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Hi all,

Bear with me on the length of the post, there is a lot to explain about our situation and I have a lot to get off my chest!

Just under two months ago My girlfriend and I got an Aussie Puppy. We fell in love with him when we met him, and brought him home. We were so excited and felt so prepared for our new life with our new best friend!

The first few nights were fine, with the expected shyness, whining, pooping and peeing everywhere. We were prepared, and were falling in love with our little guy. Our first vet visit showed that all was well and he was a healthy puppy, and we were looking forward to finishing his vaccines so we could take him outside. Our bond with him began to grow, and he began to become very attached to my girlfriend as she was around most of the time (I work full-time, she works part-time). He was starting to get a little stir crazy from being stuck inside and not having other pups to play with, but we knew this would end once we could get him vaccinated.

About a week later, everything changed and he developed a horrible cough, lethargy, sneezing, etc. and we took him to the vet to find out he had a very serious case of pneumonia. He would need to be hospitalized for a significant amount of time and they gave him a 75% chance of survival. Needless to say we were very stressed over all this, and the immense vet bills that came with it.

Fast forward a week and he is out of the hospital and seeming to do well on his antibiotics. Test results came back showing he didn't have distemper, parvo, etc. and that the pneumonia was bacterial, thus treatable by his antibiotics. The vet is confident he will have clear lungs at his checkup and we can have a healthy puppy again and vaccinate him soon. He is starting to get more crazy in our household, chewing everything and puppy biting/nipping us at all times. We chalk it up to the fact that he is not feeling well and trapped inside a small apartment.

Another week passes and his health deteriorates again. We go to the vet and scan his lungs, which shows basically no improvement on the pneumonia. They want to rehospitalize but we cleared our savings on his last hospitalization and can't afford to do it again. So they change his course of antibiotics and send him home with us hoping for the best.

Throughout all of this, he has become an ABSOLUTE TERROR to take care of. CONSTANT biting and nipping no matter what we try to stop it, rips apart everything he can get his paws on (clothes, shoes, towels, pee pads, etc.), constant whining, barking and separation anxiety from us (especially my gf), and excessive amounts of energy at night when we are trying to sleep (I've been running at about 4 hours of sleep a night since we got him). We cannot leave him at home alone because his anxiety barking will cause issues with neighbors and our worries over his health issues. So, we have to have a sitter every day which further causes money issues. We are unable to leave the house or do anything we want/need to do because we can't afford sitters on extra days, and there's even more vet bills on the horizon.

My girlfriend and I are officially losing our minds. We live for the outdoors and we live right on the beach, but we have literally not been able to do anything but work and watch him since we got him. Financial woes and the stress of being bitten constantly has caused immense frustration for both of us, and we both feel like we have completely lost our lives to this puppy. It is beginning to severely impact our relationship, our work and our overall mental health (the reason I got the dog was because I have severe anxiety and the doctor recommended an emotional support animal).

Don't get me wrong, I love the little guy to death. I want him to be happy and healthy and safe. And I don't want to give him up. But coming home after very long work days to a cooped up puppy biting machine has ruined me. It has gotten to a point where I feel as if getting him was the worst decision I've ever made.

I know there is the usual puppy blues that everyone talks about, and that he is exhibiting normal signs of puppy play and learning. But, I feel like our situation is heightened in so many ways to where these puppy blues have turned into full fledged puppy depression and anxiety.

Does anyone have any recommendations that can help us? Anything to stop constant puppy biting (whimpering doesn't work it only excites him to bite more, scolding him doesn't work, time outs don't work)? Anyone have any ideas to how we can leave him at home alone without getting evicted due to his barking? Any specific things we can do to keep him entertained without biting us?

Honestly, I am just writing to this forum to have someone tell me everything is going to be alright and we are going to have a life again soon. We have his recheck Friday, and I am praying to every god I know that his lungs come up clear so that we can FINALLY get his second round of vaccinations. Then it will be another 3 weeks until we can get the final round and bring him outside. I honestly don't think I will be sane by then if our lives continue as is right now.

Any input is so incredibly appreciated!
 

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Sounds like my Kaila - minus the vet bills. She is 12.5 weeks old, a malamute/wolf hybrid. Yes puppies chew almost no stop at that age, until about 7-8 months old when teething is over. Yes, that includes puppy pads, blankets, tables, chairs, humans, other pets, whatever and whoever.

Appropriate chews and redirecting to those are a MUST. And yes, you'll be redirecting what feels like a million times a day for a while. That includes when he chews on you, stop him and give him an appropriate chew.

Like the Malamute, and Aussie is a working dog, bred to have high energy and high drive. Even as puppies they need a job to do and, something to stimulate their mind. Dog puzzle toys are great for that, so is training time, learning the basics of sit, come, walk on a leash, even if that all has to be indoors. Treat dispensing toys, Kongs that can be filled with dog food or a treat, even wet and frozen rope bones are all great for teething, busy, active puppies.

Fifteen minutes here and there, as you have time, throughout the day of having the puppy chase a toy you drag about the house for him will do wonders for his stir crazy problem until he can go out. Yes, that means a running puppy through the house, make sure the path is safe for him to run.

Being older, I use a fluff less stuffed toy attached to a fishing pole - cast it into the furthest room I can, reel it back for Kaila to chase. She loves that game and, it helps her burn off that puppy energy.
 

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I'm sorry you're going through those types of medical issues. That sucks. But, besides the pneumonia, your puppy sounds like a very, very normal Aussie puppy. Nipping, barking, whining, and being a general terror are things that all puppies do, and because Aussies are herding dogs, the nipping and barking are amplified because that's what they were bred to do...herd livestock by, well, barking and nipping.

The nipping will take a long, long time to completely go away. Think months. Well past 6 months. The nips will get softer, of course, but puppies just really like to put their mouths on things. The method I like is when puppy puts his mouth on you, redirect to an appropriate chew. You should always have one near you. If puppy keeps trying to bite you, get up and walk away. Step over a baby gate, close a door, whatever, just remove yourself and your attention for 5-10 minutes, then try to play again. Rinse and repeat. Again, it takes an enormous amount of time and consistency.

Does your puppy have a crate or pen? Popping them in there when they're being terrors is a great way to take a mental break.

As for the whining and crying while separated, that's normal, too. Its difficult in an apartment I know because you have to worry about neighbors...and I'm sorry, but I don't have any solutions for that one, since some amount of crying is just going to happen. You can make the crate a really awesome place by feeding the pup all his meals in there, playing crate games, giving him extra special peanut butter filled Kongs only in there, things like that. And then earplugs for you. Maybe cookies or brownies for neighbors and explain you're training a puppy.

Do you have any friends with a fenced yard you could "borrow" while you're waiting on vaccinations? You probably can't take him outside at your apartment building, but you can take him to a place that you know no unvaccinated dogs have been. You can carry him to new places, making sure he stays off the ground. You do want to make sure the pneumonia clears his system, because that could potentially spread to other dogs, but afterwards you don't have to keep him completely separate from outside air.

Also, try playing mind games inside. Teach him obedience, new tricks. You can play mini-fetch with a puppy that small. Hide treats under cups and make him find them. You will never be able to wear him out physically, so mental exhaustion is the next step.

So, basically, what you're experiencing is pretty normal besides the pneumonia. And it does pass. It's hard, but it will pass.
 

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Oh my goodness I know where you are coming from. Besides the pneumonia, poor puppy! It is all going to be alright and you will get your lives back!
Our puppy is seven months now and while we still have manic days and she's entering the dreaded adolescence (when, as another commenter said her brain falls out her ears) she has made sooo much progress. You will get through the puppy quarantine period and feel so much more freedom!
I found freezing a toy bone helpful. I figured her gums had to be hurting. Also someone in DF mentioned freezing wet washcloths, that might help. Basically toys, toys, toys helped us. He bites you put one in his mouth, and again...
I remember one "oh no what have we done" night in particular. Puppy got into the cat box, husband yelled (he's very loud) puppy peed, older dog threw up. I had to clean everything up, calm everyone down all while making dinner. It's really good that you are both responsible for the puppy. I've sometimes felt that my husband is only interested in Gracie when she's being easy. At first that was not very often lol.
Is there any way you can spell each other so you can both have some time off? Time away and deep breathing seem to help.
I did wind up trying a technique called "sit on the dog" by Margot Woods. It did help Gracie settle down tremendously. I like that it's ok for puppies. Sorry can't link to it but you could Google the technique.
Good luck. It does get better!
 

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I'm afraid keeping a working breed cooped up in an apartment will not bode well for you now or in the future. I'm assuming you don't have a yard?

We have a Jack Russell with boundless energy, but we also have a doggy door which leads out to a huge yard where we would spend hours playing and "trying" to wear him out as a pup. This wasn't enough when he was your pups age, and isn't enough now that he's 7.5mths old. He still needs 2 good off leash walks outside the home every single day.

I live in Australia, so our protocol may be different, but i took him out after his 2nd vaccination, as we were all going stir crazy. We have had no cases of parvo where we live, plus we have miles of bush land and beaches to walk him where you wouldn't see another dog for days. I also regularly took him around to friends places who had dogs for regular play dates. Adequate socialisation at this age is so very important!

Nugget also whined/howled when we went out, and still does but to a lesser extent,and is something we're working on. We've been leaving for very short amounts of time, think minutes. We walk half up the street and come back. Long story short, this can take months to overcome, extending the time you leave in small increments and always coming back before he starts barking/crying. I never, ever leave him without taking him for a long walk first, a high strung, wide awake, energetic dog is not something you want to leave alone in an apartment/house.

The having a working breed in an apartment is something i can't help with, as i would struggle with this myself..
 

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Hi all,



Does anyone have any recommendations that can help us? Anything to stop constant puppy biting (whimpering doesn't work it only excites him to bite more, scolding him doesn't work, time outs don't work)? Anyone have any ideas to how we can leave him at home alone without getting evicted due to his barking? Any specific things we can do to keep him entertained without biting us?

Honestly, I am just writing to this forum to have someone tell me everything is going to be alright and we are going to have a life again soon. We have his recheck Friday, and I am praying to every god I know that his lungs come up clear so that we can FINALLY get his second round of vaccinations. Then it will be another 3 weeks until we can get the final round and bring him outside. I honestly don't think I will be sane by then if our lives continue as is right now.

Any input is so incredibly appreciated!
I apologize in advance if my answer is not what you are hoping for, but being a person with 2 dogs, a home to take care of, and a career to build, I perfectly feel your pain. I know you invested so much in him, but if I were you I would look for a home with other dogs and a big fenced yard, or a farm even. This breed is not made to stay too much inside. Many people think that they will be able to walk their dogs 7 times a day..but life does not go like that. If I were you I would look for a breed that do well in an apartment and with reduced needs for permanent exercise (unlike Aussies) and I would also select (if I could) the middle born in the litter. Please accept my apologizes for telling you to find another home for your dog. You need to be able to function well and to be as calm as possible around your dog. I see having a dog, like trying to survive an airplane issue - you need to secure your own oxygen mask first, to be able to care for those around you.
 

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Other than the pneumonia, everything you describe is a typical high energy puppy. My wolfdogs are the same as puppies. Just like that Aussie, they need continuous exercise, a mix of physical and mental every second they are awake and not going potty.

They get bored, have loads of pent up energy and, get overly excited about little of nothing if they don't get the exercise they need.

Cat wobble toys (hard plastic treat dispenser) as well as dog puzzle toys give them mental exercise and, you have to walk then often or give them a yard to run around in for a while every day.

Even as adults these high energy breeds need lots of exercise and mental stimulation, leaning, problem solving, things like that.

My puppy (13 weeks old) does a nightly rampage in the house, a good half hour of her grabbing every toy she has one after the other and racing from one end of the house to the other with each toy. After that she has her "maul the master" time for five or ten minutes of jumping at and chewing on me as she would her canine mother or siblings had she not been separated from them at 8 weeks of age.

She'd like more chew on me time but, I stop her and put her in a sit, feed her then, take her out for another 45 minute walk (no running just walking on grass.) Finally she is ready for her crate for the night at midnight.

5 AM and she's ready to go again, 2 hours in her outdoor play yard, in for food, out for a 45 minute walk, in for 15 minutes of training, out for half an hour play yard time, in for an hour of puzzles for her lunch, nap for two hours, out for another 45 minute walk. In for another 15 minutes of training. Out to run in her yard for an hour, in for food and nightly rampage/chew on me time, walk, bed.

That's life with a high energy puppy and, the rest of the time they are into everything, underfoot or inventing new toys of whatever they find.
 

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Hi, first of all most of this behavior is very normal for a high energy puppy. I’m so sorry about the illness, that really hinders your ability to get him to a puppy class, socialize him, and exercise him outside.

Ok, so the separation anxiety, I deal with that every day. I’ve tried many things. Have you crate trained? I had to do it step by step for my puppy. In a crate that’s the correct size, with a divider to give her more room as she grew. To start, I only put her in for a few minutes and left the room. I tried leaving her alone in it and leaving the house for 15 minutes before that and it was a disaster! So I talked to my trainer and she explained how to do it properly. It’s a slow process. Never use it as punishment. Make it a happy place. A safe place.

More options for anxiety are Thunder Shirts, Composure Pro, Adaptil, Lavender, classical music calms dogs, Kong’s...

My 7 year old rescue has it so bad that he has to be on medication. I avoided that as long as possible, but I was really only hurting him. He spent so much time terrified and it was getting to the point that he couldn’t live without me. He was suffering because I was afraid of medication for him.
It really made no sense now that I think about it. So, I took him to a good vet and got him on Trazadone and Prozac. We still use other methods that I mentioned earlier to help calm him, but the medication has made a huge difference in his quality of life.

Also you could ask your vet about Melatonin. I don’t know what your dog is able to take due to being so ill. I would consult your vet before trying any medication or supplement.

Games are a great idea for tiring out your dogs brain before bed or anytime. You don’t have to spend a lot to do have fun either. You can make games yourself out of stuff you already have! Get a muffin tin and 6 tennis balls. Put a treat under one ball and put the rest of the balls in place. Now your pup is doing a scent work game! There are tons more on Canine Enrichment websites. I’m even on a group on Facebook called Canine Enrichment! I taught my puppy to unwrap presents, she loves it! I could honestly just wrap empty boxes and she’d have fun!
Check out a puppy book if you can’t talk to a trainer. Patricia McConnell is Amazing!!!
There is sooo much information out there. Just remember positive reinforcement!
Best wishes and good luck!
 

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Let me join in the chorus of people saying "That's Aussie pups for ya." ...but also I want to suggest that you engage in some obedience training. They really need a lot of mental stimulus and mine always seems ready to run some drills. The combination of food rewards and mental stimulus is a good way to settle them a bit and you can use some of the things they learn to prevent destruction/nipping, etc. You should teach fetch inside in a hallway or something anyway, fetch + tug is a faster way to burn off energy than walking. Marrow-y bones, stuffed kongs and bully sticks are your friends too.

I have 2 acres and I can't physically wear down my Aussie puppy... on nice days it's too hot outside and the other days it's pouring, so she's not even that keen on being outside unless its the early morning or dusk. Plus at this age she won't walk more than a half mile without wanting to turn around. You just have to try to get it so they aren't overflowing w/ energy and then give them something to think about, or chew, or both.
 

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i feel your pain. Mine gets hyper, chews then relaxes. I cannot stress how wonderful multiple chew toys are and the kong. It will get better.
 
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