The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Tough Decisions

on August 25, 2014

Thursday evening a dog trainer came out to help us deal with some of Charlie’s behavior issues. The longer Charlie was at our house, the more comfortable he became, and the more his bad behaviors increased. I worked from home on Thursday and it was nonstop all day. He was barking, knocking things over, getting into things. To answer my uncle’s question No, being in a crate all day had nothing to do with his behavior. Being crated was a good thing for him. It kept him calm, and his behavior was the best for the hour or so after he got out. But without boundaries? Typical dopey puppy behavior. And we needed tools to deal with it.

The conversation didn’t really go as I thought it would. What I saw as minor issues, she saw as more major red flags. Charlie is afraid of a few things, namely parked cars and certain people. The fear of parked cars has gotten markedly better the more walks we’ve gone on, but his fear of certain people hasn’t gone anywhere. To my surprise, he was afraid of the dog trainer.

We talked a lot about training options, going to classes versus having a trainer come to the house to work specifically with Charlie. We also talked about the fact that maybe Charlie wasn’t the right dog for our house, that maybe he was more dog than I was really prepared to deal with. From her viewpoint he needed significant training to overcome his bad habits, with continued support for years. Could I do that? I felt like I could, or that at least I wanted to try.

And then he reacted to her in a way that made us both very uncomfortable. His fear of her became more corner and attack, rather than flee. She was very concerned about this behavior pattern, especially as he grows older and becomes more confident. Her recommendation was that we return him to the humane society.

Hearing her say those words, I knew she was right, and yet I looked at his sweet face and it was hard to come to terms with it. The truth is, I have a lot of people through my house. He’s very afraid of my cleaning guy, what will happen there in the future? What about babysitters? Knowing what I knew, I couldn’t take the risk.

I debated how much of all of this to share. I feel like I have to defend my decision, when truly, I don’t. In all of this, I was most worried about how it would look to everyone else, everyone who only knew how sweet Charlie was when he was on the end of a leash, calm and quiet. I felt like it would look like I gave up on a hard dog because it was too much work. I’ve turned comments off on this and I’m not posting it to Facebook because quite honestly, I’m not interested in feedback. This was a very difficult decision, but I can only hope that it was the right decision for both sides. Charlie deserves the very best in a forever home, and I hope he gets it.

As a family, we’ve agreed to wait until October 1 to make any decisions on future dogs. Given what I know now, I think it will be a smaller dog, two years old or older that is already trained, from a rescue organization. That said, this is a lesson I wish we could have learned some other way.