As many of you know, I recently adopted a terrier mix puppy named Bosworth. This was both a frightening and exciting experience for me.
And unfortunately, sometimes the stories are tragic: dangerous bites, aggression toward other dogs, severe resource guarding, unacceptable behavior around children. The AnimalSense office phone rings constantly with tales of the worst of dogs. You name it, we’ve heard it.
So, it’s no surprise that I was a little apprehensive. I purposely sought out a puppy so that I could mold him into the perfect dog, if there really is such a thing. But so much of what you get in a dog, puppy or adult, is unknown. Boz is a rescue, so I knew I was rolling the dice in some way, but even puppies who come from well-respected breeders can have issues. Each day, I held my breath to see what would come. Would he have issues with other dogs, or even worse, people or children? Would he guard his food or toys from me? Would he be a barker, a chewer, a digger? Have trouble with house training? Not acclimate to a crate properly? Have separation anxiety? Be fearful?
See, what I mean? I know research has shown dogs can lower blood pressure, but not in my case.
Boz has been with me for two and a half months now. He still has some issues with mouthing, which we’re working on. But overall, he’s a really good puppy. He’s almost completely house trained and is sleeping well through the night. He doesn’t mind his crate because he gets yummy treat-filled Kongs when I leave. Each day, we work on socialization, so that he is prepared for all of the things he may experience in life. I take him with me to friend’s houses to meet and play with their kids, he goes on car rides, to the farmer’s market to experience crowds and to the dog park when I know there will be just a few, appropriate dogs there to play with. He meets lots of strangers and explores our neighborhood on walks. Socialization is all about providing a wide variety of positive experiences.
I know we still have a long way to go toward having that perfect dog, but I’ve also learned to stop holding my breath and count my blessings.