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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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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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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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