Basil, it turned out, occasionally bit small children. For a full-sized dog in a house with a small child and her friends, that behavior sent him back to his gracious former owners. Three days later they sent us email saying they’d missed him and decided to keep him.
We learned that we were ready for a dog, however. Or, ready as we would ever be. So we started over, got lucky off Craigslist with an 11 week old male yellow lab we named Sasha Leonardo the Great. Sasha because we all liked Sasha, although Noah really wanted Leonardo, so we compromised with a grand name.
We’ve done a fair job with training and accomodating him in our house and yard–we have a portable playpen (a set of six connecting panels); two crates, one for now, one for later; clicker and plenty of treats; a gentle lead; a new toilet run I built in the side yard away from the house but with open access from the back yard; and a start at hemming in our garden beds with raised wood borders. He’s a good soul, quick on the uptake, but also teething and that means biting. Which means more patience than I bargained for, and willingness to put up with nips and train ourselves,* too, for a few months as we see him make progress.
He survived his first checkup today and his second set of shots. The vet thought he was making good progress with training and gave his health a big thumbs up. We’ve enrolled him in a 6 week puppy training course starting in near the end of May–if nothing else, that will at least give us more formal time for applying training, even if we and he learn nothing new.
* Training ourselves means going against instinct to roughhouse with his head and adopt any behavior that encourages jumping up (and biting).