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Erasmus Profile Erasmus: The site is devoted to dogs. All dogs. Our headline dog is of course the Schnauzer – hence Achtung Schnauzer.

Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : They’re quirky. They’re bright. What’s not to like.

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: All dogs are lovable. They fit a chink in humanity’s armour against the world particularly well. We fit together and when we live together we discover we belong together. Our lives when shared with dogs, become very different. When you have a dog, you are no longer lonely. I think this is the greatest gift that dogs bring to humanity.

I have had couples tell me that they have a new focus in their lives since they brought a dog into their lives. They laugh more. They argue less. Life is so much smoother and easier.


Choosing your dog

Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : You wouldn’t choose your life partner based on just their looks so why choose your dog this way.

You look at an animal and are attracted to them for a few seconds a day based on their looks, but you need to live with them 24 hours a day. Choosing your dog companion is one of the most important choices you will ever make. Dogs do not live forever – but they will likely be with you for 10 to 17 years. That is a long time to commit to making permanent changes in your own behaviour.

Choose a dog based on its personality and how they will fit into your life and the life of your family.

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: I would use the same criteria for choosing a dog as you would for choosing a life partner.

They need to be Nice to you,

 An asset to you,

And to like the life they give you. 

Your relationship with different dogs will be quite different. So try to choose a dog that fits best with who you are – not necessarily who you would like to be. Choosing a high energy dog may sound like a good way to motivate you to exercise, but it is more likely to be a way to create a discordant note in every day. Don’t do it. Try to choose wisely.

Dog Greeting Doggie Greeting: can be intense or discreet. Dogs do have their own personalities.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: So let’s look at our criteria. Dogs are nice to everyone. They fit in with everyone. But dogs do have definite personalities.  Some are greeters. Some are not.

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Yes. Some dogs will greet you effusively when you come home. Other dogs will come to you and then run-off. Friends of ours love their family Schnauzer. However it is their little white Bichon Frise /Maltese cross who gives the most royal and loyal welcome. Picking a dog that welcomes you is one of those things that people take for granted. But it can really make your day. All dogs will welcome you – but some really do it better than others. And this simple little event in a human’s life can really make a big difference to their day. Yet it is something that no one ever really even asks or thinks about in choosing a dog.


Doggie greetings vary too. From effusive and bubbly, to calm and reassuring. How do you want your evening to start? Set the tone for your life by picking a dog that suits your own temperament, not just picking a dog by their looks.



Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : Some dogs will follow you slavishly all day. And some dogs will not.

Schnauser with Child Quiet Supporter and Protector - the feisty Miniature Schnauser.

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Again yes. The description of a dog as a lap dog – is actually a true description of the behaviour of many of those of the white fluffy things that are so popular. Namely the Bichon Frise /Maltese/SchiTzu Cross dogs. Having a lap dog is not everyone’s cup of tea. Lots of people like to have their dog around them. But in their laps and constantly near them can actually be a problem for some humans.

If the dog wants to be constantly near you all day, humans may well have to alter their round of activities throughout the day to allow the dog to be safely nearby – whether the human being is studying, doing paperwork, working in the garden, or doing maintenance around the house or unit. (Condominium). Choose a dog that can easily fit in with your normal activities- if they are physically present.


Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : Some dogs have habits or personal characteristics that may be difficult for their human.

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: A Good example is that some dogs like to dig holes – which can be very distressing for their human. Some dogs like to bark – which can be a real deal breaker when you are a dog owner in suburbia. Some dogs have greater tolerance for children than other dogs.

There are definitely dogs from whom you should not take a bone. (They can get ferociously unhappy if food is taken from them. I particularly remember a friend who owned a small SchiTzu whose behaviour escalated to the point of wanting to kill their owner for removing them from their bone).

There are definitely some dogs who are probably best not around kids. (I remember one friend who’s Australian Blue Cattle Dog herded their kids up into a corner and then sat there in an aggressive posture keeping them penned up – much as they would for sheep or cattle with which they would traditionally work.



Goo Goo : I think the issue is that some dogs have genetically predicated behaviour predisposing them to doing things that puts them at odds with their humans and the expectations of humans in their environment.

Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : The saving grace is that dogs will accept humans as the dominant partner and are very capable of learning the expectations of their dominant humans and adapting to the expectations of their dominant humans. In short, we can train our dogs to do what we like them to do.

Dogs with Kids Dog and Kid.

Goo Goo : But the issue is really that perhaps it is best to choose a dog that naturally fits in and does the things humans would like them to do to fit in with their environment and with their humans.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: I think people are very poor sometimes at choosing what they want or what they need. It is only when you may have 2 dogs – one of whom runs up and greets you effusively and one of which only greets you with a simple hello, that you realise how important some of these behaviours may be to you. By which time it is too late to choose your dog – as you have already chosen your dog.

Doggie Greeting Dogs walking on separate leads. Not a good way to walk multiple dogs in my view.


A couple of issues become obvious to me. Sometimes it is better to have 2 different dogs, because each with their different behaviour pattern can fulfil a different range of needs that a human may have for sociability with their dog. In much the same way as a single person may not meet all your needs as a human partner, it is unreasonable to expect one dog to fulfil all your needs for doggie companionship.

If you have two different sized dogs, walking them can become a real problem- though perhaps one human partner will walk one and the other partner may choose to walk the other. It could work.


The next consideration is the Pedigree vs. Bitzer view. Pedigrees tend to provide a much more standardised and predictable behaviour package in a dog. They tend to share many of the same behavioural quirks, degree of sociability, energy level, annoying and endearing habits – because they share more of the same genetics than different breeds of dogs.


Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : This of course can be a very short-sighted view of the definition of what makes up a dog breed. A friend went to a schnauzer meeting in a park. He was quite afraid that he would not be able to identify his own schnauzer from many of the other schnauzers present. To make sure he could not lose his own schnauzer, he took a felt pen and wrote the dog’s name on the inside of the ear – so you could always work out whether the dog in front of you really was in fact your Schnauzer.

When he turned up at the meeting he discovered that Schnauzers came in a myriad of flavours. There were very small (miniature), medium (standard) and large (giant) schnauzers. They had very different coat colours, different coat textures, and different styles of haircuts. They were, in short, as individually unique as would be a group of humans at such a gathering – none of whom you would ever have difficulty identifying from another human – if you bothered to put the time and effort in.

In short even amidst pedigrees – dogs can be very unique.



Another friend saved a neighbour’s Schnauzer when he escaped from home. It became very obvious that the new schnauzer was much more social, much more trusting and much more easy-going than their own dog. The two dogs had some quite different personality quirks, although many of the behaviours were identical – using their paws in communicating, trying to talk, hanging their heads down on the bed and wanting to lie alongside the human lady when she was sitting on her lounge.



Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Even in such a large group of very different dogs of a single breed – it becomes obvious that there are still many more similarities between dogs within the breed then there are with other dogs in general.

Goo Goo : It comes back to the saying you hear so much when you travel in Southeast Asia: “Same”, “Same”, “But Different”.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: So the final point to make- is that dogs come in many shapes and sizes and have many different behaviours. While all dogs will endeavour to please, many behaviours are genetically determined and not learned. It can be very hard to know what behavioural traits are important to you but I have tried to run through a few basic ones:

Social greeters versus loose greeters

Constant companions versus loose companions

High-energy versus low energy: exercise vs. mental energy

Inbuilt herding or guarding or territorial behaviours

Good/bad habits and quirks – digging/retrieving/carrying.

Intelligence- it makes a difference in what they bark at when they hear noises late at night.

Child and small animal tolerance

Ball Chasing and retrieving: Some dogs chase and retrieve balls, but then need to be taught to give them up so they can be thrown again.

Are you a “big dog” person?

Big Dog People Big Dog People are a human breed apart. It takes a special commanding person to after a big dog.


Hair shedding

Cost of feeding your dog / dogs: $10- $40 for larger animals. And there are worming bills, vaccination bills, possibly grooming bills, bills for dog toys as well to consider.

Dog Hair



Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : Retrieving and carrying is a definite genetic trait. Some dogs will chase a ball and retrieve it and drop it back to you without any training whatsoever. Some dogs will carry a ball for you but not be too enthused to drop it to let you interact with it. I knew a friend who had a Shih Tzu /poodle cross and a LLasa Apso. The SchiTzu /poodle cross would chase a ball and retrieve it and then chase it again and again and again literally till totally exhausted. The LLasa Apso never really learned this game, but was quite happy to continue carrying the ball. I can see a particularly good hunting combination here. One dog to retrieve the “bird” and the other dog to carry the “catch of the day”.

Trying to bypass these behaviours is essentially impossible – as my good friend Erasmus stated before – some behaviours are likely to be genetically determined and not easily modified by training.


The Carrying Dog Dog who enjoys "carrying"


Goo Goo : So Can you talk about other major factors important in choosing a dog?

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: 1. If you have children in the family below about 8 years of age, you need to choose dogs that are tolerant of children.

 Children often lack empathy of the suffering they can cause to other animals. This can trigger a defensive reaction from a dog. I particularly remember a friend of mine whose 3 ½-year-old daughter was following the family poodle around the house and twisting his nose. The dog tolerated this amazingly well half a dozen times. But eventually, the dog decided enough was enough. The official description would be that the dog bit the girl on the face.

I actually disagree with this assessment. The dog was being threatened and hurt. The dog responded in a very controlled and very careful way and held the little girl’s face with his mouth. This was his only way of “holding”. Unfortunately there was one small puncture on the girl’s cheek as a result.

I would call this a defensive nip, not a bite. I remember petting a cat who decided he’d been petted enough. He bit me on the hand. My hand was effectively paralysed from the crush force of the cat’s bite. It took over half an hour for the sensation and power to return to the hand. When you have been bitten, you have been seriously injured and you know it. The crush force of a small animal bite (cat or dog) is immense.

Dog Translation

So in terms of the dog’s reaction to the little girl’s nose twists, I would say the dog delivered a very restrained and careful message, effectively speaking the only way he could – with his mouth. The dog never lost control. The dog was as careful as he possibly could be not to hurt the human.


So this example illustrates how children can trigger “harmful” behaviour in dogs.


Another friend’s dog attacked a worker on site at home. Now this worker had been on site very regularly over two years. The dog knew the worker very well. But the act of picking up a wheelbarrow and moving “away” triggered an “attack” or “protect territory” reflex.


Other issues with children relate to the small size. Many dogs in particular are trained to work with “livestock”. Children are certainly more livestock sized than adult humans and are more likely to respond to dog behaviours in a submissive manner – encouraging the dogs to continue what to the human mind is inappropriate behaviour. For example, biting and nipping children. In effect, the dogs trying to dominate children in the “family” pack. (e.g. The Australian Blue Cattle Dog).



Even a friendly dog can cause harm inadvertently. For example if a larger dog leans up against a small child, they could accidentally smother the child who is physically incapable of moving the much larger animal.



The search for a child tolerant dog can reveal unexpected dog breeds as appropriate. Generally larger dogs are often less angry or irritable than smaller ones. And surprisingly, also I have been told, dogs such as bull terriers or Staffordshire Terriers are exceptionally tolerant of children’s bad behaviour although they are often exceptionally intolerant of other small animals – other dogs and cats, around the house. Some friends tell me that the bull terriers regard all humans as above them in the pack and therefore are very submissive to humans – even children. But bad luck to other cats and dogs in the family.


Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : I think you can say that all dogs are good with kids. However, it is the occasional accident which is one accident too many – that is the problem.

I think you can’t be too careful with children in the house around dogs. And you do need to choose dogs that have exceptional tolerance and good behaviour around small animals like children. I remember your story about the Australian Blue Cattle Dog who upon been brought into contact with relatives’ children, proceeded to herd them up into a corner of the lounge room and then insisted on keeping them there, pinned into the corner of the lounge room. Such behaviour may not be dangerous. But it is certainly not conducive to a happy family life.


The Jumping Dog GreetingDog Jumping: a problem for kids and elderly frail people.


Goo Goo : So what other factors would you consider important in the choice of a dog?

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: 2. I think another thing that needs to be thought of by most humans, is to decide whether the humans are “big dog” people. A larger dog weighs in at about 30 to 60 kg. So unless you can train this animal to instant obedience at the sound of your voice, it is likely that this dog is physically able to resist your efforts – such as in pushing it off the lounge or in forcing the dog to go outside or to come inside.

Big dog people are people who naturally command and who naturally expect, demand and get obedience.

Big Dog People

A friend of mine has a wife who is very soft and easy-going. The dogs adore her. But if she needs the dog brought in from outside she tells her husband to call them in. If she needs to have the dogs go outside when they do not want to – she needs to have her husbands to command them to go out. Some human beings are not “commanding” people. They are soft and easy-going. My thought is that people like this should stick to dogs that they are able to physically impose their will on. Stay with a dog size that can be picked up and easily carried by you.

Train the human, you may say.

Humans have their own genetically determined behaviours. They behave the way they do because their own genetics makes them behave that way. To be a commanding and “in-charge” person, is just not who they are and not what they would ever think of being.

A 5 kg Maltese breed dog, who decides he doesn’t want to do what he is told, can be physically made to do what he is told to do when his owner picks him up and moves him to where the owner wants him to go. A dog over about 25 kg is simply too large to physically impose your will upon in many circumstances.


Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : And that’s not to say that the dogs aren’t all wonderful and easy-going. It’s just that it is easier for a soft and easy-going person to impose their will on a smaller dog than on a much larger dog. The problem is the human. But human behaviour is determined by genetics as well (see us at https:/ site).

We are all who our genetics make us to be. Life will run easiest and best if we pick dogs whose personality and behaviours fit most easily with our own personality and predilections.

Goo Goo : Next?

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: 3. The humans’ available time and energy to interact with dogs. It is important to be honest about who or what you are yourself. If you live a fairly sedate life, you will be very happy with a very sedate dog. The little bit of activity that the dog needs to be satisfied should easily be able to be provided by you and he is likely to be very beneficial to you as well.


Schnauser Love with Child Kid with Dog

 If you have lots of time and the need for physical activity and interaction, choose a dog with these characteristics. A friend of mine had an Australian Blue Cattle dog. He was a wonderful and very clever but also very active animal. About 5 times a day he would bring his ball to you and drop it in front of you, demanding that you play ball with him. A session of playing ball would last about 10 minutes. It would involve throwing the ball across the yard for him to retrieve. The dog was absolutely amazing at retrieving balls – or sticks or anything else you may care to have retrieved. From a standing start, he could catch a ball thrown 20 m across the yard 2 metres in the air. But everything in the house would stop until he had his session of chasing completed.


This sort of behaviour can be endearing to some people, but can also be intrusive and excessively time demanding for others. If you cannot commit to spending frequent chunks of time each day to interacting with your dog – playing chase or retrieve, it is best to choose a dog that is much more sedentary in its habits and which demands much less attention. Many dogs are quite happy to spend their time sleeping with you on the lounge or on the deck while you’re reading. So if you have chosen your dog appropriately – the human can still have their time to themselves while sharing their presence with dogs simply lying around.

A neighbour similarly had a Jack Russell terrier which demanded that their owner frequently play ball with him every day. Other friends had a border collie who also had a substantive need for physical exercise/activity based interactions with the human. Another friend had a SchiTzu which one would not ordinarily expect to be a very demanding dog and which in fact was not.

However he did like to play ball and to especially retrieve balls – and liked to keep retrieving balls till he was absolutely exhausted. Amazing in such a small dog.


Livestock Working Dogs


If you’re going to choose a high activity dog because you hope that he will help you to exercise more, you may be in for a rough time. If you are exercising lots already, choosing a dog who can exercise with you is a good idea. If you’re not doing much exercise already and choose a high activity animal, you’re likely to find yourself annoyed by the dog’s persistent demands for activity and exercise, beyond your need for such things in your human life.

Dogs with scrunched up faces such as Pugs or Bulldogs, have breathing difficulties – exacerbated by activity or exercise. Some animals such as French Bulldogs even overheat quite easily. So careful what you choose. Some dogs are physically incapable of prolonged high energy activities.


Goo Goo : What impresses me is that so far many of the factors that are important in choosing a dog, are actually “human” issues. You need to choose a dog that dovetails best with its human owner. And while many dogs can learn many different behaviours, it’s best to find the dog whose behaviour naturally fits in well with the behaviour of its human owner.


Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : So how about any non "human” factors for choosing a dog?

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: 4. This is a factor which I believe is quite important to me but which may not seem too important to many people. Does your dog shed hair? Dogs that do not shed hair such as poodles and our headline dog – the schnauzer, will need to have their hair clipped every few months. However, the house does not end up being covered with a layer of discarded dog hair.


Dogs that do shed hair, generally do not need to have their hair clipped. However, the house must be swept more often and fabric covered furniture needs to be specifically clean more often. I remember visiting one woman I knew he had an Australian Blue Cattle Dog. A wonderful, in fact awesome and intelligent animal. However every surface of the house was covered in dog hair. When you sit on the lounge, you sit amidst the dog hair. There is a fuzz of dog hair across the floor, embedded in the carpet. The stuff was so embedded , that it defeated a vacuum cleaner. Ahhh!


Dog Hair Issues Dog Hair being brushed.


Dogs that shed are not everyone’s cup of tea. But not everyone wants to pay to have their dog clipped or groomed every few months. It is possible to clip and groom your dog yourself but it is hard for humans to become professionally focused on such an event.

Professional dog groomers wash the dog before clipping so that dirt in the hair does not damage the blades of the shearing clipper. This extends the life of the clipper – requiring less expense in sharpening.

Clipping or grooming your own dog is not necessarily fun either. Many dogs dislike the process and can be downright uncooperative with it. Groomers tend to have slings available so that they can lift the dog and hold them in agreeable position. The hair fragments are likely to make their human owners itch and can be hard to separate off clothes. It may be all too much for the at-home mum and at-home dad clipper groomer.

A breed’s exercise requirements are important to keep in mind when choosing a puppy. It is not a good idea to buy an active dog breed, unless you already lead an active lifestyle, and it is unrealistic to expect your SchiTzu to join you running – unless you want to carry him or her.


Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : Anything else?

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: 5. Although we are talking about purchasing a single dog, many people who have dogs are starting to realise that dogs are happiest with a doggy companion of their own. So the final choice in choosing a dog – is do you only want one dog?

Certainly humans are more likely to have their sociability needs met if they own 2 dogs. And not just 2 of the same type of dog. Often 2 different dogs. Not all dogs are greeters. Not all dogs are social companion dogs. If you have several dogs it is far more likely that one at least will display the behaviours you find most attractive.


Schnauser SittingAchtung Schnauser


Miniature Schnauzers for example do greet you when you come home. But after the first and quick welcome, they will often run away to return for a few seconds again. Companion dogs tend to come and to stay interacting with the human. So perhaps it makes more sense to have 2 different types of dogs as pet rather than to of a single type (breed) of dog as a pet.

Dogs change their behaviour when in groups as well. The Miniature schnauzer is the case in point. By themselves they provide a soft , almost human type greeting- talking to you. When alone their greetings tend to be quietly affectionate not intrusive. If multiple dogs are present, they are much more considerate of competition and tend to move away - I think an in-built trait for tolerating other farm animals. Again remember, even amidst breed dogs like the Miniature Schnauzers, there are more and less social dogs to be had.

Very mentally active dogs may well do better with a companion to keep them stimulated rather than depending on humans for all interactions.

Generally people choosing to have 2 dogs, choose to have 2 dogs of different ages. Having 2 puppies at one time can create a lot of difficulty in training. But having an older dog and a younger dog will often see the younger dog following the older as it goes about its daily routine in effect teaching the younger dog what is expected of it as a daily routine – when to pee, where to pee, same with pooing, what to do outside in the yard, where to sleep, how the owners expect to interact with their dog – all through the simple expedient of watching the other older dog go through its motions.

Dogs also have short lives. So when the dog reaches the end of its 10 to 15 year lifespan, there can be a lot of grief amidst its human carers. Having another dog to lavish attention on, can help a lot with the grief of losing a long-term dog companion.

One dog or Two - sleeping schnauser Schnauser asleep.
(Salt and Pepper coloration).


2 dogs can be great company for each other – keeping each other exercised and entertained.  they’ll keep each other company when you’re at work, school, or out shopping, so they won’t resort to boredom-induced destructive behaviours around the house.

Everyone knows a bored dog may be a mischievous dog indeed. You’ll still have to spend some one to one time with each dog every day. This is important to their socialization skills and in maintaining human oriented behaviours. Many dogs suffer separation anxiety when left alone and are generally much happier when they can share their separation from their owner by being with another dog. 

Having two dogs is not double the cost of one dog. They share many of their supplies, including toys, beds, grooming products and water bowls. Food and treats are the obvious double extra, plus immunisations. Some puppy food is formulated differently from adult dog food so there can be issues with this cost.

(Remember growing dogs need calcium to build their skeleton and this is not present in many foods.)


Lap Dog Dog asleep on human lap- togetherness.



Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Erasmus Happy Erasmus:

Goo Goo :

Commandant Commandant :

Beethoven Frobisher Beethoven and Frobisher:

Dr Axxxx Dr AXxxxx :

Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : Kinkajou Face Kinkajou :

Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx: