I read an article recently about how some people stay away from shelter dogs because they believed that shelter dogs come with issues. True, some may. But don’t store-bought puppies come with issues too? I find it difficult to understand how people could think that a puppy is going to be easier to handle than a shelter dog. Any new pet could present a challenge. Whether you buy or adopt, it will take effort to overcome those challenges.
But this article isn’t just about shelter dogs. It is about my dog Pierson’s 4th month anniversary in his new home. Pierson never made it to a shelter. He had lived as a stray dog for nearly a month, possibly more, before I caught him and took him home. Read his story by clicking HERE.
But Pierson is a good example because he came with a lot of issues and yet has turned into a fantastic dog. (Type pierson in the search field to read about some of his issues.) His issues included separation anxiety, chewing, hated the crate, severe shyness, fear, aggression with male dogs, scared of the leash, digging, eating my other dog’s poop, going into parts of the house which were off limits, putting his paws on the counter, and jumping.
A lot, right? But after just 4 months, most of these issues have been resolved or are being managed. Plus, he is very smart, super-sweet, and funny. Here is an update of his issues:
– Separation Anxiety – Resolved
– Chewing – Resolved.
– Crate Training – Resolved in a way. On the 2nd night in the crate Pierson fought so hard to get out that he actually escaped. The next day, he had a severe bloody nose and cost me $850 at the emergency hospital. So since he has never had an accident in the house and we were able to manage the chewing issue until it was resolved, I decided it wasn’t necessary to crate train him.
– Severe Shyness and Fear – Resolved. Pierson’s breed tends to make him wary of strangers, noises, and objects. But he completely trusts me now so he is nowhere near as shy or afraid as he used to be.
– Aggression with Male Dogs – Managed. I don’t take Pierson to the dog park and keep him away from other dogs. I will be working with a trainer to help him get these issues resolved.
– Scared of the Leash – Resolved. It took less than a week of practice to leash-train Pierson.
– Digging – Managed. I buried the holes he dug with rocks and watch him closely when he is outside.
– Eating Poop – Managed. Instead of picking up the yard once a week, I watch the dogs closely when they are outside and pick up their poo immediately.
– Going into Off-Limit Areas – Resolved.
– Getting on the Counter – Resolved.
– Jumping – Managing. Ever since Pierson got more comfortable, he has picked up the habit of jumping on us excitedly when we get home. Training is in progress and he is getting better.
It seems as though my stray dog came an overwhelming number of issues. Why would anyone want a stray dog if they have to deal with all of this? But as you can see, most of Pierson’s issues were resolved or managed within a very short time. I can promise you that a puppy would take a lot longer.
In conclusion, any new pet is likely to present some challenges. How long it takes to overcome them depends on both the dog and YOU. If you want a dog without issues, then be sure you take the time and make the effort to help your new dog overcome those issues. Don’t blame it on the shelter. Pierson may have taken a lot of time and patience, but he’s worth it. If I had the negative attitude about shelters and strays, I would have missed out on having the perfect dog.