Puppies grow up to be dogs

It is puppy season and that means cuteness overload of wagging tails, puppy breathe, wiggling, smiling, kissing bundles of fur. Puppies just make people’s hearts smile. Puppies are hard to resist. Puppies are in great demand at the shelter. But an untrained, under-socialized adult dog lacking basic manners is not.

Keeping in mind that the Second Chance Pet Column has a strong focus on prevention and education I would like to remind readers that adopting a puppy holds great responsibility for the outcome of that pet’s life. Just like humans, our formative years greatly impact our adult years.

Let me illustrate this point with a fictitious scenario of two sibling puppies adopted from Second Chance to two different families. One sibling was taken to training classes and provided critical socialization while the other was just allowed to “be a puppy” and not provided regular socialization or training.

What do you think the outcome will be? Unfortunately it is not uncommon that, while the trained puppy lives harmoniously with his family for life, the carefree puppy gets sent back to the shelter when his cuteness factor can no longer override his bad manners.

Remember last week’s Pet Column that emphasized we can no longer pretend that our pets don’t have emotions and suffer from traumatic experiences? Well a “failed adoption” as they say in the animal welfare industry can have a long lasting impact upon a dog.

I am not emphasizing these points to discourage anyone from adopting a puppy – but only asking you to consider the impact on that puppy if you truly don’t have the time and energy for ensuring its success in the human-dependent world.

If you didn’t quite know what you were getting yourself into when you whisked that adorable puppy into your home and family – it is not too late. If your pup has begun to demonstrate undesirable behaviors take action now. Intervene immediately with positive corrections rather than waiting until you can’t handle your growing puppy’s antics anymore.

Just like any issue in your life – seeking help is the first step. A good start is to call Second Chance and learn about their “Puppy Manners” classes or their Good Dog Behavior classes (for adult dogs). Carve out a regular time in your day for quick and effective training and socialization – it is a worthwhile investment for your family and your pup.

My name is Finn. I am a very handsome Australian Cattle dog mix. Unfortunately I did not receive the training and socialization needed as a pup to be successful in my first home but since arriving here at Second Chance I am making huge strides. I am doing well with other dogs and responding great to training. I am crate trained and housetrained. I love long walks and runs and believe that there is not enough peanut butter in this world.

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at

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