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Last January, I brought home a puppy. Turns out I was allergic and had to give her back to the breeder.

Two months later, I purchased another puppy from a breeder, but he had some serious emotional issues - his seperation anxiety was so bad that the minute I was out of his sight, he would howl - not a great thing in an apartment building. I was pretty strict in keeping to the schedule (walking, food, crating, play) that his breeder had for him, so that he wouldn't feel scared. Then he started "spite peeing", chewing his paws till they were bloody, was terrified of anyone but me, and a host of other things. I spoke with 4 different trainers, and all of them said the breeder needed to take the dog back because his emotional issues hadn't been disclosed.

That was a year ago.

I'm now about to try again - this time with an older dog. Up until today, I was full of confidence. But for some reason, all of a sudden, I'm scared to death. I know now, that the first few weeks with a new dog are hard as hell. I know that it takes a while for us to learn to live together. And i know that I can give a dog a great life.

I have never (as an adult) had the repsonsibility for another living thing other than myself, and if I fail at this again, I'll never be able to look at myself in the mirror, and my friends and loved ones will see me as a failure.

I'm scared to death.

Any words of wisdom?
 

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Yes, keep things in perspective. You're worrying about your humility while your dog is likely worrying about keeping his people. Here's what you have working for you though...your dog is exponentially more forgiving than you. If he'll forgive you for your shortcomings, you should forgive yourself too.

I highly recommend getting into a training class and being proactive in the formative months with your new dog.
 

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In a way, your fear may be a good thing...

Too many people go into a relationship with a dog as though it's nothing. They see a movie, or what have you, and decide on a spur-of-the-moment thrill that "OOH, I want a dog!" And then they get a dog and it's nothing like they had hoped for.

The best thing for you is preparation, and it sounds like you probably have that going for you from your previous two experiences. And as Curbside Prophet said, a training class would be a great way for you to bond with your new dog. And as another tip, take your time. Don't feel like you have to make an immediate decision; maybe, if you decide to go for a rescue dog, you may be able to foster and see how it goes between you. Fostering a dog -which many shelters are game for- helps you decide while you still aren't fully committing to anything. And if it doesn't work out, then check out the next dog.

It's a tough process, but if you are prepared and are able to find the dog that fits you and your lifestyle, then everything will be so much better. Good luck!
 

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If YOU are afraid, the dog you are getting will sence it and it will be afraid. I'd advise you to hold off until you are sure you can do right by the dog.

As for seperation anxiety: it is usually cause by a lack of confidence. Build the dog's confidence, and the anxiety will pass.
 
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