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ISPIFFD posted 5/25/2013 10:01 AM

I'm sorry, I feel like I come here only when things are bad (and maybe the rare occasion when something really yay! happens), and now here I am again.

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.

FaithFool posted 5/25/2013 10:05 AM


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.

caregiver9000 posted 5/25/2013 10:11 AM

My first thought when I read your post is "What does your IC know that we don't?" So what followed her question about what if the puppy is a mistake?

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.

FaithFool posted 5/25/2013 10:15 AM

My cat just showed up as if to say maybe a cat instead?

But not a kitten.... goodbye curtains and furniture!

caregiver9000 posted 5/25/2013 10:20 AM

I read three times before I read pup's name correctly... poor pup was CLOBBER in my mind the whole time.

(((more hugs))) it will be okay

Sad in AZ posted 5/25/2013 10:34 AM

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; 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.

total idiot posted 5/25/2013 10:51 AM

Hi there. I'm a member here but haven't been here for a few years. I saw your post and want to say I went thru the same thin with my dog I got after divorce. He was difficult but hang in there it gets better. He is my best friend now.

ISPIFFD posted 5/25/2013 10:54 AM

Thanks everyone! There actually is an "out" clause with the breeder, who knows/knew my situation and thought this would be the perfect companion pup/dog for me. I will contact her.

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.

ISPIFFD posted 5/25/2013 11:39 AM

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)]

hurtinky posted 5/25/2013 11:55 AM

I went through this with my dog when I got him. He bit me constantly and it seemed like he was into everything and he never rested or slept. I was exhausted, exasperated and I just knew I had made a huge mistake. I remember thinking it was a good thing he was so stinkin' cute, because that "carried" me for awhile.

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.

HurtsButImOK posted 5/25/2013 13:37 PM

It can be very stressful dealing with a new puppy. I took two on at the same time!

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.

ISPIFFD posted 5/25/2013 14:27 PM

Thank you!! Thank you to everyone!! After my meltdown crying fit, talking to people, and getting great feedback here and on other forums, I have a much clearer head. Interestingly, the feedback was about 50/50 give pup up/hang on till this passes :) and I'm glad it's an even split vs an easy answer.

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

FaithFool posted 5/25/2013 14:28 PM

Don't be sorry.

caregiver9000 posted 5/25/2013 14:51 PM

Yay for feeling more optimistic! Not feeling stuck seems to be the key to feeling better in many many situations and HERE is a great place for getting unstuck.

Whatever you decide, it is a journey and a process and YOU GOT THIS!

Williesmom posted 5/25/2013 16:22 PM

A piece of advice from the owner of 4 very busy corgis: a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.

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.

Chrysalis123 posted 5/25/2013 17:44 PM

Have you called the breeder and asked for training help? I know the breeder of my dog was a wealth of knowledge.

ISPIFFD posted 5/25/2013 18:01 PM

Chrysalis, yes I have contacted the breeder for suggestions, and I'm waiting to hear back from her.

ISPIFFD posted 5/25/2013 18:06 PM

Williesmom, thank you - that's exactly what my plan has been. Lots of long walks, for me and for Cobber. However, I've been told by dog experts and the vet that at 10 weeks, Cobber's not ready for long walks yet. Both medically (I need to get him on tick and flea meds and finish his vaccinations) and physically in his bone development.

But as soon as he's cleared for hikes, we're off

Sad in AZ posted 5/25/2013 18:41 PM

Cobber probably won't need long walks to tire him out. I raised a mastiff from a puppy at 10 weeks. We would walk about 1/2 a mile, I'd have to carry her home and she'd sleep for the rest of the day

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.

Good luck.

woundedwidow posted 5/26/2013 09:10 AM

ISPIFFD, if it's ANY consolation, the same situation can happen with CATS too. I adopted a papered, pureblood Russian Blue cat from a deploying sailor in 2007. He was a total nightmare for a one year! He bit, screamed, hissed, peed, and attacked one of my other cats so badly that I had to temporarily put her at my WS house. I even called the breeder to possibly take him back, but she said she'd just rehome him, and I felt if she did, he's end up in a shelter or being put down. True to the breed, once we finally bonded, he became the kitty "love of my life". Maybe your new puppy will become your new "puppy love" - I hope so! ((Hugs))

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