The Challenges Begin

What were some of the first personality traits you noticed about your new dog? What things were behaviours you had to work on and which ones you decided to embrace?

Remember talk of red flags pre-adoption? Well, the red flags came fast and furious after adoption as well! As a wise woman once said "Give him back now, in a month or so you’ll be too attached to do so". That wise woman was my mother. She said that after the first time Charley bit me. 

Let us backtrack first, to how the red flags were little at first, went unnoticed, or dismissed as cute. I was really being naïve and uninformed on basic dog behaviour, since I did not come across these behaviours in any of the dogs I have encountered previously.

I wrote back in 2014:

"As I approached week two with my new pooch, I strongly tried to hold onto the cute moments and cute nuances his little strong personality would exhibit:

  • He likes to sleep by walls. Particularly, walls with corners where he can tuck in
  • His favourite pillow is an expensive therapeutic pillow
  • He likes to sit on my chair when I'm not home and occasionally clear my table of paperwork or things left there
dog clears table
  • He likes to do number 2 in a particular corner of the park and leads me straight there when he has to go
  • He likes to hump his zebra toy
dog with zebra toy
  • He likes to eat toilet paper and Kleenex.
  • He brings me toys by pushing them with his nose.
  • He likes hanging out at the head of the couch.
  • He likes to pounce on his kong toy.
  • He does not like the wind or bicycles.
  • He loves to stretch by placing his two front paws on my knees.
  • He likes to sit by the bathtub during my showers.

It is these moments I mostly want to remember, so that I can forget the times we have together between 11pm-6am.

This is the time Charley likes to move about the bed, jump up and down a bazillion times, randomly bark on an hourly basis at either the wind, the heater or a phantom moving about. He also likes to look back and growl at his tail, chase it before returning to digging the sheets.  He digs, barks and growls, as if possessed by the devil himself. The first few times this was terrifying, but after some time I realized that he won't hurt or bite me.”

The words "I realized that he won't hurt or bite me" will come to haunt me soon after. First i thought these were new behaviours I simply was not familiar with, before being informed by others that in fact, these behaviours were not 'normal' behaviours. I wrote four days into having Charley:

“Charley is a night time psycho. He literally madly digs and barks like I've never seen. I checked, there was nothing under the sheets, though I'm not sure what I was expecting. I think he scared himself and tired himself out enough to now sleep on the floor (fingers crossed he stays there) and avoid eye contact with me. I'm slightly frightened.”

The first month or so was horrific. Nobody slept, not me, not Charley, not the neighbour downstairs who complained multiple times about my dog barking. Charley was extremely sensitive to noises and movements and could not settle down to sleep any significant amount. I tried white noise, classical music, rocking him like a baby, lots of exercise before bed time to name a few.

The only thing that worked was time and trust, which fixed some of the sleeping issues. However, sleeping and sensitivity to noise continued to be an issue up until he passed away. Dear reader, remember the following clues; tail chasing, growling. These will come back in future posts.

 How was your first month with your new addition? What difficulties did you have if any? What was reality versus your expectations?

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