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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone!

My husband and I just adopted a 3 month old border collie and black lab mix. We are big dog lovers but I've never owned any (I have dog sat in the past) and he had a few huskies growing up.

We didn't enter into dog ownership lightly - we've waited years and finally we felt responsible enough and financially secure enough to move forward. I talked to all of my friends who own dogs. I researched breeds that would work for us and we started looking at petfinder and in the local shelters.

When we came across Bandit, we had a connection with him right off the bat. We were excited to get him! But over the past few days with him the puppy blues have set in.

People tell you that puppies are a lot of work, but it really is one of those things that you don't realize until you do it.

It's been surprisingly difficult for me emotionally - which I see from searching on the web is quite common. We both felt like we had made a mistake and we weren't good enough to raise him, but we talked it out and decided to give it a few more weeks to see how we feel.

Personally, I feel like I've been losing my mind, that I don't love dogs as much as I thought. We're giving him the best love and care we can right now, but it's still unnerving and overwhelming.

I just have a few questions:

When do you typically see a flip in this type of emotional reaction?
I heard that it can get worse as they get close to a year old. Is this true?
When did you feel like you could leave your dog at home, unattended, and not in a crate or fenced in?

Bandit is actually pretty good with potty training right now and relatively calm - except for when he goes into the crate and we leave him. We're going to buy a few more toys for him (kongs, chew toys) to help him out.

Any advice is much appreciated! Thank you!
 

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So normal this is the 1,000,000th thread on it, lol!

Dogs do go through a teenager stage between 7 months and a year. It isn't the best time ever.

I had to wait until 5 years old for my previous dog, but he was a maniacal chewer. My current dog was probably 2 when I adopted him and he's been fine free roaming since day 1. A border collie/lab mix might be okay around age 2. Management helps a lot. I don't leave anything out for the dog to get into. Clothes and shoes are in closets behind shut doors. Food is always put away, never on the counter unless we're actively in the kitchen. Remotes are put away in the TV stand. I leave a lot of toys around and rotate them regularly so they're fresh and interesting. The toilet lid is always closed.

That seems like a lot, but you get used to it.
 

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I'm pretty sure I texted my wife at least once after we got Chester saying "I'm just going to run away and never come back." Yeah, it was pretty rough :p If he wasn't chewing on everything he was biting me, or maybe pooping liquid poops all night long(at least he went outside! But I still got zero sleep for days at a time). He had Giardia, then he just had random bouts of diarrhea which we now have under control kinda(not sure, the Tylosin still isn't done yet...). Things really started to turn around once we started really training him. Took him to a puppy fundamentals set of classes and then to an 8-week obedience course. We're not done yet, but those two things have made a huge difference in his behavior. He's still only just about 5.5 months old, so we've got a ways to go but things are a hundred times better now than they were when we brought him home at 10 weeks.
 

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Oh, Lord. I totally relate. After I adopted my dog (after waiting FOUR years for the right time, place, etc.) I experienced so much anxiety that I lost 10 pounds in 7 days. After the first day I realized that the adjustments to our life were way beyond what I anticipated and I wasn't sure I was ready for it after all. So yes, totally normal. To try to answer your questions:

1) I'm not sure the time frame. All I know is that we adopted her on 6/10/14 and on 6/13/14 I set a deadline of 6/30/14 to either feel better about it or rehome her. I don't know when it happened but I know by 6/30/14 there was no way I was giving her up. I don't know how serious I was about the deadline, but setting one helped me mentally cope with the stress.

2) I don't know how old our dog is. She was guesstimated to be between 6-12 mos old by the shelter so she is around 10-16 mos old now. I haven't noticed that she has gotten worse. More of her personality has emerged and I am better and understanding her and who she is, her strengths and challenges. Some days are more challenging that others. For instance, one day two weeks ago she was just perfect. Walked well on the leash, waited patiently by the door without me asking, laid down for dinner before I asked. It was weird. Then just on Tuesday, she was bouncing off the walls like I've never experienced. Most days are a mix of both of those experiences and I fully anticipate improvement as she matures.

3) Never. For us. One of her challenges is prey drive, which I didn't learn about until after I adopted her. We have two cats and while we can manage the situation, we'll probably never be able to leave her alone with them. That's OK though. We can work with that. Half of the house is totally off-limits to her. Hubby works from home and she sleeps most of the day. If hubby needs to go anywhere in the mornings, he crates her and she sleeps there. If it's later in the day, she goes into the yard and she digs and plays with her toys. She's happy and safe, and the cats are happy and safe. I think if we didn't have cats it would be OK to leave her. The first time I put her in the yard she was yelping like crazy as I drove away. I checked in with the neighbors about how she did. Not a peep after my car turned the corner.

All that to say, hang in there. I absolutely love my dog, but the first weeks were touch and go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you, Amaryllis! I appreciate your answer and honesty. I know people say you get into a rhythm and it feels like second nature to live with your pup. It's hard for me to imagine that right now with my nerves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Haha! I think my husband wants to run away too, but he hasn't said it to me yet. We have our puppy training scheduled for the end of the month and then I plan on looking into additional training afterward. I want to train as much as much wallet can afford before the teenage phase begins. It really is unbelievable how much your life changes in one day when you bring a pup home. I also happened to get sick the day after we brought him home, so sickness exhaustion on top of puppy exhaustion is probably contributing to my wild emotions right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh superdi99, thank you for responding. I actually gave myself 6 months in my head - I think in 6 months I'll be able to have a clearer picture of if the pup is a good fit or if we should rehome. I'm hoping we dont have to, but I don't want to keep a puppy if we can't give it all the love it deserves. You give me hope though.

We don't have any other pets except for fish. We don't have a house yet but I'm hoping we'll be in one by next year so we can send him out in the yard and section off an area for him until we feel he's ok to roam free.
 

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Haha! I think my husband wants to run away too, but he hasn't said it to me yet. We have our puppy training scheduled for the end of the month and then I plan on looking into additional training afterward. I want to train as much as much wallet can afford before the teenage phase begins. It really is unbelievable how much your life changes in one day when you bring a pup home. I also happened to get sick the day after we brought him home, so sickness exhaustion on top of puppy exhaustion is probably contributing to my wild emotions right now.
Yeah, my stress levels went up just from the responsibility of looking after him, making sure he wasn't getting into stuff, wondering if I'm doing the wrong thing etc, and then the lack of sleep on top of that just drove me right to the edge a few times. Getting up once during the night to let him out wasn't so bad, but it was when he had diarrhea that it got really bad because I'd be up 4-6 times a night. You get used to it, and the puppy will become more manageable the more training you do. Combine that with just general growing up and I feel like it's gotten a lot better...apparently it might get worse again once he's around 7 months but we'll see...not there yet! :D
 

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Adolescent dogs can make you want to murder them, but by that point you're usually so in love that you just let it go :)

Puppies are hard, but you will develop a routine, and you will see him progress day by day, and soon you won't be able to imagine your life without him.

For your other question, I didn't leave my boy out of his crate until 18 months. He's not destructive, but he's always had minor separation anxiety and barked in the crate so we waited longer. Most dogs do get used to the crate. Even dogs like mine who don't love it end up as ok dogs in the house. Sometimes they just need time and consistency to grow out of the anxious behavior.
 

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Also, I think it took about a month before we were in a routine. Until then everything was off and crazy, but after a month he was just part of our day.
 

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Heh, Mia is 5 1/2 and still can't be loose. It really depends on the dog. They're individuals after all. ;)
 

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Every time I have added a dog - and especially a puppy.

When do you typically see a flip in this type of emotional reaction?
- For me with most of my dogs, it took a couple of months. With Thud? It took about a year. Thud was not an easy puppy. He also wasn't planned at all - we just wound up with him, he was sick, he was ENORMOUS (we're not big dog people) and he was just... not at all our kind of dog. He's still not but he's now OUR dog, so to heck with it.

I heard that it can get worse as they get close to a year old. Is this true?
Yeah. Teenager-hood is a thing and it's not an easy or pretty one. It can be FUN, but it's not easy.

When did you feel like you could leave your dog at home, unattended, and not in a crate or fenced in?
I have 5 dogs. I also have cats. I don't even try. ONE dog gets house privileges, 3 are put into bedrooms, 1 is crated. What is going on with who varies. The youngest anyone roams around the house though is about 18 months old. They get bedroom privileges somewhere by a year. Before that, they always get the crate.
 

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:bounce:Because I spend at lot of time at our local shelter and clean up after the pups
I always adopt old adults I know I would feel like you with getting a pup
you have gotten great advice on here
 

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What, exactly, is Bandit doing or not doing that's making you unhappy?
How have you puppy-proofed your home?
Are you doing puppy pre-school (where you can meet people going through the same problems you face and get suggestions about how to deal with it . .. or at least get sympathy and have a laugh or cry about the various messes)? You may find tips on training away from the problems that are bothering you. And as the pup gets older, training will become more possible. Baby puppies have poor retention . .. juveniles are easier to teach.

My house is thoroughly puppy proofed and I leave pups and adult dogs (Labs) together, with freedom to come and go through the doggy door, from day one (literally, as all three of my dogs were born in my house). Sure, there are a few accidents, and a few chairs have gotten their legs chewed. Library books have to go on a high shelf. I have tile everywhere and have had to shelve the Persian rugs I inherited. But my furniture is all second hand, and if it gets too ratty I just toss it. The joy I get from watching a puppy be a puppy and interact with the older dogs more than makes up for living in a less posh material environment.

Dog hair and sand are my biggest dog annoyances . .. and those do get worse as the dog gets bigger.
 

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I agree with everyone else, what you're feeling is completely normal. You'll get the hang of it, it just takes time! I couldn't imagine life without my dog now. As for leaving her loose in the house, that will probably never happen for me. This dog will eat ANYTHING. She loves her crate though, so it all works out. Good luck, and give yourself a break! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you everyone for responding to me! Your experiences and advice are all very helpful to me. I looked up this topic and you are right, there are approx 1,000,000 posts on this topic! lol

Sandgrubber, we're going to pupping training for 6 weeks starting at the end of the month, so looking forward to that. I think I'm going to buy some gates so I can keep him in one room at a time when I need to get some stuff done around the house. We've spent a lot of money already but I think it will be worth it - and I'll make sure they're big enough for when he grows too.

He isn't a terribly bad puppy - which is why I feel so HORRIBLE that I'm having issues adjusting to him and loving him. He's just being himself. And for some reason I've had anxiety attacks every day this week and haven't been able to eat. I'm also having an allergic reaction to him - I haven't had allergic reaction to dogs in many years. I'm taking pills and may go get allergy shots to help. This is my stuff, I get that. But like I said, I'm hoping this goes away in a few weeks and I can fully love him the way he deserves to be loved. I can deal with the hair as long as I connect with him and am able to feel like I'm a good match for him!

I've never had an issue connecting with dogs before. When I've dog sat in the past, I usually got incredibly sad when I had to bring them home! I'm feeling an intense sort of culture shock right now. I'm trying to take it one day at a time.

He was really great in his crate last night (I'm sure a kong with some peanut butter helped!). I also put in a piece of my clothing so he could smell me. No barking! I desperately needed a few hours sleep because I'm getting over a virus. My husband works midnights and will be taking him out every night on his lunch break (around 4am). I woke up myself at 4am a little panicked. I was actually weirded out I didn't hear barking. I opened my bedroom door and my husband had already put him in his crate after the walk. I said "Is he ok?" and my husband said he was totally fine.

Between taking him out on walks yesterday and today, he brings a lot of joy to everyone who meets him. He really is cute. When I have more time I'll post a picture. One man ran up to us and said "OMG! He looks just like my dog did when he was a puppy!" and pet him for like 5 minutes. He's been great meeting people, kids and other dogs, which is awesome.

I just need to find a way to relax. And LoveBugs, thank you!
 

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Definitely get gates to contain him! My pup was gated in whatever room we were in (even if we were closely supervising) until he was at least 6 months old, and then he was gated in the part of the house we were in. Even now at 2 years old we gate off the upstairs if we're not up there with him, so he doesn't steal things and get in trouble. Gates are your friends.

Not sure if you mentioned this, but how long have you had him? The first few weeks can be really overwhelming with the lack of sleep and total disruption to your routine. I fell instantly in love with my puppy and didn't feel anxious, but I was still exhausted and overwhelmed a lot of the time until we got on a routine.

Training classes will help, as it will give you something to focus on with him and you'll be so thrilled at his progress. It's also great to talk to other owners experiencing the same things. I'd recommend keeping him in training classes through adolescence - the more training you do leading up to it, the easier it will go. And the more training you do during adolescence, the easier he will come out of it (though it's normal to regress during this time, so you have to be patient)
 

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It's very important, as it is with teenagers, to make sure that the dog knows that you are the pack leader. Physical discipline should not be overused, but may be necessary depending on the situation.
 

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It's very important, as it is with teenagers, to make sure that the dog knows that you are the pack leader. Physical discipline should not be overused, but may be necessary depending on the situation.
Physical discipline is not necessary with either dog or human teenagers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you so much! We've had him 4 days. Yup. That's right. Only 4 days, and I'm already an anxious mess. I should point out that I have anxiety that I've been working on reducing for years, so it's actually not that shocking that I'm reacting this way. I had always heard that dogs are good for people with anxiety, and I've read that if you can get through the first year you will see that reward of ownership.

I also didn't anticipate getting a bigger dog, so I'm a little intimidated by the thought of him growing up next year - as a first time dog owner there's a lot of what ifs in my head "what if I can't control him? what if he destroys the house? what if when I have kids he doesn't like them?" I know I need to cross those bridges when I get there, but that's how the anxiety works. When we first realized how big he may be, I didn't think it would be that difficult. But I keep thinking if it's this hard now, how much harder will it get? But I know a lot of dog owners who have bigger dogs and they're loving and wonderfully behaved, so I keep trying to remind myself that with training it should be ok.
 
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