Are we exaggerating or is there a surplus of lucky dog owners?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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What'd you say?- I wasn't- listening.
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 5:48pm PST 
Please, this is meant as a "something I've noticed" thread meant for simple discussion. None of this is aimed at anyone in particular and it's not meant to anger or insult anyone.

Every ounce of research I've done on raising a dog that's been taking from dog enthusiast run sites has indicated you need to be above and beyond as a dog owner to raise a "good" dog.

If you work long hours you can't get a puppy, if you don't live near an area for them to socialize you can't get a puppy, if you've never had a dog before you can't get a puppy, if you don't have regimented play, train, and inner growth hours you can't get a puppy, if you don't know 100 different dogs for your dog to meet one each day you can't get a puppy, If you do get a puppy it will grow up severely under-socialized and it won't live a happy life...

So here I am, seeing all these people being advised against getting puppies cause we don't think they'll be able to raise one right (again I'm not pointing fingers at anyone, just speaking in general terms)...

I have worked in several doggy day camps and pet stores and have seen thousands of "irresponsible" and "misinformed" pet owners walk in with their dogs that had been with them since 8 weeks (sometimes way younger yikes!) that are totally stellar, loving, social little pooches. Breeds from pits to border collies, to chihuahuas. Of course it's a two way street, I've seen awful dogs too.

But for as often as I hear it's way too easy to mess up a puppy (or something to that effect) I'm shocked to see so many canine rockstars.

So what's up with this? Are dog enthusiasts putting too much thought into puppy-hood? Have we just seen all too well what has gone wrong with "standard run of the mill" puppy owners and fear if we don't bring up all of the you "shoulds" and make them you "musts" that more problems will pop up?
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 6:20pm PST 
A while back with the rescue I run, this nice woman wanted a Berner mix. I happened to find her one in a high kill....named him Bently. Had him pulled by the HS local to him. He was eight weeks or so. They were to hold for an upcoming transport in a week's time. Fine. But in for his health cert, he came up with a positive for coccidia. He was put in iso and the transport couldn't take him. It took him a while...too long of a while....to come up with a neg, and in iso he stayed. Then one transport after another got delayed. It took two months with him stuck there. What a disaster. Unsocialized and stuck in a kennel all that time.

The puppy, by now far bigger and pressing five months, born, weaned, dumped off then locked in iso for two months, was the most normal, easygoing, imperturbable fellow you could imagine.

And what did I say to his adopters? "You really lucked out....this is a sensational puppy." And he was.

I assess a lot of litters. Some impress me and some don't. Some individuals, even accidental, Pit mix with idon'tknowwhat, are absolutely remarkable and will be perfect dogs. Some fantastically bred, perfectly started puppies I know will be nothing but a challenge.

It comes down to the individual. And when you are planning, either planning a puppy or taking on a breed, you START with worst case scenarios. If you are not ok with that scenario, then you are not ok with that puppy, or that breed.

I have raised two Giant Schnauzers. Very on my guard to raise my first meticulously, and at the end of the day it was probably a pointless effort (give or take), because Onion was pretty sensational and for a Giant, VERY easy. Tiller, from the same breeder and similar lines.....heck knows how it would have turned had I not gained my Giant chops on Onion. Tiller was *extremely* difficult to raise. I would have been incredibly overwhelmed and done incredibly stupid things. But having been there and done that, I could take what was everything Onion times ten, know these were stages, rode them out, handled him the right way, and it has been fine.

So no. We are not exaggerating. It is not that these standards apply to every dog, but that the ensure that you are up to ANY dog, you had better take them seriously.
Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 6:27pm PST 
I agree with Tiller.

Sanka is one of those "lucky" dogs. I was an ignorant owner. Loving and caring, but ignorant. He was scared as a pup to go for walks, so I didn't take him out. When he got older, he was a pain in the butt to walk from pulling, so I didn't want to deal with it and he pretty much stayed in the back yard...for 8 years. He wasn't horribly alone. I love the outdoors and spent many hours with him. It's just...all that socializing stuff. Yeah, didn't do that. And yet, he's awesome with people and rock solid with other dogs. Seriously could not have asked for a better dog.

I remember when I volunteered at the local shelter. There was a pit mix there that I cared for. I would bet all my money on her being one of those rock solid dogs, no matter what home she goes to. She was just that type of dog. When you see it, you just know. Sad that she couldn't be adopted from the shelter because somebody claimed she bit them. I'm sure a rescue picked her up though. The Animal Control here is pretty good at getting their dogs to rescues.

I guess in short, some dogs are just born awesome. Able to handle human stupidity/ignorance.

Edited by author Mon Feb 18, '13 6:29pm PST



I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 6:40pm PST 
Some do get lucky, but unfortunately others I know just go through dogs until they find one that doesn't take much work. Others have dogs with amazing potential, but due to almost no socialization or training, are unable to take the dog anywhere.
One example is this couple with a Lab. They've had him since puppyhood, pretty much ignored him once their child was born (he was a year), and exercise him by putting him out in the yard. Despite doing everything wrong, this dog is a sweetie. Yes, he is reactive to other dogs, but that's because his only experience with most of his fellow canines is barking at them through the fence. He is incredibly gentle and good with Lupi since she's (obviously) not a threat to him. They've never had to worry about him with their little boy or their cats. He doesn't go up on the furniture or destroy things (although he did have a destructive phase as a puppy).
His natural temperament and breed traits make him a "good" dog. But it breaks my heart to think of what he's missed out on. No off-leash walks, or walks of any kind, no running on the beach or through the woods. Their little boy loves Lupi because she knows so many tricks, while his dog "can't do anything". If only he knew that his Lab could probably have learned everything my Doxie knows, in about a quarter of the time.
And this is no isolated case. At least they've kept him into his old age, unlike the dogs this girl I know has gone through, who get surrendered as soon as the work required to train them outweighs their cuteness.

Let's play tug!!
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 7:06pm PST 
I don't think "long hours" belongs in a list of (purported) froofy nonsense. Unless you're going to take the puppy to daycare, or get randomly lucky with a pup who won't chew up pee pads and have another dog, being alone for 10 hours a day is going to have a massive, irreversible impact on a dog. Not to mention the fact that people who work long hours tend to come home tired, which doesn't bode well for the dog getting several hours of hard exercise after work. It most likely translates to a bored, lonely, underexercised, understimulated, undersocialized dog. To adopt a puppy to someone who works long hours, or even normal hours, I'd need to hear a really specific plan for getting his needs met.
Bianca CGC- TT HIC Thd- ♥

What big ears- you have...
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 8:28pm PST 
I think the reason why people say that is not to tell people they shouldn't be allowed to raise a puppy, but because things like socialization are very important and if you miss out on them it can have long term consequences, which are not easily fixed once the dog is older. Sure some dogs can be mostly unsocialized and never have a problem but they can also end up a scared mess, aggressive, phobias, not know how to communicate properly with other dogs, or with other serious behavior issues due to it. It also has an effect on brain development when a puppy misses out on the socialization periods. It's not a good idea to just hope your dog will be one who can get by with little effort to work with them. Especially if you plan to do more with them when they're older than just keep them at home.
I have a friend who rescued two 3-4 month old puppies, they had been kept in a basement and they were terrified of everything. She kept one, the other was adopted out. The one she kept has serious fear aggression issues.
Also I would hazard a guess that the dogs who you see in public are more likely to be well adjusted, so you are not seeing the whole picture. You probably won't see the under socialized ones who ended up with serious behavior issues showing up at a daycare or pet store. My friend's dog is never taken out in public because he is not safe to be around strangers and is too scared in most situations that would not seem like a big deal to "normal" dogs.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 9:35pm PST 
Heck, back in the day...even now in some places...dawgs were dawgs and they didn't have holistic food or organic cotton toys or a clothing line or doggy daycare. They worked and hunted and if they were lucky they got to sleep in the house with the people. And many of them dawgs flourished, puppies and all.

That said it really doesn't take a rocket scientist to raise a puppy. Modern culture has just made it seem more complicated and you can make it as complicated as you choose...and some people feel complicated means they're doing a better job as pet parents or something.
My opinion is just that I would rather adopt an adult who is less likely to find a home at all, you already know their size and personality n' best of all you probably don't have to housebreak them.

I housebroke five human kids, I'll be danged if I want to potty train anything else everlaugh out loud

Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 10:02pm PST 
I think people are lucky.
When I got Nare I was 15, stupid, impulsive, no patience, etc.
But I researched everyday for 3 years before getting him. I knew how to clicker train, what to expose him to, how much exercise, what a raw diet consisted of, etc..
While Nare is a GREAT and amazing dog-- I still see people who have skated through their dogs life without raising a finger. Their dog got fed once a day and walked once a day. No training. No structure. No long lines, tethering, redirecting, allergies, reactivity, anything!

There is a lot I want/ed for Nare.. We have achieved a lot and overcame many things, we get comments all the time. But people think he simply 'came' this way and want to get a dog like him.. They don't know all of the work, money, time that has been invested.
People ask me all the time why I take Nare to Petsmart to train and work on stuff with him, they see him down at one end of the store and me walk to the other and think he is amazing. They don't understand that I used to not be able to get 5 feet from him !
Its kind of discouraging, because my friend's dogs can be walked off leash and will stay by his side. NO training or time has gone into these dogs.. They've just done it. Nare wanders in yards, goes up peoples driveways to their porches, goes off into the brush... And I work with him on longlines nearly everyday of his life. I know that all Nare wants is freedom, I really want to give him that but it is still a veeerrry long work-in-progress.

I guess if I didn't have these problems then I'd be bored out of my mind though...
But I do have one awesome dog. So I guess we're lucky in our own way. (:
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 11:26pm PST 
Bianca made a good point too......the ill behaved dogs don't get out a lot. That's sure not true of the Petco where we do adoption events, though! The number of lashing out dogs, barkers, crazy pullers - wowzers!

In terms of Ophelia's point about "back in the day," two things to remember is that culture was different back then. Someone was usually home and the house was the hub....I never heard the term "socialize" when I was a kid, but there was a more natural process, where something was always going on at home, people always coming and going. Puppy rearing was pretty natural back then. Thirty years ago, you really wouldn't think to even ask how long a puppy would be left alone, for seldom would that have been the case. Also, there was a whole different logic and "bad dogs" were dumped at shelters to meet their fate. People didn't work with dogs the way the do now. Dogs who were problematic were far more often gotten rid of.
Bianca CGC- TT HIC Thd- ♥

What big ears- you have...
Barked: Tue Feb 19, '13 1:12am PST 
Also back then if someone's kid was bitten/nipped, I think people were more likely to say they shouldn't have been bothering the dog, whereas today the dog is maybe more likely to end up at the pound and the kid's parents liable to sue the owner.
Tiller is right, if dogs had serious behavior issues I think it was more common to take them to the pound or have them euthanized, not worked with to the extent that is common now with behaviorists being a more common thing. Of course many people still go that route even now.
My parents had a "mean" dog when I was a kid, but basically all they did with her was put her in a room if people came over. She was a very small dog though and I think that is more common for people to put up with bad behavior. I knew plenty of other people with dogs with poor temperaments too back then, my aunt and uncle had a poodle who we never saw when I was a kid because he was a biter so they locked him up when people came around, and my grandmother's dog was snappy and poorly house trained, and we ended up taking him in when my grandmother passed away.

Edited by author Tue Feb 19, '13 1:14am PST

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