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WHO SHOULDN'T OWN A DOG ?
The kind of person that shouldn't own a dog is the person with a lack of owner commitment to their dog. They fall into eight categories:
1. The Cheapskates.
These are the kind of people that have the money, but won't spend it on their dog. They bargain when getting a dog, when Training a dog,when caring for their dog. Their idea of bargain shopping is not getting the best dog for their money, it's finding excuses why they shouldn't have to spend any money on their dog at all. They get a cheap dog from a cheap provider. Their primary motive for getting a dog from a shelter isn't compassion, it's money. If they get a dog from a breeder, they are more likely to get a cheap dog (and not look too closely at the pedigree), than to spend more to get a good dog (that will be less expensive to own in the long run). I often encounter people who have adopted a dog from a shelter that won't pay for their dog to be trained. If the training will cost more than the purchase price of their dog, they won't have their dog trained. Their dog is a throw-away item to them if they have to spend their money. They are also the kind of people that won't provide proper shelter and care for their dogs. Their dog lives in the back yard. They won't spend the money for a crate. They buy bargain foods. Their dog rarely gets a new toy. They might not have their dog vaccinated every year. Their dog is dirty and has fleas. The cheaply bred dog gets health problems, so when the dog starts to exhibit diseases, they give their dog away to a shelter instead of providing the proper healthcare. If you are too cheap to own a dog, or you don't feel that you can afford to train and care for one, don't get a dog.
2. The Nitwit:
There is quite a bit of risk and responsibility in owning a dog. If you harm your dog, or if your dog harms someone else, you could be sued or go to jail. A Nitwit is a negligent dog owner. Some let their dog run the streets, or they don't keep up the dog's vaccinations, or they let kids or adults provoke their dog into an explosive attack, or they don't control their dangerously aggressive dog, or they don't protect their dog from harm. When your dog runs loose off of your property, it can get into a lot of trouble. In the worst case scenario, the dog is dies at the hands of others, or attacks someone. If you don't keep up your dog's vaccinations, there is always the risk that your dog could contract rabies, which could risk your life or the lives of others. If your dog attacks someone, you can be sentenced to years in prison, lose custody of your children, and lose all of your possessions. And, when you are a neglectful owner, your dog can injure, or be injured, by innumerable hazards. All of these scenarios open you up to liability. The trouble with the Nitwit, is that you can tell them that what they are doing is extremely dangerous, and they will blow you off and ignore your advice. They choose to ignore the risks to themselves and their dogs.
I spoke to a Nitwit that owned a dog that had a history of aggressively charging at people, especially children that came to visit their home. Sometimes the dog would bite. When I went to speak with them, the dog glared and grumbled at me the whole time. I told them of the terrible risks they were taking by not controlling and training their dog. Of course, they never signed up for training and they continued to allow their dog to act aggressively towards people. I wouldn't be surprised to see their name in the newspaper some day, with they headline, "Owner Charged With Murder After Dog Mauls Child."
3. The Overly-Busy Person
The fun of owning a dog is getting the daily, intense and personal interaction a dog can provide. A dog is the closest friend you can have, next to a real person. In fact, many a dog is a more faithful friend than some people I know. The person that works a lot of hours every day, who can't spend quantity and quality time with a dog, or who can't take the time to finish the training of their dog, shouldn't own a dog. Giving your dog only quality time (regular, but brief intense sessions) will backfire on you. From your dog's point of view, that kind of day is very boring and stressful, as it waits for its brief encounter with you. It eats them up inside and causes a multitude of behavioral and psychological problems.
Lots of busy people want the "quick fix." They want the dog trainer to be like a plumber. They want you the fix the leaky faucet (the dog), and then figure that it won't leak again for another few years (won't need any more attention or Training). It just doesn't work that way.
Don't get another dog, as company for your current dog. If the dog is lonely, or having behavioral problems: make more time for the current dog. Two dogs are more than twice the work. One dog is plenty. If you are a busy person and get two dogs, you'll just end up with two bored and neglected dogs.
4. The Abuser
You can physically and psychologically abuse a dog. Anger and vice and destroy a dog. When a dog is abused, the dog becomes less trainable and more difficult to live with. Sometimes, the dog decides it has had enough and it attacks someone, most often a family member or a neighbor. This can be a life or death matter, regardless of the size or breed of dog. Some people get a sick pleasure out of abusing a dog. Some children aren't mature enough to be kind to a dog. Some people get jealous of a dog and the attention it gets from other people. Some people are mentally unstable or just plain crazy. Abuse can make a dog vicious and uncontrollable. A dog can't feel pain when enraged. The bite of an attacking dog can break your bones, destroy your internal organs, and permanently maim and disable you. If you have a dog, and live with a person that will hurt the dog, then for your own safety, if you can't get rid of the person, then find a new home for the dog. If you can be honest with yourself, and you determine that you are abusive to the dog, then first find the dog a new home, and then get some good counseling. All abused dogs need the help of a professional trainer. I have worked with abused dogs that were almost impossible to re-train. They had been wrecked for life.
I would also call a person an Abuser that had their dog ride, unrestrained and unprotected, in the back of their pickup truck. I've seen a dog flip out of a pickup when it hit a bump. It's great that you are taking your dog with you wherever you go, but you aren't considering the welfare of your dog. There are numerous ways a dog can be killed, freeze or overheat, be injured, get lost or be stolen when left unrestrained and unprotected in the back of your truck. If your dog bites someone, thinking it is protecting your truck, but you didn't witness the incident, then the dog could be seized on the word of a stranger and put to death. At a very minimum, the dog should wear a proper harness in the back of a truck. Better yet, the dog should be in a crate. Even better, the dog rides with you in the cab of the truck, in a proper area behind the front seat.
5. The Acquirer
The Acquirer gets a dog as a possession or a sign of prestige. The Acquirer gets a dog because the dog will get the owner something. This includes the person who gets a dog because they want to attract other people to them (to attract a wife or husband), not because they feel they have a need in their lives for a companion dog. This is also the politician that gets a dog because it will improve their image as a family person. The Acquirer is also the sport dog person who gets a dog because they want to win a trophy. If that dog can't win the trophy (obedience or show), they get rid of the dog and get another one. The Acquirer is likely to "churn" dogs, and go from one to the next in order to own a champion or to get more attention. The Acquirer won't settle for a less than the perfect dog, so they discard the ones that don't perform according to their goals. They also often neglect the basic social needs of the dog, which invariably results in the dog having more and more problems. Beware: some of your top breeders and trainers can fall into this category. I have seen quite a few very wealthy people like this. These people lack compassion for dogs and are likely to "throw away" a dog to get another one.
6. The Sluggard
This person gets no pleasure or reward over Training their dog. They lack motivation. This person can be turned around with proper reinforcement, just like you can get a dog motivated to obey. But, as long as this kind of person stays unmotivated to train and care for a dog, they shouldn't own a dog. There is always something better to do than take care of the dog. Meals are skipped, the house is a mess, cleaning is put off, Training is postponed, they are always tired or busy, they always have excuses: everything will be done "tomorrow" but not today. The Sluggard would benefit from working with a personal trainer that worked with them and the dog to keep them motivated. As long as the Sluggard isn't also a Cheapskate, then they could benefit from being accountable to a trainer to make them do their lessons. They could also pay the trainer to do the training and maintenance training, pay a dog walker to walk the dog, and pay a housekeeper/helper to clean up after the dog and do the basic errands, so long as the Sluggard will spend time with the dog every day and take the dog with them on a regular basis. The Sluggard with money isn't necessarily a hopeless case. The Sluggard that won't keep up on the needs of the dog shouldn't own a dog, and they are too lazy to find the dog a new home. A Sluggard's life is a miserable life for the dog.
Sluggards rarely hire a dog trainer. They are just too lazy to make the effort. The ones that I have worked with never do their homework, and they never continue the training after the lessons are completed.
7. The Mommy or Daddy
These are the people that treat a dog like a furry little human baby. They refuse to treat a dog like a dog. Their dogs fill an abnormal need for attention and companionship that robs the dog of its dignity and place as a dog in their homes. These people spoil their dogs. Usually, these people spoil their kids. The kids are often mean to the dog.
The Mommys and Daddys won't Train their dogs, even when the dogs have become dangerously aggressive. Once a family member is bitten, they hire a trainer. After the trainer tells them that the dog needs training and that they will need to change how they relate to the dog, the Mommys and Daddys get offended. They ignore the trainer, blaming the dog for the owner's own failures, and get rid of the dog. Sometimes, they keep the dogs, thereby endangering others.
These types of owners refuse to accept the concept that dogs are pack animals, like wolves, and need a proper leadership structure in order to learn commands, be obedient, and to stop problem behaviors. They view dog training as a kind of torture that turns dogs into robots. They view giving a dog a command as being mean spirited. And they don't want to learn about, or use, the proven scientific dog training concepts of positive and negative reinforcement, stimuli and responses, etc. They don't think science applies to their dogs. In human society, we want everyone to be treated equal, based upon merit and character. In dog society, dogs are programmed by their genetics to see society as a vertical hierarchy of leaders and followers. Leadership is maintained through biting and aggressive posturing, eye contact, threats, and actions. They see all we do in relationship to the pack order. The Mommy or Daddy type of owner usually won't let you train their dog with a leash and collar or with food. They want you to reason with their dogs to make them obey. The dog of a Mommy or Daddy is often extremely confused, and sometimes abused (psychologically and physically), by the very owners that profess that they love their dogs.
8. The Whiffle-Whaffler
who keeps trying new methods, won't stick to the training program, keeps shopping around for new advice, argues with the trainer, &/or listens to folks that aren't trainers for training advice. These people don't believe a thing they hear, and are more interested in taking what you say and shopping it around, much like people do with gossip. They stir up trouble, by misstating what a trainer says, then they get the trainer in trouble by then going to their vets, friends, groomers, other trainers, etc. and not telling the full version of what is going on and what is being recommended. They start rumors and cause problems for their trainers. They also get offended when you ask them to stick to a logical, step-by-step training program. They want to rush their dogs along, before the foundation training is completed. They go from seminar to seminar, often talking to some very good trainers, but never listening to what is being said.
I remember a Whiffle-Whaffler that trained her dog with a friend of mine. She was the type that went from trainer to trainer. My friend told her that her dog lacked the foundation to do what she wanted to do. She wanted to rush the dog along into advanced work, but the dog wasn't finished with his basics. So, she got offended and left... and didn't pay my friend for the training she had already received.
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