Since offering my services in Vietnam, I have conducted numerous behaviour consultations for people that have adopted a dog or puppy. Many of these dog owners became aware of behavioural issues such as extreme anxiety, extreme irrational fears, extreme dependency issues, and aggression (in some cases extreme aggression), that they were either not informed about when adopting their dog, or were told "in time your dog will settle down with lots of love", or "the dog just needs time to adjust to its new family". In many of the consultations I carried out, the adopted dogs owner/s were extremely distressed about their new dog and the way it was behaving, and the behaviours only became worse over time. Many of these behavioural issues did not start to manifest until the dog had been in the home for a few weeks. Sadly, for some dogs with these types of psychological issues, it can take many months of intensive behaviour modification to help rehabilitate the dog, which understandably, many of my clients never signed up for when adopting their dog. In some rare cases, sadly, there is nothing that can be done other than to try and manage the dogs issues. Dogs with these deeply ingrained psychological issues are usually distressed, and in some rare cases do not have a good quality of life, no matter how loving their new owners are. And not only that, in many cases, the dogs owner start to regret ever adopting the dog, no matter how much they love their adopted dog.
I have been to numerous homes here in Ho Chi Minh to help clients with their newly adopted dog, and the majority of these are due to extreme anxiety related issues, including extreme aggression. I had one client that adopted a dog, and within a few months this dog had sent 3 people to hospital with severe dog bites. This dogs underlying aggression issues weren't initially obvious when they first adopted the dog. So please be aware, in the majority of cases, people operating dog rescues have little to no knowledge on dog behaviour, and therefore should not be relied upon for expert advice. Many of these rescues have had no formal training on dog behaviour, and tend to be overly emotional about the dogs they are adopting out, and therefore, tend not to have a critical understanding of a dogs natural instincts and behaviour, and therefore, how to deal with behavioural issues correctly. Many will inform you that offering treats for good behaviour and giving lots of affection is all your dog needs. This is far from the truth, and in many cases very irresponsible advice.
I offer behaviour assessment services for anyone considering adopting a dog or puppy. This behaviour assessment will cover all areas of your potential adopted dogs behaviour to ensure you understand the psychological state of your dog, before adopting it, and if it has any obvious or underlying issues that may develop or come to the surface once your dog settles in. If I do assess any psychological or behavioural issues of concern, I will discuss with you what it would entail by you to help the dog work through any psychological or behavioural issues it may have. This way you can make an informed decision as to if the particular dog or puppy you are considering is suited to you and your family before committing to adoption.
If you are considering adopting a dog please state that you would like a trial period of at least 1 to 2 weeks to ascertain if the dog is suitable for your family and home environment. I would then suggest you organise for me (or a professional dog behaviour specialist, and not just an obedience trainer) to come to your home and conduct a full behavioural assessment. If the rescue organisation or person you are considering adopting or purchasing your dog from will not accept this requirement from you, then I would suggest seriously reconsidering adopting or purchasing the dog. Please, don't use someone that calls them self a professional, that has minimal experience in the field of dog behaviour, or is adverting them self as positive only or a purely positive trainer. Choose a professional that has years of working with behavioural issues in dogs, and that has a full understanding of dog behaviour, and is not limited to a particular emotive based training ideology. The professional you choose should have an open and balanced training and behaviour modification philosophy, that is not limited by ideology or emotion. Also, do not select a trainer that focuses purely on obedience training, as behaviour modification and obedience training are both different fields of expertise. Please follow this link for information on my dog training and behaviour modification philosophy and methods.
Once your dog has had a full behaviour assessment by me, I will then explain to you, any issues I see that are currently obvious to me, or potential issues that may develop once the dog settles into its new home. I will also explain to you, if your dog has any particular issues of concern, what you will need to do to help work your new dog through these issues. Armed with this information before you adopt your dog, you can then make an informed decision as to if this dog will be suitable for you and your family or not.
Some of the red flags that you maybe told about the dog you are considering purchasing or adopting:
- Irrational fear of people, other dogs, places or objects. Will either avoid, freeze, hide, or show aggression such as bark, growl or try to bite.
- Told that the dog will become very loving and attach to 1 or 2 members of the family.
- Is insecure, but very loving.
- Will take some time to warm up to you or trust you.
- Is not suitable for a home with children.
- Is only suitable for homes where its the only dog.
- Is not suitable for homes with a cat.
- Is very shy but loving.
- Doesn't like some dogs.
I am not suggesting dogs with these issues should not be considered for adoption. However, you should be aware that dogs with these issues can be a lot of work. Dogs with issues such as the ones listed above (but not limited too) have behavioural or psychological issues that in most cases require some, if not intensive, behaviour modification. It's never only about taking the dog home and giving it lots of affection. By not dealing with these issues correctly, you may indeed reinforce and therefore strengthen the unwanted behaviour or the unhealthy psychological state the dog was already in when you adopted it. For example, you bring an adopted dog home that you fell in love with because it was so scared and insecure, because your emotional self pushed you to take the dog home to give it lots of affection, because you felt so sorry for it. In some such cases, after a few weeks of being in this new "loving" home, the dog starts to display aggression to deal with its insecurities. This type of behavioural change in an insecure dog may manifest once it starts to feel more comfortable within its new home environment, or the new owners unintentionally reinforcing the behaviour, or confusing the dog by the way they are dealing with its behaviour. This unhealthy behavioural change is usually because the adopted dogs owner didn't understand how to help the dog work through its insecurity issues in the first place. This then also creates stress within the home environment, and is the number one reason for a majority of adopted dogs being returned to the rescue, or advertised for a new home, or sadly pushed onto psychotropic medication, or even more sad, put to sleep.
So please, before adopting a dog, be sure you understand what you are actually bringing into your home. Understand that if the dog has issues, it is in all probability going to take a lot of work by you, to help the dog work through these issues. You really need to understand what your new dogs requirements are before committing to adoption, and then accept responsibility for them if you choose to go ahead with the adoption. And most importantly, understand how to deal with them correctly. It's never just about giving lots of love and affection!
Adopting a young puppy
A puppy should not be removed from its mother or siblings earlier than 8 weeks of age. I have come across a number of clients that were informed by the rescue, breeder, or pet shop, that their puppy is 8 weeks of age, and when I attended their home to help start their new puppy's training found that the real age of the puppy was 5 weeks or younger! Please, make sure that the puppy you are considering purchasing or adopting was not removed from its mother or siblings until at least 8 weeks of age. If you are not sure how old your puppy is, please either have your puppy checked by a professional, such as dog behaviour specialist like myself, or a reputable Vet not associated with that particular breeder, shop or rescue. Sadly, many pups are being sold as soon as they are eating solids and have weaned from their mother. This practise is being totally irresponsible! A puppy needs this time with its mother and siblings to learn how to be a dog, learn about accepting discipline, and how to interact correctly with its siblings ,and therefore other dogs. This period is extremely crucial for the puppy's early development that cannot be replaced by its human family. Please read about my home puppy training services by clicking here.
Discount on my behaviour and training services
If you have your dog or puppy assessed by me before going through with the adoption, I offer a 15% discount on the total fee for any of my behaviour modification or training services fee if you decide to go ahead with the adoption.
Before adopting, behaviour assessment in your home (90 mins) 1.800.000 đ*
This fee is for 1 dog. If you are having more than 1 dog assessed please include an additional fee of 500.000 đ* per additional dog.
*within 20 mins drive from Thao Dien. Outside this area, please contact me for price.
The management of many apartment complexes and condominiums and landlords around Ho Chi Minh are making it more difficult for tenants have pet dogs in their apartments, or are now requesting that tenants have their dogs behaviour assessed by a professional dog behaviour specialist, to ensure that their dog is suitable to reside in the complex.
We offer a full behavioural assessment of your dog at your place of residence. Once the assessment is completed, you will receive a behaviour assessment letter that can be addressed directly to you, your agent, landlord, or apartment management. We can also provide this letter in Vietnamese for an additional fee. Also included with the letter is my direct contact details so your agent, landlord or apartment management can contact me directly about your dog, if they so choose.
The assessment is usually for around 60 to 90 mins, and will include all areas of your dogs behaviour and temperament. Once the assessment is completed your assessment letter will be available within 2 to 3 working days.
I cannot guarantee that this assessment will be favourable, as this is an honest and professional assessment of your dogs overall behaviour. I look at behaviours such as barking, aggression, sociability, and your dogs overall temperament, for suitability to live in an apartment complex, or even a villa or house. If your assessment is not overly favourable due to some behavioural issues you consider may restrict you from having your dog live with you, I can of course offer you behaviour modification assistance (additional fee click here), and include this in your behaviour assessment report. At least then your agent, landlord or apartment management can see that you are having your dogs behavioural issues addressed professionally.