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HELP - First Time Puppy Owners - Losing Our Minds for Multiple Reasons

2141 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Sabs1979
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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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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