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Hello -- I need help. Or, encouragement and advice?

I've wanted a dog for many years, and four years ago (!) I knew I would definitely get one when my circumstances were right. I've spent months and months watching training videos on youtube (kikopup is a favourite), reading books and forums online. I read through The Happy Puppy Handbook, did research on feeding, crate training, exercise needs, clicker training -- I felt completely prepared. I'm a PhD student, I work from home most days and if I do go elsewhere during the day it's not for more than a couple of hours. I am prone to something called brief recurrent depression and I thought that owning a dog could help with that, and I loved the thought of having a running partner eventually (along with lots of other dog activities I've been researching). I was SO excited about getting a puppy and last Thursday I finally got Tova - an 8 week old silver standard poodle puppy from a responsible breeder.

The first couple of days were OK but right now I'm seriously considering taking her back/trying to find a new owner. She's not a bad puppy - she sleeps well in her crate and doesn't wet her bed, training is coming along OK (as far as can be expected for her age) and though there are mistakes, toilet training is also going OK. But I've spent all of the time since I got her watching her, playing with her or thinking about her, and when she's asleep I'm just panicking, thinking, 'What the heck was I thinking of? There is no way I can raise a puppy? I knew it would be hard but the actual experience of the difficulty just feels WAY too much!!' I'm single so I'm doing this by myself - I've read a few posts on here about post-puppy blues (I'm relieved to know that this is somewhat normal) but it seems like a lot of people are in a couple and have a partner to share the load?

I feel totally lost. I know that I've gotten myself into this, I'm beginning to feel like such an idiot for thinking I could do this, additionally I feel so embarrassed/ashamed as I've been excitedly talking to friends and family (and battling their advice to wait to get one) for months.. I simply don't know I'm going to make it work. Please help! Any advice welcome :)
 

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Hello. I basically could have written your post last week when I got my puppy. I did even post on here about how anxious I was feeling. I picked up my puppy, a yorkshire terrier called Pixie on the 1st of October and from the minute I got home I was a nervous wreck. I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, my stomach was in constant knots. I am married with 2 kids but the dog was my responsibility. I even ended up ringing my parents and crying for an hour over the overwhelming feelings I had and I am 37!!! I seriously was like 'what have I done, why did i do this, why didnt' I just leave my life the way it was and now i have this puppy and I don't know what it wants or how to traing it' I felt at times like I was drowning. I do suffer time to time with feelings of anxiety and this felt like the baby blues I had after I had my children. So i can completely empathise with you. The good news is last weekend it started to ease and today, apart from feeling sad I had to leave her when I went to work this morning, I don't feel any anxiety apart from a tiny bit that is manageable. And that's just mostly because she still can't go out until next week because she just got her last set of injections 2 days ago and we are both going a bit stir crazy. I know the minute I can get out walking with her not only will the anxiety completely fade but she will force me to get up off my bum and get out. As I said I am married and have 2 children but they are 9 and 7 so too young to help and my husband works extremely long hours so it's mostly just me and the dog. I also work in a hospital 2 days a week so she's on her own those days although next week when her vaccines have kicked in I will leave her in doggy day care for 1 of those days so i suppose it's not too bad for her. Again, though I do feel a bit guilty that she's the only dog in teh house although I only want 1 dog as with my kids more than 1 would be unmanageable so I think the feelings you have are just a sign that you are a good, conscientious dog owner. As she is my 1st puppy I dont' have too much advice about training (i have mine booked in next week to start puppy training classes) but I can vouch for the fact that these are completely normal feelings and they will fade. My dad said something to me that struck a chord he said ' all you are concentrating on are the bad/troublesome things a puppy can bring, don't forget to concentrate on all the joy and happiness aspects they bring in' and he couldn't have been more right. Even my husband who never wanted a dog is loving her. Just relax as much as you can and remember there are dogs that literally survive on the streets and they are very adaptable. Yours will become your best friend and you will laugh and smile more than feel anxious very soon. I am proof of that. :)
 

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Thank you so much for your response -- I too have been on the phone to my mum at least twice a day since I got her, but it's different hearing from somebody who has actually been through the same thing!! I hope that I feel better as well once she's finished her vaccinations (October 30 and can take her out. I'm looking into a dog daycare as well (though I don't know if they take such young puppies). What do you do with yours (she looks totally adorable among those flowers!) when you're at work? Crate? Playpen? Do your husband and kids play with Pixie, does that help tire her out?
 

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It's the most awful feeling in the world. the first week and a half when I got her I hated feeling the way I did but I am definitely feeling 95% better this week and again when I can get her out I'm sure that 5% won't be there either. When I'm in work 9am - 4.30 p.m. I leave her in my kitchen. To be honest I don't crate train. I live in Ireland and I never saw people crate train dogs, they just put the puppy in a small room and put papers down. I put Pixie in our kitchen which isn't huge but isn't tiny either. To be honest it suits us as it's the only room without an alarm sensor. I bought a Bonzo puppy teddy from AMazon which has a special dog heating pad that you heat in the microwave and it then fits into the teddy and stays warm for 10 hours. I put his in her bed and put her toys with her, I put down food and water and a few puppy pads and turn on Lyric fm nice and low on the radio so it keeps her company. I use a bed guard that I had on my sons bed to fence off part of the kitchen where her bed is but to be honest shes so clever she keeps pushing it out of her way and getting to the rest of the kitchen but I don't mind. I just use the bed guard as I think it might make her feel cosier when she's sleeping to be in a smaller area. Yesterday my dad was able to pop up at lunchtime for an hour and keep her company but he's working today so she will be on her own. I do feel guilty but then I think of all the poor dogs that are dumped on roads or tied up in small back gardens and she literally has the life of Riley so I try not to let my emotions get the best of me. My mam is always telling me to remember it's a dog and not a baby and it will be better when she can get out for walks because I seriously would love to be getting up an hour earlier,and getting out for a walk with her. WE also live near loads of lovely Irish beaches and the countryside so I will be bringing her off loads with me and the kids when she can go out properly. My daughter who is 9 has been begging me for a dog since she could talk so she does play with her a bit but not as much as I thought she would. I think it's because she can't bring her out to walk and show off so she plays with her for a few minutes but then wants to go out playing with her friends so it's mostly just me and the dog. I sit out on my decking with her and play with her ball or I try to do a few minutes training her to sit which she seems to love. She is very clever. As I said I'm sure these weeks are the hardest when they are housebound but next week she will be in doggy day care 1 day a week so will only be at home 1 day a week by herself and because she's so young I'm sure if I get a walk in with her before work she will sleep a lot of that time we are not there. I rang the dog day care place as I didn't think they'd take puppies but they do once they are vaccinated and have the kennel cough vaccine (which I had to ask my vet for as it's not standard so that's something for you to check with your vet) so I can't wait to leave her there next week. My husband is usually not home until late into the evening so Pixie normally just is up on his lap asleep. A dog just wants to be part of someone's life and be in a safe environment. This is what I keep telling myself and try to keep myself grounded instead of letting my emotions run all over the place. I also read a puppy needs about 18 - 20 hours sleep a day and I'm sure when I can get her out walking I'll tire her out for when I'm not there. Just try and get through these next couple of weeks with your dog in the house and focus on how lovely it will be when you can start getting out with her and walking and going to training classes !
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think your mum has the right idea (re dogs and babies) -- mine was saying this morning the opposite, at least in terms of our relationship to them (constantly watching, not able to have a proper meal, toilet accidents, etc, etc). That sounds like a good arrangement with your kitchen - apparently a slightly smaller area feels like an extended den, so they feel safer.... My kitchen is open to the living room so I'll try to find another solution. Also sounds like you have some perfect doggy countryside for when Pixie's walkable!
 

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This afternoon, I decided to just put her in her crate (it's sized more for an adult than a puppy so she has a bit of space) with chew toys and treats... she settled down and I managed to do an hour's work! I took her out to go to the toilet but she's in there now and yelping the house down... I just can't face her right now, I feel like a terrible person (and again, like a total idiot for imagining that I could make having a puppy work). I emailed the breeder to let her know I'm having difficulties, hopefully I'll get some support. Already though I'm thinking, 'I wish my life was back to how it was before!' I know that I should persevere for a couple of weeks, but it is so hard.
 

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Getting a puppy is SO tough. If you searched on here, you'll find one hundred posts JUST like yours. :) You're going to have some days when you seriously wonder why you did this to yourself, and you'll have other days when you just can't imagine not having them in your life. And thankfully, soon the good days will outweigh the bad. Hang in there and come here to vent when needed. :)

ALSO PICTURES. :D
 
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Shandula, thanks for your reply :) I have had a search on here, I was reading lots of forum threads last night... I stopped though as I think maybe it was making me EVEN MORE anxious?!! Which is completely silly. My overwhelming feeling right now is "I can't do this".... ugh, I've not felt this down for a long, long time, which is the opposite effect to what I'd hoped to get from having a dog. Honestly, I've not had any days yet when I've thought that life would be terrible without her.... I realise now that I should have considered an adult rescue more seriously, but I was full of dreams of training the perfect dog (so naive).
 

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She is SO cute, oh my gosh! I know where you're coming from, and how you're feeling.

I got an Aussie puppy last year, and was a little overwhelmed, but he was such a great puppy. He was honestly perfect. Didn't chew, housebreaking was a dream, and super obedient.

In August, I picked up our new puppy, a Border Collie. Let me tell you. She is everything Levi isn't. She's crazy energetic, she chews everything (ironically she destroyed a coaster that said "A house is not a home without a dog), house breaking is still an ongoing battle. The first two and a half weeks I think I cried at least once a day, and told my husband she should go back to the breeder. Well, we've now had her for about 7 weeks and I am SO in love with her.

My big advice would be to get her enrolled in some classes when she's old enough (a puppy class usually allows pups in at 10 weeks or so) so you can actually DO something with her.

The next thing is if she is driving you absolutely bonkers, give her a Kong/chew toy, pop her in her crate, and leave your house for an hour. Go to the grocery store, the park, wherever. Just give yourself some time away. :)


Edit: I wonder if @Naira knows there's another Poodle on here now. :)
 
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Your dog is seriously gorgeous. I must have said every minute of the day last week 'I hate this feeling, I hate feeling like this' . I used to actually say just to keep myself sane ' if it gets worse I can just bring her back'. it used to calm me down although deep down I knew I wouldn't give her back. but it made me feel better just to say it. And thankfully it didn't get worse it got better. I think shandula is right. Go out if she is upsetting you with her crying for an hour or so. You will feel better rather than staying at home stressing out.
 

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Believe me, there were times I wished I could trade Cosmo in for a different puppy because he was such a handful, but now with him laying right next to me at 10 months old chewing at my blankets (naughty) I wouldn't trade him for the most well behaved beautiful dog in the world. He's not perfect but I love him to death, he's my baby. And then, like me, you'll forgot how much it sucks to raise a puppy and you'll start researching about a new puppy. (Hoping for a Groenendael shepherd in a year or two!)

Good luck, and feel free to vent your heart out! Just know you're not alone :)
 

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Here's something to keep in mind. A dog is not a tool...but it's not a child either. It's okay to not spend every minute of your day totally focused on your pup the way you'd have to spend every minute of your day focused on a newborn baby.

Unfortunately, it has been proven time and time again that a puppy left to his own devices can survive and grow up as a street dog. Of course I am not saying throw your puppy out on the street, I'm trying to point out that puppies are more developed, self sufficient, and independent than we often give them credit for. Yes, they thrive with our attention. That's why we don't just chain them in the back yard. But we don't have to go overboard with them. Yes, they develop best when we take them out and socialize them with other animals and a wide variety of people, but we don't have to devote every waking minute to that....a couple hours twice a week socializing IMHO is plenty.

Take it in stride. Worry less about making a slip-up that will prevent you from raising the 'perfect puppy' and instead enjoy the moments for what they are...and then crate the little bugger and cook a nice dinner, do the laundry, or go shopping for a couple hours.
 

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First off- your dog is gorgeous!!!

You are so not alone in this. I got my 4 month old pup about three weeks ago and I just stopped feeling super guilt whenever I leave. I am a law student so he is never alone more than about 6 hours and he is a perfect gentleman most of the time (minus peeing and chewing, but hey- puppy).

One thing that helps me when I need to get work done is tethering (is that the word?) him to me or more specifically the leg of my desk. This lets me know where he is and lets me focus on my work. I give him a few toys and maybe a stuffed toy (like half a teaspoon of peanut butter and that boy is in heaven).

It is ROUGH- there is no if ands or buts about it.... but you will adjust. You will settle into a rhythm and it will be ok.

Just keep swimming :)
 

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Hello everyone, thank you so much for all of your thoughtful responses! i've started crating Tova now, I took her out for breakfast, play and a little training first thing for about 2 hours. And again after an hour for a potty break. So that's good. She settles down in there quite quickly, and I did the same last night so i could enjoy dinner with my housemates rather than be on the edge of my seat running after her the whole time. Objectively, things are getting better. I still felt this morning when I woke up, though, 'God I just do not want to be doing this' and felt entirely unenthusiastic about playing with her, and cried while she was running about the garden. I still feel so embarrassed to be reacting this way to something that I've been dreaming about for so long! I'm going to be honest: the thought that I find most comforting right now is taking her back. I'll stick it out for another week and see how I feel at least first though.
 

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Shandula and Deisecailin - it was in part thanks to your advice that the crate rest thing happened, thanks!

Cos - thanks. I hope that day comes sooner rather than later...

Akodo - I'm trying to keep that in mind. She really does seem fine in her crate, although not exactly ecstatic about going in there. The thing that I'm most worried about now is that I'm not enjoying the time she's out either - I started crying because she weed on the doormat (hello, she's a puppy, this is inevitable!) and because she jumped at my face. Hopefully one day I'll look back and those moments will be funny?

TuxsMum - Nice to hear from another student! What arrangement do you have for when you need to leave Tux?
 

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I would certainly be giving it more than a week. Puppies are hard work, and it will probably take more than a week to get any kind of real improvement.
 

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TuxsMum - Nice to hear from another student! What arrangement do you have for when you need to leave Tux?
He is just in his crate when I leave. I play some music all day on my computer (there are some great videos on Youtube that are like 7 hours) and tire him out good before I go. I got really lucky with him, he loves his damn crate lol I try to get him to take naps with me in my bed (his crate is right next to my bed) and he just looks down at it like.... "No Momma, I sleep in there" :roll eyes:

I do plan on enrolling him in doggy daycare (there are bunch around here) when I have to start studying more for finals, or I may have my parents take him for a little bit (they are home all day). I am not doing this now 1. Because my parents live 700 miles away, and 2. He isn't done with all of his shots or neutered yet, so doggy daycare is not entirely possible (more so I am not comfortable with it yet).

Hope all is well!
 

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I would certainly be giving it more than a week. Puppies are hard work, and it will probably take more than a week to get any kind of real improvement.
Sometimes smaller goals are much more attainable than big ones.

Definitely give it another week! When you see that you made it through, I bet you'll give yourself another, and then another, and before you know it, you'll be loving his furry little face.

Hang in there! You can do it! :)
 
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