Two months ago I wrote about how the adoption of our newest puppy was not going so well. At just four months, Chewbacca was barking all the time, dominating our 5yo son and our other dog, would not calm down on a leash, and was not sleeping through the night. I was thisclose to finding him a new home.
At the peak of my frustrations, our wonderful vet gave us some great encouragement and counsel. First of all, she helped us to see that Chewie really is a good dog with lots of potential. She also walked us through a few of our complaints, explaining that his more dominant behavior would mellow with age (and after getting him neutered) and suggested that having him sleep with one of the kids would likely cure his insomnia.
Chewie is now 6 months, and although we haven’t had him neutered yet (that’s coming!), his more dominant qualities really have mellowed in relation to our 5yo son. He and our other dog still do NOT get along, but we are working around that. An obedience trainer taught us to use a squirt bottle to spray him in the face with water whenever he barks, and that’s been working like a charm. And our oldest daughter was more than happy to have the puppy sleep in her bed, and now he conks out for the entire night.
One thing Chewie will still not do is calm down on a leash. It’s absolutely ridiculous trying to walk him! Which still frustrates me (and can bring me to tears). I’ve decided to “give up” on that for a while, especially knowing that he does still get a ton of exercise in our own back yard.
Many people continue to recommend the dog park and/or doggie daycare for socialization, and obedience classes for better manners. Honestly, *I’m* the one who is still not “there” in terms of taking him to those places. I want to see a bit more mellowing before I throw us into those situations, and every month that goes by, I feel more and more confident that is happening.
So, the final verdict: we are Chewie’s home, and Chewie is our pup. We’ve struggled with him in ways we didn’t expect (and ways we didn’t experience with our other puppy), but we are committed to him now and are growing to appreciate his exuberant personality.