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Do you regret getting a dog? :(

(44 Posts)
Scarlet6 Sun 02-Oct-16 03:26:27

I've always been in love with dogs. I understand that it is a lifetime responsibility and I've done so much research these past years. We just moved to Gothenburg, Sweden. Just as we were looking for a dog, my friend told me he got a 10 month old puppy and couldn't take care of her for personal reasons. He only had her for about 2-3 days. He told me everything there is to know about her (it's complicated ). So I decided to take her in.

She's an American Staffordshire, which I think is not the ideal breed to have as a first time owner. She's extremely playful and smart (taught her 2 commands in just a day).
She is a challenge. Excessive pulling on leash (my arms are bruised from the pulling), growling, barking and trying to lunge at other dogs and people who visit us. She is okay with people outside and may greet them if she's in the mood, but she has a problem with anyone coming in the house.

I've had her for a week. I walk her everyday for 1.30 hours (secluded area) and I take her out to potty 3 times or more. I've been trying to use positive reinforcement which did help with the leash pulling. But I am exhausted and I always expected my first dog to be a lot calmer and easier!

I look at other dogs just walking calmly by their owners and I feel jealous and sad she can't experience this.

It's like my privacy has somehow been violated. I haven't been sleeping well. It's 4 AM and I am crying. The other day I went to get some groceries, I came back after 20 minutes and she came running to me like it's been forever and started licking/hugging/following me everywhere. Leaving her makes me feel guilty and I do like her .. but it's too much.

I want to get her to a dog school but they are taught in swedish only and I barely started taking a language course.. What do I do?

Did any of you ever feel this way and did you act on it?

stonecircle Sun 02-Oct-16 05:22:24

We've got3 dogs and 2 cats and I can honestly say with each of them for the first few weeks I've gone through an 'OMG what have we done' phase and secretly wished we hadn't taken them on. Middle dog was particularly challenging and I really did think we'd made a huge mistake with him. I love him - and all of them - to pieces. You need to get past that point where they feel like a stranger in your home. We've had our 3rd dog 2 months and I'm just about through the 'what have we done' phase. And she does a lot of launching too!

Training classes were going to be my first suggestion but I see the difficulty! There must be plenty of advice on line though. Where we are in the U.K., if you Google dog training you'll get a lot of people offering one to one training. Might be worth having a look to see if you can find someone who speaks English?

A week isn't long at all and he's still very young. I don't know the breed at all I'm afraid but hopefully someone who does will answer your post soon.

MaitlandGirl Sun 02-Oct-16 06:02:27

Have you tried walking the dog with a step through harness? They're a godsend with the stronger breeds. Make sure to get one with a lockable latch to stop it snapping open.

Am Staffs are great dogs, provided they have a good temperament. Otherwise there's a lot of dog with a very strong jaw and that leads to a lot of damage.

I walk my pit bull on a close lead with treats in my pocket. It took a good amount of training (in the house and back/front yards) to learn heel before I was confident with him outside.

Have a look for books on positive reinforcement behaviour/training methods and avoid anything by Caesar Milan.

MaitlandGirl Sun 02-Oct-16 06:04:37

Forgot to say - I cried everyday for the first few months we had our youngest dog. He's a total live wire and very different from our oldest dog (same breed) but it's worth it. Things will settle down once your dog realises you're coming back after you go out. There's been a big upheaval so the pup is probably pretty unsettled

Scarlet6 Sun 02-Oct-16 07:28:57

Stonecircle- I've alwayd been a cat person ... I've babysit and fostered kittens and I appreciate the space they give you. Having 3 dogs is one hell of a challenge but it's probably worth it.
You're right. It's only been a week and tbh it feels like more. I don't want to give her up or rehome her, because she seems like she has potential. My only concern is her aggression towards people's dogs and that's why I've been scared of taking her to the vet. confused I'm going to have to ask my vet about trainers who speak English.

Maitland, I'm relieved that it's not just me, crying over a new pet. She is such a sweetie to us at home but a total monster outside. I desperately do need this harness (she's strong for a 10 month old). She's a total sucker for treats so hopefully I'll use this to my advantage. I heard a lot of hype about Caeser Milan, haven't had the chance to look into it. shock

Also, do any of you crate-train your dogs? I'm thinking I really should.

PikachuSayBoo Sun 02-Oct-16 07:52:50

I think having a new dog, especially a first dog can be like a form of postnatal depression. I remember the dog waking me at 6am and I cried as I thought this is it for ever. Not just the early waking but the overhwhelming commitment of having to plan your life around a dog.

Of course I got used to the dog ownership and lived the dog and when she died unexpectedly we had another dog within a week as the house felt so empty. And then we were kind of back to square one with an untrained, crazy dog. It does get better.

phillipp Sun 02-Oct-16 07:54:46

About a week in, I felt totally overwhelmed by my puppy. Especially as she hadn't had her last injections so couldn't go out.

I felt awful leaving her, even for an hour and didn't leave her at all for the first 10 days.

It is over whelming.

However please really think about this. How many homes has this dog had? Your friend got her at 10 months, had she had another owner before that?

You have a dog that has had at least 3 homes so far (breeder, friend, you) perhaps more. That's going to bring its own issues. She really needs someone who is going to give her, her forever home.

PikachuSayBoo Sun 02-Oct-16 07:55:36

Do positive reinforcement as much as possible for the aggression to other dogs. So high value treats offered as soon as you see another dog. You need to get your dogs attention on you and the treats before they notice the other dog. Keep treating and praising until other dog has gone away.

If your dog loses focus and starts lunging then you say no firmly and using the lead put your dog behind your legs. That's what my trainer taught me with my second dog who was initially dog aggressive. Worked quickly.

miserablemoo Sun 02-Oct-16 08:44:35

Took me over a year to not feel like I had made a huge mistake. I wouldn't be without him now but as a young dog he was so hard work. It can feel so overwhelming. If she is food motivated always have a treat to hand and reward positive behaviour and ignore the bad.

She will worm her way into your heart without realising it and all the time you put into her training will pay off once she matures a little. She will be heading into her teenage phase which means things will go backwards a little bit but she will get there with time.

I crate trained but did so as a pup. At 10 months old she might not take to it. I got rid of his crate when he was about 15 months old.

Good luck

kilmuir Sun 02-Oct-16 08:49:31

Avoid Caesar Milan!!!!
Have you checked out breed relevant Facebook pages, webpages. Owners will have lots of advice.
You need a harness for walking.

reallyanotherone Sun 02-Oct-16 08:57:44

I'd try the training class. Most swedes ime have at least some english, and it will bring your swedish on! Plus there are a lot of hand gestures in training so won't all be verbal.

Can you pop along and observe a class and ask some questions? Or email?

Wonderflonium Sun 02-Oct-16 09:13:28

I know it's hard with the language barrier (I live in Denmark), but go to the classes anyway. Swedes pride themselves on their English ability and will translate when you get super stuck.

Plus, the stuff they will be doing in the classes will have a very basic vocabulary set and lots of demonstration.
You'll pick it up. Some of it will be lost in translation but as long as the trainer isn't a total prick, they'll look after you.

pigsDOfly Sun 02-Oct-16 14:04:55

It's very early days and, as you say, it's not the easiest dog for a first time owner.

Over the years that I've been coming on the Dog House there have been so many posters who feel like you do at the beginning, you're not alone in feeling a bit panicky.

Agree with pp, try going to the training classes. Personally, I found classes made all the difference to me between muddling along and understanding how to train my dog. Find a small one and you might find that the trainer, although talking to everyone else in Swedish, might be quite happy to speak to you in English. Although as a pp said it might really help improve your Swedish if you had to try to follow the class; the instructions tend not to be complicated anyway. Or perhaps one to one training might work for you.

I know American Staffs are tough dogs but she still very young and one and half hour's walking a day sounds an awful lot. I'd cut it down to about half of that and see if that helps to calm her down a bit. Perhaps do more of the training you're doing with her, brain work is really good exercise for a puppy and will tire her out in a better way than just walking.

I think most new owners have 'what the hell have I done' moments and those lovely calm dogs you see walking with their owners tend not to be young puppies but are older dogs who have had a lot of work put into them.

Don't give up, keep on keeping on and you'll get there in the end.

frumpet Sun 02-Oct-16 18:55:11

My first dog was a rescue , spent the first six months wishing I hadn't got him and the next 10 and a half years loving him to bits , felt the same about my children wink The early days are tough going but more often than not worth it in the end .

Scarlet6 Sun 02-Oct-16 19:12:00

Thank you guys so much for all the advice you gave me. I'm going to call every trainer and school until I can hopefully (maybe) get some form of professional help.
And yes, she desperately needs a harness. I'm going to try walking her less and see if that makes any difference.

She isn't as tense as she was before. However, today we left her for about 2 hours and we came back home to find her all over us and jumping hysterically. I don't know if this is separation anxiety or part of her personality? It's the first time she's been left alone.

Seeing all of you guys with happy dogs ag home really gives me hope. smile

PikachuSayBoo Sun 02-Oct-16 19:17:11

My dog jumps all over me hysterically when I get home. Even if ive been out for ten minutes. I try and ignore her.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Sun 02-Oct-16 19:19:16

There's tonnes and tonnes of stuff on YouTube, the trainer we're working with just now is on facebook and posts lots of good stuff too: www.facebook.com/lds1875/?fref=ts

It sounds like you are at home quite a lot of the time, so instead of doing really long walks and trying to do everything at once, try breaking the day down into little tiny training sessions. So get the lead on and practise loose lead work in the hall, or the garden, or the street outside, for five minutes. Then a couple of hours later do a game or practise something else.

We only got the dog six weeks ago, DH travels for work and this is the first time he's been away since the dog arrives and I am totally overwhelmed with him this weekend. It just feels like I've gone from having a lot of freedom (DS is 11 and fairly independent) to being tied down to this routine again. I would have given anything not to have had to walk him this morning! But I think it's OK and totally part of the process.

Go to the training classes too! Swedes mostly have good English and most will relish the chance to practise, you'll end up with a wee dog walking language exchanging friendship circle in no time!

frumpet Sun 02-Oct-16 19:20:46

If it is any consolation , with my old dog , I was the one who walked the legs off him , fed him , loved him within an inch of his life , DH did nothing , nada , sweet fa and yet when he walked through the door you would honestly think the second coming had occurred , dog was all over him , bouncing up and down like a yoyo , doing massive destructive laps of the garden ( DDog has been dead over a year and still no lawn to speak of !) Dogs being pleased to see you , in a giddy as a kipper, mad as a box of frogs way is not unusual smile

miserablemoo Sun 02-Oct-16 22:39:12

Frumpet my boy is the same. I do everything but it is DH that he adores.

He also jumps up op which I really don't like. He is ignored until he calms down. Then he gets a biscuit and a cuddle.

GinBunny Sun 02-Oct-16 22:46:59

Agree with what others have said - ignore her when you get in until she calms down then greet and treat, she'll soon learn that this calm behaviour is what gets rewards.

SausageDogGeorge Mon 03-Oct-16 13:49:49

I really feel for you! We've had our puppy for 5 months now (he's 7 months old) and I love him when he's sitting nicely and is calm but he barks hysterically if we leave him in the kitchen (but only when we're in the next room and he can hear us - otherwise he's fine). He chews and destroys everything, pulls on the lead and is just such hard work. I regret getting him, especially as I'm now 5 months pregnant, and it overwhelms me but theres no way my other half would allow us to re-home him as he only sees him being good when he gets home from work. We try and train him and he does respond but then seems to forget it all.
I really wish I hadn't got him but its too late now. Hope you find a solution, sorry can't offer any advice or help though.

Scarlet6 Mon 03-Oct-16 17:37:46

I also do all the work with my puppy. She's very strong, and so she pulls very hard on the leash. It has been getting better though. She's calmer on morning walks than evening walks for some reason. She's also absolutely terrified of the rain - so I will also have to work on that.

SausageDogGeorge congratulations on being pregnant! I really don't know if I should keep her or keep trying with her. My family really like her but they don't see her outside the house. I love her but I'm under a lot of pressure. I want her to be better tbh because with her behavior it would be very hard to find her a forever home. It overwhelms me sometimes to the point where I stay up at night thinking.

I'm going to try my best though, she deserves that.

AtTheEndofTheRoad Mon 03-Oct-16 21:55:16

You've only had her a very short while and you've adopted her in the middle of doggy adolescence. It won't always be like this, although it might feel like it just now. It's very early days and there is lots of good help about. Try Turid Ruggaas for pulling on lead. ( on kindle)

Scarlet6 Tue 04-Oct-16 16:57:40

I went to get something from my bedroom and came back to find ripped plastic bags and food eaten out of the (now empty) garbage ... sad
She also accidently scratched my little sister today while greeting her (with all the excited jumping).

PikachuSayBoo Tue 04-Oct-16 17:00:08

My dog will get dds used sanitary towels out a bin given half a chance and chew them up and leave shredded bits around the house. Had to get a lidded bin.

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