Here is an example of it going very wrong. A young girl in her twenties wants a dog; she thinks nothing of the fact that she works long hours and doesn't have time for a dog. She's seen a lot of puppies lately and feels the desire to have her own. The girl visits many local rescue groups wanting to get a rescue dog, to do the right thing. She wants a puppy, an adorable puppy to call her own. Then one day she visits a rescue, they have a litter of adorable puppies. She immediately chooses the cutest of the bunch and the puppy acquisition is complete. Once the puppy is hers they are inseparable, at first.
But then as the puppy gets older and not so cute he stays at home more often than not. Things start to change, he starts acting out. There are bouts of barking at strange things, often cringing away when someone tries to pet him. The girl isn't thrilled about these things so she leaves him at home. Then she finds herself being offered a very cool second job. She doesn't want to work more hours but sees this second job as an opportunity to change careers eventually so she accepts it.
The puppy who is now full grown but still a puppy is left at home 12-15 hours a day. When the girl does get home she takes him out to relieve himself, cleans up all the mess that he's left in his crate and goes to bed. The days play out the same as the dog becomes more and more of a problem. The problem that is growing is his lack of socialization, learning about the human world. The puppy has no idea that there is more to life than the four walls of the apartment and crate. Things are brewing.
As it turns out the adorable puppy that she brought home is a working dog, an Australian Shepherd with lots of drive and energy. This type of dog needs an outlet, a job to call his own. Given a life pent up in a crate or apartment all day things can go very, very wrong. Add to that a lack of socialization and you have a ticking time bomb. Skipping ahead a year or so the girl decides that she needs to address some of the problems. She takes him to a vet and a trainer. The vet tells her that it could be his food. The trainer tells her that he is a fear biter and need to be euthanized.
This information is too much for her; she cannot deal with all of these problems. She can't have a dog that might bite someone. So the only solution is to end the life of this dog who was once all she ever wanted.
Sad but true, this happens all too often. Each and every step of the story was a wrong one. Getting a puppy of any type was wrong. Choosing a puppy without knowing what sort of puppy it might be wrong. The rescue who allowed the girl to have the puppy was wrong. Not socializing, not integrating the dog into our human world, wrong. Making him live out his life in a crate or apartment while she got on with her desired life, wrong. The final act to end his life? Wrong.
Many dogs end up in the wrong home. It can be because there should never be a dog in a particular home or the dog just ended up in the wrong home. Even when a dog is a mix breed, they have a temperament or personality traits that make up who they are. Often the new owner and dog don't mesh; things can go very wrong from that point. I am a very strong supporter of temperament testing. I don't care if the dog is a pocket sized pooch or a giant breed, they should be temperament tested and placed in the best possible fit home. (More on this in another blog).
More often a family or person just don't fully understand what a having a dog entails. This is what this blog is about. How much work must be put into making it work. Do you have time for a dog? Do you want to make time for a dog? Will you seek out help because you just don't know about dog behavior? Will you put hours into training? Or do you just want the idea of "I have a dog?" Not everyone should have a dog, there are many who do now that shouldn't.
Dogs are a lot of work, some are a ton of work while others are more easy. But all are work and especially in the beginning, so much work. House training, socializing, general training, socializing and more socializing. Learning for the human, lots and lots of learning. It is a sad ending to a dogs life when we fail. Rescue groups are filled to capacity so the idea of taking a dog that bites is not a good one. They will take the more adoptable dogs. Sure there are places that will take a risky dog, the dog may end up living at a place that will take him in forever. There are places like this.
But it could have all been different, it was that first initial "I want a dog," desire that was the beginning or it going all wrong.