I’ve started this post four or five times, and it keeps being more of a laundry-list than anything else.
I now have my dog.
She isn’t vizsla (though she does have the compact, muscular body with the short hair– dark brown instead of russet), and she isn’t a Brittany (though she is that size and already proving quite trainable and perfect with the kids).
I just mention the above because those were the breeds I was researching/pursuing the most recently.
A lab-mix, Shadow displays the best of the mellow of that breed, and has learned since Thursday night several things that are very desirable to our family.
She has even managed to not-bother Jay, though that may be as much to Jay’s credit as the dog’s.
It was Jay who emphasized we shouldn’t consider the animal shelter’s 10-day exchange policy as a trial period.
“I expect the transition to be bumpy,” he said. “So we just need to commit to her and go for it.”
Amazingly, the transition has been rather smooth, so far. The girls are becoming more assertive and Shadow is learning quickly.
The one rough spot we’ve had was Friday night when the neighbor across the street brought her dog over to meet our new arrival. That deteriorated into awful barking from both of them, so we didn’t trust them nearer each other.
We neither of us lost control of our animals, but neither dog really listened to our embarrassed orders to be quiet or “nice” either. We might try again in a week or two, to see if Shadow being more settled will make a difference.
In the mean-time, I’m going to begin classes with her, and I’m hoping the presence of a more experienced dog-person will make a difference in canine introductions. There have been no problems with people.
Both girls have really embraced their role as the dog’s boss (something in question earlier in the week), and Natasha’s favorite thing right now is “walking” the dog– holding her leash and pretending to chose which direction they go in. She frequently tries to “sneak” the leash out of my hand when I’m talking to someone, but I will only let them walk together in the fenced yard.
Sometimes Shadow indulges Natasha’s preference, and sometimes Natasha is reminded the dog is stronger.
It is very fun to watch them together.