Did You Get The Wrong Dog? – Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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I owned two dogs, named Kate. I found a breeder of the type of breed I wanted, and had arranged to meet his puppies. He led me into one of his puppy pens, and I was immediately mauled by 5 fluffy balls of energy. I spent about an hour in there. I didn’t know anything about dogs. I hadn’t had a dog since I was a kid. But, common sense told me that I should look for the one I liked best, and the one that liked me best. So, I told the breeder which one I wanted. He led me back to his house where we did the paperwork, and he had one of his assistants go and clean up the puppy for me to bring home.

Within a day or so of bringing “Kate” home, I noticed that she had taken a dislike to my grandmother, and would intensely growl at her. Alarmed, I took the puppy to my veterinarian for advice. This puppy also growled intensely at the veterinarian, baring her teeth. The veterinarian said this was not at all normal, that the dog would grow up to be very aggressive, and that I should take the puppy back to the breeder for a different one. Which is what I did.

To make a long story short, I am convinced that the first puppy wasn’t the same puppy as the one I originally picked out. As soon as I saw the second puppy, I knew that was the friendly, playful one I had selected from the beginning. And the second Kate turned out to be one of the best dogs I have ever owned.

That was a good lesson in terms of working with a breeder and in terms of buying or selecting a puppy. You should always specify to the breeder exactly the kind of puppy you want, and have an agreement that if that puppy isn’t what you asked for, that you can either get your money back or exchange it for a different puppy from that litter or some other litter.

I know of a breeder of police dogs who had a similar experience. He bred a police dog to a show dog. He kept one of the puppies. The first thing he noticed was that the puppy didn’t want to have anything to do with him. That’s just not normal. Even protection bred dogs should be friendly and confident and want to be with you. So, he figured, “if you don’t want to be with me, I’ll put you in the hall to sleep and see if you prefer to be with me instead.” The dog didn’t care. So, he tried putting the dog downstairs at night. Same result. Didn’t miss him or act in any way friendly towards him. So, he put the dog in the barn. Same thing. The dog wouldn’t bond.

Now, bonding is an important thing, especially with a protection dog. Bonding blocks a dog from being aggressive towards you. The dog becomes part of your pack, and pack members look out for one another and their territory. This dog wasn’t bonding, so it was treating the breeder as a stranger in his own home and on his own property.

At six months of age, the dog started growling at his daughter. The dog was becoming dangerous. So, the breeder put the dog down. This was a dog which, as an adult, could kill his child. The pup wasn’t right in the head. Even the rest of the pups in the litter were all weird in their own way, but this pup was the worst of the bunch. The breeding didn’t take properly. Not all breedings create a great dog. If you look at the history of the creation of a number of well known breeds in the past century, a number of the early ones had both physical and temperament problems. I was reading recently about the standardization of the Portuguese Water Dog this century. Some of the early dogs had physical and temperament problems. Some were fearful and some were aggressive. Those had to be weeded out of the gene pool. Today, the breed is not that way. But, these same kinds of problems are happening with many of the new designer breeds, and no one is publicly talking about it. Just because a dog is a mix or mutt doesn’t mean it is going to be a great dog. The mix of the police dog and show dog was essentially a mixed bred dog. The lines were so different as to constitute two completely different breeds, even though they looked the same physically.

This breeder did the right thing by putting this puppy down (euthanasia). It was going to grow up and be vicious. It had no bond, thus no inhibition to attack.

The same holds true for rescue dogs. You really can’t tell what a rescue dog is going to be like until that dog is in your home for 30 to 90 days. During that time, the dog will integrate into your home and family, and then you’ll know whether it is right or not. What the dog is like at the shelter, foster home, or breeder’s home isn’t always what it is going to be like at your home. You have to be emotionally and mentally prepared to return the dog if it turns out to be the wrong dog for your home.

I have had to tell people that the puppy or adult dog they have adopted isn’t the right dog for their home. Even experienced people can end up with a dog that isn’t right for them, or worse, isn’t mentally stable or physically well. That’s the real world. Yes, it can help to hire a behaviorist to assist you in finding a breeder and select a dog for you, but even they aren’t perfect. Your veterinarian can do a check up of the dog before you bring it home, but that still doesn’t guarantee the dog is well. The puppy, or adult dog, might still turn out to be wacky or sickly once you bring it home.

Just something to consider. Sometimes the best answer is to get a different dog. You got the wrong one.