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training tips make abandoned dogs adoptable

Updated on February 15, 2012
A Saint Bernard is a beautiful but extremely large and sometimes sloppy dog.
A Saint Bernard is a beautiful but extremely large and sometimes sloppy dog.

Everyone loves an adorable puppy. big pair of sad brown eyes are often
enough to melt the coldest of hearts. And it is often the act after which
puppies come home. But those warm brown eyes and sweet puppy breath often fade
in the light of bad or destructive behaviors.
More alarming, animal activists point out that many animals given up for
reforming are placed in shelters and rescued because of bad behavior.
so let's look at some of the common bad behaviors and the solutions that can
make everyone's lives more pleasant.
The first problem is that of housebreaking. A family adopts a young Saint Bernard. With this giant breed, everything is bigger: bigger bowl, bigger collar, bigger bed, bigger mess.

And why the dog is a relatively great pet, there is one problem. While the dog doesn't have accidents in the basement, which is floored in concrete, or the first floor, which is tiled floor; apparently the dog feels that the second floor, which is carpeted, is fair game.

Many pets are reliquished because of housebreaking issues. But quite often problems which may be resolved with patience and consistency are not overcome because of human stubbornness.

Most behavior problems can be addressed. In the case of our Saint Bernard, the first suggestion became not to allow the dog to be loose in the ho9use unattended. When no one is home with the dog, it needs to be crated in a large crate. A sufficient size allows a dog to stand up completely and turn around without difficulty.

The moment the dog is released from the crate, it must be immediately taken out and kept outside so that the dog do his business before returning to the house. The dog needed repeated praise when she uses the yard and ignored when she doesn't.

Only through repeated positive reinforcement will the dog learn what is acceptable.

At the same time, the home owner needs to have the accident sites inside the house steam cleaned. By removing all traces of the smell of the previous incidents, the owner guarantees that the dog will not return to the same sites over and over.

Another issue involves a loving large dog who out of excitement jumps when his forever home owner comes into a room. The large size dog blackens the eye of his owner one day as the dog is sitting in anticipation of being put on his leash to go for a walk.

A variety of techniques can be used to extinquish this behavior. The easiest way to address the issue of a jumping dog is simply to turn your back as the dog rises up. He or she is reacting to the eagerness of interacting with the owner. When the human turns her back, the dog is denied the positive attention.

Only when the dog returns to his four feet on the ground does the owner turn around and and offer praise and behavioral reinforcement.

But sometimes that is not enough. Sometimes a dog rising on her feet may be gently nudged in the ribs and pushed back to the floor. Or a light step on the dog's back feet will make the dog back up and the front legs to return to the floor.

These steps need to be done gently and immediately followed by praise when the dog reacts in a positive way. The dog will quickly learn what acts get praise and what results in being ignored.

And most importantly, all animals need consistency in training. When an animal is confused by the messages sent, or the message occurs some times, but not others, the animal will not understand what is expected of him. With love, patience an consistency, most behavioral issues can be overcome.


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    • Winter Maclen profile image

      Chris 6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks, Ruby. A friend of mine actually became a professional dog trainer, just because of what she saw while volunteering at shelters. Dogs, for the most part, want to learn. It's just a matter of having the right tools, like anything else. And most rescue dogs I've encountered are incredibly eager to please in a forever home. They've just been confused by bad humans as to what we expect or want from them.

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 6 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Great Hub! Training pets isn't as easy as it looks sometimes. You explained it in such a way that was easy to understand and didn't feel like as much work. More and more shelters are getting a handle on this, I am praising this all over the place, ha!

    • Winter Maclen profile image

      Chris 6 years ago from Illinois

      Laura - Understand. We have in our tribe a senior dog who is slow, unsteady and 150 pounds. But then again, my 80 year old mother lives with me. While I am not comparing my mom to the dog, he has earned the right to live out the rest of his life - whatever we are blessed with - as loved and comforted as possible. I can't imagine what a senior dog feels when it is abandoned by a family when it is no longer able to robustly play. But it does make me wonder how these same people view their other family members. I strongly believe that the way we interact with animals does reflect on our human interactions as well.

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      I was agreeing with you. I meant really Winter Maclen like Yes, completely Winter Mclen! I know what you are talking about and have to work with people like this daily. It's a common thing unfortunately for people to give up their adult dogs or puppies for lack of training. It's even more discouraging and upsetting to me when someone 'gets rid' of a senior dog for training problems... Sorry for the misunderstanding, I should have realized you might not get my meaning there. Great Hub!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant ;so interesting and so well informed.

      Up up and away here.

      Take care and have a great day.


    • Tams R profile image

      Tams R 6 years ago from Missouri

      Useful article and I'm glad to see it. Too many people get new puppies or adopt a dog from a rescue center only to complain it doesn't go outside or it acts too rambunctious. Pet owners really need to check the types of breeds they get for their family before they invest and turn the animal's life upside down.

    • Winter Maclen profile image

      Chris 6 years ago from Illinois

      Laura, I recognize your point. In the case of both dogs I mentioned, they were both adopted as adults with bad habits, most likely by people who were swayed by cute puppiness but didn't think to the grown dog or the lifetime of commitment. What I hoped to conveye is that adult dogs make tremendous pets, but owners need to take responsibility to train rather than blame or abandon the dog.

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Really Winter Maclen! I wish people would do some thinking besides 'cute' and 'affection' when they think puppy. But on the other hand you have people giving up senior dogs as well so.. Who knows. I hope your Hub page saves some poor pup's life! Great Advice!

    • Winter Maclen profile image

      Chris 6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks so much for reading the hub. And I appreciate the feedback. Many dogs are looking for forever homes, not because of their mistaken, but the mistaken of those who own them. It is too bad we can't retrain some people.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      Our present dog came from a rescue and we couldn't be happier with him. Some of the bad habits he came here with faded away as he saw what we expected. I'm happy we didn't have many training problems.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 6 years ago from USA

      Thanks for posting this. I have recently helped my shelter by fostering dogs and training them basic manners and cool tricks and I have seen higher adoption rates afterwards. Some owners don't have the patience or skills to train their dog properly, I hope by reading your hub they realize it's not that hard to make a difference.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks so much for the tips that will hopefully help save some pets1