Useful Tips To Have A Friend For Life

 This page has been created after we had to take back one of our pups at just over a year old.  Hunter had been sold to a great family at 8 weeks old and did amazing but unfortunately due to divorce he was returned to us just before he turned 1.  He came extremely well trained and with no bad habits.  He was the ideal family pet who could be place into any living situation and thrive.  He was a very well balanced and adjusted boy in perfect body condition.  We took our time finding Hunter a new home and thought we did a great job.  We screened carefully, did vet checks and references and applications.  We chose the family that we felt Hunter would thrive in the most.   Since Hunter lived previously with 2 small children we chose a family who had children for him.  We brought him to their home which was set up very much like his first home, he immediately migrated to the kids and stayed right by them playing.  He settled in right away.  Just over a month later they called and wanted to return him.  They felt he was aggressive as he snapped at their 3 yr old son because the family thought it was ok to allow a dog to beg for food at the table and to allow a dog to put his head in a 3 yr olds lap while the child is eating.   This family made so many mistakes with Hunter that they set him up to fail the minute he entered their home.  The poor guy didn't stand a chance with them.  Hunter is now showing signs of mistreatment as well.    Hunter was returned to me 15 to 20 pounds under weight and not an aggressive bone in his body.  So here I am going to list common mistakes that are made when families get a dog and how to avoid these mistakes or fix them if they are made.  Every dog deserves the chance to stay with their family that they are bonded with and not end up being bounced around from home to home.  Not when it only takes a little bit of knowledge to keep them in place.   Thank you for taking the time to read Hunter's story.

 When you get a puppy or even an adult dog it is extremely important from the very first day to establish a pack order in your home.  Dogs are pack animals.  They naturally live by a hierarchy that starts the moment they are born.  This hierarchy is ingrained into them and cannot be either bred out of them or trained out of them.  It is natural instinct to them.  As a breeder it is our job to carefully screen homes and evaluate our pups and dogs and place accordingly to make sure that we are matching people and pup/dog together for the best fit to guarantee a permanent placement.  But our job is limited to people being honest and upfront which is not always the case or unfortunately not all breeders are selective or evaluate their pups/dogs for the best matches.

Your pack order should always be as such.  Adults/children in the home are always the pack leaders, the dog should know to obey even the youngest child and that the child is his alpha, existing pets already in the home, new pet last.  If the older pet and new pet after sometime on their own switch places than that is ok as long as no fighting was involved in the switch that switch should be acknowledged.  Adults and kids always eat before the animals, even if it is a cracker, you must eat something before feeding your dogs and they must see you eat it.  The Alphas always eat first no matter what.  Dogs do not ever get anything for free.  No matter what they get they have to do something for it.  Food, attention, walks, or treats, they have to sit or lay down or something and they have to be calm.  Never give something to an excited dog.

Since adults and children are the alpha's, all alpha's go through doors, gates, stairs, and entry ways before the dog so teaching a sit and wait or sit and stay command at a very early age is of up most importance.

No dog should ever be allowed in the same room as the alpha's while they are eating.  The Alpha's deserve and demand respect at meal time.   Teach a down stay command and place the dog in another room or in it's crate during meal time.  Just as the alpha's deserve respect during meal time so does the dog.  Teach children not to get near or touch a dog while it is eating.  This is how children get bit and loving animals get deemed aggressive. 

Have you ever heard the term "let a sleeping dog lie"? This is one of the most true statements I have ever heard.   Nobody likes to be startled awake from a sound sleep.  Parents need to teach their children to literally let a sleeping dog lie.   Your dog is trusting you to keep him safe while he sleeps.  You are his Alpha, by having him and accepting that role it has become your responsibility to keep him safe and protect him from all harm.  Sometimes though as hard as we try accidents happen.  Let's just say your child is full of energy today and is running through the living room full speed where the dog is sound asleep on the floor.  The child trips over his own shoe and falls on top of the dog.  The dog gets startled awake and his belly gets hurt and he reacts by biting at the subject that has caused this to happen.  Before the dog realizes it's his alpha child that did this to him, your child gets bit in the arm.  Who's at fault here?  I know 99.9% would blame the dog and deem him aggressive.   That simply is not true.  Remember the statement, let a sleeping dog lie.  This whole thing could have been avoided if you the alpha provided your dog with a safe sleeping space.   Remember it is your responsibility after all.   This is where a crate for sleeping is best for your dog if you have young children.  This made up situation happens all too often in everyday life.  What happens to the dog?  It's deemed aggressive and is either rehomed or euthanized.

As cruel as some may think this is, no dog should ever be allowed onto the furniture or beds when there is children in the home.  The highest spots in the home are reserved for the alpha's only.  By allowing the dog to sleep on the furniture and beds with children you are relaying the message to the dog that they are on the same level as you and the children.  They are not, you and the children are the alpha's, the dog is below you in pecking order.   By allowing this you are sending mixed signals to your dog and unwittingly telling your dog that it too is an alpha, all alpha's have the right to discipline.  So here is what will happen,  Your dog is sleeping on the couch because you allow it.  Your child goes to get on the couch with the dog, the dog growls at your child.  The child never heard it before and thinks its playing so gets on the couch anyway and the dogs nips the child in the arm.  Who's at fault?  Not the dog, he's been allowed on the couch since day one and all the alpha's sit and sleep on the couch so since he is allowed there instinct tells him he is alpha too.  Not the alpha child who actually belongs on the couch.  The adult/parent in this home is at fault.  They sent mixed signals to the dog.  They unwittingly told the dog it was alpha and had the right to discipline.  Who will be the one to suffer in this situation?  The dog, he will be deemed aggressive and either rehomed or euthanized.