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The Obamas Narrow Down Their Decision: which puppy is right for them?

January 12, 2009

First of all, I think it sets a great example for the public that the Obamas are looking to adopt their dog from a shelter. Dogs are the products of their environment, and if a dog is raised in a loving home with loving hands, that dog can be a healthy, happy and loving member of their family, regardless of pedigree.

And it’s also great that the President-elect has been doing his homework. However, it is important for Obama to keep in mind that breed descriptions and terms used by the AKC are all very subjective. Yes, many dogs are bred for specific traits and for carrying out certain tasks and activities. Their breed specifics will make that DNA a little stronger in some areas than other. But a dog’s breed won’t dictate personality – just like how you wouldn’t say a person is friendly, reserved or aggressive based on their nationality or ethnic background.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m not breed biased. First and foremost their doggy DNA makes them dogs. And I know that you can train and teach a dog to love or hate almost anything. In fact, you can train any animal to do anything they are physically and mentally capable of doing.
So the most important thing for the Obamas to consider is how the dog will fit in with their lifestyle. While they must be able to provide the dog with legal outlets for the innate behaviors that it was bred for, they must also remember that dogs are living breathing creatures that have individual personalities! They’re NOT inanimate objects like furniture, cars and computers that you can shop for through a catalog. I am a strong believer that dogs should be adopted based on personality, behavior, and demeanor. How a dog reacts at your first meeting is a better indicator of how it will fit into your lifestyle than the history of how the dog was bred. It’s best to pay attention to what the dog is doing, not what you think it should or might do based upon breed alone. 
And if they are considering adopting a puppy, they need to think about proper socialization and dog training focused on preventing behavioral issues. It’s just like when the Obamas had their children, they had to think about consistency in parenting and all the various responsibilities associated with taking care of another life in the long term. They had to baby proof their home, among other things. And with a puppy, they will have to puppy proof their home and know how to manage the responsibilities of raising a healthy and happy puppy. 
From what I’ve seen, the Obamas seem like a real traditional family that’s big on responsibility (Malia and Sasha will be making their own beds in the White House!) and they will remain focused on instilling values in their children to encourage them to be productive. Kudos to them for being such responsible parents! 

So they need to think about the dog’s needs – Will the girls be brushing and grooming the dog regularly? Will Barack Obama run with the dog 5 miles or have the Secret Service pulling doggy exercising duties?

And finally, they have to think about taking care of the dog’s needs in the long run. The dog will likely outlive Obama’s presidential administration, even if he serves two terms. So the dog will be with them long after they leave the White House. And if the kids leave for college, Barack and Michelle will have an adult dog to take care of even though their daughters have moved away. So it’s important for them to consider their immediate lifestyle as well as what their future holds.


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