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Hi!
Really, really trying to adjust to a dog we've had for 7 weeks now. She's a 10 month old mix... no clue. Possibly part border collie or part retriever. After having a loving, sweet affectionate dog for 10 years that really had become lazy & easy to care for in her older years this dog is a big, big shake-up in our routine and it hasn't been super smooth.

We are working with a trainer for commands and behavior issues (we have many- nipping, counter surfing and actually jumping on the table like a goat!) but here are some other issues I could use some help with. Any advice would be recommended. I'm really concerned this dog just isn't a great fit for my family but my family seems to feel otherwise and as much as I'd like to rehome her, I don't think I could do that to my children after they already lost their other dog to kidney failure.

1. Waking so, so early!!! She wakes us up with crying at like 5:00 every day. Sometimes earlier, rarely later. She's not going into the crate until 11:00 at the earliest but a majority of the time its as late as 1:00 or 2:00 am due to my husband's schedule. He's able to stay up later with her. She doesn't spend too much time in the crate during the day but always goes in willingly and seems fine upon our return. Once I even had to crate her while we were all right in the same room (for safety of small children visiting) and she was content and didn't cry until the kids started running by her crate. I just can't keep having her wake so early and wake my two children(ages 5 & 7). Any ideas?

2. Exercise options: Any alternatives to a walk before bed? I am home alone with my children at night and going for a walk just isn't an option. They go to bed at 7:30/8:00 and I can't leave them alone. We do have a fenced yard but unless she is really hyper, she doesn't run around for long. I can use the flirt pole or play fetch (though, she's generally not into it at night). Any other ideas? Is mental exercise enough? Like a puzzle or training practice?

3. She keeps peeing on my dining room carpet (thankfully that one was old and is just an area rug and not my new wall-to-wall carpeting) but I'd really like her to stop. She never poops inside. Just pees. We let her out frequently. She scratches at door and we let her out but sometimes she scratches and won't go. When she wakes up in the morning, she's not dying to go out or anything. Today I stayed out with her from 5:00 am-6:00 am because that is the only way she stays or even goes out in the morning. Forget letting her in the yard and going back to bed. I'm not sure how to help her with the pee thing.

4. Barking at nothing (or nothing to me... I have no idea what makes her just bark at a closed door).

I'm hoping that the waking early won't be such an issue when school starts in two weeks. I'll be up at 6:00 any way and an hour early won't hurt me but I really don't want her crying and waking the kids up any earlier. They need thier sleep!
 

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Hi!
Really, really trying to adjust to a dog we've had for 7 weeks now. She's a 10 month old mix... no clue. Possibly part border collie or part retriever. After having a loving, sweet affectionate dog for 10 years that really had become lazy & easy to care for in her older years this dog is a big, big shake-up in our routine and it hasn't been super smooth.

We are working with a trainer for commands and behavior issues (we have many- nipping, counter surfing and actually jumping on the table like a goat!) but here are some other issues I could use some help with. Any advice would be recommended. I'm really concerned this dog just isn't a great fit for my family but my family seems to feel otherwise and as much as I'd like to rehome her, I don't think I could do that to my children after they already lost their other dog to kidney failure.

1. Waking so, so early!!! She wakes us up with crying at like 5:00 every day. Sometimes earlier, rarely later. She's not going into the crate until 11:00 at the earliest but a majority of the time its as late as 1:00 or 2:00 am due to my husband's schedule. He's able to stay up later with her. She doesn't spend too much time in the crate during the day but always goes in willingly and seems fine upon our return. Once I even had to crate her while we were all right in the same room (for safety of small children visiting) and she was content and didn't cry until the kids started running by her crate. I just can't keep having her wake so early and wake my two children(ages 5 & 7). Any ideas?

2. Exercise options: Any alternatives to a walk before bed? I am home alone with my children at night and going for a walk just isn't an option. They go to bed at 7:30/8:00 and I can't leave them alone. We do have a fenced yard but unless she is really hyper, she doesn't run around for long. I can use the flirt pole or play fetch (though, she's generally not into it at night). Any other ideas? Is mental exercise enough? Like a puzzle or training practice?

3. She keeps peeing on my dining room carpet (thankfully that one was old and is just an area rug and not my new wall-to-wall carpeting) but I'd really like her to stop. She never poops inside. Just pees. We let her out frequently. She scratches at door and we let her out but sometimes she scratches and won't go. When she wakes up in the morning, she's not dying to go out or anything. Today I stayed out with her from 5:00 am-6:00 am because that is the only way she stays or even goes out in the morning. Forget letting her in the yard and going back to bed. I'm not sure how to help her with the pee thing.

4. Barking at nothing (or nothing to me... I have no idea what makes her just bark at a closed door).

I'm hoping that the waking early won't be such an issue when school starts in two weeks. I'll be up at 6:00 any way and an hour early won't hurt me but I really don't want her crying and waking the kids up any earlier. They need thier sleep!
Can you let your dog off the lead/leash in an open space, park, or wood?
We have a collie, now a little over two years old and he is off the lead almost all the time. He gets to run in and out of the woods, gallop around with other dog friends. Far more than he we get on the lead. Usually he comes home and flops down.

If yours is a big, active dog, you have to be prepared to put in the legwork. We normally do six to ten miles a day, rain hail, or shine.It's what he needs - and it's good for me too.........:)
 

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On the waking up early issue Pax did the same thing abut his age. Turns out he was waking up early due to hunger as they are going through a serious growth spurt still at that age.

He got a treat for going out to go pee right before bed...I increased that treat to a healthy handful of kibble at bed time and he stated sleeping in longer almost immediately.
 

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Great idea about the food. I'll have to try that. As far as the off lead, we have a large yard but nothing like a woods or tail she can go off lead. We have a doggy daycare in town but she's not able to go yet because she was fear aggressive to the other dogs. She is a bit of a mess. She isn't a large dog, 35lbs. She doesn't really like her walks all that much but we do them. I admit there have been some days we haven't walked but for the most part every day around the neighborhood or trail. I knew getting a new, younger dog would be work I just think this dog is an unusual amount of work along with behavior issues that make her a word dog. I admit we are in over our heads. No one else will though.
 

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Great idea about the food. I'll have to try that. As far as the off lead, we have a large yard but nothing like a woods or tail she can go off lead. We have a doggy daycare in town but she's not able to go yet because she was fear aggressive to the other dogs. She is a bit of a mess. She isn't a large dog, 35lbs. She doesn't really like her walks all that much but we do them. I admit there have been some days we haven't walked but for the most part every day around the neighborhood or trail. I knew getting a new, younger dog would be work I just think this dog is an unusual amount of work along with behavior issues that make her a word dog. I admit we are in over our heads. No one else will though.
At 35 lbs she is still a good sized dog and will need a lot of exercise. We found that our 70 some pound beast really mellowed/matured when allowed to socialise with other dogs. And that others have benefitted from being allowed to run with him. One piece of advice that we got from another dog owner is that they, the dogs will work it out. Dogs are good at that.
 

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I don't know where to take her to get off leash interaction with dogs though. Doggy day care is out for now and no local dog parks or off leash trails. Basically that leaves us PetSmart. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We were very fortunate with our old dog that she went to doggy daycare every working day for nearly two years. We had a friend owner that give us a big discount.
 

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DO NOT bring her into a space with other dogs and assume she will work it out if she is fear reactive. That is a great way to set up a dog for a bad fight and injuries. That is not good advice.

Putting dogs together and letting them work it out works when neither dog is aggressive, but is a recipe for disaster with a fear reactive dog. If a dog gives a normal behavioral correction to a fear reactive dog (snapping at the air, tense posture and a lifted lip, a warning growl) that is 100% completely appropriate for that situation, the fear reactive dog is a lot more likely than any other dog to take that as a true threat of harm and over react, starting a scuffle if not a full on fight. Fear reactive dogs are VERY unlikely to "work it out", they are very likely to escalate the situation. The only time I would ever, ever, ever put dogs together and let them work it out is if I had a slightly snarky, grumpy dog I knew well and felt 100% comfortable wouldn't hurt the other dog and another dog that was maybe a bit rude but I also knew well and knew was a dog that was good as deescalating a tense situation. Fear reactivity has no place in that kind of a situation, because fear reactivity can be one of the most dangerous kinds of reactivity, simply because the dog is reacting because they perceive the other dog as a threat and they feel they are defending themselves.

Also, it is important to note that size has nothing to do with energy level or the need for mental and physical stimulation.

It sounds like she is an anxious dog that did not receive proper early socialization or training and has little to no idea of how to function in a home environment. That is not uncommon in rescues this age, unfortunately.

What are you working on with the trainer and how are you working on it? Would you mind sharing the plan you've outlined with them so we have a better idea of what you're doing with her. A daily schedule for her might be helpful as well.

I would advise against trying to get her energy out through unstructured outlets like running free outdoors. One, it sounds like you have a yard she can run in and she chooses not to, so she probably isn't a dog that enjoys that. Two, I have found that if a dog is anxious and with a lot of pent up energy, running it out is rarely something that will make them calm down. I would suggest finding more structured outlets for her- games, agility if you're interested in it, or just obstacle courses in the back yard.

In terms of your questions...
1. You could try to just let her cry it out. Leave her in the crate, let her whine, and take her out when she's quiet and YOU want to. She will throw fits, it will wake people up, and it won't be fun, but she will likely stop eventually. Alternatively, you could try just letting her out at slightly later times. First, 5:15 for a week. Then, 5:20 for a week. Then, 5:30. etc, etc etc. Not sure how well it will work, but you could try it. Or, accept that she gets up at 5:00.

2. How often is she getting walked during the day? What is she like on walks- pulling, anxious, fearful and lunging at everything, happy and content, etc? The key is going to be finding things to occupy her mind, drain a little energy, and that she likes doing. Scent games is she likes sniffing, several more training sessions if you notice those calm her down, playing tug or fetch with a toy she likes, running around the yard together if she likes running with you more than doing it alone- what are the things SHE really, really likes? How can you channel them into activities?

3. I would suggest bringing her out on leash into the yard and teaching a bathroom command by saying it every time as she goes to the bathroom and then giving her a treat. Don't bring her in until she has gone to the bathroom, and don't let her learn that she can just scratch until she wants to go out and then hang out outside. Are you cleaning the carpet with enzyme cleaner? Is there a chance she still smells the pee there? She may not really understand that that isn't a place she's supposed to go.

4.The barking at nothing could be reactivity from fear/anxiety, or it could be bordom- can't really tell over the internet or without more information at least.
 

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Training: Basically this.... ABC package but its altered a bit to help work on her fears, anxiety and lack of socialization. Happy Wags LLC - Dog Training We work with the trainer one time per week in our home and practice several times a day. We're only two sessions in. I mostly am the one to work on commands several times per day.

Schedule: I admit we haven't had the most structured schedule since adopting her. I am a stay at home mom and its summer so we've been home A LOT and along with my husband's schedule she gets to spend time out of her crate but as far as walks at the same time, etc... not so much. Mostly I get her out of the crate at 5:00 or when I just can't take the whining. She goes outside (I practically have to force her out) but she won't stay out on her own. So,there I am. Then food in a puzzle toy. Then hanging out and playing for awhile with us. Then we usually leave to do our day time things and my husband hangs out with her. I will do an early evening walk around 5:00 but its not super far or long. Its like 100 degrees here and its hot for her and the kids. She will eat when she comes back and then basically hanging out and stuff until the kids go to bed about 8:30. I will do some training with her at night but to be honest I'm worn out by the end of the day of constantly taking care of her and the kids. I know she needs more I just don't know how to manage walking her more right now. My husband is NO help in that department.

Once school starts (Aug. 15) the 5:00 won't bother me so much, as it will give her a good two hours to be outside, eat and be uncrated until I have to leave. Then I will go drop the kids off (maybe take her, don't know yet) and then come home to walk her or take her in the trail. I can do much longer without the kids. She will be spending more time in the crate but on the other hand, her time out will be more structured.

I really feel like this type of dog- energy level and smartness is not a good fit for our family. I feel bad that I can't walk her more and honestly,I'm exhausted of being on her tail every waking hour. Plus the kids and housework and barely seeing my husband. I'm actually feeling quite resentful. He has no idea what it is like because he only gets her in bits and pieces. I have the good portion of her antics.

You asked about walks.... she much prefers the trail to the road (probably heat, though she could walk on the grass. She pulls... just bought her a harness. It helps some. A front clip one.

The carpet...... yes, we clean it with an enzyme cleaner and I mist the area with vinegar and water.

Barking... I think I know some of the crazy barking is coming from my children playing Mario on the Wii.... it makes doorbell sounds!
 

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I don't know where to take her to get off leash interaction with dogs though. (
Enroll in group puppy obedience classes. Controlled environment is the best place to start. They are just as much about socialization as they are obedience.
 

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We are just coming out the other end of very early morning wakings with our now 5 month-old puppy. I posted about it here a few weeks back and tried some of the advice (snack before bed, later dinner) and in the end, I think it sort of sorted itself out on its own. I feed him twice a day (6:30 AM and PM). I ended up just letting him bark/whine a little longer each day until it was 6AM, sort of like gradual extinction sleep training with babies. He is now sleeping until 6:15-6:30, with the occasional random one bark anywhere between 5:45 and 6. If it is before 6 I ignore it.

In terms of mental exercise, I switched to feeding him in a puzzle feeder for both meals to slow down his gobbling food, and also give him a little mental exercise. For physical exercise, he gets one long walk mid day when I get home from work that is about 45 minutes to an hour, and three shorter 15-20 minute neighborhood walks. I use the flirt pole with him after his morning walk for 10 minutes before putting him in the crate when I leave for work (I am gone 5 hours). I also use it again at night around 8:30 for 10 minutes or so before we come in from our last walk. At 9:30 PM we do a quick yard trip for a pee and then he goes in his crate. I completely cover the crate with a blanket and we also use a white noise machine to mask the outside sounds.

I know how awful those early mornings are, especially when you aren't feeling the love for the dog. I was just there and it sucked.
 

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So a 3kg Yorkie might need as might as much exercise as my 30kg collie?
Frankly, I find that............but what do I know........
Yes, a Yorkshire Terrier has arguably less intense energy needs than a Collie (not sure what kind of Collie you mean by that, but assuming Border Collie, since they seem to be the most common ones meant by that; Smooth and Rough Collies are fairly uncommon these days, it seems). That isn't because the Yorkie is smaller, though.

The energy needs that must be met to tire out a dog and lower the likelihood of problem behaviors is based in the original purpose of the breed and the niche that breed has come to fill in modern human society, sometimes similar to that of its original purpose and sometimes not. There is also the question of how far from its original purpose the breed has strayed- a breed developed to work sheep that is still mostly used to work sheep is going to have more high drive, high energy dogs than a breed originally used to herd sheep that now rarely does so, or a breed in which only very specific purpose bred lines do so. What other breeds were used in the development of the breed in question is also going to determine exactly what kind of energy needs it has- ie, is unstructured walking enough, or does it need structure? Is mental more important than physical? Is there a risk that too much physical exercise will create an adrenaline junky dog that can't calm down?

Sheltland Sheepdogs and Pyrenean Shepherds are fairly similar in size and both were created as flock herders. Today, Shelties are not often used to herd. Some lines may be bred with an eye towards herding ability, but the vast majority are not. Pyrenean Shepherds on the other hand are still almost exclusively a working breed and still need a home where they will have a job, not just as a family pet. Same size, very different commitment.

A Papillion is smaller than an English Mastiff or a Great Dane, but I would argue a Papillion is likely to have a higher energy level than either of those giant breeds.

English Mastiffs and Cane Corsos are similar in size and purpose, but the Corso is likely to have a higher energy need because the Corso is still often being bred with working ability in mind.

The main difference is a smaller high energy dog can likely burn off most of that energy in the house through playing, running, and focused training games. A 3lb dog with the zoomies is a lot less destructive than a 45lb one.
 

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Training: Basically this.... ABC package but its altered a bit to help work on her fears, anxiety and lack of socialization. Happy Wags LLC - Dog Training We work with the trainer one time per week in our home and practice several times a day. We're only two sessions in. I mostly am the one to work on commands several times per day.

Schedule: I admit we haven't had the most structured schedule since adopting her. I am a stay at home mom and its summer so we've been home A LOT and along with my husband's schedule she gets to spend time out of her crate but as far as walks at the same time, etc... not so much. Mostly I get her out of the crate at 5:00 or when I just can't take the whining. She goes outside (I practically have to force her out) but she won't stay out on her own. So,there I am. Then food in a puzzle toy. Then hanging out and playing for awhile with us. Then we usually leave to do our day time things and my husband hangs out with her. I will do an early evening walk around 5:00 but its not super far or long. Its like 100 degrees here and its hot for her and the kids. She will eat when she comes back and then basically hanging out and stuff until the kids go to bed about 8:30. I will do some training with her at night but to be honest I'm worn out by the end of the day of constantly taking care of her and the kids. I know she needs more I just don't know how to manage walking her more right now. My husband is NO help in that department.

Once school starts (Aug. 15) the 5:00 won't bother me so much, as it will give her a good two hours to be outside, eat and be uncrated until I have to leave. Then I will go drop the kids off (maybe take her, don't know yet) and then come home to walk her or take her in the trail. I can do much longer without the kids. She will be spending more time in the crate but on the other hand, her time out will be more structured.

I really feel like this type of dog- energy level and smartness is not a good fit for our family. I feel bad that I can't walk her more and honestly,I'm exhausted of being on her tail every waking hour. Plus the kids and housework and barely seeing my husband. I'm actually feeling quite resentful. He has no idea what it is like because he only gets her in bits and pieces. I have the good portion of her antics.
That sounds like a really difficult situation. It is definitely hard to end up with a dog you feel is not a good fit for your family and to be the only one in the family that feels that way, and then to be the main carer for the dog and feel like you're stuck with them.

The first year with a new dog is always hard, even if they're perfect in every way. It's even harder when they aren't perfect, and have problems that need to be worked through. It's especially harder when you're grieving for another dog who you felt was perfect.

It sounds like when the kids go back to school, you'll have a better schedule and more breaks. Hold out until then! When you're all into a more normal schedule, you'll be able to better see how she fits into things and carve her out a niche.

It does sound like you're skirting around not really wanting to keep her- have you talked openly with your family about it? Is it actually something you're considering or more wishing was an option? If that is a path you're really interested in, know that it is totally understandable and there are a lot of people here who have re-homed dogs they realized were bad fits for them. It does sound like its not something that is as tenable an option as you wish it were, though, so for now I'll focus on other things, though let me know if I'm reading the situation wrong.

In terms of training- I was more wondering the specifics of the training plan. How are you teaching her not to jump on people, bite, and to walk well on a leash? What kind of "safety first" behaviors are being taught and how? What is the training plan for the obedience cues, and how are you teaching them? Especially how are you decreasing her reactivity/fear around things? Did the trainer give you a list of options that you picked from, or did she just say "do xyz"? How do you feel the training is going? Do you feel it fits your situation or is a little too cut and dry?

Getting her to be a tolerable, and even enjoyable, dog is likely going to take a lot of effort. It can be done, and at this stage it doesn't sound like she's actually dangerous, but it will take effort and knowledge. This is a great place to seek that knowledge, though. I'm not going to flood you with resources until I have a better idea of where you're at with the situation, though, because IMO that can be rally overwhelming.
 

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Yes, a Yorkshire Terrier has arguably less intense energy needs than a Collie (not sure what kind of Collie you mean by that, but assuming Border Collie, since they seem to be the most common ones meant by that; Smooth and Rough Collies are fairly uncommon these days, it seems). That isn't because the Yorkie is smaller, though.

The energy needs that must be met to tire out a dog and lower the likelihood of problem behaviors is based in the original purpose of the breed and the niche that breed has come to fill in modern human society, sometimes similar to that of its original purpose and sometimes not. There is also the question of how far from its original purpose the breed has strayed- a breed developed to work sheep that is still mostly used to work sheep is going to have more high drive, high energy dogs than a breed originally used to herd sheep that now rarely does so, or a breed in which only very specific purpose bred lines do so. What other breeds were used in the development of the breed in question is also going to determine exactly what kind of energy needs it has- ie, is unstructured walking enough, or does it need structure? Is mental more important than physical? Is there a risk that too much physical exercise will create an adrenaline junky dog that can't calm down?

Sheltland Sheepdogs and Pyrenean Shepherds are fairly similar in size and both were created as flock herders. Today, Shelties are not often used to herd. Some lines may be bred with an eye towards herding ability, but the vast majority are not. Pyrenean Shepherds on the other hand are still almost exclusively a working breed and still need a home where they will have a job, not just as a family pet. Same size, very different commitment.

A Papillion is smaller than an English Mastiff or a Great Dane, but I would argue a Papillion is likely to have a higher energy level than either of those giant breeds.

English Mastiffs and Cane Corsos are similar in size and purpose, but the Corso is likely to have a higher energy need because the Corso is still often being bred with working ability in mind.

The main difference is a smaller high energy dog can likely burn off most of that energy in the house through playing, running, and focused training games. A 3lb dog with the zoomies is a lot less destructive than a 45lb one.
Thank you for confirming my poimt.
 

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Thank you all for your help and letting me vent. Its been a long time since I've had a young dog and I guess its just a lot to get used to. She is kind to our family and we aren't afraid of her, she's just got "issues". If it really were a possibility to rehome her, I'd have mixed feelings about it. There are some things I do love about her and she does funny things and I love seeing my children bond with her but she is a lot of work right now. I'm really hoping getting a schedule will help. Also, learning to walk. She really isn't interested in walking, which seems so odd to me because I know she has energy. It will also help that I'll be in and out of the house more and have other things to occupy my thoughts besides just her and being around her 24-7. I hope that doesn't sound mean. I just think I'm focusing too much on her.... especially her "faults" or annoyances. I think having more going on may help my feelings about her.
 
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