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What I wish people would ask me (as a professional dog trainer)

Updated: Nov 28, 2023



Honestly, I was over it. I’d heard it 100 times and I wasn’t going to hold back with my opinion this time around.


“But how does that even make sense??” I bursted out, and prayed my friend wouldn’t just throw her spring roll at me.


We had met up at an Asian restaurant closeby and yet again I was listening to the story of how she was just not finding any decent men, how she would be single forever and how dating sucked.


Quite frankly: Yes, dating can really suck. But let me put that into context.


My friend wanted a partner. But not ANY partner. She wanted a minimum 1.90m, ripped and super fit dude with long hair and a thick beard, someone into the outdoors, extreme sports - “someone exciting to date”. Basically a guy people would mistake for Jason Momoa.


The catch? (Apart from this type of guy not rolling in hundreds off a conveyor belt somewhere)


She is one of the laziest people I know. I love her dearly, but her main hobbies include watching Netflix documentaries, sitting at home reading with a cup of tea while she cancels her weekend plans because there would be “too many people I don’t know” and complains about living in a noisy neighborhood.

Extreme sports? Yeah, she occasionally enjoys watching someone skydive on TV while hiding half her face behind a big pillow.


Even if she found her Jason Momoa double, they would probably be alright for a couple of weeks before annoying the living daylights out of each other. They would simply not be a good match. But bear with me, I’m coming to my point!


The reason I couldn’t keep quiet in the restaurant was because I see it every day when working with clients:


What we find pretty in a dog is important, but what’s compatible with us is essential.


Take the Australian Shepherds for example. Loved and admired by many… this amazing fur, the floppy ears, those different coloured eyes and the soft look on their perfect little faces. Just pure art in dog form.


And I have seen countless Australian Shepherds living the life fake Jason Momoa would have with my friend: bored, frustrated, misunderstood. They end up living in places that are not ideal for their breed, with busy humans that haven’t understood their general and individual needs. And that’s where I often come in to the rescue.




Now, instead of fixing the problems that arise from just going for “what is cute” or “what they always wanted”, I wish I was asked more often “Daphné could you help us find the perfect match for us?”.


These are my 6 most important questions for dog parents to be:


  • Puppy or rescue? Both have their pros and cons, and you’ll want to be honest with yourself about what fits best for you. While puppies are extremely adorable, their mischievous activities may not always be the most adorable to deal with (you’ll remember me saying this after they turned your slippers into modern art). On the other hand rescues can come with big emotional baggage that will show with time. And you can’t fall into the trap of thinking that just for rescuing an adult dog they will be eternally grateful and therefore cause zero problems. It’s all a question of what you’re willing to compromise on.

  • How do you imagine an ideal weekend with your dog? I ask this because on weekends people tend to do what they really enjoy. Notice the difference: Does your mind go to a relaxed walk through the neighbourhood, meeting your friends at your favourite brunch place with the delicious Egg Benedicts for 3 hours before you head back and spend the afternoon cuddling on the sofa with your pooch? Or are you up at 7am, pulling out your muddy trekking boots, unable to tell whether it’s you or your dog who’s more excited about the half day hike in the mountains you’re about to go on with a group of other early birds?

  • What about a weekday? You might be working from home (lucky you!) or needing to be in the office regularly, which would either mean more alone time, or bringing doggo to the office. As for over here in Spain, there are only so many offices that allow dogs - and only so many breeds that could adapt to an office environment nicely. I did my puppy program with 2 co-workers from the same company. The Cockapoo is the star of the office, fun, adorable and relaxed, while the Mini Dachshund is already banned… What’s my fitness level and how much time and energy can I give to the dog I will bring into my home on a regular day?

  • Is there any no-go for you in a dog or the life with a dog? Make a list and contrast it with breed information. If you hate water, a Golden Retriever or a Portuguese Water Dog are probably not for you. As cleaning freak anything drooley (Great Danes, Boxers, Newfoundlands…) should be eliminated from the pool of candidates. If you don’t want long and active walks, stay clear from a Belgian Malinois. That sort of thing, you get the jist :)

  • What ‘s your living situation like? Given that you don’t want to backpack through Southeast Asia in the next year, (in which case getting any dog is a bad decision), you might want to consider a couple of other important questions. Does the dog have to adapt to a countryside cottage or a bustling metropolis as their new home? What do your partner or flatmates think? Are they comfortable with any kind of dogs? If you don’t already, are you planning to have kids in the future and need to see which breed might adapt better? Last but not least, think about existing pets. Cats for example will look a lot more like a snack to a German Shepherd than to a Toy Poodle. And if you have another dog already, make sure the two individuals fit well.

  • Do you need to travel by plane or are holidays by car totally okay for the future? I highly discourage flying big breeds in the haul of airplanes - especially when it’s only for vacations. If your goal is to fly a couple of hours to family across the country, take into account that most airlines only allow dogs up to 8kg in the cabin.

  • Do you have a support network? This overlaps with your living situation and who can help you take the dog on walks, feed them, take them to the vet. But imagine you go on holiday and can’t take the dog. Who can help you care of them? Dog sitters can become expensive, and some charge more for bigger dogs.


Maybe you’re thinking I’m exaggerating. Let me just tell you, that the more honest you can be about compatibility between you and your dream dog now, the less likely you are to end up needing a behaviour consultation with someone like me later on :)


Let me be the one bursting out “How does that even make sense?” now, before you (and the other party involved) run into something that will end in tears and broken hearts.





If you need help for your specific case, you can book a Match Making Session here.



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