Not enjoying dog - tips, please?

(14 Posts)
ElizabethMountbatten Mon 29-Apr-19 08:33:16

Hello, I'm not really sure what I'm asking for....this might be a bit jumbled.

We have a 7 month old GSD girl. She's a good looking dog and can be very sweet. Full disclosure though - I'm not a dog person. I am a cat person. I don't dislike dogs and have lived with them before but I wouldn't choose to be a dog owner over being a cat owner. Husband loves dogs, GSD in particular. Grew up with them. Begged, along with the kids, to have one. I refused for years. His parents, lifelong GSD owners (who live abroad) also made the case for these particular dogs. That they're loving and well behaved and they don't smell bad. They're not destructive etc. I didn't want a big dog, but I was overruled on a smaller one so I dug my heels in and said no dog. Well, eventually I relented after years of gentle pushing and I even chose her myself. Except I feel I was drastically misled over the qualities of the breed! First of all, she stinks. A proper DOG smell. The type that clings to people's houses and clothes and has you identify them as a dog owner without ever seeing a dog. She has responded well to training, but she will misbehave a million times a day too. Not helped by my husband's letting her do things that I have said are not negotiable, such as laying all over the sofa and up onto people's beds. I don't want that. I don't want all the soft furnishings filthy and stinking. She's got her own bed and her own blankets. She is affectionate and sweet too, but she will not listen to a damn word I say when my DH is home and that is really hard to tolerate. It's like having a rude, entitled houseguest. She's out of her puppy bitey stage with all her adult teeth in and we taught her really good bite inhibition so she's great with playing with the kids. But in the last week, she's forced her way into the kitchen at night (sliding door) and taken my glasses off the counter and crunched them and their case to bits. Literally shattered the lenses to pieces and twisted the frames to beyond recognition. I can't drive until they're replaced! Yesterday I had some new shoes delivered for a wedding outfit. Took me forever to find them as they're really unique. Or, they were. I put them on top of our shoe rack and god only knows how she did it, but she's gotten them down and chewed them to pieces overnight. I'm just gutted and I feel I am not enjoying being a dog owner. She's got all her own toys- loads of different ones and they're all really accessible and we swap some out every few days so she's not bored. Some have got little treats in so she has to work out how to get them. But instead, she'd prefer to jump up onto the kitchen counter and destroy my glasses, or up to the top of our shoe rack, which is about as tall as she is on her hind legs, and chew up my new shoes, box and all. Do I just have to expect that my things are going to be destroyed? Will I grow to do more than simply tolerate her with some affection? I'm not mean to her, ever, and I fuss her and give her treats and walk and train her etc, but I don't feel the pull to get on the floor and cuddle her and have her slobber and writhe all over me like my DH and kids do. I'm worried that I'm just going to have 10 years or so of tolerating her, because I wouldn't send her away, that's cruel.

Help. Please. I need some tips so I don't feel like I'm not able to relax in my own home! I'm not mega house proud, I have three messy kids and an even messier DH, but I do think I should be allowed to draw the line on having the dog all over the soft furnishings at least!

OP’s posts: |
OverFedStanley Mon 29-Apr-19 08:46:44

I can help with the dog training but not the DH training and this is where your problem lies unfortunately.

Puppies will jump up and chew things so it is best to keep everything out of her reach and make sure she is in a safe environment. If you put your things away they will not get destroyed but you do have to make adjustments as you would having a toddler.

whateveryousay Mon 29-Apr-19 08:48:23

Hi. Hang in there! It’s the other way around in our house. After many years of persuading him, DH agreed to getting a gsd last year. We already have another dog, DH is at least a ‘dog person’.
DH did not bond with GSD at all, for months. They are very hard work as youngsters! We even had the conversation when GSD was 6 months, that if DH still didn’t bond, and merely tolerated by the time GSD turned 2, then we would rehome. (But I had faith!)
So GSD is now 15 months, and DH would rather lose a limb than rehome him. Stick with it, and wait and see. I have had GSDs before, so I knew what I was getting into, but I imagine they are a bit of a baptism of fire for first time owners.
Hope that helps!

Costacoffeeplease Mon 29-Apr-19 08:53:21

We have a rule that anything that gets chewed is the owner of the item’s fault for leaving it within reach. Also never let them chew old shoes or clothes as they can’t then tell the difference between new and old

You should have stuck to your guns if you didn’t want a dog but too late for that now, and yes, it’s your husband you need to train re getting on the furniture etc

At 7 months she’s still young, you still have to watch her and where she is and what she’s doing - she’ll probably settle at 18-24 months

AgathaF Mon 29-Apr-19 12:28:01

It's your DH that's the problem, giving her inconsistent boundaries. I can't really advise on that, you know him best. Do you go to training with her, have you read training books? If he hasn't then perhaps it's time to get him to so that he starts to understand that he's going about dog training in the wrong way.

The other thing that leaps out at me though is that your dog appears to have too much freedom, too soon. If she's able to open sliding doors then you need to get a lock on them so she can't. If she's not trustworthy when unattended then don't leave her unattended. That means either having a puppy proof room (utility?) for her to go in when you can't watch her and overnight, or perhaps a better option, a high-sided, spacious pen to put her in.

DerbyRacer Mon 29-Apr-19 12:41:35

Hi, could the dog smell be anything to do with diet? When my mum changed her dogs diet the strong smell she had went. She was a puppy at the time.

Welshie21 Fri 03-May-19 00:44:36

Sounds like the husband needs to get on the same page as you with the dog.
They need clear rules and both owners singing from the same hymn sheet, a lot like kids really. Having a no dog on the sofa and beds rule is a good rule, we have it here with our 2 dogs and we both stick to it.
Until you can firmly get the husband on side and sticking to the rules, the dog may just take advantage of the situation and do what she pleases knowing good and well it flies with your husband.

Unfortunately, eating your belongings is a thing that can last a while with dogs. Mine ate my brand new glasses, my make up and several items of clothing for some time before I learned to put stuff well out of the way. And they learned what is and isn’t theirs to chew on.
They’re 10 now and don’t destroy things, and haven’t for a very long time.
It sounds like you are doing a great job with your dog, walks, different toys, training, breaking the nibbling habit etc.
It just sounds like she is allowed free reign of your house and can do as she pleases.
Mine aren’t allowed upstairs at any time, mainly because when they’ve gone up there on the sly (someone didn’t shut the door properly before we popped out), they’ve ripped out the bathroom bin, knocked down a tv, a fish tank full of water and pretty much wrecked the bedroom, as they knocked the door shut and couldn’t get out. We were only out an hour, but it was long enough to cause insane damage.
Restricting your dog to just downstairs will help, when you go out, restrict your dog to one part of the house. Mine have the outhouse area and access to the kitchen only. It gives them boundaries and keeps them and my house safe. Although I’ve seen some scary things about dogs left in the kitchen, but I have a small house, there’s not much I can do. I do have a crate for them, but it was following an operation my one girl had and she needed restricting to recover. We’ve kept it up as she likes to go in there when she’s had enough of the kids. The door is permanently open. So crating can be a positive experience if you wanted to try that.
As for smells, plug ins are your best friend. Check they contain ingredients that are safe around pets and only use them in rooms where your dog isn’t shut in. Or even automatic air fresheners will help. Ensure all pet bedding is clean, carpets, rugs and soft furnishings may need a good clean too, plus febreze/pet odour neutralisers are fab too and find a really good groomer, if finances/availability allows, this will help keep smells down too. Unless you mean her poop or wind smells, then a gradual change of diet might be worth considering. Some foods can make dogs stink because it doesn’t agree with them.

I honestly think you will grow to love your dog more and more over time, maybe you won’t ever roll around the floor with her. Not everyone does. But there are plenty of stimulating, fun games you can play with her if you look online, it might take her mind off eating your belongings too. Honestly, as someone who grew up with a GSD and an owner of a collie/rottie cross and a Jack Russell for the past 10 years, I think dogs are absolute gifts and once you get beyond this tricky stage with her, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without her. Really hope you get on top of this and start enjoying your dog. Good luck.


BeerandBiscuits Sat 04-May-19 12:16:01

Behaviour sounds normal for a 7 month old dog.
GSDs are clever and you'll soon learn what mischief he can do and find strategies to thwart him.
My GSD was a fantastic stealth stealer when young. I'd turn my back for a few seconds in the kitchen and find something missing off the worktop and dog sitting quietly looking innocent. He managed to steal a whole egg out of a closed carton once, found still intact hidden in his bed.
I was once told by a dog trainer that if your dog chews something he shouldn't you should roll up a newspaper and beat yourself round the head for being stupid enough to leave it where he could get it smile.

Tumbleweed101 Wed 08-May-19 07:42:02

My pup is about 7mths now. I can trust him long enough to have a shower while his loose in the house but I still wouldn’t trust him not to chew things if I went out or overnight so he’s contained at those times in a safe area. Fortunately I’ve got a small dog so he can’t reach table and kitchen counters but I do have to make sure everything is out of reach if I want it to stay safe.

Quite a normal phase and pups become far more enjoyable as they calm down a bit if you just want a companion and not a whirlwind. I was ready for it this time - mentally ready for the chaos - so I’ve not found it too bad. Plus this time I made the choice of getting and choosing pup so I’ve enjoyed him lots more than when we got our previous dog (ex’s choice and we had a baby and toddler).

All that said... he has managed to destroy the paintwork on my bathroom door by getting himself trapped and scratching to get out and chewed the skirting by the back door 🙄.

As for sofas and beds. Beds are a definite no for me. Sofa was meant to be a no too but he’s like a cat and likes to curl up on my lap and I quite enjoy having cuddles...

Purplecatshopaholic Wed 08-May-19 15:04:21

She is young and she is clever. She needs boundaries, that you all stick to, and she needs training. She will calm down as she gets older. Seeing as sofas and beds were mentioned - I dont get why anyone has a dog then doesnt allow them on the furniture - my boy cuddles me on the sofa and sleeps in my bed - would not have it any other way!

FortunaMajor Wed 08-May-19 16:55:46

I have a 20 month GSD girl so can sympathise.

I also hate the break the news that your pup is going to get the first wave of hormones kicking in very soon if not already and this will make her behaviour worse for a time. She will start to display hormonal teen behaviour and will really start to test her boundaries and show selective deafness. Her training will look like it has gone out of the window. You need to get the rest of the family on board asap so you can have clear and consistent boundaries. GSD tend to bond to one person so whoever that is needs to be the most strong. She is probably going to be quite challenging for some months to come, however she is still a baby and has a lot of learning and development to do and there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is my third GSD and I knew what I was in for, but around 6 months ago I was at breaking point with her behaviour and could easily have given her away. It passes! Mine has been an angel for the past few months and is really starting to settle and calm down, she hasn't chewed anything she shouldn't for the past 6 months. It is not unusual for owners to feel this way at this stage. You have already got through the hardest part of puppyhood and there isn't that much more to go.

Keep up the training and the exercise, sounds like you have a lot of good things in place. Consider a house line (short lead she wears when inside) that you can easily use to remove her from furniture/ room for a short timeout. Don't make it a big deal, no attention/eye contact, just calmly lead her away. Try to ignore the bad, refocus to something good and reward the good stuff. She will start to do certain things to get attention/ have a reaction and will know which buttons to press. I won't lie, the next few months development wise are hard but it doesn't last forever. Be consistent and I promise it gets better. GSD are hard work for the first 2 years but then you get an amazing dog at the end of it.

For the smell make sure she is brushed regularly and consider getting her checked for skin conditions. It doesn't sound quite right to smell so much and agree with PP that it could be food related. GSD are know for skin conditions and delicate stomachs.

She sounds normal for a pup of that age and you sound normal for someone with a pup of that age. I am also not one for rolling round the floor with the dog and I don't allow free access to furniture (although I do allow the odd sofa cuddle). Do you have a German Shepherd club near you? Ours meets once a month for ages 6m+ and is an offlead play in a secure area. It gives owners chance to catch up and have a chat. It's a relief to know you are not alone in how you feel and are not the only one going through that stage of behaviour. If nothing breed specific local to you, a lot of places like training schools have a general offlead play time at weekends, open to all, where you can chat to other owners. Have you considered an activity that the two of you do together? Maybe something training related or flyball? Might be a way to bond.

Hang in there, puppies are hard but it gets better.

Scattyhattie Wed 08-May-19 20:50:25

If you are able to take her to training class or do some training games with her at home that may help strengthen your relationship. It should be rewarding & fun so dog chooses to offer right behavior rather than punishment/dominating, with breeds like GSD outdated training views are still very popular.
Real issue is the husband ignoring your wishes & providing inconsistent boundaries to the dog.

Diet can cause the doggy smell, most dogs only really smell when wet.

oarin1900 Wed 08-May-19 23:52:22

Maybe set a room aside that the dog isn't allowed into so you can at least retreat in there?

rosablue Thu 09-May-19 00:34:37

if your dh (and his family) have misled you over the basic characteristics of the dog, then I would start telling him that he promised you a dog that was well behaved, not smelly, etc etc. And that was the only reason that you agreed to this breed of dog, rather than a smaller different breed that would have been well behaved, not smelly etc etc.

As such he needs to do something about it - quickly (work out in your head how long you think you can last like this if nothing changes, whether that's a week, a month or a year or whatever). Point out that the dog is making your life a complete misery - which isn't good for you or the dog. As such, if he hasn't sorted out the problem within the time you can cope, you will be rehousing her - be that back with the breeders, a dogs home, his parents home or whatever good home you can find for her. Don't deviate from saying that this is what you will do.

And then hopefully this will put a serious rocket underneath your husband to sort himself and the dog out - and you won't be miserable anymore, your home will be safe and not liable to being ripped apart and your dog will be happier - whether it's with you or someone else.

I know a dog is supposed to be for life - but given you only agreed reluctantly to have the dog under certain conditions that have not been met - and had they told you the truth it doesn't sound like you would have agreed to have the dog, then there have to be consequences. IF they don't like them - tough. They shouldn't have lied. You sound at the end of your tether - you can't go on like this so something needs to be done.

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