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HERE'S HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT DOG
When you take part in a dog adoption, you know that your adopted dog may have some special needs. Chances are your adopted dog may have had a difficult life. He may have even been mistreated. Or he may have been a very beloved pet who was well trained and who's owner fell on hard times, or had to move to an apartment. You would not believe how many emails I get where someone is having to give up a beloved pet for adoption. The people at the dog adoption shelter should have the history on the dog. They will know if he has been well cared for or needs special attention.
OK I'VE DONE A DOG RESCUE - HOW DO I TRAIN HIM?
While preparing this article, I received an email from someone who had adopted an eight month old Pitbull from a bad environment just before the city was getting ready to remove the dog. She also owns a female Pitbull that she had adopted from the local dog adoption shelter. So she has some experience with dogs. The new adopted dog respects both her and her mother, in fact demonstrates love. The dog is OK with her 5 year old, tolerates her boyfriend, yet sends signals; but launches himself aggressively at her 14 and 15 year old. She believes that given a chance, and the right training that the dog is going to be an excellent dog. I agree!
Watch a pack of puppies and you will see how they fight for position and ownership. Most people cannot believe how vicious puppies can be toward one another. To establish rank they use their teeth. Because of their fur and thick skin, they rarely inflict serious injuries in these test of will. But when they do the same with a human, even a small dog can inflict serious injury. This kind of behavior is not unusual, in fact it is normal behavior, it is hard wired into them, and it is all they know.
PACK STRUCTURE HAS TO BE ESTABLISHED
In the aforementioned case, the adopted dog has submitted to both adult women. The small child is not seen as a threat for position so she is being tolerated. Yet, he is very likely to give her a quick bite to remind her of his rank if he feels she needs reminding. That just has not happened yet, but it will. The boyfriend; the dog is not sure about. The adopted dog doesn't know if he is up to the task or not, so he tries to send signals to see if he can perceive without a fight. But now the two teenagers; he sees them as a direct rival for position and he is ready to fight. This is typical pack behavior.
IT'S IMPERATIVE WITH DOG ADOPTION THAT YOU BECOME THE PACK LEADER
The leader of the pack needs to decide every ones position. When I was a child, my Dad was the leader of our pack, with my mom being the second in command. They decided every aspect of me and my siblings life. I did not battle with my siblings to see who sat where at the dinner table or who would have what bedroom, or who would get the last piece of pie. And when company came over, my parents decided if I was to sit and listen or if I could retire to my room. My parents decided everything. Likewise, the adopted dog has to learn that you are the one who decides his place in the pack. He has to learn that all humans are above him. When he learns this, you will have a great dog and a safe dog.
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