A Week with Jada

It’s been almost three years since we’ve had a dog and at least seven since we’ve had an active one. After Holly passed away in 2018 we decided we would wait a “long time” before getting another dog. Her last two years were incredibly taxing and we wanted a break as the boys started to become busier throughout elementary school. It was a good choice and gave us a well-needed break from taking care of furry friends in addition to little humans.

We weren’t sure when we’d get a dog or what kind of dog we’d get. Sally wanted something bigger and I wanted something similar to Dachshund size. I said I’d even take another Dachshund but that was a non-starter. We agreed on getting a medium-sized dog somewhere in the 20-30 lb range. I wanted to wait several years and Sally wanted to wait a bit less.

As 2020 wore on we started entertaining the idea of getting a dog “someday”, and soon “someday” became “soon” which quickly became “now”. We adopted Holly and Hannah, so that was our plan with our next dog. It was a bit earlier than I had planned but Sally started looking for dogs and filling out applications in March.

We had some requirements – not a puppy, medium size, short coat, preferably female, moderate activity level, and good with kids and cats. Given that people are still spending a lot of time at home there were not many dogs that met our criteria. Those that did were difficult to get. The adoption applications were long and detailed and there were always many people applying for the same dog. After filling out six applications we found out we were the seventh applicant in line for a particular dog and the prior applicants had been eliminated. We had found our dog!

That was last Saturday. Our new dog traveled from North Carolina to New Jersey on a dog transport truck and then traveled with five different volunteer families through different segments up to Lawrence MA, where we picked her up at a Holiday Inn. We were nervous but everything worked out great and the volunteers and staff at Diamond Dog Rescue were absolutely fantastic! They worked super hard to get her to us safely, communicated very well, and they succeeded. We are forever grateful!

Meet Jada

So who is this dog? Meet Jada, our one year old hound-retriever mix. She’s about 45 lbs and mostly muscle. She has lots of energy and needs a fair amount of training, but she is an absolute sweetheart otherwise. She is super friendly and always means well. According to this fantastic chart on Quora, she is technically a large dog, which is much bigger than I was looking for, but… I’m going to be OK.

She’s pretty happy

We’ve spent the last week acclimating her to our home and setting up some routines. We’ve never trained a dog before so we did our best using the internet as a guide until her official training started at Petco on Friday. Given that we’ve never had a trained dog before I think we did really well. We didn’t expect her to know any commands but were happy to discover that knew “sit” so we worked with that quite a bit. We also learned that ignoring her is a really effective way to curb undesirable behaviors, so we’ve done a lot of “freeze and don’t look at her” as we’ve set boundaries.

So far she has been good with other dogs, almost uninterested in them. She sniffs but doesn’t want to play. She loves people, sometimes too much, and can knock over kids with her excitement. It was an issue for the boys at first, but Adam is pretty good now. We are still working with Zach because she has a particular fondness for him and wants to wrestle all the time. She is good in a kennel and we’ve been putting her in it for various amounts of time when we leave the house. She doesn’t bark much either, unless she sees the cats, which are another issue entirely that we are still working.

We have settled into a daily routine – we take her with us to the bus stop in the morning before Sally takes her on a longer walk. She lays in the dining room while Sally works during the day, occasionally popping up to see what I’m doing in the office. She gets another walk at lunch, helps us pick the boys up from the bus stop at the end of the day, and walks after dinner. At night she snuggles up on our bed and we go to sleep.

Having a bigger dog is certainly an adjustment for us because, well, she’s big. When the girls got on the couch and jumped on us it was no big deal because they weighed 10 lbs. When Jada hops on our lap it’s a whole different ballgame. When she gets excited and tears through the house it’s much more likely for her to break things. She also likes to be right next to us when we’re walking around and often trips us. She’s basically a small moose, but we love her.

She’d love to ride in my trunk…

Our first week with Jada has been very fun, but also very exhausting. We’ve put a lot of effort into training and correction, but luckily she has responded very well to it and made lots of progress. We just need to keep it up and I think everything will work out. Most of the time she is really awesome and now that she is in formal training we can help her even more.

Training tires her out too

I forgot how much I enjoy having a dog around. I’m an animal cuddler and I’ve missed having a dog to snuggle up with. Jada is a bit awkward but she’s starting to let me cuddle with her and it’s great. She’s also really fun and likes to play tug of war and run around outside. Since she’s good with other dogs and doesn’t bark, it’s actually fun to take her for walks. She also does well in the car and we were able to take her to the beach last weekend to play.

The boys really love her too. Adam in particular has taken to her and is begging to walk her on her leash. He loves giving her commands and has been really good at following our instructions to help train her. Zach likes her too and we are working with him to be more assertive so that he can play with her without getting knocked over.

All in all Jada has been a great addition to the family. We have some training to do and need to work on getting along with the cats, but otherwise she is fitting in quite well and I look forward to our continued adventures.

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