It was a cold, dark, rainy night [really, it was] as a volunteer from one of the area all-breed rescues handed over the crate containing the 8 pound charge named Snoopa. They had rescued him as an owner turn-in. The reason: nasty dog.
An exam of Snoopa when we arrived at his foster home was shocking. I'd be nasty too if no one ever fed me or cared for me or trained me or loved me. This was Snoopa.
It became clear very quickly that Snoopa had no socialization skills at all and that fear and the need to defend himself from things known and unknown was pretty strong. Snoopa snapped at everything and everyone. He had to be separated from the group.
As we read through Snoopa's limited paperwork it was clear he had never had veterinary care. Some additional digging into his background revealed that he had been beaten and starved as a means of training. Backgrounds like this make for long and difficult rehbilitations and dogs like this are rarely placeable; in a shelter Snoopa would have been euthanized.
A so the voyage to Snoopa's new life began.
Noteably ematiated and without a history of vet care it was off to the hospital for this little guy. Most DRBC dogs are a welcome sight at the vet's office. Deep down, the most abused dog will melt with the love and attention they receive there. This is also where socialization begins. Not for Snoopa. Sedating him for his exam was the only way even the most experienced staff could get close. Vaccinations, blood work, a quick neuter and Snoopa was ejected. Too staff intensive and a guarenteed 'will bite'.
Back at the Foster home Snoopa remained a challenge, even to feed. Believing he would be kicked once the food bowl was placed in front of him, Snoopa had developed a skill for attacking his feeder so that the food would scatter and he would be assured something to eat. Sad that something so basic would evoke that type of response.
Enter 'the Snoopa Timeout System'. [There was no Dog Whisperer back then so we did the best we could.] Beginning simply and using a crate and a leash, Snoopa quickly learned that biting while being offered food led to 10 minutes in a crate before the next attempt. It only took a few days to put the bowl safely in front of him and a few more before he was happy to see us coming with his new favorite event - a meal.
Now to socialize him. One things dachshunds can be credited with, besides their stubborn nature, is the idea of consistency. Introduce something new to Snoopa, like housemates, Snoopa would charge ready to bite. Time after time, lesson after lesson, Snoopa charged. So time after time, Snoopa got a 'time out'. It didn't take this bright little guy long to figure out what that meant, but we were sure the egg timer would never outlast the Snoopa training program.
Months passed and before long he was with DRBC for a year. Snoopa learned and learned during those months. He found that not all people are that bad, other doxies are OK too. He learned the 'Time Out' command and would go into his crate when breaking a rule. Eventually, he self disciplined placing himself in timeout for ten minutes for things only he knew he had done wrong. He had come a very long way.
One day a nice man came to pick his dog named Oskar. Oskar had been staying at his old foster home while his parents were out of town. Oskar was an older guy, but he and Snoopa had a lot of fun together. The man sat on the floor with them both and after awhile it was time to go. The man told Snoopa he was going to talk to his wife about him. Yeah, you and everyone else thought Snoopa.
A week went by and then two and then, then, then, you guessed it, the man came back with his wife. Unbelievable thought Snoopa. Here for me, nah, they must be going somewhere he thought. She sat on the floor with Snoopa too! She was nice. He liked her. And he liked the man. And he like Oskar. And Snoopa was lucky, he got a new home.
Today Snoopa lives the life. His brother Oskar passed away not that long ago, but while he was here they shared many exciting adventures in their new loving home.
We delight in seeing Snoopa when he returns for his brief visits. His journey was a long one, but so well worth it.
The training Snoopa received was kind and supportive. It allowed him to become the very best dachshund he could be.
At DRBC we know there are all to many Snoopa's out there that will not reach us and many to many, not as neglected and abused as Snoopa once was, that need to be trained. Please make a difference and learn the language of companionship today; it is called training.
Need help? Call or contact us at the number listed, the email provided or on our contact page. We can help you. We know how, we helped Snoopa.
Snoopa is pictured here enjoying the sun on a visit back with us. All saves are special here at DRBC, but Snoopa's remains one of our favorites.
Death of An Untrained Dog
I woke up one morning with my littermates. I saw Mom lying there, so I went over to get some breakfast. Mom was warm and she licked me all over. She loved us so much...
Things were good back then.
Then I went to live in a home with two kids and their mom and dad. I used to be able to come in the house and play. They even let me sleep in the house. The children would run and I would chase them around. When I was little they would let me jump on them and even playfully bite them. The family would laugh and encourage me to play like that. They gave me lots of toys such as socks, shoes and stuffed animals. I had so much fun...
Those were the days.
As I got bigger, I would accidentally knock the children down. I would try to bite them on the cuff of their pants as they ran. I found toys like the ones my master gave me when I was younger, and I would chew them up. They started getting mad at me all the time. When I jumped up they would knee me down. One minute they were laughing at me for play biting and chewing and the next minute they would spank me for doing the very same thing...
I was so confused.
Now I spend my days, hour after hour, chained in the back yard. No one comes out to play with me. I am so happy to see them when they come out that I jump and bark with joy. I spend my days digging up the yard around me which makes my masters mad at me. The fleas crawl all over me...
Which drives me crazy.
The more I sit out here the madder I get. I cannot understand why they brought me home just to chain me in the yard. If my masters are unhappy with my behavior...
Why not train me?
Why did they encourage me to jump and bite? Things have not gotten any better for me. Now I sit in jail. People come by my cage looking at me. I bark at them but no one wants me. Oh, no! Here comes a lady with a leash. Where is she taking me? She walks me into a room. Oh, she likes me. It's so good to be hugged again. What's this? She is sticking my leg. Oh, I am so sleepy. What has happened to me? I am asleep now...
NO ONE CAN HURT ME ANYMORE.
Why Train Your Dog?
Obedience training is one of the most important aspects of raising a dog. In fact, a well trained dog is by far a happier dog! Why? Because a trained dog requires fewer restrictions. The more reliable the dog, the more freedom he is given.
For example, many stores and businesses that normally won't allow dogs on their premises will make an exception for a puppy or a dog that will heel nicely by his owner's side, or will do a sit-stay or down-stay without hesitation.
And when company arrives in your home, there's no need to banish a well-behaved dog to another room for fear that he will be a royal nuisance. Moreover, because a well-mannered, obedience-trained dog is both appreciated and welcome, he receives more attention and interaction from family members, visitors, and passers-by, than does the ill-mannered dog.
You As Your Dog's Leader
Training serves to strengthen the bond between a dog and his owner. It builds communication, understanding, and mutual respect, and subtly but effectively demontrates to your dog that you're the leader of the pack (commonly referred to as the "Alpha"). And if your dog doesn't respect you as his leader, you may both be in big trouble, particularly if he's a bit rowdy or dominant by nature.
Training May Save Your Dog's Life
Obedience training also gives the dog owner the voice control necessary to prevent numerous potential tragedies. For instance, should a dog slips out of his collar in the middle of a congested traffic intersection, he can be safely heeled across the street, then given a sit command to facilitate putting his collar back on. Or should someone accidentally leave the front door open, and you spot your dog leaving, he can be safely called back to you using the recall command.
Not only will obedience training help your dog to become more responsive, but because it enables you to have immediate control over your dog's behavior, in an emergency situation obedience training may save your dog's life. In fact, it can ultimately save the lives of many dogs, because far fewer dogs would end up in animal shelters if their owners would simply take the time to train them.
And for those dogs who do need homes, a trained dog is far easier to adopt out to a new home than an untrained one.
Statistics also show that puppies which receive early socialization, obedience, and temperament training (aggression prevention training) are far less likely to end up being destroyed by the time they turn three years of age than those that do not receive this early training.
The Consequences Of An Untrained Dog
Without proper training, many dogs are likely to misbehave. And when owners allow their dogs to misbehave, everyone suffers: The owner, because he or she lives with a dog, the dog, because everyone's down on him for misbehaving; the dog's owner's neighbors, because living next to a difficult dog is no one's idea of fun; and ultimately every dog owner, because each incidence where a dog creates a nuisance increases anti-dog sentiment, and contributes to the likelihood that tough legal restrictions will be placed on all dogs.
Obedience Training Benefits Everyone
A well-behaved, obedience trained dog is a pleasure to own because he can go virtually anywhere without being a risk or nuisance to others. And don't we all want a dog who exhibits appropriate behavior in a crowd, good manners when we have guests in our home, is reliable around children, and who doesn't threaten other dogs or passers-by?
The bottom line is that dog obedience training truly benefits everyone.
Copyright 1995 - 1999, Robin Kovary