I don't like this dog anymore

I hate that sentence. Yes, I am talking about owner surrender. And this post will be pretty preachy so I apologize in advance.  I do hope that you will not only listen but also help fend off the ignorance.

I am angry, and disappointed in humans who come up with the stupidest of reasons to 'give back' their dogs. This particular bout of anger stems from a recent story a friend told me about how she came in contact with these 'surrenderrers' and what their attitude was like - toward the dog and then toward her for trying to help. I don't wish to shame them in this post but I do want to highlight a few things one must do before they decide that 'the dog is bad'.

1. The dog is never bad. You just need to teach them what to do and what not to do. A simple Internet search on "Positive Reinforcement" is what you need. Dogs never do anything to intentionally anger you. You just need to tell them what does and what doesn't.

2. They need to expend energy. If they chewed up the sofa while you were gone, you should probably have exercised them before you left and left them a stuffed Kong to be busy with while you were away. They were bored, probably even anxious about you leaving, and they had energy to expend. Tiring them out and keeping them distracted discourages this boredom and anxiety.  If they chew in your presence, one firm NO in a low voice like a growl, is enough. No screaming, no shouting, no drama. If you have an explosive temper, learn to control it. It's part of growing up. (Gosh I am angry today, aren't I ? )

3. You need obedience training. Yes, you, not the dog.  It is really more for you. For you to understand how to train them. I learned through my first behavioral training to make my dog take me seriously when I need him to. The biggest problem I faced as a new parent was to not speak to him as a person. "Kahlua.. please could you not chew on the comforter.. i love you .. " .. Wrong! Sharp "NO". Job done. He even comes over to say sorry. The classes will teach you how to use the pup's food or play motivation to teach them commands like "Sit" or "Stay" .. or even "Give me a hug!"

4. Regular checkups - I cannot stress this enough. Annual (atleast) for adults and as and when puppy shots are needed, for the little ones. A stitch in time, does save nine.

5. Heartworm Meds - this is not optional. Heartworms may be treatable but they are the quintessential example for prevention is better than cure. One monthly pill. That is all. It could save his life.

6. Flea and Tick Meds - would you like to be constantly itchy? Would you like the possibility of  having a disease transmitted to you every time you went for a walk in the woods? I thought so. Get the meds.

7. Too many kids & too less time & now a puppy ? This is a tough one, but not impossible. Remember, you chose to bring the puppy into your life. If you did so for your kid, you should have read the fine print that you would need to do all the work. It is true. And it is not anyone's fault. But, you should know what you are walking into when you do this. Anyway, Two year old ? Teach them to put food in the dog's bowl. Eight year old - they can let him out in the yard to conduct business. Twelve and above - short walks can be their responsibility and the Sixteen year old can even drive him to the park and take the Thirteen year old along (please check your local dog park's minimum entry age- yes, they do have them).  I don't claim that this is easy. I admire you for doing this if you do. But all I am saying is the dog is a responsibility too - one that you chose to have. So let him be part of the pack. If you can't, don't dump him at the shelter. He will be put to sleep. Find him a good home, and keep him with you and happy until then. It does not take too much.

8. This dog is much too large and I can't handle him anymore. Really? Did you not know what he was when you got him? No. I adopted him. Not an excuse. The shelter will give you some approximation of what the dog is, and usually a Chiuwawa will not grow into a Great Dane. Yes, 8-10 lbs might fluctuate either way but you know what range of size you are bringing home. Did you look at the paws when he was a puppy? That should give you a clue. So suck it up and treat it like the joy it really is. Further most larger dogs are calmer, less talkative and need less bathroom trips.

9. You will not believe I have actually heard this. "He poops too much". Noone said to expect little silver pellets. Grow up. Get a bag and pick it up.

All they need is a little devotion, a little time, a little love and a little training. If you think you cannot financially, emotionally, or mentally provide this, do not get ahead of yourself and bite off more than you can chew.


  1. Excellent!!! The owner surrenders make me crazier than anything else. No one made you commit to the dog, YOU chose to, and now it is your responsibility so treat it as such!

  2. Thank you for saying what we were all thinking!

  3. Shalini , you always write the perfect thing. I personally have benefited from owner stupidity, opps I mean surrender. 2 out of three of my pups are and they are fantastic. Their loss has been my gain.

  4. Thank you all three ladies :) Yes the only good thing that comes out of surrender is that the dog might find a perfect home like any of you three's.

  5. Amen sistah!This is a great post! Hearing these bs reasons from people always blows my mind. How can anyone view their pet as an inconvenience, when they see us as their entire world and would do anything to make us happy.

  6. I'll be honest.. there are times (a lot of them) when I really, *really* want to re-home one (or two) of mine. Usually it's when I'm horribly stressed, feeling down, and just don't want to be bothered with all of their needs. But then I calm down, step away and realize that it's almost never smart to make decisions based on how one feels at a particular moment. Unfortunately, I think a lot of decisions to get a dog in the first place aren't though through very well.. so it's not surprising that the thought to "get rid of" one isn't either.

    1. Steve, everyone has weak moments. But notice, you said 're-home' and not 'dump at the shelter'. We all put ourselves in situations where we think we can handle something, and realize we cannot cope when we are actually IN the situation. The grown up thing to do is accept that maybe this time in your life is not right for this responsibility and find the BEST home you possibly can for the pup. But the shelter is not an option.
      Still, I am happy that sensible people like you exist, and realize that stepping away and taking a time out is what leads to good decisions :) Your four children are very lucky to have you and kelly as their humans!

  7. I 100% agree. When a commitment is made, it is supposed to last forever - especially if a soul is involved.

    And I am so sorry, but for some reason I did not make the connection between your blog and seeing you today! I also realized that although I follow you, your new posts do not appear on my news feed. So now that I know how to get here, expect lots of comments! So happy I finally got to meet you today, and hopefully we can meet again on less hectic terms so I can learn more about Indian food :)

  8. Thank You Mariah and Circus :) We were happy to have finally met you too and put a face to the lovely blog (well technically we knew the faces through pictures but you know what I mean!).
    Nala is very sweet and hopelessly adorable (I can't get the crawling out of my mind!) .. ! We will try and make the next pack walk to see her and you again. I will try n think of some vegan Indian recipe for you too.. it shouldn't be too difficult!