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DarnFar Ranch LLC Professional Dog Training
Changing the actions, aptitudes and attitudes of dogs and their people

Help! Need Avice on New Puppy

Email Question: Hi, Last week we adopted a 12 week old lab from Georgia. When we picked him up at the drop point he was filthy, smelly, scared and skinny. He has been neutered already wormed and had shots. He is very timid "with good reason." I brought him to the vet last week to find out he has kennel cough and from his traumatic beginnings and travel from Georgia he has had blood in his stools. My poor little puppy! I am writing to ask your opinion on how to proceed as far as giving him a secure environment. We have 5 children at home and he is comfortable with us. He is afraid to meet new people and wants to stay in his crate for comfort. At 12 or 13 weeks on your web site it say's he should be further along but I understand that he has been traumatized. How do I housetrain and teach him to be a well adjusted pup? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Answer: First of all, if you really want my opinion, I would return the puppy for a full refund - no ifs, ands or buts. To do anything else is to support a terribly unethical breeder. I know you probably love your puppy. And, if you are like most people I meet, you somehow feel "good" or "happy" or "like you are saving a life" because he is in such terrible condition.... I KNOW that it is a dreadful thing for this very specific puppy to have been created by such a horrible person. But, you must understand that by keeping the puppy and permitting the breeder to cash the check (or spend your cash - because, more than likely someone like that only takes cash) you are encouraging the person to do the same thing OVER AND OVER AND OVER again to other puppies and other uneducated people who buy them. DEMAND your money back and give the puppy back to the person so that s/he needs to deal with the little life and hope for at least a little bit of mercy (or at least a sense of responsibility) from that person towards the dog. Do not permit this crook to continue to commit crimes by supporting his/her activities. Even your words "the drop point" suggests you did a drug deal rather than acquire a high quality dog from a high quality breeder. WHY did you even take the puppy if it was filthy, smelly and skinny? Would you have purchased a used lawn mower from someone if you met him at the "drop point", tried to start the engine and it didn't work? In my experience, people spend more time educating themselves about purchasing a new refrigerator than acquiring a living, breathing baby puppy. A quality breeder doesn't meet at a "drop point". She wants you to come to her property so that she can meet you, so that you can meet the parents of the puppy, so that you can see how the litter was raised. An educated puppy buyer wants the same thing. The Animal Rights people in this country lump all breeders into the same bucket of sludge, but there is a BIG difference between a quality, ethical breeder and a slime-bucket individual that torments baby puppies and sells them to ignorant people. So, I hope you understand that I take this sort of situation very personally. I take breeding dogs very seriously, so being asked to help you "deal with your problem" causes great irritation for me. You may want to read this article http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf before acquiring a puppy that is neutered before puberty. A quality breeder keeps abreast of information on health risks in dogs. I wonder why are you not asking the BREEDER of the puppy for help, instead of me? A quality breeder will be there to assist the folks who purchase her puppies, will be willing to take back a puppy and will coach the folks through things like house breaking. If you didn't think the person would be able to serve you in that capacity what made you think that s/he would have raised the puppy right for the weeks before you acquired it? I give my puppy buyers a fairly substantial booklet of information that includes articles on early training and housebreaking, health screen data on the parents and information on how to properly train the pup as it grows older. If your puppy did not come from that sort of breeder, you need to find a different breeder and support him / her through your purchase power. I offer my puppy buyers life long support and of course free advice. But, I cannot give free advice to everyone who chooses to support criminals when they acquire a puppy, or I am supporting the criminal, am I not? Here are some articles that you may read for free at my website: 1. Read this article to decide the right breed for your family: http://www.darnfar.com/Dog%20Training/how_to_choose_the_right_breed.htm 2. Read these articles and then follow the advice to find a quality breeder: http://www.darnfar.com/Training_Question_Letters/how_do_you_research_puppy_breeders.htm http://www.darnfar.com/FAQ/How_To_Choose_A_Breeder.htm 3. Read this email reply about the age at which to acquire a puppy: http://www.darnfar.com/Training_Question_Letters/my_six_week_old_puppy.htm 4. Read this article on puppy socialization and make certain that the breeder follows similar practices: http://www.darnfar.com/puppy_socialization.htm 5. Here's my article on housebreaking: http://www.darnfar.com/Dog%20Training/housebreaking_a_puppy.htm 6. Here's information about puppy biting: http://www.darnfar.com/Training_Question_Letters/rules_for_new_puppies.htm The rest of the articles that you may find valuable are at: http://www.darnfar.com/Dog%20Training/dog_training_articles.htm If the free advice at my website is not sufficient for your needs, you are welcome to schedule a Telephone Consultation or a New Puppy Consultation (if you live in my area). http://darnfar.com/DOG_TRAINING/Telephone_Consultation.htm http://darnfar.com/DOG_TRAINING/private_dog_training.htm I am not opposed to people acquiring troubled dogs / puppies and rehabilitating them. But, I, personally, would not adopt a human child from an orphanage in Romania that had psycho-social issues because I do not have the education, knowledge, resources and wherewithal to take on such a project. I know my limitations. I would require professional help from experts to do right by the "traumatized" child. Even with that support, the lack of early socialization could mean that the child will not be "right" for the rest of its life. This is true of puppies, as well, that suffer from a lack of appropriate early socialization. My husband and I rehabilitate anti-social dogs for a living. So, we know there is hope for recovery, even though a dog may never reach its true potential if it was not exposed to certain events in early puppyhood. If you require professional intervention for your puppy beyond the advice I have posted at my website, please feel free to use the Telephone Consultation option that I offer or you may come here, in person, with the puppy, after scheduling a private lesson with us. We are located in Brownstown, IL. A Response to my Reply: Thank you for responding so quickly to my email. I have not made myself clear, I did not get my puppy from a breeder but a rescue organization. They rescue dogs from high kill shelters. It was obvious to me that you are a professional and I had thought that your advise would be helpful but I can see that it has very much upset you and you have both barrels loaded. Maybe you are right and this was a mistake. I am hoping that it is not . There is no sending this dog back. He will be euthanized. I am hoping my puppy will grow into a wonderful family dog with the right atmosphere and training. Hence, ask a professional. Was it really necessary to insult me when I was requesting your guidance? I am sure that you are a very good breeder and take your business very seriously. As for your advice, I will read the literature that you sent in the hopes that I can learn from a professional. Thank you for your time. My Reply: I would have told you the same thing had I known it was a "rescue" from which you acquired the dog. Perhaps, I would have been even more harsh. Not all rescues should be supported, not even with a $5 donation, in my opinion, because there are dozens of VERY BAD rescues. Clearly, you acquired your puppy from a VERY BAD rescue. No reputable rescue would have placed a puppy with you that was filthy or sick. There are as many people who do "rescue" for the wrong reason as there are "breeders" who breed for the wrong reason. It is an epidemic in our country - and, yes, I do believe that many people "rescue" dogs because they want to feel good and make a place for themselves among the "good" and "noble" people not because they have the capability to do it right. That is my opinion based on a couple of decades of experience. I have NO problem with people who rescue dogs and can handle the task. And, I have no problem with people who would want to rescue a dog and seek a professional's opinion and offer to pay for that service. Not everyone is equipped to handle a rehabilitation of an anti-social dog. It bothers me that people choose to "rescue" when they are not equipped to deal with the situation. I know very few rescues that actually provide any long term support to the people from whom they receive their funds to continue to perpetuate the problem of unwanted dogs in this country. It is a very complicated system, and it is NOT what most people think.... it is often a business - a machine - and many "rescues" do NOTHING of the sort. They do not "rescue" the dogs. They transport them. In your case, it appears that is exactly what happened. There was no "rescue" if the poor dog was filthy, wormy, and mal-nourished. There was no rescue when they placed the puppy with someone who had no knowledge on how to move forward to free the puppy from its poor condition. How can you call that "rescue"? They are Dog Movers. There is no "rescue" or rehabilitation effort apparent in their behavior. As far as I am concerned, rescues that take anti-social puppies from a so-called puppy mill or other bad situation and place them with people who are not able to handle the health or social issues of the dog are doing a huge disservice to the people from whom they gladly take a "donation" or "adoption fee". I am opposed to supporting those organization even MORE SO than I am opposed to supporting an ignorant, backyard breeder. My advice to you would be the same - give the dog back. Why? To teach the rescue a lesson and make them responsible for the condition in which they transferred the puppy to you. Will you do that? Of course not. But, if you don't, then I would only ask if you contact a professional for assistance you respect that individual as a professional who have a service that you value. That is all I ask. If you would not ask your doctor to provide free care for your kid, why do you ask any other professional for free service, especially, since you put yourself into the position to begin with. You are only as much a victim as you allowed yourself to be when you chose to accept the puppy in the horrible condition it was from the "rescue" people. Perhaps I came off as self righteous. But, if you were in my shoes and received HUNDREDS of emails for free advice like I do, you might feel differently. I do not consider it an honor to receive inquiries for free advice. Even so, I did not intend to insult you. However, I did not send an unsolicited email to you with my personal advice. You asked for my opinion. That you did not like my response is not something about which I can worry. As much as my words seem very hard, believe it or not, being direct is often the only way that I can educate someone about a serious problem - a problem that the person may actually be perpetuating. To be direct does not usually result in making friends. But, I do consider it an act of kindness because feedback (no matter how uncomfortable) can often be considered a gift. © 2010 Tammie Rogers - all rights reserved. For permission to reprint email Tammie.