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Rehoming my dog, too much stress

1472 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Buzzu2
Hi everyone,

I just want to start out with some background information to better understand my situation.

So, I recently got out of the military under a medical, honorable discharge. I got out because I was unfit because of my mental health. I have major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety, other reactions to severe stress/PTSD.

As I was getting out of the service, I started to think about finally getting myself a puppy. I used to have an American Eskimo (standard size) when I was a kid, but long story short. Dog ran out as my family was about to drive to my grandparents, mom didn't want us to chase our dog, dog chased our car and pretty never found our home again. It really sucked.

So, because of this experience I kept researching the breed. I know they are great companions, good watch dogs, and it's in their genes to bark and they can bark loud and excessively.

Because of this transition of my life of military service to veteran/civilian. I kept fantasizing of getting my american eskimo puppy (miniature size). I've been reflecting on my decision and I know I made my decision to buy my puppy from an emotional mindset (I fell in love of the idea of having my puppy).

As of now, I have been engaged with my health care team with the Veterans Affairs (VA) and I've been put on multiple medications to help me regulate my stress and anxiety/depression. Also, my puppy is now 8 months old and I've had him for about 6 months (I picked him up from the breeder when he was 9 weeks old).

Side note, before getting my puppy, I watched a lot of Zak George videos of inertia on YouTube. I also watched training with kikopup and how to train your dream dog.

Long story short, I was living In a studio apartment and my neighbor had a significant other who would harass/antagonize my puppy by always barking through the door, window, or our shared wall, since we were neighbors.

Basically, because my puppy is still a puppy who is still learning to socialize (long story short, Rimuru, my puppy didn't start socializing until 16 weeks. He got sick once and I was terrified of him getting parvo and dying on me). So, on top of him learning to socialize as a puppy, he is a watch dog who barks excessively.

Over time, I had a conversation with my neighbor, I tried empathizing with them about the barking, they told me they didn't mind it. They stop harassing us for a short period but ended up doing it again.

When my puppy would bark, he would bark under distress of trying to protect himself and me. I would become distress because Rimuru was under distress. I started becoming paranoid/anxious. I felt like multiple people are trying to antagonize my pup and I felt like I had a target on my back because Rimuru is an excessive Barker and he barks loud. (But it makes sense why he barks, but my emotional mind and anxiety is telling me I'm targeted).

I ended up getting hospitalized because of the harassment from my neighbor. It got bad to where I would just focused on Rimuru not barking (I wasn't working and I was recieving disability pay).

My training mindset was compromised and the stress would get me to get frustrated with Rimuru and my neighbor. After my hospitalization, I moved to another apartment (same apartment complex, but different side/unit).

I have good neighbors who understand about my dog's situation. However, I still feel stress with my Rimuru's barking, and sometimes I become overly stress from it or even if I take him out to the dog park, I become overly stressed (especially if I forget to take my medication).

I currently have him in doggy day care on Monday, Wednesdays and Friday's. I get him on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. He isn't neuter yet. Next week in May 6th, 2022 he will be.

However, whenever he is gone I feel relief and there was a time when he was with a foster parent because I got hospitalized a 2nd time and I also felt relief. He's suppose to be my service dog and his training is suppose to start when he's 1 year old (that's in August 23rd, his B-day).

But because of this stress that I still feel and the relief I also feel when he's gone. It makes me think that it would be better to rehome him via the breeder (the breeder is genuine of their care for her dogs/pups, she does dog shows).

I don't think I will necessary miss my puppy too. Sometimes I contemplate of. What if he was with someone who can actually appreciate his qualities or better meet his needs and train him better than I can? I feel like the breeder would be able to give him a good, loving home.

Side note, he was the calmest pup in his litter. I've been contemplating this for a month or two now. Its been helpful for me to write everything out. I'm really just looking for some support and constructive feedback.
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Are there any moments/majority of times when you're happy to have him? Or is it just non-stop stress for you? What is your bond like? How have you worked on all the barking to date? Sometimes a different tac will work better.

If I were you, I'd see about having a chat with your breeder first. My guess is that your boy is super stressed as well, and this just feeds into a giant feedback circle for both of you. He is also around adolescence, so that might not be great. If she is willing, maybe your breeder could board him for a month? It would

1. Give him a chance to decompress and be re-evaluated in a new environment with an experienced handler.
2. Gives you a chance to decompress, in a non-hospitalized setting
3. Lets you see if you really would be happy without him--after the initial feelings of, "I'm free and can sleep in! Etc., etc." fade.

If you go this route, I would keep a journal. To track what and how your thoughts progress, see if any changes good or bad come into your life.

Depending on how you answer, this might not be a good match. He might also not be a good service dog candidate. Calmest does not always equal best choice, though there is more to it.

Can I just add,

they told me they didn't mind it
Of course they shouldn't. They're the ones who basically caused it, the **#$.

Last year, I also considered returning my pup to the breeder in the beginning. Never now (unless something really terrible happens), but I understand some of the feelings behind it.
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I wouldn't worry about him noticing the treats at this point. You will be able to wean them down/off later. A longer-lasting treat like frozen peanut butter or yogurt in a paper cup can work as well. If he has a particular known trigger, say a door knocking, you can time it at a time of your choosing to a degree. You would use a video on Youtube set on very low, play it while he is quietly licking the treat, then stop the noise and treat after a few seconds/minutes. You'd slowly build up and add more. You might have to take a step back, but he will get the idea. If it's on walks, or even at home, playing a special game can be really powerful as well, and even help more with bonding.

I ended up dropping my girl off at the breeders to have them watch her when I suddenly had to be out of town for almost 2 weeks. It took at least a week and a half before I started missing her, so I'd say do so longer. You were also going through a lot at the time.

There can be a lot of reasons why you might think he didn't miss you. He could be more stoic, knew you would be back, you overlooked how he showed it, he's a puppy, and they aren't always the most empathetic creatures at that age, etc.

I'm really glad you're looking at the breeder--I strongly recommend this over the daycare and your friends. I could go on. A boarding situation, then remeeting and going into training together would probably be best. And, if it still doesn't work out, you'll know it's because of a mismatch. Not because you didn't try, or stress, or a rough patch you gave up too soon on, etc.

BTW, he looks darling. I just love that face. And some say (I believe so as well) that love is shown more through action than words.
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