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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Should I keep the dog?

Hi there. We just adopted a one year old poodle retriever mix last week...and I'm already thinking of rehoming him. The only thing stopping me from rehoming him is that I feel a sense of duty to keep him since we already committed. Plus a friend of an acquaintance connected us, so I don't want to put our acquaintance in an awkward position. Could you please give me some feedback on whether I should just weather it out or rehome him? I'm apologizing ahead of time for this long post.

My daughter's been wanting a dog for a few years. My husband was against it, but agreed that if it was a mini - medium sized doodle, he would be OK with it. He used to have standard poodles (from a breeder). I grew up with coon hounds and labs (rehome, as well as rehome and rescue cats). We know quite a few people/friends with doodles. For about one year, I researched the breed, breeders, and rescues.

Last week a mom on my daughter's team emailed me about a 1 year old doodle that a friend of a friend wanted to rehome b/c husband is highly allergic to the dog. I spoke with the doodle's mom that evening and they came over the following day for a visit, went through the house and yard. He had a great temperament, pretty chill. And although he's a standard at 60 lbs., my husband surprisingly liked him.

Two days later the rehome doodle was dropped off by his previous family. They're local and the only conditions the mom told me was that she would like occasional photo updates and playdates with his older sister (not from the same litter). I asked about his personality at home, brand of dog food, treats, toys, current vet, groomer, etc. At drop-off I asked about his schedule. After 1 year of research, I thought we were prepared to have a dog, specifically a doodle. I even had possible vets and trainers lined up (originally for the puppy). Let's just say after speaking with our trainer and the previous mom more at length, information that would've been valuable earlier came out after the transition. Don't get me wrong, he is a wonderful dog. We're crate training, umbilical cord training, and leash (walking) training him...and yes, he whimpers, shadows, and pulls on the leash as if we're playing tug o war. But he is potty trained :) Perhaps he would've been better off with a family who already has a doodle as it seems he is quite attached to his "sister."

More importantly, I shouldn't have ignored the glaring contradictions in our lifestyle. We live in a rental home, but our landlord are animal lovers and gave us their full blessing. However, our lease ends May 2016 and we're not sure if we'll be able to renew it. Also, I'm probably not the typical stay-at-home mom that the dog is used to. I homeschool my child, who has multiple activities that require us to be out of the house for 3-8 hours 4-5 days/week. Plus, I'm in school myself, run a home-based business, and volunteer to assist the underserved and homeless. My husband just opened his own business last year. In a few years, I'll probably be in law school and possibly traveling quite a bit as I plan to practice international human rights law. Yes, obviously I didn't think this all the way through despite my one year of research.

Since the dog was dropped off last week, a few issues came up. He's apparently used to spending the day with his sister, off-leash time in a large backyard, 1 walk a day, and swimming at the vacation lake house. Well he's not allowed off-leash in our (small, but sufficient) backyard b/c our neighbor's dog is involved in fence fighting/running...so the trainer told us we need to walk him at least 3x30 to 60 minutes a day. I've already temporarily cut back our schedule by more than half, my daughter's behind on schoolwork and I on schoolwork and clients. Plus we have a personal, family issue that just came up the day after the dog was dropped off, the same day my parents came into town, potentially creating issues in our schedule and finances. And the last issue is that the mom who referred us contacted me a couple days ago, saying that her friend (the friend of the previous owner) had been asking for updates. I've been sending the owners daily photo/updates via text, with only one day that I missed a text. I'm not sure where the communication breakdown was (the previous owner texted that she was fine), but I'm really not interested in being part of town gossip.

I'm so sorry for this long post, but I'm at wit's end. I'm usually a very strong person who always does the "right and responsible" thing. My background is working with orphans in disaster-torn and other developing countries. Yet, I've been crying every day since the second day the dog got here. And I have no emotional attachment to him...he's cute, but I just see him as another anchor. My husband thinks we should at least try for another couple more weeks. My daughter is actually OK with rehoming him...she said she would be disappointed, but a bit relieved. Any feedback would be much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Re: Should I keep the dog?

Thank you. Your last paragraph shed some light into the matter. One of the concerns was whether he would get adjusted to our smaller home and a more hectic lifestyle. I've spoken with another trainer and researched the exercise recommendation on doodle/retriever websites and this forum, most say something similar. She did also recommend hiring a dog walker/runner and playdates. Doggie daycare would be her last option. We have friends with dogs, but I didn't think it would be appropriate for me to just drop him off for a playdate. I don't exactly have the time to sit and chit chat during a playdate.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

Since the previous owners still want to be attached, would it be an option for you to return the pup since they have an attachment to him, where you don't feel that way and feel he is an anchor for you.. There is no guilt involved here, you have to live in reality of looking 10 to 13 years from now of having this pup... Time is ticking for the pup of his life and where he will end up or how many times he will be passed along... I would say be honest for a guide especially when it hasn't been too long for him to be returned to a home that is asking about him.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

I agree that you need to stop making comparisons to his last home… I assure you, the dog is not sitting around thinking "but, in my last home I got to do this!", he is trying to adjust, as are you. He needs time to learn how things work in your house, what the routine is and what's expected of him and that doesn't happen in 1 week.

I'm not sure what the energy level of a poodle is, but at one year old he is still a puppy and his exercise/training requirements will be higher than that of an adult dog. However, there are three of you living in the household and it sounds like you were all on board for getting this dog, so it shouldn't be solely your responsibility to provide ALL of the exercise/training he needs.

I will also say that it is very very very common for people to go through "puppy depression", but 99% of people come through it and get to have richer, happier lives for having a dog.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

I totally feel you on this.

We adopted Rikku 2 weeks ago. The first week was just crazy. My husband and I both were just thinking "what have we done?" Part of us even thought about sending her back to the rescue. She's also 1 year old and has never lived in a house.

Last week went a lot better. She still is a little crazy but she is learning our routine. I've been working hard to keep her body and mind active. She's a smart girl and I find her very engaging. Poodles are really smart. I imagine he will be happy with some training or puzzle games.

Bonding takes time. Sometimes it takes days sometimes it takes months. He currently has no idea what is going on and what is expected of him. You just need to show him. His whole life has been turned upside down, give him some time to adjust. I would say in most cases the first 2 weeks are the worst. Then it starts getting a little better.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

I can't tell you whether to keep him or not, but I will say that you shouldn't worry so much about what his old life was like. Just because he was used to having someone home all day and another dog to play with does not mean that he can't adapt to your home now. Dogs are very adaptable, and being home about 8 hours a day is typical for most dogs owned by people who work full time. Yes, he'll need walks, but 3 walks for 60min each is unreasonable, even for a young high energy dog. An hour walk at a brisk pace, plus some training and mental stimulation at home should be fine.

You've only had him for a week. I think a lot of your fears are the new puppy blues. It's super common to think "What the heck have I done?!" It's a big life change, and you will get a bit sleep deprived and behind on things for a while until you get into a groove. Luckily he's older and doesn't require as much work as a baby puppy, so you will get there faster. I would give it at least a month and see if things settle down.

Also, read this: http://3lostdogs.com/new-dog-making-you-miserable-youre-not-alone/

It does sound like you have a lot on your plate, and a busy life. However, I find it hard to believe that you researched for a year and never considered your schedule or future plans. I think at the time you probably thought those things were workable, but now that the dog is here and you feel overwhelmed, all of those things are coming to mind as reasons to re-home him. Again, it's totally normal to feel overwhelmed, and I think you should really give him some time.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

3 One-Hour walks - a day?!? Wow, if all dogs needed that amount of walking - even the hyper-active dogs - very very few people would be able to own one. That's crazy!

But you obviously still need some help. Are you the only family member actually capable of taking care of him? Your husband wants to give it a couple more weeks, but is he helping at all?

One week isn't enough time for anyone in your home to fall into a "routine" - including the dog. As long as it doesn't come down to him being alone and miserable for hours upon hours every day, it will probably work out fine. You can imagine the dog is probably a little confused right now....but they are super adaptable.

However, if you know that there is no way it can ever work, and the dog will end up being neglected and the stress for everyone else will be too much, then yes - give him back while the family is still connected to him.

Let us know how it goes! It's never easy starting out new...it usually gets better, but takes some time.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

It sounds like having a dog is just not what you expected. You play it up in your mind and spend tonnes of time planning and thinking about the good things, but the reality is a lot different. Dogs are a lot of work. Especially young ones, and especially if they've just been re-homed. It will take time (maybe months) for everyone to fully adjust.

If you've realized you were wrong and a dog is just not for you then I would say return him to his original owner and accept that a dog does not suit you or your lifestyle. It sounds like there's nothing wrong with the dog at all, he's just not what you expected.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Should I keep the dog?

Since the previous owners still want to be attached, would it be an option for you to return the pup since they have an attachment to him, where you don't feel that way and feel he is an anchor for you.. There is no guilt involved here, you have to live in reality of looking 10 to 13 years from now of having this pup... Time is ticking for the pup of his life and where he will end up or how many times he will be passed along... I would say be honest for a guide especially when it hasn't been too long for him to be returned to a home that is asking about him.
Thank you for your reply. It wouldn't be fair to the previous owner. The husband is highly allergic (hospital visit)...hence the rehome. I also don't feel comfortable telling them our personal/marital issue. I'm hoping to make it to the 3 week mark before making a decision.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

I agree that you need to stop making comparisons to his last home… I assure you, the dog is not sitting around thinking "but, in my last home I got to do this!", he is trying to adjust, as are you. He needs time to learn how things work in your house, what the routine is and what's expected of him and that doesn't happen in 1 week.

I'm not sure what the energy level of a poodle is, but at one year old he is still a puppy and his exercise/training requirements will be higher than that of an adult dog. However, there are three of you living in the household and it sounds like you were all on board for getting this dog, so it shouldn't be solely your responsibility to provide ALL of the exercise/training he needs.

I will also say that it is very very very common for people to go through "puppy depression", but 99% of people come through it and get to have richer, happier lives for having a dog.
Thanks for your reply. I take him out for 45 - 60 minutes in the morning, my daughter takes him out in the afternoon for half an hour and evening for an hour (sometimes w my husband). I have read that post adoption depression is common, but was hoping for advice from other dog owners. Perhaps what their schedule is like or what they would do if in my shoes.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

I totally feel you on this.

We adopted Rikku 2 weeks ago. The first week was just crazy. My husband and I both were just thinking "what have we done?" Part of us even thought about sending her back to the rescue. She's also 1 year old and has never lived in a house.

Last week went a lot better. She still is a little crazy but she is learning our routine. I've been working hard to keep her body and mind active. She's a smart girl and I find her very engaging. Poodles are really smart. I imagine he will be happy with some training or puzzle games.

Bonding takes time. Sometimes it takes days sometimes it takes months. He currently has no idea what is going on and what is expected of him. You just need to show him. His whole life has been turned upside down, give him some time to adjust. I would say in most cases the first 2 weeks are the worst. Then it starts getting a little better.
Thank you for your reply. It's not just the bonding that's a concern. I'm concerned about the finances and schedule, especially as it relates to the future. What would happen w him if our family separates, when I go to law school, when I start traveling, etc. What is your schedule currently like w the new puppy? Perhaps I can learn from you.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

I can't tell you whether to keep him or not, but I will say that you shouldn't worry so much about what his old life was like. Just because he was used to having someone home all day and another dog to play with does not mean that he can't adapt to your home now. Dogs are very adaptable, and being home about 8 hours a day is typical for most dogs owned by people who work full time. Yes, he'll need walks, but 3 walks for 60min each is unreasonable, even for a young high energy dog. An hour walk at a brisk pace, plus some training and mental stimulation at home should be fine.

You've only had him for a week. I think a lot of your fears are the new puppy blues. It's super common to think "What the heck have I done?!" It's a big life change, and you will get a bit sleep deprived and behind on things for a while until you get into a groove. Luckily he's older and doesn't require as much work as a baby puppy, so you will get there faster. I would give it at least a month and see if things settle down.

Also, read this: http://3lostdogs.com/new-dog-making-you-miserable-youre-not-alone/

It does sound like you have a lot on your plate, and a busy life. However, I find it hard to believe that you researched for a year and never considered your schedule or future plans. I think at the time you probably thought those things were workable, but now that the dog is here and you feel overwhelmed, all of those things are coming to mind as reasons to re-home him. Again, it's totally normal to feel overwhelmed, and I think you should really give him some time.
Thank you for your reply. I didn't think too much about my law school schedule and travel. When the thought did cross my mind, it was with the intention of getting a mini doodle (upto 30 lbs), not a standard 60 lb. one year old. And the divorce thing didn't really cross my mind. I think it's the fact that he's a 60 lb., as opposed to a 30 lb. dog that makes it seem overwhelming. It's more difficult finding a rental home (or downsizing) and traveling with a big dog. Obviously, I did too much research on all the wrong stuff and not enough considering my situation and the dog's future in 10-15 years.

I've set a 3 week target before making a decision either way. I think I read that on some vet blogs - 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months seem to be the magic numbers.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

3 One-Hour walks - a day?!? Wow, if all dogs needed that amount of walking - even the hyper-active dogs - very very few people would be able to own one. That's crazy!

But you obviously still need some help. Are you the only family member actually capable of taking care of him? Your husband wants to give it a couple more weeks, but is he helping at all?

One week isn't enough time for anyone in your home to fall into a "routine" - including the dog. As long as it doesn't come down to him being alone and miserable for hours upon hours every day, it will probably work out fine. You can imagine the dog is probably a little confused right now....but they are super adaptable.

However, if you know that there is no way it can ever work, and the dog will end up being neglected and the stress for everyone else will be too much, then yes - give him back while the family is still connected to him.

Let us know how it goes! It's never easy starting out new...it usually gets better, but takes some time.

Thank you for your understanding. I walk the dog in the morning for 45 - 60 minutes every morning. My husband dog sits when he's not working, plus a few evening walks/week w our daughter. I told our family that we'll target the 3 week period before making a decision. I think the abstract situation (despite my research) has just become more concrete as to what the dog's future is going to be with us. I should've considered that more at length, instead of focusing mainly on researching the breed, breeders, and rescues.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

It sounds like having a dog is just not what you expected. You play it up in your mind and spend tonnes of time planning and thinking about the good things, but the reality is a lot different. Dogs are a lot of work. Especially young ones, and especially if they've just been re-homed. It will take time (maybe months) for everyone to fully adjust.

If you've realized you were wrong and a dog is just not for you then I would say return him to his original owner and accept that a dog does not suit you or your lifestyle. It sounds like there's nothing wrong with the dog at all, he's just not what you expected.

Thank you for your understanding. He's still adjusting, but he's a really good dog. He finally stopped whimpering during the night. Still whimpers and barks during the day, but that's OK. And if he gets his 3 walks/day, then he usually sleeps during the day...except in the morning and when he gets crated. We can't return him to the original owner as the husband is highly allergic. Plus it wouldn't be fair for me to go back on my word and expect them to take him back. If we decide to rehome him, I would take the responsibility for finding him a good home...preferably one with another dog that can be his role model.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

I don't think 30lb vs 60lb is that big of a deal. A little for housing stuff, but once he's settled in and you have a rhythm those extra pounds won't feel overwhleming.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

I don't think 30lb vs 60lb is that big of a deal. A little for housing stuff, but once he's settled in and you have a rhythm those extra pounds won't feel overwhleming.
Agreed. Re: Travel, the difference there isn't huge. A 10lb dog who can go into the cabin of an airplane versus one who can't, yes, but a 30lb dog can't do that, and boarding places don't care.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

Puppy blues are very common. I get a panic attack every time I adopt a dog even though I have had many and logically know it will be ok! I remember with Summer (who was a 4 year old easy dog!) thinking 'Omg now I'm tied down FOREVER!'

The first 2-3 weeks can be very hard. It can take months to bond and weeks to months to get into a routine. I found at 3 weeks things were slowly easier with Hank. 3 months I realized 'Hey, this is really starting to work well'. It took about 8 months to get much of a bond.

I work full time and live alone so my dogs are alone for a full work day. They are fine. If I were you I'd use a crate while you are wanting to work and teach your child. Give the dog a safe chew and crate him for a few hours. Since you're home you'll have the luxury of letting him go potty. I try to exercise my young crazy dog about 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes at lunch, and an hour after work. But once you get into a routine he should be fine with less if you need to on some days. Some days my dogs get no exercise and they're fine! It's all about figuring each other out and getting balance. It takes a bit of time and a bit of effort.
 

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Re: Should I keep the dog?

Thank you for your reply. It's not just the bonding that's a concern. I'm concerned about the finances and schedule, especially as it relates to the future. What would happen w him if our family separates, when I go to law school, when I start traveling, etc. What is your schedule currently like w the new puppy? Perhaps I can learn from you.
I get up around 5-5:30 am. I let Rikku out of her crate and let her outside to potty. I have a back yard so while she's going potty I get her food ready. She usually comes in and runs around like a crazy person. I have been giving her bits of kibble when she's calm. She also has to sit for breakfast.
Anyway after she eats, she goes out again. Then she is crated up and I go to work around 5:45-6:15am
I come home from lunch around 11:30am and let her out. We play until I need to go to work again. Either running around the yard, tug or fetch. Something to get her moving before I have to kennel her again.
I get home from work at 4 and she goes outside again.
Dinner at 5pm and she goes out afterwards.
Usually in the evening we do some training, usually around 20 minutes or so, then we play. More tug or running outside. As it gets later I start to do calmer play with her. Nice gentle play with stuffed toys.
Bedtime at 9-9:30 where she sleeps in her kennel in the bedroom

If she gets too wild, she gets a 2-5 minutes time out.
If I need a break from her, she gets a rawhide/bone to chew on for a while.
 
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