We have had three dogs for the last number of years. These three dogs all basically behaved the same way, and they got along fabulously. When our 14 year old Dukie (a Black Lab) left us we got Shorty, a 3 year old Black Lab from the Humane Society. Dukie was 100 pound male and Shorty is a 55 pound female.An adopted dog was a new experience for me. I always believed that all Black Labs behave the same way. Wrong! Shorty did everything different from my previous three black labs. Shorty’s owner died, that’s why she was at the Humane Society.
We believe Shorty was owned by a more senior, apartment/condo living person. Shorty knew how to behave perfectly in the house. She was totally lost with our other dog, Nikki, a Golden Retriever. She was totally bewildered outside the home. (She was run down by a car after her owner died). She acted like she had never seen another dog or an outside life.
So we slowly integrated her into our home. She is totally bonded with Nikki now. She is forever snuggling up with her and playing with her. She is still a little possessive about toys, but she is getting better at that also.
But, the biggest difference between Shorty and my other two Black Labs? Well, when my other Labs played they always had this deep growl or bark, but it did not sound threatening. Shorty, on the other hand is in total growl and snarl mode when playing with Nikki. I mean when I heard her overnight shipping snarl at play the first time I thought she was ready to kill.
But, when I watch Nikki in play with Shorty, I realized that Nikki is not afraid, she does not run away from Shorty. As a matter of fact, Nikki stays in play mode. I have finally learned that this is a different play mode with Shorty. Nikki knew it right away.
And that brings me to the point of this article. People adopt dogs for many different reasons. They have a certain mindset of how they believe this dog should behave. When the dog is different than they expected it to be, many people take the dog back. This is terrible.
When you adopt a dog, give the dog a fair chance. Not just a few weeks, a few days. When issues crop up, try and find a way around them till you can solve them.
My suggestion for all new dog owners:
– Watch at least four episodes of Cesar Millan’s Dog Whisperer. Cesar will teach you how your dog does not need to live in the past. Whatever happened to your dog is in the yesterday and your dog lives in the today. Don’t let your own feelings of hurt and sadness for your dog stop him from moving forward.
– Take your dog to a few live dog training lessons. If possible, even a dog training class.
– If you like expanding your thinking, or, if you really get into dog training, there are a couple of professional dog training systems online. (Make sure you ascertain that they are the professional ones. It’s easy to tell upon investigating their websites).
You can end up with a wonderful, well adjusted and well trained dog as part of your family. Be patient, consistent, and do not get thrown by your dog’s different behavior. Dogs, like people, come in many different packages.
We ended up getting an amazingly gentle and loving companion for Nikki. I wouldn’t have thought that possible the first 2-3 weeks we had her. (My husband knew it all along). Thank goodness we hung in there and learned how to handle the issues as they cropped up. And, thanks to Cesar Millan for helping us learn that dogs do NOT think or feel like people.
Let your dog be a dog!