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Feeling a bit downcast about the new dog this morning

(11 Posts)
booksandwool Wed 03-Dec-14 10:19:55

Please no one be angry with me about this - just hoping for a bit of support and encouragement.
We've had our new rescue lurcher for a little over a week now, so it's very early days. She's massively affectionate and has bonded very strongly already with my OH, and he's having a great time with her. The agreement was always that he would be in charge of her needs, walks, poos etc, because we've also got two small children and so I've enough physically on my plate. This is fine because he either works at home or can take her to work (a good walk away).
But today he's away for the day and I took our older child to preschool - a ten minute round trip. When I got back she was fairly frantic, jumped up at me when I came in the door, ignored all my instructions to sit, just kept jumping with her big scratchy claws. I had the baby in a front carrier so this bothered me quite a bit.
Obviously not her fault she's a bit anxious, and she doesn't know me so well, but I'm feeling really downcast about the fact it's going to be hard for me to bond with her and I don't seem to have any natural authority! I took her out for a walk after this and she pulled at the lead all the way, and I felt like a fraud, not a real dog-owner (though I did pick up my first ever poo).

Are we going to get to know each other properly, and am I going to be able to get this jumping up under control so I'm not worried for my babies? Please reassure me!

inmyshoos Wed 03-Dec-14 10:48:03

Could you get a bumbag and have some treats in it and when you come in scatter some treats on floor before she has a chance to jump. Does she jump on dh when he comes in?

Also is there a possibility of securing her in a room so you can get in and sorted ignoring her until she is calm before you acknowledge her?

It will get better.

Does she have good qualities? Is she nice with the dc?

Could you arrange a dog walker to walk her first thing on the days when dh away? Here i can have 1 dog walked for an hour for less than £10.

taxi4ballet Wed 03-Dec-14 11:03:22

How old is the dog and is it used to being left alone, even for short periods?

tabulahrasa Wed 03-Dec-14 11:38:38

The thing is, it is going to be hard to bond with her if you don't do anything with her - it doesn't need to be the time consuming stuff, but a few minutes training once or twice a day or playing with her will build a great bond. You could also walk her when your DH is in, think of it as away from the children time...I did most of the dog walking when the children were small because it was a reason to get to spend time away from them and let their dad deal with them, lol.

The most likely reasons for her to have jumped up at you are either she was a bit frantic after being alone or just sheer excitement. Both can be dealt with, but they'll need different approaches.

Separation anxiety is pretty common in rescue dogs, for starters it's a fairly common reason for dogs to be given up, but also the upset of being rehomed can cause it.

jumping to greet is also pretty common untrained dog behaviour, and very trainable.

As for pulling on the lead, again very normal, look up kiko pup on YouTube there's a couple of videos on loose lead walking and how to train it.

It's nothing to do with natural authority or you doing anything wrong, you just have a dog who is adjusting to living with you and you're adjusting to having her.

booksandwool Wed 03-Dec-14 12:39:55

Thank you, all. She is lovely, and OH did walk her before he went out this morning, she just wanted to go again!
I'll take a look at those links.
She is crate trained, and I popped her in there when I went to do the playgroup pickup, which helped with the immediate issue - as for being left, she'd been in a foster home and they said she was fine to be left for a few hours at a time, so I think her anxiety must be directly related to being in this new place rather than a general issue with it.
I promise I'm not doing nothing with her - it's just that she needs to be the primary responsibility of OH, just as the children are "mine" in the sense that I'm the one who always knows whether they've eaten, and who is the default person to be in with them etc.

pigsDOfly Wed 03-Dec-14 12:42:09

Ease up on yourself.

You've taken on a dog with history and it's very early days. It will take time for you all to adjust and bond.

As pp has said try to do things with her, otherwise she'll feel like a lodger rather than your dog and you'll never know the rewards of having a really close relationship with her.

Could you get to training classes with her? It would help you to understand her better and help you find the authority you feel you lack - dog training classes are more about teaching the owner to train in the long term, rather than anything the dog achieves in the hour a week you're there.

And remember even the best behaved dogs have days when they're trying.

tabulahrasa Wed 03-Dec-14 12:50:58

Oh I didn't assume you were ignoring her...I just meant, the more you do with her the more you will bond with each other and you can really speed it up by doing training exercises.

Either with basic commands, or some silly tricks once she's mastered them. It really does help create a better bond and it reinforces anything she's learning anyway...and it gives you handy alternative behaviours for when she is doing something you don't want her to. If you have a dog with a really reliable sit or down, jumping up is immediately easier to deal with because you have something to tell her to do and reward her for rather than just trying to stop her jumping.

It's also not a huge amount of time, you just do a few minutes randomly when you're not busy...the more often you do things like that, the more she'll respond to you - partly because she'll never know if you're just giving her a command or whether you're doing training, dogs pretty much always live in hope of being rewarded if they get used to you doing it, lol.

Chrismoosemama Thu 04-Dec-14 10:34:18

It's very early days for both of you. Not at all uncommon for them to kind of fixate on one person in the house to start with and it's usually, but not always, the person that does most of the feeding and walking etc and is around most of the time. This doesn't mean that she will always be your oh's dogs it just means that she's identified him as her 'safety' during the difficult transitional stage, she will start to relax and things will get easier for both of you.

At this point things need to be as relaxed as possible. Don't stress yourself taking her for walks if your oh has already done it, it's fine for her to spend the day chilling out with you acclimatising to her new environment and starting to relax. To gain confidence walking her, perhaps you can go along with dh a few times, watch how he handles her and then have a short try of being the lead holder yourself.

Short fun training sessions, preferably using a clicker (check out Kikopup on YouTube for some ideas) will really help too. Keep sessions really short and positive, teaching things like touch, leave, watch me. This will help her learn to focus on you and start to see you as a potential source of fun and treats. Also using these sessions for sit, down, wait etc can really help with basic training. I like to call them coffee break training, because they really are something you can do while you're waiting for the kettle to boil, they're that short and snappy.

Another tip is to always have some tasty treats in your pocket, so you can capture any behaviours you like (eg sitting nicely or keeping her paws on the floor instead of jumping up) and reward them.

Overall though, best advice, is don't panic, give it time and things will get better. It's really common to get stressed and have a bit of a panic shortly after getting a dog, be it a new pup or a rescue dog. If you search on here for last year's New Puppy Mummies threads you can see how even experienced dog owners can have a wibble during the first few weeks - I know I do, every time, but I'm testament to the fact you do get past it as I still end up having more dogs and have gone through it repeatedly over the past 20 plus years.

booksandwool Thu 04-Dec-14 17:18:52

Thank you for the support. I like the idea of doing short fun sessions with her - we can't really get to classes at the moment because the baby won't be left, but we could fit in fun with treats!
Yesterday did improve a bit - I'm working on my own habits, making sure I always discourage her from jumping up and just mark my own space nice and clearly, and she's actually very responsive to this (and I'm giving her lots of fuss on my terms). I think I need to be patient - it's really reassuring to hear that it's common to panic...

JoffreyBaratheon Fri 05-Dec-14 01:20:36

We got a rescue pup 5 weeks ago and I'd second what everyone here is saying about training classes. She has had 2 classes now and it really quickly strengthened our bond with her. My 12 year old son is the dog handler at classes as he wanted to do it and we wanted him to bond closely with her - but we have found it has bonded us all with her. Also the class is run by a qualified behaviourist/trainer so he addresses concerns and issues common to us - a bunch of people with rescue puppies of similar ages. It is great having the chance to hear other people's stories too - you realise you're not the only one finding some things hard to cope with.

EvenBetter Sat 06-Dec-14 12:08:00

Lurchers' nails are awful! There is a file on the dog training facebook page to stop jumping up, for rewarding all four paws on the floor.
The lurcher in my life loves having the inside of her thighs scratched, and they all love having their chest, inbetween their arms scratched, give her nice massages with the pads of your fingers, round her neck and shoulders when she's relaxed, talk crap to her in a funny voice, teach her to play find the toy.
One day soon you'll love her with fiery protectiveness and may only realise this when say, another dog tries to attack her, or she hurts a paw or something.

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