Ive had a golden retriever puppy 4 days....and changed my mind

(277 Posts)
Eliza22 Tue 14-Jul-15 08:42:39

Does this happen? I feel overwhelmed.

Story...

My son is 14 and has autism and OCD. He has no friends despite many many efforts. He is high functioning. We've had his name on a list for an autism assistance dog for years but he's now too old for the list. A year ago, we sourced a breeder and decided to get him the doggy companion ourselves. So far so good. Two litters went by....no bitch for us until now.

The pup is beautiful. Full of energy but very clever, as these Goldens are! But, my son is tearful and upset (and so am I) because we have a beloved cat who is 7. She has taken the dog very, very badly. Last night, my son came to me in tears saying "I miss Tallulah (the cat), I want the dog to go away if we are going to lose Tallulah".

I should add....I'm 53 and menopausally emotional at the best of times. Have I made a massive mistake? We've had the idea of a golden retriever companion for our son for so so long, what HAVE I done?! I feel like ringing the breeder and saying keep the cash....I've made a mistake.

Help!

StayGoldPonyBoy Tue 14-Jul-15 08:47:54

You've had the dog 4 days. There's still chance the cat could come round. I think it would be a bit mean to ship the puppy off so soon, or at all. Have you introduced them properly or just moved the dog in and given him run of the house? It's her territory and he's alien to her, she needs time.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 14-Jul-15 08:47:55

It sounds like you shouldn't keep her, and maybe it would be best to return her to the breeder to find her another home now rather than keep her to try and persevere but it doesn't work, than try and rehome her at 6 months or do.

StayGoldPonyBoy Tue 14-Jul-15 08:48:56

Her sorry. Didn't see she was a bitch

Cynara Tue 14-Jul-15 08:50:00

What has actually happened between the puppy and the cat? 4 days is very early days. Ifound the cat is safe and isn't being physically attacked/harassed I'd be inclined to wait a bit longer. If she's used to being your only pet it's bound to come as a shock to her to have a puppy bouncing around.

I think 4 days is too soon to make a decision unless she's actually left home or is in danger.

Cheerfulmarybrown Tue 14-Jul-15 08:51:13

If you really are having second thoughts return the dog to the breeder asap so that the dog can be rehomed quickly while still young.

If this is just puppy nerves, which is very common, then take a deep breath and realise most people feel like this. 4 days is no time at all for the cat to get used to the dog - it can take a while.

However having a new puppy will greatly change the way your household has run and functions - this may or may not be tolerable for you and your DS.

I am an experienced dog owner and although I love dogs to bits (I have 4) I always am glad when the initial puppy days have passed. It is like having a stranger in the house who does not know you ways or understand you. If you are consistent with training you will soon have a super loving dog that you can not imagine life without but it will take a little bit of time to get to that stage.

Have you got support from a good trainer? If you can find one who will come to your house that may make things easier at home for you.

Hope you feel better soon dogs are fantastic if a bit of hard work to start with.

MitchellMummy Tue 14-Jul-15 08:53:12

Not sure what's best - but if you have made a mistake then the breeder should be able to rehome a (presumably) 8 week and 4 day old puppy more easily than a two month or six month old. Have you got a crate for the puppy? May encourage cat to come back in when pup is crated. I hope it works out for you, whatever you decide.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 14-Jul-15 09:02:35

As a first time dog owner I didn't gel with my puppy until he was about 6 months, then just fell more and more in love with him after that. I wouldn't have been at all sad, just relieved, if he'd disappeared from my life in the first 6 months, and now I can't bear to think of anything happening to him (he's now 8, and we have another as well) so I can say with certainty it is possible to fall in love with your dog from being indifferent.

Puppies are bloody hard work, as well, before they grow into lovely calm dogs.

Having said that, I don't think you should treat your dog as an experiment, and you should try and think now with a little experience whether she would work as part of your family for the next 14 years.

SunshineAndShadows Tue 14-Jul-15 09:10:23

HiEliza first of all don't panic. Adding a new member to your family will be unsettling at first but everyone (pup, cat and DS) will adapt and things will become normal again.

From your cats perspective a strange little alien has been introduced to her world and she needs time to adapt to this. Make sure she has plenty of pup-free resting places (perhaps your sons room could be a 'den' for her with a bed, food and treats?) and she'll gradually grow in confidence as she gets used to the pup. Your son can help her with that by lots of positive interaction when the pup is near. Feliway will also help to reassure her
This link has great advice
icatcare.org/advice/how-guides/how-introduce-new-dog-or-puppy-your-resident-cat

It's only been 4 days, everything is very new and unsettling but the longterm benefits will outweigh the short term upset.try and get your son more involved in caring for the pup too - give him specific jobs so that he starts to bond

Good luck and keep us posted

PoshPenny Tue 14-Jul-15 09:11:54

If you and your son are in complete agreement that the reality of a dog is not for you at all, then I would get on to the breeder ASAP so she can re sell the dog, and hopefully you will get your money back. The longer you persist with your doubts the worse it will be for the dog, so please do the right thing and make your decision as fast as you can.

tabulahrasa Tue 14-Jul-15 09:46:18

It's really really common to have panicky wtf have I done points with a new puppy.

As far as cats go...4 days is nothing. Cats are not exactly embracers of change.

If you are going to return the puppy, then yes sooner is better, but, a few days or weeks shouldn't make much difference to whether the puppy could still get a home if it's a decent breeder with a waiting list, someone would still want one of their puppies.

Eliza22 Tue 14-Jul-15 10:35:46

I'd take her back today but, part of me thinks....give it a week. Give it chance. Give everyone chance to settle. As I say, a lot of preparation went into this. We've booked a personal trainer for 6-8 sessions to come to the house for one to one sessions with my son and his dog (and me). Also, she'swwt booked on a puppy socialisation course from the time she's completed her vacs and can go out.

I cited the vet's practice nurse to talk "cat" and how best to ease the way. I even saved the shirt I wore the first time I held the puppy and left it around the house for the cat to sniff and get used to an alien smell. I did none of this lightly and only hoped that my dos might have a companion for what is a lonely existence. But it seems he loves his cat more than anything and as beautiful as the dog is, I wonder.....

BlueKarou Tue 14-Jul-15 10:51:34

I'm a week and a half in. I love my lurcher puppy to pieces, but he's bloody hard work. The cats have all but left home, even though they have 3/4 of the house as a puppy-free-zone. I am still sleeping downstairs with him because he's not housetrained overnight (and at 9 weeks pg I do not have the energy to wake up in the night to take him out) so we're staying where the floor is wooden so it's easier to clean. Plus he can't do stairs until he's 6 months, so downstairs is the most practical option.

Puppies are hard; even the really good ones come with a steep learning curve. If you wanted something easier, maybe see if the breeder is looking to rehome a 18month-3 year old, that they would swap for your puppy. Even then your cat will likely take time to adjust to her new housemate.

It sounds like you've got some good plans there with the trainer and the puppy course, so if you're willing to persevere through the next x months then you're on the right footing. Good luck!

basildonbond Tue 14-Jul-15 10:55:58

My ds is also high-functioning ASD and nearly 14 when our puppy arrived - if I'd told him at any point in the first 3 or so months that the puppy was going back he'd have been delighted - he hates change and getting a puppy is an enormous change for everyone, including the puppy. Ds used to call him Sauron ...

Now the first thing he does when he comes home from school is curl up on the sofa with the dog - he adores him (and vice versa) but he took a long time to come round and he definitely didn't like the puppy phase

basildonbond Tue 14-Jul-15 11:00:25

Oh and we have two cats - one was initially terrified but quickly realised the puppy was no threat and while they'll never be best friends (much to the dog's disappointment) the cat has unbent enough to allow the dog to lick him when they say hello

The other cat used to come and sit in front of the puppy's crate when he was resting and give him death stares - he's still terrified of her and won't go past her without a human to protect him

It helps that the dog is not allowed upstairs so the cats know they can always get away from him

mmmuffins Tue 14-Jul-15 11:03:08

I think you are being very unrealistic about the cat. Four days is nothing. I got a puppy 7 weeks ago. My cats are not interested in interacting with her, and that is fine. But they are getting more comfortable with her presence - this morning the cats have chosen to sleep in the kitchen where the dog is (albeit well out of reach on the top of the fridge). So progress smile

Do your cats have lots of dog-free space? You haven't said what your set up is, or what exactly happened between the dog and cat.

chocolatelime Tue 14-Jul-15 11:19:20

I would say persist - stick with it and things will improve. You sound like you have put a lot of thought and planning into your puppy.

It is a massive change to your household and even the most experienced dog lover will get the wobbles when they introduce a new puppy. So don't feel alone in that!

The cat may not be impressed right now & they do tend to vote with their feet (especially when the weather is fine!). However, the good news is that she will come round. 4 days is no time at all, you just can't make a judgement in that time.

I have introduced a stream of rescue foster dogs into my household - some with serious behavioural issues. My cat is used to it but he will still get the hump for a few days and he has always lived with dogs. With some of the dogs he has kept a wide berth, but others he will interact with after a couple of weeks.

I would make a safe dog-free zone for the cat, ideally use a child safety gate so they can still see each other. Maybe across the kitchen door, especially if the cat has a flap there. As then she can come in and out of the house and know that she only has to interact with the puppy if she chooses to jump the gate.

The benefits that a golden retriever could bring to your family are limitless. It will take time to build those bonds but I think that if you stick with it, you will look back and be so glad you did!

If you need any advice from experienced dog owners, then you are in the right place! There are many of us here that will support you. Please don't give up. It is a big change for you, but such a positive one smile

Eliza22 Tue 14-Jul-15 12:15:57

I have the stair gate in the utility area where her bed is. I made that the dog 's spot so she could see us in and out of the kitchen. But surely, I can't expect the pup to spend all her time behind bars?

littlepeas Tue 14-Jul-15 12:44:36

I have a 6 month old golden retriever and also a ds with high functioning asd. I felt overwhelmed in the first weeks and wondered whether we had made a mistake, but things have settled down. My ds is indifferent to the puppy, which was surprising as he has a very strong interest in animals. I do think that the puppy phase is something you have to get through - it is hard work - but you should get a calm and gentle adult dog at the end of it. I don't know what to advise, it will get easier with the puppy over time.

FannyFanakapan Tue 14-Jul-15 12:55:36

dont worry about the pup and cat. The pup will want to play, the cat will swipe her across the nose a couple of times, they will come to an arrangement and live in peace. Our cat now snuggles up to the dog on winter evenings. Dog washes her ears....

Give it time. Think about getting your son to take pup to classes, socialisation sessions etc, so he is more involved with her upbringing. Also, he can see other dogs behaving the same way.

insanityscatching Tue 14-Jul-15 13:01:21

We have Eric and ds and dd have autism. Tbf Eric drove ds and dd mad in the early days,he was nippy and into everything and I have to say I had plenty of times when I asked myself what on earth had I done.
But we persevered, ds and dd spent a lot of time in their rooms and Eric got time out for nipping dd which helped her sense of justice.
He is 18 months old now and they adore him, he's someone to talk to on a bad day,he's someone to laugh at when you need cheering up and you calm down nicely when he's laid beside you wanting a tummy rub.
I don't know whether you have a puppy panic on or whether your ds will eventually love him but I do know that now I am very glad we had Eric and the early days were shortlived in the grand scheme of things.

averylongtimeago Tue 14-Jul-15 13:05:48

I have had lots of Goldies over the years - and puppy days can be manic!
Currently have 2, 12yr old and a 2yr old, both bitches.
Pups can be utter pests, crazy land sharks chewing everything and incontinent as well!
I have had dogs and a cat, they lived together fine. I don't have a cat at the moment, but family do. When we visit them, the dogs know not to chase them and the cats tolerate the dogs, one just keeps out of the way but the other takes no notice.
I'm not surprised your cat is not impressed - but she will get used to the dog. How well they get on will depend on how the pup behaves - if it allowed to chase, pounce on and molest the cat or not!

Training is the key - I have never used a crate or shut the pups out, but if I needed to confine them I would use a long lead tied to my waist [leaves hands free] and reward and praise for good behaviour. It takes time and work, you have booked a trainer and classes - good! I go to dog club every week - they often have teens helping with the training of their dogs, good for dogs and kids.

If however you decide you really can't cope, then take the pup back soon - to give the pup time to find a new family. It is much harder to rehome a 5 or 6 month old "teenager" than a cute baby.

chocolatelime Tue 14-Jul-15 13:16:49

You can't expect the dog to spend all her time behind bars - definitely not! But you can create a safe dog-free zone for your cat in one area of the house. However you make that work, depends on the layout of your home.

Dogs are wonderful and I wouldn't live without mine. That being said, they are not for everyone. If you think that this is more than a normal 'wobble' and actually you really don't want to share your life with this new furry friend, then back to the breeder asap. Don't delay as it will be very disruptive to the puppy.

You can make this work, but you have to really want to do it & as you know, dogs are a massive commitment. A whole different ball game to an independant cat.

BagelwithButter Wed 15-Jul-15 10:18:13

How are you today, Eliza?

Eliza22 Wed 15-Jul-15 11:19:01

As beautiful as she is, strongly leaning to taking her back. That way she could have the happy, family home she deserves whereas for me, right now, she just represents upset.

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