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Hi there! (Long post alert, I'm sorry)

My fiance and I recently brought home a 15 week-old miniature poodle named Evie. We live in an apartment complex that normally does not allow pets, but I have severe anxiety and my doctor suggested getting an emotional support animal. I grew up with a wonderful miniature poodle and have always loved dogs, so i was naturally very excited to get a puppy! After doing lots of research, going through the appropriate paperwork, and finally settling on our new puppy, we brought Evie home 11 days ago. She is from a reputable breeder who has been very helpful throughout the entire process.

At first, I was excited and happy to have her - she's an adorable puppy, who wouldn't be excited?! But shortly after the first few days, I have developed a SEVERE case of the puppy blues. I didn't even know that existed; I thought I was the only person in the world who felt this way after getting a new dog! Reading through these threads has helped me realize that I'm not alone, but I still would like some reassurance from everybody.

Here's the situation: The first night that we brought Evie home, we put her in her crate to sleep overnight. She whined and cried for most of the night (which i expected) and we did not get any sleep. My parents suggested that we let her sleep in bed with us, since then she wouldn't cry and we could all get some sleep. I normally wouldn't have caved in so soon, because I know it's important to establish a sleeping routine early, but the problem is the noise - because we live in an apartment, I constantly feel paranoid that we're going to get evicted if Evie makes even the slightest whimper! And especially at night when our neighbors are sleeping. It is a one-bedroom apartment with relatively thin walls. So on the second night, and every night since, she has slept in bed with my fiance and I. She now is mostly quiet at night, but I am an extremely light sleeper and I CANNOT sleep with her in bed with us! Every time I move I'm afraid she's going to wake up, and every time that she moves, I wake up. Not to mention she's currently going through a major teething phase, so every now and then she wakes up and starts chewing on the blankets, her chew toys etc., which wakes us up because it's annoying! She has been able to sleep through the night on occasion, but for the most part we have needed to wake up and deal with her at least once per night. (To take her out, to give her a chew toy etc.) So long story short, I have not slept well in almost two weeks.

On top of my sleep-deprivation, I feel anxious ALL. THE. TIME. On the second day of having Evie, we received a noise complaint from our apartment complex. (She cries and whines in her crate whenever we leave) That sent me into a spiral of panic that I haven't been able to shake since. We took immediate action by moving Evie's crate from the living room to a large closet next to our bedroom (it is very big, I promise, and we never shut the door on her) and that has worked tremendously at reducing her noise from the hallways. We also wrote a note to our neighbors explaining our situation, and many of them reached out to us with kind words of understanding.

But despite all of that, I have a constant pit of despair in my stomach, I've lost my appetite, I have frequent crying fits, and I can't even stand to look at Evie sometimes. I know that what I'm feeling is normal, but I just want to know when it will end. :( I hate feeling so anxious all the time and wondering if everything will ever be okay again. I miss my old routines and my old freedoms, and even more importantly, I miss my fiance! We haven't been able to enjoy each other's company anymore since Evie came, because we have to constantly be watching her. We used to enjoy our evenings together, but now we feel so trapped and confined even though we love Evie.

I work full-time, so I'm gone for most of the day. My fiance is still a student and so he takes Evie out during the day and plays with her so that she is not stuck in her crate all the time. At the very most, she is alone for 3 hours at a time. We have given her PLENTY of exercise - 2 nice long walks per day (morning and evening), and lots of play sessions at home. But she STILL whines and cries in her crate whenever we leave! We've done everything we can to make her crate a "happy place," we've given her all her meals in the crate, given her special treats and toys in the crate, and never placed her in there for punishment. We have never let her out of the crate unless she is being calm and quiet, because we don't want to reinforce her noise.

I guess my first question is, WHEN will this crate-crying end?! We've timed her crying, and it usually takes her between 5-15 minutes to fully calm down. She shows no other signs of separation anxiety in the crate - no destructive chewing, no peeing or pooping in the crate, no scratching or digging to get out. She simply hates when we leave her alone. (She also tends to be a bit of a "velcro-dog" at home - following me around the whole time)

And my second question is, is it too late to move Evie into her crate for sleeping at night? I know it will probably take several days or weeks for her to fully adjust, but I NEED my sleep, and I need to know that she is safe and not chewing on anything at night that she shouldn't be.

Any suggestions, kind words, or advice would be soooo appreciated. I have felt more anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed these past few weeks than I have ever felt in my entire life. Evie was supposed to help me with my anxiety, and instead she is worsening it to a degree I have never before experienced. I am to the point where I'm having panic attacks at night.

Please help :(
 

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Yes, the puppy blues are REAL. You can look up my first thread on here ;) And I've raised puppies before, and had a dog for over 15 years.

You mentioned you already have an underlying anxiety disorder. It's not surprising that a new stressor, and yes a puppy is a MAJOR stressor, is exacerbating that for you right now.

First up, you all need to SLEEP. As far as nighttime, I would set up an exercise pen (like a Superyard XT) and let her sleep in that next to your bed. I don't know where she is on house training. If needed, line it with puppy pads. That way she can relieve herself in the middle of the night without disturbing you and still have a clean dry place to sleep. If she can't hold it all night, that's ok. Let her pee in there. I've heard mixed things about walking dogs in the middle of the night anyway and it's perfectly reasonable that a 15 week old can't hold it all night. Wear earplugs if her noise is bothers you.

The most important thing right now, especially with an anxiety disorder, is that you all start getting proper sleep. Drop the crate battle at night for now

You also have an extra layer of stress with the apartment living. I know that can be very hard for everyone, including your neighbors. I sympathize with you and your neighbors. If the crate is freaking her out, then just puppy proof and gate off a bathroom for the daytime, or use the exercise pen. Whatever works should be your motto right now!

Also, remember, if you need to, you can re-home her. Sometimes the worst feeling is feeling trapped. I know you don't want to do that, but remember you are choosing to keep her. I think you will have a great companion if you can stick with it, but you shouldn't feel that you are failing either if you choose not to.

I think the important thing right now is for you all to 1.) start sleeping properly and 2.) for you and your fiancé to be able to go to work and school without feeling stress about noise and the apartment living. With a miniature poodle, you can keep using puppy pads forever if you want. Cross the crate stress off your list right now and focus on those two things.....sleep and reducing daytime stress.

PS You can see the little guy in my avatar, he is 12 weeks old. He freaked when I tried to put him in a crate so I use these gates now. I bought four of them, two stay in the kitchen in a smaller configuration for a "crate" and two stay in my room for nighttime in a larger configuration. During the day, I also tether him to me with a leash for housetraining. (you can read about it sometimes it's called umbilical cord training) Just throwing out ideas and mentioning that there are a lot of ways to go about it!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000AQPSC4/ref=twister_B011BCX0X4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
 

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Thanks for your suggestions, I really appreciate it! Unfortunately the reason we are using a crate is because of the noise. We can't risk putting her in a play pen or in gates because then she will be too loud and we will get in trouble with our apartment. We rely on the crate in the closet to muffle her cries. It is not the crate that she is afraid of - it is the separation from us. She doesn't mind going in her crate when we are right next to her. :(
 

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Oh ok. I think I'm confused!

If she's ok with the crate if you are near, why not just use it next to your bed? That would solve the sleeping problem
I still think a pen might be better so she could relieve herself without waking you but I'm not sure where she is on housetraining

Not sure what you can do about the daytime crying other than stick with it and hope she calms down
My thought was a more open environment might lessen her crying during the day.

Your neighbors should be ok with a little bit of crying as long as she calms eventually
I lived over a cocker spaniel once who cried a lot! I got used to it lol
 

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She is almost 100% housetrained - she has only had 2 accidents so far and one was our fault for not taking her out soon enough. We are planning on trying to put her in her crate to sleep tonight, so we'll see how it goes! Her crate in the closet is very close to our bed (within 5 feet) and she is able to see us fully. Fingers crossed that tonight will be better.

Any other help/feedback from other users would be greatly appreciated! I feel like I'm drowning :(
 

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It sounds like you have it all under control yet you say you're drowning?
I don't think I'm understanding the issue
Maybe some other folks will have advice for you that you will appreciate
Good luck!
 

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hi! fellow puppy owner here, I have had my dog for a week now and if you see my threads on here one of them I even thought about returning the puppy because it was THAT bad. I also lost a lot of freedom, but if you just take a little time to train him, you will gain it back :)

for the crate thing, what I did is during the day when no one minds a few barks, I got him used to being alone in the crate. I would pop him in the crate, door unlatched, leave the room for a few seconds, and then come back. if he stayed calm through out the whole thing, I reward him. slowly I work up until he spends a few hours in there alone without barking/whining/whimpering. when he whines I usually ignore him and after around fifteen minutes he calms down because he learns that whining won't get him anywhere.

a different approach I did was do the opposite; I would reward him (by paying attention to him, but he is still in the crate).

yeah, it's hard. you just have to deal with the crying until she calms down and use earplugs like suggested if it really bothers you.

if she doesn't like being separated from you, just sleep in the same room with her and whatever you do, DON'T let her sleep with you in bed. how I spent the nights is that usually there's always someone down waiting in the living room (where he sleeps) until he sleeps and when he does eventually fall asleep whoever was down there just leaves and he doesn't react.

heh, I don't know if these suggestions will work for you, but it's what worked out for me :) hope I helped! (also hope I didn't answer the wrong question because it always happens to me for some reason where I misunderstand the question :'D)

p.s. I used to wince every time he barks because I was scared of how the neighbours would react and stuff but they never complained or anything (I guess mostly because I live in a house and not apartment where the flats are literally right next to each other) and you just get used to it I guess
 
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