I rehomed my dog today.
I gave Cobalt back to the woman I got her from. It was a painful and difficult decision, but I think we will all benefit in the long run.
As a dog trainer, I feel like a failure. I was unable to help Cobalt get over her insecurities and work through her issues. They were the same issues over and over again, she would get better then regress. It was particularly bad if she had to stay away from me for a while, like at my mom's house for the weekend or the in-laws for a week. It was as if all my training had gone out the window and I was back at square 1. I will admit that I wasn't super patient with her. I know she knows this stuff! Why has she regressed so far and is unable to get back into the rhythm of good behavior? I feel like there was a deeper underlying issue that I wasn't aware of. I think Cobalt would've benefitted from medication, in retrospect.
Since I am away from house for half of the week, my SO was unable to handle Cobalt's behavior and we came to the decision to give her back. I spoke to the woman I got her from and talked about the issues and how she'd be able to rehome her easily. It makes me very sad to see her go, but there was a huge relief in the household. We can walk wherever we want now and not fear her reaction about a person or dog or bush or rock. We don't have to look both ways when we leave to house to make sure the coast is clear before allowing her to come outside. A weight has been lifted from my shoulders that I didn't know was there. I wish I had never purchased her. I wish I went with my gut feelings to be very careful about selecting our next dog and adopting one from a shelter. I made a childish and rookie mistake of falling in love with a cute puppy with some less-desirable habits.
I have learned from my mistake. Cobalt taught me a lot about R+ training and changing methods to suite each dogs' needs. Cobalt did not respond to clicker training and wasn't very motivated by treats, though they were nice, she much preferred playing fetch so I tried to use that as a reward. When any way didn't work, I'd switch it up and try something new.
I'm sure she will find a good home with someone who won't mind her quirks. As for me, I need to practice working with shy and insecure dogs, which can be some of the toughest cases. I know the steps and protocols, I need to work on being patient and precise. I hope I'm not judged too harshly for failing with my own dog.