Shelter Dogs: We do not need you to feel sorry for us. We need you to lead us.
You are looking at a dog that was severely abused. You are looking at a dog that was at a high kill shelter. You are looking at a street stray. You are looking at a dog that was highly fear aggressive. We are the unwanted... the shelter dogs.
So there it is: We come with "issues." We know that. We appreciate that humans want to help us. Compassion, love and patience are all needed when it comes to dogs like us, so thank you. However, it seems that humans get very caught up in the compassion, love and patience and forget the other things we need (and do not need). So we'd like to set the record straight on just a few things:
1. We do not need you to feel sorry for us. We have received enough sympathy. Sorrow will only breed more insecurity within us. So please... stop feeling sorry for us and/or trying to figure out our past. You are wasting your and our time. We are trying to get over it and we sure would appreciate a leader that would help us do just that... get over it. So please stop with the sad puppy eyes and saying "ahhhh.... poor baby" every time you see us! Put your shoulders back, put your happy face on and show us some good positive upbeat times. We are yearning to move on... but you have to lead us.
2. We do not need you to "protect us" from our fears in the world by simply avoiding all situations and environments that may make us nervous. We will never get over our fears and/or grow our confidence if you just keep us in a protective "bubble." We want and need to experience the world. Sitting around the home on the couch is no life for a canine. Granted, you may need to take things slow and give us a little time and not push us too hard, but... get us out there... hike, bike, swim, camp, train, play, socialize... show us how its done! We promise we will make you proud in time.
3. We do not need you to coddle, accept, and/or excuse our poor behavior of growling, barking, lunging every time we are unsure about a situation or person. For if you do, you are NOT helping us... you are simply enabling our behavior and fear. We will NOT outgrow that behavior... it is not a phase... we will easily learn that those defense mechanisms are successful and effective. Please... teach us right from wrong. Praise us like crazy for good behavior and hold us accountable for poor decisions. We need and yearn discipline. As a result, we will become calmer, more relaxed and more obedient K9 companions because we will understand exactly what is expected of us and we LOVE direction.
Oh, we should mention: You are also looking at dogs that now go to work with their owners and are well behaved, attend doggy daycare, help rehabilitate other insecure and developing dogs and are all reliably off leash trained. You are looking at shelter dogs, the unwanted... that became amazing dogs with the right leadership. Thank you for leading us!
Don't feel sorry for us... lead us. Pup up!
- The Rescue Dogs
Charlotte, NC Dog Training
"Balanced Training. Balanced Dogs."