Picture of a brown and white dog in a field to illustrate dog world

News in the dog world

The big news in the dog world this week was the South Dakota governor writing about shooting her 14-month old dog. We haven’t read her account, so we’re not going to talk about this particular case.

We will talk about the possible solutions available to people who are at the end of their rope with a dog. In the 21st century, nobody has to go it alone. There is help and resources are available regardless of how remote your location.

The wrong dog

Picture of a brown and white dog in a field to illustrate dog world

When someone acquires a dog for a specific purpose, whether that’s a therapy dog, service dog, guard dog, obedience prospect, hunting dog, etc., sometimes the dog just isn’t right for the job. There are lots of factors that may play into it; temperament, training, personality, health, physical issues. It doesn’t matter. For whatever reason, the dog isn’t right for the situation.

If that’s the case, the first call to make is back to wherever you got the dog. Every single reputable dog breeder will take back dogs they’ve produced. They take responsibility for every dog throughout its life. It’s usually written into the contract puppy buyers sign when they get the dog. 

Good shelters and rescue organizations do the same thing. It’s part of the agreement you sign when you adopt the dog. If, at any point, for any reason, you’re unable to keep the dog, you must contact them and release it back. 

In other cases

Not every dog is acquired from a responsible source. Backyard breeders, puppy millers, and your neighbor’s cousin’s significant other probably wash their hands of the dog when the transaction’s complete. So what do you do then?

There are still resources to call upon if you have a problem with a dog. There are resources available today that provide support, guidance, and solutions, all without leaving the comfort of your couch.

Start with a simple search. Phrase your question so your dilemma is clear. Just today there was a question posed in a training group: “When my dog is sleeping near me on the couch, he bites me if I move.” That’s definitely a problem. It’s also easily solved when experts respond. In this case, it’s a startle response. Our own Simon went through this as a very young dog, If he was startled awake, he came awake with a growl and an attitude. The fix was simple – we just said his name before moving, so he wasn’t as deeply asleep. He grew out of it.

Get online help

The dog world is full of experts online for just about any dog problem or issue. You do have to use your common sense, since there are also crazies with opinions online. But those are usually easy to eliminate. The true experts will call out the nonsensical, harmful, and stupid.

If you ask for help locally, your online neighborhood group will have recommendations for local veterinarians, trainers, behaviorists, nutritionists, chiropractors – whatever you need, there’s a pro for that. Read the reviews that every professional has. Use your community. Whatever problem or issue you have with your dog, there’s always someone who’s dealt with the same thing. Learn from their experience.

In the worst case scenario, when there is nothing else you can do or try, you will also find empathetic and non-judgmental groups online. The most difficult situation to deal with is behavioral euthanasia. Most people will second-guess a decision, even if it was agonizing to make and the only humane answer. There are support groups for people who have been there, done that. You never have to be alone. 

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