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Due to my husbands pleading to adopt a dog (he grew up having a dog and has been missing having one since it passed a few years ago) I finally broke down and we adopted a 1 year old pitbull who is cuddly, curious, and goofy. The problem is we're on day four and I'm completely overwhelmed. My whole life feels like it's been turned upside down. I'm so anxious I'm having trouble sleeping, eating, and I feel nauseous all day. I've heard that you just need to get acclimated to each other and that it passes with time but it would be really reassuring to hear from others who may have experienced something similar. Right now I can't help thinking how much better life would be without him and then that makes me feel even worse.
 

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Perhaps you could tell us what is overwhelming you about 1st time dog ownership? I got my 3rd dog this past June 25th. A Pug from a breeder. Does a few of the typical puppy things that might annoy new owners like biting things with a "right angle" (e.g. corner of baseboard, corner where 2 walls meet), the plastic cap of a shoe lace). But for the most part there's been little "destruction". My first two dogs did much worse during their puppyhood. :) MUCH!! Teething stage. Just how it is. I accept this and expected it. Having owned 2 already (both lived to almost 17 years each).

Besides that he's been terrific. Super sociable..loves to meet other dogs and people. Very athletic. High energy. Very smart. Affectionate. Feisty. Loving every minute of it.
 

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As he gets more comfortable in our home, he seems to be testing the boundaries and is now starting to steal and bite shoes, the clothes we wear, trying to hop up at the table and counters, sometimes he plays a little rough and we have to calm him down. What gives me the most anxiety is that he hates going in his crate. He's fine once he's in and doesn't try to get out, but I just feel horrible knowing he's unhappy as we put him in. All this dog stuff is just completely new to me. I worry about how he is when we're gone and I worry that we won't be able to get him to behave better.
 

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Oh and we CANT get his harness on him. He thinks it's a toy and goes nuts as soon as we bring it out. We've tried tricking him, distracting him with a treat, holding him down, but he's strong and wiggles out of grip and just ends up chewing on it. I'd prefer to walk him with the harness rather than a collar because I think it would give us better control.
 

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Hey there!

I have a 14 month old American Staff/Pit Bull mix.
First off, they are very goofy and at times very active (even though my girl really enjoys cuddling on the couch with me :) ).
This "testing the boundaries" might be true, since the Honeymoon phase is over and he now shows his personally, gets more comfy with you guys.

For the biting (us/our clothes): What worked for us was: Turning around and walking away, just totally ignoring the dog. Amstaffs/Pitties loves their owners to pieces, so being ignored will stop him from doing that. If he has the clothes in his mouth and doesn't let go you obviously cannot go away, but turn (if possible) and ignore him.

"Trying to hop on the counter and table" : When does he does this? during dinner time? When there is food up there? Luckily our girl wasn't a counter surfer, she stretches her head to sniff, but doesn't jump up. But, she did this with our bed. It's the same as with everything else, consistency. When he tries to jump, block his way or distract him with a noise and then praise him when he has all four paws on the ground. What was important for our girl was to not forget the praise. My hubby is a bit lacking in this department. When she does want he wants, he doesn't acknowledge it, but if she does something wrong, he does.

With biting shoes, what do you mean? Stealing it and running away from you or "just" quietly lying down to chew them apart? If the first: Are you chasing him to get the shoe back? If yes, that's a really fun game for him! :D What I do (because Bri does it when her stress level is a bit higher) is, I stand my ground, meaning, not chasing her, but calling her to me, most of the time with something better, something that hers that she is allowed to chew and run away with. People would say it's luring, but by now she is pretty good with coming straight back to me and returning the item.

Harness wasn't that easy the first few times either. I showed it to her and fed her treats, then I showed it to her, holding the treat in a position, so she has to stick her head through it (the neck part of hers is not opening, only the belly/back part is). After a while this worked pretty well and now she doesn't care, because she knows that that means we're going somewhere.
If he is really too excited that you can't get the focus off of the harness, put it away. Have him in a sit and praise/treat if he calms down. Then take the harness out again, if he flips, put it away, and so on. Treat calmness.

In general, how much exercise does he get? Maybe it would help playing tug or something with him before doing the harness exercise, to take the edge off.

With "when we're gone" you mean during the day? What are you doing now? Is he in a crate? If not, I would invest in one. The dog can't hurt itself and can't destroy stuff. Look at crate training, if you make it fun, he will be up for it in no time.

Our girl, after having her for 8 months now, is still in the crate during the 6 hours that none of us is at home, or at doggy daycare. During the night she has free roam, but she only sleeps, during the day I don't trust her 100% yet, she loves to chew remote controls.

Sorry, this got a bit long, but I hope this helps!
 

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A new dog will test the limits, it's your job as the owner to set the limits and enforce them :) Maybe some obedience training would be helpful? As far as worrying about him during the day... If you want a way to check in on them during the day, a nanny cam type setup can do the trick. Got mine off amazon, now I can check in on my pups anytime through a phone app.
The crate issue, takes practice (yes, in and out over and over with positive reinforcement) and treats. I've tried a variety of harness, the best collar/harness i've ever used for controlling a dog is the gentle leader.
 

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You didn't mention what kind of exercise you give your dog. It sounds to me as if he may have a tremendous amount of energy that needs to be burned off (in addition to what the other members have said about testing the boundaries). I've read that an exhausted dog is a well behaved dog, and I thoroughly believe that. How many times a day do you walk your dog, etc.?
 

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I'm A first time on her as well and I feel like my life has been turned upside down too. It's pretty rough. When he's chewing on your stuff, I would encourage you to trade him for something that he can chew on. And have a variety of options and textures for him.
 

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You didn't mention what kind of exercise you give your dog. It sounds to me as if he may have a tremendous amount of energy that needs to be burned off (in addition to what the other members have said about testing the boundaries). I've read that an exhausted dog is a well behaved dog, and I thoroughly believe that. How many times a day do you walk your dog, etc.?
Absolutely! When my lab moved with me to another city and into a new home, I experienced alot of these behaviours and she was just tearing up the place and she didnt do it before. We took her to some training classes, bought toys that are mentally stimulating, and we enrolled her on weekly hiking adventures and it tires her out, after a few months she is extremely well behaved inside the house (although we are still working on her excitement outside with other people). I would establish a routine with your dog as well and lots of daily walks so you can bond!
 

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Due to my husbands pleading to adopt a dog (he grew up having a dog and has been missing having one since it passed a few years ago) I finally broke down and we adopted a 1 year old pitbull who is cuddly, curious, and goofy. The problem is we're on day four and I'm completely overwhelmed.
All this dog stuff is just completely new to me.
This is not a dog problem, it is a relationship problem. If your husband pleaded for a dog, he is the one that needs to be addressing problems, training the dog, etc. But what has happened is that he, an experienced dog owner, wanted a dog and you, with no dog experience, seem to have been left with all the responsibility.

You've gotten some great advice here about the dog issues. My advice is that you need to have a sit-down with the mister and establish some rules and boundaries about who does what with this new dog.
As a couple, you both need to work with the dog, but certainly one would expect that the person who had experience and who wanted the dog in the first place would shoulder more of the weight of care than is apparent here.
 
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