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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So basically we adopted a dog on Sunday. The rescue group has a 7 day foster to adopt agreement, where you can return the dog within 7 days no questions asked to make sure the fit is right.

We got our new dog (6 months old)- a border collie/lab mix - after careful consideration. I was particularly worried about energy levels, because while my spouse plans to run with the dog every morning, and we are very active on weekends, we both work full time. So the plan was to hire a dog walker every day.

However, 5 days in, some issues have arisen. We live on a busy city street. The dog is freaked out by city sounds and I guess wasn't exposed to it earlier.. Hates going out for walks because of loud noises. I'm supposed to desensitize him through careful exposure, but it's difficult, because I also need to exercise him, take him out to pee etc, and don't have a car to take him somewhere quieter. I don't know how I will possibly use a dog walker - he won't go out sometimes and has his tail tucked between his legs. It really pains me to see it.

He also has some mild separation anxiety- freaks out a bit when we leave, even if brief. Not sure if this is just a time thing, and he needs to settle in. Worried this will become a bigger issue, which is not great with our work schedules.

I don't know what to do. I love him already. He is otherwise a wonderful dog, already housetrained, responds to training. Only things are some jumping and leash pulling, which are no big deal in my book (am totally willing to work on that).

However, it is these bigger temperament things that I am worried about. I want him to be happy. He is so adorable and wonderful with people and other dogs I think he will get snatched up by a family if I return him, and could do really well in a suburban environment. At the same time, the thought of giving him up breaks my heart. Any advice? I can't afford to do doggy daycare every day, maybe once or twice a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you everyone for your replies! I really appreciate your input. It is especially reassuring to hear stories of other dogs that have gotten use to busy environments.

We've decided to keep him, since he's already shown improvement in a week (instead of getting worse), so we take that as a good sign. I also hired a professional trainer to come by, so now we have a plan in place for the next month to desensitize him. He does fine with cars- it's mostly USPS trucks and T buses that really scare him. But we were able to sit and eat treats while a T bus came close today - last week he was to scared to even eat steak! He also did really well when walking with another, more confident dog yesterday - he even went in an elevator when he saw the other one do it (he has refused before).

I checked with the foster group, and strangely, one of his littermates was adopted just a few streets over from us, and they have had no issues at all with noises. So maybe we just have a more sensitive dog...but he is so sweet, smart, and adorable!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks again. we've been continuing to work on the noise sensitivity and...haven't made any progress. I brought in a well-reputed trainer, and he took me out to the street with my dog to show me what to do....except the dog was over threshold with the exposure, and it made things worse. Since that training session, it's taken an entire week to get him to set foot on the street again, and just when I think I've made a smidgen of progress, a motorcycle goes or a T bus by. It's been very frustrating. I suppose we have only had him for 4 weeks or so...but I'm concerned he won't get over this, because it hasn't gotten better at all. I now walk around the city and hate seeing other people with their dogs. I just feel really jealous. Even when I drive him somewhere I think will be quiet, inevitably something happens that freaks him out. I'm constantly on the look out for potential triggers, so I can use a visual barrier and have a high value treat at the ready...and then he still freaks out.

Ah well. I guess it just needs a lot of time? This doesn't seem like he just needs to settle into being with us, because in all other settings he is happy, tail wagging, outgoing with people and dogs. I tried a thundershirt and that didn't work. Maybe we'll end up giving him prozac if he doesn't get better in 6 months? I have no idea what a dog walker will do with him in the mean time. Maybe just play ball in the apartment for 30 minutes....
 
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