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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
Stressed out and just looking for some advice.

A little background...
We have two 2-year old cats that were more than comfortable and harmonious for the past 2 years.
I work full time Mon - Fri.
My wife works Tues, Wed, Thurs.
We own a town-home. It's large enough and has a basement/upstairs/big enough yard to go out in but not fenced in.
No kids (yet)

My wife and I brought a collie/lab/shepherd mix home last Saturday. It was somewhat spontaneous. We had talked about the idea of getting a dog, went to a few shelters, but never made the decision to get one until now.

All things considered, we didn't think it would be THAT bad until the puppy came. It feels like we are in the twilight zone. Sleeping on the couch with one ear open. Getting up at 5am or earlier and taking him out. Not knowing what to do with him when we are at work. Cleaning up his mess constantly. The cats are miserable. They can't come and go as they please anymore if ever again. They are hissing, stressed, and running away from the puppy. It is not the puppy's fault, he is is great. He is just being a puppy. Very obedient, friendly, loving. He's even learning how to go outside after a week.

I believe the problem is us. It seems like we had these ideas of getting a dog but somehow didn't want the responsibility. It's like we were naive and just thought nothing would change. I understand an adult dog would already be out of that phase, but there's something about a new puppy you can teach and train from the beginning. We knew it would be tough but never figured it to be this tough and for it to create such stress that we are thinking of taking him back after having him for a week. It breaks our hearts that we have now put him and us in that position. To have to think that we took pictures and videos of him and with him, told friends and family about him, bought him toys and a playpen and crate, and now we want to just give up? For what? Because it's hard? He did nothing wrong. He is just a happy puppy wanting to play and be loved.

Believe me, he is such a great puppy, but what do you do when it is causing a lot of stress in the house My wife and I have gotten into more arguments in the past week than we have in the past year. Questioning ourselves and our motives. She feels like we (cats included) are miserable and sacrificing our sanity for the dog. We were invited out with some friends Friday night but now we can't go. Our lives were very comfortable, now it's just very chaotic. We are asking neighbors to pop in and check on him while we are working. Apologizing to other neighbors if he cries and barks while we are out. Not fun at all.

I've read a lot but I can say that I'm still as confused as Day 1. From what everyone says, it's says it gets 10x better, but there are so many unknowns right now. We don't know what will happen when he's old enough and too big for the playpen. What will happen when we have to leave? Will he go after the cats even though he's around them every day?

Anything anyone can do to help would be great. Someone please tell me it gets better and we can go back to that comfortable, harmonious life that once was...

Thank you for letting me rant...it's very therapeutic.
 

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An awesome puppy book is Dr. Sophia Yin's Perfect Puppy in 7 Days:Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

Socialization Check List: http://drsophiayin.com/images/uploads/ce/Socialization_Checklist.pdf

Here is an article on how to introduce a puppy to a Multi-Cat Household: How to Introduce a Puppy to a Multi-Cat Household - Pet360 Pet Parenting Simplified

I like this manual for Dogs and Puppy adoption:http://www.dogstardaily.com/files/downloads/AFTER_You_Get_Your_Puppy.pdf

It will get better, I think everyone goes through the post adoption blues. Just remember your life has changed a little bit, you just need time to get used to it.
 
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Maybe this isn't going to be what you want to hear, but know that it will probably be hard for a year or two. He might grow out of troublesome behaviors sooner, but I would expect at least 1 prized posession to be destroyed during his puppyhood. You are going to have to micro-manage him for a little while and work hard to get back to a harmonious lifestyle- nothing is just going to fall into place.

If you can afford a dog walker or doggie daycare that will probably improve your situation, as will training classes.

Read up on getting him to stop chasing the cats- they will be able to coexist eventually. A week is no time at all for them to work through their relationship, in a month or two you may have started to make more progress.

That said, there is nothing like a dog's love. Get through these tough times and you'll have a wonderful dog and a bunch of hilarious puppy memories, but don't expect to get there without putting in the work.

Maybe look into the threads here on "puppy blues"- its very common to feel like you're in over you heard with a new dog, especially a puppy. Anyone who thinks puppies are easy and fun has never had a puppy.
 

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Here is some training for the cats. I did it with my dogs it takes some ime but does work. It gets to the point that the dog has seen the cats so much and been calm they are not a novelty any more. I leashed mine and every time the dog was quite around the cat they got treats. when they look away or lay down quietly give treats and praise.
Diamonds in the Ruff
It will get better but it is like having a baby. Think if you had a newborn in the house. It would be a year to a year and a half before you could potty train the child. A puppy if managed well will be trained in about 3 months. This thing is to prevent accidents from happening. this will help you with that
https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=AwrS5..dtLtWEVEASQBXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTBscjdldmhrBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHNlYwNzYw--?p=kikopup house training&back=https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=yfp-t-573&fr2=sb-top-search&hspart=yahoo&hsimp=yhs-default&p=kikopup%20house%20training&sigb=13qlj5j5a&turl=http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OVP.V71db0e470478bc10ace0cfe299810e79&pid=15.1&sigi=12bunqb7m&rurl=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvPiFcG7ROI&sigr=11bnk8pid&vid=79521b75e762703c691fce550cd9ee2d&tit=Dog Training: House training a puppy or rescue dog&sigt=11i5o7643
 

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Your post pretty much summed up how I felt when my Oliver was a pup. There where times that I was so exhausted from him crying all night that I started crying myslef>.>

My advice is to persevere. My Ollie is 3 and a half now and it was 100% worth all the tears and frustrations. I also have a cat and I felt bad for her because Oliver would constantly get excited and would want to play with her and she was terrified of him. They are good friends now though and snuggle on the sofa together.

Remember that that pup will grow to love you no matter what and after only a week he's probably bonded with you already.

Just like human babies puppies are extremely annoying and if they weren't cute probably no one would put up with them :p
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for all of your info and suggestions.

We are trying to persevere and work through it. It's tough because we are bonding with him, and he is undoubtedly bonding with us, but we are guarded in case we decide to bring him back. We still haven't named him. It's playing with our emotions.

The cats are very curious. They've started working their way into the living room area where we keep him. They know when he's in the playpen so then they can roam free. He still tries to play with them when he is out. They get close but end up running away. We started keeping him on the leash when they are around so he knows his boundaries. Baby steps.

We discussed taking him to a training class. Maybe it'll give us some piece of mind and we can educate ourselves on how to handle it when these situations come up.

It's the flip-flop of emotions that is taking a toll on us. I do hope it gets better. I never would have imagined the amount of work it is. If one of us was home more, it would be easier I'm sure.
 

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@rangers94 Not naming him and being "guarded" is probably playing with your emotions more than anything else to tell you the truth.

I brought my dog home for a week then sent him back for a week before I decided to adopt him. My situation was quite a bit different but I wasn't sure I wanted a dog (even though I had been waiting to meet him for months) but he had picked me so I brought him home so I could see if we could make it work. After a week I still wasn't sure (I think a lot of it had to do with because I knew that i hadn't already fully committed) so I decided to see if he would "choose" anyone else. After a week without him it was just wrong, while that week with him had been different and harder but it felt right. It got easier (not easy but easier because it became more rewarding) once I committed to this new schedule and new journey.

I think it comes down to is your guys are going to have to decide if your want to fully commit puppy raising and once you do while it might not get any easier it may feel more rewarding.
 

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I got my dog at about the same age as you got yours. I was miserable for the first month. He cried, screeched, peed and pooped, and I was sleep deprived. My nerves were frayed and I seriously contemplated taking him back to the breeder because I felt there was no way I could handle it. I started googling buyer's remorse for puppies and came to the stunning realization that quite a number of people who get puppies go through a stage like this. Everything I found said to give it two weeks and if you still don't feel capable, then consider taking the pup back. I'm going to extend the same suggestion to you, give yourselves two weeks. By then you and the pup will be in more of a routine and, hopefully, you'll be less sleep deprived. It does get better, I promise! (Even though it doesn't feel like it will.)

With regards things changing: That will happen with any dog, young or old. There will need to be routine changes for both you and your wife. Changes may need to happen with your cats. You and your wife will have to sort out how you will both discipline the pup when necessary and how you two will train the pup. You get the idea. If you can't see yourselves taking on this amount of work and life change, perhaps you should consider taking the dog back.

Puppy classes are a great idea both for training and socialization. You also might want to consider looking up training videos on youtube (there are plenty of people here who can suggest great trainers like Kikopup).

With regards to the unknowns of when he gets older: Start training him to like his crate or playpen now. Start teaching him that chewing on the house is not as much fun as chewing on his toys. Etc. There are plenty of threads in the training section that are puppy-related that might help you out!

Like I said, it gets so much better, but it takes about a month before you start to see the bright side of things. Start training now and you'll be glad you did when he's an adult. : )

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Hello all,

So we still have the puppy. He is a very sweet dog. 9 weeks old an he already knows sit, speak, give paw, lie down. He is a good boy. He still has accidents in the house from time to time. He can't help it just yet. We are trying our best to break that. In due time I'm sure. I've been watching Zak George on Youtube. I saw him on Animal Planet and he seems to have some pretty good tips.

The only thing we're having an issue with and are pretty nervous about is the cats. I believe we're making progress. We've resorted to feeding them on the kitchen island but it's because they feel safe....at least for now since he's so small. When he's playing with his toys he can care less about the cats. We try to distract him when they get down and start to roam. If we keep him on the leash he can be 2 feet away from the cats and not do anything otherwise he may try to chase them. I actually had them playing with the same toy at the same time. Sometimes he feels the need to chase them, so I'm not sure. We are doing what we can.

We basically watch his every move, which can be tiring. If he gets too rambunctious we put him in his play pen. He'll usually fall asleep within a few minutes if we do.

Hopefully we're doing a good job. We haven't decided to take a class. I'd hate to spend more money if we decide that it isn't a good fit. I know it takes a while to work everything out and we're giving it the best we can. Definitely still nervous about him growing out of the play pen and being with the cats all day while we're at work. Do we crate him all day or leave him in the play pen? I'm sure our neighbors would check up on him throughout the day, but I don't want him going after the cats while we're gone. Any advice would be great.

Thanks for listening!
 

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What your feeling is called "the puppy blues" and is completely natural. When I first got my dog I thought for sure I'd return her, or mess her up, or just fail in life. But we stuck it out and are totally bonded. I totally believe that bringing home a new puppy is identical to bringing home a new baby - post-partum depression and all.

Not going to lie, there were totally times when I was frustrated, saddened, and exhausted, add to it my dog loved to chew on my clothes so I looked homeless. But there were plenty of times I was happy, excited, and committed. It balanced out and now I don't know what I'd do without her.
 

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Hopefully we're doing a good job. We haven't decided to take a class. I'd hate to spend more money if we decide that it isn't a good fit.
It sounds like you're doing a very good job. Well done!

I would, though, like to suggest that you consider enrolling your puppy in a puppy class as soon as possible. The objective of a puppy class is to provide your dog with a safe environment in which he can positively interact with other dogs. Here's an article that explains the importance of socialization.

Critical Importance of Puppy Socialization

And, a checklist:

http://drsophiayin.com/images/uploads/ce/Socialization_Checklist.pdf
 

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Hello all,

Hopefully we're doing a good job. We haven't decided to take a class. I'd hate to spend more money if we decide that it isn't a good fit. I know it takes a while to work everything out and we're giving it the best we can.

Thanks for listening!
You should REALLY enroll him in a puppy socialization class. 8-12 weeks of age is a very important learning age for a puppy and socializing him will make a world of difference in the long run. I get that you're still on the fence about the little guy but you also need to set this dog up for success. You took on the responsibility of a puppy, so either pull the trigger and return him or invest in making him a happy, healthy puppy. I can not stress enough how much socialization will help the puppy grow into a well rounded dog. You seem to care a lot about the pup and seem to be doing a good job otherwise, but even if you don't end up keeping him, puppy class will be in his best interest and if you can afford it, it's selfish to keep him from that because you're on the fence and don't want to spend the money. Also the trainers at the class can help you out a lot with making sure that your cats and the pup live together happily.
 

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We had an insane amount of frustration when we brought our girl home. She was 7 months old. By that time, she already had 2 previous owners & had been in the shelter for a month when we got her. And, in addition to her bad manners, insane amounts of energy & lack of any sort of training at all, we brought her home to find out she has an INSANE prey drive...for our cat. But, we were committed and started consistent training. Here's a link to the process i came up with that seemed to work really well for her & the cat:
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training-behavior/new-puppy-skittish-cats-256809/#post2844409

The only other thing I didn't mention in my process is exercise...lots and lots and lots of exercise.. and then some more exercise. :)

Hopefully you'll find some things in there helpful for your situation. Good luck!
 

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Does the shelter you adopted him from offer classes? Most do at a discounted rate because they want you to be successful. Can you baby gate him in the kitchen? The cats will be able to escape from him when you are not home. Crate in the kitchen with the door open for now as he is still to young to hold urine all day. You don't want him to have accidents in his crate and have to lay in it.
Below is a table that shows how long puppies can hold their bladder based on age:
Age Time (max)
8 wks (2 months) 2 hours
12 wks (3 months) 3 hours
16 wks (4 months) 4 hours
http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads
here is a wonderful website with great information.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quick update...

Happy to say we still have the puppy. It's been challenging physically, mentally, emotionally, but we decided to keep him. It is getting better as everyone said but it's still a bit stressful.

- He is still chasing our cats and trys to pounce and knock them down. We try to keep him on a leash. We crate him if he's acting up and put a gate between the dining room and living room. The cats still find their way into the living room so that adds a level of stress if he sees them. We constantly have our heads on a swivel. If he looks like he's going near them we intervene. But sometimes we fail and it's too late.

- He pounces smaller dogs like my mother-in-law's chorkie. He is very submissive to larger dogs (he gets low and wags his tail, then rolls over) but smaller dogs and cats, it's free game. It's unnerving since we like to travel and were hoping she would watch him when we go away. Now that doesn't seem possible.

- He is very good with people. We've socialized him a lot. My wife can take him to work from time to time, so he's used to being around people.

- He doesn't nip as much but sometime he gets in his moods. We try to combat that every way we can and have read / seen on youtube, playing tug of war, excersing him. He will be getting neutered in a few weeks so perhaps that will help?

Like I said, as a puppy, he is great. Very obedient. Loves to follow orders, unless you introduce a cat or smaller dog. Once he gets his rabbies shots in a few weeks we can take him to all of the dog parks. Hopefully he can socialize a bit and get him used to being around dogs of all sizes.

From what everyone is saying obedience training is the next step since we've exhausted everything we know how to do. Sounds like this is something we'll have to budget for and get it done.

Thanks.
 

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Hey, I'm kind of late to the party but I'm new to the forum and I just saw your thread. I just introduced a French Bulldog puppy, Blu, to a 2 year old Maine Coon mix, Sylvester. I figured adding another puppy would be a breeze because introducing the cat to my 10 year old Coton de Tulear was a breeze and after she passed, the cat instantly got along with the 4 month old Puggle, Olive, I brought home and they were cuddling on the couch the day after I brought her home.

The Frenchie was a different story. He's crazy hyper and can be really mouthy at times. He never bites hard but he can be really annoying to cats and other dogs. The cat wouldn't come out of my room and I felt like he was really stressed out because he couldn't be on the floor at all without Blu charging at him and playing too rough.

We ended up keeping Blu in a play pen after his meals so he could learn to use the pee pads. When he was in the pen the cat would come up to the sides and watch/sniff him through the wires. Blu sometimes would hit the sides of the play pen because he was excited and the cat would run away, but after a couple weeks he realized that if he stayed calm, the cat wouldn't run away. Sylvester even started sleeping against the side of the play pen when Blu was sleeping and going inside and checking Blu out when he was asleep. After a week or two of positive interaction in the playpen and Blu getting the shots he needed to go outside, we were finally able to exercise him enough so that when he came home to the cat he would be really tired and not as jumpy.

It's been about two months since we introduced the Frenchie to the house, and it's still not perfect, but everyone is finally able to play and sleep on the couch together. That being said, Sylvester was fostered in a house with a mini-schnauzer and is very dog friendly. For us, the key to getting Blu and Sylvester to get along was allowing them to observe each other in a calm and controlled environment where we didn't have to worry if anyone would get too riled up or get hurt. I know for me, when I thought Blu was getting too rough with Sylvester, I would get stressed out and I think that made the situation worse for everyone. I think if you can build more positive interactions where everyone involved is happy and calm, it'll go a long way in helping you integrate your household.
 

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Great to hear you still have him!

Be cautious about Dog Parks- they can be fun and a good way to let a dog run off steam but they can also be super intense and a little dangerous. I personally do not take my dogs to Dog Parks until I know their recall is good enough that I can call them away from a dog while they're excited/engaged in play and they will come to me. This is partially because I want to be able to call them off if they're harassing another dog but mostly because I want to feel 100% certain that I can call them away from a dangerous situation (whether that be dogs that are playing too rough for them to be safe joining because they're too small or large, or dogs whose play is verging on a fight or bite, or an overstimulated dog with poor social skills like too much humping that is creating an unsafe energy in a certain area of the park).

Be sure you're watching him 100% of the time and also try to be mindful of how other owners (particularly those of smaller dogs) are reacting to his playing with their dogs if he's being super rough. I'd add to that- follow your first instinct. If a dog is there or enters that makes you uncomfortable don't hang around to see if your thoughts are founded. Plenty of attacks happen in dog parks and people are idiots that sometimes bring full out aggressive dogs to the park.

Keep a close eye to make sure he isn't actually going after little dogs and is actually playing with them rather than running them down- one way to tell is whether the 'aggressor' ever switches. Is he doing all the chasing? Is the little dog ever rounding on him and batting him in the face? If not, it may be less dog-play and more prey-drive. Also, is the owner uncomfortable with his play? I have a small dog who gets POUNDED at the park because she likes to be chased and caught and she enjoys rough play. I know she'll run to me or yelp when she really wants help; some people don't realize how tough little dogs can be and will get nervous just from another dog sniffing their's.

If the little dog is looking stressed (whale eyes, tail tucked, ears tight, doing a lot of submissive rolling and making itself look small) then maybe try calling him away. Additionally, if he gets too worked up, you can always step out of the park with him for a second with some treats and work on a few calm behaviors (like sit, down, touch, etc) for a time-out and then re-enter when he's more calm.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It's been a while since I posted an update.

Things are going well. Still working on some obedience but so far so good. We decided to name him Buddy.

He is now 8 months old. He is house trained. He loves going for rides in the car. He's better with the cats and he doesn't chase them as much. We are all over him if he does.

A few things we are still working on

- Jumping on people. If he sees someone he knows like our neighbors / mother in law, he gets extremely excited, cries uncontrollably, jumps up, almost knocking them over. I hold him down and try to calm him down but he is super excited. It's embarrassing but everyone knows he's just a puppy so they try not to care. I know it's not right, just need some help there.

- He gets separation anxiety. If we go outside without him, he will bark and yelp. If we go into the garage, he will freak out and start scratching the door. We tried putting him in his crate while we go outside but he cries at the top of his lungs. Any help on this would be appreciated!

- My wife took him to the park yesterday. He slipped out of the gate before she can put his leash on as they were leaving and he took off and ran across the street. She was screaming his name but he didn't even stop. He ended up running up to the front door of a house nearby where she could grab him.

- We left him at home for a few hours out of his crate and he destroyed 2 pillows. There were feather everywhere. We scolded him when we got home and crated him but how can we stop this behavior? I walk him about 1hr a day and try to take him to the park on the weekends.

- He loves socks. We let him roam a bit upstairs and no matter how much I clean, he will grab socks, bras, whatever he can get his mouth on He will drop a ball or toy for me if I say "Out", but if I try it with a sock, forget it. The chase is on. I have to coerce him with food so he drops it. He's already ruined my earbuds, bluetooth headset, hat, part of the carpet... its very unnerving and expensive.

- He herds small dogs. My mother in law has a chorkie and just antagonizes her all day. She doesn't want to come over anymore because it's too stressful.

- We got him neutered about a month ago. I really haven't seen a change in him. If anything he is crazier than he was before.

So as you can tell we are trying everything we know. He is a very sweet dog. He loves people and wants to play but I'm at my wits end. I know this is the terrible two's, but any help to get him on track would be great!

Thanks.
 

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Sounds like you have a bored dog with lots of energy and not sure what to do with itself.

The herding is common. Friends of mine had an pure aussie that didn't get much exercise. They had a party in the back yard one evening with 30 or so people - I sat on the deck watching the dog, he would bump peoples back legs pushing them closer and closer. He was herding them, people didn't notice. I threw a frisbee and ball for a couple of hours a day, hundred feet of back yard, dog running flat out, but there was no wearing the dog out.

Exercise my friend, lots of it. Mental stimulation, you have a dog that can out-think you. Find some analogies for herding, give your dog a job - a sense of purpose.

First and foremost, work on recall.
 
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