Adopting a Shelter Dog, Even One That is Untrained

Adopting a shelter dog is not always easy.

Many of them are in the shelter because they have not been trained properly.  It’s important that you know this ahead of time before you adopt one. 

There are two very important factors to keep in mind before you adopt a dog from a shelter.  First, it is very likely that many of the dogs there have not been trained properly.  Second, any dog that you purchase is not going to be trained.  Just about any new dog needs training on his potty business, etc.

I read a good post from the outstanding blog, Dog Star Daily.  It is entitled, “Those Lovely, Ill-Mannered, Untrained Shelter Dogs” by Cindy Bruckart, a certified dog trainer.

Ms. Bruckart makes some excellent points in her article.  She feels that the shelter owners should be honest in discussing the lack of training for some of their dogs.  It is very important that the prospective dog owner be well informed and knows exactly what to expect.

It is also important the new dog owner be willing to take on the responsibility of training the dog.  Of course, this is true whether you are purchasing a new puppy from a breeder or adopting a shelter dog.

Adopted shelter dogs are all different.  Some older adopted dogs may be very well trained.  They have been placed in the shelter because the owner can no longer afford the dog or handle its exercise requirements.

Other adopted shelter dogs have not been trained.  Probably the former owner never tried to train the dog.  Either the owner was lazy or was not smart enough to know that this was a requirement for a new dog owner.

It’s not the dog’s fault.  The new dog owner must understand that he/she is taking on the responsibility of educating the dog.

Here is a quote from the article:

So, my last blog upset a few people who thought my description of many shelter dogs as ill-mannered and untrained was derogatory and unfair.  I found it very sad that these people felt such simple truths were so damning.  Personally, I think the dog-adopting public is much more capable of handling and understanding the truth than some would imagine.

In fact, as some critics pointed out, most dog owners are already living with well-loved, ill-mannered and untrained dogs.  So why would they run away from adoption just because we’re honest about what kinds of dogs make up a good part of that population?  The point is, after all, that the dogs in the shelter are no different than any other dogs.  Except for those who severely missed out on early socialization and have therefore become aggressive, the rest of them just need the same manners training that any pet dog would need.

By being honest about where these dogs are behaviorally, we have two opportunities to educate the public.  We can educate them about prevention by explaining that these dogs are only ill-mannered and untrained because no one has taken the time to teach them.  We can also educate them on the responsibility they have as adopters to make up for that lack of education.

The entire article can be read here.

I ask you, dear readers.  What do you think about adopting a shelter dog?  Are you willing to adopt a shelter dog, even if it hasn’t been trained properly?  My guess is that you love dogs and are willing to shoulder the responsibilities of helping and training any dog.  Thanks for your comments.

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