Recently, I had the distinct honor and privilege to have a communication consultation with a colleague who had just adopted a Shar Pei. My colleague and her spouse are experienced pet owners and they wanted me to check in with the new furbaby to check on his background. He had a lot to say.
He was placed in the rescue system since he was 9 months old (he is now 2 years old) from his breeder because, as he saw it he wasn’t desirable out of his litter. He was rescued by another rescue organization and was adopted out to his first family who unfortunately, were not experienced dog owners. They called the rescue constantly asking for advice, and ultimately returned this pup because he was “aggressive”. From this dog’s point of view - he wants to learn and his first family didn’t understand him - at all. He was confused in terms of what his first family was asking of him. So, he didn’t understand and would wind up not doing as he was asked because they weren’t asking in a way that he could understand. So, his family spent more time and energy being in distress. Plus, Shar Pei’s snort when they breathe - so the former owners could have misconstrued that as a growl.
This dog is one of the sweetest, kindest beings I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He went on to tell me that while he will not start a fight, he will finish it if he must.
When this pup came to my colleague, he knew that these folks knew what they were doing and he was so much more comfortable with them. He knew he was home. They know how to guide and teach him about the world around him (his formative years were spent in a shelter, so he’s got some catching up to do). They also know and understand how to train a potentially “stubborn” dog with positive reinforcement and solid leadership.
Shar Peis tend to have the reputation of being a steadfast guard dog. Which they are - they are fiercely loyal to their people. This is their natural instinct. This reputation is also misunderstood and translated into being “aggressive” or “mean”. In the hands of an owner who is fully present and understanding of what they have, a natural guard dog can be socialized successfully and not only be a good canine citizen, but an active member of their community.
When you adopt a pet, understand what you are getting into. If you are rescuing a pure breed, do your research on what their natural instincts are. If you adopt a mixed breed - pay attention and be present to what the dog does naturally. Ask yourself what you can do to help nurture those instincts. And don’t get caught up in the idea of a specific dog breed. As an example, the majority of Pit Bulls are sweethearts, not every Labrador Retriever likes to swim, and German Shepherds may take a lot more work than you might think.
Understanding all aspects in all things, goes a long, long way. If you have adopted a pet and would like to learn more about their past history contact us.
To follow the adventures of my colleague and her new pup click here.