Join Date: Apr 2017
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It's been a while since I posted and that's because I gave Migo back to his breeder. I have been having a really tough time about it. Y'all already knew about his two luxating patellas, but then his signs of tracheal collapse became more frequent. Even then I wasn't going to give him back.
Our classes were becoming more and more difficult as for some reason everything would cause him stress, especially other dogs. I would set up barriers so that he could not see the other dogs, but over the weeks he became more anxious. He still did very well, I thought that he just didn't like/feel comfortable around other dogs. Fine by me, I could mostly control this. But then at our home (we live in an apartment) noises that he had always heard (someone going up the stairs, kitchen noises, etc) were making him extremely uncomfortable. He had also never liked our roommate who spends most of his time in his room, but around this time he developed new behaviors such as growling and barking at the roommate's door to tell him to get out of his space. For his anxiety at this time I was using CBD oil, Zylkene (vet rec), calming sprays/music, etc for about three weeks and nothing seemed to help. For a couple months I was treating for the appropriate behaviors (when he was calm and would leave it, etc) with no improvement. I decided it was time to hire a pro for a private consultation.
It was clear to the professional trainer (found through Karen Pryor academy search and highly recommended by a vet who I trusted) that Migo has generalized anxiety and that I would have to find a way to get him under the threshold so that counter conditioning could work as the methods I used were good but he just couldn't relax. We were advised to see a behaviorist for medication and she developed a plan for him. It would be a tough process and she admitted that he would likely never be a normal dog who could handle traveling, stimulating environments, etc.
Around this time his breeder emailed me saying that she would finally refund a deposit I had given her months ago for a future puppy. I asked for the deposit back after I found that she had blatantly lied about health testing and found that Migo's sire is his mother's sire as well. She got extremely defensive when I asked her about these things and yelled at me via email about how spoiled rotten I am. Confused and highly annoyed, I left her alone except for the one email a month reminding her that she offered me a refund for the deposit and I had yet to receive it.
She also said that she wanted to buy Migo back since I was "so unhappy with the puppy" I got from her. I love Migo, he is a very sweet dog and I will never be unhappy with him. I was unhappy that I made a mistake with the breeder I had chose.
At this point though, I knew that keeping Migo would mean that I would not reach my goals in dog ownership. I specifically wanted to do obedience and I don't think that environment would be good for him. Sure, we can train at home or a place in which he's comfortable and he did great. I would not put him in a ring though. I will not put a dog in an environment that he feels uncomfortable in solely because I want a title. I'm not selfish.
This also includes traveling. I actually made us leave my partner's mom's house early during our Thanksgiving visit because poor Migo was so stressed the entire time. Future traveling and even having others over at our place looked grim. I could only sometimes get him to relax when we were at home. I was also about to spend who knows how much money in future surgeries.
So I decided that keeping Migo was no longer an option for me. I let her buy him back. I strongly considered talking to a rescue, except the contract said I would owe her $10K if I didn't follow it (give him back to her).
I got Migo from Way Out West Havanese. While she did end up giving me my deposit back, and she did refund Migo's purchase price to me (with hardly a week deadline to pressure me to make the decision), I want to warn people of my experience.
I don't have any plans to add another Hav to my home. I have talked to some really great breeders as I struggled in dealing with Way Out West, but I don't think I can have another anytime soon. With that said, I do plan to get another puppy.. the right way. For now though I will soon volunteer at a local rescue. One of the dog trainer's I use is in charge of their training department, and I'll be working with dogs who need behavior modification to improve their chance of getting adopted. I have been talking with breeders involved with my region's Golden Retriever club, and I may get on a wait list for late 2018.
I doubt I'll be on after this for at least a long while. I wish you all the best.