Amstaff, dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering, Pit bull, puppies, training

Adopter’s Remorse?

You’ve heard of buyer’s remorse?

Every now and again I’m pretty sure some of us have adopter’s remorse.

Not that I don’t LOVE my Frankie. Not that I wouldn’t adopt him AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. He is my wubba-bubba. I can get teary just thinking about the fact that someday he will die.

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And yet….

Last night at our Canine Good Citizenship class, he was a crazy-dog.

Leaping on the instructor and the other students during our ‘walking in a crowd’ practice, and then during our stay practice – the one part of the test that he has ROCKED every other time, I took three steps away from him and he launched himself after Cooper, the tiny corgi who sits next to us. All he wanted to do was wrestle with Cooper (who weighs about 40 pounds less than him).

The instructor had to throw herself between them as I grabbed for Frankie’s leash. Just as I got my hands on his leash, he darted between the instructor’s legs to resume his courting of Cooper, and I was left trying to figure out how to extricate him from the situation without further embarrassing the instructor or myself (Frankie wasn’t the least bit embarrassed).

During ‘sit for petting’ he twice kissed the instructor’s face at high speed before she even got a hand on him.

This week at the end of class, instead of saying, “I’m sure all of you will pass,” she said, “What’s the worst that could happen? So, you fail. You just take it again.”

[She definitely wasn’t directing this thought at the other four students in class who had all stayed and sat and greeted a friendly stranger with little issue.]

Frankie was exhausted when we drove home, snoring the entire way and crashing upon arrival. He’d outdone himself.


I’m devising a training schedule that will involve a lot of time wandering the aisles at Home Depot practicing reaction-to-distraction and not-jumping-on-strangers (friendly or not). And I’m crusing the Chewy site looking for the highest value treat that might convince him that staying when told to stay is a good idea.

This morning as I took Hops out for a romp (off-leash!), I thought, Hops could pass his CGC tomorrow. That’s how naturally well-behaved and cooperative he is and he’s only six months old.

Admittedly, I am enamored with Hops. I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “If only he didn’t have long, black hair….”


Hops comes when he’s called. Hops doesn’t chase the cat. Hops stops hopping on people the first time I admonish him. Hops doesn’t bark at the milkman or the mailman or the kids when they barge in the room. Hops is gentle and sweet and wants more than anything to please me. Yes, he can open the front door to follow me if I forget to lock it, but he happily follows me back inside instead of tearing around the yard with a big grin on his face (like someone else I know).

And then there’s the running.

I’ve been waiting for Frankie to be full-grown so that we could run together. We’ve worked on leash skills while walking and he’s gotten better and better.

Recently, I began increasing the length of our walks to start building his stamina in preparation for running with me. We were up to three miles when last week, Frankie called a halt to the whole thing.


Just passed the Baer’s driveway, which is almost ¾ of a mile from our house, he sat down in the road and refused to take another step.

It was a beautiful day. Perfect weather. He wasn’t overheated.

I checked his feet—fine.

I rubbed his head and pulled on the leash, but he just wagged his tail and sat back down.

I waited.

He waited.

No dice. When I turned to go back towards our house, he leapt to his feet and happily sauntered along beside me.

I’m not remorseful about adopting Frankie. I told you. He’s my wubba-bubba.


What I am remorseful about is that I won’t be able to enjoy runs with him. And I can’t allow him off-leash because he finds chasing down the vultures who roost on our pasture fence or bounding after the deer, to be higher priorities than coming when he is called. I so desperately want to take him with me on book tour, but not if he’s going to dive in people’s faces or jump their dogs (in a nice way).

He’s still a pup, so I’m pretty sure his focus and obedience will increase with age, as long as I keep working at it.

So he doesn’t always come when he’s called? I love his exuberance for life and I love that he makes me laugh.

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So he can’t contain his eagerness to share his affection sometimes? I love that he loves everyone he meets and he’s THE best snuggler.


So he won’t run with me? Luckily there’s a steady supply of foster dogs who are happy to pick up the slack.

No, I’m not the least bit remorseful that I adopted Frankie.

My only remorse is that I waited this long to let a dog back in my heart. Nick reminded me several times in the course of Frankie’s first few months with us, that my Lucy (the dog of my heart for 17 years) also didn’t come when she was called (hence our invisible fence) and she also exuberantly jumped all over our guests when she was a young pup. Lucy got better with age and Frankie will too.

Hops will meet his potential adopters this weekend (and how could they not fall in love with this perfectly goofy sweetheart of a pup?).


On Memorial Day, Frankie will turn one!

And will he pass his Canine Good Citizenship test?

Who knows? What’s the worst that could happen?

He’ll still be my wubba-bubba.

Thanks for reading!

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COMING AUGUST 2018 from Pegasus Books and available for preorder now:

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17 thoughts on “Adopter’s Remorse?”

  1. Dusty T. Dog went to residential obedience school for 6 weeks during/after my first hip surgery. He came out a far better dog than I imagined possible BUT he’s still “El Barquero Grande” and I can’t stop him from barking fiercely at other dogs and strangers. He’s great off leash, but he scares people. Bear will never walk off leash. She catches the scent of something and MUST respond to a higher calling. With Dusty I have felt “adopter’s remorse” sometimes when I can’t just relax and walk my dog. But…no one else would ever have adopted that guy or given him a chance. I love him with all my heart, but it’s only a fraction of how much he loves me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your last sentence there – that’s exactly how I feel about Frankie. Even when he’s hellbent after a vulture when I give him ‘one more chance.’ But I am really hoping he grows out of that higher calling he seems to heed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dusty never did. 😦 But moving here has improved both our lives. People around here expect a dog to bark and to protect me and then to be friendly. Now I just ask people, “Do you like dogs?” If they say “Yes” I say, “OK, Dusty has a nasty bark but he LOVES people.” And Dusty goes to meet everyone with a loud bark, a smile and then a sit. I just have to trust his training. Frankie is so beautiful. I’d want him just to look at him! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a friend who says Frankie won’t grow up until he’s two. Every time I’m grumble, she says, “Just wait til he’s two – he’s going to be an awesome dog, that’s when their brains start really working.” We shall see! You’ll have to keep me updated on yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed reading this. Sometimes it made me laugh and sometimes it made me almost cry but mostly I found myself nodding my head in agreement with you. As puppy parents, we all have had our challenges in raising a “solid citizen” but the lifetime of love that is freely given and freely received is so worth the effort. As I continue to raise and train (14mos. old) Sunny, reading this just gave me a little extra support and encouragement. Thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad Sunny is with you! They all need the unconditional love balanced with steady, consistent training. Puppies aren’t just cute – they’re work. as you said – it’s so worth the effort!


  3. Frankie sounds a lot like my boy Styx but Hops looks exactly like Styx! Funny! Styx is 3 and while he is way better on a leash and has calmed down some he does not take heed to my word should there be another dog around. He listens so well in many situations and most times when he is off leash except if he’s told to stay when he sees another dog. I’ve been the dog owner that gets ‘all the looks’ from others because of my crazy dog whom I love more than words can say. I resonate with much of what you wrote of your sweet boy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve got three. All of them challenging despite lots of obedience and socialisation that I have done with them. The last was a rescue – a pure bred Finnish Spitz. Even pure-breeds need rescuing. His owners decided to re-home him when he was 12 weeks old. I honestly don’t blame them. He is two in July but still absolutely exhausting. I love them all, but gee, maybe I should have stopped at two. PS. I’ve already fallen in love with Frankie. What a delight!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll have to let me know if your guy calms down a bit when he crosses that magic line to 2-year-old. I’m told that’s when it gets better. Here’s hoping! All week with Hops I’ve thought, maybe 3 wouldn’t be so bad, but Monday’s class convinced me that was crazy talk!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a big ask for a dog to let a stranger pet them and not to wiggle, especially dogs who are social butterflies. Frankie sounds like he is going to reward you with a lifetime of adventure and laughs. I think one learns more from the tricky dogs. Hops sounds like a lovely dog. Whether he stays with you or goes to a new family, he is going to be a brilliant family dog.

        My blog is very eclectic, but I’ve done a couple of fun posts under the category “All My Trials – Dog Training Karma”, I need to do some more posts to update our adventures. The dogs and I have fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Frankie sounds like a hoot! And just like our own children, our dogs don’t always live up to our dreams and expectations…but we love them anyway. I bet he will calm down a bit when he grows up, but if not…he’s still your wubba bubba!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Do you think that puppies should start basic obedience training from the time one gets them, when they’re around eight weeks? I’ve heard mixed thoughts on this… some say that they can start to learn dog obedience and manners on day one along with their housebreaking, others say you should wait until they’re about six months old, and you’ll have to put up with a more or less wild dog for a while first. My mom did a bit of both practices… I was surprised that Gabby and Mindy, who were in class together with my mom and aunt working to train them (I stayed home and did homework:)) passed obedience class the first time they took the classes, as they spent a lot of time working on figuring out who was top dog (something that took a while for them to sort out, sigh) and messing around in general. I’m not sure I’d’ve passed them if I were the instructor, and let my mom know that. After all, we fail children who aren’t ready to move on to the next grade in school. We make them redo the current grade until they’re a bit more up to speed. Changes in Gabby’s behavior were gradual, and over time, they got along better together. Now, they are ten years old, and get along well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t start Frankie until he was six months old, but I’ve heard from adopters who have successfully begun training right when they take their puppy home at 8 weeks. So, yes, I think you should start immediately!


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