Tips on Hanlding Getting a Second-Hand Dog
It's appealing to see ourself "saving"
an adult dog from an animal shelter but dealing with a dog with a troubled or insecure past can be very challenging.
The good news is that you'll be getting a full size dog so you know what to expect in that regard. He's likely to have at least some rudimentary training, perhaps from shelter personnel.
The worst thing that can happen is that the dog and the owner are not well matched. Inexperienced shelter
personnel might place a strong-willed,
dog with an elderly couple or a
busy couple with young children.
Sometimes, owners over-estimate their
own abilities and under-estimate the
time commitment to handle dogs with
tricky or troubled personalities.
Many older dogs entering a new home
will not behave well. Expect problems
like whining, barking, destroying
things, and toilet mistakes.
That's because the dogs are anxious and do not feel safe in the new home. Do not take this behavior personally and try not to become angry.
Please recognize that the concept of
gratitude is a human one. It does not
exist in dogdom.
On the other hand, some owners make the opposite mistake and become too
indulgent with these dogs. That will
only increase the dog's insecurity and
may create a dog that can't bear to be
away from its owner.
If you get a second hand dog, you need
to find a middle ground. The dog needs
security, not pity. Be kind but be
firm. You are in charge and you need to show it to your dog.
If you dog anxiously paws at your lap
trying to get attention, ignore him!
You make the decisions on playing,
walking and feeding.
Behavior problems are minimized when your dog feels secure and has a leader (you) that he is confident can protect him.
I recognize that not all shelter dogs
will come with problems, but because
many will, it's best to begin your
relationship on the basis that problems should be expected and dealt with.
In the long run, this will help the dog's new home become his last one.
About the Author
Louise Louis is a long-time dog person
and creator of www.ToyBreeds.com.