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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! We recently lost our family dog of 10 years to kidney failure. We had adopted her before we were married and had kids, and we spent so much time with our girl when she was a puppy. When kids came along, she was calmer and very sweet. We adopted a dog 2 weeks ago and she's also very sweet but I forgot how tough young dogs can be. Instead of revolving our life around her as we did with our other dog at first, Stella is having to fit into our family. I'm a stay at home mom of a 5 & 7 year old. We are home more than the average family so she does spend a good amount of time out of her crate. However, she cannot yet be left uncrated when unattended for potty reasons and chewing. She's approximately 9 months old. Should they still be so mouthy? I left her uncrated for 15 minutes while walked my kids down the street. She managed to eat a tissue box and finish her Kong. Thank God that's all. We never crate trained our other dog but we were fortunate enough to be able to send her to doggy daycare almost daily. Will my dog forever have to be in a crate while we are out/sleeping? My husband hates her being in the crate and makes me feel guilty for going out more than an hour. I have two kids. It's unrealistic to only be out an hour or two at a time. My main questions are, will she always need to be crated when we are out? Is she still supposed to be play biting? Worried about the kids because it does hurt!
 

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I'm here to say, yes your dog will be able to be left out of the crate eventually and yes the biting will eventually stop. It all just takes time and consistent reinforcement to a correct the behaviours. Once your new dog learns the rules and expectations, everything will fall into place just like with your old dog.

I know it's hard not to just expect the new addition to be like the last. My last dog died 3 years ago, and 3 months after she passed I got my current dog. It was so hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that Tessa (my new dog) didn't just understand what I wanted from her. I mean, rationally I understood it, yet somehow I still thought the rules where so plain and simple to get. Yet it was like I was speaking greek and she only understood chinese lol. It just took time and consistent training, now Tessa is 3 years old, no longer nips to get my attention, no longer chews random things, and is able to be left out when I leave the house. Just like my last dog, Jazzy, was able to be.
 

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Thank you for that encouragement! You are so right. I can't compare or expect Stella to be where Lucy was at. Lucy was a mess when she was a puppy too. We just had a different life back then. We had nothing of value (ha.. young and broke) so her damages weren't as great and no kids for her to nip at. We spent time taking her to dog parks and doggy daycare because we didn't have a yard. Now we have a yard but no parks and the only doggy day care in town won't take her. They said she was aggressive to other dogs. I need to get training for her. On one hand I love her so much and I love seeing my daughter bonding with her and my son starting to think of someone other than himself, lol. On the other hand I think, "Oh my God, what have I done?? I'm going to have to take care of this crazy thing for the next 10-15 years of my life!?"

Aside from sleeping at night, how much is a reasonable amount of time to keep her in a crate? Should I alternate using the crate and leaving her outside (if the weather is right and the time isn't as long)?
 

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My previous dog, Angus, was chewing up our belongings well into his first year as well. We ended up 'crating' him, sort of. I'm not overly fond of the crating technique, as all of my dogs growing up were never crated. But my boyfriend at the time believed in it, so to compromise, we actually built Angus a 4'x8' pen, so he had plenty of room, and he wasn't right on top of all of his toys and dishes. We would 'test' him every weekend. At first, we would just go outside for 15 minutes then right back in, adding more time each week when he hadn't chewed. Eventually he did get to the point of not destroying our belongings and we dismantled the pen after about 9-10 months. When we were looking at buying our own house, the plan was to build a dog run outside for him (he didn't make it to the house so I can't tell you how it went, but that's another story).

My current dog, also Stella :), thoroughly dislikes being outside, so I wouldn't consider that an option for her. We pen her in the front foyer with a gate across the stairs and in to the living room, and shut the door to the kitchen. She's never chewed anything, it's more of her personality. She's quite protective and she'll pace the house, checking every window and door she can see out of. Keeping her in the one area, she has less property to 'patrol', and she calms down.

So I think if you're considering leaving her outdoors sometimes, just be sure she does enjoy being outside, otherwise it could feel like a punishment for her. Just remain consistent in your training and she'll catch on just as Lucy did :)
 

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On the other hand I think, "Oh my God, what have I done?? I'm going to have to take care of this crazy thing for the next 10-15 years of my life!?"
Lol, I think all of us have that moment when we have dogs in our lives; Whether they're amazing and Lassie-like or little hellions.

Aside from sleeping at night, how much is a reasonable amount of time to keep her in a crate? Should I alternate using the crate and leaving her outside (if the weather is right and the time isn't as long)?
I would normally say if you're not home then 4-5 hours at a time is fine. If it's just her not being supervised then I would leave her only for a few hours at a time then let her out. Eventually you need to lower the time she's spending in there with the reward of roaming time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So far she spends about 6-7 hours at night sleeping in the crate and she seems fine with that. During the day maybe 4-5 hours on Sunday for church but only 1-3 hours normally. We don't crate her when we are here. If I have to shower or something I'll put her outside to run or put her in the bathroom with me. Right now we are on summer break, it will be interesting to see how much progress she makes by Mid August when school starts.
 

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It'll only takes time, Kay was right there every dog owners been through that but it'll just slowly change especially when you've been training him.
 

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Its now been 3 weeks that she has been in our home and my feelings about her are still very mixed. I think I just still really, really miss my old dog. That dog also represented the new life my husband (then fiance) were making. It seems like her passing represented so much change or something. She happened to pass on the day my youngest graduated pre-school. Come August I'll be a stay at home mom who has two kids in school! It'll be me and Stella... we better start bonding. We have a trainer who sounds fabulous and well recommended coming to our house on Friday for an initial training and then she will start a training program that will be 1 hour a week with us and the trainer in our home for 6 weeks. We of course will be practicing with her. My daughter is excited about being involved so I guess that is what I will focus on, creating memories with my daughter. My son, he's almost 5, asked me what I thought Lucy was doing in Heaven today. I guess there is nothing like your first dog.
 

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I guess there is nothing like your first dog.
There isn't. I still think of my last dog, who happened to be the very first dog I really ever knew. My parents got her when I was 9 and she lived until I was 23. She was a special dog too, stubborn yet tolerant, almost cat-like if you will. Even though I grew up with her, she never was my dog until my father - her real "owner"- died in 2011. That's when we really bonded. It broke my heart to have to put her to sleep 1 1/2 years later, ironically on Dec 21, 2012, because of uncontrolled seizures. Tessa, my current and first dog I've personally ever owned, came to me just 3 months later in March 2013.

The comparisons still happened, even though I knew it was ridiculous of me to compare them. Tessa's a lab mix (32 kg), Jazzy was a cocker spaniel/poodle/terrier cross (around 10 kg). Yet still I expected Tessa to be Jazzy. I had come to know Jazzy's routine, her idiosyncrasies, and I just expected Tessa to be the same. To understand the same things Jazzy did. That to own/live with one dog meant that all dogs were the same. I was wrong.

A good example of this was my very first walk with Tessa. She was around 18 weeks and a car drove past. Jazzy always chased cars, so I braced myself for Tessa to pull. She didn't and she never has. She has other issues, but chasing cars ain't one lol.

In time, your heart will heal. The comparisons will stop as your new dog weasels her way into your heart, routine, and life. You'll still think about your old dog, believe me. There wasn't a day when I didn't think "man Jazzy would've loved this" or "Jazzy wouldn't have liked that", but those days are less and less. I still think of her, memories that I share whenever I can, but Tessa and I have bonded now and the stories have shifted to her instead - just as I'm sure you will bond with your new dog and have plenty of fun filled and frustrating times. It just takes a bit of work to get there.

It's very good of you to do the training, that will definitely help you bond with her, as well involving your daughter will help her understand the responsibility and bond with her too. I wish you guys the best of luck!
 
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