Should I Get A Dog For My Son Or Daughter? – Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist
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I received a student referral one summer, several years ago, for a family that had just purchased an 8 week old, yellow Labrador Retriever. It’s very cool when I get referrals, and I love working with Labs. They are great family dogs, and they make a terrific first dog if you’ve never owned a dog.
When I met with them, they were very excited to get this new fluff ball. She was sweet, playful, just wonderful in all ways. The mom told me she purchased the dog for her 14 year old daughter who had been wanting a dog for a while. I laid out the plan for training this puppy – house training, manners, socialization, and when the puppy turned 16 weeks old: obedience training. It started out well for the first month. Then, at 12 weeks of age, they decided to leave the country on a vacation. The dog was too young to be boarded, so I took the dog in with me for about 3 weeks, continuing the house training, manners and socialization. When they got back, I showed them all that I’d done, that I wasn’t having accidents in my home, all that she had learned, and so forth.
Then, a week later, another thing happened. The girl started up school… starting at 7 am, then doing after school activities, and not getting home until after 7 pm. Unfortunately, this is where things started going downhill. They stopped doing what I said needed to be done, and started locking this dog up in the laundry room. This pup had nothing to do, and the parents didn’t take the puppy anywhere or even take her outside to potty. So, when she started chewing on cabinets… they spanked her. When she ate socks left in the laundry room… they spanked her. When she gnawed on the walls… they spanked her. And when she pottied in the home… they spanked her. I said that the parents needed to take over when the daughter was at school, but they refused. They said they got the dog for their daughter, and that it was her responsibility. I tried to explain that 12 hours was too long for any puppy to be left unsupervised like that, and that the punishments were unfair and harsh. So, they decided to build an outdoor kennel for her.
I tried for weeks to work with them, now coming over daily to walk, socialize and potty the dog. I went overboard trying to fill in the gaps. I’ve made this mistake before… trying to do what some other person should be doing… just because I felt sorry for a dog. I finished the obedience training, and the dog trained well. But the home life didn’t change. I then didn’t see them for over 6 months. When the dog was about a year or so old, I got a call about the dog continuing to chew up the home, get into things, and pottying in the home. I went over to see her. A big argument blew up between the mom and the daughter about the care of the dog. Again, I tried to explain that when the daughter was gone, the dog needed the adults to take over. That didn’t seem to be heard.
I offered to adopt the dog from them, to take the dog off their hands, and keep her as my own dog. They didn’t want to do that, either. I saw her a few months later, she was now living outside in a poorly built kennel, with all the same problems, and now the dog was much more inhibited and acted as if she had never been trained. I had to just walk away from the situation. I couldn’t look back. When they called, I told them I was so busy, I couldn’t fit them in. I didn’t know what else to do. Starting a big argument wasn’t going to change what was happening. It’s been many years now, and this dog has now probably passed over the Rainbow Bridge. I think of her from time to time.
Should you get a dog for your son or daughter? You tell me