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Think I've made a mistake.advice please.

(41 Posts)
Whatdog Wed 13-Nov-13 22:40:36


Really would appreciate some thoughts. Lost our old, easy going mongrel a couple of months ago, and the doc were desperate for another dog, especially as they've only ever had an older dog.
I'd been looking at different breeds, and finally decided in a working cocker. Went to look at one two nights ago, last one in litter, very timid, but relaxed and very sweet after I sat with it a while. Sellers offered o let me try it at home to see if he picked up and if he was good with the kids.

Anyway, he is very good with me and the dc, but very nervous with new people, and growled at one today. He's 13 weeks and not been socialised prior to coming here.

He is on the whole very sweet, but not very active - he's starting to play but not a huge amount.

My other concern is that whilst I'm a SAHM at the moment, with the amount of exercise he will need, it will really restrict me getting any job in the future ( which I know I should have considered before now).

My oldest dc likes him a lot, my middle dc loves him, and my youngest isn't so keen.

I'm really asking what I should do - send him back to the farm I got him from tomorrow, or stick with and hope for the best?

Whatdog Wed 13-Nov-13 22:49:07

I've got to decide tonight, partly because the dc are in love, but also tomorrow is when I was going to officially buy him.

Whatdog Wed 13-Nov-13 23:01:10

Please help

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 13-Nov-13 23:02:57

If you're not ready I'd say no for the moment. Your children will just have to understand. A dog really deserves a bit more commitment than that, which you obviously realise, and you don't sound like you're quite there yet.

It's still quite early. See how you feel after a bit more time.

Whoknowswhocares Wed 13-Nov-13 23:03:44

13 weeks? That's pretty old to still be awaiting a new home if the breeder is sound and recommended. The best ones will have a waiting list for a litter, not have pups left behind. Also a reputable breeder would have been socialising the pup if there was good reason for it being with them still at that age.
The cynic in me says that pup is quite likely to have been returned once already.
Your gut feeling is unlikely to be wrong. If you think you've made a mistake, you probably have. Sorry.

fruitpastille Wed 13-Nov-13 23:04:35

I think you know what you want to do. Send him back if you ard feeling unsure imo. Not an expert though but know living with a growling dog is not relaxing!

bluebirdwsm Wed 13-Nov-13 23:11:42

Pup does not sound well balanced and confident, for whatever reasons [maybe homed before and returned, and certainly not socialised properly].

I think your instinct to be worried is right, there is something to worry about and you would know if you were completely happy with a dog.

Take your time in choosing and feeling comfortable with your educated, thought out choice. I think you've rushed in a bit too soon.

LadyTurmoil Wed 13-Nov-13 23:26:34

From my limited experience, doesn't sound a good idea to take on a nervous pup, having heard similar stories that nervous pups turn into nervous adult dogs who need a lot of work. With children, perhaps work in the future, I would reconsider. Also, although many people are hesitant of rescue dogs, one that has been fostered in a family environment, slightly older with basic training, might be a better bet for your family situation.

Whatdog Wed 13-Nov-13 23:29:12

Thank you for your thoughts. I knew at the time I was not making a sensible decision- lots and lots of red flags. Trouble is, he is lovely with me and my older two dc, and is playing away happily as I type. I guess I am just very worried he'll end up as a neurotic dog, and we'll have that stress in our lives for the next 12 years or so.

Whatdog Wed 13-Nov-13 23:31:31

If he was grumpy with us it would be an easy decision, but he's been incredibly gentle with the kids( apart from biting the youngest one's pony tail, and trying to get her socks off.

CoolStoryBro Thu 14-Nov-13 02:32:56

I have a dog who adores us, and kind of likes a very limited amount of other people. He absolutely HATES everyone else. Having a fear aggressive /neurotic/whatever dog is not easy. I have friends who work for shelters that have frequently told me that people rehome their dogs for far less reason than we deal with.

If you are going to keep him, get out and socialise him right now. Every single day get him out there and let those puppy loving dog walkers touch him, stroke him and make him feel at ease. Take him to Petco (or whatever it is in the UK), the dog park (if it's safe), wherever people who like dogs (and love puppies!) are.

It's not impossible to keep him but it is a bit of a tiring exercise. You will spend the rest of their lives being vigilant for any aggressive behaviour. I think if he hadn't been our first ever dog, I would have sent him back. But he was the first ever dog and I felt that I would have failed the children if I hadn't made it work. And now, I wouldn't be without my completely neurotic bunch of fluff.

CoolStoryBro Thu 14-Nov-13 02:35:12

Also, I should add, our dog is 12 lbs and his head is no higher than my knee. He couldn't do any real damage if he tried. I think I would think differently if it was a more poweful, stronger dog.

Whatdog Thu 14-Nov-13 05:09:16

Haven't slept and feeling sick. Pretty sure I'm going to return him. My dd is going to be devastated.

Whatdog Thu 14-Nov-13 08:20:43

Bump for more advice

MonstersBalls Thu 14-Nov-13 08:28:28

I'm no expert but surely at 13 weeks his character is not set in stone. Could you get him assessed by a behaviouralist and see if he can be trained out of his anxieties at new people?

Don't be pressurised into making this important decision. Either your breeder has someone else already lined up, in which case pass the pup over with no qualms, or else tell the breeder you need more time to assess the dog.

Tiredemma Thu 14-Nov-13 08:36:35

Working Cockers are very 'clever' dogs. I think even at 13 weeks you will have a chance to 'train' and mould into an ideal 'family dog'. We have a working cocker- she is hard work because of her nature (wants to explore etc etc), but she is equally a very loving dog.

Trying to get your DD's socks off? thats quite normal- that still happens in this house and Belle is 2 now.

I personally wouldnt give up just yet- get her out on walks, socialise her.

feetlikeahobbit Thu 14-Nov-13 08:42:27

I got my working cocker at 13mths she was totally unsocialised and a total nightmare TBH. Back to basics and lots of training later and she is a lovely easy dog now still steals and eats socks though

Tiredemma Thu 14-Nov-13 08:51:34

I think the 'stealing' thing is a WC trait.

To date we have lost-
A small speaker
A baby G shock watch (childs)
A baby G Shock watch (adult- found buried in the garden though)
A brand new gum shield
lots of baby dummies (again though, all found 'buried- not consumed thankfully)
Most embarrassingly- a few pairs of my knickers, found by the window cleaners behind the bin in the garden
too many socks to count.

Lovely dogs though.

Whoknowswhocares Thu 14-Nov-13 08:53:54

It all boils down to your tolerance of the risk.
You may find that the pup develops her confidence and becomes the perfect pet. Not by magic obviously, but with a LOT of hard work for you!

What you need to work out is how it would impact you and your family if he grew up to be a bigger version of what he is now. Sort of worst case scenario. Are you prepared to live with a nervous, possibly aggressive (with fear) dog for the rest of its life and manage his fears?
If not, it isn't fair to you or the dog to keep him.

JaxTellerIsAllMine Thu 14-Nov-13 08:58:30

I have a 20wk WC he is lovely, slightly timid with strangers who 'leap' on him, but friendly, loving, funny and fine with other dogs. We have socialised him since he was tiny, every day, every situation imaginable.

He is also a fabric stealing loon. Boxer shorts, towels, pants, bra! His most favourite is socks. The stinkier the better. They get sucked and chewed. Gross. Wouldnt be without him though and he ADORES my GSD and the feeling is mutual between them. It is very sweet to see. My big, scary shep not really fast asleep with the choccie cocker on top of him/curled into him.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Thu 14-Nov-13 10:24:21

I have very little experience, being a first-timer, but ArseDog was much like that when he came to us at 8 weeks. He was nervous of some people (though he had been well socialised), very nippy and a terrible thief! But very quickly (a couple of weeks?) he got used to us all and we soon realised that the biting was part of puppy play. If he nibbled too hard we'd shout: "Ow" very loudly so he soon got out of the habit. Ours loved pulling socks off too, and though aged 2.5 he no longer does that, he will occasionally sneak a sock off the washing line and hide it under his chin on his bed.

I'd be inclined not to take him back but to resign yourself to the fact that for the next 6 weeks you'll need patience and time to do plenty of training. I'd agree with the poster above who said his character is unlikely to be set in stone as yet.

The work/exercise thing is another matter though. I can't help with that, I'm afraid. I work FT but DH's work schedule is very changeable. He primarily works from home but on the days that he is away, I work ArseDog for an hour at 6am before getting the DCs up and out for school and heading off to work. Then the lovely dog lady picks him up around 10.30 and he's with her for a couple of hours until she drops him home, and the first DC is back from school by 4pm. That works for us a couple of times a week anyway.

Booboostoo Thu 14-Nov-13 11:09:28

A working line puppy is an odd choice for a family pet. A nervous puppy is a gamble. A nervous puppy which has not been socialised at 13 weeks (your window of opportunity closes at 14 weeks, 16 weeks at a push) is a huge gamble. You won't really know what kind of problems he has until he is about 18 months old but he will have problems you will need to overcome. Walk away now while you can.

By all means get a pup, but find a breed suitable for family pets, a breeder who breeds for temperament and keeps the pups in a family home until about 8 weeks and then put a lot of work into socialising until 14 weeks. It's not a guarrantee of a well adjusted dog but it's a much better bet than what you describe.

RunDougalRunQuiteFast Thu 14-Nov-13 11:41:26

If you do decide to keep him, check with your vet if they do puppy socialising classes - ours do. Pups go along and meet other dogs and owners, little bit of basic training etc.

Floralnomad Thu 14-Nov-13 11:45:22

Our puppy was 15 weeks (ish) when we got him from Battersea ,he has issues with other dogs but is a perfect family pet so I do think its perfectly possible to 'mould' an older puppy .We think ours had missed the early socialising with other dogs as he has no idea how to behave with dogs despite me taking him to puppy classes and training. Without sounding mercenary are you getting this puppy at a reduced cost ?

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Thu 14-Nov-13 13:30:34

How's it going Whatdog?

If you're prepared to put the work in and realise that he's a big commitment for a while, it is perfectly doable. Depends on you, really.

Let us know how it goes either way.

By the way, my dog is a working cocker and he's wonderful. Working breeds do tend to want a lot of exercise though.

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