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Hi all. I really need some advice, or at least encouragement of some kind.
4 years ago I adopted an adult cat while I was living alone and in college, and we instantly became best friends. She's my girl. We've gone through a lot together, including moving back home after college and then I recently got married.

My husband has always been a dog person, and I grew up with dogs as well, but I have really loved the relationship I have with my cat. I work from home, and she always crawls up on my lap or laptop while I'm working, purring and licking my arms and whatnot.

Last weekend, we went to the pet store to get more fish food. They were having an adoption event out front, and I just walked by to look. There was only one dog left, and she was so adorable and sad looking I went over just to say hi. I don't know if it was that the volunteers were tired and desperate, or if I am just that much of a sucker, but I found myself having adoption papers pushed into my hands, and when I voiced some concerns about the cat, our apartment, not being ready, etc. they were quickly pushed aside with a "no, no it'll be fine, shes such a good dog!" And of course my husband loved her instantly.

Here is my problem. We are a week in now, and I feel my whole world is crumbling. My relationship with my cat feels ruined, she never comes out of the back room now and when she does, she hisses and growls at the dog. I feel devastated that I may never have the cuddly quiet time with her that I used to. And this dog isn't really even that bad, but she has SO many behaviors I have to try and train out of her, it's overwhelming and I have to watch her like every SECOND to make sure she doesn't develop bad behaviors and make things worse. My husband is gone all day and since I work from home, the burden is all on me and I have done nothing but cry almost constantly.

I know it's only been a week, but I'm worried that if I give it a month, two months, three months, then 6, and it still isn't working, it will have been too long and then it's cruel to give the dog back. I have scoured forums for encouragement and advice, but everyone just says "it'll get better, your cat will adjust!"

But what if she doesn't? What if I don't? I'm panicking and sick about this and I can't even eat, I feel sick to think I made a mistake and should have just said no. I'm starting to feel resentful that my husband is never here to help, but criticizes my feelings and makes me feel irrational.

I really don't need harsh words right now, they can't be any worse than what I'm already berating myself about. Please if anyone has any uplifting or encouraging comments or advice. Should I keep the dog and see if my cat ever comes around? What if the rest of her life is ruined and it's my fault?

Oh please help.
 

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HoochLives,

I made a similar mistake last November. Without any real research, I ran out to a shelter and brought home a dog that I thought would please my teenage son. That's when I found this site. My son ended up spending very limited time with the dog. I became the primarily caregiver. I felt quite overwhelmed by the end of the first week. It wasn't a good match and wasn't going to ever be a good match. I persisted with that dog for two months and then finally decided it was in the best interests of everyone, including the dog, for me to find him a new home. I felt a great sense of relief when I learned that he was placed with a new, much more suitable family.

Oftentimes, I advise new owners to try to stick with it, especially when they made a conscientious decision to adopt a dog and are just struggling through a period of adjustment. But, in your case, you and your husband brought home a dog for all of the wrong reasons. Call the rescue group back and return the dog before it gets too attached to you, and then be happy with your cat! (And, don't let your husband make you feel guilty. You're the primary care giver of animals in your household, not him.)
 

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Welcome Hoochlives,
I agree with SusanLyn,I think it would be better for everybody concerned,to rehome the dog.I used to breed colorpoint cats,as well as having dogs.The cats hated any change and were definately not as adaptable as dogs,so unlikely your cat will come round....Most of us on here will have made a mistake with breed,timing,etc,so don't beat yourself up about it .Dogs are a huge commitment for many years both time wise ,financially etc,etc.and as you seem to be the one doing all the training etc,I think you'd probably be better to go back to your life,as you knew it.Cats are wonderful pets and great company and I can understand how you'd feel about it being upset.Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
 

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Returning your dog to the rescue is def a valid choice, but if you do wish to try and make this work let us know more about the problem behaviors you are trying to work on with your dog as well as how you've gone about introducing your cat and dog. IME how you intro and work with both the dog and cat (cats can be trained just like a dog) makes a big difference. :)
 

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I'm definitely no expert, but I got my dog about a month ago and a week later was catsitting for 2 weeks while my boyfriend went out of town. I gave the cat his own room, with his litterbox, food, water, toys, bed, etc. that the dog couldn't go into. I went into the room alone A LOT to play with and cuddle the cat, who's a very affectionate and social boy. Then, I would take the dog into the room on his leash for little "meet and greets". I wouldn't let him get too close or corner the cat. At first, the cat was hissing and snarling. After a few days of doing this (always for very short periods, several times a day), the hissing stopped and he would just go away if the dog got too close. Then, he would let the dog sniff him (and sniff back a little) before running away. I progressed to letting the cat out of the room to explore (always with the dog on the leash) and I would treat the dog for ignoring the cat. by the end of the 2 week period, the dog was pretty good at ignoring the cat and the cat almost completely stopped the hissing (though he still didn't want the dog too close).
Since you work at home, maybe make your work room the "cat room" and set up a baby gate at the door so the dog can see but not come in? From everything I've heard, slow and steady is the way to go when introducing the dog and cat. But from my (limited) experience, you can see progress. Because I was giving the cat back after 2 weeks, I didn't go much beyond that but it certainly is doable.
Obviously, if you feel the dog isn't right for you then rehoming may be your best choice. But if your main issue is the cat/dog, it CAN work out, especially if the dog isn't too interested in chasing the cat.
I can see how stressful this is for you--just don't be too hard on yourself. You're doing great and you clearly have the best interests of both dog and cat at heart. I just wanted to let you know that it is possible for your cat to get comfortable, it'll just take some time!
 

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Don't worry, first of all. You have options, and it'll all be okay. It might be wiser to rehome the dog in this case, but the cat can adjust. I'm confident in that fact because that's what MY cat did. We've had her for over 6 years, and she's always been a grouch. She hisses at our friends, sulks under the bed, and only likes my brother. When we brought a bouncy little puppy home... wow. She hissed and growled if he was even in the same ROOM with her. She fled to the garage and stayed there for hours. But lately, we've been noticing something. He still chases her, and she still hisses and pounces. But no longer in fear. It's become a game they play, a back and forth banter. She's actually been MORE loving to me since we got him. I don't know what all's going on at your house, and it might make more sense for you to rehome the dog. But just know- there's hope for your cat yet. Good luck!
 

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I was in the exact situation you're in before I got Jayne. I wanted a dog but I wasn't allowed to have one, so I got a kitten. I bonded very strongly with my cat and she ended up acting more like a dog than a cat. When I got a puppy my cat avoided me for a solid few weeks. However, once she got accustomed to the dog being around, she started coming to me when the puppy was in her crate and when I was in the bathroom. Then she started ignoring the dog all together and coming towards me. Now, 3 years later, she even lets Jayne lick and sniff her and occasionally head bumps her.

However--my cat is VERY adaptable, so much so that we can take her camping, to hotels, and she does well in the car. A lot of this depends on how adaptable your cat is. But, in my opinion, if you make sure your cat has a safe space and gets ample alone time with you, she should adjust perfectly fine. If you feel this isn't possible with your cat's personality, it might be best to rehome, but I personally believe it will be okay.
 

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I can totally understand how you feel. I had nothing but cats for 30 years. I thought about getting a dog 10 years ago, but I knew my cat would hate it, so I held off. I was sure he would run off, or at least, never leave the bedroom. So I waited until after his death. Making him miserable would have been devastating for me after all those years. Getting a dog was a huge life upheaval for me, much more so than any cat.

You might want to wait another week and evaluate the situation and your feelings, but no one here will blame you for re-homing. If you are feeling concerned about the dog's future, perhaps you could tell us more about the dog--age, breed(s), demeanor, etc... for more feedback on re-homing successfully. On the other hand, if you have concerns about training, we are happy to work with you on those.
 

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Everyone, I can't thank you enough for your kindness and advice. I have been an emotional wreck this whole week and it is so nice to have encouragement.

I have decided to give it some more time to adjust before I make any rash decisions. I feel hopeful that others of you have had luck with your cats, and we have even had some progress with mine, she has been coming out to investigate the dog when it's sleeping and she gets pretty close. I feel hopeful about that.

If I put my attachment to my cat aside, I really would love to be able to keep this dog. She is amazingly well behaved, and I can tell she really wants us to be pleased with her and really tries to do what we are asking.

A few of you asked for more info and the behaviors I am trying to train, and I would really welcome any advice so here is some quick info:

She is 5-6 months old, and potty trained already

She is a Formosan Mountain Dog (smallish, stays around 30 lbs)

We have been crating her at night and when we have to leave in the day (as I said I work from home, so not very often during the day) The main problem I have right now is her barking. It's not as bad as some dogs for sure, but when we put her in the crate, I follow many advice blogs/books and give her an awesome chew toy that she loves, fresh water, fluffy blanket. We cover it with a blanket too, because she freaks out if she can see us while she's in there. As soon as we either go to bed or leave, she starts barking like we are torturing her to death. Really it's kind of a scary bark, and one neighbor has already threatened to call the cops on me if I'm beating my dog (!!) which really did not help my emotional state, as I'm really trying to do everything right. Usually, after about 15 min she stops barking and then is quiet until let out. Everything I have read says that you have to just ignore the barking, and then reward with a treat when it stops, and keep reinforcing that she gets a treat when quiet. So far that hasn't made any change in it, and if we reward her with a treat after she stops, she gets all riled up again. So when we go to bed we just let her bark until quiet and go to sleep.

Am I doing it wrong? Is there anything else I can try?
 

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What an interesting dog! I assume that you are residing in Taiwan. We have another active member who lives in Hong Kong.
 

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There is hope !!! My cat Scribby is an extreme attention seeker - and seems to want nothing more in life than to constantly be attached to someones face/neck.

When I first brought Chewy home, Scribby went AWOL and made himself a few hiding spots around the house, and we didn't see much of him for a few months. Scrib is really laid back and Chewy is "energetic" (that's an understatement) so as soon as Scrib would peek around the corner, there was Chewy - ready with his "Ok I'm gonna chase you now, mysterious orange creature" game face on. And then the cat would disappear again.

Fast forward to almost 2 years later and these two are BEST BUDS !!! Scribby still gets plenty of lap time with us, because he's confident now to get on the couch with all of us - and Chewy is used to him and doesn't bug him.. he let's Scrib do his cat thing. They snug together, they explore outside together, they lick each other, and keep each other company while I'm gone. I really have confidence that with enough time your cat will get used to the new addition and things will be fine.


Since you work at home, I think you're in a better position than most to devote the time & effort your pup will need to grow into a good dog, especially since you're already noticing all the potential. Everyone here is great and can offer lots of advice, help, and shoulders to cry on when the puppy blues cause nuclear emotional melt downs (SOOOO COMMON!)

Good luck!!
 

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The first time we crated our dog, he made sounds that I never knew dogs could make. He whined, he barked, he sounded like he was talking- it was pretty freaky. I never heard the advice to give him a treat, I just ignored him. And now, he likes the crate! Hope this helps!
 

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Oh yes... the murder by crate barking... I'm familiar!!!

To be honest, we endured it at night for almost 2 weeks with our 6 month old JRT mix, then we gave up and let her sleep in our bed. We finally got a decent night's sleep! We are lucky in that she has been good and doesn't get into trouble while we sleep... except for the one night she let herself out via the doggy door at 3 Am and came back in with a Opossum.

I've taken to calling her 'Possum now, lol.

We still have the crate up, and I will occasionally put her in it if I need to contain her, but she absolutely hates it. She scratches at the gate, barks, growls, howls and makes a grunting noise that I didn't know dogs could make! Mostly, it functions as a doggy toy box where I throw all their toys when I pick up the living room to vacuum.

I'm able to section off the living room and kitchen from the rest of the house so it functions kind of like a gigantic crate. So far she hasn't eaten any furniture when we are gone, so *fingers crossed*...

I was working from home full time when we got her so I was very lucky to be able to potty train her very easily. Now she uses the doggy door and goes outside whenever she needs to. A huge relief on my part!!!
 

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SusanLynn, we live in Washington State, near Seattle. Thank you for those links, I was very excited to try them. Unfortunately, I guess it's taken too long already and one of our neighbors took a recording of her on his cell phone when I left this morning, and played it for the apt manager. Now we have a week to get her to stop barking or give her back to the rescue. I think it's just hopeless. We are going to try gating her in the kitchen as a desperate attempt but I just don't know if there's enough time. She cries so crazily when I walk out the door. One more complaint and she's banned. I'm so discouraged. I had just finally calmed down about my cat adjusting and was ready to tackle this.

Thank you all for your help, I will keep you updated. If you have any magical methods for stopping barking right away, please let me know.
 

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I know exactly how you feel, but I don't even have a cat to contend with. I do have two children and a full time/out of the house job to deal with though, and I can tell you that I felt like, "OMG...what did I do!?!?!" when I adopted our rescue. Esp. the first night when he cried (howled, barked, shrieked) in his crate for 4 hours.

I don't believe in making ANY decisions in a week...or two weeks. Unless there are health, property or logistical problems that prevent you from taking care of this dog, I think you owe it to yourself, and him, to tough it out to make a more informed decision. At least, that's how I see it.

Even in the 2+ weeks we've had our dog, I see it getting better. But it is so much work. And it's expensive. And I see how little help I get from my hubby and my kids and it takes it's toll. Esp. since I do EVERYTHING already, now I need to do EVERYTHING + DOG. Sigh....

I can say this: I've seen animals that hate each other, learn to love each other. I've seen animals change...and humans relationships with animals change because of the introduction of more pets. I think it's normal and I think that you will eventually accept the changes.

Stay strong! I am staying strong. Still listening to crying at night, and my neighbours are listening to barking and crying during the day. It will just take time........

:huddle:
 

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Part of being a responsible pet owner is admitting when it's time to let go.
I don't think you're a bad dog, or cat owner.In fact, I think you're quite awesome and strong for knowing your limitations and not forcing the animals to "adjust". Sometimes it just doesn't work like we would hope......
 

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It sounds like your new dog is suffering from separation anxiety. Read this thread:

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/separation-anxiety-29576/

A great book to read is: "Don't Leave Me!" by Nicole Wilde.

Don't Leave Me! Step-by-Step Help for Your Dog's Separation Anxiety: Nicole Wilde: 9780981722733: Amazon.com: Books

It outlines specific steps that you can take to alleviate it. Since you are working at home, you might be able to make enough headway to satisfy your neighbor. And, if you and your husband are committed to working together to help your dog (e.g. he stays home so that you can run out and do some errands), you might be able to keep your dog. It sounds like he's growing on you!

I'm actually in your shoes right now. I have a rescue dog who suffers from SA. One thing that's helped for short separations is a ThunderShirt, which I bought at a local pet store.

Thundershirt | The Best Dog Anxiety Treatment

Just in the past week, I've been able to leave him alone for a couple of hours at a stretch and return to a fairly calm (or at least, less anxious) dog.

Try talking with your neighbor and your apartment manager and explain that you're dealing with the barking issues and see if they'd be willing to give you some more time. Newly adopted dogs, especially rescue dogs, often suffer from SA as they've been moved around so much. Time will help.
 

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I am so sorry you are going through this. It does sound very stressful. The positive thing is that Seattle (and surrounds) is a VERY progressive area. (I also live near Seattle), and I'm sure you will have NO problem finding a great home for such an interesting dog (if labeled correctly?!?), though I guess by contract she needs to go back to the rescue you got her from. So don't worry too much about her future. There are also some internationally recognized dog trainers in the area (though they are quite spendy), but lots of basic positive reinforcement oriented trainers. Have you tried giving her a bully stick, or pig's ear, or natural pressed rawhide when you crate her. You could also freeze a meal in a Kong for her. These would take her quite a while to get through, and by then she might be more relaxed.
 
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