Charley sat through the cab ride home beautifully, as if he has done it a dozen times before. He had no issues in the elevator, with people or the noises of downtown of a big city. We got to my apartment and I let him get to know the place. I did my own thing while Charley (formerly named Coco then named Charles) sniffed around.
There were moments of awkward silence. Moments of staring at each other. Charley was either super affectionate and sweet or super hyper and growly. I was confused, he was confused, we confused each other.
It was through the course of this day that I got to know that Charley was definitely house trained, was used to a crate and liked his under arms rubbed. I figured out that Charley was a regal little thing, much too posh to be in a shelter.
Charley's backstory was simple, or so we thought. He was surrendered by his owner due to financial hardships as a result of his skin condition, which was really only part of a larger story. This dog was clearly not meant to be in a shelter. Charley did not simply 'go for walks'. Charley pranced and strutted himself on the street.
The more I got to know Charley, the more I fell in love with him.
Then came the night. Charley could not settle down and relax. He moved up and down the bed multiple times, scratched the bed, and barked at random noises. I was trying to figure out why he was barking at everything, what he needed all the while trying to settle him and get some sleep myself.
Much like new parents, I worried all day about doing the wrong thing, about training him wrong, about ruining him forever all the while showing the world what a terrible dog owner I was. I was worried about screwing up a perfectly good dog just like the shelter predicted I would! I think Charley could tell this. I wasn't myself. It took me realizing that I was never going to be perfect. I needed to relax in order to help Charley relax as well.
Or so I thought back in 2014.
How did your first night go with your new dog? Did you research things ahead of time? Did you know what to do and what behaviours to expect? How versed were you in dog behaviour?