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Is the Bengal Breed right for you?

June 15, 2017

So, you’re thinking about getting a Bengal?

Well, you came to the right place. I will give you my professional opinion as a behaviourist about the breed & breed traits, plus, as a Bengal owner, (Boomer is an F7 Bengal) you’ll know that my advice stems from first hand experience.

Many of the things I’ve experienced with the breed has also been experienced (confirmed)  by many Bengal owners (online, below in the comments, and or people I meet out in public.) It’s clear from what I hear, they are not like your average cat.

I understand there are exceptions to every rule. If you have a Bengal that is nothing like I’m reporting, or is everything I’m reporting and more, let us all know about your Bengal (and their temperament) in the comments below. I want my followers to hear all points of view and experiences. The bottom line… Whenever you’re committing to adopting a new cat/dog into the family, it’s important to do as much research as possible, nothing is worst then getting the animal home, only to find out a few short days or weeks later, they’re nothing like you thought, and you’re thinking you made a big mistake. Unfortunetely this scenario happens frequently, these animals are then ignored, abandoned in the streets or brought to shelters. This is very sad ending to what could have been avoided if people did the research first.

I’m confident this article will help you see if the Bengal breed is right for you.

The Bengal breed is right for you:

  1. If you identify yourself more of a dog person. (Not recommended for people who identify themselves as a “cat person”) What I mean by “dog person” is… you’re an active person with your dog(s), hikes, trips, running together, daily play and training, allowing the dog to live inside your home, etc. And not someone who “likes” dogs but the dog(s) live most of their time in the backyard, or worse, chained up in the backyard all day. It’s completely cruel and those people, in my opinion, shouldn’t have dogs. Dogs are companion animals and need to be with their human family. You’ll need to provide a Bengal lot’s of stimulation, not for one month or one year, but for years and years, like you would (should) do for a dog.
  2. If you’re not getting a Bengal for their “looks” but for their temperament, YOUR lifestyle/living arrangements, and that you are prepared for a life long commitment/expenses that goes with bringing an animal into your life. “Looks” should only be a bonus. BTW – that’s the #1 rule! – (never get an animal for their looks) that’s like marrying the most gorgeous person but they’re an axe murderer. As a behaviorist I wish everyone would put themselves in the animal position, (hypothetically) asking the animal what they think about being cramped up 24/7 in your small living space/cage, just so you can stare at them all day??? If they could speak, many Siberian huskies & hybrid “type” cats would say, “We are definitely NOT compatible“. The bottom line, always take into consideration the breed traits, and what they’re specifically bred for, only then will you know if the animal is right for you.
  3. If you have a large living space, with lots of things for them to climb on, plus some kind of outside containment area so they can have outside time in a safe space. They love to climb and whatever, so be prepared for the rambunctiousness.
  4. If you’re planning to keep them inside or supervised/leashed outside. There are so many dangers associated with cats allowed to roam outside unsupervised. Cats are killed by poisons, people, cars, dogs (or other animals), are stolen/kept by people. They also kill local wildlife, I say it’s for “sport” because they don’t really need to kill it. Most of the time they don’t eat the animal. Bengals aren’t the only cats that kill animals, I know, but the power and heights these cats can jump make them killing machines. FYI – both Boomer and Didga have not killed a bird, but I still don’t trust Boomer. Didga on the other hand learned in 2 weeks not to chase/lunge at birds, I’ve been teaching Boomer for 3 years now not to chase birds, I see just a little improvement. (and I’m a professional applying training in text book fashion). Hence why you see, in many of my pics and videos, Boomer is on a lead and Didga is not. I totally sucks with all the time /training I’ve put in over the last 3+ years that I can’t trust him off leash at this point.
  5. If your children are over 7 years old. (people hate when I say this)  but I feel raising a young child is already time consuming enough, well so is properly raising ANY pet, but the Bengals needs more than your average cat. Young kids are more likely to treat the cat as if it’s a toy. Bengals wouldn’t like that. I think it’s myth that small kids “need” to have a pet, I didn’t until I was 18 and look how good I am with animals. (just saying) it’s okay if you wait until the kids have a better grasp about the responsibilities of caring for an animal. Even then the parents end up doing most of the work.
  6. If you don’t have a cat or your existing cat is a Bengal, or you have a very very tolerant, playful, YOUNG cat. When I first got young Boomer, Didga and Boomer got along BRILLIANTLY!  then after a year and a half it started to go down hill. Boomer at some point must have hurt Didga and Didga is the type to hold a grudge, Boomer started taking advantage of her weakness and started bullying her more and more. Now whenever Boomer walks up to Didga she hisses and will run away, they don’t play anymore and this makes me sad.  I want to make clear I’m not putting all the blame on Boomer, he is what he is, it’s just that they can be dominating which makes them not compatible with most other cats. Why take a chance and ruin a good life your existing cat has by adding a high maintenance energetic overbearing cat.  FYI –  Boomer chases Didga then pounces on her back bites her in the back of the neck, no punctures marks but hair comes out. I usually have to intervene pulling Boomer off of her. Thankfully, I’m around most of the time, but he still gets in a few bites a week and Didga screams. EVEN with all I do to tire Boomer out, all the micro managing I do, all the training techniques I apply, I still can’t manage the situation 100%. I feel sorry for Didga not having a playmate anymore. Unfortunetely if this keeps up, I’ll have to re-home Boomer to the right family and I’m guessing that won’t be easy to find. Didga’s well being is my main concern. With that said, Boomer did get along brilliantly with the younger male cats I fostered, so I know he can get along with cats, just not older cats like Didga. At some point I’ll be fostering again and eventually adopting another kitten, we’ll see if that changes things having the younger kitten around.
  7. If you understand that most Bengals DON’T like to be picked up or carried around. Bengals ARE NOT considered “lap-cats” and will struggle if held. They usually become more affectionate with age, but that’s many years down the road and doesn’t happen overnight, maybe 5 to 10 years? If you’re lucky to find the few that show affection It’s definitely on their own terms. I had one lady tell me her Bengal is super affectionate and a lap cat but only with her, and still doesn’t like being picked up by her. and will run away from other family members if they try to pat/pick him up. (Make sure you understand this about them, because even with the best training, you can’t change a leopard spots.)
  8. If you understand “boundaries” are not a Bengal thing. you know, please don’t jump on that or hang on that. “Boundaries” do not compute with Bengals. and unfortunetely, they don’t adhere to conventional deterrent methods. If you have a Bengal, you’ll need to work extra-extra hard teaching them boundaries. Example: jumping on the kitchen counter, Didga learned not to jump on the kitchen counter after a few weeks. With Boomer, every trick in the book was used, and to this day (at times) he still jumps on the counters even if I’m right there preparing food. Let me add, I’ve noticed him doing it less in the last month, so maybe the training is starting to sink in? (like I said, extra extra work) This is because of their high energy and constant exploring into every nook and cranny of your home, they can be quit clumsy too. I was worried to leave Boomer in the first year roaming free in the house while I went out. Luckily I have a small secure sun room that I “mostly” felt safe leaving him, although after 2 years he found a way to break through one of the plastic windows, and if I didn’t see him hanging half way out he would have escaped. They are big time escape artist, the owners of a cat enclosure company told me, that if a Bengal owner calls them to install an enclosure, they say, “sorry we can’t help you.” The enclosure business owners told me Bengals will eventually find a way to escape from their enclosures. (Now, I can see why)
  9. If you’re planning on teaching your Bengal lots of things – like how to walk on leash and other tricks to keep their mind active and to help keep him tired. NOT teaching them these things and not taking them outside to enjoy nature would be cruel to a Bengal.

Why I thought the Bengal breed was good for someone like me…. I was looking for a cat that would be adventurous, where I can take lots of places and teach a lot of things to. I was looking for a challenge, heck I used to train police dogs in the Military, so getting Boomer was for professional purposes, to see what I can do with whats considered the most teachable cat breed, (just look at what I’ve achieved with Didga) ATM – I’m not convinced they are the most teachable (as I explained above). the main thing though is I wasn’t looking for a lap cat and I knew, if I put in the training time, that I could bring out the best parts of the Bengal breed, and hopefully minimise the worst parts of the breed which I’d say has to be the excessive meowing that Bengals are known for. and I did just that, Boomer only occasionally meows.

For as much as I try to talk people out of getting the breed, I have to say that for me Boomer was a good choice,(minus Didga not liking him) he’s now confident, he loves to travel, when we get somewhere he wants to be a part of the action. Now, Part of that is the breed traits, part of that is my 35 years animal training experience, and part of that is my passion for training and the daily dedication and time I put in to try to make him the best cat ever! But at the end of the day he’s still a Bengal. For all I do with Boomer, I still get the feeling I’m holding him back. BOOMER is an F7 – So I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have anything closer to the Leopard. I don’t think any wild animals should be in captivity, so the closer to the “wild cat” these cats are, the more I’d be against people having one in a home environment. Very-very-very few people can provide the stimulation and space that these cats require to truly be happy. BTW – early next year, I’ll be adding a third cat to the CATMANTOO family, – Catmanthree? LOL – I won’t be doing the ‘pure breed’ thing anymore, it’s back to the shelter to look for another amazing cat like Didga. In the meantime look for me doing a few fosters before the end of the year, and stay tuned for more.

IF you found this post useful and informative please let me know below, that way I will be motivated to write more things for this site.

(If I think of anything new, I’ll update this blog)

IF you want to add anything, or just say “HI” feel free to comments below.

Robert, Didga and Boomer

 

10 Difficult Breeds

July 13, 2014

This is just a list of dogs I’ve read about and have come to know “personally” as difficult breeds to own. It’s NOT a list of stupid breeds or breeds that are bad. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule and don’t take this personally. I’m just informing people that, if they get one of these breeds, or they aren’t an experienced and very dedicated dog owner,  they may have trouble leading a normal dog-owner life, i.e. having a calm and orderly home, being able go to the dog park, allow the dog off leash, be around kids, dogs or other animals, or being allowed back into doggy daycare or a boarding facility. With that said, a few of these breeds get their “difficult” reputation because of lack of  proper early socialization (before 3 months old), training and or guidance from a professional dog trainer. 

In no particular order:

Siberian Husky

Jack Russell terrier

Chow Chow

Basenji

Akita

Alaskan-Malamute

Beagle

Samoyed

American Staffordshire Terrier (Pit Bull)

Presa Canario or American Bulldog

If you would like to know why a breed is on this list, ask me using the comment form below.

Dogs often make wonderful pets. However, every dog has the potential to inflict harm under the right circumstances – that’s why many other breeds could have made this list. If a breed is not listed here, it doesn’t mean they will automatically be a “perfect” dog without a lot of dedication from you.

If you are thinking about getting one of the listed breeds or any breed for that matter, do your homework and find a good breeder. Meet the puppy’s parents, as good sound parents produce good sound puppies. Learn everything there is to know about the breed. Proper early socialization (before 3 months old), training and exercise is the key. whether your dog is younger or older than 3 months, hiring a professional dog trainer can really make a difference.

If your dog shows aggression or other negative behavioral issues, get help right away. Don’t make excuses for the dog and don’t be in denial. It’s OK to ask for professional help.  My recommendation is if you have a known ‘aggressive breed’, a puppy from aggressive parents, a puppy you don’t know who the parents are or a puppy who is showing aggressive behavior, you should have them neutered as early as possible (usually before 4- months of age). All other dogs can be fixed at 6 months old.

Top 10 Smartest Breeds

July 10, 2009

bordercollieSome of the more-trainable breeds were tested to determine which breeds might be smarter. The tests judged how quickly they learned obedience commands and how quickly they solved problems. Regardless of who’s #1 a lot of our dogs potential depends on us, the more active we are with them, the more knowledge we have, the more training we do, our dogs will become smarter.  So keep reading from blog sites like mine and your dog will be competing for a spot in the top ten. However, don’t get your hopes too high as I think the breed in the #1 spot has nothing to worry about.

10. Australian cattle dog

9.   Rottweiler

8.   Papillon

7.   Labrador

6.   Shetland Sheepdog

5.   Doberman

4.   Golden Retriever

3.   German Shepherd

2.   Poodle

1.   Border Collie

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