Doug has been here for four months.

It’s funny, I’ve written before how sometimes a dog comes and they just fit and sometimes a dog comes and it’s stressful and worrisome and you are not sure you made the right decision.

When Melvin came, I was dealing with Max who was at the end of his life and Melvin was, a wild, untamed creature full of energy and exuberance. I had moments where I wondered what the hell I had done, not just to Max, but to myself. Max died and Melvin and I eventually found a groove. Clearly, ours was a love story written in the stars.  He taught me that love takes work. My post about that struggle is HERE.

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When Jake came, it was not so crazy. We did the two-week shut-down approach and then did Jake on tie-down for a few weeks. Also, by that point in life, I had complete faith in Melvin. There were challenges for sure (Jake, I’m talking about you buddy), but I never doubted that the two of them would work out.

2 4 14b

Doug is a lot like Melvin.  So much so that sometimes I think Melvin is inside him (A Dog’s Purpose is my favorite book).  Doug has now been here for four months. It seems more like four years (even though his is only one, math bores me).  He came along during a blurry time in my life and sometimes memory and timelines play tricks on me and I think that maybe he’s been here for longer, maybe he was here with Jakey. It’s a good kind of strange.

Doug has come farther in four months than I think any dog I have had has. The whole dogs age seven years for every one of our years, is never so apparent than during the first year and the last years.  I’ve come far in four months too. Doug is my first young dog and I was his who-the-hell-are-you-forever. When he first came, his feet biting had me very worried. I could tell he was sweet and exuberant but that impulse control was never needed when he ran stray. The mouthing was really scary to me and I worried a lot about it.  Not just that it hurt me physically but I was worried that he would mouth someone and they would claim biting or have reason to perpetuate myths about Pit Bulls based solely on Doug. Would he be a breed ambassador someday? I hoped so. Was that day in the foreseeable future? No.

Hour one with Doug. The tag hanging from his neck says Melvin on it because I had to have a tag with my phone number on it to take him home.  Little did I know how much he’d be like his brother. img_0118

To be clear, he never bit. He has very good bite inhibition.  But his canine teeth are SUPER sharp and you don’t need to draw blood for mouthing to hurt. I read up a lot on mouthing. Ways to train against it, how long it could last.  I tried everything. The first month, it seemed as if the more comfortable he got, the more he mouthed. I’m a positive person, but I was not seeing the light on this one.

Please put your foot in my mouth. img_0384

I was already crying over Jake at that point but I spent many a night crying about Doug and his need to put all things into his mouth. There were days I looked forward to putting him in his crate at night because I needed a break (you will always get honesty here). I don’t know when it started getting better, I only know that it took A LOT of work. It took more patience than I thought I had. It started with praising him and treating him if he went one-second without mouthing. We then made it to one minute. Impulse control is hard, we had plenty of setbacks.  Somehow we went from him mouthing most of the time to him mouthing a few times a day.  He almost never mouths me anymore and if he does I know it’s because he is over-tired so he goes in for a nap and exits much more well-behaved. Because he gets SO excited over every visitor or person we meet on walks, well that is still a work in progress but he’s doing much, much, much better.

He still has a lot of energy but I’m more used to it now. I know when he needs to burn some off with an extra long walk and I know days when he is calmer that we can cut back on a walk here and there. He usually offers me every bit of compromise that I offer to him. I think that the recent start of snuggling has a lot do with him trusting me more and more. I was broken when Doug came to live here. As I mend, he finds more calm in me.

Max will always be the dog that made me a dog person. Melvin will always be my heart. Jake is my heartbeat (because he and Melvin are an eternal team). Doug is, hopefully, going to be the dog that I own the longest. He is the dog that I will go through every phase of his life with. He is the dog that I will bring more dogs home to. He is the dog that will see me through the next decade or more of my life.

Doug is my future.

My boy, having a moment with his brothers. #lovelivesonimg_1979

 

11 thoughts on “Doug has been here for four months.

  1. Oh my goodness – this post hit home so hard. There is a reason why we call Edison “EdiMonster” – because he was a real-life monster. The mouthing of us was one thing (it hurt!!), but he would also nibble on Tesla’s ears and legs until she yelped (and then I would go into mother-mode: not my baby!). We were looking at our Christmas cards this year and the very first one we sent out was one of the worst experiences of my life – he was so awful. I had myself convinced that it was just a few months after we got him. But doing the math, it was 14 months!! We had had him for over a year! How was he STILL that awful!

    It get better — so. much. better! Ed’s been here for over 5 years now. He still has issues (reactive much?), but he sleeps in, and snuggles, and hangs like a champ. But the “I know it’s because he is over-tired so he goes in for a nap and exits much more well-behaved”? SO REAL.

    I think you are totally right about his settling in – he’s becoming yours. No matter how much you were logically attached to him (because once a dog comes, they’re here no matter what!), maybe you were still emotionally attached to Jake and unavailable for that emotional connection. That’s the great thing about dogs – they’ll wait (maybe not patiently, but they’ll wait) for us.

    P.S. Do you think you dubbed him with this craziness when you “dubbed” him with Melvin’s tag?
    P.S.S. That photo of him staring at the boys? Love.

    • EdiMonster! HAHAHAHAH! I call mine, CannibalDoug! Mouthing is as stressful as it is painful. As for Doug settling, I think a lot of it is me, yes. It was the same timing with Melvin as it was with Jake. There is that intense sadness that lasts a few months and then, because I love the holidays, it just escalates trying to get through them without each one for the first year. That week after Christmas, my emotional load started to lighten just like it did last year. I def think Doug picked up on my returning calm.

      I love that Doug is like Melvin. Melvin has been gone long enough that having a dog that reminds me of him makes me SO HAPPY whereas a dog that reminds me of Jake would be too soon. And that photo…that I had my camera with me makes me so happy!

      xoxo

  2. OH yes, mouthyness.. LoL Ziva was pretty naughty when we first adopted her, hence the name my “little piranha”. She’s amazing now, and we play bitey games with her muzzle and our hands – she’s very gentle but it’s taken practice! But the rule remains with guests if she gets overexcited and mouthy she gets a timeout to calm down on her bed.

  3. Future Dog! I see a cape in there somewhere 😉 I love your honesty about the challenges of a young dog, Bundy chewed everything for a few years and he took almost two years to toilet train. Good luck with the mouthing, I’m sure it will continue to improve and surely the snuggling will make up for any lapses in his behaviour 🙂

  4. Sooooo adorable! Doug is too precious. I am completely in love with that last picture, you should get it printed on a canvas! Either way, great photos! Thank you for sharing. Keep up the fun posts! 🙂

    Take care,
    Lucy

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