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Rescue dog, day 2, feeling completely overwhelmed

(25 Posts)
ScrumpyBetty Sun 31-Jan-16 11:25:36

I mean I knew it would be hard but I wasn't prepared how hard. I feel like I have a newborn again as ddog (7 months) is so clingy, follows me everywhere, if I close the bathroom door to have a we she barks and cries. She slept in my room last night and was fine. We are crate training her and she is doing well, going in and out of her crate on her own, eating food and treats in there. But she won't be left in there, even for a second, she just starts to cry and bark.
She jumps on the kitchen counters! Very hyper and finds it hard to settle.
House training is a nightmare, trying to take her out every 15-30 mins and she will wee or poo as soon as she comes back in to the house!
I have a DS3 and DH is onboard and being helpful but I am in the 'oh fuck what have I done' stage, completely overwhelmed, please reassure me that it will get easier.

Floralnomad Sun 31-Jan-16 11:33:02

It will get better , although the following you around may not ,my dog is 5 and he still follows me everywhere all day - he comes in the loo with me as well . Do you know the background of this dog at all ? With the toilet training it's worth using a command word ( we use go quickly) so that the dog associates that word with what it's doing . Is the pup a chewer or are you crate training for some other reason as they really are not essential for dog ownership .

ScrumpyBetty Sun 31-Jan-16 11:38:59

I was told by the rescue that crate training would be a good idea so that ddog would have her own space when DS3 is around. Also, there will be one morning a week when both me and DH will be out at work and she will be left max 5 hours (with dog walker coming in after 2hrs) so crate training makes sense as yes she is a chewer and she jumps on the kitchen counters! Ddog is from Romania, abandoned as a pup, lived for the last 4 months in a shelter.

AnUtterIdiot Sun 31-Jan-16 12:00:12

IdiotDog follows me (or whoever is in) round the house a lot of the time but he learned to sleep downstairs without us. He's not in a crate but then he's also really not a chewer. He was also in a shelter for some time before we adopted him. He did cry a bit the first night but that was it. Did you try leaving your dog to see if she settled or do you go straight back to her if she cries?

AnUtterIdiot Sun 31-Jan-16 12:00:56

PS it absolutely will get easier

insan1tyscartching Sun 31-Jan-16 12:16:46

It will get better although Eric follows me everywhere even now at two. If I tell him I'm going to the loo he makes his own way there and waits for me to open the door hmm We never used a crate, Eric likes to be near us although he's absolutely ok to be left for three or four hours he just sleeps then. I think feeling overwhelmed is normal I remember feeling the same quite a few times now though, Eric is a definite positive in all our lives.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 31-Jan-16 12:35:37

We adopted a 7 month old (at a rough guess) spaniel last summer, he was hard very hard work to toilet train as he was used to just being able to go wherever and whenever. He had been on the streets, then in kennels then spent two weeks in a house before coming to us and, apart from in the foster home, I don't think he'd ever been trained. He still isn't 100% reliable now and if we go anywhere with a concrete floor he will it as an OK place to toilet (his training school is indoors with a concrete floor).

He is my limpet, wherever I go he wants to follow but I can now go to the loo or go about jobs around the house without him barking and whining but like insan1tyscartching Eric, Cop can now be left quite happily, with a stuffed frozen Kong, for 3-4 hours at a time.

When Cop came home I spent the first few days and weeks thinking "Shit! This is never going to work" but it has. Gone is the untrained, unsocialised, under-confident, needy, food obsessive pup and in his place is a loving, happy, thankful dog who is a joy to own.

Go to training classes, set firm, unchanging rules and stick to them you can always lighten up on the rules once the pup has settled. I think it has taken about six months for Cop to really feel like he thinks he is home to stay, until recently he seemed to view this house as just yet another temporary place to rest his head but now he knows it's his home.

Stick with it, it will be worth it. Honestly.

pigsDOfly Sun 31-Jan-16 13:31:39

It's really early days and you're bound to feel overwhelmed.

I had the easiest puppy imaginable and I still felt like that.

It's too early yet obviously, but it might be helpful after she's been with you and is beginning to settle to start leaving her on her own several times a day for very short periods: go out the front door, giving her a treat as you go, wait a couple of minutes then come back in.

She'll no doubt throw herself at you as if you been away to war or something but keep it very low key and treat her when she calms down a bit. Hopefully, she will eventually learn that you are coming back and she doesn't have to stick to you in case you disappear.

Sorry if I'm telling you something you already know but when I have my DD's dog to stay she follows me around like that and I find it quite difficult to deal with when she's in my face all the time so know how hard it can be.

My dog on the other hand is the complete opposite and generally takes herself off to what I think she see's as 'her room'. I worry about that as I wonder sometimes if she actually doesn't like me very much.

It will get easier. You'll being to understand each other and build a bond.

As pp said set the rules and stick with them in a kind and patient way and you'll get there.

ScrumpyBetty Sun 31-Jan-16 14:08:56

Thanks for all of the replies. Really, I'm so grateful!
hellhathnfury that's very reassuring, thank you. Please can you tell me what the firm unchanging rules that you all stick to are, I think I'd find that helpful.
Thank you everyone. We will stick with it! We had a wee outside earlier and I felt elated, and then he just did another one in ds's room, much to ds's dismay.

MaynJune Sun 31-Jan-16 14:31:08

It will get better, it's absolutely true, though there'll probably be steps back as well as forward.
I learned with a particularly clingy and nervous rehomed dog not to lavish too much affection on her. I was very affectionate but tried to call her over to be petted rather than let her insist and I'm sure it helped, though it was hard!
Be as calm and consistent as you can.
I don't let my dogs on the couch now. That's just my preference but it might help with the clinginess. Some dogs are fine up on the couch beside you being stroked all the time but it made mine clingier. She learned to love her beanbag in the living-room.
One thing I had to do in the early months was go out every day and leave her, just for a short while. If I didn't she was even worse when I did leave her.
She was my most beloved dog in the end and was with me for over fourteen years. I hope yours works out as well.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 31-Jan-16 14:39:41

I think rules are probably individual to each home but we had no pushing through doors before being told it was OK (that took many hours of standing at a door, with my hand on the handle, waiting for him to sit, then once he did that, opening the door a crack, if he got up to dash through I'd shut the door quickly, this was repeated ad infinitum before he got the hang of it and now sees us go to open a door, sits and waits until he's told it's OK to go through).

Reward eye contact: We spent time just working on getting eye contact, eye contact is huge with dogs they need to learn to look at us for guidance. We sat with a handful of treats, showed them to the dog then held them in a fist. At first he would dig, paw and nuzzle at our hand but the second he gave eye contact we said good and rewarded him. Eye contact was one of the first things we worked on as it is key to lots of other things. Our other two dogs were 8 weeks old when they came to us and eye contact seemed to come naturally to them but Cop was used to being his own boss and had to learn to communicate with us. Does all this sound a bit woo? I'm sure it probably does but for us cracking eye contact with him was huge. There's an article about eye contact here.

Food: we worked for weeks on manners over food, at first he had to be on a lead so he didn't lunge for the bowl and swallow it whole, we gradually built up to where he gives eye contact now before being told 'eat it'.

Toileting: we limited his access of other rooms until we'd got some where in the battle to toilet train. Clean up any accidents with a solution of biological washing powder or liquid as it helps to eliminate the odour and stops them thinking that that area is an OK place to toilet.

Leaving them: We did what pigsDOfly suggests, leave a room, wait for a few seconds then go back in and treat but I didn't reward if he was barking/whining. We then extended it to leaving the house.

We have had two dogs before Cop and we got him as a companion for our collie, in the early days I honestly thought I would only ever tolerate him as he was such hard work, in fact I was slightly scared of him but I have to say that he is the most rewarding, loving dog that I have ever owned. He has an extra special place in my heart and I am very glad he came to live with us.

Do your rescue offer follow up help? Lots do so it might be worth investigating.

ScrumpyBetty Sun 31-Jan-16 14:40:58

That's really useful * MaynJune* thank you. She has been sitting next to me in one of the sofas in the kitchen, but the nice sofas in the lounge we are not letting her in. I have been trying to leave her for a minute or two, she whines and barks and I try not to make a big deal when I go back in!

ScrumpyBetty Mon 01-Feb-16 18:08:41

Help, I've had a really hard day with ddog and I am wondering if I can do it, I was on the verge of contacting the rescue this afternoon to tell them I couldn't do it. She goes crazy if we leave her alone but I can't handle her and DS when I am on my own at home, DS is 3 and had a huge tantrum today and ddog went mental as well and I went in to the kitchen and had a sob and wondered if it was worth it.
We have so many issues...she barks randomly in the night....don't even get me started on toilet training....barks at random things in the house, other dogs and people outside, she is very hyper and finds it difficult to settle down, she jumps on kitchen work tops....and the biggest issue for me is not being able to leave her even for a minute. I tried leaving her in her crate for a few minutes today and she went mental, chucking herself against the bars and barking and crying! I feel completely out of my depth, I don't know what to do.

JohnCusacksWife Mon 01-Feb-16 18:40:09

Look at things from her perspective...she's never lived in a house before so is experiencing all sorts of new and scary things - the telephone, television, washing machine, Hoover etc. She doesn't yet know or trust you and she's probably feeling very unsettled. You've got to give her time to settle and become used to things. Start be reinforcing the behaviour that you want. If she's standing calmly give her a treat. If she lies down quietly give her a treat. There are some great training videos on YouTube. The Kikopup channel has a good one on counter surfing - check that out. Perhaps you should also book a few sessions with a trainer to give you some confidence and get you on the right track. Getting a new dog is never easy so please don't give up on her after only a few hours.

Booboostwo Mon 01-Feb-16 19:05:32

I am sorry if this sounds harsh but whatever possessed you to get an older puppy that had spent its life on the streets/in kennels? This was always going to be a very challenging dog. She jumps on counters because that is where the food is, she is clingey because she's extremely unsettled and has never had a home before, she barks at night because in the kennels they all barked at night and toilet training will take weeks in some rare cases months.

Get her some Adaptil and Zylkene for a start, talk to your vet about Prozac if neither of those help. Arm yoursel with loads to treats and accept that for the new few months she will be your priority. Never leave her unsupervised with your DCs at all. The separation anxiety is potentially your most difficult problem but she'll need some time to settle before you can assess this one.

AnUtterIdiot Tue 02-Feb-16 18:37:37

"I am sorry if this sounds harsh but whatever possessed you to get an older puppy that had spent its life on the streets/in kennels?"

It does sound a little bit harsh. OP is struggling a bit and is doing the right thing, i.e. coming to a forum of experience for advice rather than taking the dog back to the rescue and complaining that it doesn't work properly. If people think they're going to be criticised for choosing the dog they're trying to train then they're less likely to ask for advice and potentially more likely to give up.

Booboostwo Tue 02-Feb-16 18:59:35

I felt frustrated because the OP seems to be at her wits end with behaviour that is completely typical of the type of dog she has chosen to rehome. If you chose a very challenging dog then you will have to deal with the challenges - complaining two days in is a bit weird.

I'd place equal responsibility on the so called rescue who lumped her with this dog without telling her what to expect and without ensuring she had enough experience to deal with a difficult dog.

Scuttlebutter Wed 03-Feb-16 00:25:22

OP, you might find it very useful if you haven't already to look up Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, a dog trainer, who has written extensively about the challenges of taking on a street dog and trying to help them adapt to life as a pet. Here is a ink{ } to her website which gives info as well on the dog book (available through Amazon). She has an excellent understanding of the behavioural issues these dogs face.

ScrumpyBetty Wed 03-Feb-16 07:29:45

Thank you for replies. scuttle I will look buy the book, it looks good.

Valid points booboo - yes I was naive I suppose. I guess it's a bit like when you have a baby, you don't realise how hard it will be until you actually have it.
Likewise, with ddog, I thought I was prepared for how hard it would be but of course I didn't realise the complete feelings of panic and overwhelming 'what the hell is going on' until ddog got here! She is settling down a little bit, we of course have a long way to go and I will post back later.
Thank you. Xx

Booboostwo Wed 03-Feb-16 07:51:10

Glad to hear things are a bit better. Get her to training classes, the instructor should be able to help.

For the sake of anyone else thinking of a street dog rescue it's worth considering that you are not just re homing a puppy/dog but a challenging puppy/dog that has had a bad start to life. You should expect more issues, e.g. Food guarding because the dog has had to fight for its food, fear at common household noises because the dog has never heard them before, no understanding of rules like not jumping up on kitchen surfaces because the dog has never come across them before, fear of other dogs because so far they have been rivals for food, fear of certain types of people who may remind the dog of people who have abused her, recall problems and separation anxiety. The dog will have missed out on the first weeks of its life with its mother and the socialisation period, all of which lead to problems.

ScrumpyBetty Wed 03-Feb-16 09:37:49

Yes all very true booboo -the rescue that I adopted her from completely minimised how hard it was going to be. I expressed concerns to them about what ddog will be like on the days that I am working and they basically told me that it was common sense, to walk ddog before work and tire her out, to crate train her, leave her with toys and that she will be fine. So I had this idea in my mind that this is what it would be like and now I realise it's not going to happen- she goes mad if I leave her in crate for even a minute. I still have no idea what will happen when I do have to go back to work in 10 days. She will be left 5hrs max with a dog walker coming in after 2hrs but I think it will be a real problem.
I will look in to getting some adaptil and zyklene.

I do wish I had been warned more about what a challenge it would be. Yes it was up to me to research and give it serious thought but the rescue did paint a very rosy picture. Its especially hard with my 3 year old on the days when I'm alone with both of them. Ddog needs almost constant supervision and obviously with a 3 year old I can't give that.

Booboostwo Wed 03-Feb-16 10:27:34

The rescue sounds completely irresponsible, but I don't have much time for oversees rescues.

Getting a dog always involves a bit of luck but for the best chance of getting it right look for a rescue that fosters, ideally with a family, a puppy who has been with his mum and litter mates for at least 6wks, has a mum with a good temperament and can be socialised from 8 to 14wks.

AnUtterIdiot Wed 03-Feb-16 10:40:52

Booboo - I see where you're coming from, but I sometimes think it's worth sitting on the frustration to give the advice.

OP - how is she if you leave her alone for a few minutes when she's not in her crate? Or do you feel that you can't because of the toilet training issues? Not all dogs take to being crated if they weren't crated as puppies.

TheoriginalLEM Wed 03-Feb-16 10:49:35

its day 2! she has come over from abroad so assuming she has been through the mill - you are expecting too much! Of yourself and of the dog - so she likes the crate, excellent, don't push it - does she have to be locked in there ever, no. So she goes in through choice - you lock her in and she wont go! The crate needs to be her sanctuary not her prison.

Don't tell her off if she toilets indoors, just take some time to get to know what she does when she needs to go - she might circle and sniff, or just walk up and down. That is the time to let her in the garden and then if she toilets don't make a big fuss, just reward her quietly. Making a fuss will startle her, so just a food reward.

I think food is going to be your friend here. Have treats on hand to reward good behaviour, ignore the favour you don't want.

None of these issues are going to be solved over night but she will settle down over time.

Now of course, i'd like to offer more help, but can't really do that without Pictures.

Oh and what you are experiencing is entirely normal - every new dog owner thinks OMFG what have i done (it comes and goes for a few weeks yet!)

AnUtterIdiot Wed 03-Feb-16 10:54:54

they basically told me that it was common sense, to walk ddog before work and tire her out, to crate train her, leave her with toys and that she will be fine

Not impressive. But then we once adopted a dog who we were assured had been cat tested and was cat safe, and she really, really wasn't. It worked because we could keep them separated but I would never use that rescue again.

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