I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

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I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby 2dogpack » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:58 am

I waffled a lot about getting a playmate for Ronan the Reactive. I've had so many opinions that I finally just decided on not doing it at all. He's doing a bit better on the Zykeline <sp?>

I took him back for a bladder recheck, plus his 3 yr rabies. The vet said she got a call from a trainer friend of hers wanting to know if I was still looking for a playmate for Ronan. I listened. Zeevie (ZeeVee, Zeevey??) is a 2-yr-old malinois. The trainer does a ton of SAR work and originally owned "Z" since she was a pup. Z did well on socialization skills, did great on noises and surfaces. In the end, though, she wasn't quite what was needed for SAR work. She's not that drivey. She was sold to a fireman who then suddenly decided he wanted to try IPO. Z didn't want any part of it. The original owner pleaded with him to give her back - even tried to buy her back. Z tried to do IPO, but after a couple months simply shut down. Wouldn't eat, play, etc. Just hid from the world.

So while the first owner was away at a trial, he gave Z to a coworker when he was SUPPOSED to give her back to the trainer. She was happy with new owner, his wife, cranky old cocker spaniel, and infant daughter, so the trainer let it be. As she put it, Z was better off as 1 of 2 family dogs than 1 of 10 working dogs. But now, new owner's wife is back to work, he's working at a different station, and can no longer bring her to work with him. Z is loved, but sits in a crate far too much.

Call me insane. I went to meet her. The second I was in the door, she's kissing my hand and drops, belly up, at my feet. After kisses and pets, she runs to get me her ball. She let me take it and any other toy away from her. She's easier on hand feeding treats than Tasha was. She's hyper, but listens. She wants to roll on your feet or be in your lap. I don't know mals, but she acts like a lab that has bottled lightning for speed - of anything. Sit? I don't think I could finish the word before she's sitting, attentively, tail wagging - hard. She doesn't bark or jump if I'm holding her ball - just sits with a tail that won't quit wagging and waits, focused, until I throw it again. She brings it back - sometimes. Often, she'll just drop it and come back and lean against me for loving. If she had a theme song, it'd be Katrina and the Waves Walking on Sunshine.

Her original owner, the woman who trains the SAR dogs, says she could be perfect for Ronan - if he'll give Z a chance. We're going to try putting Z on one side of a chain link fence and Ronan on the other at the training facility. We'll see how reactive Ronan is toward her. We'll keep this up for a few weeks. Meanwhile, Z will stay with me, and I can't let the two meet without her supervision until everything goes well in the trainer's eyes.

I must have lost my ever loving mind. But this does seem like the best trial run I could ask for. Go ahead, tell me I'm nuts... or give me tips to make this easy on both dogs - even if Z doesn't stay with us.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby EllaBella » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:12 am

Z sounds amazing!! I hope that Ronan will decide that he likes her. She sounds very balanced and sensible (if a bit silly) and hopefully she can ground him a bit with some of his fears.

Fingers crossed.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby SherriA » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:29 am

I have no tips, but wow, she sounds like a fabulous dog! I hope this works out for all three of you. :)
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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby Calypso » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:10 am

Best of luck! I do love malinois - if it works out I can get my fix from you and Z! :)

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby Sabine » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:12 pm

She's cute - I hope things work out!
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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby JudyL » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:44 pm

Z sounds like a fun dog. I hope that Ronan likes her and with time and luck they will be pals. I don't think you could ask for a better situation to try him out with the trainer knowing Z really well, being there to oversee the process, and doing the introduction in a controlled way on neutral turf.

I've been wondering how R was doing. It sounded like he was sad and wanting a friend since he didn't react to the dog behind a baby gate at your vet's office. I can't remember the breed though, something small, wasn't it?

When is the first meeting?

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby emmas_mom » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:02 am

Ohhhhh fingers crossed for a friend for Ronan! Z sounds great - I sure hope Ronan thinks so too.
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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby Yankee » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:32 am

Best of luck from here, too.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby UpwardDog » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:13 am

Good luck!

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby 2dogpack » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:44 pm

I'm picking up Z tomorrow morning. I'm exited, but trying to remain as neutral as possible. Better for both her and Ronan. But there are times when I worry - Ronan is reactive with a capital R. True, it's from fear and that he's totally socially inept. If they can get past the initial greetings, I hope there's not something that freaks Ronan into one of his meltdowns and Z feels the need to correct him. Or he loses it and snaps at snappy von maligator. She gets along with other dogs, but she IS a mal after all, even if she is 1-2 steps from submissive and has lab for a personality.

Still, best trial situation I could have asked for. Her courage and playfulness could be perfect if Ronan just doesn't, well, act like Ronan.

We'd ultimately decided a golden would best suit Ronan since they tend to take the most flack without retaliation, but then the call came in about Z. After meeting her, I had to give it a try. My mal experience is limited, but as a dog, I can honestly say she's truly a great dog deserving of the right home. She may not want to save the world, but she certainly wants someone to explore it with.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby maxs_mommy » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:41 pm

How's it going for Ronan and Z?
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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby 2dogpack » Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:27 pm

Ronan is freaking OUT.

Howling, screaming, vomiting, loose stools, you name it. It's not going well. Z submits through glass, etc. Ronan spits, flings, lunges, and becomes a Tasmanian devil. I think it's safe to say he hates her AND fears her with a passion unlike anything I've ever seen.

Original owner is coming over Saturday. I'm sending Z back with her. She's a fantastic dog unlike anything I've ever experienced. She's loving, devoted, brilliantly smart, watchful, less barky than I imagined, freaking fast, fun as they come, happy, biddable, social, confident, and a reckless goofball.

But this isn't the place for her. She deserves a better home than I can provide with Ronan. I think it's best to let Z go someplace where someone can focus on her and give her all she deserves. She's a fantastic tracker and would also excel in dock diving as she loves water.

I clearly need to do more work with Ronan. He's come so far, but we're not there yet. Nothing like a one in a million dog like Z to show me my own shortcomings in dealing with behavioral issues with the one I have. I'm sad, but feel this is best for both dogs. I'm exhausted keeping them separate, well exercised, and loved.

I took loads of pics. I'll post them soon.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby connie » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:14 am

Awww, I'm sorry! I had my hopes up.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby Calypso » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:58 am

I'm sorry. But don't be too hard on yourself. Ronan has always been a challenging dog. Plus he's a dog, so by his very definition he's going to do things you don't expect! I wish the best for Z and the perfect companion for your family that is Ronan approved may be around the corner.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby SherriA » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:04 am

Oh bummer! I was really hopeful this would work out for everyone. Sounds like it's just not meant to be, though. I'm sorry. Z sounds like such a fabulous dog.
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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby 2dogpack » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:17 am

The trainer didn't help matters. Kept telling me how easily people ruin mals, that Ronan's issues were due to my handling of him, etc. When I mentioned changes, she argued the opposite side of the coin. When I said, "Yep, sure, I need work. R needs work. Come get her," she's all "You can do this! You're not giving R a chance! You're setting him up for failure!" To which I say, "Yep. I suck. My fault. She's better off elsewhere, thanks for everything, along with your tips. You have the most amazing dog." And the reply is "You're overthinking this, too sensitive." To which I foolishly thought the reply of "Maybe, but logic dictates that if mals are easily ruined and R and I need work, AND you keep telling me you have someone bugging you about Z's availability, it makes sense to let Z go to a home she can transition into more easily while Ronan and I deal with what we need to work on." To which I get "You should never try to get another dog." My last response was "Z will be ready for you to pick up Saturday." I've ignored her last text about Ronan's issues and GA's dangerous dog act and... I need to distract him, correct him, use an airhorn, well, whatever.

Good lord. I can't win. I tried what I thought would work. Sue me for being human and making an error in judgment. I meant well - for both dogs and all people concerned. I don't like someone trying to make me feel worse about what I've done here, with Z or Ronan. Perhaps I AM overthinking it, but I don't appreciate someone telling me I suck, then won't back down until I agree, then building me back up, only to tell me they aren't done telling me how much I suck. I could be off base on her intentions and wording but it doesn't matter anymore. I'm good with my decision.

Sorry for the rant.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby EllaBella » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:22 am

I am super annoyed at that trainer for you.

You tried what seemed like a good idea and it just didn't work. So, you are changing your plan. Your actions have all been very reasonable and logical and she should quiet her mouth.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby Calypso » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:28 am

Good trainers understand that working within the limits and comforts of the human's abilities is a big part of their job. Yes, encouraging people to stretch their limits is important, but just like forcing a muscle to stretch too far before it's ready, you risk serious damage if you push too much too soon. And good trainers know that a conscientious owner knows their dog best. They might not see everything a trained eye sees, but they know their dog. If you don't feel it's right and it's stressful for Ronan, then it's not right.

Seriously, move to Wisconsin. We have lots of good trainers!

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby UpwardDog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:15 am

Aw, that sucks on so many levels. Poor Ronan. I hope you can just forget everything that trainer said. What a bunch of crap and unprofessional to boot.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby 2dogpack » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:37 pm

Since the trainers preferred method was texting, I think things were lost in translation, but the result is the same. I think words alone can be like dogs barking through a wood fence - we can't see other methods of communication.
Still, thanks for listening. I was/am frustrated and not trying to be a victim. Just ranting to get it out, I suppose. I feel better now.
In the end, without meeting her and without her seeing Ronan, i am not comfortable going forward. I could be dead wrong an missing a brilliant dog and incredible opportunity here. But once the gut tells you one thing, it's hard to move past it. Maybe R and I are both reactive, LOL!
the trainer says I'm nervous and setting Ronan up for failure. Call it nervousness or caution, but after some things are said, I'm simply not comfortable with leaving Ronan with anyone regardless of experience or recommendation who hasn't met with me or Ronan, and who thinks I'm not doing him favors by making a snap decision. I'm good with any label someone wants to slap on me for that. As Connie says, you can push too far for someone's comfort level.
I'm human, and therefore, have undoubtedly made mistakes with Ronan and I'm certain I have contributed to his problem. But in reality, he's always been reactive and a special butterfly, but he is my special butterfly faults and all. I hear her loud and clear about her concerns and will digest them and continue seeking help and work with Ronan on his reactiveness and my own shortcomings. Hey, no one is perfect.
Z is a fabulous dog. One in a million. Could they get along if I persisted? Maybe. Or maybe not. But she wanted an overnight answer on committing to Z, and given her warning on how mals are often ruined by inexperienced people, And how I'm 'nervous' and part of Ronan's problem, what makes me think I can do what is right for Z, Ronan, and improve myself? If Z has a waiting sports home, I can only do what I hope is best.
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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby UpwardDog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:31 pm

Well you can undoubtedly find a trainer with more current skills than using distraction, corrections and an airhorn on a fearful and reactive dog (good grief!)and one with better people skills too.
I can't remember if you said he'd been to a vet behaviourist and been tried on any meds, but given the severity of his reaction, that's where i would be leaning.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby 2dogpack » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:43 pm

Yep. Back to a behaviorist. We've already spoken. The recommendation is to consider some extra meds to break the cycle and tells me that maybe I should keep Ronan as an only dog. He'll be fine. And there's no reason he needs to be a social butterfly and play well with everyone all the time. To her, it sounds like he needs some extra desensitizing, impulse control, and some more confidence building. For me, it's a booster class on being my dog's best advocate. She does think Tasha was the alpha and that perhaps Ronan and I need to strengthen our bond, which will help his insecurities.

She's also a little appalled that I let myself be bullied like this - and that's how she sees it.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby JudyL » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:27 pm

Holy cow, Z's trainer is wrong on a lot of fronts. I'm really mad on your behalf. You shouldn't feel bullied at all because you know Ronan best, whatever his issues are, and by sending Z back you are doing what's in everyone's best interest. This person was being an ass. Excuse my language if that offends anyone.

As for your own behaviorist, I hope that the extra work +/or meds will help you with Ronan. Goodness, we're all individuals that grieve, heal, and come to terms with a loss in our own time, and maybe you're both taking more time than others. Ronan will be OK and so will you, and no one should tell you that you shouldn't have allowed being bullied. After all, you and R are both trying to find how to best go on without Tasha.

I'm sorry Z didn't work out. She may be an amazing dog, but she wasn't right for your current situation.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby UpwardDog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:41 pm

Ya know, maybe I'm a little sensitive about language like "allowed yourself to be bullied", but that doesn't sit well for me. How about "had a negative encounter with a bully ." You thought another dog might be good for Ronan. It didn't work out and you've sent the dog back. Hindsight is 20/20.
Give yourself a big ol break and glass of wine. Give Ronan lots of lovin and a meaty bone.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby maxs_mommy » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:45 pm

I'm human, and therefore, have undoubtedly made mistakes with Ronan and I'm certain I have contributed to his problem. But in reality, he's always been reactive and a special butterfly, but he is my special butterfly faults and all. I hear her loud and clear about her concerns and will digest them and continue seeking help and work with Ronan on his reactiveness and my own shortcomings. Hey, no one is perfect.
I think this is dead on and I would give it a thousand thumbs up. You have to respect the ones you have. Z will thrive and you have to help Ronan thrive. I know it's been tough on him (and you) without Tasha but if this is making your gut scream "no", you have to respect that. I'm sorry it isn't working, I really wanted it to but you're doing the right thing, IMHO, for everyone involved.
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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby 2dogpack » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:45 pm

It's really sad and disappointing that I've found more bad trainers than good over my dogs' lives.

A Shikoku breeder in California says I'm doing the right thing - and she has a malinois and a klee kai. Says that two sister shikokus that SHE bred and have raised exactly the same have vastly different personalities: one is calm, friendly, but cautious at first. Perfectly normal for shikoku. Gets along with well behaved friendly dogs introduced slowly, while the other is a first class bitch on wheels. The bitchy one has attacked another dog of hers twice, and acts for all intent and purposes, exactly like Ronan. This dog hates all others except for two of her dogs - one being the sister. She'll be okay one second and if the owner leaves the room even for a second, she flips a switch with all but the two dogs. Can't be trusted with any other dog. But is loving and sweet with her. Obedient and smart.

She says I'm doing great with Ronan. She's known of him all his life, really. She got one of her females the same time I got Ronan. She knows Ronan's breeder well. Basically says to work on that bond/confidence thing and screw what everyone else is telling me to do with him. He is what he is and as long as I feel he's happy, then he probably is. He'll easily adjust if I simply chill, stop beating myself up, and re-bond with him - do fun things together and relax. She thinks too many trainers out there still have old school mentalities even if they claim they don't, and others like to belittle owners to feel superior as they attempt to strut their 'knowledge.' She agrees that Shikokus are unlike anything else and steer clear of anyone who says they can "handle them all, and that dogs are dogs."


I like her advice better than the two others.

Oh, and the trainer? NOW she says she can't pick up Z until Tuesday. I didn't even respond to the text. Something isn't right. She keeps putting everything further and further off. CA friend says to let her know if I feel Z is being abandoned and I'm being jerked around - she's part of the WOOF project (Mal rescue).

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby UpwardDog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:07 pm

Wasn't this so called trainer referred and somewhat pushed on you by a vet? Perhaps the vet who pushed him on you can board the dog til this person can get him? Or your mal rescue friend could board him?

I wish I could say I was even the teensiest bit surprised that you've encountered more bad trainers than good.

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby 2dogpack » Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:06 am

Mal rescue friend is in northern CA, I'm in GA.

Vet - I have a call into them. She's such a great dog that I'd be okay keeping her here until she finds the right place. Tested her with a neighbor's senior golden this morning and Z was incredibly polite - even submissive. She's good with young kids, but is a bit hyper and may accidentally knock them over. Haven't tested her with small dogs or cats.

She's learned to unscrew a kibble dispensing toy. She didn't know Down, Stay, or Wait when she got here, but she's doing REALLY well with them now. She will exfoliate your face with kisses and thinks she's a lap dog. LOVES to bring you her toys. Rides great. Crates beautifully. No food aggression at all. Great ball drive - and we're working on impulse control and getting her to bring the ball back and drop it. She loves to work. She's really a great dog. If this trainer gives me the run around one more time, I know this girl is worthy of a great, active home. She still needs work on basic obedience, but she's a baby Einstein.

I worry a little that the trainer is thinking about abandoning her, but hubby thinks she's just an idiot and a flake. The math and training doesn't seem to add up on Z based on her age. She says she's trained Z. When? The last guy had her for 14 months according to vet records. Z is 2, according to the trainer. Before the last guy had her, someone else owned her for 6 months. That would mean she had her - at best - from 8 weeks to 4 months. But the other day, she slipped and said someone ELSE had her before SHE did. Hmmm.

She bugged me about Z, telling me another woman was chomping at the bit and wanted her - very anxious. Now, Z won't get to go to this other new woman for two more weeks AFTER next Tuesday, and then THAT woman is going to find her a different home. :wtf: And she's worried I'LL screw Z up? :cussing:

Now, perhaps this woman is simply ADD and a REALLY bad communicator, but it seems I keep getting new bits of info all the time. She's scary. Downright scary and I can't wait to be done with her. How the heck is my vet friends with this woman? She told me that my vet said (hearsay? more bully tactics?) that as a pup, Ronan was the most out of control, aggressive puppy the clinic had ever seen. Really? Yes, he was out of control. Aggressive? No. I've never had my vet tell me this in all the years I've been going. I suspect embellishment, but whatever.

This woman tried to make me feel bad about Ronan, but this AND what's going on with Z makes me livid (hence my rants). You guys understand. Thanks for being the therapist here and letting me get out my frustration. Neither Ronan nor Z need to sense what I'm feeling about now. :madgo:

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Re: I'm 'Trying/Fostering' a dog. Uh, oh, Ronan!

Postby SherriA » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:59 pm

I will be SO glad when you and Z are done with this "trainer"!
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