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I got Jasper at 8 weeks and went through pretty severe puppy blues, to the point where I wasn't eating or sleeping, crying a lot, etc. I stuck it out and plodded on and things got significantly better when he hit 14 weeks. Really started being a great puppy. I was able to take him out a lot less frequently, leave him alone for longer periods, etc. I felt like I was starting to get my life back a but. But here we are now at 5 months old, and I feel as if I have taken a huge step back in terms of my mental sanity, that feeling of being "trapped", stuck in this for the next 15 years, etc.

We keep him confined to the first floor of our house. The cat's "safe haven" is the upstairs and we want to keep it that way. That means that when I need to go upstairs for anything, he will repeatedly follow me upstairs and I have to bring him back down and lock him in his pen, where he then cries and barks like he is being killed until I take him out. I always ask for a "down" and make sure he is quiet before I let him out. So while I AM able to go upstairs to do what I need to do, it is while I am listening to him having a nutty downstairs. So I feel rushed and stressed the whole time.

And although he has gotten a lot better with regards to the cats, he still will chase them if they run, and he follows one of them around all.day.long The poor cat is so tolerant, but he is old, is unable to jump to escape, so I spend my day following them around to help the cat have a break. I end up either putting the dog in the pen or leashing him. So then I am stuck sitting there holding the dog on the leash and can't get anything done.

I feel like maybe he is bored. He sort of wanders around the house sniffing and looking for things to get into. He has plenty of toys, gets lots of physical activity, but maybe he needs some mental stimulation too? Ideas for that?

And walks are a nightmare...I love to walk and had visions of taking these epic walks with him when he was older. He hates leaving the yard, so I either am carrying him up to the end of the block where he then maybe 70% of the time will walk, or he is alternating between me dragging him, walking on his own, or us just standing there with me upset and about to cry. And it doesn't help that all the neighbors think it is so cute and hilarious when they see me trying to walk him. He also seems to be getting more anxious/alert on our walks, so every bird, squirrel, dog, biker, person, etc. he freezes. I've tried walking him with treats and sometimes that works beautifully, and sometimes he will eat the treat, walk two feet, and freeze again.

I have a call into a very well-repected local dog trainer, but he is very busy and it will likely be weeks before we can schedule something.

I'm just feeling really hopeless right now. I thought we were out of the thick of things, and now all those awful stomach aches, self-doubts, and wishing for my pre-puppy life are filling my head. Last night, after a particularly awful "walk" around the block, I came inside and took him off the leash. He proceeded to get a case of the zoomies and ran around like maniac, chasing both cats, jumped on my son and nipped at his face, licking like crazy. I tried to catch him to re-leash him and I couldn't. I finally got him into a down position and as I was putting the lash on he pulled away and I had a fistful of him in my hands still so he yelped in pain. Then I felt bad Like he would be scared of me.

HELP!!
 

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I'm sorry you're so stressed :( Is it possible to put a baby gate on the stairs, so that you can go upstairs without him being in his crate? That way he still gets the full run of downstairs.
 

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What really helped me was obedience training and teaching my pup tricks. All the time I was spending with her really build our bond and she listens a lot better now. It doesn't even have to be tricks, even teaching her to stay...take a few steps back...count to 30 (or however long he can sit for and slowly build up the time) and then either make him wait for you to go back to him, then praise/treat or get him to come to you.

What I started doing was slowly increasing the distance away..and even into the next room (I would have her sit and wait in the kitchen). Once I was out of sight I would count to 10 (and I've slowly increased the time since I first started) and then I would ask her to come. She would come running, sit infront of me and then I would praise/treat. This exercise has taught her it's ok that she can't see me all the time (she used to follow me around everywhere!). And it also helps with her recall.

Another thing I had started was feeding her in her crate. When she was a young puppy (she's 7 months now) she hated the crate and I ended up giving up on it because her cries were soooo loud that I didn't want to get evicted. As soon as I started feeding her in her crate (I would use the word "bedtime"), now whenever I say "bedtime" when I need to go out, feed her or time for bed she literally RUNS into her crate. If you don't want to feed him in the crate you can use a REALLY good treat like hot dogs or boiled chicken. Use something that he ONLY gets when he's in the crate.

The puppy blues come and go for me too still...I'm dealing with her high energy while she's recovering from her spay and it's driving me insane. You are not alone! I feel all your puppy pain!! haha But with time and patience he will get better!! Now that Mia isn't afraid of her crate its so nice.

Oh another thing that's been helpful for me when I want some downtime....I'll put some pumpkin and applesauce (home made) in a kong, freeze it and when I want some time to myself I'll give it to her in her crate and oh..that peace and quiet is soooo nice. That might help too if ever you need to crate him.

Sometimes I'll boil some chicken and use the boiled chicken water and freeze it in the kong too. (just remember to put some peanut butter or something to block the little hole on the other side...freeze it first and then fill it with the broth/water and freeze again). I'll add little shreds of the boiled chicken inside too. There's more suggestions if you search on the internet of what else you can stuff the kong with. I don't like using those kong fillings, looks too artificial.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm sorry you're so stressed :( Is it possible to put a baby gate on the stairs, so that you can go upstairs without him being in his crate? That way he still gets the full run of downstairs.
Unfortunately the way the stairs and banister are designed, they can't support a gate. I tried one of those that stand alone, but within minutes he figured oiut how to push it and topple it over.
 

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I'm so sorry you are feeling this way. We lost our dog in May and I always had said, "When Lucy dies it will be a LONG time before we get another." Well,Lucy died at only 10 years old and our hearts broke. One month later we adopted 9 month old Stella. She's only been in our family maybe like 6 weeks and my emotions and thoughts have been all over the place and i can relate to the feeling of loss of freedom. In a few weeks my youngest starts full day school and I'm a stay at home mom.... a little bit of freedom during the day but now I have this dog! Ughh.. I would lay awake at night thinking of a way to lose her or hoping the vet would say she's defective or that she'd even bite me so hard we'd have no choice but to give her up.

We've started training and its been so insightful. She's shown us ways to exercise her mentally and physically aside from just walking. I can share some of those ideas if you'd like. Also, I started taking her in the car with me whenever I can. If I'm just dropping off the kids or running drive through type errands or even a lunch date with just me and the dog at a restaurant I could eat outside. Its really helped with our bonding. I will tell you, Stella is CRAZY!!!! She literally jumped up on the table like a goat (4 feet, standing on the table). She eats my kids toys, she must sleep in a crate or she nips at our feet, constantly jumping and nipping, jumped a baby gate. Oh and wakes me up at 4:00-5:00 am every day. Try to remember the puppy stage doesn't last forever. I promise you, your dog will not act like how you are describing for 10-15 years. It gets better. I need to learn how to train my dog to walk on a leash, but have you tried a harness? I just purchased one for Stella but we had one for our old dog and it worked wonders!!!!
 

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I'm so sorry you are feeling this way. We lost our dog in May and I always had said, "When Lucy dies it will be a LONG time before we get another." Well,Lucy died at only 10 years old and our hearts broke. One month later we adopted 9 month old Stella. She's only been in our family maybe like 6 weeks and my emotions and thoughts have been all over the place and i can relate to the feeling of loss of freedom. In a few weeks my youngest starts full day school and I'm a stay at home mom.... a little bit of freedom during the day but now I have this dog! Ughh.. I would lay awake at night thinking of a way to lose her or hoping the vet would say she's defective or that she'd even bite me so hard we'd have no choice but to give her up.

We've started training and its been so insightful. She's shown us ways to exercise her mentally and physically aside from just walking. I can share some of those ideas if you'd like. Also, I started taking her in the car with me whenever I can. If I'm just dropping off the kids or running drive through type errands or even a lunch date with just me and the dog at a restaurant I could eat outside. Its really helped with our bonding. I will tell you, Stella is CRAZY!!!! She literally jumped up on the table like a goat (4 feet, standing on the table). She eats my kids toys, she must sleep in a crate or she nips at our feet, constantly jumping and nipping, jumped a baby gate. Oh and wakes me up at 4:00-5:00 am every day. Try to remember the puppy stage doesn't last forever. I promise you, your dog will not act like how you are describing for 10-15 years. It gets better. I need to learn how to train my dog to walk on a leash, but have you tried a harness? I just purchased one for Stella but we had one for our old dog and it worked wonders!!!!

Thanks! Yes, I have had all those crazy fantasies as well. It doesn't help that my good friend brought home an 8 week-old lab puppy a few weeks ago and was feeling all the same stuff I was and she ended up returning her to the breeder. I have to admit I was jealous. I think it's that feeling of being trapped that is really hard for me. And since I am the one home the most, he mostly wants me so there is this pressure on me. He wakes up super early every day (this morning it was at 4:45) so I am really tired and I go to bed each night praying for him to sleep later.

I definitely need some mental stimulation games for him to tire him out- we go on lots of "walks" but like I said, he is a PITA to walk sometimes so that gets me all worked up as well.
 

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Our trainer showed us the flirt pole game. Google or youtube flirt pole. Easy to make and you can wear your dog out with little effort on your part. It would be a great addition to your walk or an alternative to a walk on days you are short on time. Training is making a difference in my attitude towards her. I promise you it was so bad the first couple of weeks that I would have gotten rid of her but my husband wouldn't let me and I saw how hurtful it was to my 7 year old to even joke about it. I just really had gotten used to an old, lazy dog that was super sweet and I could trust her home alone and not to chew my face off.
 

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Welcome to adolescents! It will get better again, but you have to be consistent and keep up with your standards.Now is the time a lot of dogs regress in some of their training and start testing the limits. Things that you thought you had down, like a solid stay or recall, will be blown. Your dog will occasionally give you the big middle finger. Just give it time, be patient and loving, and keep to your standards. If the dog isn't allowed to chase the cats then keep them separated. Even if you have to go back to leashing him umbilical style to you.

This article is one we use a lot at the clinic for our puppy owners who have cats: Can I Get My Dog to Stop Chasing the Cat?
 

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I would perhaps stop asking him to down in the crate before shutting him in, and instead wait for him to actually settle down on his own- it will probably take a while at first. It may be worth playing some "crate games" with him to enforce the idea that it's a fun place to relax. I always think of putting a dog in a down stay as a means of arresting motion, rather than something which causes relaxation in and of itself. He may eventually get bored/tired enough that he falls asleep, but it's probably more likely that it's keeping him still just while you are present, and when you leave, whatever energy has been capped off by the down stay is released, hence the variety of obnoxious behavior you see. Also, don't let him out when he's doing that stuff, but the moment he's still/quiet, mark the behavior and let him out. I would be inclined to do lots of work with him on relaxing in the crate with the door open, and also possibly try using a tie down with him instead of the crate when you are home and just want peace, particularly while you are retraining calm crate behavior. This way you don't have to walking around holding his leash all day. You can also tether him to your waist if you want him with you, but your hands free. http://hssv.convio.net/site/DocServer/dog_tie_down.pdf?docID=1124
BAD RAP Blog: Fostering Part Four: In Praise of Tie-Downs

Can you zip tie a gate, or even a big piece of cardboard or balsa wood -if you need something lightweight- to your stairs? Or slide it between the rails? IME, many dogs need to be taught to not mess with a gate, and to give it a respectful distance. The goal is to never let them figure out that it's not an impenetrable barrier, and unfortunately teaching them to not break through/over is harder once they've done it.

I would maybe work on teaching cats running as a "check in" cue, where he comes to you for a reward. Start with them moving at slow speeds, and work up to faster speeds. Same with the one he likes to follow. When he's pestering the cat, call him over and give him some sort of puzzle feeder instead (frozen kong, bone, or other food dispenser). I would feed him only from puzzle toys and by hand during training sessions at this point, to add mental stimulation vs just eating from a bowl. The flirt pole is a good idea to tire him out, and could be a good analog for the running cat to work on impulse control and obedience around a fast moving prey item.

Good luck, and remember, it should get better with time, work on your part, and maturity on his part :)
 

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Ahh I'm not the only one with the walking problem! Finnegan is 5 months and acts the EXACT same way on walks. It's impossible. I just want to go for a nice walk with my dog! I guess it's a puppy thing?

Finnegan was doing really well for a while too, almost acting like a grown up dog (we'd go out and play/run around in the morning, then all day he would laze around, snooze, hang out calmly with us) until after supper when we'd go out for some more exercise. It was awesome. Now he's a puppy again, getting into weird, crazy, random moods a couple times a day. Jumping and biting clothes is the biggest problem. He's put holes in so many things.

You're not alone.
 

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Ahh I'm not the only one with the walking problem! Finnegan is 5 months and acts the EXACT same way on walks. It's impossible. I just want to go for a nice walk with my dog! I guess it's a puppy thing?

Finnegan was doing really well for a while too, almost acting like a grown up dog (we'd go out and play/run around in the morning, then all day he would laze around, snooze, hang out calmly with us) until after supper when we'd go out for some more exercise. It was awesome. Now he's a puppy again, getting into weird, crazy, random moods a couple times a day. Jumping and biting clothes is the biggest problem. He's put holes in so many things.

You're not alone.
This is exactly where we are and it is HARD. My two kids just left for 3 weeks of sleep away camp and I feel like I haven't been able to enjoy "me" time b/c of Jasper :( I go back to work Monday so my Summer is essentially over. I have a dog behaviorist/trainer coming tomorrow to help me with some of the behaviors I am seeing and either tell me to chill out and let him grow out of it, or tell me how to fix it- I've sort of lost perspective I think from reading too many posts and books that make it sound so easy :ponder:
 
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