Expert tips for Obamas' dog search
Expert opinions on finding the perfect dog for the White House, or your house:
CESAR MILLAN, host of the National Geographic Channel program "The Dog Whisperer" and author of "Cesar's Way":
_Choose a dog with the right energy for your lifestyle and experience level.
_Give your dog exercise, discipline, then affection.
_If you choose a purebred, find an ethical breeder.
_If you want to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, put your emotions aside and be realistic about what it will entail.
PATRICIA MCCONNELL, animal behaviorist and host of Wisconsin Public Radio's "Calling All Pets":
_Pick a dog based on its behavioral and physical health, from a responsible place.
_Pick a rescue dog from a shelter or rescue group that does good temperament testing.
_If you want a purebred puppy, work with a breeder who produces sound, healthy puppies, finds good homes and requires buyers to return dogs that don't work out.
_Reinforce the behavior you want rather than punishing what you don't want.
JACK VOLHARD, professional dog trainer in Culpeper, Va., co-author of "Dog Training for Dummies":
_Shedding and a dog's diet can be factors in humans' allergic reactions.
_Temperament trumps cuteness when picking a puppy.
_Crate-train your dog so it has a quiet place to retreat and can be safely transported.
_Don't get a dog just because someone famous has that breed. Choose a dog suited to you.
STANLEY COREN, psychology professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and author of "The Modern Dog":
_Families getting their first dog should go for the best temperament, size and predictability, and wait until they have experience before getting a rescued dog.
_If choosing from a litter, pick the middle dog: Don't pick a puppy too dominant or one who's hanging back.
_Regardless of the dog's age or its breed, it's going to take some work to get it to fit in.
BROTHER CHRISTOPHER SAVAGE, head trainer at the Monks of New Skete dog board-and-train program in Cambridge, N.Y.:
_There is nothing morally better or worse about getting a dog from a shelter vs. a reputable breeder. Get the right dog for you.
_With a rescue dog, go in with your eyes open and be realistic about your ability to cope with behavioral issues.
_If looking for a certain breed, contact the breed organization for breeders' names. Call several and ask them to identify a few other good breeders.
On the Net:
Cesar Millan: http://www.cesarmillaninc.com/
Patricia McConnell: http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/
Stanley Coren: http://www.stanleycoren.com/
Jack Volhard: http://www.volhard.com/
Monks of New Skete: http://www.newsketemonks.com/
(This version SUBS 18th graf to correct typo in Culpeper.))