New dog struggles with non-dog person partner

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New dog struggles with non-dog person partner

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Old 12-02-2016, 09:23 AM
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New dog struggles with non-dog person partner

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!
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Old 12-02-2016, 09:33 AM
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Tough one.

I think your boyfriend needs a reality check. Puppies are puppies and yes, they can be annoying sometimes. I'm sure your old dog was easy compared to this. Maybe he didn't realize what he was getting in to with a young dog?

I think you guys need to have a heart to heart. You can't spend all of your energy trying to keep everyone happy.

Personally, I would up the doggy day care for a few weeks while you sort things out.

Hang in there
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Last edited by KateBren; 12-02-2016 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 12-02-2016, 10:37 AM
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Oh, you're in a horrible situation (I've been there too, it's horrible).

I think, for you, you should probably start working with a trainer and Bolt. Sounds like he needs a little bit of impulse control as well as needing to learn when it's time to be ramped up and play and when it's time to relax (teaching him how to place and giving him a bed in the basement). Also, if you can eventually get your boyfriend involved (I have noticed that they like it better when the dog already knows the stuff and they can just give a command and the dog does it. They don't want to have to teach it) that will help him start to build a bond with the dog.

Your boyfriend also needs to come to terms with this change. You are obviously a dog person. You were going to have a dog in your life eventually. It's a compromise. He should be willing to assist you and work with you like a team (even if you do have to do mostly all the work). Sounds like this needs to be a sit down conversation where he is told that the dog is not leaving and he needs to come to terms with it and help.

Good luck and hugs, I've been in that situation (first month of having my second dog I remember standing in my kitchen crying because my husband was angry the dog had peed in his crate again and I couldn't give him an answer on why he did it or what I was going to do to fix it). If you can talk to them and find a compromise it does get better.
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Old 12-02-2016, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by KateBren View Post
Tough one.

I think your boyfriend needs a reality check. Puppies are puppies and yes, they can be annoying sometimes. I'm sure your old dog was easy compared to this. Maybe he didn't realize what he was getting in to with a young dog?

I think you guys need to have a heart to heart. You can't spend all of your energy trying to keep everyone happy.

Personally, I would up the doggy day care for a few weeks while you sort things out.

Hang in there
I think he needs a reality check, too. He said this was ok and I checked with him several times. I reminded him he was still a puppy and might even need housetraining - he agreed to it all. And we were pleasantly surprised to find he's completely housebroken and has a bladder of steel. So really some things are better than expected.

I'll have a heart to heart with him soon. I think the new job stress is contributing but he won't admit it.

Definitely may up the daycare and do what I can to stay sane while we work out some things with Bolt!
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Old 12-02-2016, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Bolt5488 View Post
I think he needs a reality check, too. He said this was ok and I checked with him several times. I reminded him he was still a puppy and might even need housetraining - he agreed to it all. And we were pleasantly surprised to find he's completely housebroken and has a bladder of steel. So really some things are better than expected.

I'll have a heart to heart with him soon. I think the new job stress is contributing but he won't admit it.

Definitely may up the daycare and do what I can to stay sane while we work out some things with Bolt!
That's great on the housebreaking!

I've raised a puppy before and getting this current puppy almost killed me in the beginning. (Read my first post on here lol) I can see how your BF could be thrown for a loop

GL!
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Old 12-02-2016, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jclark343 View Post
Oh, you're in a horrible situation (I've been there too, it's horrible).

I think, for you, you should probably start working with a trainer and Bolt. Sounds like he needs a little bit of impulse control as well as needing to learn when it's time to be ramped up and play and when it's time to relax (teaching him how to place and giving him a bed in the basement). Also, if you can eventually get your boyfriend involved (I have noticed that they like it better when the dog already knows the stuff and they can just give a command and the dog does it. They don't want to have to teach it) that will help him start to build a bond with the dog.

Your boyfriend also needs to come to terms with this change. You are obviously a dog person. You were going to have a dog in your life eventually. It's a compromise. He should be willing to assist you and work with you like a team (even if you do have to do mostly all the work). Sounds like this needs to be a sit down conversation where he is told that the dog is not leaving and he needs to come to terms with it and help.

Good luck and hugs, I've been in that situation (first month of having my second dog I remember standing in my kitchen crying because my husband was angry the dog had peed in his crate again and I couldn't give him an answer on why he did it or what I was going to do to fix it). If you can talk to them and find a compromise it does get better.
Thank you, it's so nice to hear from someone who has been there! I'm really glad I'm not alone and can hear from others who know it will get better.

I think I'm in survival mode where I'm trying to keep everyone happy and put the least burden on him possible/prove having a dog can be not stressful for him...but in turn I'm burning myself to the ground trying to do it all. I haven't had anxiety problems since I was in early college, but this has sent me through the roof.

He did help a lot while I was at a conference. The dog went to daycare 2 of the 3 days, but he worked with him on training stuff in the evening and seemed to bond with him a bit.

Bolt is a very smart and good dog; he just needs a little work. He's learned sit, lie down, improved on leash walks, and is working on stay and leave it, all in a very short time, but I think I need some training help for the other stuff. I've been waffling between a one-on-one trainer or group classes. Think it's time to figure that out and start!

Thank you all so much for your help!

How could you not love this face?!
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Old 12-02-2016, 12:54 PM
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Regardless of whether you sign up for group classes or individual training, I would suggest that you get your BF involved in the training as much as possible. The more consistently you're working together as a team, the more successful you are likely to be - both in training Bolt and in strengthening your relationship.

Particularly if you find a trainer who offers individual classes, check out his or her approach so that it's consistent with your own philosophy of dog training.
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Old 12-02-2016, 01:54 PM
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Oh man he is very cute. And you are totally not alone! It's an adjustment for everyone. (Puppy Blues).

There has to be compromise. If this is the man you plan on spending the rest of your life with you should be able to lean on him for help. A dog is FAR easier then a child, not to mention partners are suppose to help each other.

Classes would be great, and I would probably sit down with him and tell him that you are going to need him to get involved. That your mental health is suffering and the way the house is right now is not ok. Ask him to come to classes with you. Show him that if he gets involved he can have control to, and if he isn't involved the dog is not going to respect him.
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Old 12-02-2016, 02:10 PM
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Agreed, he needs to get more involved. Re: working from home, he just told me "I'm not gonna be home much for the first few weeks" and "I can't be chasing dogs and cats while I try to work." Sigh.

jclark, you brought up an interesting point because we want kids in the future. I guess a dog is different because he didn't want a dog and he does want kids, but sometimes I'm like 'man, if you're this frustrated with a dog and want a clean, quiet house, what the heck are you gonna do with kids?!'

Any thoughts on group classes vs. one-on-one? You get more classes for your $ with group, but he's very excited around other dogs and I'm wondering if some on-on-one work with a trainer on walking with distractions would help. Plus help with some of the house issues...
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Old 12-02-2016, 02:25 PM
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Hi Bol5488

You have my sympathy in this situation, my partner is also a non-pet person and it's caused endless problems over the years - we had 7 dogs at one point and John didn't leave or murder me or them lol. The dog he hated most became his best friend after 3 years of hassle, and the latest one is already showing signs of getting under his skin after just 3 months, so there is hope.

A new addition to the home always unsettles things and you all have to make adjustments (I'm including the cats) but it sounds as though you are doing the right things and it will come right as the dog grows up.

Good luck and let us know how it goes

Lynsey
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