Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How not to keep dogs

Last night's 10 o'clock call asking if we could take in a dog for rehoming was an almost point by point illustration of the reasons why we do home-checks for animal adopters and may appear over-fussy about where we will place dogs. None of the circumstances were the caller's fault, but the dog may well end up paying the ultimate price if no shelter can take her in — and in our present financial circumstances we certainly can't.

She's an adult Staffordshire cross, male parent unknown, friendly with people, but so aggressive to other dogs that her current owner doesn't dare walk her outside any more. She was originally acquired by her owner's ex-partner, who could control her enough to exercise her, but who has since moved out. Their garden fence isn't secure, so she can't given free-running exercise there, and not surprisingly, she now destroys things out of boredom and isn't house-clean.

It's very difficult to rehome a dog with known behaviour problems like this. Someone who's already attached to a dog may be prepared to put a lot of effort and money into retraining (or at least making their garden absolutely secure and providing lots of toys and mental stimulation). It's much less likely that anyone will take on a new dog knowing that there is going to be expense and worry, and possible heartache if the problems can't be worked around and the dog has to be returned or put to sleep.

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