I mentioned that we'd taken in a new dog temporarily. I hoped to get him adopted as a companion or a service dog for someone who needed a little extra help. He was a client's dog and just wasn't the right fit for them. He touched me in such a way that I told them to let me know if he didn't work out for them. So they did, and I took him in.
Less than 24 hours later, we got the call from hospice to tell us my mother-in-law was dying. I spent four days in limbo at hospice, coming home every six hours to let the dogs out and feed them. Not the best circumstances for any dog, but especially not for a dog who was so new to us.
He got along great with all my dogs, although quite often he was a bit much for them, and they were always reminding him that he was crossing the line. He decided he liked to play with Lily, our seven year old Lab. Unfortunately, Lily's the most laid-back dog we've got, and she didn't share his love of play. He badgered her until she was in a state of denial. She'd lay still no matter how much he barked and play-bowed. Frustrated that his efforts weren't working, he then resorted to nipping her as she laid down and tried to ignore him. If I didn't step in to stop him, our other two dogs were more than happy to do it for me. Which, clearly, wasn't a good idea.
I began to separate the new guy from our three, which of course made him miserable. He jumped every gate we put up. Nothing could keep him away from these three. So I began leaving him inside and taking my three out for a romp, then taking him out while my three stayed inside. Everyone was now miserable! I couldn't win. I couldn't keep him safe in the house either – he had escaped from crates before and I feared he'd get stuck half-in and half-out and kill himself while I was gone. He could scale any gate (or two) I created with ease.
When he was outside, he decided the grass was greener on the other side of the fence. And he jumped it. With ease. And once outside the fence wouldn't let anyone near him. He'd bark and bark and bark, but wouldn't come close. And would run away when I tried to offer him some bits of chicken. I'd run in the opposite direction, hoping he'd chase me. He'd watch me, but wouldn't take a step closer. He just wanted to run, run, run. I could do nothing but wait for him to come back on his own, because my efforts to convince him to come back only made him go further away. So from that moment on, he was only outside on a leash. Which he hated. He wouldn't run (plus my two legs are so much slower than his four), he didn't want to go to the bathroom, he wouldn't play with me. He just looked at me.
These issues individually weren't insurmountable. But all these issues together with the emotions and stress of the death of a loved one were making everyone and every dog miserable. The new dog just wasn't happy when he couldn't be with our three. And our three were definitely unhappy when he was around them.
We didn't have a training issue, we had a compatibility issue. My dogs weren't happy with his being here. And the new dog wasn't happy, either. And no amount of training was going to "fix" these issues. It was one of the most difficult decisions I've faced yet in life, but I decided to take the new guy to the shelter. I'm glad there are safe places like shelters where dogs can get a second chance. I'm hoping this guy finds the perfect home: a young man who likes to go running and hiking; or some empty-nesters who need a walking partner and someone to shower with affection; or maybe a family with a young, energetic dog who would love to have another playmate.