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Need advice- rescue dog and I’m stressed!(10 Posts)
I have had my 3 year old JRT cross rescue for a few weeks. I’ve had lots of ups and downs as he’s basically untrained (apart from toileting) and has separation anxiety (I’ve written a few threads of here recently!) and I was extremely naive as to how much work and stress it would as well as looking after a toddler. Anyway the last week or so I’ve felt quite positive but i had a bad afternoon and just need to some advice.
Because ddog has separation anxiety and I can’t go out at the moment, we are having people come to us (so I don’t go crazy and DS has company as this has been a big change to our usual lifestyle). This afternoon my friend and her two girls came over. I don’t know if it was because it was particularly boisterous with the 3 children here but ddog couldn’t settle, he was wandering around, picking up DS toys (small plastic things) and destroyed a couple when I wasn’t looking. He also started chewing a chair leg and an ottoman leg (which he’s never done before). I tried putting him in his bed with a kong but because he is untrained he doesn’t know ‘stay’ and wouldn’t settle. I tried separating him from the children via the kitchen stair gate (with me and friend in kitchen) but he was barking to be let out to them. Eventually when they had dinner and it was a bit calmer he got into his bed but was chewing his feet. I know they can do this when bored or stressed. When everyone left he immediately got up on the sofa with me and settled.
I had taken him for a 50 min walk this am, we did some training in the garden, played with toys, I scattered some treats in the garden for him to find and I groomed him. So I think he had enough stimulation not to be bored or is that not enough? Also we did give him attention when everyone was here but was like he just wanted more and more.
I am thinking that it was actually all too much for ddog and too early days to have that level of activity in his new home (although we have had them here before as well as other friends and children) so I won’t be doing it again in a hurry, but why was he biting the furniture? I have so many worries about it all and now I’m thinking when we eventually start leaving him (months down the line probably) we don’t just has to worry about him barking but chewing as well.
Sorry for the long post. There will probably be more to come as the weeks go on as well! 🙈
Chewing is calming, it releases endorphins, so given your description it was probably him trying to deal with his stress at being in a situation he wasn’t comfortable in.
Far too much, if you are committed to him I’m afraid your toddlers social life can’t be a priority, settling the dog and getting him into a routine is a priority. A whole day of strangers and multiple kids; no wondered he’s stressed out- I would be! This is why so many adoptions fail because people expect the dog to fit in rather than you fit and adapt with him. Imagine you were taken and dropped in a foreign country unable to speak to anyone and being overwhelmed, that’s how your dog feels. You’re expecting too much too soon.
Thank you. It wasn’t a whole day, it was 3 hours and not multiple kids, only 3 people who he has met before. But I appreciate that yesterday he might have felt differently to when he’s met them previously.
I read somewhere that you need to start as you mean to go on, so just do your normal things (within reason) and the dog will learn this is how it is. I’m happy if this isn’t the case but what do I do from now? Do I just stay in with him all the time to get him settled with no visitors? And for how long? Won’t he then get used to that and it will be a shock further down the line when we do want people over? I want to do right by him but also by myself and DS. I don’t think it’s about prioritising a toddlers social life, just about keeping things relatively normal in our household. We have made lots of changes for ddog and I’m happy to make more but how much do you change and when do you start introducing people etc?
You are right in that I have expected too much too soon. I recognise that and I am trying to take each day as it comes. But it’s just hard.
And regards to chewing, I know it’s a calming thing, but why the toys and furniture? He has his chews, balls, rope etc but he didn’t want to settle with them? Maybe he was frantic chewing because he was stressed?
I’ve got a very old lab who likes to chew the toddlers toys, it used to be dummies he chewed, I just assumed it was his version of jealousy
I have friends who have had dog from puppies who don’t chew things they shouldn’t, but obviously mine is 3 and has had another family so he might not have been taught? I didn’t tell him off I just redirected him to his things.
Have you tried making a safe space for him when people come over? Out of the way where no one can interfere with him. Some dogs like being covered in, so an open crate with blankets over to make a den feel comforting and safe for some dogs.
Do you have any info about his background? How he was treated etc? I think you’re expecting way too much too soon. It’s only been 3 weeks and it’s a lot of change very quickly for the poor thing. I’d say it takes around 6 months to get a dog fully relaxed and settled, especially one that has had a rough start.
How much exercise is he getting? Dogs can chew and get over excited if they haven’t had enough mental and physical exercise. JRTs are working dogs, so they need to be out twice a day minimum for at least 30mins each time. And using their brains, mental stimulation is just as important as physical as it keeps them active. So hiding food around the house they can sniff out, training, ball games, food puzzles etc.
Have you got a good behaviourist I’m your area you can get in touch with to come out and go through training with you? Expensive but your dog deserves it, and it sounds like you both would benefit from some help.
@mustard we’ve had a behaviourist out over different things but this is different so I’ll definitely mention it.
We’ve tried a bed in a different area but he won’t stay in it. Maybe because he wants to be with me all the time re separation anxiety.
I will investigate a crate though.
He was in a family of 4 young children, not actively mistreated but he was neglected, no walks, grooming etc.
I give him 45-60 mins walk in the am and then he has training. Play etc and another walk pm
Thank you x
Oh and the kids weren’t really bothering him, just throwing a ball when he brought it etc. He sought them out like he wanted their attention. I don’t know. Will ask behaviourist.