I have addressed this issue before, but keep bumping into it in my private training. I hope that by readdressing it, it will give readers some food for thought.
What is MLD syndrome? It’s a human condition and millions of people have it. It’s found only among dog owners and is not limited to any age, gender or background.
MLD stands for “my last dog.” The condition arises when a dog passes away and owners get another pooch. The previous dog, in the owner’s eyes, was near perfect – hard paws to follow in if you are the new doggie.
The last dog did NOT jump, bark, pull, bite, chew things, chase … you get the idea.
Some owners believe that all dogs of a certain breed are alike. Parents need only to think of their children to know that this is, of course, not true. Same breeding, still they all have different personalities.
Another factor causing MLD syndrome might be age of the dog. Owners are remembering their last dog as an adult, or even a senior, and often are comparing to a puppy or rescue. Memories are very short when it comes to comparing dogs. Besides that, dogs are all different, period!
When you get a new dog, young or adult, start fresh with no expectations, no comparisons. Each new dog deserves this.
For some owners, it might be best to not get the same breed that they had before. Just because it has been the only breed that the family ever had doesn’t mean that it continues to be the best one for them now. A different breed helps to limit comparisons.
Take into consideration breed traits that are prevalent, although each individual is different. Terriers dig and bark since their job is to hunt small earth animals. Hounds run, bark and jump as part of the chase. Many small dogs bark to get attention or to alert.
While maybe not perfect, some are just better for an owner’s lifestyle and expectations. As we age, getting a dog that requires less exercise and attention is clearly better.
If we have infirmities, perhaps a smaller dog that doesn’t pull much should be considered.
Do we want a companion dog to curl up with us or are we content to have the larger dog lie at our feet? Do you have an active family with kids and lots of outside activities? Where do you live? Access to a park or yard or an urban environment?
As the family grows and ages, a different breed of dog, or an older one, might be in order.
In order not to be a victim of MLD syndrome, the best thing you can be is patient and fair. Undoubtedly, you will give your new dog a wonderful home just like you gave the last one.
Keep your expectations reasonable and you will love your new four-legged family member just as much as you did the last “Perfect Dog.”
Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy. AlphadogTrainingAcademy@gmail.com