Welcome to Southwest Florida German Shepherd Rescue Inc., Anonymous Sunday, February 05 2023 @ 01:46 am EST

RELINQUISHING YOUR PET

  • Monday, December 26 2022 @ 05:50 pm EST
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DEALING WITH RELINQUISHING YOUR PET
POINTS TO CONSIDER IN MAKING A RELINQUISHING DECISION MY DOG IS REACTIVE AND I HAVE TO REHOME HIM
The story of why dogs are turned into us for rehoming is an ever changing tale. There are totally legit reasons for relinquishing a pet and of course the best choice is to find a sympathetic rescue, like us, who can assist. There are times however where the reason is suspect and where the owner just fails to have the time or inclination to train the pet, such that he can keep him. This story is consistent and I hear it almost daily.
Training is, and always will be, the key to a quality family pet. An untrained dog is typically more of a pain than a pleasure, and in most cases the reason owners want to give up the dog. When I hear the caller saying “I have to get rid of my dog” rather than asking to rehome him, I immediately know 90% of the issue. At times I am wrong, but their choice of words is indicative of just the way they refer to the dog they never wanted or cared for in the first place. More times than not, the fact that the owner wants to ‘rid’ himself of a problem, is indicative of an owner who has no regard for the pet, no desire to help correct the situation he probably caused and no empathy for it. Typically the word ‘rid’ helps me know more about the owner than I could have gleaned from any interview.
Why would someone get a pet if they didn’t have the time to spend with it, to train it and to bond? Did the kids force the parent to get the puppy that they ignored after a few days? Did the people bite off more than they can chew and suddenly have a family member who isn’t Rin Tin Tin? Is it the fact that they didn’t research the breed and suddenly this cute puppy is a big dog? There are so many possibilities that I see consistently, but the one that always stands out is when the dog is being relinquished simply because they decided not to train it. They complain about it aggressiveness but fail to understand how to fix it. They are annoyed that the dog is ‘downright stupid’ because they have had dogs since they were children who never exhibited these behaviors. They say the no one has time for it in the family but yet they brought him into their home, gave him an opportunity to bond with the family and all the while knowing that they would dump him once the cute stage is done. This might not sound like classic animal abuse but it is. Sheps have acute feelings. They bond quickly and absolutely with the family, and usually have that one special person in the home that they adore. By ‘getting rid’ of him you move this animal into a depressed state, break his spirit and his heart. Dogs relinquished for reasons such as I define as legit are quite pragmatic and adapt to change well. In all cases, rehoming regardless of the back story winds up tgo be Ok with most dogs, so long as the transition is controlled. Dogs dumped in the street who have to fend for themselves do change in personality. Dogs dumped in shelters in many cases become depressed, cage aggressive, territorial and distrustful, all factors that have to be addressed by new families.
“I decided not to train” is a harsh reality I hear frequently. It should be an embarrassment to owners who give up dogs, because they were just not prepared to teach the dog. It makes me suspect of how they did with their kids? Dogs are easily taught, especially GSD’s as they want to please you. They will do whatever you ask, so long as you ask. They will adapt to the home and family willingly and offer what they can in return. That is usually a combination of love, protection and loyalty. Unfortunately however their decision making ability lacks human traits and therefore if left uncorrected, the dog establishes his own set of behavioral standards, only some of which are OK, and most likely the vast majority of which are bad. Once these self- rewarding bad behaviors show themselves, the owner looks to rid himself of the problem rather than addressing the possibility of modifying those behaviors and turning the dog around into a good family member.
Training takes time and typically requires a more professional approach. Many owners tell me “Oh I have had GSD’s my whole life and I know how to train the dog”. Why, I ask are you looking to relinquish him? Their reply is he’s just not like my other dogs! Therein lies the problem. Maybe someone else trained the ‘other dog’, or you had more time with him before; but regardless of the excuses, the bottom line is that you have not spent the time necessary with this dog to socialize it or to correct his bad behaviors, or to identify and delineate issues such that they can be addressed by a professional. The owner dropped the ball, and the dog is being chastised for it.
Enter a trainer who has the knowledge of the breed, the skill to understand the behaviors and how to correct them and suddenly you can have a pet you can be proud of again. The trainer however is not the answer. The trainer has to train you to be the alpha and to address these issues with your dog, not him or her, but you, the owner. If you haven’t got the time to address these problem behaviors, that may be understandable as we all have lives to live and responsibilities; but if you don’t have the time or even the inclination to train the dog, why did you get him in the first place?
Bad decisions fill out shelters and rescues. These dogs can be easily ruined by lack of training and eventually be put down because they are unhandleable or unmanageable by shelter staff. That is regrettable but necessary as no one wants to pass a serious problem on to someone else. In many cases however these pets can be retrained and recovered so long as they started out in a loving environment and have the basic people social skills to trust again.
Training to address aggressiveness can work so long as the trainer can teach you, the owner, the techniques that work on your dog. You, the owner and alpha, must practice these techniques to see results. No two dogs are quite the same, but training techniques for these simple but defined issues tend to work universally. Most dogs who are stable and able to learn have similar inherent behaviors that channeled correctly, can move the needle to where the behavior is controlled and eventually changed positively. Caesar Melan’s methods work for him but may not work for you or your dog. What works is finding a breed knowledgeable trainer who can assess your dog’s behavior and then train you to train him. Keep in mind that some behaviors are simple to address with the proper equipment and timing. Some behaviors that have as a basis the dogs prey drive, for instance, are rarely easy to address; so in situations where the dog is cat-averse, you need to Not have cats in the dogs home. If the issue is dog on dog aggressive, then having him as an only dog, starts the process, but desensitizing him to other animals through appropriate socialization training and practice, can make these behaviors controllable and possibly eventually even disappear.
Training a dog is a repetitive task that takes time and focus. It has to have buy-in from the owner, or the dog, who may be smarter than the owner, won’t allow the changes to happen. The dog, especially sheps know who means it and who is a push over. If you do want to keep your dog and have decided to train the behavior to a tolerable level, then you have to believe. If your focus is completing the training to get the result you want, you will. If you have doubts, fail to have consistency, fail to practice, fail to set achievable parameters and rules to achieve specific goals, you will be disappointed. If everyone in the family hasn’t bought into the goal, your chances are reduced by a significant factor. Gaining the dog’s trust through your actions means the dog, and now you, the owner and alpha, can work out the negative behaviors together. Sheps look to please you. They know when you are happy and committed and they know when you are lax and ambivalent to the task at hand…. They then act accordingly.
If you have a dog that you want to relinquish for the right reasons, then rescue is a positive and effective means to accomplish that. If you however feel your canine BF is worth having around then please by all means seek qualified help to change your dog for the better.