Adjusting to life with rehomed dog

(18 Posts)
broccolicheesebake Tue 27-Nov-18 15:00:17

Hope I'm not in for a flaming! Just need to let some steam out and hopefully have people tell me this is normal.

A few days ago we bought home two rescue dogs (we weren't looking for two necessarily but these came as a pair - lived together and had a bond). This wasn't an impulse thing, I'd been thinking and researching for years. I knew exactly what I was doing. And in actual fact the dogs themselves are easier in many ways than I was expecting. Small breeds that snooze most of the time. Some issues with one of them being aggressive with other dogs and the odd toileting issue but that's no problem and I'm getting help with the aggression stuff.

It's my emotional response that has knocked me sidewise! I've had real sicky butterfly feelings, tears and feel like I'm struggling to bond with them. I was physically shaking one night as one dog was barking and I was panicking they'd go on all night (they didn't). This all sounds pathetic and ridiculous and I didn't anticipate feeling like this at all. Wtf? It's pure anxiety I think (at the responsibly of it all?). I couldn't do any more to prepare, on a practical level so no idea where this response has come from. Anyone else? Do I just run with it and it'll pass?

(dogs settling well, being fed watered and lots of fuss.... They're such lovely dogs)

OP’s posts: |
RatherBeRiding Tue 27-Nov-18 15:06:17

Have you had dogs before?

Maybe for now you should forget about "bonding" and concentrate on simply looking after them - feeding, watering, walking, training etc. In time their personalities will emerge and they will recognise you as their Hooman and be thrilled to see you and want to interact with you.

That's when you are likely to feel the emotional connection.

It can take a while - I've got horses and dogs and with any new animal it takes a while to get to know their personality and feel like you have that bond with them.

I think, too, with rescue animals you don't really know what you are getting, and it can be slightly nerve-wracking until you've both adjusted to each other and you feel confident they're not going to trash the house or something like that! (On my 3rd rehomed/rescue dog now so I recognise the initial feelings of anxiety).

user1488204592 Tue 27-Nov-18 15:09:05

Not sure what to say about your reaction- do you often react badly to change? Could it be that perhaps after years of research you've put a lot of pressure on yourself for everything to go perfectly?

They sound lovely. In my experience with bonded dogs' one does tend to be slightly more aggressive than the other. Perhaps this is their attempt to protect the weaker of the two. But, great that you're getting help with this.

I would run with it and it'll pass. When you've had dogs from puppies, it does feel easier to bond, because they're small, cute and vulnerable. It took a lot of time for me to bond with my rescues, one of my first ones I actually found quite intimidating. But eventually, when they start to trust you it does come- I guess it just takes time.

Thinking back to it, I really was not keen on one of my rescues. She was a ball of anxiety. I could barely do any training with her initially because she was so wired. Now she has settled in she is absolutely wonderful, sleeps most of the day; right by my side.

It does get better and it is worth the effort. Stay strong and as clam as you can!

Bunnybigears Tue 27-Nov-18 15:10:42

Walk them until their legs are dropping off then walk them some more. A tired dog is a happy dog.

BiteyShark Tue 27-Nov-18 15:16:21

I can't comment on the emotional side with a rescue but it took a long time (months) for me to bond with my puppy. Others have spoke of anxiety and similar feeling again with a puppy.

I think it's just the massive change where you are now responsible for them and it feels overwhelming at first.

My advice would be just to keep going and don't worry too much about how you feel.

Littlefrog99 Tue 27-Nov-18 15:24:32

You're not bonkers for feeling like that. A bond will take time to forge, just like it would with another person. They may be wary of you and a bit unsettled after staying in a rescue centre. We sometimes assume that there will be an instant loving connection with rescues who are just grateful to be homed but the reality can be far from that. Many rescues are returned as they just don't 'fit their new home. Give it a few weeks and if you still aren't bonding with them give the rescue centre a call. There's no shame in returning them if it's not working out.

missbattenburg Tue 27-Nov-18 15:45:44

Do I just run with it and it'll pass?

I very much suspect so.

Bonding takes time - like, weeks or months. Just like when forming a friendship with a human, you all need time to get to know and trust each other. Only then ca you relax enough to see all the cute and funny things they do and love them for it.

It also takes time to get the know them properly so that you learn when to worry and when not to. You get to learn how they behave in different circumstances and how to alter that behaviour to something you want.

My advice is to try and go easy on yourself. Make sure they are fed, watered and walked and try (if you can) to find fun things to do with them. But otherwise try not to stress too much about whether or not you love them - that will come.


broccolicheesebake Tue 27-Nov-18 15:54:46

Thank you! Have had dogs growing up but not been responsible for one as an adult. I think as a pp said, it's the years of expectation and then overwhelming responsibility hitting when we took the plunge.

Dogs are so lovely - a chi and a jug. Basically just snooze alot between bursts of running around garden. But I feel like I'm going through the motions looking after them rather than feeling any connection (yet).

I've read so much about needing to research and be in right circumstances etc, which I did. I've waited and waited until the time was right but I'm just not feeling it emotionally. sad

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Flatasmytitties Tue 27-Nov-18 15:56:41

I think its a bit like parenting. The reality of it is do daunting and overwhelming at times that it can block the other emotional responses.

I found with ddog that I expected to love it straight away but actually I didn't.. but then when it came... it was far more intense than I imagined! Ddog is absolutely family now.. Not just a pet.

BiteyShark Tue 27-Nov-18 16:50:06

I've read so much about needing to research and be in right circumstances etc, which I did. I've waited and waited until the time was right but I'm just not feeling it emotionally.

I did so much research before getting my puppy as well but it was only months after that I can honestly say I started to love him. Wouldn't be without him now but I definitely wasn't one of those people who say they fell in love with them straight away. I do wonder if when you make the sensible decision with your head that it can take a while for your heart to catch up.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Tue 27-Nov-18 20:39:38

Yep, absolutely normal! It'll come in time, don't worry. It's a massive life change even if the dogs are easy, but you get used to them faster than you think you will. (Have a look for my rescue survival thread somewhere on here.)

TheHodgeoftheHedge Tue 27-Nov-18 21:38:03

Big hugs. It’s a huge life change and been a long time in coming. Others have given good advice.

I have to admit though I’m pretty shocked that a rescue would rehome two dogs at once with someone who’s never had a dog as an adult before. That’s a very big undertaking for someone with no real experience, even if they are small dogs.

broccolicheesebake Wed 28-Nov-18 07:57:29

Thank you all. As this is first dog owning experience, it's first time dealing with rescues but on reflection I think alot could have been handled better (by the rescue and perhaps by me being more assertive). Firstly, because dogs suitable for children get rehomed very quickly, you feel pressure to show interest in any that become available. These dogs ticked alot of boxes, so I showed interest and was advised to apply. That led to very quick home check and then a meeting after which we took them home. So basically we had a half hour meeting with dogs to make a lifetime decision. Is this just how it works? On reflection, I should have insisted on 2-3 meetings before committing but just went along with rescues procedures. I've approached the rescue for help with behaviour but not heard anything back,which makes me feel completely alone with it (though I do have a friend who is helping). I think rescues in general could maybe give more warning about the emotional adjustment in this situation. Practical things, I was very prepared for but the emotional side has knocked me sideways and nobody warned me about that even though from reading this thread it is very normal to struggle a bit.

Thanks again x

OP’s posts: |
Flippetydip Wed 28-Nov-18 16:41:55

I wrote pretty much exactly the same post as you about 18 months ago (when we brought home our rescue greyhound). I was all set to take her back despite her being the easiest dog ever. I was just emotionally bowled sideways, terrified, couldn't eat, kept crying etc. One night about 2 weeks in, I had a big weep and said we'd have to send her back then woke up the next morning like she'd always been there and felt fine.

18 months on and we are all totally besotted and I can't imagine life without her. It will pass I'm absolutely sure.

broccolicheesebake Wed 28-Nov-18 21:48:32

Thank you flip. Sounds like an almost identical reaction. I have passed the intense anxiety I had for a few days but still have a 'wtf have I done' feeling hanging over me. sad

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Honeyroar Thu 29-Nov-18 00:24:17

We've had four rescues in the last decade. I can seriously say that with all of them I've had a "what have I done!" moment in the early days. It's natural. You've all got to know each other, they've got to find their feet and feel safe (hence the barking and aggression probably). Just keep looking after them, keep walking them, leave them to settle in. One day soon you'll be sitting reading or watching tv and one of them will lie alongside you and put a head or paw on you while they snooze and you'll look down and realise that you really love this little creature.

Yes the rescue could have slowed things down a bit, but I think that you sound like you'll be ok. Just give it time.

broccolicheesebake Thu 29-Nov-18 09:49:12

Thanks for reassurance! I am not overly impressed with rescue. I sought advice from them for some behaviour stuff and they basically told me to find a local trainer hmm. Which is fine, I will do some classes after Christmas. But just a little bit of support whilst I am a novice owner and struggling would have been nice...

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LizzieBennettDarcy Thu 29-Nov-18 09:53:42

When I brought my current dog home, after about 4 hours I had the strongest feeling of "oh god what have I done" and really panicked. It took a few weeks to get used to him being there, and it was hard work to start with as he was unsure and anxious just as I was.

That bond will come. Mine is currently lead on my feet under my desk at work and he never goes anywhere without me. He's my shadow and my greatest love sorry DH. We're getting a puppy next month and I'm already feeling anxious about that more than excited. Don't be so tough on yourself flowers

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