Do you know how to train a dog?
Each year from December to the end of January, rescue shelters across Europe and the US are inundated with unwanted dogs. Would you believe, old or poorly trained animals are removed from households before relatives arrive for the holidays, simply to keep up appearances; and from the end of December onwards, puppy after puppy after puppy given as gifts are sent to the pound, or worse still driven out in the car and abandoned by the side of the road.
WHY? Because new owners are unable to train these animals.
The simple and amazing truth is that most new pet owners do not consider the fact that dogs need to be trained. Puppies, chew, poop, whine and run away. And although there has been so much advice over the years to think carefully before getting a dog for your family at Christmas, people still do it.
While it doesn’t always end in disaster, there are far too many animals being needlessly abandoned. And for this very reason we felt we could help by posting a special series of blogs entitled “Training Humans”. We have all marvelled at how wonderful it is to watch a well-trained dog come to its owner, to sit, do a trick or simply “come to heel” and walk quietly when asked.
Are you able to train a dog? Let’s find out!
And if you can’t train your dog, do not fear… help is on the way. So, SIT and pay attention!
Just How Bad a Problem is it?
Although the ASPCA estimates that the number of dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually has declined slightly since 2011, there is still an unacceptable number of unwanted pets ending up on the street and in shelters. In the UK, depending on whether you listen to Peta and their report of 100,000 stray dogs or Dog’s Trust’s smaller, but still appalling number of 56,043 strays (as discovered by the charity’s annual Stray Dogs Survey for 2018), the number is still way too high.
Then consider that according to the ASPCA, around 3.3 million dogs are taken in by shelters across the US. The issue is clearly more serious than just a few owners here and there biting off more than they can chew by welcoming a pet into their home.
Why Does This Happen?
There are many reasons why people abandon dogs. For some, it comes down to ignorance and a failure on their part to really consider all that’s involved in dog ownership. It’s all to easy to get caught up in a flurry of sentimentality and only think about the good side of having a canine companion, the cute furry ball of fluff to stroke and to love.
Some people don’t factor in that dogs don’t come readymade as the best-behaved animal in the world. Particularly not if you are taking on a dog when it’s still a puppy. Puppies are a handful. It’s not their fault, there is no malice behind it. They are just young, want to explore and don’t have boundaries…yet. These need to be trained and we want to shine a light on this serious issue.
Some People Just Shouldn’t Have Dogs
There is a worrying trend of people seeing animals as disposable and ‘getting rid’ when things become inconvenient. And while there are obviously genuine cases of a person no longer in a position to care for their pet and so hopefully taking the time to find them a new home (or worst-case, responsibly surrendering them to a shelter), in our view it’s totally unacceptable for an owner to so easily give up on and abandon the pets they are supposed to look after, even if you could chalk it up to being foolish rather than nefarious.
Part of the problem is that with ignorance often comes arrogance. The owners who eventually abandon their dogs think they will be able to handle it all when really owning a dog was the last thing they should have done.
Why Training Humans (and Dogs) Is So Important
With our forthcoming series, we want to tackle the problem of abandoned pets head-on and really make people think about what they are letting themselves in for, before it’s too late. In the following posts, we will discuss the importance of preparing for a new furry member of the family in advance and why a well-trained dog is vital.
As sobering food for thought, our next post will take a look at just how bad things can get if you don’t prepare properly or maintain a consistent training plan with your new dog.
The idea behind our series is not to put you off owning a dog. Rather, it’s the opposite. We love dogs and love having them in our lives and want others – both human and dog – to benefit from that joy and experience the sheer Joy and satisfaction that comes from learning and ultimately being able to train an animal.
However, we want you to think carefully about it and not rush into a decision you later regret and cause you to add to the horrifying statistics above. Or perhaps you know someone contemplating getting a puppy this holiday season? If so, please do share this series with them.
Over the next few weeks and months will continue on this series on new dog ownership and bring you all the info you need to know. Sign up to our free, natural pet care e-newsletter today and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to ensure you don’t miss a step.
In part 2 of our series, we take an honest look at the downsides of pet-parenthood. While having a dog in your life is such a wonderful thing, unfortunately it’s not all sunshine and rainbows…