Shelter Dog

by Heidi

This is Chase.

This is Chase.

I've rescued a shelter dog. How do I make him more adoptable?

Hi, I currently pull foster and re-home urgent dogs from conencticut. I have a 9 month old male who was hit by a car. He is the sweetest thing ever. Has no aggression issues at all. He needs work though before I can adopt him out.

He is a leash LUNGER. He will walk fine on a leash alone, just me and him, but when he sees something he wants then he goes. He was a habitual humper. Humping anything soft. We have curbed that mostly. When we say no he stops.

Now he needs help with listening and house training. He will not ask to go out. I crate him and take him out right when he gets out of the crate. I am trying to teach him sit, wait, off and lay down, but it seems like he isnt grasping it.

He also nips like a puppy would. Not an older puppy but like an 8 week old puppy. I do want to use positive reinforcement with him, but its hard. I cannot whole heartedly adopt him out to any family until I can fix these things.

Also, I have another pit/lab that is only a few months older who is fantastic but also has issues with asking to go out. Both of these dogs are from the same place and are great dogs but need work.

When they play they play HARD. I would love to learn how to tell them when enough is enough without having to physically get into the middle of them. Like I said still no aggression to person or dog. Not even kittens.

I know obedience classes but they won't start for another 6 weeks. What can I do in the mean time?

Gale's Reply

Hi Heidi:

Bless you for
being an angel to shelter dogs--especially pit bulls. I wish you every success and satisfaction that fostering homeless dogs can bring.

While I admire your ambition, I wonder if you are trying to do too much at one time. Chase doesn't need to be perfect to be adoptable. After all, you saw something special in him. Chances are others will also.

The idea of adopting a fully trained dog may appeal to some people. But, obedience classes are more about training the owner than training the dog. Consequently, the work you do with Chase in obedience class won't necessarily transfer to a new owner unless he or she also take him through obedience.

If I were you, I would concentrate on the behaviors that might prevent someone from wanting to adopt him--nipping for one. Mounting for another--but you say you've pretty well curbed that problem.

Housebreaking is another thing that doesn't always transfer from one setting to another. But, a dog that has been successfully house trained once will usually have a shorter learning curve in a new environment. So, it's worth doing what you can in this area.

Here are some additional articles related to your concerns:

Puppy Biting

House Breaking a Dog

Potty Training a Dog

How to Train a One Year Old Male Pitbull

To my mind, anyone who is thinking of making a commitment to a pitbull for the rest of its natural life should know that they are dealing with a high energy breed and that obedience training is a must. If I were you, I wouldn't want to adopt Chase to anyone who didn't fully intend to take him to obedience class themselves.

My suggestion to you as his foster mom is to concentrate on curbing the most negative of his behaviors. And otherwise, letting his natural charm and personality work its magic on prospective adopters.

Comments for Shelter Dog

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Sep 15, 2011
chase is homed!!
by: heidi

Chase found a home with a trainer! He fell in love with her dog and he is on his way to having a happier better life. I do have anew foster, who is almost perfect. just one problem, hes a nut licker. He walks around following my dog licking his beans and franks. How do i stop that?

Sep 16, 2011
Crate train!!!!
by: Anonymous

It seems your doin pretty good, but I have had many big dogs an shelter pups and it really helps Crate training them for the first few months. Meaning leave them in the crate over night possibly in your bedroom (otherwise they may bark) and when you get up on the morning take them straigt out from the crate to outside , both at the same time if ya can. His will teach them really fast that they cannot do there business in the house. Then let them eat and get water and then back in the crate for a few hours and then take them back outside to go, after a few days of this they will catch on quickly!!!! After about a month you may not even need the crates but I will. Say hay dogs are burrowing animals and as long as you have some blankets or old comforters with your sen on them they will actually like the crate, it becomes like there den, my dog got very depressed when I took Hers down so much that I had to put it back up, it's a 4 foot by 3.5 foot tall so it's pretty big and when she did something wrong I would tell her to go to PJ (puppy jail) haha but I wouldn't even have to close the door on it!! Then I would say "ok" and she would come running out. As far as mountidng things, is he fixed??? If not you should probably get him neutered, because with a pitbull that can become very problematic as they are very stubborn pups on some issues. Just remember to treat each dog the same, so there is no favoritism because they canand will sense it!!! Other than that everything is repetition. A bs positive re enforcement with some biscuits is always a good thing!!! Well good luck!!!! Oh and I so agree with the ladies first comment, dogs need to bond with there new owners and obedience training is best left to whoever adopts the pup! Good luck a bs god speed!!!

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