Hey, everyone! Dachshund Mommy here. Hope everyone had a good and relaxing weekend!
Today I'd like to talk about something that's pretty personal and very controversial. It's also more than a little uncomfortable, upsetting, and disappointing for me. The subject is so taboo in the dog community that I initially hesitated to even mention in. When the issue first arose, I felt so shameful and so alienated from my fellow owners. When several of my closest "dog friends", if you will, told me that they, too, had had similar experiences it was the biggest weight off my shoulders. I no longer felt like the leper of the dog world, and I'm sharing this here so that hopefully, if you're in a similar situation, you know that you aren't alone with it.
What could such a ghastly occurrence be, you may wonder? When you just don't bond with your new dog.
Yes, that's right: I have not bonded to Rosa. At all. She has been here nearly a month now, and I still feel as indifferent to her as the day she arrived. No, actually, that isn't true; I feel even less attached than I did. It's gotten to the point where I dread spending time with her, and when I think of 12+ more years of this I feel a bit sick.
That sounds completely terrible and totally heartless. I truly do not mean it that way. It is exceedingly hard to covey emotion and tone in written word, so I fear this won't come out the way I intend it. You all have "known" me for over three years now, so I hope you'll draw on that and read this for what it is.
Before Rosa came home, I spent months anticipating, planning, hoping, dreaming about this dog. I bought top of the line grooming supplies. I read everything I could get my hands on. Watched dozens of grooming videos and tutorials on YouTube as I was determined to learn to groom myself. Scoured the internet for information on how to positively train a dog to be a gun dog. Imagined all the tricks and photo shoots I could do with the new addition. Relished in the idea of having a large dog again (Don't get me wrong, Nola and Pike are prefect in every way. They're so easy to travel with and to snuggle. But I missed a large dog.). Rearranged my room and went through my furniture to accommodate the large crate in addition to the smaller ones of Nola and Pike. Hell, I didn't even mind getting up at 4:30am the day we picked up Rosa in order to make the near 13 hour round trip to get her, and that should say something. I hate mornings and getting up early with a fiery passion.
After being burned by a previous breeder, I was even more excited to get Rosa, and anticipated her being perfect for what I wanted.
Such was not the case.
I'm not sure if it's possible to describe the sick taste of disappointment and frustration I felt when I brought her home and didn't feel anything at all for this dog after a week of being here. Nothing. She is nearly the polar opposite as far as temperament goes in what I want, need and enjoy in a dog.
Don't get me wrong, Rosa is a wonderful dog. She's smart, quiet, easy to manage, low energy, agreeable, and very undemanding. She's what 90% of the population want in a dog, and for most people she'd be absolutely flawless.
I am not most people. Nola and Pike are not most dogs. To most people, Nola and Pike would be viewed as extremely challenging creatures. They are both highly intelligent, high energy, high drive dogs that truly need to be doing something and working, as well as being with me.
Nola is a problem solver, an escape artist, a bossy, demanding little bitch. She's intense, focused, and in your face. She's aloof, she's vindictive, she's cunning, ballsy, incredibly feisty and more than a little bit crazy. I love her for it.
Pike is insanely high energy. He is hell on legs if he doesn't get adequate exercise, as he's so kindly showing me now since he's on limited activity due to his recent neuter and dewclaw removal surgery.
He is on top of me all the time. His needy clingy-ness would drive most everyone I know up the wall, but I love it. Usually, anyway. ;) He's constantly busy and wants nothing more than to do something for me at all times. He's one of the most high maintenance dogs I've ever met. I love him for it.
Nola and Pike are my ideal dogs. I love a "bad" dog. I love a dog that keeps me guessing and keeps me on my toes. I have a very, very busy and chaotic mind, and I need a challenge in my dogs. Rosa does not keep that need met.
Since I already have the challenges that are Nola and Pike, I'm sure many of you are wondering why I care so much that she isn't similar to them in that regard. The truth is so bluntly honest it'll probably make more than a few people cringe: I do not want to spend my time and hard earned money on something I do not like, do not enjoy and that does not offer me anything in return. Horrible? Maybe. Cynical? Most likely. Honest? Yes. Realistic? You'd better believe it.
So, now you've seen the mess I'm experiencing, the disappointment I feel, and the expectations that were not met.
I know I'm possibly setting more than a few people's teeth on edge, and this may sound like a rash decision based on not getting instant gratification. It's not, and I'll tell you why:
You can see a dog's basic temperament by 8 weeks. Of course training, environment, and socialization will play a role in the final personality, but your...building blocks, if you will, are there and visible at the two month mark. It's how dogs are selected for police work, service dogs, detection dogs, search and rescue. Will all dogs selected for the task cut it? No, of course not. However, stacking the odds in your favor based on the task you wish to do increases the chance that the dog will succeed. If you selected a dog that showed little or no characteristics that'd benefit whatever you wish to do, your chance of success is quite low. It's like attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole: futile and frustrating.
That is how I feel with Rosa. Her temperament, the core of the dog she is, will never match with what I am, what I want, and what I need. It isn't fair to her to be owned by someone who tries to make her into something she's not, who is too much person (you've heard the term "too much dog", right? Well, I'm too much person for Rosa) for her, and to live with two dogs who are exactly what that person wants, and therefore be constantly compared to, even though I try my damnedest not to.
As for me, it isn't fair to me to live with, pay for, care for, and spend time on a dog I do not enjoy. Life is far too short to be wasted wearing shoes that don't fit; they may be cute, and you may really want them, but at the end of the day you have blisters and your feet are killing you.
"Nothing worth having is easy!"
Really? Because I find my relationships with Nola and Pike as easy as breathing, and they are most certainly worth it. That sounds completely contradictive to my early statement about wanting a challenge, but I'm speaking more towards the bond than with training or interaction.
"You get the dog you need, not the dog you want."
Why should they be mutually exclusive? I don't think you should have to sacrifice what you want with what you need. I mean seriously, dogs aren't some kind of medicine you take when you're sick; you need the medicine, but don't want it. I can't really see the argument of having a dog you need but do not want.
"Don't be a quitter."
I am an incredibly stubborn and tenacious person. I hate to give up. I despise failing. But at the same time, I'm not stupid. I won't be trying to force something over and over and over and over again that won't ever work. As the apt saying goes: "If you have to force a fart, it's probably shit."
"It's only been a month! Stick with it. She'll grow on you."
No, she won't. I go with my gut, and that is what it's telling me. Rather than drawing out the turmoil, I'm ripping the bandaid off.
We don't always click with the people and animals we met. It's just not possible to like and enjoy everyone you meet, and sometimes you don't click even when you wish with all your might that you would.
Rosa is not longer my dog, not that she really ever was. She is now my mother's dog, and they are both quite happy. My mother describes her as the ideal dog, and for her that's true.
I know she is in excellent hands, I still get to see her, and the weight of a horrid fit is off my shoulders. Everyone's happy. It was an agonizing choice, but I feel it was best for everyone in this circumstance.
It's now nearly midnight, and I had an exhausting day. I apologize for the length of this post, and if it got a little disjointed towards the end. Please feel free to express your opinion and ask questions, so long as they are phrased in a respectful manner. You might not have done it in this situation, but I ask you to remember that you are not living it, and as such can't really make that call. Any and all questions will be answered in tomorrow's post, and rude or hateful comments will be removed.