I talk to dog owners every day yet I have never met one that brought a cute loving puppy into their home with the intention of surrendering the dog 9 to 12 months later because they could not stand him.
But, it remains a fact that more dogs are put to death because of behavior problems than accidents and disease. An out of control adolescent dog is hard to re-home. Nobody wants an unruly dog. Many do not want the cost of fixing one.
The good news for me is; some do. That is how I stay in business. Though, I would much prefer earning my living by teaching dog owners what to do right from the beginning; at least for the dog’s sake. This being said, most of my business comes from dog owners and rescue groups trying to rehabilitate a dog after the damage has been done.
The shear number of surrendered dogs alone tells me that many of you are not aware of how easy it is to ruin a dog. So, I have taken the time to list four easy methods below.
Try to fix the dog with love.
Dogs are wonderful. They can bring; opportunity to children learning responsibility, companionship to the lonely, assistance to the disabled, fulfillment to the childless and just plain fun to the rest of us. But, dogs are dogs not people. There have been great strides made in the field of animal science. It is now accepted that dogs have feelings and emotions. They can develop attachments and have individual preferences (likes and dislikes). What does this mean? It means they have personalities! So, let’s confuse the human vs. canine similarities with the differences and pretend any dog will appreciate your love and reciprocate by behaving well.
If (when) the dog develops bad behaviors ask it nicely to stop. As the bad behaviors get worse, ignore them; after all he is just acting out because you suspect he was abused by someone else. When he finally hurts someone you can rest assured, the dog is ruined.
Choose the wrong dog.
If you can imagine Einstein being a room mate to the Three Stooges, then this will be easy for you. Give an 8 week old Terrier to your 80 year old grandmother in a walker. Or, if you are a family where both parents work while caring for 2 or more small children; adopt 2 large breed puppies at the same time. With very little effort or thought you can easily succeed in choosing the wrong dog. It takes time to research which breed and temperament would fit into your household and heaven knows none of us have enough time. You will know when you have chosen the wrong dog because nothing will go right and after 6 months the dog with automatically be ruined.
Get a dog you cannot afford.
If you cannot afford to feed yourself then just get any dog and you will have succeeded at getting a dog you cannot afford. If you really, really, want a dog and you do not take the time to figure out what; proper nutrition, veterinary care, training, supplies and emergency boarding (don’t forget miscellaneous stuff) might cost, then you may or may not succeed. I have a basset hound with Addison’s disease that will live a happy normal life as long as I keep feeding him $100 bills. But, that doesn’t count because I can afford to do that.
I guess, if you only calculate enough for cheep food and possibly the veterinarians surrender fee (for when he breaks his leg) then almost anyone could fool themselves (remaining guilt free) into thinking they can afford a dog when there is a very high probability that they can’t. You could also save the cost of the surrender fee by just dumping the dog in the animal control lock box when you are done with him. If you do this anonymously you will not be able to receive public credit for ruining the dog so just knowing that you did it will have to be satisfying enough.
Do not train the dog.
Training consists of several elements such as; socialization, leadership and obedience. This is where it is real easy to ruin a dog. We don’t even have to waist any time discussing leadership or obedience because you have the opportunity to ruin a dog by the age of 12 weeks old by just neglecting his socialization. Here is how you do it. From the time you bring your puppy home at about 8 weeks old; do not let him go anywhere or meet any people or animals. Do not enroll him in puppy classes. If you enroll him in puppy classes you take the chance that someone will stop you from ruining the dog. While it is still cute to do so; let him jump on you, nip at your hands and clothes and pee on the floor. When these behaviors are no longer cute just banish him to the back yard and only let him come into the garage to sleep. As you do this he will become bored and frustrated. Let a few months pass and when he has destroyed the back yard and garage he will be a full fledged out-of-control adolescent dog that no one will blame you for surrendering.
There are a few variations to this. If it is a small dog, pick it up whenever he shows fear or barks at anyone. If you are lucky it will not take very long for the dog to develop fear aggression. Or, maybe he will become possessive of you and bite your husband when he tries to get into bed. If you rescued an adolescent or adult dog you can feel sorry for him and indulge the few problems he came with. After a while the few problems will turn into many and you can just give him back. Don’t worry; you will still get credit for ruining him because he was returned with more problems than he had when you adopted him.
There you go, four easy ways to ruin any dog!
You may think this article is a silly attempt to use reverse psychology. Or maybe I wrote it because being a dog trainer I would like to see more troubled dogs, a form of job security I suppose. Could it be that this article describes what many otherwise good hearted dog loving people are unintentionally doing to “man’s best friend” without even thinking? If that is the case then perhaps they will see this article and think about what really happens when they do not think.
If you think you have ruined your dog please call a professional dog trainer for help; it may not be too late!