This is a series that will post on Wednesdays touching on the various joys and struggles of adopting a rescue dog. Many people have adopted rescues or may be considering it and we thought that a look into what the process is like and the various challenges that may go along with this would be beneficial and of interest to readers. Keep in mind that this is one couple’s story and that every rescue adoption is unique. We look forward to sharing these installments with you weekly! Click here to view part 4
An Adoption Story Part 5 - A Different Perspective
Over the past week, we'd been practicing the tips we learned from the instructor, Julia, and Sadie had been doing great. Much less pulling while on walks, and gentle correction when she strayed got her back on track. She would stay on her mat when practicing "place", and obeyed "wait" before she ate her meals. She would obey "come" when a treat was on offer (though she's still working on it when she doesn't sense the treat). For some reason she's started to forget or ignore "sit", though, even though it's one of the first commands she learned; we think she doesn't recognize it out of context (context usually being, "Time to put on your leash to go outside") so we'll work on that; housebreaking is also progressing frustratingly slowly and it seems she sometimes doesn't realize when she needs to have a bowel movement until it has to happen right now. But by most measures, her training has really been coming along.
And by those measures at home, the last puppy class was a spectacular failure. She strained against the leash, she ignored "stay" and "sit" and jumped up (or tried to) on every person or dog that came within reach. She barked at the other puppies because she really, really wanted to play. In short, she was distracted by every distraction. Julia likes to hold the final puppy class in Kerrytown for exactly that reason: the distractions. And in fact, despite my impression, Julia thought that Sadie actually did very well.
The challenge is to cut through what is distracting and get your pup to focus on you, and the more easily they can do that when interesting things are all over the place, the more easily they can focus and obey when you're at home in familiar territory. Though Sadie is still young—we've had her for a month now, but that means she's still only around 7 months old—Julia (and everyone at the Animal Hospital, for that matter) assures us that she'll calm down and mellow out and will be both more capable of focus and willing to listen. Sadie's youthful exuberance can be very entertaining and is sometimes a lot of fun, but it can also be extremely frustrating. We'd really like to be able to take her into town to walk and socialize her without it turning into a spectacle, or have company over and trust that she'll behave, so we're really glad we're laying the groundwork now.
Oh, and I apologize again to the woman (and her shoes) who unfortunately came along on the sidewalk just as Sadie suddenly realized that nature was calling.