I got a Quarantine Puppy
Like so many, the quarantine shutdown had my partner and I counting the number of hairs on our heads, baking brownies, and gardening like never before.
It had been 3 years since my beloved Labrador Maizy, of 13 years had passed away. Our entire climbing season was canceled (we were taking a rigorous weekend/evening course that was supposed to dominate our entire summer and winter), and both of us looked at each other and knew it was time for a new dog. We had the time now. We needed someone to love and welcome into our family. I was ready.
Why a mutt? Why a rescue? I’ll save the in depth reasons why for another post, but suffice to say, unless you’re a dog aficionado who actually shows dogs and breeds them for the BETTERMENT of a specific breed itself- NOT because of the profit, I personally cannot justify taking the life of a shelter-dog because I need to have a purebred.
Soapbox carefully stowed away now, I had originally set my hopes on an old dog. I absolutely love old dogs. All they want is a soft bed, love and pets, and a walk or mellow park trip. I love their happy go lucky grey bearded smiles, and mellow energy. My partner however, wanted a puppy. I had so much trepidation going through the pain of potty training, crate training, basic training a 4 month old furry baby. We were able to compromise on a 7 month old black and white spotted pitt-mix with floppy ears.
I had sworn to myself and others, I would NEVER get a dog without having met them first for a temperament test. Never say never. Petfinder found us contacting the rescue who had Heidi (now Halfpint), and we facetimed with her foster mom and watched as she bounced around their living room licking their growly Jack Russell’s face in submission. She then curled up on their couch burying her nose under her tail, a trait that she still does whether its our armpits or a pillow she is nuzzling into. We knew she was it. Whatever behavioral issues she might have, whatever high-energy neuroticism she may exhibit, we would learn to work around and with it. My caveat to the foster mom and the rescue agency was that I simply could not take a dog-dog aggressive pup. This dog would be an integral member of my pack and work life, and I would not be able to keep a dog with aggression issues. They assured me as best they could she had none, but it was still a crapshoot. In my experience these behaviors can appear over time, in different situations, especially when dogs are nearing adolescence.
So far, after 3 months after adopting her, I have seen nothing of the sort from Halfpint, and hope that the massive amount of socialization she has experienced from day 1 with us, will ensure us having a dog that is fool-proof and confident.
I wanted to write this blog, because it has been a long time since I have had a NEW dog. I was 20 years old when I acquired Maizy, and honestly did almost everything wrong with her in terms of training and consistency- BECAUSE I WAS IGNORANT.
I now have 13+ years under my belt working 5-7 days a week with over 70 different dogs throughout the years. Through trial and error, and a constant desire to do better, be better, and communicate better with all dogs, I have learned numerous behavioral strategies for all types of situations. My conclusion is that positive reinforcement is the best approach, and awareness, timing and consistency are the 3 stool legs holding it together in balance.
I wanted to share my trials, tribulations, and successes with Halfpint, in the hopes that maybe you can glean some knowledge that will help you with your new family member.
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