Way back in the archives of time, whenever we kids asked our parents for a pet dog, the answer was always the same; “You’ll get a dog when you learn how to behave yourselves”, whatever that was supposed to mean! My mother used to say that although she had no idea about how to train dogs, it had to be a darn site easier than whipping us unruly kids into line.
Anyway, one day our dream came true one day when a 6 month old stray mongrel bitch came roaming into our yard to shelter from the rain. Even my hard line mother didn’t have the heart to throw her back out to the elements and although we were told she can only stay for the night, that lovely ole gal, that we named Elsa, became a trusted an loyal pet for near on 14 years before she sadly passed away.
Whether it’s Lassie, Benji, or Rin-Tin-Tin, we all have fond memories when we think of dogs. Perhaps as a child, you were one of the lucky ones in the neighborhood who’s parents allowed you to pick out a puppy from the local pet shop, then stick it into some kind of obedience dog training program for 6 weeks, and wallah! You have the perfect family pet.
Maybe you gave your puppy a doggy name such as Patch, or Scamp. You brushed his coat, showed him off to your friends, and even convinced your parents to let him sleep in your bedroom. Having a puppy was a wonderful thing, until it was time to pick up his poop and take him for a walk…and that was about the time that your puppy, became your parent’s dog. Does that ring any bells with you?
Having a dog is a big responsibility, and too often children are over-eager to have one of their own. Chores are done, pennies are saved, and beds are made; all in an effort to prove to the parents that the child is deserving and responsible. The time has come and it has been decided that indeed the child has shown himself to be able to care for a puppy so off the family go in pursuit of the perfect pet.
Upon arriving home, the young dog cowers in a corner, trying to hide from the outstretched, sticky hands of half-a-dozen youngsters. Eventually the puppy becomes accustomed to the noise and children, and confidently ventures around your home and yard, playing with his new master.
Time passes, and both the youth and his dog begin to grow. Maybe the young pup matures too quickly? Perhaps the dog training school removed his mischievous and playfulness ahead of time. The child becomes bored as the animal loses his soft hair, and humorous yelp. The time arrives where it’s necessary to take the dog for longer walks and to be washed and brushed once or twice a week. His funny little messes on the lawn have turned into big messes, and the days grow farther apart between cleanings. The child starts to complain when you ask him to contribute perhaps a dollar out of his pocket money towards the dog grooming supplies, pointing out that it’s his dog and he should help take care of it. Hmm! Sound familiar?
The once adorable, playful and energetic puppy has now become a full grown dog, and through the eyes of the once eager child, that dog has lost his appeal. The duties that the youth once swore to follow through on, have fallen on older shoulders, as parents now pick up where the child has left off. More often than not, the dog watches through his doggy doors as the boy runs outside to greet his friends.
Article by Paul James
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