Friday, September 17, 2010

A Tale of Two Dogs

One was the best of dogs. One was the worst of dogs.

Two Shiba Inus, brothers, went to live with their new families on the same night. Both families were non-dog households until the Shibas. Both families had one child. Both children were boys, the same age, a few months apart.

A few months later, the Shiba owners ran into each other. They compared notes. One family said their Shiba was great. He never chewed the furniture, he loved his kennel. Except for some submissive urination, he was easy to housebreak. The dog got along great with their son. The cat was another story, but it wasn't a big deal. The other couple described their dog as a nightmare. He could not be crated or he would howl until released. If he wasn't crated, he went on destructive rampages through the house. He had destroyed a couch, two dining room chairs and one leg of the dining room table. They had tried to keep him confined in a bathroom and he destroyed the flooring and walls. Their son was afraid of the dog, and the dog knew no commands and seemed completely unable to be trained.

How did two littermates end up with such drastically different lives?

The only difference between the two is that in one household, someone was home with the dog virtually all the time. In the other, both people worked 8 to 10 hours a day, and the dog was alone for that time. One family had unlimited time to spend with the dog, the other did not.

The lesson: Good dogs aren't born. They're made. And it takes time. (A whole lot of precious time.. you know you were thinking it, too.) Time is the most valuable thing you can spend, right? If you're getting a new puppy, invest your time in the dog. You will never be sorry that you did.

This is a true Tale of Two Dogs. It's the tale of my Shiba Inu, Kitsune, and his brother, Bear.

If you and every member of your household is out of the house for 8 hours a day, maybe you should look into adopting an older dog. A dog can't be potty trained on that schedule, let alone learn any manners. By the time most people realize that, they've already got a monster of their own making on their hands.

Many people think this can be worked around via the use of doggy daycares. In some cases, it can. It still requires an investment of time (and a monetary investment, most doggy daycares aren't cheap) on the part of the owner. Why can't someone train a dog for someone else? Because dogs aren't dumb. Just because I can get a dog to listen to me doesn't mean it will listen to a damn thing anyone else says. Dogs, like children, know who they can put one over on and who is going to make them tow a line. They act accordingly.


  1. Great maybe I should have gotten an older dog. LOL but Dude is getting least I hope so.

  2. Heather, it can be done. It just takes longer, and you can't give up. Lots of times instead of trying to train the dog, if you can't be home, you have to just take the time you have and try to pre-empt the potty. Take him out so much you don't give him a chance to make a mistake. (That's good advice for anyone with a puppy, actually.)