Teddy truly is a special dog.
Even with a start in life that wasn't the best, he always was a trooper. When I brought him home I really had no idea what to expect. The initial meeting with him at Drachenberg Kennel went well but then it was just me. He had become the darling of the kennel and when people were there often was out with them. We don't know how he was raised for 7 months but one thing for certain, he wasn't socialized.
He was placed twice before I came into his life and returned both times.
One of the adopters was a vet in Madison whose office was near one of the highways. This apparently drove Teddy into a frenzy. When I adopted him, I saw the extent of his fear when he would spin in his crate in the van whenever a truck passed us. I live 1/4 mile from road that was a state highway when I got him and if he heard a truck there he would run for cover in the house. I asked questions to try to figure this out and was told that the breeder where he came from raised his litters in barn stalls and that there may have been some construction going on. I believe this would have accounted for the unreasonable fear of motors. If my neighbor was on the tractor mowing the adjacent field he would head for the house. Over the years, we worked on this issue and he was able to go anywhere with me in the van including a trip to the east coast to visit family.
He was returned from the second home he went to because they said they couldn't house train him. When I brought him home it quickly became apparent that it wasn't a house training issue but rather a separation anxiety issue. He could wait an entire day without an accident but as soon as I left him by himself (or he thought by himself) he would have that accident. I remember going to the bathroom, closing the door and coming out to a stressed dog who had just had a big accident. I commented to my mother who was living with me at the time that I never had a dog who stayed with me like he did, a velcro dog I called him. Well, that was just one more indication of the huge problem he had with separation.
We worked through that also even though he never stopped stressing when I left the house or got out of the van. He would even stress if it was slowing down and he thought I was leaving. HOWEVER, he wasn't a dumb dog. I made it a practice to never go back to the van when he was screaming (yes ...screaming) and in a relatively short time, he realized that screaming wasn't going to get me back so after I was about 10-20 steps away, he stopped and settled down. I can't count the number of times people would look at me as I was leaving this very vocal dog in the van, and I would simply say... "separation anxiety, he'll stop" and he did before I got where I was going!
Teddy was my 3rd dog at the time along with Ari and Josephine and little did I know what I was in for. Ari immediately took a dislike to another male in the house even though they were both teenagers. Ari was 6 months older than Teddy and initially my thought was that the two of them would be life long buddies... well, Ari didn't want a lifelong male friend....and all the people who told me that 2 males get along better than 2 females... you can't prove that in my house. With some (OK ....a lot) of behavior modification, the teenage boys got along and played together. This friendship was short-lived however when one day I came home and the 2 of them were excited and all of a sudden it was like I was a bone they were fighting over and life was never the same again. I made the decision to manage the situation and that's what I've done for 8 years. Has it been easy... no.. Was it worth it to have these 2 dogs with me... you bet!
There were only a handful of "events" over the years. Once I realized that if I was out of the picture, there wasn't a problem, I handled things differently. I remember one day when Teddy and Olivia and I were in the training area and Ari comes scooting under the fence to see what was going on.. well.. Teddy now thought he had to defend me so off he went after Ari. I told Olivia, let's get out of here and we took off to the gate. About 50 feet away I looked back and they were watching us and by the time we got to the gate, they had started running after us! There was a tad bit of a dilemma now to get them apart but I went to the back deck and quietly whistled and Ari came running and scooted back under the fence to me before Teddy realized what was happening. All was well that ends well!
On other pages you'll hear about Teddy's other adventures and experiences.