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Are your dogs allowed to be dogs?

This is a special section for dogs needing new homes and for inspiring stories of dogs that have found their furever home through Dogster or through the love and energy of rescuers. This is also the place to discuss shelters, rescue organizations, rescue strategies, issues, solutions, etc. and how we can all help in this critical endeavor. Remember that we are all here for the love of dog! If you are posting about a dog that needs a new home, please put your location in the topic of your thread so those close by can find you! Make sure to check out Dogster's dog adoption center!

  
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Lily

Woof!
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 18, '13 7:19am PST 
Back when we were looking for a dog to adopt I had two rescues ask me this question: "are your dogs allowed to be dogs?" One rescue elaborated and asked if they ever got time off from being pets. She made it sound like being a pet was demoralizing. I found the question quite odd. I mean, my dogs ARE dogs. Just because they are my pets doesn't make them something other than dogs. What's the strangest question you've ever been asked by a rescue/shelter? What do people mean when they ask if your dogs are allowed to be dogs?
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Iris vom- Zauberberg

Service Werewolf
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 18, '13 10:01am PST 
I get that question often regarding my service dog, whether she ever gets to be off-duty and just be a dog (yes!). I've never been asked that by a rescue agency when looking for a pet dog.
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UCH Onyx TT,- CGC

Do you even- lift?
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 18, '13 10:30am PST 
I usually expect a certain level of behavior from my dog (no running around the house, no rough playing in the house, no pulling on the leash, remain in a down stay as long as I need him to, ect.), so I think of letting a dog be a dog as times those expectations aren't there. Many of the behaviors we ask of our dogs aren't really natural and may cause a certain amount of stress, so I do think it's important to get out of the house, get off the leash, and just let the dog act naturally; it's something I try to do with my dog on a daily basis.

That's what I would guess they meant by a break from being a pet. Personally I consider that part of owning a pet, but we all know people who get a dog expecting it to be a perfectly behaved piece of furniture, so maybe that's why they ask the question. It does seem a little vague and open to interpretation though.
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Lily

Woof!
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 18, '13 10:53am PST 
I've heard people ask this question about service dogs or any dog with a job, which is why I thought it was weird to be asked it about a pet considering most pets are "unemployed" so to speak.

I agree that all of that is part of dog ownership and that some people expect pets to be perfectly behaved at all times or they get treated like furniture, but they also asked questions like what are you looking for in a dog, what type of behavior would you expect from your new pet, how would you handle bad behavior and questions along those lines which I think make a lot more sense than just is your dog ever allowed to be a dog because that's kind of vague. Even after I asked what they meant I was still confused by their question because there was very little explanation.

Edited by author Sun Aug 18, '13 10:58am PST

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Nare

Woo-woo- whineybutt
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 18, '13 4:21pm PST 
I think it can have a billion different meanings, tbh.
There is a park that I always take Nare to, but he remains on leash while the other dogs are offleash. There are so many smells, its so busy and half of it isn't fenced so I don't feel comfortable taking him off leash, I get approached and asked why hes on leash, if I'd take him off and let him play with their dog, etc. etc. When I tell them my reasoning, I get "Oh, hes just being a dog".

Peeing on everything and leading me around isn't being a dog? It certainly isn't a human thing.. Well, fine, he can be a dog when we're 100 miles from civilization and nothing can happen to him. But the park is right off a highway where cars race 85mph and that is the side that isn't fenced.

Allowing your dog to be a dog, to me, sounds like an excuse for poor behavior (in most cases). Just cause your dog has manners doesn't mean hes a robot or he is not a dog, there are many ways for dogs to indulge in things, and they will do just that.
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Sabi

When the night- closes in I will- be there
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 18, '13 4:22pm PST 
I think I agree with Onyx. We ask our dogs to behave for the most part in a very un-dog like manner. So I find it important to remember that sometimes they just need to cut loose. I get what you're saying about working dogs though. I think that brings a whole other level into it. I can understand why a rescue would ask that, I think far too many people have unrealistic expectations about doggy behavior.
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Lily

Woof!
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 18, '13 6:20pm PST 
I agree that most people expect their dog to behave like Lassie but don't want to put the work in. One of the rescues made it sound like all pets actually do behave like robots and that it was cruel but I don't think most people are that strict with their pets though. In my experience pets are pampered or the dog is just the family dog and exspectations were low. But I do understand why a question like that might get asked though. I just wish the question wasn't so vague.
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Sabi

When the night- closes in I will- be there
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 18, '13 9:36pm PST 
Peeing on everything and leading me around isn't being a dog? It certainly isn't a human thing

I don't know, I've met some men...... laugh out loudlaugh out loud

Sorry couldn't resist.
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Ember FDX

Go Go Devil- Bunnies!
 
 
Barked: Mon Aug 19, '13 6:08am PST 
I think it's a case of extremely poor wording on the part of the rescue.

Having seen the things I've seen over the course of my career with dogs, there are people who do, literally, expect their dog not to act like a dog. I have had clients come to me describing a long list of behaviors like barking, getting excited, and needing exercise, and then say, verbatim, "Basically, we want him not to act so much like a dog."

The problem is, the rescue's question leaves us dog people scratching our heads - how can a dog not be a dog? They are a dog! While the people like my clients won't grasp the importance of what the rescue is asking to begin with.
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Sasha

Better watch- yourself!
 
 
Barked: Mon Aug 19, '13 7:27am PST 
Since there's no "like" button I had to pop in for a quick laugh at Sabi's post laugh out loudlaugh out loud

Interesting topic though, i think i agree the majority of the general public pet owners do have spoiled dogs. Hence the success in dog trainers. But I understand the concept. I am probably guilty of it myself sometimes, when I was training I always expected my dogs to be "perfect" around any potential clients, or even the general public. However they also get daily off leash runs through the woods, the chance to dig and act a fool at the beach, and the occasion of me rolling around on the floor with them, so hopefully i balance it out. Food for thought though thinking
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