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About a week ago I got an overseas rescue dog - after several years thinking about getting a dog and doing research.

While it's not a decision I took lightly, in the past week I've suffered from severe anxiety. The dog has some behavioural issues, including intense separation anxiety and aggression, which has scared me. The shelter told me he was ok with men, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The more he's here, the more these issues start to come out, and the more boisterous he's being with me and others.

I have an unshakable feeling that I've made a mistake. It's negatively affecting much of my life, including my work – which I depend upon. I feel sure that I've made a bad decision, and I can't see myself getting through another month of this - although I know it can take awhile for animals to settle.

I've booked a session with a trainer, but I'm quite a physically small person with a quiet voice, and the dog is exceptionally strong and self-willed. This morning he nearly pulled me over, and snapped at another dog.

I'm not sure I have the confidence or character to get his behaviour where it needs to be. I would love some advice. I understand some people will want to criticise my actions, which is fair enough, but I need to be honest about the situation.
 

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@greenchicken sorry to hear that. Adopting a dog or puppy often leads to the blues and heightened anxiety, normally I would suggest waiting and seeing if you feel that way in a week or two. However, due to the fact that the dog has serious behavioral issues, in your case I suggest returning the dog as it not a good fit for a first time dog owner.

It's totally fine to recognize that a particular dog is not for you.
 

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@greenchicken sorry to hear that. Adopting a dog or puppy often leads to the blues and heightened anxiety, normally I would suggest waiting and seeing if you feel that way in a week or two. However, due to the fact that the dog has serious behavioral issues, in your case I suggest returning the dog as it not a good fit for a first time dog owner.

It's totally fine to recognize that a particular dog is not for you.
Chas, thanks so much for your understanding. I'm feeling upset about the situation, and heartbroken at the thought of letting a dog down.

My plan was to give it another few weeks, and see if some of this resolves itself enough for me to deal with. Do you think that sounds reasonable?

I completely understand the shelter will be disappointed and angry, but I feel like this particular dog needs a strong owner, and I would equally hate to be responsible for these issues becoming further ingrained.
 

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Totally reasonable!

I would try to get a trainer to evaluate him as well, to give you a realistic idea of his temperament, what can be achieved with behavior and how many resources it will take to get there.

The shelter shouldn't be upset, the aim should be to place the dog safely in a home able to cope with its needs. If they get upset that's on them not you. A good shelter or rescue often use a trial period to make sure it's a good fit.
 

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Totally reasonable!

I would try to get a trainer to evaluate him as well, to give you a realistic idea of his temperament, what can be achieved with behavior and how many resources it will take to get there.

The shelter shouldn't be upset, the aim should be to place the dog safely in a home able to cope with its needs. If they get upset that's on them not you. A good shelter or rescue often use a trial period to make sure it's a good fit.
I've been in touch with a trainer, so I'm going to try that route as well. As you say, then I can assess if I feel totally prepared to give him the best situation to resolve these problems.

Thanks again for your kind words.
 

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I totally agree with @Chas and I'm sorry that you have to go through this. It sounds like this was a poorly matched adoption by the organization that you adopted through. You can't fault yourself for that.

See what the trainer has to say but you certainly get no judgement here if you choose to send the dog back to the rescue. Good luck!
 

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I totally agree with @Chas and I'm sorry that you have to go through this. It sounds like this was a poorly matched adoption by the organization that you adopted through. You can't fault yourself for that.

See what the trainer has to say but you certainly get no judgement here if you choose to send the dog back to the rescue. Good luck!
I'm sure I am at fault as well, for not being experienced enough to cope well with a rescue dog. Also perhaps this was a genuine human error, and I'm able to accept responsibility for that.

That said, they told me weights and heights are all 'approximate', and when he was weighed at the vet's today he is TWICE the weight I was told. There was also no warning about his strength. Now the shelter is telling me it's nothing to do with strength or size, more how I'm issuing commands, and I'm not being authoritative enough with my voice.
 

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I'm not sure I have the confidence or character to get his behaviour where it needs to be.
If a (positive reinforcement only) trainer determines that your dog is not dangerous and his problems can be managed, mitigated or reversed with behavior modification and training, I humbly suggest that this may be an excellent opportunity for you to develop more self confidence and whatever character you yourself need to help your dog get over his issues while you get over yours. :)

I'm kinda speaking from experience. My current pup is a rescue that I've had for a bit more than a month. She has dog/dog aggression and territorial issues, nothing as severe as the problems your dog has, but her issues were downplayed by the rescue. I'm an introvert with social anxiety but I'm having to force myself to interact with my neighbors and to go out in public with her and to be outspoken to advocate on behalf her. She and I are overcoming our fears and learning and growing together. Something to consider.

I'm sorry you and your dog are in this difficult situation. Good luck to both of you. & Please update us as to what the trainer says, if possible.
 

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I humbly suggest that this may be an excellent opportunity for you to develop more self confidence and whatever character you yourself need to help your dog get over his issues while you get over yours. :)
Well said !

The journey we take with our dogs can help us improve on our own "hurdles" in life. When one chooses the more difficult path to take and eventually wins the day, both dog and human benefit as such a wonderful team has been created.
 

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Well said !

The journey we take with our dogs can help us improve on our own "hurdles" in life. When one chooses the more difficult path to take and eventually wins the day, both dog and human benefit as such a wonderful team has been created.
This is lovely, and I totally agree. It's determining whether I genuinely have the will to do this, or if owning a dog just isn't the right fit. Only time will tell I'm sure. In the meantime, I'm doing everything I can.
 

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Green chicken - some of us who adopt a rescue dog are looking for a rewarding challenge and are prepared to take on the issues. But that may come after years of being involved in “dogs”- training, competing in sports, etc. While I know that you feel that you are letting the dog down, the rescue let you down by matching him with you- or maybe he was not comfortable enough there to express his true self and they did’t see these behaviors? There are many, many wonderful, gentle dogs that get killed in shelters every year. And many dogs whose owners have died or who for some reason have to give up a wonderful dog.Those dogs deserve you too. If he does not work out please consider looking for a purebred or a mix who needs a home but is genetically sweet and outgoing. Golden and cavaliers tend to be- though of course depends on the individual. You may want to consider an older dog of a breed that is not high energy as an adult. You and your future dog deserve each other. Getting the right dog is a joy. Keep us posted!
 

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Is the dog still with U?

@greenchicken -
any update?

there are a number of ways to alter the disparity between hander & dog, but if Ur rescue went back to the source, it's a moot point to post them.
Plz let me know if U still need some help to tip the balance in yer favor - i'm happy to share, there are many tried & true aids. :)

- terry

 

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I rescued a puppy a couple of weeks ago, and my anxiety was horrible. I didn't want to be around the new puppy, all I wanted was to feel normal again. I was worried I wasn't ready for the commitment, and the puppy also had separation anxiety. I was terrified that I had made a terrible mistake that had changed my life for the worse. Now a couple of weeks have gone by, and she is the love of my life. Sure, getting a new dog is hard, and I'm sure you realize that a dog is a huge commitment, but it won't completely change your entire life. It may take time, but it is natural to have anxiety after getting a new dog. Give it time. Once you really become attached to your dog, you'll feel better.
 
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