It's one week after Christmas, and the adorable puppy that scampered out of a box on Christmas morning wearing a big red ribbon is still adorable. But she’s peed where she shouldn’t, and chewed up the best leather shoe she could find. She’ll be bigger than you thought, and in a short time she’ll take up too much space. In an urban setting, one or more daily walks are a must. You begin to realize you should have given this project more thought. What to do?
- Attitude adjustment. Yours, that is. You acquired this sweet, vulnerable creature. Deal with it!
- Know that virtually every behavior problem can be cured by a capable dog trainer and a loving, consistent owner. Crate training, properly done, works wonders. Whoever sold you the pup may offer free or cut-rate services. Sacramento S.P.C.A. offers reduced-rate training, and lots of other good information. Early socialization and training are critical whether you keep the dog or not. Plus, time spent training will give you a chance to bond. Once you fall in love (and you will!), problems become trivial.
- If you’re absolutely certain you can’t keep her, find her a new forever-home. First, call the person you bought her from. A reputable breeder will take the dog back. If that’s not possible, then prepare to “foster” her, for months if necessary. Shelters, breed clubs, and rescue groups are swamped with abandoned animals, but they offer pointers on finding a safe and loving home, and will post notices about your pup in catalogs of available pets. Consult the Sacramento Area Animal Coalition website for rescue groups.
Do not abandon your pup, or dump her on a city or county animal care facility. Don’t let your dog swell the ranks of the unwanted. In 2012, thousands dogs, many of which would be excellent companions, were put to death by animal care services.
Act responsibly. You’ll be glad you did!
Reduce the carnage. Spay and neuter!