Hello, hello! I've been lurking for several months now, after reading some advice about not bonding with my current puppy. Things are going better now, and I've stuck around because I really like the atmosphere of this forum.
A bit about me: I'm 31, female, and am an American in Auckland, NZ. I have volunteered to walk and train at shelters and rescues for the past 15 years, and grew up with foster dogs in the house.
I love intense breeds with a high work ethic. All of my personal dogs have been tiny, feisty terriers. I love Jack Russells and other small working terrier types, and now that I am in The Land of Sheep, I am finally in a position to get a Border Collie in a few years and I have been wanting to learn how to herd pretty much since I knew it was a thing.
I have a lot of experience with putting basic manners on untrained dogs, or retraining bad habits, but dog sports are new to me. I think dog psychology is fascinating, and I love trick training. And really, it's all tricks. I get a high off of the training process; it's just intensely satisfying to be communicating with an animal to that degree. I have the opportunity to get into dog sports here, and I am incredibly excited.
My boyfriend is a Kiwi, and we just got our first dog earlier this year. Her name's Mia. She was born around Halloween 2013, so she's almost 8 months old now. She's racy and athletic and ultra goofy and looks like a Malinois had a sexy fling with a whippet, but she's most likely a very tiny pig dog
She has probably been the easiest puppy I've ever raised, but the hardest to deal with emotionally. It has just been difficult, and I can't even explain why. I would be in tears every few weeks, wondering if she was happy, if we should rehome her. She seemed to like interacting with us, but could take or leave petting and never wanted to snuggle. It felt like we were doing all this work with very little emotional reward. My boyfriend has always wanted a dog, this is his very first dog, and he said that if he had known dog ownership was going to be like this, he wouldn't have gotten her, and that he would conclude that he was just not a dog person. That just breaks my heart.
When we graduated from puppy classes, there was a room full of experienced trainers, and I asked my class instructor about my problem, and they all chimed in and said that from what they had seen during our last class, this pup was intensely bonded with me and that I just needed to give her some more time to mature. It didn't hurt that I was cleaning up an accident while my instructor was holding Mia, who was whining and hopping trying to get back to me.
That was definitely a turning point for us. We really focused on making petting and snuggle time a priority, and things have really changed. I realized that the problem was completely one of my making.
You see, I rehomed my heart dog in order to move here. (Yes, I rehomed my heart dog, oh god, you have no idea how hard of a decision that was.) She is 14 and has major anxiety and control issues that I had gotten to manageable levels with daily work, but I feared the move and quarantine would have broken her. She went to a fantastic home with a boat captain who has other Jacks and she gets to hike and do all her tricks at a retirement home and is doing incredibly well.
Once I was able to get around the fact that even though my heart dog had not died, she was still lost to me, and I took some time to properly mourn that, things with Mia were much, much, much better. There's finally enough room for her in my heart, and she's doing a wonderful job setting up house.