Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Upstate NY
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Thank you for your kind words about the puppy. I know I had expert advice, but it still remains a nightmarish memory. I could kind of tell she wasn't really "normal" but maybe the transition from her kennel to our home was part of her problem...I just don't know. In the end I followed the advice of the vet and the trainer. Then I thought, did I overreact and somehow mislead them? The trainer did see some of the behavior, though--a lot--and the vet evaluated her. But was he just being sympathetic to us because we were old customers (had known us all Jasper's life) and having a hard time? I'm full of doubts, I guess.
I'd love to hear from anyone who's had this experience. I think part of, a large part of, our problem is that my husband and I shared a philosophy of "She's our dog now." As though she had been a child born into our family, once we took her home, we felt that we should have dealt with whatever problems she had. And we failed to do that.
But I know it was obvious to the vet and the trainer that we couldn't handle her. The trainer is experienced--writes a column on dogs and dog training for our local paper, and is a well-known (locally) advocate of positive training methods for dogs--which is the only type of training I think I'm capable of providing a dog; I just cannot use harsh or negative punishments. I mean, I couldn't and didn't even say "bad dog" to Jasper (well, maybe once when he was running out into the street--and he immediately hit the ground and rolled over on his back; I felt awful). I would usually just distract him and remove whatever temptation was causing him to, ah, deviate from desirable behavior. This worked fine with Jasper although he was definitely indulged...
But as a puppy he was laid back--never had resource guarding issues, never whined a single time in his crate, even the first night home--quite an easy puppy, I know that. He WAS quite, quite bitey, humped his toys like crazy, and was charged with energy, and I must say we didn't do much to discourage him since he had enormous control of his bite. It was just a please-play-with-me bite with a very soft mouth. Well, except for those little milk teeth (ouch!). I did sustain quite a few bruises from them, but it was really all in fun and under control.
Anyway, with the new puppy, both of them--the vet and the trainer--could see that I was the wrong person to deal with a puppy with Lily's issues. But I worry about her. I was beginning to bond with her, although to be honest it took a few days. That horrified me too, because with Jasper, bonding had happened so, so fast. And then we returned her...it was so, so hard.
But thank you--bless you! -- for listening and giving me some reassurance.