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Choosing a female or male dog

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Updated: April 4, 2013 6:24AM



Dear Ollie: Thank you for answering my question last week on how to make the right decision for acquiring a pet. I am contacting local shelters right now and looking for the dog that will exercise with me.

Now, I need to know which is better, a male or female?

Apparently, from my wife’s point of view, there are great differences between male and female humans. She and I have had discussion after discussion (she says) or argument after argument (I say) on the differences between human females and males.

She went to a seminar at work and learned that men and women communicate differently. She told me that women interrupt conversations to show concern and men just get mad when it happens. Women give compliments for affirmation and inclusion and men volunteer compliments as evaluations. Women get things done by building relationships, building rapport, sharing experiences and asking questions. Men like to tell and give information rather than ask questions. She even went so far as to say that men and women are from different planets and have their own cultures. You can see what I’m up against. Do I choose a female or a male dog?

Ken, San Pierre

Dear Ken: I get the fact that you are afraid to make a mistake acquiring a dog and going down the dark rabbit hole of “I told you so.”

But you can fix this problem by simply including her in the process of choosing the dog. She needs to be O.K. with getting a new member of the family and she needs to be involved. So instead of asking me, “Do I choose a female or male dog?” Ask me, “Do we choose a female or male dog?”

Now, let’s go back to your question. The simple fact is this. There’s not much definitive research on whether a female or male dog is a better companion just based on their gender. A dog’s breed and individual disposition are greater indicators of success for a companion dog than gender. It has been said that female dogs are more affectionate and make better companions but the jury is out on that one. Trainers believe that all dogs treated kindly and compassionately in return will give you unconditional love.

It is a fact that spaying a female dog costs more than neutering a male dog. Males may be better watchdogs as they are often more dominant and self confident. Bear in mind that these are broad generalizations and every dog is unique.

But wait, it is proven that a female dog can hold her urine longer than a male dog and some can wait as long as ten to twelve hours to relieve themselves. In a household where no one is home during the day, this may seem appealing. When you and your furry female companion finally get to go on that much needed walk, she will most likely empty her bladder all at once. A male dog takes longer to relive himself because they go several times here and several times there and then here and there again. Some experts call this marking territory behavior. Most humans call it exasperating.

So Ken, apologize to your wife for your male insensitivity and promise that her input is critical in making this big decision.



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