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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I'm new to this forum and a new dog dad.
After a few years of thinking and planning to get a dog, I finally found a little mutt at a local shelter that I fell for immediately. She's about 9 months old and has a really sweet temperament, I was pretty much hers the second I met her.
Being a rescue, she came with a bit of baggage and I thought I was prepared for it. I read about instilling confidence in a dog, how to crate train. I did as much research as I could before making the decision to adopt.
She's a German Shepherd, collie mix but she hates to go outside for walks with me. She's terrified of almost everything. I've hired a trainer and I've seen quite a bit of improvement already, which is nice. (no more pulling at the leash and choking herself)
I've tried doing some crate training, and she's quite content to spend time in it, however, if I leave she happily lets herself out. She never does any damage, but when I get home the frantic greeting and submissive peeing starts and I start to panic thinking this is how the rest of my life will be. A frantic pup and pee mopping.
I'm on vacation right now, so I have time to spend with her training etc, but I have to get back to work in a week. The thought of leaving her makes me so anxious, I don't think I've had a good nights sleep or eaten properly since I've had her (2 weeks now)
Part of me feels like I've made the biggest mistake of my life (and hers) and that she would probably be better off with another dad. The other part of me feels if I return her, I'm hurting her more and that just breaks my heart.
Has anyone else had these feelings? I feel trapped and a bit hopeless. Some days are great and I'm happy she's with me, other days I'm sad and depressed thinking I can't leave her to go to work, or take her for walks.
I feel like a horrible person for even considering taking her back to the shelter.:(
 

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You would be amazed at how common it is to feel that way. Getting a new dog is a big thing, a huge change in your life. It takes a lot of adjustment. There is also a lot of adjustment going on with her--things are sure to change as she starts to feel more secure. She will not be a submissive peer forever! Oftentimes it goes away with time, but try ignoring her when you come in for just a bit, until she calms down. It sounds like you are making good progress with leash training, and I'm sure you'll be able to go on walks soon. Do you have any other way to exercise her? The more you can tire her out, the better off she'll be when you leave for work. Can someone check in on her during the day for you? I'm sure you both are going to be okay--you seem like a very conscientious dog person, just the kind of person she needs. Take a look around the forum--there is tons of information here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Pappi,
Its sort of comforting to know I'm not alone in that feeling. I'm sure it'll get better, I just need patience to work through her issues. Everyone that meets her says she's going to be an amazing dog as we work through her issues. Today was great so far, she met a few friends on our walk and even sat politely while their owners fawned over her. I love seeing her with other friendly dogs, she seems so proud of herself after they part ways.
My big hurdle is leaving her home, both for me and her. I get stressed leaving her, wondering if she'll be ok. I've sort of given up on crating since she wont stay in anyway and has never done any damage (knock on wood).
Maybe it's more my problem and I've spent so much time reading about SA that I've freaked myself out. lol
 

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Hi Montreal1974

Welcome to the Dog Forum! Yes, your feelings are all perfectly normal, and I expect that you and your new dog (congrats!) will start to feel more comfortable with each other as time passes. It can take a few months for an adopted dog to settle in. A terrific book to read is "Love Has No Age Limit" by Patricia McConnell.

Love Has No Age Limit-Welcoming an Adopted Dog into Your Home: Patricia B. McConnell Ph.D., Karen B. London Ph.D.: 9781891767142: Amazon.com: Books


The Whole Dog Journal has some very helpful articles about separation anxiety. Here is one:

Taking Measures to Prevent Separation Anxiety Related Behaviors - Whole Dog Journal Article

Hang in there and keep reading and posting! It will get better. :)
 

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I felt exactly like that when I got LuLu. She was perfect until I got no sleep and worried about her constantly!

It gets better. The adjustment period for the dog (and for you) is longer than expected! Her true personality won't really show through for a few weeks.
 
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I think that happens anytime you add a new member to the family. We brought the puppy in after we had to put our Alaskan Malamute down. Having a puppy is definitely different than having two middle aged and elderly dogs HAH.

Lucky for us, we've got human children and I haven't had a good nights sleep in 9 years LOL and my husband has really stepped up to look after his puppy baby. He does all the furry baby nighttime parenting and I do all the human child nighttime stuff.

If you were sleeping well before, well I can see how HUGE of a shock it is. It's like having a human baby. There is always that dream you have of still sleeping and having this perfect little companion, but the reality of it is that it is hard and there is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a good parent (furry and non).

It sounds like you're really doing a good job. If she can already sit nicely on walks you are really ahead. Give it a while more. You'll get into the groove of things, and then you can see how everything fits into your life
 
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