“Our previous dog was never like that” or “Our previous dog was perfect, not like this one”….Why you should never compare between your dogs!!!

We don’t (or shouldn’t) compare our children between each other because we understand that each child is uniquely different even though they were born to same parents.  We usually understand that each child will inherit certain genetic traits, whether from mum or dad, and even from grandma or grandpa, so we understand and accept why Mary got an A+ for English and is the ‘easier’ child, yet Johnny got a D and is the child who is always disruptive and would rather kick a footy than read a book.

So if we understand this with human children, why do we tend to compare between our dogs, especially that they are mostly of different breeding and/or breeds, and not to mention with varying degrees of development and exposure as young pups?

Not a week goes by that I don’t speak with someone who hasn’t compared their current dog to a previous dog, or an older dog that is still with them.  I know I am not the only dog trainer who hears this.

In some cases, the owners of the young and rambunctious puppy, may still be mourning the loss of their previous dog that, at 14 years of age, was extremely quiet and tolerated much of the household’s dynamics.  Owners will usually forget what it was like to have a young puppy about the house and due to their increased frustration with this young pup, cannot help make comparisons to the previous 14 year old dog.

Don’t forget that your previous dog was once a young and rambunctious puppy as well

In other instances, owners will obtain the same breed of dog in the hope of getting a dog with the same personality, traits and overall behaviour as that of their previous dog, only to be extremely disappointed when the new dog is nothing like their previous dog.

I can certainly sympathise with these owners as they so dearly miss their previous dogs and desperately want their new dogs to be almost identical in many ways, but here is my message to you…

“Do not compare between your dogs!”

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Just like human children, dogs have different personalities, genetic traits and development.  They are their own individual beings, regardless of whether they are from the same breed or breeding, so love each dog for the individuals they are!
  • Your previous dog was also once a young and rambunctious puppy…you just can’t remember or weren’t there for it!
  • It’s not fair on the new dog that is now placed on the ‘back paw’ because of your comparison.  It’s going to be difficult for this dog to live up to an expectation
  • Due to the comparison, you may inadvertently create negative emotions towards the new dog, and as a result, you may not build a relationship with him or her
  • If you are still comparing to a past dog, then chances are that you may not be ready for a new dog
  • Embrace the fact that this new dog is very different to your last.  He is sure to give you a new set of experiences, a new sense of love and lots of new memories to be fond of in years to come.
Love your new dog for the individual dog he is

So if you have inadvertently been comparing your dogs, for whatever reason, my message to you is to continue to treasure the fond memories of your previous dogs (as I do mine) but see your new dog as the beginning of a wonderful new relationship with a totally different dog!

Trish Harris

Leave a Reply