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Keeping dogs out of shelters

It's a problem that dog trainers say has gotten worse since the start of the pandemic, and it's part of the reason why shelters are overwhelmed.

HARDING, Pa. — When Christina Stephens decided to get a dog, she knew she'd need to choose an active breed to keep up with her active lifestyle.

Tucker definitely fits the bill.

Other dogs, like Frank the pug, prefer to be couch potatoes.

Dog trainers Michele Rhoades and John Clawson say these are all important things to know before you bring a pup home. But they're noticing a lot of new dog owners haven't been doing their homework.

"What's been happening is a lot of people got dogs during the pandemic, and they didn't really realize, 'Oh, my God, now what?' They got rescue dogs, maybe they got some dogs from breeders, and they're now they're having all these behavioral issues," Michele Rhoades said, who runs Mannered Mutts Dog Training.

"I'll see the wrong dog in the wrong home, the wrong fit. There's just too much energy from the dog or too young of a dog and just not enough activity from the adopter," said John Clawson, owner of Clawson's K9s with Class.

And that's part of the reason why so many shelters are overwhelmed right now. New owners are bringing their dogs back because they didn't get them trained.

"It's fixable," Rhoades said. "Stick with it. If you have a dog that has issues, call a trainer, call a professional because we can hopefully keep your dog in your home. And it doesn't take much."

The trainers say it's even easier if your dog is socialized.

"Socialization is getting your dog out and about, like taking them to experience cars, like all kinds of traffic, motorcycles, trains, escalators, get them out as much as you possibly can so that they love the world. They're not afraid of everything," Rhoades said.

Christina's dog Tucker is definitely not afraid.

"I know I can trust him around anyone. I can trust him around any dog."

She can even trust him - behind the wheel!

Credit: WNEP

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