Monday, May 2, 2011

Adopting a Dog - Shelter/Rescue v. Breeder and The Training Process

Shelter or rescue vs. breeder is a consideration that  most people in the market to obtain a dog face when making this decision.  Sometimes there is no decision to be made.  Due to the lack of awareness and knowledge people are drawn to the purchase of a dog from a "reputable breeder" never considering the option of the rescues that are available in every breed.  This lead us to the discussion as why there are such large numbers of dogs at shelters/rescues.  Other than the obvious and sad reasons of death, loss of employment/home, divorce, etc., behavior is the key reason why we see so many wonderful dogs in shelters and at rescue organizations.

How do we avoid this every growing problem of the enormous amounts of animals brought to our shelter each day? The answer is 'TRAINING".  It seems so obvious but yet it is very misunderstood.  Training that does occur very often is at the puppy stage. All too often,  there is never the follow through at later months especially when the dog is at the adolescent stage, which can range from one to three years depending on the size of the dog, and needs training more than at any other time.
Similar to a teenager, the dog at this stage will constantly be testing you.

Training will put you in the leadership role and give the dog the guidance that he/she so desperately desires.  Dogs are pack animals and need the human to take the alpha role by guiding and teaching them how to behave through training and also communicating to them that you are in charge.  Training provides exercise and mental stimulation.  The exercising of their minds helps to avoid destructive behavior as training tells the dog what is expected of them as well as tiring them which prevents them from looking for ways to expend their energy.  The focus that they need to listen and perform, such as in heeling, expends more energy than a run around the yard.

Training gives your dog confidence each time it is rewarded and praised for a job well-done.  Success yields a feeling of control.  Training gives the dog guidelines that they have to stay within and there is no confusion as to what is right or wrong at any given time.

The thought of training can be overwhelming.  Start with the SIT command and use it in all situations.  You will find that just that command alone will yield tremendous results in the training process.  Sit for a treat; food; walk; to go out the door; when someone comes to the door; etc., etc.  With these training techniques, you already have a well-behaved dog.

When considering a dog, wether it be from a breeder, shelter or rescue,  give it the greatest gift of all - Training .  It is a gift for you and the family as well to build a better relationship with your dog and to have a well-balanced dog as a part of your family.  If everyone would just take 10 minutes – two times a day – to train their dogs, the amount of dogs in shelters and rescues would be dramatically reduced.

Sandhills Dog Training offers a 15% discount for shelter and rescue dogs.

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