A few weeks ago I had a thread in Fun and Games about the puppy I was getting mid-May. I was so excited. I was just sure, after tons and months of soul searching, that this was going to be a good thing. I was comfortable with myself, with my life, but still looking for ways to enrich. I thought a dog would help, give me a companion on walks, be a type of friend since I still have none of the human variety to speak of.
Cobber (the pup) has been here a week now, and... I'm sitting here in tears, not for the first time either. He's adorable and cute as all get out, but he's not going to be an easy puppy. He's already got a real biting problem -- I have the hand/arm scars to prove it -- and I'm having a devil of a time dealing with him.
So I did what I usually do in any new situation, I joined a relevant online forum According to everyone there, I'm making progress but really need to socialize Cobber with other pups and older dogs who will teach him that biting's inappropriate. I've been calling, emailing, asking everyone I can think of who's remotely related to dogs, even putting a Craigslist post out there for anyone who wants a puppy play date. The soonest I can get him into a puppy class is next weekend. That's like... an eternity.
My ex was over the other day, he was giving me reminders and tips about how we handled our last puppy (what a wonderful dog he turned out to be!). We had a nice afternoon just talking about stuff, catching up, playing with the pup.
I don't really know what I'm trying to say here, but I'm feeling so sad, my "new BFF" the puppy is proving to be more exasperating than anything. I still have no friends. And I find myself wishing the ex would come visit me again, just for someone to talk to.
I feel like I've gone and really f*cked up things again instead of making them better. I thought I was okay being alone most of the time, but somehow the puppy's got me feeling lonelier than ever. And I don't even understand why or how...
Months ago, when this puppy idea first took root in my brain, my IC said "What if you adopt a new puppy and find out it's a mistake?" That's why I waited so long before acting. I wanted to think about it and be absolutely sure, and once I committed I was determined. Now I've had the pup for only a week and feel like a failure who totally screwed up the "good thing" she had being bored and alone. What was I thinking?! Why do I do shit like this.
Maybe you could put the pup up for adoption and get a mature dog from a shelter that is mellow and needing someone as much as you do.
That might be a better fit.
Puppies are a heck of a lot of work and I wouldn't be able to manage the stress myself, so don't beat yourself up too much.
Because if this is where you are in your head/house with the puppy, I suspect that there are good, solid options. Puppies that are well researched and thought out probably come from a breeder or other reputable agency. In my experience, those people know that sometimes puppies are mistakes, either because the temperament of the person/dog doesn't match or whatever unforeseen issue might come up. And ALWAYS this type of breeder/agency has a "in case it doesn't work out clause" where you bring the puppy back to them. Or at the very least, they will work with you to transition in a positive way with tips or visits to help with issues.
Is this a bigger issue of "letting yourself fail?" It's okay to fail. Doing the right thing here isn't really failing you know?
If the puppy is causing you so much grief and heartache then maybe the decision to get a puppy wasn't the right decision. It's okay, make the right decision now based on where you are with what you know NOW.
My cat just showed up as if to say maybe a cat instead?
And call around to see if there is a puppy daycare you could visit. Some of the larger pet stores have them. A romp and play room behind the store. Or a good long walk in the park where other dog owners might hang out.
My cat just showed up as if to say maybe a cat instead?
But not a kitten.... goodbye curtains and furniture!
(((more hugs))) it will be okay
I'm not trying to hit you with 2x4s; just trying to get you to think logically about this. Caregiver is right but rather than call it a failure, just think of it as a misstep. If this was the wrong decision, let the puppy go to a good home and figure out what you really need. It sounds like it's human friends you're hurting for.
Good luck, and don't be hard on yourself. Life doesn't come with an instruction manual.
The IC probably does know something I don't or that I haven't said here or that I'm not acknowledging. She's a very smart lady. Her suggestion was that I try fostering a local shelter dog first. I honestly cannot explain to you now why I didn't think that was a good idea, but was positive this (what I did, adopting from a breeder) was the way to go. I was so sure.
And I already have 4 cats. I went through this same "I've made a HUGE mistake" funk 2 years ago when I adopted a kitten right after my ex moved out. She was a hellion, constantly chewing, clawing, destroying, and I did contact the adoption group about taking her back because I felt just like I do now, and it was obviously way too soon after the ex left; I was so lonely and miserable!! But then I decided to keep trying, and she's turned into one of the most wonderful cats I've ever known.
Now here I am feeling just as convinced I've made a mistake again, but am blown away today with the loneliness factor rearing its ugly head again. That I hadn't counted on because I've felt so good about being on my own lately.
The cats are actually doing really well with the puppy. I'm the one having the issues.
Wow; it sounds like you shouldn't have a dog. I can't imagine being this exasperated after only one week. Do you even like dogs or was this just to fill a hole in your life?
I'm not trying to hit you with 2x4s
Actually, that felt more like a 4x8... But maybe you're right. I actually love dogs; I've owned three before now, and I always wanted a dog as long as I can remember. I've just never tried to raise one on my own before, always did with the ex. But like everything else in our marriage, that seemed to mean we did everything his way, including how to deal with, train, reward, etc., the dog(s).
But now that you said this, I suddenly remember saying "never again!" after the last dog... Of course, I've said that about other situations and eventually changed my way of thinking for a number of different reasons.
Because I've owned dogs in the past, this seems like more than a misstep. But thank you for getting me to think about things. I will totally admit that since I have no friends to go on walks with, having a dog along seemed like a wonderful way to turn the negative of hiking alone, which I don't enjoy, into a positive. The thing is that pup is a long way from being a hiking companion dog. Patience is essential and some days -- like today -- I seem to have very little. It's easier to wallow.
[This message edited by ISPIFFD at 11:41 AM, May 25th (Saturday)]
It took a few months for him to settle down. He became the perfect lap dog I wanted. He still has a spunky side (he's a Yorkie), but he is lazy when I am and he never bites.
Try to be patient.
Could it be that you have set yourself some unrealistic expectations (both for him and you)? You and Cobber are only 1 week into the adjustment period. He is having to learn a new life away from mum and everything he knew, and you are just getting to know him and his personality.
Its great that you are actively seeking input and help from forums etc but if its only been 1 week keep in mind that behavioural changes can take time. Its about consistency in how you handle the behaviour.
Maybe allow yourself and him a little longer before making a decision.
My kelpie cross went through a phase of biting when a pup, I tried the tactic of actually pushing my hand further into his mouth (not to the point of causing pain so this is never to be done in anger) rather than withdrawing it. It seemed to work for him because he didn’t enjoy the slight ‘choking’ he got with a hand inserted into his throat. He is 2 now and very respectful of his teeth when taking food because he learnt that it became uncomfortable to be otherwise.
Also my first horse was a cow when I first got her - biting, kicking etc. I wanted to ‘dog’ her, hated her so much told my mum to send her to the slaughter house. She became my soul mate, we had such a connection. I had her 17 years before she passed away 3 years ago and I still miss her dearly to this day.
The start can be rough but it doesn’t always mean it will stay that way. Consistency is the key to establishing good behaviours but it does take time.
Be gentle with yourself and Cobber.
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel". –Maya Angelou
I reread the breeder agreement. I had missed the part where if I *ever* can't or don't want the dog for any reason, she gets him back. That may be standard but I hadn't noticed it. Suddenly I felt so relieved -- like there's no time limit or rush deadline where I have to figure all this out now and decide or I'll be stuck forever.
I also got whatever had welled up in me, overwhelmed me, and spilled out as a hot mess crying jag out of my system and that makes a world of difference in how I feel about all of this.
I'm sorry I came here to dump my mess. Apparently that's what I still feel inclined to do when I can't see or think straight. I very much appreciate everyone taking the time to respond!
You all are the bomb
Whatever you decide, it is a journey and a process and YOU GOT THIS!
Seriously, long walks are good because they give the puppy practice on a leash, they tire the little buggers out, and they're good for you.
I lost 40 pounds after my divorce just walking the dogs.
This advice goes hand in hand with my other mantra: exhaustion is your friend.
Hang in there.
But as soon as he's cleared for hikes, we're off
If you are committed to training, it will work. I really hope you give Cobber a chance, but if you remain distraught, then perhaps he should be rehomed.