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Adoption: How malleable is an adult's behavior?

1262 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  hulkamaniac
I am looking at adopting a pit bull on the advice of many members of this forum as well as people I have talked to out and about....

I only have one question about the process, and that is how malleable is doggie behavior in an adult? I only ask because I will be a dog newb.

Primarily, I find the prospect of an adult dog with a adult sized bladder very attractive!! :) I will likely be working 8 hour shifts and I think an adult would be better suited to my lifestyle right off the bat. But what if the adult has potty training issues? The adults are pretty fast learners, correct? And any issues in that respect would be brought to my attention by the rescuer anyway, right?

What about other issues like, perhaps dog aggression? Is it possible to socialize an adult out of any DA? Again, this is likely an issue the rescue would have brought to my attention and possibly dealt with before my adopting the dog, right?

But generally, take the worst case scenario behavior........ Would it be correctable with time, patience and training?

I've watched lots of DogTown on National Geographic Channel, and it seems that they are rather successful with the most troubled of dogs, given enough time..... So is this the case with most?

I'm not saying the dog will have issues, who know, my adopted dog might be the most perfect in the world!!! I'm just looking at what ifs, just to be prepared...

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best! That's the best mindset I guess!!

Thanks guys!
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Depends on the rescue. Some are better than others. Some know the life history of the dog (or it seems that way) and others don't know more than that it is indeed a dog. Some, sadly, don't even know that. It also depends on the dog as well. A dog that was surrendered to them will likely have more information than a dog that was picked up as a stray.

In any case, adults are easier to housetrain than pups simply because they have an adult sized bladder and adult control over it. Pups have about a 30 second warning, but adults have much, much more than that.

Dog aggression is something that any rescue should know about as it's something easily determined. If there's any doubt in your mind whether a dog has this or not, I'd pass. I don't think dogs that suffer from DA are right for a first time owner, but that's just my 2 cents on the subject. It can be corrected, but IMO doing so is best left to experts.

To answer your main question, a dogs behavior is always malleable simply because they live in the moment. Plus, they have no history with you. A dog that behaves horribly in one environment may have no problems in another one simply because you give the dog strict rules and boundaries that are enforced while the first home did not. It's never too late to teach a dog.
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Would any of you advise against adopting a dog without having met him/her a few times first? If so, are there any conditions in which you might adopt a dog without a meet first? What would they be?
Personally, I would be reluctant to adopt a dog I've never met before, but I have done it in the past. All dogs have their own personalities and some of them conflict with our own. To me adopting a dog you've never met is kind of like an arranged marriage. You end up stuck with each other for life and you've never met before. But some of those arranged marriages work out perfectly.
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