Have you ever heard that question or something similar from a friend, neighbor or family member? I hear it all the time and usually there are some problems that have developed right away that have the new dog owner giving me a call to ask the question.
Typically it is a dog that came from a breeder. The new dog owner went looking for a deal or maybe just an older dog so that they didn’t have to go through all the puppy stuff.
As soon as the new dog owner gets the dog home they start seeing some things that make them wonder what is going on and why is the dog acting like this. Here is the strange part when I talk to these dog owners and ask if they noticed these characteristics at the kennel they usually say yes.
The dog appeared to be stand offish, a little fearful, and reluctant to approach all the family members. I ask why did you buy the dog even after seeing these problems the answer is always the same “I thought we could change it”.
The problem is that the young dog has not been socialized. That happens from birth to 20 weeks of age. It requires some work and a bunch of effort to properly socialize a dog and most breeders just won’t and don’t take the time to do it.
Here is something to keep in mind. Most breeders are simply in the business of selling puppies. When they have a litter of 8 they want to sell all eight as soon as possible. However the one that is left after the first seven are gone probably had a problem and that is why it is still there. Maybe it was the runt. It could have been the shy one that just never wanted to approach the folks that came looking for that perfect puppy for their family.
Whatever happened it was still there at 8 months of age when these people came looking. Now 2 weeks later when the dog has started showing some fear and aggression the family is trying to make the decision whether they should keep the dog or send it back before one of the children is bitten or hurt by this 60 pound 8 month old unsocial zed fearful big puppy.
Can they dog be salvaged and helped with its problems? Probably so however a new dog owner with no dog experience and 3 small children just may not be willing to take a chance that there will be a happy ending to this story when their dog has matured and weighs 130 pounds.
If you are considering and older dog from a breeder make sure that you have a 15 to 30 day trial period that will allow you to return the dog for a refund if the dog does not work out.