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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone, I'm basically a first time dog owner and I've had the puppy for just over a month now--he's about 5 months old. I got him enrolled in puppy classes the first week that I got him and he's finishing that up this Saturday.

He has some really normal behavioural problems for his age: biting, barking, jumping, etc and we are working on it. He learns really quickly and he is crate trained and house-broken. I currently work from home so I am able to take him out a lot (he gets maybe 6 or so walks a day ranging from 20mins-hour each (and that's sometimes including play-time with other dogs).

I crate him to get work done..about 3-4 hours at a time usually followed by a walk, some play time, hanging out in the grass so he doesn't get shack-wacky in there. He doesn't whine or or anything unless he knows it's almost a meal time.

I was always a dog-lover and every-time I saw a dog I got excited, every-time I could interact with one I would. I got to the point that I was researching every rescue, shelter, pound within a few city radius to find a dog that my partner and I could agree on.

What I am trying to say here is that I am doing absolutely everything I can to follow the proper procedure, I try to think in his best interest always and this wasn't a split second decision.. I waited about 4 years to get a dog to make sure I was in a good position to take care of it.

And now that I have one after all that obsessing and hoping and excitation I am not bonding with him at all. It's not his behavioural problems (although they don't help) but I don't even get that pleasant feeling when he does something cute, I don't get that nice feeling when I pet him. Mainly I am feeling nothing towards him at all--unless he is acting up which aren't good emotions.

I don't want it to be like this, I don't want to give up on him and potentially put his hyper ass in a worse situation than what he has now. I want to get to the point that we can be buds, but all I'm doing is dreading the thought that this is the next 12+ years of my life--caring for something I don't even like.

I really need some support here, I feel like such a bad person for disliking a bloody puppy--is it common to have trouble bonding with a dog at first?

UPDATE FOR YOU GOOGLERS WHO HAVE BEEN WONDERING HOW THIS WORKED OUT:

Hey person who is googling, "I hate my puppy". You are not alone and you are totally right that puppies are rip-offs. For all the money that you spend on them in their first year, they don't return enough love or cuteness for your investment. What a bunch of jerks.
I really, really disliked my puppy and I was trying really hard to be his friend.

Fast forward a year and this is how it turned out: I never ended up liking my puppy...BUT I LOVE the dog that he became. That sweet dog bond you want comes from putting up with each other's shit for a year until you've moulded one another into something that works together. Focus on training (get that crate training down) and just grit your teeth through all the horrible stuff your puppy is doing. That little dummy is going to need all the patience you have because honestly if this thing were in the wild it would have died off instantly. That patience will pay off if you stick to the training and you'll have a really great friend eventually. It won't feel like there is progress for a while but that is just because it's an animal and not a computer that you can program. And you aren't a computer either, you can't just tell yourself to start loving something--but you can give it time and you'll both get Stockholm syndrome and it will all work out! Kidding, but only kinda--you will get to love them.

If you have been feeling the "is this really the next 12 years of my life?" sinking feeling you'll probably feel it for a while, but it DOES go away. Don't feel guilty for not loving your pup straight away--even parents go through it with their own babies and adoptive parents are primed for "not loving their baby" when they adopt. It's super common and you aren't a bad person. Well, you might be, but not because of this.

Anyways, happy story time! My dog is cool, we play fetch everyday, he snuggles up to me when I'm upset, he barks at construction workers when they whistle at me and he also barks at squirrels (in his defence, I think they've been taunting him) Also I don't have fantasies about him finding a new home anymore.

It's really hard to bring a dog into your life and most people won't really get what you are going through. Don't let them make you feel like a bad person and keep reminding yourself that others have gone through the same thing and it can and likely will get a lot better. The bonding will come--even if it takes a while and it's an uphill battle. Good luck --you aren't alone!
 

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Yes. :p A lot of us here don't like puppies a whole lot. Honestly, they're a pain in the ass. It gets better, it really does. As the pup matures and becomes better behaved -- as he actually wants to work with you and please you and you can see him learning -- it's easier to bond.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you. Your reply actually means a great deal to me--to hear someone say that it's normal--you just have no idea how comforting it is. I always knew I was an adult-dog kind of person, but wanted to be able to train a dog without any abuse issues from years with previous/shitty owners and I got in over my head because I was so used to being around senior dogs. It doesn't help that he is a large breed dog and reeeeally strong and hard to handle when he acts up ha.
 

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Just like with anything, it can take time to really bond with a dog.

I do want to say that there's a difference between liking what you see in other people's dogs and what actually taking care of a dog feel like. This isn't a criticism of you or anything but it's always something that comes to my mind when first time dog owners say things like "I love dogs" or "I love puppies". Like you said, the behavioral problems don't help with bonding even though you actually understand they're normal. Some people get a puppy and actually expect them to be perfect little angels. Taking care of a dog is a different experience than just playing with a dog. It's the same way with people and babies, or any other pet.

But anyways back on topic. Just stick with it and give it more time. A month is pretty short. I think it's pretty unlikely that you won't get bonded at all with the dog eventually. It's more a matter of how tightly bonded you will become and that's not something anyone else can tell you.

Don't feel bad about being frustrated with a puppy. Just don't take it out on the puppy. Like you said, he's just doing what puppies do but puppies can be ***holes.
 

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Yes its perfectly normal. :) Just stick with it, it will get better I promise!

For example I didn't really have any emotions to Jasper when I first got him. Besides being annoyed at him (I was not ready for a 6th dog!). Now he is my little man, I cannot be without that dog for a day with out feeling anxious. haha He goes everywhere with me (including sometimes work since I work at a vet clinic). He is truly my heart dog. :) But it didn't start out like that, I didn't really want anything to do with him in the beginning.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just like with anything, it can take time to really bond with a dog.

I do want to say that there's a difference between liking what you see in other people's dogs and what actually taking care of a dog feel like. This isn't a criticism of you or anything but it's always something that comes to my mind when first time dog owners say things like "I love dogs" or "I love puppies". Like you said, the behavioral problems don't help with bonding even though you actually understand they're normal. Some people get a puppy and actually expect them to be perfect little angels. Taking care of a dog is a different experience than just playing with a dog. It's the same way with people and babies, or any other pet.

But anyways back on topic. Just stick with it and give it more time. A month is pretty short. I think it's pretty unlikely that you won't get bonded at all with the dog eventually. It's more a matter of how tightly bonded you will become and that's not something anyone else can tell you.

Don't feel bad about being frustrated with a puppy. Just don't take it out on the puppy. Like you said, he's just doing what puppies do but puppies can be ***holes.
It's annoying but that probably is partially my problem, I probably went into this with an unrealistic ideal or was so busy trying to convince myself it was a good decision (because I made sure to read all the negatives) that I probably saw the experience as more positive than anything. Naive? Yes..but maybe I am just a typical first time owner lol :( Though, I can adapt knowing that I'm not abnormal.

He's also rather on the hyper side--he's the only puppy in his obedience class that can't sit still for 2 seconds unless he's working/performing a trick. But that may be because he's older than them. Most of em are tiny sleepy cuddly things still and he's in his dropping his puppy coat and teeth kind of stage.

Anyways, I'll keep reminding myself that a month isn't a long time and that he's improved so much from where he was when I first got him. It can only get better if I'm doing this right :D
 

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I've always been an adult dog fan, too. I got Crystal when she was a year old, and she'd been trained for the show ring, so she was great on a leash and great in a crate, and she was housebroken and had good manners in general. It was perfect.

I got Casper when he was nine weeks old, and I wouldn't say he was a particularly difficult puppy -- he had good bite inhibition from the start and I got him housebroken quickly -- but I find housebreaking and crate training and teaching to walk on a leash and supervising 24/7 tiring and annoying. I liked the little guy; I thought he was cute and I didn't want to give him back, but I didn't really start to bond with and love him until that stuff was over and we were settling into a routine. It helped to teach him some commands and tricks... I started with look at me and sit, moved on to down and stay and come, and then did some fun ones like touch (with a paw) and "fist bump" (he bumps my fist with his nose). It helps to see the little guy learning and to know that you're becoming a team.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've always been an adult dog fan, too. I got Crystal when she was a year old, and she'd been trained for the show ring, so she was great on a leash and great in a crate, and she was housebroken and had good manners in general. It was perfect.

I got Casper when he was nine weeks old, and I wouldn't say he was a particularly difficult puppy -- he had good bite inhibition from the start and I got him housebroken quickly -- but I find housebreaking and crate training and teaching to walk on a leash and supervising 24/7 tiring and annoying. I liked the little guy; I thought he was cute and I didn't want to give him back, but I didn't really start to bond with and love him until that stuff was over and we were settling into a routine. It helped to teach him some commands and tricks... I started with look at me and sit, moved on to down and stay and come, and then did some fun ones like touch (with a paw) and "fist bump" (he bumps my fist with his nose). It helps to see the little guy learning and to know that you're becoming a team.
I definitely love to train with him and he gets into it when he can concentrate. We've learned sit,stay,wait,watch me,take it, leave it, down, play dead (mostly), come, and he's working on mastering the loose-leash. You are right though--it's the 24/7 thing that is killing me at the moment I think. I really wish I could just let him chill around the house or play at his own devices, but that's impossible until I can trust him off the leash. So then I'm really preoccupied with his pee schedule and how long he's been in his crate, etc, etc. Lately he's been chasing his tail and I'm afraid that it's my fault for like.. not pay attention to him..or something? So I'm stressed because I don't really have much more free time to give him since he takes it all up and some of my time when I'm supposed to be working as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here's a pic of him while I'm at it. He's gone up 6 pound since this photo though--he's growing fast.

 

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I'd say it's normal. Sometimes it can be love at first sight, sometimes it takes a while. I can imagine that since you've never had a dog to begin with, you may have idealized the idea of dog ownership. What you're feeling right now is fine.

Edit: He's so cute! ^^
 

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Naive? Yes..but maybe I am just a typical first time owner lol
I think it's pretty much just human nature. It's hard to have the right expectation, especially when you really wanted something for a long time.

When I first got my dog, it suppose to have been "my brother's dog" and my parent's dog instead of mine which is why I think I was able to sort of temper my excitement a bit. I was suppose to just help take care of the dog since I was on summer break from college and my brother was like 10. Being a more elderly dog, I lucked out in that he actually had no real behavioral issues at all. Even then, it took me probably 2-3months before I even started growing attached to him and he became my dog. Now I love this dog. I'm not the type of person to use the term "heart dog" but it's hard for me to imagine I could ever love another dog more than I love this dog.

My friend got a Husky puppy right after he graduated. He had chosen to take a 4 month break before starting work just so he could take care of the puppy literally 24/7. He was informed of what to expect many many times. I would actually say the pup he got was rather exceptionally well behaved for a husky puppy. Even with all that, he still felt overwhelmed from time to time.

So yeah, it's normal.
 

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I'm glad Fructose posted this. I actually started to feel that way today. It's been a week with our shih-poo puppy (9wks old) and while I knew it was going to be a ton of work (having had a puppy as an older teenager), I guess I had forgotten how intense (so, I think that is a good sign - eventually, you forget these times and get completely bonded). Right now, it feels like a full-time job 24/7. I miss him when I am gone for 2-3 hours a day but I am panicked most of my day worrying about doing the wrong thing with him. There are so many training techniques / videos, etc. I think I need to take a break from all that as well and just keep the household sane until we can get into our puppy class that starts in 13 days (but who's counting). I think I need to stick with the basics. He likes his crate, he can sit and he can pee on pads (he can't potty outside until he completes his boosters ... which is another bummer since we are very outdoorsy. He doesn't last long in the sling we got).

Thanks for the post - I needed some normalization on this very topic :)
 

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The way I like to put it is, did you know you wanted to be with your SO forever a month in? Almost everyone in the world will answer no. It takes time to really fall in love with a dog or with a person. It doesn't help that the first few months with a dog are by far the most labour intensive so when you're least invested emotionally you're putting out maximum effort.

Give it time. The first month I had my dog I seriously considered sending him back to the rescue. Hell the first 5 or 6 months I felt that way. But now I'm so happy to have him. Give yourself a break and don't expect the world all at once. A bond is something you build, not something that just falls from the sky. It sounds like you're doing everything right.... Carry on, and good luck!
 

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Thanks everyone for replying in such a supportive way. (You know how the internet can be "you don't deserve that dog" "he deserves an owner that loves him" etc etc ) I had some fear of posting this or talking to people about it, but I'm glad to see this is a logical/mature community.

I just took him for a walk and I didn't feel as hopeless when he acted up this time around. I'm gonna little-engine-that-could my way through this puppyhood haha.
 

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Just keep reminding yourself that it'll get better! There's also nothing wrong with crating him for an hour or two while you do stuff around the house. It gives you a break from him and helps teach him that crating is a normal, anytime thing.
 

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Thanks everyone for replying in such a supportive way. (You know how the internet can be "you don't deserve that dog" "he deserves an owner that loves him" etc etc ) I had some fear of posting this or talking to people about it, but I'm glad to see this is a logical/mature community.

I just took him for a walk and I didn't feel as hopeless when he acted up this time around. I'm gonna little-engine-that-could my way through this puppyhood haha.
Do make lots of pictures and films! We never did with Reina and now we kind of miss those boisterous puppy years... and we have nothing to document it! You can even start with documenting the things that you find annoying... I guarantee that once your puppy is fully trained (and hopefully grown out of most their bad habits), you'll find it endearing.
 

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Hang in there! It gets waaaay better! I was a first time dog owner when I got Gyp as a 10-week-old pup. It was hell at times, and it took her maturing for me to even like her. Now we're inseparable, and I'm proud of the work I've put into her. She's a great dog and a good pal. I'm so glad I stuck with it! The forum helped a ton.

He's adorable. :)

You can even start with documenting the things that you find annoying... I guarantee that once your puppy is fully trained (and hopefully grown out of most their bad habits), you'll find it endearing.
This is a great idea. I know it would crack me up to watch a video of Gyp's puppy crazies.
 

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I've loved Lincoln since the day he was born (I saw him only hours after he was born. Yay being friends with your breeder) and Ellie since I met her at eight weeks. I LOVED them, but right around five months was when I started to LIKE them.

It's completely normal. I've cried over these guys so many times. Lincoln will be 9 months this weekend and he's the best dog I have ever had. Ellie is a little over five months and she's starting to finally act "like a real dog" but we have a long way to go.

Give him a chance to grow up a little and I promise it's worth it. Puppies are the worst.
 

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I hated all my puppies even the lengendary one & only Izze lol she was horrible as a puppy, I don't think I ever had a dog destroy stuff like she did.
Josefina ... I would say we "like" each other But it's not the kind if close bond I had with Izze or even with buddy, ESP when she is doing something bad. She also is a very "selfish" dog, like when I work around the yard, all the other dogs follow me & watch over me ... Josefina couldn't care less :p.

So no ... You aren't alone :)
 

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I got my first dog ever, an 8 wk old dachshund mix, in Feb 2012. He was cute, but he just sucked every ounce of my energy for months. Between housebreaking, and the constant biting, and the need for constant supervision... he was just a drain, and I was exhausted by it all. I liked him ok, but I think other than my overwhelming sense of obligation, I could have done fine without him too. Now... I'm definitely bonded to him. I was out of town recently for a few days and left him home with my husband and I missed him. It just felt like something was missing all the time without my little buddy by my side all the time. He isn't perfect, but I'm charmed by him, and I like spending time with him. I don't know when he switched from "omg puppy WHY?!" to my snugglebug, but it did switch!
 
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