a reply to: ladyinwaiting
I understand your confusion... After all, you've only seen the positive reports I've made here in this thread. Let me do some explaining that may
clear it up a bit. It will give me a chance to get it all out. Forgive the length of this post.
First, let me say that I put forth a persona on these boards (and in life) of a strong person with her # together. I don't often show what could be
perceived as weakness, insecurity or failure on my part. So, most of what I post about my personal experiences is filtered through that lens. So, your
being "taken aback" doesn't surprise me at all. I'm glad you said something about it. Gives me a chance to show my human-like frailties. LOL!
Anyway, when we "ordered" Shade from an extremely reputable breeder, we filled out a questionnaire that was VERY detailed about what we were looking
for. I'm not sure how it happened, but the puppy we got was not what we said we wanted in several important ways. I suspect most of the litter's
puppies were spoken for, and we got one that other people simply didn't choose, that was the closest to what we wanted of the remaining pups. But I
don't know. It didn't matter. We got the pup we got and we were committed to making the most of the situation.
For the three months that Shade has been with us, he went through all the phases of a normal (high-energy) GSD puppy, including biting, growling,
being defiant, and just basically being a pain in the ass. There were times when we wondered
if it was going to work because of how very
different he was from our other GSD puppies. But I was assured (by my trainer and the GSD board I belong to) that he would outgrow most of these
annoying behaviors. And he has. It was only then that I realized that even without the biting and all, I (we) still wasn't going to be able to work
him to his fulfillment.
We live in a small town and there's one trainer that I know of. We've been working with her all along. We don't have an AKC, agility, fly-ball, a
therapy dog organization, a herding organization or even a good dog park. But since I had done great with Jaia and B'asia, I figured it would be
similar with Shade. I was wrong. The breeder offered to give us another dog from a future breeding, but knowing that it would probably be a similar
situation, I declined. That's when she suggested donating him for SD training.
Shade was 180 degrees out from Jaia and B'asia temperamentally. They were free in the house by the time they were 3 months old. They never chewed
anything, stole anything, ran from us or behaved negatively in any way. I credited myself with these successes (I know better now - they were just
laid-back easy dogs, which is why we wanted another one like them.) Shade still doesn't have run of the house at 5 months. He has to be supervised and
still thinks everything is his to do with as he pleases. He needs more than I have to offer. I've been studying and researching whenever I have a
minute so that I can do better by him, but I'm failing and I just had to admit that and do right by the dog.
One problem I can't abide is that Shade totally disrespects Jaia, chews on him, and Jaia now cowers from Shade and avoids him at all cost. I had to
stop Jaia from correcting Shade a while ago, because Jaia was getting too overbearing with the puppy. I've just kept them separated since then, the
main reason Shade can't be loose in the house. He targets Jaia at every opportunity. Jaia seems lethargic and depressed. I can't have that.
Let me be clear, I LOVE Shade and have loved training him (to my ability) and it breaks my heart to know that he's not going to be with us for his
life. But it's been VERY stressful, tense and emotional. The day I made this decision was the closest I've come to a 'breakdown' that I've ever
experienced. I cried uncontrollably and felt like I was losing my mind. But when this Service Dog opportunity came up, I knew it was the best thing
for all of us. My husband, me, Jaia and most of all, Shade. He will live a fulfilled life with an important job to do, which is something I just
couldn't give him under the current circumstances. If I were 30 years old and lived in a large city with many options, I think I could and would have
kept him. But that's not reality.
So, that's how I arrived here. I hope that gives you (and others) a clearer picture of the sitch. Feel free to ask any questions.
♥ to you, too.