A.J. Goes to Overnight Camp

March 22, 2014

A.J. had his first stay at a boarding facility. He went to Doodle Dogs for the first time while Greg and I went to visit family. A.J. was there for a week. It sounded like he did well and had a nice time, but I don’t think he slept much. He was really tired when he came home.

He’s sleeping in his crate now. The week before we left we went three nights in a row where A.J. was up barking, Continue reading “A.J. Goes to Overnight Camp”

We Finally Turn a Corner

Note, July 17, 2015: As you’ll see in this journal entry, bringing a crazy dog into the family can be tough on everyone. Especially when a family member wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of bringing a dog home in the first place. But here’s a spoiler alert for things to come: today everyone loves A.J. We just needed to get through some growing pains.

December 18, 2013

The last two and a half weeks have been a roller coaster. Thanksgiving Day I was ready to give A.J. away. I felt like I was completely failing him, not getting through to him, and not connecting with him at all. I was miserable.

Before our Reactive Dog class on Sunday, December 1, Mary sent out an email about the weather. I replied to her, letting her know that we had a horrible week, and if A.J. acted up again I’d be leaving so we didn’t disrupt the class.

When we got to class, Continue reading “We Finally Turn a Corner”

The Lowest Point

Note: We’ve reached the ultimate low point in our journey. This journal entry is a tough one, but I’m sharing it because it’s part of the story. Like everything in life, adopting a pet can have plenty of ups and downs. We’re about to experience a big “down.” Ready or not, here it is:

November 27, 2013

A.J. could bite me and hurt me very badly. Today is the first day that thought has seriously entered my mind as a clear reality.

Note, July 17, 2015: As we’ll see as our journal entries progress, it’s unlikely A.J. ever would have bitten me. I was just frustrated at not being able to communicate with him. I also in the past had worked with rescue dogs and I had experienced dog bites from dogs who were as frustrated and in need of exercise as A.J. was around this time. With that said, on with the story… Continue reading “The Lowest Point”

My Jekyll and Hyde Dog

Note: This journal entry occurred shortly before my relationship with A.J. hit an all-time low. His leash aggression/reactive issues were making it impossible to walk him; that and our training regimen were making it very difficult to get this energetic young dog the exercise he needed. We were going through some serious growing pains at this point.

November 26, 2013

A.J. is just crazy.

We’ve been to three Reactive Dog classes now. The dogs spend most of their time in crates. Well, all the dogs except A.J. Most of the time I can’t get him in the crate. And whether he’s in the crate or not, he has a little tantrum. He cries and barks, and continues to get louder the longer I ignore him. Our trainer, Mary, has had me do various things to teach him to be quiet. I basically end up standing over him throwing hot dogs at him when he shuts up for a second. It’s not working.

This week we took each of the dogs out one by one and Continue reading “My Jekyll and Hyde Dog”

Still Lots of Issues

November 14, 2013

Since A.J. has had kennel cough and hasn’t been able to go to day camp we’ve been going to the park every day this week. We had quite the adventure yesterday. We got into the park and stopped. I had him sit, and I switched the leash from his harness to his collar. I stood up and said “Look at me.” A.J. looked right at me. I said “OK!” Next thing I know I’m skidding across the grass landing face-first, and A.J. is running free through the park. Continue reading “Still Lots of Issues”

A.J.’s First Private Lesson

August 16, 2013

We had another lesson in getting up too early in the morning today. Greg got up just before 6:30 to let A.J. out. A.J. came back in and was wide awake. I petted him for a little bit, but he got right up again. A few minutes later he was at the door again asking to go out. I decided he was going out and staying out while I got some more sleep. Unfortunately I think he knew this, because when I opened the door Continue reading “A.J.’s First Private Lesson”

The Adventure Begins

July 25, 2013

I’ve been sick for two days. In spite of that I did some volunteer work, including going to the Humane Society to walk the dogs. I only lasted about an hour at the Humane Society though, I just wasn’t feeling well. So I went home, ate lunch, took a shower, and took it easy for a little while. In the meantime, I’d also been looking at the Humane Society web site, and there was a dog at the adoption center at PetSmart who sounded pretty good. In spite of still feeling kind of lousy, I drove out to PetSmart to take a look. Continue reading “The Adventure Begins”