IS YOUR CHILD READY TO BE A PARENT?
Lily is a rare sad story. She’s a young boxer who is very timid and fearful. A father had allowed his daughter to get a dog when she was just out of college and she had not taken the time to train Lily. And now she’s moving about a hundred miles away and can’t take her dog to her new home.
This leaves her father with a fearful dog who’s turning aggressive… and he has 2 dogs of his own to care for already. In our initial appointment, he determined that he does not have the time or energy to rehab Lily. Especially since he’s worried that fights will break out with his current dogs.
So, this session was more about human therapy than dog training (which is often the case). We discussed how to safely rehome her along with exactly how much time & effort it would be to retrain her. There were tears shed along with some anger and frustration. I even asked if she could find some place else to live that would allow dogs. But there was no flexibility here. No responsibility here. 🙁
I followed up after our appointment and discovered that they had for certain decided to give her up. Luckily, they found a friend who would take her, so they did not have to hand her over to strangers.
The lesson here? Yes, the usual “please train & socialize your dog so you can avoid behavior problems later”. But, also, parents – do not let your teenage or young adult child get a dog unless they are totally ready for the responsibility of taking care of a dog for the rest of the dog’s life. They need to be able to train and walk the dog AND take the dog with them when they move out of the house. Or, if not, you need to be willing, able and prepared to take over the responsibility.
I have so many clients who are parents stuck with a poorly behaved dog left behind by their child. Like this 100lb pit/mastiff mix that pulls his grandmother all over the place since he wasn’t trained to walk on a leash…
Other times, the parent is older and cannot handle all the walks and training that a younger dog needs. They want to do the right thing and keep the dog, but they are suffering – and so is the dog.
When working with me, the dogs get trained up and the grandparents are relieved and happy. But what about all the people who don’t do the training? It’s just one more reason why dogs end up in shelters.
So, before you say “OK” to your young adult child getting a dog, please make sure they understand the responsibilities and consequences… and that you do as well!