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Problem Dogs Are Not Born

The characteristics of a dog develop fundamentally between the ages of eight and sixteen weeks. What the average family dog will sooner or later turn out to be is determined by the environment in which the dog lives during that critical emotional time period.

When an 8-week-old dog comes into his new house or apartment, he arrives with a mind that can be likened to a blank sheet of paper. Whatever is written on that sheet of paper will determine the personality and characteristics of the dog. Regrettably, it is simply a lack of knowledge on the part of the dog owner that is responsible for what later turns out to be a “problem dog”.

Puppies are not born problem pets. They are either permitted to become that way, or are made that way as a result of the dog’s environment. The responsibility rests primarily and mainly upon the shoulders of the person who owns the dog.

Most obedience training classes will not accept a dog for training unless it is 6 months or older. This is quite understandable since most dog trainers know that the average dog owner just doesn't have the needed patience to cope with puppy training. It is unfortunate, however, that by the time a dog reaches six months of age, he has already become a “problem pet”.

Obedience training will or will not help. In too many cases, it does not help – not by that age.
Just as recent as last month, a local standard Schnauzer was put to sleep upon the request of the dog owners. Every member of the family had been the recipient of at least one severe bite from the dog. The dog was only 8 months old – still a pup as far as dog trainers' are concerned.

The first bite took place when the puppy was just twelve weeks old, its final bite at 8months of age. In between, the bites became increasingly worse, yet not one single member of the family could bring themselves to appropriately discipline the dog. They “loved” their pup way too much and thought it would be too harsh to discipline the dog.

Mistaken kindness can be a bitter and unnecessary cruelty. One must keep in mind that when a dog is placed in a dog catcher's truck and taken to the pound to be killed, the blood is on the heart of the dog owner, who thought so little of his dog that he failed to demand respect or even keep his pet under control.

This is Only Natural
The natural instinct of a dog is to try to assume power within the pack. The pack in this case is you and the members of you household. The fact that your dog will test you occasionally and try to take control does not mean that he doesn't love you.

And it doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn't respect you either. On the other hand, if you are too lenient and weak, thus permitting him to achieve power, his love and respect for you will quickly diminish. You then become inferior in his eyes and are meant to be “owned” by your pet dog.

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