How to wreck a puppy:

1. Take the pup home when it's a young cute thing thus depriving better people from adopting him and then return him to the shelter months later when he's lost his puppy cuteness and looks like an adult dog.

2. Do not spend enough time exercising or socializing the pup so the dog still behaves like an under-socialized, excitable pup but now in an adult body.

3. Use dominance/punishment based training methods thus making the dog hand shy because he equates hands near his face with punishment.

Jamie was adopted out when he was four months old, still a cute, wriggly thing. Now he's been returned three months later.

When he first sees me enter the room, he's unsure. I look at him and instead of a wagging tail or excited barks, he lies down and avoids eye contact. I open the kennel door, beckon him but he just looks away. When I move my hand to attach the leash to his collar, he stiffens. I see his eye blink and his upper lip move just slightly and I'm not sure if it's the beginning of a wince or a snarl. I back off.

The owners said he used to take the kids' toys and when they tried to discipline him, he'd show his teeth.

In his recent behaviour assessment at the shelter, he showed no signs of resource guarding so that begs the question: What "discipline" was practiced to make this dog bare his teeth?

The silver lining is that Jamie was returned before any further damage was done. He's still young, certainly young enough that his rough puppy manners can be corrected and his lack of confidence and anxieties can be alleviated.

I loop him with the end of the leash to keep my hands away from his face. When he realizes the leash is on and we're going for a walk and I'm not there to punish him, his manner immediately changes. Now he's pawing and playing. Now he's a pup again.


The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



8 Comments to “Jamie - Black Labrador Retriever”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I know TAS coffers are definitely not overflowing, but do they offer any advice/info/resources on dog training or dog behaviour/behavioural problems, especially for families with little experience? Seems like some back up support may help people with the skills they need and prevent them from thinking the dog has just "gone bad" and returning them,. Even just educating them that behavioural training should be their first choice before returning the dog can go a long way...

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fred: Every single dog that is granted your company cannot help but heal. Hell, I heal just reading your posts! So thank you on behalf of this sweet dog, who can now flourish with the right human, and on behalf of myself THANK YOU for all you do for them, and we who are so fortunate to know you via One Bark at a Time.
    Kisses and hugs

  3. Erin says:

    We adopted a new little miss from TAS North in August (so now we have North & South!) and she appears to have similar circumstances. No real puppy training, terrified if you walk past holding the newspaper, etc. That being said, full of love much like Jamie and is doing fantastic now. I'm sure that Jamie will get the right fit soon and go on to be his full fantastic self! Sometimes I think the only decent thing Millie's previous owners did was drop her at TAS and I suspect the same will be true for Jamie.

  4. 001mum says:

    Agree with post#1
    I know this could be near impossible (time/money) but what about follow-up a few weeks after adoption? a visit? a few phone calls? a few hours a week made available
    for adoptive parents to call and ask questions,get advice and just generally be supported during the transition time.(1x daytime hours,1x evening hours weekdays and 1x weekend)
    I bet there are a few dog savvy people who might make themselves available on a volunteer basis.Any problem behaviours could be discussed and managed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lovely, sweet dog! The suggestions for TAS to give advice and lessons is good. But unfortunately some people just wouldn't be bothered to learn. Hopefully with your wonderful help Fred, Jimmy will find a loving owner. And returning him to TAS turns out to be the best thing his family gave him to find some happiness at last.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Jamie for calling you Jimmy! But I still wish you the best in your life! Does he look a bit like Simone do you think Fred? They are both so adorable! Black dogs are a good choice! Mine thinks so!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am amazed at people who want TAS to give them free advice on how to train a dog. Heavens, don't they have enough to do? If you adopt a dog, make the effort and have it trained properly. Take it to behaviour classes, go to a good kennel, look it up on the Internet. Yes, training costs money. So does food and vet care. Would you expect TAS to give that to you for free too? No wonder pups like Jamie get spoiled. Which he isn't, by the way. I found him to be extraordinarily well-behaved for such a young dog. Hope his next home has someone with brains in it!

  8. mandigo says:

    That being said, full of love much like Jamie and is doing fantastic now. I'm sure that Jamie will get the right fit soon and go on to be his full fantastic self! Sometimes I think the only decent thing Millie's previous owners did was drop her at TAS

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.
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