I Support Pet Adoption

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: Diamond's Shining

DIAMOND (DOG) #A769657
medium size Pit Bull
approx. 5 years old
good with friendly dogs off-leash (she can play a little rough)
Great with people
Has some obedience training
(hey,that's better than most people I know!)

Okay, I admit it, we dressed up a bunch of dogs for a Halloween adoption thing... This is Diamond and no, she isn't a cat. In fact she's a bit of a glam rock dog (Diamond Dogs...ring a bell? David Bowie? get it?) and she's currently at the shelter. Diamond is a wonderful girl who is starting to get her groove back after her unsuccessful stint as an apartment dog. She really needs a home and someone who is willing to continue her training to help her to be the sparkling Diamond she can be.

Diamond was adopted way back when, probably shortly after this photo which was taken in Oct. 2006. Diamond had been a favorite at the shelter. She was involved in our training class so her obedience was pretty good. She had some on leash issues but not the worst I've seen. Plus, in every other way she was a total love. So, as luck would have it, she found a home.

As always, with any dog who participates in our dog training program at the shelter, the volunteers were ready to support the new guardian of Diamond. The wonderful trainer who works with us at the shelter, Rayna Barker, made herself available as well. You could even say, the person who adopted Diamond had more support than you could shake a bully stick at!

I believe that initially there was some contact between the adopter and trainer. We really hoped that they would crate train Diamond and continue working with her on obedience. As I said, she did need to work on her leash aggression.

About a year later, the people RETURNED Diamond because of "behavior issues." When this dog left WLA, her obedience training was pretty solid. She was considered a fairly easy dog in comparison to others we had in that class. So, what happened?

I know I sound like a broken record about the fact that if you adopt a dog, especially a shelter dog, training is mandatory. Most dogs who end up at the shelter seem to have a lack of training in dog/person relations or dog/dog relations or both. It's called a lack of socialization. It is never the dog's fault and always the owner's who fail the dog by not training her, becoming frustrated with her and giving up on her. Hence, lots of doggies at the shelter with behavior issues.

Thankfully, through my shelter experience, I have found that the vast majority of issues are problems that can be helped through training. We see our shelter dogs blossom into wonderful companions all the time. Not to say that we don't have some difficult cases, and even lose a battle once in a while (which causes all of us a lot of pain), but overall most dogs can be rehabilitated if the time and effort is given.

The moral of this story is as follows: do the right thing and follow through with dog training for your shelter dog's sake. Set the dog up to succeed!! You need to reinforce their training, there has to be consistency or the dog will eventually lose all the ground she gained and go back to square one. How sad is that when a dog gets more support at the shelter than in a home?

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