Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Adjustments..

So, I thought finding a dog was hard.. ha! Not as hard as having one.. we really did not know what we were in for with Turbo!

As you may recall, we adopted Turbo last week from a shelter. We know nothing about his life before this became his home. Supposedly he was found as a stray.

Things had gone fine over the weekend. He's a very loving dog who likes to sleep on the sofa near his people.
He's also a very playful dog.. but he doesn't play very nice. He's very rough. He likes to "mouth" which is basically biting but he doesn't mean to hurt. After doing a lot of research I've learned this is very natural, but is usually a habit that is broken at a very young age as the puppy learns people don't like to be bit. Obviously nobody taught that to this puppy, and now that he's a little older (about 6 months) it's going to be a little harder to teach him something he's always thought was okay to do.

This causes a problem because for 1, whenever the kids are wandering around the house the dog might nip at them for no reason. The dog may think they are trying to play, or he may get excited, or who knows what he's really thinking.. but of course this makes the kids nervous. So now instead of just going to pet him they sort of hold their hand over his head waiting to see what he'll do.. and this usually gives him more reason to nip at them.

Problem #2 is during play. He seems to think play must involve jumping on people and biting them.

So that was our weekend. We researched these problems, what to do to make it stop, and gave some good consideration to some obedience training.

Then came Monday. Monday wasn't such a good day..

Monday morning I took Turbo for a walk, and he was sneezing and had boogers running from his nose. He'd also had an occasional cough that had me a little worried. So, I decided to make an appointment to have our vet check him out. Here's where I went wrong!

Everything was fine until we got there.. then my Turbo went crazy! Jumping and barking at everything he saw. It was over stimulation and I could not control him.. big mistake!

So when the vet came in to check him out, Turbo was beyond worked up. Mostly he was just overly playful.. but as the vet tried to examine him his playful growls and nips turned a bit more serious.

The vet brought Turbo in the back, but could not examine him. She then returned to the room alone to tell me she suggests we re-think the idea of keeping Turbo in our family.

I myself was worked up and frightened. I already had a fear of dogs from childhood, plus I was stressed from my attempts to control Turbo in the waiting room..

I just ended up in tears and thinking the vet was probably right. Turbo was too much for us and we couldn't be certain to trust him around the kids.

We had a lapse in judgement that night, caused by my fears and the vet's advice. We returned Turbo to the shelter we'd adopted him from.

But we knew immediately that was the wrong choice! We know Turbo is a handful.. but he's not aggressive or mean.. he's just hyper.. very hyper, and hasn't learned right from wrong!

We realized we can't blame him for his reaction to the vet. He didn't know better. It was a stressful situation. Who wouldn't get scared and stressed in that type of situation if you don't know what's going on and you've only just left a shelter?

We brought Turbo back home first thing Tuesday morning. We know he needs a lot of work. Perhaps we aren't the right family for him as he needs time, patience, love, and probably a lack of small children that he could possibly hurt with his mouthing.

But we decided we're just going to have to make adjustments to keep everyone safe. The children have to leave the dog alone for now, or only approach him when he's cuddling on the sofa. The dog has a crate for when things get out of hand. I've learned my lesson about trying to take him to public places alone!
I've contacted an obedience trainer who will probably start working with us as soon as Friday morning (which is not soon enough!!).
Meanwhile we're doing tons of research to find the best ways to handle Turbo until we can get the training accomplished. I've ordered some products to help, such as a gentle leader  (shown below on Amazon, click the ad for more info).



It will be hard, we understand that, and we gave it very serious consideration before bringing him back home Tuesday morning. But there was no way we could part with him. Monday night was awful for us. We were all in tears over it. Tuesday my 10 year old son couldn't go to school because he was too upset. When I woke up he was sitting on the sofa, crying, and holding the dog's collar.

He's already a part of our family and there's no way we can part with him. So, just like an unruly child, we have to work to set up rules, boundaries, and rewards for good behavior..

Here's Turbo in the car on the way back home Tuesday morning and a very happy Tyler to have his doggy back :)

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