Dr. Milani talks about rescue-itis, the allure of severely-damaged animals to rescue-groups or individuals. They often think 'love' will conquer any past trauma, make up for lack of socialization, no habituation to human homes, etc - it cannot; the dog's puphood & past history, with or without good human experiences, is what it is; we have to see truthfully where the dog is now, & realistically assess the chances for a happy life - not only for the dog, but for the adopter. mental, physical, or behavioral neglect can leave profound scars, which can be lifelong; they may get 'better', but that damaged-dog is extremely unlikely to ever become close to normal. Dr. McMillan spoke at the 2011 IAABC conference, & he believes that mental abuse / neglect is worse then physical; physical injuries tend to heal, & even if they are massive [serious burns, amputation, etc] the dog recovers over time; in sharp contrast neglect or abuse in puphood or over time can cause catastrophic damage, which needs not only skilled intervention & B-Mod but may result in permanently warped behaviors. [Dr McMillan has worked with the Vick-tory dogs, the survivors of the BadNewz kennels dogfighting biz.] a pup, pubertal or teen-dog with no early, happy experience of humans or human-spaces is crippled in many ways. dogs who enter rescue or a shelter may be semi-feral; human-handling is terrifying to them, they struggle or may freeze in complete panic; that they do not bite does not mean they are not STRESSED. they are neophobes: anything novel scares the p*ss out of them; some may already have had a past eejit try to use harsh-handling or flooding to 'cure' them, which is just one more bad experience to add to their fat file. dogs who have just arrived need more than shelter, food, clean water & vet-care; they need genuine assessment, not rosy-glasses pity - cringing, freezing, hiding, jamming their faces into corners & pretending we aren't there?!... not good signs, and they should NOT be 'appealing' -- it is not unusual to have a novice owner apply to adopt a cute dog who happens to be a train-wreck, & shelter-staff or rescue-volunteers should warn them - instead of cooing over the dog & back-patting the ignorant owner for being so generous & adopting this dog, who is likely to boomerang back in a week or a month or a year, either unchanged or even worse for wear. :nonod: glamorizing the adoption of a k9-disaster is IMO cruel & misleading to both parties - the very least that the shelter or rescue SHOULD do, in my professional opinion, is warn people that this dog may not ever be 'normal', that taking a vacation with the dog may not be enjoyable, kenneling this dog may be impossible, & even a house-sitter may not be something s/he can cope with, well; hiding under the bed & refusing to emerge to be leashed to toilet is just one potential complication - fear-biting can result in rifts with neighbors, estrangement from relatives, & even bankruptcy, depending on how serious the bite is, & the litigation which results. i am not by any means saying scared-dogs should all be euthanized, that's extreme & unnecessary - but choosing a dog who is obviously traumatized & terrified as a rescue, pulling that dog from a shelter, & letting some well-meaning person take home this pathetic bundle of raw-nerves is IMO no kindness. shelters & rescues IMO should: * require a group-class be attended & completed with every dog - no matter how normal the dog, no matter how experienced the adopter. 6-weeks of once weekly classes won't kill ya, & the dog is around other dog & people in a managed setting. * obviously these classes would be reward-based & not use aversive tools: prongs, choke, or shock-collars, nor confrontational or coercive handling & techniques: NO flooding, pin the dog, roll the dog, etc. * a partnership with one or more experienced B-Mod trainers, also using pos-R not flooding, chokes, etc, would also be advantageous to both the rescue/shelter & the adopter, for dogs who need more than manners - using calmatives, better management, how to keep a dog under threshold, what stress looks like at low-levels, & so on, can be crucial to whether the adoption succeeds or the adopter gives-up & the dog returns, or worse yet, is rehomed to another pet-home, which often results in a series of homes, each lasting weeks or months only. * many dogs who are adopted have never been housetrained; they may have lived in a yard or kennel, or on a chain, or simply survived as strays, scavenging as they could. To ensure their potty-training is kind & patient is another reason to foster such dogs, rather than place them with adopters immediately; trained fosters are a DoGsent-blessing for ignorant dogs with zero house-skills. :001_smile: * such dogs also often benefit from more-advanced management, especially till they feel more comfortable: using indoor tethers, introducing crates, wearing a drag, walking on a leash, what's a chew toy?..., feeding from a Kong or a BusterCube or other food-puzzles, a long-line to teach recall, hand feeding to avoid food-guarding, ... there is so much that can be done before the dog is ion a pet-home, being managed willy-nilly, scolded for predictable mistakes, and so on. * post-adoption support: somebody should be willing to follow up, check that all goes swimmingly or at least, relatively smoothly, no new problems arise, no major backsliding on known issues, etc. how many dog train-wrecks have U seen, placed in pet-homes without support or prior fostering? how many of those dog-disasters kept that home - and how many lost it? who knows a rescue [besides Dogs Trust] which actually offers post-adoption support via phone or e-mail?