When choosing a large breed, or any type of breed, experts say that canine IQ tests are valid only when comparing two dogs of the same breed. If one dog receives loads of attention and experiences many different situations, he will appear smarter than if he was treated to years of indifference. Are trick dogs more intelligent than less clever pets? Not necessarily, but they do receive more attention, more training, and more human time than most pets.
Often, picking a single trait such as their sense of smell and testing accordingly skews IQ test results. Which dogs will quickly pop to the top? Bloodhounds and Black and Tans, naturally! Does this mean that they are more intelligent than other dogs? Probably not if other aptitudes are tested. Other testing chooses environmental interaction as criteria as in guide dog selection. The German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Labrador Retriever suddenly jump to the top of this heap, but are they perfect for everyone? Of course not! Intelligence may be associated with his ability to learn, which is difficult to define. It is the dogs' ability to focus on their trainer, to listen and watch carefully, and to perform for the sake of pleasing their owners. It is a personality trait found in some dogs of virtually every breed and is seen regularly in big dogs. More important than intelligence testing is to find the breed that satisfies your particular needs, then compare several litters, and finally, compare one with his siblings.
When buying your big breed, consider the season and weather. If you live north during snow season, wait until the snow cover is melted and grass has sprouted in your yard. Your large puppy will require space, and it is difficult to supply the needed amount in a yard drifted full of snow. Housebreaking is a chore under the best circumstances. If a midnight trip to his bathroom area includes wading in a foot of slush, it is bound to be a serious stress on this new relationship.
Prepare to spend countless hours with your new family member the first few weeks in your home. This means that you should not get a puppy just before you leave on vacation, when you plan a business trip, or when you expect an invasion of guests into your home. Arrange to bring him home during a relaxed, quiet time for the entire family, when he can become adapted to the environment and adjusted to the inhabitants without undue excitement.
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