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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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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.

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 08:39 PM
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I'm very sorry to hear your story. I wish you the very best.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 08:45 PM
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Thank you for sharing your story and informative post, about all you have dealt with, with you sweet Migo. I am sure that your heart is broken. You had a terrible choice, and I'm so sorry for all you have to deal with, and the sadness you have left.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 09:05 AM
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I'm so sorry that you had to go through this, and I know you tried to do your best for Migo. I hope the breeder fixes his patellas and then finds a home for him with a little old lady who wants nothing more than a lap dog/house pet. It sounds like that's what he needs. Good luck in your search for the "right" dog, but please know that this is NOT a typical experience with a well bred Havanese puppy.


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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 10:03 AM
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My heart goes out to you because you sound like the kind of person who would go to extraordinary lengths to do the right thing for your dog. I had the same experience, but kept Hanna (our first Havanese). It was thirteen years of vet visits and a poor dog who never really felt well. Choosing a dog first for health and temperament (good breeding) is key to a happy co-existence.

My opinion for what it is worth is that good breeders are like gold. Selective and careful breeding practices eliminate or lower the risks of producing a pet that would suffer with a myriad of health issues. A lot of "rescues" are rejected pets that were purchased from pet stores or backyard breeders, that at the outset are doomed to illness, psychological issues, and misery for the dog as well as the unsuspecting owner.

A well bred dog involves a lot of upfront expense to the breeder in selective breeding, health exams, etc. The high price one pays is well worth it if you consider 15-20 years of a healthy lifespan for your adopted fur baby. Considering the ramifications, one would do well to spend a lot of time and energy doing due diligence and gathering a LOT of good referrals.

Patience is required, because AFTER you find your breeder options, there is usually a WAITING list......for good reason.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 11:26 AM
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You made the right decision, all the best in the future.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 01:22 PM
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My heart goes out to you Karidyne. Such a difficult decision. It sounds like you've made the right decision for you and for Migo. As Karen said, hopefully the breeder will find the right home for him. Good luck.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 03:57 PM
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Oh this made me so sad. I am so sorry for what you have had to deal with. I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do.



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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by krandall View Post
I'm so sorry that you had to go through this, and I now you tried to do your best for Migo. I hope the breeder fixes his patellas and then finds a home for him with a little old lady who wants nothing more than a lap dog/house pet. It sounds like that's what he needs. Good luck in your search for the "right" dog, but please know that this is NOT a typical experience with a well bred Havanese puppy.
Yes, the breeder (the good one) who helped me through this said that Migo was not representative of a well bred Havanese. I still love the Havanese, but a few things lead me towards a Golden now. I recently found that I am having seizures. They are not strong and hopefully won't get that bad if I start medication now. There's also a chance that they will not get worse even without meds, but I worry about falling on a tiny dog. :-( I don't plan on needing a service dog by any means, but a larger dog could be potentially useful as I am on the smaller side myself.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by karidyne View Post
Yes, the breeder (the good one) who helped me through this said that Migo was not representative of a well bred Havanese. I still love the Havanese, but a few things lead me towards a Golden now. I recently found that I am having seizures. They are not strong and hopefully won't get that bad if I start medication now. There's also a chance that they will not get worse even without meds, but I worry about falling on a tiny dog. :-( I don't plan on needing a service dog by any means, but a larger dog could be potentially useful as I am on the smaller side myself.
Best of luck to you all the way around. Golden are wonderful dogs IF you (same as Havanese) find a good breeder who emphasizes health and temperament. As with Havanese, even though Goldens are a breed known for wonderful, biddable temperaments, there are too many of them cropping up with temperament problems too.

They certainly are a top pick for someone who wants to do competitive obedience... Look at the NOC line-ups and its tons of Goldens, a bunch of Border Collies and Labs and... a teeny smattering of other breeds.
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