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Hey guys!

So. This might be a long post. I hope you'll forgive me.

My name is Angela! (Hello! :wave:) I am 30 years old and have been an obsessive dog lover my entire life. I grew up with a poodle and a dachshund. The poodle was a grumpy old man by the time I was able to appreciate him but the dachshund and I loved each other like mad - and I still have an incredibly soft spot for all dachsies in my heart.

My husband knew that getting a dog was on my "To Do Soon" list after we were married and he was incredibly supportive. I have never had a dog of my own (the poodle and dachshie were family pets) but I would seriously DEVOUR books on dog training and dogs behavior and such in my off time. It was all I wanted. I would go to the local dog park just to sigh over the puppies and watch them play and pretend that they were all mine.

Well. Two weeks ago my dream came true. My husband and I found this GORGEOUS Plott Hound/German Shepherd mix at our local rescue. To say it was love at first sight is an understatement. The second he saw us and we saw him - we knew it was meant to be. The "lightning bolt moment" as the shelter representative described it. We brought him home that day and I cried tears of joy the entire way.

....and then....the puppy blues kicked in.

I have literally gone through every.single.thread on this board (and others) related to puppy blues. I have read every single person's post and every response and I will admit there is some comfort to knowing I'm not alone. But I just feel absolutely WRETCHED right now. :(

Huck Finn (our new little guy) is almost absolute perfection. He walks relatively politely on a leash (no major pulling unless he's really on the trail of something and even then he'll stop as soon as he feels me nudge him back). He doesn't bark in the house (Ive run blenders and vacuums and we've had kids running up and down the apartment stairs laughing and giggling - not a peep out of him!) He's phenomenal around guests, greeting them politely and with a gentle lick to the hand and no excessive enthusiasm. He gets REALLY excited to see other dogs out on our walks and will bay the most beautiful howl at them but this is a behavior that can be brought into check with some training.

By all respects, he is an INCREDIBLE dog! We've only had a few accidents in the house - and when I left him alone for the first time he somehow scaled the gate I had up in the kitchen to keep him in...but no destruction was done on the house while I was away.

....so why on earth is my every other thought when I'm alone with him "I just need to give him back! I cant do this!"

I do know that I suffer from anxiety. This has been something I've had since college. And major change in my life tends to send it spiraling out of control! So I realize alot of this is my anxiety kicking in big time! But I can't help but to feel like the worst human being on the face of the earth right now. Because here I have the most wonderful, perfect, beautiful dog (everything I ever wanted since I was sixteen)...and all I can think about is how much I wish I could go back and change my decision.

When my husband is home, I feel much more grounded. I feel like we're a team and we've totally got this. But whenever he's gone, the only thing I can do is fret and worry and become a little stress ball. I start worrying about what will happen if he cries and whines and howls while we're gone and disturbs the neighbors. I fret about the fact that my husband and I both enjoy traveling and how are we going to pay for a dog sitter for weeks at a time? I stress about the fact that I don't know how we're suppose to have a sex life with our dog right there in the middle of the bed with us and unable to be seperated from us without howling and crying, thus destroying the mood (please tell me I'm not alone in this fear..).

Anything and everything my mind can think of and conjure to stress over and it does.

And I don't really know what I'm looking for in writing this post. I guess just to surround myself with a community that understands and can support me right now. As I mentioned, I've read every single post on the puppy blues...but I just needed to write all this out for myself to get it out there and feel some sense of relief from it.

So. If you've read all of this, thank you so much - you're amazing. I'm actually looking forward to being a part of this community and hopefully finding some ways to help calm my anxieties.

...is there anyone else here that suffers from anxiety and what did you find helped relieve it when you brought a dog into your life?
 

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I haven't dealt with it yet, but I'm sure when I do get my pup, it will be a huge issue, since I have anxiety and depression already.

Just wanted to let you know I'll be thinking of you, and please keep posting here. I think just having people to talk to about things helps so much. *hug*
 
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Time! Time helps a lot, and being able to trust that it will enables me to let go of a lot of the anxiety (well, some of it, anyway).

It's tough to add a new family member. After adopting our current dog, it took me about a month to stop feeling regret, and about 3-6 months to really feel like she belonged. Now she just feels like part of the family, and we're all so much less stressed! When in doubt, I read this blog post from one of my favorite animal behavior experts (her book, linked in the post, is also great), to remind myself that what I was feeling was totally normal: Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog

My advice is to be gentle with yourself. You probably aren't the worst person on earth (and certainly not for feeling stressed by a big life change!). Imagine what you'd say to a friend who was going through something similar, and then try to treat yourself with the same kindness and empathy that you'd likely have for that friend. Things will get better, it just takes time and patience.

We like to travel too. Sometimes, our dog is going to be able to come with us, which is kind of fun. Sometimes, we have to figure out how to include the cost of boarding as one of our travel expenses (it helps to find friends you can trade pet-sitting favors with!). Because so many things about a new dog seem so overwhelming at first, I had a month or two of thinking that we'd NEVER be able to go ANYWHERE ever again...but in fact, we've gone on several trips since getting her, and it's worked out just fine. You'll figure out travel too!

Most things with a dog come down to a combination of management and training, and training takes time. Our dog also thought it was a major tragedy to be asked to leave the bedroom so we could have sex, and did her best to totally ruin the mood...lots of stuffed kongs and a few months of learning that this is not actually a serious canine disaster, and she is content to go out into the hall, settle down with a little sigh, and wait patiently to be invited back in. We had a few times where passion did not exactly survive the doggy melt-down, but we've, ahem, made up for it since. It just takes time for everyone to learn new routines!

Huck Finn sounds like a sweetheart, and you have a really long time to learn to feel comfortable with him. For now, take care of yourself, and try to accept that things are going to be okay. And update this post as they do, so that other people in your situation can see that this is truly normal, and truly does pass!
 

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Thank you guys so much for your replies so far. SnackRat, I'm especially grateful for your perspective and encouragement. You have a really good point - if I was listening to my best friend talk like this I would tell her that she was letting her anxieties get the better of her and that she needed to stop and breathe and focus on what she needed to get through the anxiety of this kind of a life change.

Woke up this morning in an anxiety-ridden, panicky state. Luckily my husband has seen these panic attacks before and was able to talk with me calmly and try to help. Unfortunately I can't quite make him understand that when I'm in that kind of a state, it's like Im in a fog. As soon as the anxiety is gone and my head is cleared, I look back on everything I was fretting over and go "Why?!" It's just so hard to explain to some people that when you're stuck in an anxiety attack, there's just no clear thinking. I KNOW that things are fine and we have a wonderful dog and that it's going to take time for everything to settle - but my head and heart just go spinning and flying off into worlds of stress where reason means nothing.

I'm still working on trying to find a way to ground myself and stabilize this anxiety. And I think that time will definitely be the major factor in this.
 

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I also suffer from anxiety, bipolar depression, and ptsd. My pups are amazing at helping me when I'm having swings or when I'm generally down. There's nothing like burying your face in their bellies and allowing them to comfort you when you need it!

When the wife and I are in the moment, after having lived with dogs all our lives, we can't be bothered lol. Sure sometimes it's awkward, I just tell them to get, or we shut the door to the bedroom or put them outside first. My big dog Hank will actually try and protect his momma. We find it funny. It just takes time and adjustment, lots of patience, and some training.

After a while you'll look at your dog and be like, "How did I ever live without you?"
 

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That's what I kept hearing is that dogs are good for people with PTSD and anxiety - unfortunately mine right now just seems to be increased by my new pup. :( But I'm sure with time that will definitely change.

Im definitely struggling today. Somedays are worse than others and today is definetly a rough day. I keep repeating to myself that I need to give it time and understand that within a year, I'll never understand how I could have been without Huck.

...problem is, I also don't want to be fighting this anxiety and fear and stress for a year while the two of us get there. :(
 

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You won't feel what you're feeling now for a whole year. For a whole day, sure, maybe even several days in a row. But definitely not forever.

Right now, you're hitting the worst part. "Puppy blues" might start within a day or two of getting a new dog, but they are at their worst during the 2-4 week stage...it's when the dog starts relaxing enough to show signs of who s/he really is, and when the reality of having brought this alien being home really starts to hit hard. This is the bad part. This part also does not last forever. You're telling yourself all the right stuff! Someday, you'll be telling another freaked out new dog owner the same stuff, except it will feel real, because you'll have gone though it and come out the other side.

One suggestion that sometimes helps me: schedule some time off. Give yourself permission to go for a long walk (or run, or hike, or whatever works for you) without the dog. Take your husband out for dinner, ask some friends to join you for a drink at your favorite local spot, or just go read in a coffee shop or something...whatever works for you. Leave Huck Finn with a couple of stuffed Kongs, and realize that he will be basically okay (even if he pees on the floor or chews up a pillow or something, it's not the end of the world). Don't be surprised if you cry during the time off too, since a release from pressure can trigger that. It's nice to take a break, and it's nice to feel that first glimmer of being glad to see your dog again afterwards.

My dog isn't therapeutic for me either. Beneficial in a lot of ways, completely fascinating, and she fills my life with laughter, but she doesn't do a whole lot to "fix" anything for me. Actually, the only medical or emotional condition that my dog expresses concern about is sneezing. If I sneeze more than twice in a row, my dog leaps on top of me and lays down, staring very meaningfully into my eyes and apparently trying to stop me from doing such a weird thing again...I can be sobbing in bed and she'd ignore me, but sneezing man, that's something to keep an eye on. Dogs are silly :eyeroll:
 

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I too suffer from anxiety for as long as I can remember. I also have OCD (so making a change like bring Trucker home was really hard), severe ADD (so I thrive on a set schedule which was interrupted), and have severe asthma and allergies (which is triggered by dogs). After bringing Trucker home i distinctly remember the night I was ready to give up and none of it was his fault. I had had a hard day at work, my car had broken down so it had taken me forever to get home, he had peed in his crate, and because I was exhaushted I forgot to wash my hands before bed. So as I curled up in bed with my hands which had just petted the dog near my face I felt an asthma attack start to come on and my eyes get itchy. I wanted to cry I was so frustrated because I felt like I had made a mistake adopting a dog, but after going to the bathroom washing my hands, taking my inhaler, and bendryl I realized it was my fault not his I had to be more vigilante.

After that horrible night I got on board with our new schedule and things have been much better since. I am not saying there aren't bad days but on those days I remind myself that I need him as much as he needs us. We are a pack now and no one is returning anyone. I find that journaling our process really helps me on those bad days but i am hoping in a year I will look back and see more good than bad and smile.
 

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be gentle with yourself, and the new doggy.we just had a pup, after living in a blissful bubble with 2 old dogs for years.
you forget what it is like...lol. apart from being a dog and cat lover, im also a keen gardener...add a puppy to the mix...wow. you have to prioritise, if the pup, is naughty, dont forget he cant help being a pup.
the pup, always comes first, like i had to put my garden on the back-burner. we make the commitment, to give this innocent fur-ball a loving, stable, safe home.

of cause how ever many dogs you own, or have owned in the past, none are the same, and you cant always get it right, just like a human mom with children, but that is when places like these come in handy, to pick other peoples brains.
however hard it is sometimes to have the responsibility of shaping and leading a dog(s),
they re-pay you so many times over, with unconditional love, and affection and free therapy...as in a walk in nature. you can do it! believe in yourself. you will be looking back at this smiling in a few years time. :)
 

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I have bad anxiety, I've always had it. But my animals help me, they calm me. When I'm having a panic attack I cuddle with one and start to calm down. Anxiety sucks.

Time and training your new pup may help. Crate train him so that when you need alone time he can go to his crate and sleep or chew on a treat. When I need the dogs, now it's mostly just the Dane, to go away for a bit so my BF and I can be alone I give her a chew that will keep her busy for a while. As she gets older she'll get into our patterns and learn when it's time to cuddle and when it's time to go chill some where else.

I can't help with traveling. I really don't like to travel unless it's somewhere we can take the dogs. Though I still miss my cats. I guess you just need to decide what is more important to you. Long trips or having a dog. You can cut your trips shorter but still travel.

Dogs are great for stress and anxiety. Try to enjoy him and the life you will have with him. Sometimes things will go wrong, but you work through them and fix them as needed. Good luck.
 
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Ohhh, I was there as well when I brought home my little lady two months ago. Anxiety went through the roof and I couldn't sleep, eat or focus on anything except 'What have I done, what if...what if...what if...?' I'm single and living alone so it's all on me, and that scared the hell out of me.

What helps is definitely time, and getting to know your new addition! Now that I know Crina isn't going to explode at any given moment, that helps :) Also, hand over Huck Finn (GREAT name!) to your husband and take time for yourself - don't feel guilty, don't think about man or dog, just enjoy!

Finally, and this helped me the most, I recommend a book called The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. The basic idea is learning to focus on the moment you're in, and so you're not worrying about situations that don't even exist (my major problem!). What if I want to travel? What if I have to work overtime? What if the dog gets sick? If it's not happening now, you don't need to worry about it :) If it does happen, you will deal with it.

Good luck, and know that you are SO not alone!
 

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Hi Angela!

I'm Sydney, I'm 27 and going through the exact same experience to a T right now! Apologies in advance for the novel but I thought I'd share too.

I've had family dogs and also raised my own German Shepherd before. All of which helped the anxiety and depression I have struggled with since the age of about 13. There was always something about when I felt so alone and depressed, having a dog come lay their had on my lap and just be with me silently.

I raised my German Shepherd mostly by myself as the ex I lived with at the time worked away from home. He went through a lot. Elbow dysplasia, food allergies, undecened testicles and the list goes on. When my ex and I split up I had no choice but to move back home with family. At this time my parents had lost their husky due to illness at 6 years of age. They now had their Labrador left alone who was our first dog as a family. She was around 14 at this time. Her and my shepherd grew to be best of friends. Sadly about a year later our Labrador passed away. When it came time for me to move out again my parents had become so attached to my dog having lost both of theirs they requested to keep him. It broke my heart and still does to this day but I knew it was the right thing for all 3 of them to do.

So fast foward a few years. I am now happily engaged and have a fur family of 2 cats. I still see my shepherd Duke often. My depression is under control. My life is at a good balance and I get the crazy notion in my head its time to upset that balance with a puppy! My partner and I spent months thinking it over. Went back and forth between getting a puppy or dog. And after puppy sitting two dachshunds and falling in love with the breed and how easy these two were we made our decision. We got our puppy from the same family the ones we puppy sat from.

About a month before we were due to pick him up my anxiety started playing up again. Mine is change induced. So even though sometimes I get bored and wish for change, when it actually comes I often panic. I found out at this time I got a new job I would be starting a few days after bring Dallas our dachshund home. I was ecstatic to be leaving a toxic role. But here I am, Monday night, brought puppy home yesterday (go back to work Wednesday) feeling the anxiety in my chest wishing I could go back in time and change my decision which of course makes me feel horrible.

I run through all the same scenarios you mentioned. But I just keep telling myself over and over this is all temporary!!!! And it is. When they grow up they will be more content in another room alone when you want private time and all of that. But now they are so dependent on us as they are just learning about life so it's a bit hard for all involved. I wondered why I didn't go through this with my pup Duke. But my fiance made a great point. I was in a very dark time back then and he was light for me. Right now I was relatively happy and leading a cushy life. So this time I interrupted a good time sort of thing so its very different.

I have no doubt we will both get there in time. I'd be interested to hear how you are going now since you wrote your post?

I've read many forums and articles too looking for advice and thought actually participating might help this hard time be a little smoother!
 

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I know it’s been a few years since this post, but I came across it via a google search and just wanted to say how helpful reading it and the comments have been. My fiancé and I got a puppy mill rescue 6 weeks ago, and although I’m already obsessed with her, she has fully brought back my anxiety. She’s scared of my fiancé, barks, etc. I know these are different issues than described in this thread, but reading tips and that it takes time, to be kind to yourself, etc. really helped me out today. So thank you!
 
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