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Question
"Hi

I have three questions regarding dogs

1. We have a backyard on a third of an acre (including the house) Which would be a good dog breed for that area?
2. Which gender is better, boy or girl?
3. Is there a way of knowing if your dog would rather sleep indoors?

Hope you can help!

Answer
Hi Louis,

    You pose some good questions. However, there are so many dogs that love room to run, you might need to refine your search a bit. There is a dog breed selector quiz free online from animal planet that will help you narrow down breeds that may be a good fit for you based not only on yard space, but also on temperament, time you're willing to spend grooming the dog, trainability, etc. you can find it here: http://animal.discovery.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds.html. Some breeds that you might look into are retrieving breeds (Labradors, Golden Retrievers, etc,). They tend to enjoy large yards, be fairly low maintenance, and typically have pretty easy-going temperaments.
    While it is difficult to recommend one specific breed, I can give you a few general guidelines based on your questions. First, since you have a large yard I would consider getting a medium or large breed dog instead of a small dog, especially if the dog will spend a significant amount of time outside. This is because typically where there is acreage, there are predators, even in populated cities. For example, in southwest US, hawks, owls, and coyotes pose a major threat to small dogs in big yards. Other locales have similar predatory concerns.
    Discussing the differences between male and female temperaments is a debatable topic. I've seen a broad range of temperaments in both sexes across many breeds. The important thing to look for is how the dog acts towards you, other people, and other dogs when you first meet it. Another important consideration is what you will do when the dog reaches sexual maturity. I always recommend spaying/neutering. Unaltered dogs of either sex can develop unwanted temperament changes, and unaltered females will also bleed.
    As far as the inside/outside sleeping arrangements, the dog will most likely grow to prefer what it has been raised to do. However, if you get a puppy, I personally never condone puppies sleeping outside because of safety concerns and behavioral development. My puppies always sleep inside, in a crate in the bedroom. As adults, you can still crate them inside, allow them to roam inside, or transition them to outside sleeping arrangements. If you want to transition them to sleep outside as adults, you can put the crate outside with the door left open. They always need shelter, a large covered patio will suffice in mild climates but in cooler climates (or pretty much anywhere in winter) a doghouse is a must if they sleep outside. Personally, it is much easier for me just to have my dogs sleep inside, and they love curling up on their dog beds after playing outside all day.
    Thank you for your question, and good luck in your search for a canine companion!

-Teri Abshier

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Teri Abshier

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding dog training, nutrition, grooming, and pretty much anything in between. I am also happy to answer questions regarding dog/puppy selection, choosing a pet professional (dog trainer, groomer, veterinarian, sitter, walker, etc.) care, handling, and product reviews. In regards to health questions, I can answer minor health/home care type questions, but in no way can give veterinary advice or diagnose illness. If you have concerns about your pet's health, please seek the advice of a veterinarian.

Experience

Owner/Trainer at "All Things Pawsible" Dog Training/Problem Solving. Certified Dog Trainer with 5 years experience using reward-based training techniques. Certified Dog Groomer. 4 years of college studying Animal Science/Psychology (will receive B.S. in Psychology in Jan 2013). I was also a 3 year veterinary technician at both a small animal and large animal facility.

Organizations
Animal Behavior College Alumni

Education/Credentials
BS/Psychology University of Phoenix. Certified Dog Trainer through Animal Behavior College. Petsmart Academy graduate - Dog Training. Petsmart Academy graduate - Dog Grooming. Certified Animal Care Technician, Bakersfield ROC. Relevant (dog-related) college coursework completed includes: Animal Nutrition, Companion Animal Care, Animal Emergency Surgery and Nursing, Animal Diseases.

Awards and Honors
Animal Behavior College - Honors Graduate University of Phoenix - Honors Graduate

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