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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I have had our 2yo American bulldog / boxer mix for almost 2 months now. Neither of us have owned dogs before, only cats, so we're both trying to learn the ropes.

We try spending quite a bit of time with her, 2-3 walks per day, supervised back yard time depending on the humidity (less when it's really hot), play time inside. We feel we give her a lot of attention but then she'll start whining for attention/affection. We both work all day and while we do enjoy spending time with her, we enjoy some time to relax and watch tv/read/hobbies. It feels like our lives are revolving too much around her.

How much attention should we really be giving her? I almost feel as though even though she listens to us, she's our master and commands us.

Should we be ignoring her more and letting her get used to entertaining herself? When does it become too much or too little?
 

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Hmm. First of all, how long are your walks, and are they on leash? Both american bulldogs and boxers can have more energy than most mastiffy-type breeds and will really benefit from a good off-leash RUN-- think fetch in a big field, play with other dogs, etcetera. An hour of time to zoom around and blow off steam can equate to hours of leashed walks at walking speed. Especially for young guys who really like to run.

Another really easy way to entertain your dog is to put the food dish in the cupboard and start making her work for her food instead. Kongs, kong wobblers, the Kibble Nibble and the Tug-a-Jug by Busybuddy... All are good, sturdy puzzle toys that you can put a dog's whole meal inside. Some other puzzles that I really like are the Twist-n-Treat (Buddy Buddy), Everlasting Treat Pods (J-Pet). I could go on all day. I hear Toys-r-Us is even selling their own line of interactive dog toys now. Everyone has a horse in that race, it seems.
 

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I'll second Kelly's idea of treat/toys to keep her occupied and the extra running, but I also noted the relatively short time you've had her too. If you got her from a rescue/pound, these dogs (in my experience) tend to be of the more cuddly-and-wanting-extra-reassurance variety.

My youngest was swooped up from the pound on her last week before she was to be euthanized. She had been there since September, and we got her in December. It's been a few years since then, but she's still my "squishy-girl" because that's what she does if you sit on the couch with her; she'll squish up next to you. :D

It did take more than a few months, and she'll still want to be in the same room with either my hubby or I, but we can sit at the computer or watch some TV without a 70 pound dog on our laps. :rolleyes: Sometimes.

It's only been a couple of months since you got her. Give her a bit more time to become adjusted to her new situation, and love on her as much as you're able. :)
 

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Welcome to the Dog Forum and congrats on your new dog!

You've gotten some great suggestions already. I might add that a flirt pole might just be what you need to make the backyard time fun for you and your dog. See this video on what a flirt pole is and how to use one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVVd8z4a2Ls

Also, since you have a young, high-energy dog, you might want to consider taking her to doggie daycare a couple of times a walk or bringing in a dog walker during the day.

Have you looked into any basic obedience classes yet? Dogs need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise, and working in short training sessions will both build your bond and tire her out a bit. A terrific on-line trainer is kikopup. Here's a great introductory video on clicker training:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wv1uvvqaSw

And, here's her video on capturing calmness:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wesm2OpE_2c

Bringing home your first dog can be a ton of fun, but it is a life-changing. I agree with mhop that two months is a relatively short amount of time, and that you and your new dog will continue to settle down. Based on what you've written, it sounds like you're already off to a great start!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the suggestions and advice. Being new dog owners is a little overwhelming and loaded with some uncertainty.

We've been taking her on fairly short walks for 2 reasons: the humidity is getting worse around here, and because she was in a shelter most of her life, her stamina is still on the low side. Her walks are improving greatly but the humidity slows things down too. Once the humidity starts to die down (I'm hoping in August), I'm going to pick up jogging with her as well as really start increasing the distance.

We never thought about making her work for her actual meals (aside from sit, paw, stay), but that's a really good idea! She loves her treat kong so it should be easy getting to move it to meals.

We are actually starting formal obedience training this week (just needed to wait for our vet appointment). We've been doing some training in and outside the home.

She definitely enjoys the physical affection a lot. Often if we just invite her on the couch, she will be happy. Or one of us will sit on the floor with her. It's just that sometimes she would start whining so we weren't sure if it was us neglecting her or her being too needy. Sounds like it's probably a bit of both.

Thanks for the reassurance that everything will improve with time. We are certainly trying our best!
 

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It really sounds like you all are doing splendidly.

A shelter dog usually needs at least a few months to settle into her new home. This is a terrific article that puts this process into perspective:

Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog

I'm guessing that your dog's whining will just naturally dissipate over time as she becomes confident that you will be there for her. I have a lovely rescue dog that I adopted over a year ago, and it took him a few months to get over his separation anxiety whenever he was left alone. Over time, he just became accustomed to our routine and learned to trust that we'll always come back to him.

By the way, is it possible to post a photo of her? :)
 
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