Owner needs as much training as the dog does

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Here’s another take on the St. Bernard-Lab mix dog that is in danger of being euthanized unless his owner can stop his “bad” behavior.

DEAR JOAN: I’m sorry, but you couldn’t have been more off the mark on your reply to the owner of the St. Bernard-Lab mix.

The dog shouldn’t be re-homed. The owner should be trained first. I would highly suggest the owner be directed to a competent, board certified, animal behaviorist to learn how to deal with these behavior problems. This will include repetitive training, and it might include some anti-anxiety drugs for short term or long.

The answer is never to just “put down the dog” or give it away. This is as much an owner problem as it is a dog problem.

The dog should be kenneled or confined where it cannot do damage while the owner is not home to supervise. The dog needs ample exercise — either walks or even a treadmill as the very last resort and a “midnight dog walk” — and is a muzzling candidate. Bring the dog to a doggy playcare during the day several times a week, or engage a professional dog walker for a 30 minute walk midday.

Finding a dog a new home is a bad option for a dog who has already had upheaval in its life, and who is already acting out from stress, not so much boredom. What is described is anxiety and stress.

It would be a certain fate of death to give a dog such as this to an owner that is not savvy to problem dogs. Those of us who are, have become savvy because we have had problem dogs.

I think you were way off the mark. The owner is lazy and needs a lot of encouragement to stop jumping to “put the dog down” as a solution.

M. Smith, Bay Area

DEAR M.: Those are all excellent suggestions. My first suggestion was to find the dog a home where he has space to run and a job to perform, but of course, I should have included the need to tell a potential new owner what they are in for.

Even if the dog was trained not to dig and not to damage the house, I still don’t think he would be happy living in a small space with nothing much to do.

You are correct that this is not just a problem with the dog, but

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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