Iím feeling so overwhelmed right now.
Background: boyfriend and I just bought a house together. Heís never had pets, but lived happily with my older dog and 2 cats. My girl had cancer, and we had to say goodbye in Sept when she was 13 1/2. Boyfriend did NOT want another dog, but wanted me to be happy (Iíve always had a dog and was a mess) and gave in. I made extra extra sure he was okay with it and okay with this dog.
Weíve had Bolt, an 8-12 month old shepherd (?) mix, for a month now. My boyfriend has seemed pretty frustrated with him. Bolt is an energetic dog and is still a puppy, and I'm very active and experienced with dogs, so I was up for the challenge. I've been taking him on tons of long walks, runs, hikes, dog park trips, dog play dates, and to daycare to keep him well-exercised.
But I feel so overwhelmed doing everything I can to keep Bolt calm in the house so that my boyfriend isnít too aggravated. I wish heíd told me how annoyed he would be by totally normal puppy things like jumping up on the bed, being under our feet, and playing in the house.
Bolt also has to learn he cannot play with our cats. When heís calm he has great interactions with them, but sometimes he jumps up with his paws in the air and tries to get them to play/run. Itís proving really difficult to intervene at the start of this because sometimes heís totally fine and we let our guard down, and then all of a sudden we hear running and hissing.
My boyfriend is really annoyed when he has to stop what heís doing to intervene. He likes to come home to a peaceful house and just chill out, which I can understand, but I didnít realize heíd be so frustrated by all this.
Weíre working very hard on not getting on the bed, being calm in the house, not running at the door when people go in and out, etc. Iím considering working with a trainer to get really serious about it.
Bolt has a bit of separation anxiety, too, which is stressing me out because of our current situation. My schedule is flexible, but I do have a full-time job and need to be at work some days. I can work from home others, and when I do have to be in the office and I can pretty much always either go in later, come home at lunch, or leave early.
My boyfriend just accepted a remote work job, which means heíll be at home with the dog - except for days he goes to his friend/coworkerís house to work together. His office is in our basement and currently we gate Bolt upstairs to give the cats some safe space and gradually introduce him to the house. Because he doesnít go in the basement often, heís very excited by it and tends to go nuts down there and chase the cats down there. But when weíre in the basement and heís gated upstairs, he whines and stresses out without us.
I donít know whether I should start slowly introducing him, room by room, to the basement, until heís calm down there, so that he can be out while my boyfriend works, or just have my boyfriend crate him when heís downstairs in his officeÖ I donít know what would be worse, the frustration of having him down there and possibly bugging him while heís trying to work, or dealing with the initial whining and barking of being left upstairs.
I take Bolt to daycare 2 days a week so he gets playtime, which will help, and I work from home most Thursdays. Weíre hoping to get our yard fenced soon, which will also help with exercising him.
I feel like Iím doing everything I can and itís still not enough to make everyone happy. I worry Iíve ruined our peaceful little life, complicated our lives, and made our catsí lives stressful - and to make matters worse, I feel like all the reasons my boyfriend didnít want a dog are being projected onto me. Suddenly Iím stressing about not being able to go off and do whatever we want, having to go home in between things, and feeling trapped by having a dogÖwhich is crazy because Iíve ALWAYS had a dog and this has always been part of my life.
I would never give up on a dog - my family has even done extensive training with difficult and fearful dogs. But Iím starting to wonder if this is too much for us right now, if he's the wrong fit for a house with cats, and if Iím straining our relationship because of the dog.
In the back of my mind, I also know this is all temporary. He's a puppy and is learning, and over time he will probably calm down into a great loyal companion. Hopefully with time and conditioning he will respect that he cannot chase the cats, but I worry about if it doesn't get better.
Anyone have tips or can simply relate? I could use some guidance. And anyone who read all that, you're a saint!