I feel like the worst person in the entire world. I love my dog, I really do, but she is draining so much of me. I am her sole owner with nobody to back me up or pick up my slack, I don't get a break, and I'm in a really big transitionary period that's been extremely hard for me. I feel like the world's worst human for having thoughts of rehoming her, but sometimes the longer I have her, the less I feel I can handle her. I've had her two months now and she's my first dog ever. What do you do when you just want to give up? I know in my heart things will get better, easier, but I am having such a hard time. How do you remind yourself why you put in all this effort when your dog is sick, making a huge poop mess of the carpet in your rental apartment, when you're exhausted beyond belief but you have to walk her because she's relying on you and nobody else? How do I keep going when I feel so unworthy and incapable of taking care of her? Please don't tell me to just take her back. This though plagues me every day but I've made the commitment to take care of her. Tell me it gets easier? A little? Maybe?
For the kind of question you have, this is an "interesting" kind of place to ask. The obvious reason would seem to be, “oh these people have lots of experience and have gone through what I have. So they'll know how to answer my question.”
I think it’s possible to describe the stages of training. How it progresses. Like potty and family obedience. Also, the developmental stages of a dog. They go through major changes at different intervals. 8 weeks to 3 mos. Up to a year. And then 2 year old’s can change again. Sometimes training has to be reinforced. Some of that is based on breed, gender, size, what kind of interaction it has with an owner, and what it's being trained for.
But most of it is like going through the stages of raising a baby, through childhood, into adolescence. And so the question becomes, with any ongoing responsibility “does it ever become easier?” “Or does it just change in nature?” And parents would say, the circumstances and situations change. But the relationship never does. Nor the need for attention and effort. And navigating ever evolving challenges!
To me, it sounds like you would be (or would’ve been) more comforted by sharing the responsibility with someone. But in this case, you feel alone. Overburdened. Maybe discouraged. And tired. These are NOT criticisms! And I don’t think you need to defend your intentions or your state of heart. You are doing the best you can … or you wouldn’t be writing and asking your question here.
I also don’t think it’s anyone's place to judge you. Though I would guess you’re just being hard on yourself. But who’s to say anybody is “unworthy” or that they are some kind of a “saint” either? That’s being emotional, while the need here, is for concrete support.
If a lack of time is the biggest issue at hand, then options are also going to be limited. But if priorities can be adjusted, then that’s another kind of a decision.
I found a lot of support by going to endless training classes. And associating with fanciers. All kinds of events. I loved it. And my dog loved going. I learned so much from trainers and the people around me. And the exposure my dog had to other dogs was invaluable. He became a better dog because of that. Compatible. Flexible. Patient. Curiously "happy" and enthusiastic! But I also had the support of breeders. And experienced handlers.
In your case I would say just talking to other people is vital. Asking them how situations were best resolved. Even simple puppy classes. But try different ones. And get a cross-section of experience.
You also have to think about long term. Most people don’t realize (or understand) that getting a dog is a lifetime commitment. Meaning, the lifetime of the dog. Which is only a 10th of your own! It’s not like any other “optional” acquisition, that can be returned. Oh ... it can
be returned alright. But at what price your heart? Because it won't happen in some kind of detached manner. Like taking back a sweater! (Obviously!). Because the relationship we have with another creature IS tied to our heart. And only the person involved can understand how much value (or not) there is in having that kind of a bond.
I had a problematic dog. That I don’t think other people would’ve put up with. But we made it work. I was also a caregiver (of a human too), full time hobbyist, and had a full-time job too. Not a lot of money. So my connection with other people, meaning dog people, was a life saver. And those years, with that particular dog, was the best time in my life. We had a special bond. And a particular understanding. And I wouldn’t have traded him for the most perfect dog on earth. He would've given his life to protect me.
He did (however) make me appreciate the next one, who turned out to be the polar opposite! Fluffy puppy that he is. LOL!
But the first experience just made me a better dog owner in the long run!
I am sorry for your state of discouragement, at this point. And can understand all those frustrations! Especially being tired. (Don't worry, your dog understands you better, than you understand him/her). Before I got him, my dog was returned to the breeder because someone else couldn’t handle all the work. Probably his personality too. But look how all that turned out … the right solution came about anyway!
I hope that is of some encouragement! And comfort. That most things just work out for the better.