Love the one you’re with, idiot.

27 Oct

“My next dog will be awesome!”

Low key and truthful.

Low key and truthful.

A reasonable sentiment for most dog people.

“My next dog will be super awesome at this thing I’m a novice at but I really like and I would love to continue this in the future!”

Get out your pen. We're being awesome.

Get out your pen. We’re being awesome.

Also reasonable.

“My next dog will be the best dog ever at this thing I’ve never really seen outside of youtube or the odd morning cable station but I’m pretty sure it’ll be a prodigy like Mozart or that kid I saw on Ellen! I read about it on the internet and therefore I know this to be true.”

It's like this all the time.

It’s like this all the time.

Considerably less reasonable, also apt to piss off about 50 people who know more than you and aren’t in the mood to tell you all the ways you are wrong because it’s exhausting and they don’t feel like being “the meanest person ever”/’Hater/”just jealous!” before 9am.

Occasionally Potnoodle gets a little song of her own invention stuck in her head while reading through facebook groups and forum posts. She has a horrible singing voice, so she won’t perform it for you. All you need to know is the title is “Train the one you’re with” and it goes to the tune of ‘Love The One You’re With’.


Answer us this, Dear Readers, what is it about young eager dog people that makes them constantly plan for the near-mythical next dog? The type of person that starts a sentence with “My next dog…” often has a perfectly good mixed breed/backyard bred lab-ish thing that is wasting his talent on occasional bouts of fetch and maybe a novice agility class while the owner sighs and dreams of Malinois and Border Collies yet to be.


No, we sit. That's what flyball is, sitting.

No, we sit. That’s what flyball is; Sitting.


We get it. You have a dog who isn’t the class prodigy. It is too old, not as drivey as you think you deserve, too not interested, or doesn’t have the same aptitude for what you are trying to accomplish as that other woman’s border collie who is her 6th OTCH/MACH/HC/ONYX and obviously that’s the dog you need to succeed with…. Umm. No.


No one says this to novices.

No one says this to novices.


Here’s the thing, most high drive dogs are a giant pain in the ass. You nod like you understand, but if you’ve never lived with it you have no clue. And you want to know the serious kick in the ass? Those super-high drive dogs are a bitch to train. You are bottling lightning with little regard for personal safety and a super interest in literally everything. The most successful performance dogs do not always have the highest drive… we know, shocker right? Also the more you bandy about the word drive, the more we hate you.

“I’m gonna need to take this because it’s mine and you are irrelevant to my purposes”


Did we also mention high drive dogs (Or even medium drive dogs) are assholes? Potnoodle and Fang can attest to teeth related injuries because one of the dumbasses decided they needed “THAT THING RIGHT NOW NOW NOW NOW!* and guess whose delicate and prone to bleeding teeny human fingers/wrists/legs got in the way? It’s not even the occasional asshole moment, it is a cavalcade of consistently assholic behavior packaged into a furry beast whose adorableness can and does wear very thin particularly when you’re prone on the ground writhing in agony because that bastard bit your pinkie again while taking you down at the knees over a tug toy and this time you swear you’ll file down his canines into divots! Did we also mention these are the fully trained adult dogs? Not even the assy adolescents? We joke about brain-damage to own some of these dogs but on some level, it’s really not a joke. These dogs are a lifestyle and while you’re just starting to walk, and really talking more about walking than making actual steps, it’s not a good idea to get an ultra-marathoner who already does everything better than you do.


Head wounds bleed profusely.

Head wounds bleed profusely.


So here’s a secret. Your dog will be screwed up. It’s probably not the dog’s fault. It’s your fault and that’s okay! You’re new! You’re allowed to fuck stuff up. We’ve all done it. That affable pet you have now is going to be incredibly more forgiving (BusyBee can attest to this) than that super drivey hell beast you have planned for your next dog. Trust us. The woman on her 6th absurdly talented dog had a fat little Sheltie or Beagle or Lab who started her on the journey too.

Just to make sure it's irreversible.

Just to make sure it’s irreversible.


Another secret, no decent breeder is going to sell you a drivey hell beast if you haven’t done SOMETHING with a dog before. Decent being the key word here. Those who fall over themselves to hand you a dog, probably don’t actually own the drivey hell-beasts and haven’t seen it turn into nightmare scenarios with previous purchasers just like you. Sure, you can run out and get a crappy backyard bred dog of your desired breed, and then you get to use the excuse of his poor breeding and you’re back in “My Next Dog…” land. The lovely land of internet forums also makes it so you can also talk a good enough game to appear knowledgeable and fleece a good breeder who isn’t as naturally skeptical of buzzwords as others. That makes you an asshole.

And our readers, obviously.

And our readers, obviously.


Basically kids, you need to learn what it is that you really want, rather than what you think you want. So you think you might want a Bordernoisterriattle Shepherd? Go visit people with them. Make nice. See if you can borrow or dog sit for a day or even just hang out. Talk to owners about trials and tribulations. Compare battle scars (Not that you have any yet). That woman with six dogs who have more titles than you thought existed? She’s paid her dues in literal blood, sweat and tears. Until you’re bleeding, sweaty and crying, you don’t need that dog and we promise you, you really don’t want that dog just yet. Keep your training wheels on for a while yet and dance with the dog you came with.

Who says success only comes in one package?


40 Responses to “Love the one you’re with, idiot.”

  1. Lara Elizabeth October 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    I left a really long comment that got eaten.

    In summary: I love Dog Snobs. I accidentally ended up with a Border Jack and OMG everything you say in this post.

    I wrote about it here:

    • TheDogSnobs October 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

      Anti-Ambassador. Really brilliant. I have a partially done rant on not allowing my dogs to be ambassadors for their breeds.
      Great post. 🙂

      • Lara Elizabeth October 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

        Thank you! I was feeling guilty because I always identify her as such, and she is so cute, but no, really…you don’t want one.

  2. Elizabeth Robison October 27, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    I finally got my high drive GSD importy thing that I’d wanted for the past 15 years. Yes 15. Yes, I looked like a heroin addict for the first two months due to my arms being chewed all to playful hell. At least I knew (fully) what I was getting into and now only get bit occasionally during tug bouts 😛

    15 years of training and competing “lesser” bred GSDs, Borders, Malinois, and Aussies… oh and a Pap. 50+ titles in many venues, SAR certification/searches, etc. and I still looked like a heroin addict. GOOD TIMES! 😀 At least now I can laugh about it, redirect, and not scream when I get in her way.

    • TheDogSnobs October 27, 2014 at 7:01 pm #


      At least you know “This too shall pass, as long as I keep being a hard-ass about stuff that matters and don’t quit because it’s hard work” which is unfortunately the result of people being out-dogged and under-educated on what it is they really can handle. :/

    • Tamandra Michaels October 27, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

      I feel your pain! People would pull over and ask in a really worried way “do you need help??” with my little landshark launching at me. Course now that he’s 23 months, nobody asks if I need help anymore 😛

      • AKRotten October 29, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

        LOL, oh that is so true. I go a drivey Rottweiler pup last June. Everyone was like redirect redirect and it will get better. I’m going to frame the leg of my pants as a reminder. The tears and snags are her growth chart. Now that we are getting past that and have started herding and agility its gotten better. Still have a LOT of enthusiasm but a 17 months, no one wants to hold the leash for me so I can roll around on the ground in pain for a few minutes 🙂 Wouldn’t change her for the world though.

  3. jane anderson October 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    When people come to look at my dogs I don’t show them the older polite dogs. I show them the juvenile delinquents which we then take out for an exercise lesson. Those that are horrified that i haven’t

  4. Catherine Duke October 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    I’m realistic enough to know that my next dog will probably be quite similar to the one I have now….because I’m still the same permissive, lazy person I’ve always been. 🙂 I’m also hopeful that I’ve learned enough from my current dog that I won’t have to spend years undoing problems that I created because I adopted my current pooch as a teen and didn’t know a thing about actually training a dog I could live with. >.<

  5. dirtartful October 27, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    Rescued a Cattle Dog out of somebodies back yard, sweetest, most low key dog with people indoors… but a holy hell, high drive terror when on sheep or working in any form (and I pity the poor dog that tries to get in his way). So, wasn’t expecting a high drive menace to other dogs, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

    • Mary Ann Williamson October 27, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

      My husband and I adopted a Border Collie mix puppy a little over 4 years ago. One day I walked into the living room and his new leather chair had been shredded. I so envied the neighbor with the Lab/Boxer mix pup that would follow her around, well, like a PUPPY while my pup was distracted and interested in everything. Blood? I had THAT covered, my body from being tripped, my hands from her grabbing at toys (or just gnawing on my hands). My husband and I were bloody. I wanted to cry wondering if I would ever be able to cuddle with her.

      Long story short, we got lots of obedience training and agility. THANK GOD FOR AGILITY. It’s actually a lot of fun. She’s great, needs a better handler, but I got the activity for the dog rather than the other way around. Which is something I need to remember when I nose-dive into the dirt like last weekend at the end of a run (her run was really nice at least). She cuddles and settles nicely inside now and has great manners. I am glad we stuck it out. I hope I never have to give up agility, and would love to have a second dog, but I think I might want a young adult rescue (still BC, love the personality) so I could pick one about a notch or two lower in the crazy department. I guess I’m the opposite regarding the “second dog” syndrome. We certainly do love the one we’re with though. When I can handle her accurately on a JWW course it’s like some kind of hit of fast-doggie-crack.

      • dirtartful October 27, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

        Seeing them work is epic! And worth it

  6. Robin October 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    Hah! I just had a private with a well known agility person and said “My Next Dog” to her. Mind you, it was more like, “I hopefully won’t screw up my next dog’s contacts near as bad as I did this dog’s because his are an unholy mess of changing-criteria-not-training.” And I had the crazy dog prior to this dog. Her specialty? Boob shots. She has titles, but the much lower drive, softer dog is the one who has broken breed records and got into the Invitational in spite of Ms Boob Shot being the dog with WAY more potential if I had been able to somehow rope the tornado…

    • Stacey October 28, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      I also use “my next dog” followed by “will be trained differently.” While I would like a perfect dog, I figure my odds are better if I continue to improve myself 🙂

  7. Oy vey October 27, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    This article goes along with my main peeve of life.
    Your neighbor goes out and buys a “pure bread, AKC Mini Aussie”. You cringe. You watch the little muffin grow up into a fearful, reactive nerve bag. Every time something in the dogs’s environment flinches, the neighbor dog loses her shit by spinning, barking, lunging, and generally being an idiot, and the neighbor proudly says “isn’t she great? She has a lot of drive!!!! I bet she’d be great at agility!!!”
    Kill me.

  8. Lana L. October 27, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

    Having 4 jack russell terriers that have all learned sports to varying degrees. It is my calmest most dependable male who earned the highest flyball title available. So I appreciate that drive is not everything that consistency can be very important in titling a dog. JRT’s certainly are cute but can be jerks. When people with small children ask they are good with kids … I say “no”. Wouldn’t want them to picture a friendly lap style dog and end up with the terrier beast at its worst.

  9. Joyce October 27, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    Thanks for the soda out my nose! I’ve had my high drive aussies, I’ve had my low key ones and the low key ones can still knock me on my arse without even trying (have I mentioned the healing from a broken foot thanks to playing with the NON drivey aussie). Loved my high drive dogs, but there is something to be said for a slug 😉

  10. Carolyn October 28, 2014 at 12:05 am #

    I am HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY to stick with my show/performance line Goldens, more than enough drive for this handler!

  11. Julia October 28, 2014 at 12:43 am #

    This may be your best ever.

  12. Mountain Poodle October 28, 2014 at 3:24 am #

    I get calls all the time from what I call collectors. These are folks with multiple dogs of a variety of breeds, who are now sure that a Poodle will be the perfect dog for them to compete with in Obedience or Agility or do Therapy work with.

    The first question out of my mouth is always, “What have you done with your current dogs?” The answer is always… nothing. I then proceed to tell them that they can do all of the activities they mentioned with their current dogs, but they always have reasons why they couldn’t/can’t. At that point I politely end the conversation.

  13. phebe77 October 28, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Reblogged this on Dogs, Books, and Science .

  14. Feral October 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    A brilliant post. Why can’t some people just enjoy their dog for, erm being a dog? Those who yearn for a working line dog often struggle with something non-drivey.. good luck with that then! As someone who adopted a working line GSD pup because the previous owner ‘couldn’t cope’, I have been there.. and bought the ripped, bloodied t-shirt. My alert-o-meter should have gone off when I first met my pup – I’d never seen a dog actually playing on a trampoline before. Would I have another WL? Hell yeah, I almost know what I’m doing now training-wise, but it’s been a bumpy ride.

  15. Angela October 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    The scary part of this thought process is dogs get dumped in shelters. Due to ridiculous idiot handlers with visions of grandure of owning the perfect dog. Ugh. People are fraught with imperfection…not animals. Too bad dogs can’t dump imperfect people.

  16. syn collazo October 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    I went from beagles to black terriers and black terriers to my dream breed the belgians. Honestly my first malinois was amazing. Granted I was bitten bruised and beat up his loyalty was above all breeds. I’m sadly a seasoned “chew toy” with 3 belgians now lol. But I will say I did do the “my next dog” thing with my Czechoslovakian vlcak and ended up with one quicker than I wanted and honestly he’s the hardest dog to raise I’ve ever met in my life. I still love him but seriously never again.

  17. Kitten October 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    It’s not always about competition, that’s what the “next dog”-ers forget.

    My first competition dog was super drive-y. Competing with her was not fun, so we quit competing. She’s old now. We still train regularly. I have 3 “next dogs” but she is still “the one”. I wish she could stay with me forever.

  18. Lauri S October 28, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Anytime someone tells me they want a high drive dog I send them this video to watch:

  19. Zerobites Dog Training October 29, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Reblogged this on ZeroBites Dog Training.

  20. TerrierGirl October 29, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    This was me. I had titled my soft, low drive first dog in 3 different agility venues, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing and what I wanted. I think I continued to believe that until the day my high drive, working line pup broke my nose during a game of tug. The first three years were trial by fire, and I left the training field in tears a few times. Frankly, she’s not a good pet. She doesn’t like to cuddle or sit on my lap while I watch tv, like my first dog, and she never will. And she needs a good two mile run every day or she acts like a total bitch. But she is damn brilliant on an agility course.

    • Tali November 13, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

      I know the feeling. I got tricked into a high drive dog. I wanted a calm quiet one, but after we got him home his true colors shone through. Run obsessively around the yard, jump up knock small person over, run obsessively some more, small person got back up must knock over, get in bigger person’s face, bark obsessively, start biting at everything, run obsessively some more…there is a difference between high drive and good drive. A dog with good drive has interest in what you want him to do, a high drive dog is obsessed.

  21. Crystal October 29, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    Can I tattoo this on my forehead? I get snide comments and sideways glances whenever I go to a basic agility or tracking class with my 9 year old Pom mutt. Yes I think about “future dog” sometimes, but doesn’t my current dog deserve to get to do fun things too?

  22. LydiaG October 30, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    “I love Border Collies, they’re so pretty! I want one”
    “Here, meet Dolly”
    “She’s so cute, I love her!”
    -3 seconds later-
    “What’s wrong with your dog?!?! She’s freaking me out, can you get her to calm down please?”
    “She’s a BC… and this is after playing disc for half hour- just FYI”

    This is very close to and ACTUAL conversation I have had with someone. So if you need an example dog to talk someone out of a breed…

    I acquired this dog accidentally from the shelter. She is amazing and I love her and she is a super star flyball dog (and would be better if I had known what I was doing when I trained her). She is also anxious, OCD and neurotic; sports keep her sane-ish.

  23. Rowan Vet-Tech November 1, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    “My next dog” is usually preceded with “I hope my” and is immediately followed by “will not be a walking health problem.”

    My LAST dog was the unholy-terror-too-smart-for-me-and-he-didn’t-give-a-damn-about-anything that I hope to never EVER have again. Lazy dogs for meee please!

  24. Laura November 6, 2014 at 1:08 am #

    My next dog is due to be born next week. I’ve been waiting two years for him. I love my current dogs. I hope my new one will be as great as they are. I also hope he can benefit from the mistakes I made with them and don’t want to repeat. I have brand new mistakes to make!

  25. amkuska November 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    I got super lucky with my first dog. I was a dog groomer long before I got one of my own, had time to look at all the breeds, and knew for a fact about 300 different breeds I really didn’t want to own.

    My husband and I agreed on a boston terrier. He came home with (drumroll please) a chihuahua.

    I hate chihuahuas. I fixed the chihuahua with an evil eyeball and told him, “You are NOT going to be a chihuahua. No yapping. No nipping. You better know what “Down” and “Sit” means.”

    He ended up being the best dog ever. He is now 4, has his CGC, and doesn’t nip, yap or bark. He’s fine with laying on the couch or going out to do obedience, agility or herding. I hope my next dog is just as fun. 🙂

  26. flylillilena November 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    I really love this post. Really. And it strengthens my opinion that I am just NOT the person for a really drivey dog a lot! I have dog experience, I currently have an Aussie-cross and a Podengo Portugues Pequeno, I work with dogs for a living, I do agility, lots of tricks and healwork to music, and also did search and rescue work. But we aren’t the awe-inspiring team that let’s people dorp their jaws and that let’s them go home with the only wish to one day, one day in their sad little lives, be as great as we are. No. We certainly aren’t. But my dogs and I fit. We have our own not-too-drivey pace we work at and we do a good job and have tons of fun. That’s all we need and want really. I prefer being the one having incredible respect for people with high drive dogs than being the one having one. Luckily I realised that before ever getting one.. 😉

  27. Rosemary December 4, 2014 at 2:05 am #

    Treasure the chance to learn everything you can from the dog you have now. It will only make you a better trainer and, who knows, maybe you’ll decide this is the dog you wanted all along.

    I actually pity people who luck out and get an unappreciated, highly talented dog the first time. They think they are great trainers and then have the air sucked out of them when they get a regular dog the next time.

  28. Wendy Hess January 13, 2015 at 3:29 am #

    I do obedience, rally and drafting for fun and love to rack up the titles, but it’s one of several hobbies for me so it will never be the focal point of my life and I’ve never wanted a super-edgy performance dog (no desire to live with that.) We’ve had the same usually laid-back breed for 27 years now because they are easy to live with, but when we got the young male I’m now trialing/training, it was obvious he didn’t read the book on the breed. I’m not quite sure what he thinks he is (BC? Malinois?) he sure as heck doesn’t act like what he is (a BMD.) Funny thing is, the trainers love him and he’s gotten more compliments for his flashy, responsive performance than all my other obedience berners combined, but after three years, I’m just starting to find him tolerable to live with. Have to keep reminding myself that working with a dog like this is a learning experience.

  29. Erica August 16, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

    Sometimes I come back to this article after an awful fence fight between my dog and the neighbor’s dog, or after an unsuccessful training session. Just because I need to be reminded to “love the one you’re with.”

    I have an almost 5 year old German shepherd that I got from a BYB when he was 8 weeks old. I am 17 now, and my problem is not that he’s low drive, not that he’s not interested, he’s just a hellacious sociopath. Every day I see someone walk down the street with their lovely, stable dog, I get so sad. Jealous sometimes.
    I had my chance to make him the dog any dog-crazy 12 year old would want, and I fucked it up bad.
    He fence fights with the neighbor’s dogs every day. I’m not talking about typical frustrated reactivity, I’m talking “I want to rip your face off because I hate you for no reason,” fence fighting. He has attacked a dog twice, I can’t take him anywhere, and having him in a car is basically hell.

    I will admit, at 17 I do dream of the days when I can have a normal dog. But after this one, you can count on it that I’m not having a dog for a long..long time.


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