In deciding on dog breed, we were limited by my allergies to basically everything, including dog hair, belly button lint and United Airlines cooties that make me break out in hives even (especially) over the phone. My dad, a veterinarian, suggested a Labradoodle, also knowing that we needed a breed that would be unconditionally loving owing to my habit of sometimes taking things personally like when the light turns red just as I'm getting ready to turn.
He set out to find us the perfect dog by visiting a number of breeders and subjecting selected candidates to "puppy tests." Do you know about these things? I didn't, and when he told me he was going to do it, I said, "You can test for puppies that come out of their mommies housebroken?" He is used to questions like this from me because while growing up, unlike my four siblings, I liked listening to the "My Fair Lady" soundtrack and shopping for clothes and didn't relate to animals even though we had horses, goats, chickens, dogs and a disgusting pig, my brother Casey's 4-H project he named Eric.
My dad explained that he would be testing for things like whether the dog was alpha because he foresaw a specific problem in our household whereby the dog would be the boss with us meekly submitting to his every whim. I explained how we'd read all about this problem in our books and that we'd make it clear from day one who was boss. He shook his head. Back and forth, not up and down.