update on dog/family integration

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So far, so good. I completely misspoke when I said that Gerald wouldn't want the dog in our bedroom, and he set me straight after he saw my post :) So last night we had her sleep in the crate in our room, and it was a big improvement. She settled right down and slept all night, and didn't make any noises at all. We let her out when we got up a little before 7, and I took her outside so she could do "her business". Taking her out was a lot less fun today, with the 24 degree temperatures and 40mph winds, so she won't get the same long walks today that she got yesterday.

We also took her last night to get groomed at PetSmart, where they did a great job and she came out looking sleek and beautiful. She had no problem with the people there, but she barked like crazy at all of the other dogs she saw (which she also did when I took her on a long walk around our neighborhood). I know that aggression towards other dogs is a breed characteristic of chows, but I'm hoping with some obedience training we can reduce the extent to which she acts on it.

On the obedience front, I'm leaning towards having someone come to our house, even though it will be much more expensive than going to a class. Local group classes run about $100 for 8 weeks, the shelter we got her from gives us a discounted rate of $60 for 6 weeks but is a 30 min drive away, and the best deal I've seen for private training is a $199 for 4 sessions package. There are several big advantages to the private training, though. First, it means she won't be surrounded by other dogs when we start out...it was really stressful for me dealing with her barking and lunging yesterday. Second, it allows everyone in the family to participate, so we're all on the same page when it comes to interacting with her. And third, we can work around our upcoming travel schedule...none of the group classes start for at least two weeks, and I'll be out of town for GDC in late February, and then our Bahamas cruise the first week of March.

Unfortunately, we didn't plan on that additional expense, particularly right before we take an expensive family vacation, so we may have to wait to do the whole obedience training process until we get back in March. We'll see.

Meanwhile, she's definitely bonding with the family, and is affectionate, playful, and intelligent. I'm quite sure we got a dog that's a good match for the family, but it will take a little time and patience for her to learn all the house rules.

Many thanks to those of you who've weighed in with public and private comments. It helps a lot to have advice from people who've been there and done that!

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This page contains a single entry published on January 30, 2008 12:22 PM.

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