male visitors because no heat cycle.
Dog body size & shape    
27) Select puppy based on expected adult size.
28) Physical protection: Medium to large, agile, male or female.
29) Vocal Protection: Any size can sound an alarm.
  The desired body "Look"
30) Eyes: Droopy lower lids catch dust and infections. Tight lower lids may turn inward causing eye abrasions and discharge.
31) Ears: Droopy have more problems. Erect more expressive.
32) Muzzle: Flatter = more like a human; longer = more like wolf.
33) Tail: Long is expressive, good for balance. Short doesn't knock over items.
34) Joggers: choose big and more active.
35) If "I have no time," go small dog, more passive.
36) Companion: Any dog or cat.
37) Hunting: Look up specifics of retriever, pointer, etc.
38) Rescue: Scent oriented breed.
39) Agility or obedience: Intelligent, active.
40) Therapy: Calm. Non-aggressive. Non-bossy. Affectionate.
  Waste elimination
41) Big dog, big elimination.
42) Small dog better if planning paper training.
43) Small dogs tend to live longer.
44) Large dogs mature more rapidly.
45) Larger eats more.
46) In many cases, $ increases with size. E.g. medication, X-rays, surgery, boarding, crate, dog house, etc.
47) Long hair requires more grooming.
48) Smaller require more dental work.
  Lap time
49) Smaller is easier.
50) Bigger person lap can handle bigger dog.
  Mixed or purebred
51) Many purebreds are not carefully bred and have problems.
52) Responsible breeders produce the most predictable dog.
53) Some feel (first generation only) mixed breed dogs have "hybrid vigor" = "best traits of both breeds" with fewest defects.
54) Should relate to local climate: Long hair in colder, shorter in warmer climates.
55) Longer requires more time combing and brushing.
56) Longer requires more professional grooming and $.
57) Longer has more pleasure in tactile feel.
58) Longer is less likely to cause allergy (but still can).
59) Personal preference.
60) Consider color of carpeting to match shedding.
  Double or single coat
61) Longer single coat sheds less (replaced less often)
62) Long double coated (with fine under hairs) shed more
Dog Personality    
63) Less is better: More leads to barking, jumping, running.
64) More difficult to train (short attention span).
65) More is better for a jogging companion.
66) Need more exercise or may turn destructive in frustration.
67) Most people do better with a less active dog personality.
68) Tend to have better attention span for training.
69) Responds to potential alarm. Good for protection.
70) Responds to good training protocol.
71) Tends to not be patient with children.
72) Tends to be less affectionate, more likely to bite.
73) Good for training. Aptitude to learn tricks.
74) Tend to be more playful.
75) Requires more time involvement and training.
76) Easily bored and frustrated leading to barking, digging, destruction if not kept stimulated.
77) Good for protection if owner can control dog.
78) Requires more training/daily work to maintain human leadership.
79) More legal liability is breed is known as aggressive
  Desire to please, and "friendly"
80) More is better. The single most important personality trait.
81) Increases trainability with less requirement to train.
82) Better social interaction with kids, cats, dogs, strangers.
83) More affectionate.
84) More for hunters, or protection
85) Generally, less is better. Avoid very vocal dogs.
Human Personality    
  Desire for protection
86) Bigger, aggressive, and vocal all preferred.
87) Not everyone can control a dominant dog personality
88) If you say, "I like to spoil and coddle," avoid dominant canine personality that may take over house and result in aggression toward people who challenge that control.
  Independence:Which statement is closest?
89) I am ready to make a 15 year commitment.
90) I want an intermittent buddy on my schedule.
91) Hang with me but don't cling.
92) I like to be needed.
93) Worship my every move.
  Lap time
94) If like to have nice clothes, never allow dog in your lap.
95) If "once in a while is nice," then require a SIT before coming up.
96) If "live in my lap" raise a small dog in your lap from puppyhood.
  Want to become a breeder?
97) Study economics before beginning (not a $ maker usually)
98) Extensive breed study before selection.
99) Plan to do it for fun not profit.
100) Be able to let go of great personalities but with other defects.
101) If gone frequently, consider a cat or fish.
102) If frequently using RV, small dog can come along easier.
103) If travel frequently, consider if really have time available for a pet at all.
104) Minimum dog commitment = daily walk or jog off your property
105) If only have "lap time," get a small dog or a cat.
106) Choose big and active if you can tolerate physical activity inside the house (Play, chase, wrestling, ball, tug-o-war, etc.)
  Bonding:If you want…
107) One person dog: choose adult, shy, poorly socialized. Not good with children or strangers.
108) Friendly to others: test adult personality, or work at heavily socializing puppy to people and dogs.
109) Bond deeply, beware of adopting "first dog encountered." Instead do careful selection
110) Calm canine personality; test many dogs, and look for this trait which varies among individuals.
111) Affectionate; Look for attention seeking traits like licking, jumping, nudging, leaning, following, seeks lap time.
112) Highly affectionate dogs may be more likely to develop separation anxiety if any human bond is broken.
113) "Let them be dogs" philosophy usually results in poor dog manners, and frustration for both dog and human.
114) "Every family member gets education," is a better motto.
115) Consider the time, money and effort for basic and ongoing training.
116) Consider if these are appealing: obedience degrees, herding trials, search and rescue, therapy dog, agility or "flyball" competition.
  Children present
117) Either select adult personality as patient and passive, or select puppy with this potential, and heavily socialize to kids early
118) I am willing to do 90% of the work, and take over the dog when they leave.
119) Consider both initial and ongoing costs.
120) Generally, bigger is more maintenance cost than small.
  Other cost issues:
Food Toys
Kennel Bed
Bowls Leash
Spay/Neuter Boarding
Vaccination/Exams Medical Treatment
...::::::: Copyright 2000-Present  All Rights Reserved by Rolan Tripp, DVM  and Susan Tripp, MS, Animal Behavior Network and Associates :::::::...