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Hello!

About a month and a half ago, I checked off an item from my bucket list and adopted an 8 week old golden retriever. He is the puppy I’ve dreamed of having since I was a little girl. Ben is now about 13 weeks old, and he has finally adjusted to my family and knows that he is a part of us. However, I have some major fears.

As a first time pet owner, I realize it was a risky decision to adopt a puppy. I don’t have any experience with pets under my belt, except for a one week period. Three years ago, I made the mistake of adopting a puppy when my family had been going through a very rough time. We realized within less than seven days that we couldn’t handle her properly, and it absolutely crushed me to have to give her back. But I knew it would be best.

With Ben, my new puppy, I keep on having flashbacks of Emma. She was my last puppy. I keep questioning if I am going to be able to give Ben the best life and I have doubts that are overwhelming me. What if I’m not giving him the best life? What if he doesn’t like me, secretly? Will he be a well trained dog in the future? What if he’s sick and I just don’t know it?

The anxiety from adopting my new puppy is unreal. I’ve lost sleep and my appetite. I am just constantly worrying about him, 24/7. The vet knows me and my puppy by name and number now because I call nearly every day. I kid you not, I called the vet and ended up spending $80 on a vet bill just because my puppy was panting a little too fast. I mean I go in there for every little thing, no joke.

The other thing is, he is a puppy of course, so he will CHEW on everything. When he is out of the crate, I have to supervise him literally at all times. If I turn away for a second, he will bite on something he shouldn’t, or get into some sort of trouble. He also loves biting at my ankles and wrists. I’ve selfishly had to crate him A LOT out of fear of him hurting himself or me. I know that is extreme and that he is just a little baby… I’ve been working on not crating him as much.

I just have worries. He is the love of my life and my little Ben has brought me a lot of joy and happiness, even though it sounds like he’s just brought anxiety. He’s brought my family so much closer together, he loves my unconditionally, and I just die inside every time I look at him. He is my dream. I don’t know HOW I got so lucky to have Ben.. But he’s mine. I just want to make sure I give him the best.

I’ve enrolled him in puppy school, but the fears still keep coming: what if he’s not a good dog down the line/what if I do something wrong? How will I provide the best for him?

Are these normal fears? Is “new puppy anxiety” a real thing?

By the way, here is me and my Ben!:

 

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Yup, I've had some anxiety shortly after adopting dogs/puppies.

First, about the chewing - young puppies will chew on just about everything. Dogs interact with the world with their noses, mouths, and front paws. It takes a while for a pup to learn bite inhibition, what is appropriate to chew, etc. The usual training advice is if you catch the pup chewing something he shouldn't, stop him and then replace the item with something a dog is supposed to chew (toy, edible dog chew, etc.).

Also, if Ben is 13 weeks old but you had him for six weeks already, he was adopted out a bit too soon. Eight weeks is the usual age when pups are sent away from their mom and litter mates off to their new home.

This early adoption doesn't doom you to failure, but it does mean you need to pay extra attention to dog socialization - with other dogs as well as people and different places/settings.

Puppy class will definitely help with training him not to nip at your hands and ankles.

As for Goldens, they are fairly large and energetic hunting dogs. They need exercise, mental stimulation, and good training because they grow up to be big and strong.

Odds are overwhelmingly in your favor that he will be a good dog. As long as you can deal with what I mentioned above (the size and energy level of a Golden Retriever), these dogs are generally very friendly toward people, highly trainable, and tolerant of interactions with humans. This breed is not a difficult, stubborn, aggressive breed at all. Every individual dog is different.

Relax, keep taking Ben to puppy class (and then adolescent/adult dog classes as he gets to 6 months to a year) and he'll learn not to chew on you (and all your stuff) and how to coexist peacefully with humans.
 

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Check out this link for more information about the Golden Retriever: Golden Retriever Dog Breed Information, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts - Dogtime

Some things that stand out to me:
- Very friendly toward kids, adults, and all people
- Energetic and playful; needs exercise and room to roam
- They don't like being alone or living in small spaces. They're not the best dog for apartment dwellers who are away from home 10-12 hours a day.
- They are "mouthy," hence the chewing, nipping, carrying things around. Most retriever breeds are like this because they were bred to retrieve birds that hunters shot down, carrying the kills back to the hunter in their mouths undamaged.

Goldens are such friendly and trainable dogs that they are often used as therapy dogs or service dogs. This bodes well for training and adapting to life among humans in a home setting.
 

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Golden is a very good choice, congrats, he's beautiful.

Puppy school is good, get him out in the world into different environments and get him used to being handled by people.


Edit, old thread.
 
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