I "came housebroken" when Parental Unit adopted me from our local shelter when I was about nine months old. But that didn't mean I didn't have a few "transitional" accidents...particularly after I ate and entire bag of dog biscuits she left on the counter—oops!
We think this article in the ASPCA Pro newsletter by veterinarian Emily Weiss is an important read for all new pet owners, particularly for those adopting a new canine family member from a shelter or rescue. It turns out that perception is more important than statistical numbers of in-home "accidents"— specifically to those new pet parents who received "housebreaking" counseling prior to adopting their new pooch. Guess which group of new pet parents is more forgiving of "accidents"?
It's particularly important because a dog that isn't housebroken or perceived to be not trainable in that area is much more likely to be returned to the shelter. We think the important thing to remember is to allow your new dog transition time—wouldn't you be a bit nervous being taken from a shelter to a new home...? Of course, you can't expect your new dog to be perfect, even if the shelter or foster says your new family member is "housebroken". And do cut him or her a break if there's an accident. Speaking only for me, I was a nervous wreck for the first several weeks in my new home and will admit to a few mistakes—although now, nearly eight years later, I am the world's most perfect dog.
Speaking of the ASPCA, we'll be doing a very special ASPCA Gift Pack giveaway this Thursday, April 14, so please stay tuned!