Penny Kohn

August 7, 2001

Post #1356 – 20010807

Dear Perfessor P,

We just adopted a four-year-old Shetland Sheepdog from a rescue group, and none of us knows anything about dogs. Help!!! how do I get him to bond with my daughter (the person who really wanted him in the first place)? She is feeding and walking him, but he seems to want to hang out with me (the mom). Also, although he is supposed to be completely housebroken, he gives us no warning of impending needs, and has performed his “duties” in the house a number of times. I’m baffled! I had him listen to “Lizard Music” on the radio today, hoping that there would be some sort of magical osmosis in your voice, but sadly, there was no change in his behavior. Can you think of anything that might help? A faithful fan, Penny Kohn

Daniel replies:

This is a four-year-old dog you've just adopted. He's bound to be traumatized. How would you feel? Things are going to take a little time. First, have you taken him to tha vet? Is he in good health? While you're at the vet's you can ask a lot of questions, and probably pick up some useful pamphlets. Next stop, the library and/or bookstore. I suggest a book called SUPERPUPPY, and get a couple of other basic puppy care books too. Read! You don't get him to bond with anybody at this point. You let him settle down, and adjust, and get used to the idea that he's not going to get kicked out of this home like whereever he was before you took him in. Also, ask questions of people in the rescue group from whom you adopted him. If anybody tells you something that doesn't seem like common sense, ask a couple more people until you start to get a consensus.

Shelties are sensitive, trainable, smart, and good-natured dogs. Yours has been through a lot of rough stuff. Be nice to him, and give him a chance to fit in--he will try his best. Read the books. Good luck.