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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice. I've been wanting a dog for years. I've spent several summers volunteering at a local vet clinic and rescue shelter. I was a dog walker. I've spent the last few months religiously planning for the arrival of our new furry friend. I spent hours researching breeds, i created a list of what type of dog energy wise would fit in my routine. I took a few days off work.

- read all the dog behaviour books
- purchased all the toys, crates, etc.
- Found a vet and booked an appointment
- Signed up for training.
- signed up for pet insurance
- I even put aside $5,000 emergency fund for the dog just in case there were any unforeseen expenses or emergencies.

I really thought, I knew what I was getting into!

Last saturday, after all of this planning we finally adopted a super adorable 1 year old griffon mix. She's really sweet and cuddly. Well behaved, pretty much housetrained and I love her. Except something doesn't feel right.

I don't know what it is, but all of a sudden I'm having huge regrets about this decision that I've been planning to take for literally a decade. I don't know what it is, but I feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and all of a sudden I'm not sure I made the right decision. I feel like maybe I just like being around dogs and not necessarily owning one? I feel so awful right now.

When we were at the shelter, i was very specific in asking for a small dog (we live in an apt but both work at home) who was very calm and low maintenance. Shelter staff pointed us towards our dog who was really quiet. But now, a week into it and i'm thinking her quietness was really just doggy depression because she has so much energy and i just can't keep up. I take her out for 3 walks a day (2x 30mins and 1x45 min). I play with her, we do 2 mini training sessions and she still won't stop acting hyper.

I am freaking out and my husband is too. He thinks she was just subdued and that her actual personality is one that's more hyperactive crazy dog that shouldn't be in an apartment. The other thing is that she came from a quiet shelter in the country side (we're in France) and we live in the city. She is stressed out every time we go for a walk.

Have I made a gigantic mistake? I really thought I was prepared and ready for what it meant, but clearly I wasn't. What do I do? Should I give her back to the shelter or try to rehome her?

It breaks my heart to even consider this, and i feel like the world's worst person but I really never anticipated having this type of emotional reaction. How can something that I've dreamed about forever have turned out so wrong?

The thing is it's not her, she's perfect and sweet and despite some adjustment issues it's been relatively easy to live with. It's clearly me. And I have no idea why.

Any advice?
 

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Personally, my advice is: It's been a week. Take a couple deep breaths. Relax. Give it a week or two more. Don't overthink it. Take a trip this weekend out to the country and let her get some good (couple miles) long-line exercise in.

It can be a big adjustment, but in the end, will probably work itself out.

The other possibility is that this is a dog/owner mismatch...but I'd say it's definitely too early to determine that for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Reading other people's posts just made me feel worse, my experiences with her have been really, really easy. She likes her crate and happily spends time there, she is friendly and easy going, she spooks sometimes on walks but the rest of the time she is beside me. It's clearly me that's the issue. I think I made a huge mistake.
 

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Its very normal to feel overwhelmed! Getting a dog is a big decision. :) I would give it more time. It takes around 6 weeks before you'll see her true personality, she is adjusting to you just as much as you are to her. I think that in an effort to be a wonderful, prepared owner, you have overwhelmed yourself a bit. There's nothing wrong with slowing down a bit, take your time to get to know her and appreciate who she is, and give her time to learn about you as well. It's been less than a week, so I would definitely just take a deep breath and relax!
 

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I take her out for 3 walks a day (2x 30mins and 1x45 min). I play with her, we do 2 mini training sessions and she still won't stop acting hyper.
This just my 2 cents. Thats the problem right there. for a one year old, 30 walks a day will not replace one solid hour of running free in the woods.

My puppy was a nightmare dog from hell until we started this new exercise routine and now she's a perfect angel at the age of 6 months. If you start today, by next week you'll have a totally different dog :) Also playing in the backyard or in the same local park is no replacement for this. they need new places, new smells and lots of run time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It would be great, but I live in downtown Paris (the Shelter people were aware of this) in a very dense urban area. There are no woods nearby the closest dog friendly park is about a 20 minute walk away. There's no where to take her to run free for an hour everyday. More importantly, I didn't want to get a dog that required an hour of running in the woods everyday.

Honestly, I just don't think this is working out at all. I had my doubts at the shelter but I figured the staff knew what I was looking for and would recommend a good dog for my lifestyle. That feeling of unease has just been getting worse as I've seen her get more and more hyper, and now suddenly yesterday after one whole week of problem free crate-training, she's started barking non-stop inside her crate and barking at everything (after a week of no noise.) Her shadow, the reflection inthe window, the printer, etc.

I'm at my wit's end.






I think I'm going to call the shelter tomorrow to make arrangements to take her back. She clearly isn't the best fit energy-wise, my other friends that have city dogs don't take them out for an hour runs everyday.
 

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Reading other people's posts just made me feel worse, my experiences with her have been really, really easy. She likes her crate and happily spends time there, she is friendly and easy going, she spooks sometimes on walks but the rest of the time she is beside me. It's clearly me that's the issue. I think I made a huge mistake.
Take the dog back dont hesitate. I used to do rescue and always told the people to not hesitate to bring the dog back if it did not work out. Its better the dog does not become attached to you. It sounds like this is a good dog don't mess her up by keeping her and trying to see if it changes, let her go to a home where they are sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I want to thank all of you for your support and lack of judgement. You all have been so kind in the midst of my crisis. It's made me feel so much better.
 

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IF you take her back (and I agree with those who say a week is too short to judge the dog), then please have learned that a 1 year old dog, honestly no matter the breed, isn't going to work for you. You need an older dog, IMO.
 

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Holly, I totally agree, but honestly, this event has been so disappointing and traumatic that I don't think I will get another dog ever again. I approached this so diligently and with such consideration and am so appalled by the way it's turning out that I don't think I would ever risk another animal's happiness or wellbeing. I thought I was 100% sure, and I clearly wasn't.

I rarely regret a decision after careful planning, so this whole episode has blindsided me quite a bit.
 

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Don't let this ruin your desire for a dog. It's very nice of you to think about the animal's happiness and well-being but I'm sure there is a sad shelter dog somewhere that will fit your environment- you just have to find it. Then you'll make that dog the happiest dog in the world!
 

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Holly, I totally agree, but honestly, this event has been so disappointing and traumatic that I don't think I will get another dog ever again. I approached this so diligently and with such consideration and am so appalled by the way it's turning out that I don't think I would ever risk another animal's happiness or wellbeing. I thought I was 100% sure, and I clearly wasn't.

I rarely regret a decision after careful planning, so this whole episode has blindsided me quite a bit.
Not everyone is a dog owner, it is a hugh commitment. If I were you I would volunteer at the local shelter. There is always plenty to do to help shelter dogs weather its walking or bathing or just making them more comfortable with humans. You can do a lot of good without owning a dog. That way you can also get to know the dogs personally and maybe at some point you might find a dog you will know is the right one for you.
 

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I would give it 6 mo. to a year to start looking again after returning her. My first dog was a disaster. Sometimes getting a bad match the first time around can be really disheartening, but after a month or two I think you'll start thinking about it again. My desire for a dog after rehoming the first one never went away. About 1.5 years after rehoming him, I found a great fit. :)
 

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Ditto holly, I think an older dog will be better if and when you decide to try again
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I would just like to share my story after reading the posts on this thread ... I have 2 Dobermans (3.5 and 2 years) and I love them. Actually I love all dogs and I thought ... the more the better ... Well, I decided to foster a 3 months old Doberman puppy thinking that it would be great ... well I am exhausted and it is a lot of work.

Owning a dog is a huge commitment ... and not everyone can do this. Just because one cannot have or take care of a dog make this person bad ... if you live in an environment that makes it difficult to have a dog ... then assist the rescues in different ways ... be a foster, donate money etc ... So if this new puppy is not working for you ... please return it ... you can help the rescues in different ways.
 

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Thank you all for advice and support. Currently, I am in discussions with her shelter and other rescue networks and am taking a very active role in re-homing her. I will pay for all of her costs/bills during fostering as well as the transport cost for any candidate that wants to adopt her (hoping it will be out in the countryside where she'll have some room to go crazy.) I think she has a really good chance.

In the meantime, I'm continuing her socialization and training (have mastered sit and stay, working on down,) in order to help increase her chances of finding her forever home by making her even more well behaved.

I'm so bummed out, but feel in my heart it's the right thing to do.
 

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Well, I think you are being super responsible about this whole thing. It sounds like she'll find a more appropriate home. You certainly gave it your best try, and one never truly knows until you do something, what it will be like!
 

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I understand, I understand.

Your post really hit close to home. I just adopted a dog three weeks ago (poodle mix - 1 year old). I have been waiting years to adopt a dog (like you - more than a decade). I'm worrying myself sick over the fact that he may not be the right dog for me. I wake up at night and cry because I want things to be OK. My husband will not even consider returning him to the rescue agency and assures me that we just need time to train him.

He refuses to potty in our back area (he's on a leash because it's not fenced) and it takes ages and ages for him to relieve himself on a walk. When he plays, he is constantly nipping and nibbling (not hard) - I think it's puppy play, but I wouldn't take a chance around children. He has these crazy-dog moments when he flies around the house like he's possessed.

I certainly don't mind walking him, but I don't know how to time it. I don't live close to an enclosed dog park, but it was my plan to walk our adopted dog daily and try to get to the park on the weekends. I realized when we took him to the dog park last weekend that he runs faster than any dog I've known. You can tell he 'needs' to run. I am so conflicted ... he's very sweet, but I'm almost 60 and I don't know if I have the energy for him. The catch is that if he needs a lot of exercise, then his behaviour is going to reflect that.

Any words of encouragement would be most appreciated.
 

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Mcdog, I really sympathise. Like you, I adopted an extremely high energy dog and there's no preparing for what it's like! If you look back at a couple of my threads, you'll see a lot of similarities.

Some things that have helped me:

Teaching bite inhibition Teaching Bite Inhibition | Dog Star Daily We've turned a huge corner with this - it is almost completely eliminated.

The possessed dog times - this was really unpleasant when he was biting, but is now quite contained. We can recognise the build up and take him outside where he charges around our small yard until he wears himself out. He doesn't do it in the house any more and he doesn't bite when he's doing it, so it's no longer a problem. Look up 'zoomies' on here - lots of young dogs do it!

I used a lead in the house because of the children and his mouthing/bounciness. He still needs it some of the time but he is having periods now of actually relaxing curled up on the sofa with his antler or sleeping and I can leave the lead off.

Yes, he needs a LOT of exercise, but I was going for more and more running around when the trainer pointed out that the trick with these high energy dogs is to wear them out mentally. I've upped his training sessions and every ounce of food needs to be worked for. It seems to be working. Today, I was doing our usual routine and he got really excited about what he was meant to be doing next and he started just going and sitting in his bed to see if that earned him a treat!

Building eye contact has been a huge help - it's building a bond but it's also making it easier for me to get him to do what I'd like him to.

Letting him run with other dogs really helps, because they can wear him out faster than I can.

All this and we're only 2 months in. A lot can change. Managing his energy is key for us though we've a LONG way to go, I know.

Don't forget, he's not fully settled in yet and he may not be this excitable once he realises he's home. He may actually be a really chilled out fellah.
 

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Thanks Swimityswim

I really appreciate the time you took to reply. I surely needed it when I got home. I had just been out to the SPCA to get my dog tags and asked if they had any advice for me.

Well ... I got an ear full. The girl told me I should be taking my dog to the dog park for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening EVERY day. When I said I didn't think I could manage that - she told me I probably shouldn't have a dog and that I should give him back to the rescue agency. It really upset me, but coming home to your wonderful post was the perfect antidote.

You made an excellent suggestion about wearing them out mentally - I had not put physical and mental together in terms of exercise. I read somewhere that the more they run ... the more they need to run. You sound like you are very dedicated to making a great home for your dog.
 
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