It’s not uncommon that I get a call, email or facebook post from someone looking to dispose of their dog that is absolutely perfect… EXCEPT for when….. That is when the litany of excuses comes in:
• He loves other dogs, except for when he’s on a leash or there’s food, or if the other dog has brown fur.
• He’s good with people except if they come to the house or approach him too fast or try to pet him on the head.
• He was probably abused so he pees in the house every once in a while.
“But other than this he is just the best dog ever. I really love him and would like to see him get the best home. But I just can’t keep him.”
I can’t tell you how this pisses me off. For the most part, people don’t want to do the work that is required to keep a dog, and when there is any work involved whatsoever, they want to “get rid of the dog.” Well, I’ve got news for you, no one else wants your dog – the one you don’t want either. The shelters are overcrowded with dogs that are really nice – that is until some idiot comes along and screws them up.
When people see little problems and ignore them thinking that they will go away, they are turning their backs on a soon to be huge problem. People don’t consider hiring a trainer or behaviorist until the problem has grown so huge that it’s almost impossible to solve. Then they resort to option B, get rid of the dog.
Rescue workers are hard at work trying to save the thousands of dogs that are being killed in shelters everyday. They do not need to be plagued with the phone calls of people who got a dog and let it turn into a huge problem. Bottom line is “it’s your dog – fix it.”
Be really honest with yourself… If someone was offering you this dog, would you take it? In general, people are not looking to adopt aggressive dogs or dogs that mess in the house. If your dog has a problem, find the solution to fix it. If your kid is a screw-up at school, are you gonna get rid of him? Of course… “it’s only a dog.” Well, that is the attitude that sucks. If that’s your attitude, don’t get a dog in the first place and neuter yourself while you’re at it, the world doesn’t need any more uncaring, shallow-sighted people.
Your dog has every opportunity to be a good dog, but it takes work. If you go to the gym and try to bench press 200lbs and can’t do it, you may want to start with a smaller amount of weight and build yourself up from there. Dog training and behavior modification takes little steps. There are plenty of online resources to help you. If you come to the conclusion that you just can’t do it, chances are neither can anyone else. Once a dog is bonded to someone, they will do what you are asking of them if you’ve grounded the relationship in a fair way. If you haven’t -get started now.
The bottom line remains; if your dog is a screw up, no one else wants them, just like if your kid is a screw up, even the teachers don’t want them in their class. It’s time for social responsibility; it starts with you, your pets and your kids.