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Is the Bengal Breed right for you?

May 23, 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, and I know not every Bengal is the same. 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 abandoned in the streets or brought to shelters. This is very sad ending to what could have been avoided if people did the research before adopting/buying.

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

The Bengal breed is right for you: (please read each one before judging)

  1. If you identify yourself more of a dog  person. (not recommended for “cat people”). and what I mean by “dog person” is… you are an active person with your dog(s), hikes, trips, running together, daily play and training, allowing the dog to live inside your home, etc. Not someone who likes dogs but the dog(s) live most of their time in the backyard, or worst 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.
  2. If you’re NOT getting a Bengal for their looks but for their temperament/personality. (Looks are a bonus) Never get an animal based on looks (alone). Temperament, YOUR lifestyle/living arrangements, understanding the life long commitment/expenses that goes with bringing an animal into your life. Those are the things you think of. Put yourself in the animal position, (hypothetically) ask the animal what they think about being cramped up 24/7 in your small living space/cage, just so you can stared at them all day. If they could respond, many Siberian huskies & Bengals would say, “NO WAY!” it’s so important to do your research to find out “what’s on the inside.”
  3. If you have a large living space, and you understand, especially the first several years they will be racing  around your home climbing up on whatever can hold them.
  4. If you provide some kind of outside containment area so they can have outside time in a safe space.
  5. If you’re planning to keep them inside or supervised/leashed outside.
  6. If you’re an active pet person willing to give up some of your ‘social life’ to raise/exercise them on a daily basis. It’s a very similar responsibilities that comes with raising an active dog.  This breed loves to be part of the action, you’ll need to take them on walks on leash, on road trips, camping trips, play with them in the house (they love chase games,) provide them with large/tall cat trees to climb, an exercise wheel, or any type of exercise outlet. Even a dog would be a great companion, just make sure their temperament would have to match that of the Bengal.
  7. If your children are over 7 years old. (people hate when I say this)  but I feel raising a child is already time consuming enough, well so is raising a Bengal, WAY more than what’s required for most other cats. One of them is going to get ignored and that’s when the problems start. I see time and time again where the kids kind of treat the cat as if it’s a toy. Bengals wouldn’t like that. I think it’s myth that small kids “need” pets around, 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.
  8. If you have an existing cat(s) under 3 years of age, and/or if your cats have a lot of experience playing with other cats. In my view Bengals don’t make a good 2nd cats (unless maybe if they’re both Bengals). They can be overbearing at times, even becoming a little aggressive and possibly injure your older defenceless cat. Didga and Boomer play but sometimes he gets too rough and bites Didga hard, no punctures but hair comes out, and I have to intervene and let Boomer know that’s enough. Thankfully it only happens once or twice a month,  I’m just glad I do all I do with Boomer to tire him out, I have some control of his behaviour because of the training we’ve done, plus I’m with them most of the time to manage their interactions.
  9. 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 could become more affectionate with age but you may be waiting a long time for that, maybe 5 to 10 years? There may be times they show affection but 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, but 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.
  10. If you understand this Breed requires more time/supervision than most other breeds and will take time away from your social life, especially if you start out with a kitten. 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)
  11. 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 more? (like I said, extra extra work)
  12. If you understand the 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 for sport. Bengals aren’t the only ones 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 2 years now not to chase birds, I don’t see much of a difference. (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.
  13. 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, 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 breeds are, the more I’d be against people having one in a home environment. Very-very-very few people could provide the stimulation and space that these cats require to be truly 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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