Monday, May 07, 2007

A Little Work Goes a Long Way

Found this post on Craigslist L.A. this afternoon in the Pets Community Board. It speaks for itself.
Last year I adopted a blue heeler/pit mix from the shelter in Castaic. This dog is truly a special boy - loving, good natured, a deep thinker but also very mischevious, loves digging in the trash and chewing my shoes (particularly the newer ones I leave out). But I love him dearly.

Recently I decided he needed a friend to keep him out of trouble (yeah, right), so I adopted a six-month-old cattle dog/pointer pup out of East Valley. She was in a cage with two others as were most of the dogs that day. Very crowded conditions, but the attendants were doing everything they could to keep the peace. "Lola" was an owner relinquish.

Her first month in my home consisted of lots of chewing and destruction and getting used to her surroundings. The one thing that didn't take much getting used to was Slidell, my other pooch - the two of them are a match made in heaven. They sleep in each other's arms, give each other kisses and play constantly. My living room with wood floors is like a giant bowling alley with Lola being the white, spotted ball, courtesy of Slidell.

Lola's behaviour was getting a bit unruly - constantly barking at strangers, tackling dogs aggressively at the dog park and chewing everything she could get her paws on. I decided she needed some K-9 training, so three weeks ago we started a class together. The training and one-on-one attention have been tremendous; she's acclimating better in my home; chewing less; totally getting the commands we're learning; and her self-confidence is booming.

It's been about six weeks now since she came home with me from East Valley and she's really starting to develop into the pup I wanted.

For those of you who are thinking about adopting a shelter dog, please do. Most of these dogs have had a rocky road, and we don't always know their history, but given time they really blossom. Spend time on training: they can't be the perfect dog you want until they learn what your expectations are, in a loving way. And most of all remember, patience is a virtue.

Please adopt from shelters first before going elsewhere. Those dogs need you.
Note: If you can't afford private or group dog training, there may be free classes available at a city or county shelter near you. Unfortunately, these classes are usually for bully breeds only (pit bulls, bull terriers, staffordshires, etc.). There is also a tremendous amount of information available, both in print and online, about dog training (and the necessary accompanying human training) as well.


arthur mom said...

is this a hint?

dogsitter said...

Yes. I mean, no. (Yes.)