I may have touched briefly on this topic early on when first starting to write a blog about our adventures. After having a conversation with a new dog mum – well I think its time to share the grim reality of the first few weeks, couple of months, as you both settle in together for the long haul.
Welcoming a dog, which is not a puppy, into your home is not easy. A puppy you know what to expect, they are of an age where you train them and nurture them to become the dog you want in your home.
For some reason this is not applied to older dogs who have spent the vast majority of their time-if not all of their time-in a shelter. Expectations of these dogs is unrealistically higher – that they will “get us” and understand what we want them to do. They will sleep at night, they will be comfortable and go for walks with us, we will all have a happy life together.
hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. no.nope.not going to happen.
With a dog like Sasuke and his pack who have lived in the wild and those of his pack who were born/ been a puppy in the shelter, a long time – this notion that they will understand is a fantasy. It is an ideal to which they do not and cannot live up to and to make clear it is not their expectation but ours – as humans. For some reason the expectation whether we acknowledge it or not is always there and for some people if the dog isn’t perfect straight away – they give them away or worse dump them. The failing isn’t the dog but the human.
People. Let me tell you! (Preaching I know – Im sorry!) It is hard. It is exhausting. It can cause depression. It can cause anxiety (are we right for the dog?!). You have to put in the work and the hours and the sleepless nights to make the relationship work. To get your “perfect” dog. They are like an adult version of a puppy – you have to start at the beginning. AT. THE. BEGINNING!!!!!!
You cannot rush it. It will take however long it takes and that will be dependent on the dog you have adopted. Research can only take you so far. Reality will bite you hard.
The reality sucks. It’s sleepless nights . Anxiety that you are doing the right thing by them, its working to try and get a harness on them and if by some miracle you can to then get them to the front door let alone out of it. Learning to play safely with them – teaching them to play safely with you. It’s getting up in the middle of the night to let them out, to stop them barking – oh lord — the barking at 2am! and then its getting up in the morning and doing it all over again and again and again.
It could take a week, it could take a month, two months or longer..when you are on your own and throw work into the mix – it’s well (shoulder shrug) up to you. If at any point you think enough is enough then that is ok. It’s best to return the dog to the shelter. If you are stubborn like me and wade through all the above mentioned slog. Then good. The battle is half won. It will build a strong base of trust between you and your dog one which Sasuke and I build on everyday.
There were times when I just sat down and cried. Times when at most I had an accumulative of an hours sleep because of his surgery then had to go and a full days work and University study. There are times when the help I sought was not useful because Sasuke didn’t even know the basic first step and there were times when he surprised me.
The first few months are not roses, they are not easy happy running in the cornfield days. They are grueling. However. Get through that and you will both be happier and better for it. It does get better. It does get easier. I can definitely vouch for that.
Wild shelter dogs are not for first time owners for a reason yet I am a first time owner/custodian of an Hokkaido mix. One of the most stubborn, loyal and intelligent breeds around today.
I wouldn’t change our lives and I would never give him up. Even after he sent me to hospital for a tetanus shot and destroyed my Burberry woolen trench coat. I am his hooman and he is my golden cookie (seriously – he looks like a caramel and white chocolate chip cookie!).
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