Dog’s Eye View: Please hold
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
We’ve all experienced those phone calls in which we hear the quote “Please hold for the next available consultant. Your wait time will be 55 minutes,” or some version of serious wait time.
I’m going to apply this to so many people attempting to juggle a busy life, myself included. I think we have the best intentions of providing a place in our home for a special dog. Our hearts are always in the right place. Then comes the reality check.
Most adoptions or rescue’s start out relatively easy. Then, at about the three-day mark, things start to change. Life has been going well, so we return to our previous habits and schedules with the assumption that our new dog is settling in nicely.
First day back at work or school, we come home to find the dog has not handled home alone well, and things are getting chewed up or we are gifted with a nice pile on the living room carpet. Please hold, while I fix this problem. She’s taken to the scene of the accident and scolded, but after the fact, doesn’t register in the dog’s mind.
Now she’s confused. Owner is unhappy, upon return from being gone. The dog associates this with coming into the house, not going potty on the rug. We can begin to fix this problem by implementing a puppy potty training program.
Starting fresh with a new management and confinement schedule to help the dog be successful is in order. But most people don’t have the time to change up their lives and schedules to do what’s really needed.
They told me at the shelter that he was house trained. Yes, but this is a new circumstance and the dog has not generalized the behavior to other environments yet.
Please hold, while I find the time to train you. Well, I don’t have time to do this so she can just stay outside. That solved one problem but leaves room to create another.
She barks all day while I’m at work. The neighbors are complaining. Please hold, while I figure this out. I know, go buy a bark collar. But now, she’s chewing up the yard and digging under the fence. Please hold while I reassess my decision to adopt a dog.
Bringing a new dog into your life requires a long-term commitment, not just a few days at home to settle in. And when you adopt or rescue a dog, you can be sure that there will be things you did not expect. Little bits of personality and habits show up over the first six months of adoption.
You must be prepared to do what it takes to help this new family member thrive. There is no clause in the adoption commitment for waiting until you have time.
Laura Tyler is a certified professional dog trainer with more than years of experience and has earned associate certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants as well as certified nose work instructor through the National Association of Canine Scent Work. She owns Total Teamwork Training LLC in Northwest Colorado.
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