Monday, October 19, 2015

The Worth It Struggle of Dog Adoption

"Tucker, please drink this water." I was begging the latest member of my little apartment. He just gazed up from me with his big black eyes not taking a lick. It had been two days and he still hadn't drank any water. I was getting really nervous. I went to Pet Smart and got the last option, a water spigot that you use for hamsters. The second he saw it he came over and started drinking out of it like Linz Lo after a long night at the club. 

When you adopt a dog you never fully know the situation they came from or how they were trained. Tucker was a stud for a backyard breeder and he was kept in a cage a lot. A backyard breeder is a "breeder" who keeps dogs in substandard conditions only looking to turn a profit and not considering ethical selective breeding, many times the dogs are kept in warehouse like conditions. Many times they learn to drink through a hamster like bottle from their cage so they don't have to get out for water. Tucker also came to me with no teeth, no potty training, never being leashed, and a fear of loud noises. He was really a hot little mess and a bit feral in that sense.

I recommend after adopting a dog to keep them on a tight schedule, with a lot of cage time (I call it doggie home time, since it's super comfy in there and sounds less harsh). Once they consider their cage their home, they definitely won't pee in it. Just make sure to take them out every four hours to go potty and when they start using the grass continuously repeat the phrase "potty time". As stupid as you might feel, if you really keep to using a phrase they will begin to correlate it with going to the bathroom- the perfect trigger! Eventually you'll feel confident enough to let them roam your home freely, but don't feel guilty about using a cage until then.

It's also important that whenever you're home to have close-up hang out time. This will not only make sure they don't have an accident but will also create those all important bonding moments. There's a good chance your new pup hasn't had great experiences with humans and it might take them time to trust you- but it'll come in due time. If they're afraid of leashes (or anything) slowly introduce the object to them. Eventually they'll understand the item, or you, isn't trying to hurt them.

With time and patience, Tucker is now an amazing house dog. He loves his leash, drinks out of a bowl, and knows how to potty outside; we're still working on loud noises. 

One step at a time.

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