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Keep your dog

By Sherry Clark

Published in The Community Voice

Rohnert Park, California

September 30, 2016


“We're getting rid of our dog…”

These words send chills down a dog professional’s spine. Wait, don’t stop reading. More information is better than less information. You deserve to know the options so you can make the most informed decision possible.

​Here are a few questions to assist in your difficult decision.


Which option will convey the most positive image to your children, friends and family?

a) Get rid of the dog

b) Face and resolve the issues?


Which option will make you "feel" best about yourself?

a) Get rid of the dog

b) Face and resolve the issues?


Which option will return the love and devotion your dog has already unselfishly shared with you?

a) Get rid of the dog

b) Face and resolve the issues?

Be brave

Be a true leader by providing positive “life lessons” for your family.


Your family will respect you more than you thought possible.

Are finances kicking your tail?

You're not alone. I get it. Food and a roof over your head are priority.

Even if you are in a dire situation, consider this question.


If you lost everything but still had your family, would you feel lucky?

Would you be so thankful to have each other, that the grief from losing “things” quickly fades.

Just for the sake of your dog, put him or her in the family category instead of the things category.

How does that look? Your family (dog included) snuggled in the back seat of your car eating rice? Could be worse. There are ways to get dog food (and human food) if you let yourself ask for assistance.

List three ways you can save 30 dollars a month for dog food.

Bring your lunch to work? Cut commercial beverages in half? Buy fewer cigarettes a month? Brain storm with your family, everyone can pitch in a little. Write it on a piece of paper so it’s in black and white. This is yet another way to gain your family’s respect.

One more question.

If your dog was well mannered, would you try harder to keep him or her? That's the bottom line. Train your dog so your dog can spend more time with you. Presumably spend his or her whole life with you.

This is the reason I quit my big fancy job to become a dog trainer. I wanted to do something important, more important than process improvement for big corporations. Family is more important. Making connections with nature for me, especially animals, is more important. Keeping dogs out of shelters and with their families, to me, is extremely important.


The No. 1 reason dogs are in shelters is because they are untrained.

We humans fell down on the job. The reason over 4 million dogs are put to death each year is because we didn't properly train our dogs. I know that's a lot to think about. Sleep on it, process it, just don't dismiss it without talking with your family.


Do it at 7 p.m. and make a date with your family and…what’s your dog’s name?


By the way, the following are changeable behaviors.

Challenge me, I've devoted my life to this. I'll talk to you.

Jumping, barking, digging, chasing animals, nipping, biting, growling, fighting, running away, peeing on the floor, pooping on the floor, pulling on the leash, going nuts at delivery people, lunging at dogs, eating the carpet, couch, or drywall, stealing food off the counter (or steak from the grill), costing too much money (yeah that too), knocking people over, drinking from the toilet, following you everywhere, jumping out of the window, barking while in the car, scratching the car, getting car sick, eating the garden, smudging the windows, taking the best seat in the house, grabbing a stupid bottle of water from the fridge instead of a beer, drooling (okay, not much I can do about that one)…well, I might have some ideas on that one. I'll do my very best to help your dog stay in his or her family. I promise!

The reward for the family?

Check out these thoughts.

You are the one who they’ll talk about with admiration in their eyes as they tell friends, lovers, counselors, grandchildren that:

“My parents were not perfect, but they made darn sure we kept our dog Smoky even when times were hard. Working together we made sure Smokey had what he needed. It helped us pull together. Keeping him, seemed to lower our stress. I remember Smokey licking us on the face and we would all bust out laughing.


On the other hand, don’t think your family will forget that you are the one who discarded the family dog, think about how that will program kids of the future?

If you’re not convinced to keep your dog, at least vow to modify your future behavior. Please don’t repeat the behavior of getting a cute big-eyed animal unless you plan ahead for the life expectancy of that animal (for dogs plan on 14-18 years).


Will you go to college? Where will the animal live during that time? It’s not Mom and Dad’s job to take care of the animal you adopted unless you made that agreement BEFORE you brought your pet home.


Gonna do it anyway?

Ask family and friends to adopt from you. Take the time to find a no-kill shelter. Pay for ads to advertise your dog. Make posters explaining your situation.

Pay for boarding until you find a home. Place free ads online., Look under COMMUNITY, then choose PETS.

Note: Don’t offer your dog as a “free” pet. There are bad people out there who can make dark money (or worse) off free animals.


Train your dog first, so he or she has a better chance for finding a permanent home, who knows, once trained you may change your mind.

Sending you much love on your journey.



Sherry Clark with Brainy Dog can be reached at (707) 922-6344 or


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