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798 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  DaveT
My husband and I have been pet owners for 90% of our lives. We've had GSD's Rottweilers, labs, chows, small mixed breeds, pugs, and mutts.
We currently have a 3 year old Chocolate lab that We've had since she was 8 weeks old and she is BY FAR the best, well mannered, laid back and most snuggly out of any pets We've had.
In September of 2020, we welcomed a Brittney Spaniel x Sheltie into our family. We we're not looking to expand the family, but felt obligated because the home was not suitable, and the owners had no morals. She is now about 6 months old, and we CANNOT get her to stop screaming in her crate, using the house as her rest area, chewing up furniture, shoes, carpet, walls, you name it. We have COUNTLESS toys, and give both of them unconditional love, even though sometimes it's tough love.
My 2 girls love each other. We have tried just about everything within our power to get our spaniel x sheltie trained. (We cannot afford professional training) we walk them regularly, play with them regularly, and occasionally put them in a daycare I used to work at.
We are at a crossroads with our spaniel x sheltie. We love her, but we also cannot afford the repairs to our home, her vet bills are extremely high due to poor breeding, continue the lack of willingness to train. We have given her the benefit of the doubt as she is still learning, and is still a puppy. Though we are at our wits end. We can't work without having to worry, or take additional time off to ensure our home isn't a big hole from the chewing, or a war zone with the potty accidents.
We have NEVER surrendered a pet before, and thats our very last option. I really feel like she can be a really great dog. We have never had a dog that is so hard headed before, I just don't know what else to try. I really need advice before I lose all my hair at 25 from this puppy!!!
In the month of February, her total vet costs were over $1,000 and she still has yet to be spayed. The total damage cost of our home is roughly $1,200. This puppy has drained our savings, and we still need to have a full carpet replacement. That total doesn't even include the amount of shoes, electronics, and furniture she has ruined as well.

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There is NO SHAME in giving up a dog. NONE.

I think your issues go FAR deeper than may be advised online. I will try but Dogs are dogs. They are not hard headed.

Love is not all a dog needs. A dog also needs boundaries and structure and very clear handling. Some dogs and some owners never work out well together.

The two issues you bring up (housebreaking and crate behavior) coupled with destruction of the house tell me this puppy has had too much freedom. This puppy can have NO freedom. If the puppy has no access to carpet she could not pee and poop on the carpet. Just an example. If she has no access to shoes, electronics and furniture, she cannot destroy those things.

As to the crate, you can access Crate Games on line and see if you can teach her that the crate is a good place. Honestly? If I was going to work I would confine the puppy to a crate in a room (like the bathroom) and shut the door and go to work. I would try to get back before 8 hours has passed to get the puppy out to pee/poop and then back in the crate. Screaming? Too bad. Leave. ONLY let the puppy out when she is SILENT. You can also go back and give her a treat for silence and LEAVE. Most crate training issues are owner issues. Do you take a Kong, fill it with her food mixed with frozen plain yogurt and put that in the crate with her when you leave? How about buying a raw meaty bone and putting it in there with her and leaving? Have you fed her in the crate away from you and the other dog? Those are all things to do.

To train you must SEPARATE the two dogs MOST of the time. It is a LOT MORE WORK but your puppy probably has already bonded more to the other dog than to you. You have to train the puppy separate from the other dog. At this stage I would not even let the two dogs together at all. Not. At. All. The puppy needs to bond to you and not to the other dog (probably already has) and now you need to break that bond and redirect it to you.

From the sounds of this your puppy is pretty normal for a puppy and not every puppy is easy. I will say that her destructiveness is due to too much freedom and not enough watching her and keeping her away from things she should not have and away from areas she cannot be allowed to be in. Her training issues stem from too much time with the other dog and, I suspect (could be wrong) insufficient one on one training of just her with the other dog completely away from her.

You say you cannot afford a professional trainer. I am a bit confused as it seems you could afford large vet bills and damage recovery bills for your home? A bit of training help would have cost a lot less.
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If you can't provide this dog with the training (and exercise/stimulation) needs she has due to your commitment to your other dogs, then she would be better in a different home. Ultimately, she should live wherever you, the dog, and-potentially- any new owner can have all needs met and be happy. If that's not feasible, it seems a new owner is called for here- which is totally fine. it doesn't mean you're some kind of "bad dog owner" or anything like that- it means you are a responsible person who truly cares about the welfare of their animal.

You have a high-energy breed mix on your hands. If you can do it, and choose to keep her, commit to 30-ish total minutes of short training sessions throughout the day, as well as mental and physical exercise. Keep the dog attached to you (leash) or in an x pen at all times (unless you are able to give 100% undivided attention) so she never has the chance to misbehave. If you're right there, you can direct her to an appropriate behavior whenever she "misbehaves" (aka hasn't learned a rule yet). And definitely try crate games.

Believe me, when I first got my Border Collie (and brittany spaniel) mix, I thought I would go insane. I had had a very mellow hound mix before her. This previous dog needed and wanted only 30 minutes of walking per day, 5-10 minutes of training, and 20-30 minutes of scentwork and play. Mostly, she just liked to spend time with me. My BC, on the other hand, "needs" something like 2 hours of walking, half an hour to an hour of training, 30+ minutes of fetch or other play, 15-30 minutes of nosework/other brain games (hide and seek, etc), and long hikes or off-leash time on the weekends/whenever possible. (as well as agility practice) Your new dog may need this, she may not- but definitely include some basic scentwork and training (both obedience and tricks). If I increased the time I spent on those activities, even a little, I could cut the walk time in half. Your dog is intelligent, I'm sure she needs mental stimulation (find-the-treats, training, puzzle games, etc). Additionally, focus on lots of interactive play. Don't just give her free access to toys all the time. Leave her chews out, and a few toys, but save the really exciting toys for interactive play sessions. One last thing- she may benefit from not receiving her whole meal in a bowl. Cut her portions in half, and feed half in the bowl, but make her work for the rest.
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Just my 2 bitts. Your puppy needs some serious bonding time with you which means time spent. As well as toys and supervision so she is playing with her toys and not your furniture. I agree with Kensi on this one,some dogs need more than others. I will admit I am a 100% dog lover I have 3 rescues. My wife and I recently had a 4th. A Belgian Mal. We re homed him, to be honest it was best for him. He is very happy in his new home. There is no shame in giving a dog up to a different home. Do what you think is best for the dog. Either more time invested or a new home but do what you think is best for the dog not you per se.
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