When I was kid we got rid of our puppy

When I was little our family got rid of our puppy because of her bad behavior.

Her name was Peanut, and she was a black and white lab mix that was probably 7 months old. We had her since 8 weeks old--some family friends had a neighbor that had pups, and my little sister and I made a real fuss about taking one! With joy in our hearts, two little girls (younger than 10 years old), had an adorable puppy to play with and love.

We set up the laundry room for her, laid out newspaper for her to sleep and potty on, and we played with Peanut from sun-up to sun-down-- kissing her good night and rushing to her room every morning to take her outside and start to play! We had a stroller and wagon she got to ride in, a swing set to play chase around, and a beautifully large back yard to enjoy (we even had a fence put in around the whole property for her!) Things were great and Peanut was so much fun! We three played and played until Peanut napped in our laps--we were in heaven with our adorable puppy smile emoticon

As puppies do, Peanut started to grow up very quickly! As she did, she got bigger and stronger. It was harder for us to pick her up, but that was no problem because she would do us the favor by jumping into our arms. She found her voice, and boy did she like to use it--barking at us to come back outside with her, and at people walking by. She didn't nap as much as she used too, and actually started to nip and chew on us with her sharp little teeth so we were a less excited to play hands on with her. Even if we tried to pet her, she'd put our arms in her mouth. We'd try and throw the ball for her, but all those days of chasing us meant we had a 45lb puppy jumping on and nipping us to run around instead of chasing the toy. If she did play fetch, she clobbered us as we held the ball and often played tug-of-war with the clothes we were wearing. We would cry a lot because it hurt how pushy she was (knocking us over, biting, and scratching us with her jumping), so my sister and I would spend more time watching her in the yard from inside of the house. Instead of playing in her big yard, however, she would just dig holes under the porch and bark (a lot) because her girls were gone.

Anytime we tried to put her on a leash to take her on a walk she would jump all over us, and then proceed to yank us (and our parents) down the road. Doing anything that is supposed to be "fun" with our dog was so HARD with Peanut. 

My parents took her to the vet to be spayed, with hopes that the surgery would also help calm her down. Unfortunately though, after a week of healing, Peanut was back to her crazy self.

She couldn't come in the house anymore because she would chew things up, jump on the counters, the furniture, and clobber us children. It was hard to do anything with her, really, because she was so out of control. Even trying to teach her to sit for a treat resulted in Peanut pouncing all over and knocking us over trying to take the treat from us.

So, one day my parents decided that the best thing for us, and Peanut, would be to find her a new home. At 6 months old, we gave away our puppy to one of my dad's co-workers. My sister and I never saw her again, but we heard stories that she loved to swim in their pool, but destroyed the patio furniture--typical Peanut!

Jump to today, and dog-trainer-me sees so many red flags and preventable things we could have done to help Peanut be the best dog she could be and us really enjoy her. She was an adolescent dog with zero guidance or boundaries set, and without proper leadership developed typical bratty, pushy behavior. She never learned jumping was bad, never learned how to be calm in the house or around kids, or how to walk nicely on a leash. Instead, her lack of training made her impossible for our family. (By the way, I am not giving grief to my parents--they had 2 elementary school girls with claw marks and bruises all over their backs from the dog. To them, it did not appear to be a good fit for our family anymore).

Hindsight is always 20/20, and Peanut could have been an amazing dog. She just needed training and to be taught the basics of "yes" and "no." The reason I share this story is to bring awareness that 95% of dogs in the world sent to shelters just need training. Families give up their young dog, because it is so out of control, when really the right training would make the difference between a canine delinquent or awesome canine citizen. Some families have gone through training with their pup, but with only treats allowed, the results are poor and they are still struggling.

The majority of dogs in shelters are between the ages of 8 months and 3 years. These are the most fun and active years for a dog, and with proper training could give you (and your family) a friend for life! If you're looking to adopt a dog and it seems friendly (but hyper!) know that with balanced training and setting boundaries they have the potential to be the best dog! If you're like my family with our puppy Peanut, before giving away your dog, find a balanced trainer--somone who shows their work and you can see that they've had results! There is hope and you could have the most amazing dog for your family!

The best place for your dog is in your home, because the behaviors that you may give him away for are the behaviors that will keep him from getting adopted. Unfortunately, nobody goes to the shelter and says "Can I please adopt the super hyper dog who jumps all over people, chews things up, nips, pulls on the leash, doesn't listen or come when called, counter surfs, and barks a lot? Thanks!" Sound familiar? wink emoticon The good news is that ALL of those behaviors can be fixed with training, boundaries, and guidance smile emoticon 

If you (or someone you know) needs help with your dog, I am here to help! smile emoticon If you need help outside of Central Florida -- I have amazing colleagues all over the country training dogs just, like yours, to be awesome furry family members smile emoticon

pitbull adoption