Monday, July 28, 2014

If You Have to Force It, It's Probably Shit

     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.

Dachshund Mommy


  1. I had a feeling when I wasn't seeing any pictures of Rosa that it didn't work out. I couldn't tell you how many dogs my best friend has gone through finding what she wants and enjoys. There is nothing wrong with it either because the homes she finds for the dogs that don't fit her bill fit the dog's new owners and the dogs end up being much happier in the end. I'm glad that it all worked out. And you are far from alone in this situation. Its also best you realized this early on too before to much time/money/energy were vested into it.

  2. You got you know what for posting this as some will want to throw rotten tomatoes at you. BOL. You are honest. At least you didn't bring it to a shelter or dump her like some would do. At least mom has a good girl. Bet you will still be the groomer.
    Lily & Edward

  3. You gave it a try....and you made arrangements to make sure that she has a great home with someone who loves her for who she is. We tell adopters from our rescue that it doesn't always work out and that we will always take our animals back - better that than have everyone be unhappy.

  4. I think you found a great solution. I was wondering when there were no photos or stories about her. You made the best choice.

  5. I love Katy and I only wish her owners had been honest about their inability to connect to her before they waited two years. It is hard for some people to accept and you likely will get tomatoes, but I look at how happy Katy is in the right home and I accept that it is better for her to be here than to be somewhere where she was merely tolerated. The only real issue I have is that they waited so long. She would have been so much happier if they had been honest from the beginning that it was a mistake and she deserved a better placement. Bailey's owner's did that and the transition as puppy was much easier than that of an adult that knows something isn't right.

    You found her a place where she is the star and that is so important. I think of the two years Katy spent not being where she was meant to be and it is sad. Your dog is fortunate that Mom was the one. Katy needed a breed rescue to help her make the right match. You made the switch early before she really had the time to attach and I suspect that made getting attached to your Mom all the easier.

    I wish all of you well as you continue your journey.

  6. Not every dog has to be your heart dog, but at the same time, just because you are a dog lover doesn't mean you have to love, or even like, every single dog. Before I got Pallo, I had a dog stay the weekend with me as a trial before adopting him. And I knew within the first few hours that he wouldn't be staying with me. For that matter, while Koira is my heart dog, Pallo is most definitely not. When I adopted him, I was looking for a flyball height dog, and that is what I got. I like him okay, and I enjoy training him, but there is no deep bond like I have with Koira. When he is gone for the weekend, I don't feel like I am missing a limb. Sometimes, that bond just doesn't happen, even after years. In my case though, I still got the sport dog I was looking for.

  7. OH DM, we're so sorry to hear this! We know that Rosa is in a GREAT place now and she will be loved, loved, loved!! We commend you for (always) speaking the truth no matter how hard it is. Only wish more people would do the same.

    Not bonding with a dog is one of Mommy's fears too. She always said she would love more to join our pack, but she is VERY afraid the new pupper wouldn't be as perfect as Muffin and I are. We fit into her lifestyle really, really well. One never knows what the next one would be like and it would break her heart to get another that doesn't fit in.

    We love you always and don't judge you for your choices.

    Lily Belle

  8. I can't imagine why anyone would throw tomatoes! I don't like every person I meet, why would I like every dog I meet? And good for you for seeing through the puppy cuteness. I would not have even batted an eye if you had said you sent Rosa back to her breeder. That would have been a totally acceptable outcome, but since your Mom loves her, it is a win-win situation for both of you!

  9. I'll be picking up my new puppy this upcoming weekend and I'm scared I might have the same reaction you did to Rosa. I've been planning and preparing for months, even before he was bred. I'm hoping that the pup isn't calm, because I too enjoy a very mindful, very thoughtful, very intense, very demanding dog... and if he's not... well, I just don't know if I can train that into him. I've worked very hard to get that drive from my current dog, but I knew early on that she was going to be easy to imprint on in terms of training and attitude. The pup is from working lines on both sides, so I know I'm working with some great genes, but I've gone out of my way and out of my pocket for this puppy and I just don't know yet.

    You made the right decision for you. I applaud you for that. I also hope that I do not have to make the same decision soon. Thank you for being brave enough to share. I know this must have been a difficult post.

  10. I'm the kind of person that seems to bond with every animal. I become so attached to dogs at the shelter or dogs we foster even when they are not what I like in a dog. It's always interesting to hear how people experience things different. In my mind, I can't understand not bonding because it happens way too easily for me. Obviously,not everyone is like that. I'm so happy you were able to find her a home where she fits in. That is being a responsible pet owner. I hope you're able to find what you're looking for :)

  11. Sounds like you've come up with the ideal situation for you and Rosa.

  12. Not quite the same but I also had trouble bonding with our foster dog. And like Rosa, he was what most people would want. Low energy, very cuddly, undemanding and a pretty mellow dog. And it frustrated me to no end because he didn't want to do anything. And I felt guilty because he was attached to me and I wasn't.

    He suffered in comparison to Mr. N (in our household at least) because I value athleticism, intelligence and drive and reward accordingly. Mr. N will happily hike for five miles, then learn a new trick in the afternoon and accompany me around town afterwards. Foster Pup is happiest curled up on a lap with someone feeding him tidbits.

    Are you still planning on getting another Spoo?

  13. I think that is completely normal. Personalities clash sometimes and some fit better with some people than others, like you said. It is awesome that you were able to give her to your mom. It sounds like they had a good connection. Maybe if you decide to breed her one of her little babies will be the one for you. You definitely did not give up. Looks like you found the best solution. I bet your mom just loves her!!!

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  15. After agonizing with the disappointment I think you are being very wise to let her be your mother's dog. If she wasn't right for you, then it wasn't right. You both need to be in a happy human-dog relationship; sometimes you don't know what that relationship will be like until you try it. You deserve a big hug!

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  17. I am so, so sorry that Rosa and you weren't a match, but am pleased that you found a wonderful, loving home for her, where I am sure she will be 100% spoiled and loved!

  18. RM; You know, I was thinking about you and Rosa just the other day. I thought, you know what, I bet their bond isn't getting any stronger, since I didn't see any pics of her with Nola and Pike. I have to say, this was a very brave post to write. It must have been a heart wrenching decision to make. I have never had this experience before, but it does happen. I am so glad your Mom and Rosa ARE a good fit, and bless her for taking her in. I had no doubt you would not have re-homed her without serious thought, and knowing she would be loved and happy where she was going. Don't worry about what some might say.
    Oh, and if you really want a difficult dog...I gots a Black and Tan pain in the arse if you really want one!!! Ruby: MA!!!!!!!!!! RM: Just kidding.....;)

  19. Making this choice can't have been an easy one, and sharing it here with all of us very brave. It hurts and it sucks, but sometime things just don't work out for one reason or another and sometimes that's nobody's fault. This seems like it was just one of those situations...and it sounds like you came to a good solution to deal with it. And that is a wonderful thing.

    So very sorry things didn't work out the way you had hoped with Rosa, but am very glad you found a solution to the problem where - to me, at least - it seems like everyone can carry on more happily for the decision.

  20. Wow - I can totally relate. Every time I've gotten a dog I've always picked out the naughtiest, most challenging puppy. Now I have four dogs like that and I love the challenges and wouldn't have it any other way.

    I'm sorry that you have had to deal with this situation. I think it's great that you could make that choice and follow through with it while Rosa was young. It's unfortunate that people will judge one for having made the decision you had to make. But in the end, you weren't selfish, you made the decision that will make both you and Rosa happy.

    And I'm so glad that you were able to easily and quickly find a perfect match for Rosa. Sounds like it was a great decision for all involved.

  21. I think you made the right choice; I don't think that was selfish at all/rude/mean, etc. After all you can't expect to like everyone right? I sure as shit don't lol, so it must be the same with dogs. Maybe one day you'll find the perfect puppy for you and Nola&Pike and I'm sure he/she will make you happy!

    Ragdoll Mommy~

  22. I agree - sounds like you made the best decision for yourself and Rosa. My goodness, it's not like you dumped her on the side of the road or at the pound - she has a great home with your mom now! Even taking her back to the breeder would have been responsible and in Rosa's best interests. I know I tried to encourage you to stick it out, but you know yourself and the situation best and it's very clear to me that you didn't make this decision lightly. Thank you for letting us know - I'm sure you expected a lot of back lash from this decision. You'll get none from me. :)

  23. Didn't you "steal" Nola from your mom to begin with? Sounds like you're even. :)

  24. Good for you for realizing this. I commented once before about a friend of mine returning a dog to a breeder for the same reason. You will find the dog you want.

  25. Personally, I commend you on making what I am sure was a heart-wrenching decision. There are times things just do not work out. Bless you for finding a great match with your mom and I am thrilled that it has worked out for them. It sounds to me like you did what was best for all concerned! Kudos for having the courage and honesty to be straight with your readers. I admire that quality! Hugs, Jeanne, Chloe and LadyBug

  26. I do understand where you are coming from and find that I am cringing because tomorrow I am picking up our new puppy Mei-Ling. What will I do if I am faced with the same situation that you had? I admire you for finding Rosa a more suitable home where she will be loved and wonder if I could do the same thing if necessary. I sincerely hope I don't have to make that choice..

  27. I am so impressed by your honesty in this post. I definitely understand what it's like to not bond with an animal - three years ago I purchased my dream horse and quickly discovered that she and I were not a good match. It was a huge purchase, a huge loss to put her in training and sell her, and was such an overwhelming experience that I may not ever do it again (I still have my retired horse that I've had for 20 + years). I'm glad that Rosa could stay in the family. If animals are responsibly rehomed into situations that benefit all parties, I have no problem with it. I, too, love "bad" dogs - presently I have opposite ends of the spectrum - one the most challenging dog I've ever known and one the easiest. It's a nice balance, but I think I will always be drawn to the dogs that are handfuls.


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