BT - I never saw this thread before. I just read the whole thing.
The funny part was after I read your OP, I immediately thought Airdale Terrier. I was thinking I wish I would have seen the thread originally as I would have suggested you look into the breed. Then I got to your most recent post and had a good chuckle!
AT's are extremely intelligent, very loyal dogs. Some do have a tendancy towards trying to be dominant. As with all breeds, it is critical you socialize the dog early and often with kids and other dogs. It is also critical that you establish "alpha" status early on. This can be done in a variety of ways - it isn't always about pinning them on their back - although that may be necessary. Simple things like teaching "heel" early, making the dog sit and then follow you outside after being called out, and making the dog sit and then be released to his food bowl are all ways that show the dog his status. I would also "handle" the dog a ton as a puppy. My wife was pregnant with our first when I got our AWS puppy. Since I know spaniels can be sensitive about their ears, I made handling him as a puppy part of his training. I would pinch his ears, his paws, pull his tail, pinch his back, whatever. Not hard enough to hurt him, but I was thinking ahead to the way a toddler would likely handle a dog. Anytime he showed any bit of nippyness, he was gently corrected. When my son was 2, I caught him trying to pull the dog off the bed by his ears, and the dog never gave him any reaction. He is one of the gentlest dogs I've ever been around.
Also, I feel this way about every dog, but with an AT I would not allow any "mouthing" of your hands and I would not play tug-o-war with him. My dog was never allowed to mouth my hands or play nip. I see some people allow this with their dogs, and I disagree that a dog is capable of determining how hard of a nip is too hard. With a strong minded dog like an AT, I would avoid play nipping and mouthing all together. Tug-o-war is a great way to show a dog he is alpha as most dogs never let go, and most people get board and let go. Doing so just showed the dog that he beat you and whatever object you were tugging is his.
Sorry for the long post. I just love dogs and I think you are going to be very happy with your choice.
[This post was last edited on 7/6/12 at 2:27 PM]