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 Should I give her back to the rescue?

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Cannuck
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Join date : 2019-02-12

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PostSubject: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 4:58 am

So I have a situation and I need advice. (Sorry long post)

Mishka came to us on a kind of a rent-to-own type of agreement (adopt with a two-week trial period that would turn into a foster if we couldn't keep her). We’ve had her for two weeks now and I decided at the end it wasn't for me.

I've never owned a dog and my husband works 6-7 days a week.  I love her but I don't know that I'm cut out for this. The first week I wanted to return her every day. There were days when I loved her but most of the time, frankly, I hated her. Please don’t judge me, I treated her very well, but I was resentful of the enormous commitment. I’m just being transparent. The second week, was much easier, most days were good, but there were about 2/7 days where I wanted to return her. My husband is a dog lover, he thought I was just not a dog person. And when I told the shelter how it was going, they encouraged me to bring her back. I was set to return her after the first week, but when I thought about giving her away I could see her good qualities and I couldn’t bring myself to return her. (Frankly, I was exhausted physically and emotionally and I thought that maybe I just needed a break). I asked for another week, and the second week was easier with her, but at the end, emotions aside,  I decided we weren't in the financial position to adopt a dog at this time. I didn’t know about the doggy-daycare, and the toys, and the vaccines and poop analysis, etc, the damage to my car, and my curtains, etc. etc., and the food we were buying was $27 a bag and only lasted 5 days.  The shelter was very encouraging wrt to returning her. They didn’t ask any questions or try to have me work through my issues with her, they just told me to return her.  Okay. If there are people out there better than me, fine. The agreement was that we should foster her until they found her a home because they are at capacity, but that they had an adoption event that weekend that that I should go.

There are people who enjoy having huskies, whom perhaps already have a dog and who can love her more than I can.  The shelter made it seem like if we weren’t happy, just bring her back and there’s no shortage of people who would love a husky as well behaved as Mishka, it’s better for the dog that way. It seemed like win-win: I would get my life back, and she would get the perfect family. However, I’m beginning to think that’s a fantasy. She’s already had two other foster her with the same agency. We’re her third. And while Mishka is a sweet, sweet dog with zero aggression the shelter has no-idea what her personality is like because she’s been so frightened in their care. They think she is a shy dog, but she is stubborn, she has an incredible prey drive, zero recall, she can’t walk on a leash without dislocating my arm, and she has temper-tantrums when I try to bring her back from the dog park. (She's 100% husky—this is a side that the shelter has never seen).

Anyway we went to the adoption event and it was a joke. This organization has a gorgeous website, but when you look past the website the actual organization is volunteer based and composed of high school kids. I took one look at the demographics and it was obvious that these people didn’t know anything about huskies—they’re kids. They gave me a husky when I told them I never owned a dog before. The other problem with the adoption event was that they wanted my husky to sit in one place for 4 hours (after having traveled 2 hours by car), and not smell or play with the other dogs. It was chaotic and random people would pet her without asking and play tug-of-war with chew toys that she had in her mouth. It was obvious that this wasn’t good for Mishka so we left right away and went to the beach instead.

Now I don't know what to do. I was ready to give her up when I thought that she would go to a better home—someone who’s already owned a husky, who has another dog, who does not work and who can devote their life to the dog. Otherwise, if this person doesn't exist, why would I give her up?

These are my reasons:

1. It's early in the process, she's not attached to me and I miss my life. My entire life has become the dog and I hate that I am not spending this time working from home on my business. I have cared for this dog 24/7 and she’s become a velcro dog. The first week she required supervision 24/7 and I could not leave her alone. She chewed through 3 harnesses, my car upholstery and my husband’s thermal curtains. How do I become able to leave the house to spend time on my business? Is it fair to her that she be in the crate 8 or 10 hours a day? Wouldn’t she be better in another home?

2. My big problem is that I can't leave the house because she's not crate trained. I've tried to give her treats and we feed her in the crate, but she's smart and when she thinks I want to leave she won't go into the crate. It took me 45 minutes one time to get her in the crate so I could go to Costco. I've realized that it's not the crate she hates but the separation anxiety. The past two or three days I have given her a kong in the crate to chew on and I’ve closed the door (with me home). I know you are not suppose to force them in the crate because that builds a negative association, but if I don’t force her in how do I get her in the crate if I have appointments to go to? If it takes me an hour to get her in the crate by free-will, how do I get anything done?

3. The third problem is financial. We've been living month to month because I'm not able to work—my husband got a few extra shifts so we have a little more money, but if we keep her, we can’t afford spending the way we have this past month. We’ve purchased 3 harnesses for her that she’s chewed through (we’re more careful with that now), our vet bill for vaccines is $200, my car seat and the curtains that she chewed are a LOT. We must have spent $80 on dog food/treats for the past two weeks.  Is it better for her to have a home that loves her and to be fed Costco dog food?  Do they really need all that other stuff? Surely, in Siberia where they originated from they don’t sleep on doggie beds and go to doggie daycare for $40 a day! Or maybe if I love her, I should let her go to a dual-income home?

4. I worry about my ability to travel. I guess I may be able to train her to mountaineer with me, but it’s going to take a lot of work so that she doesn't pull me down on the descents. She nearly dislocated my arm going after gophers today.  I worry about how she would react in bear country. Whether we can camp together. My husband said that he can take care of her when I travel but he’s a GSD guy and he’s not a big fan of dogs with attitude, lol. He takes her out for her pee breaks in the mornings: the other day after trying for half an hour he woke me up and told me that my dog refuses to come inside. Mishka listens to me, lol, but in that case she stood outside another hour. Now we take her to go pee using a leash.

My philosophy has been that giving her to another home would be an upgrade for her. After taking her to that adoption event--I'm not sure these guys have a clue about huskies-- and I can see her getting bounced around from home to home. I told the agency that I'm going to keep her, and they were not happy because they think I'm not committed enough. (You know what commitment is, it is willingness to work through all the behavioral issues that are coming up that they don't even know exists.)

Any thoughts? Is it normal to have these ambivalent feelings? Does it get easier with time? I’ve never owned a dog, is she better off with another family?  Or is this just normal and it takes time to get used to and fully bond with your new one?
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dvflyer
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Join date : 2018-04-07
Location : San Diego

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 11:41 am

I'm glad you're being honest with yourself.   I'll try to keep this short.  Keep in mind, this is only my opinion.

I don't see and didn't look back at your other posts to see how old the dog is.  Most of this still applies regardless of age.

What you're experiencing sounds like normal dog/ puppy stuff.  If you google search "bringing a dog home for the first time" or "I want to get a puppy" you'll probably see many (all?) of the same issue you're having.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of people on this board didn't have the same feelings one time or another with a new dog.

You didn't mention shedding so I'm assuming she isn't blowing her coat yet.  It's AMAZING how much hair comes off them.  Our female is still blowing her coat.  Daily brushings barely make a dent.  Are you ready for hair EVERYWHERE?

Costco dog food is relatively cheap $35 for a 35lb bag.  It's very good food.

Dogs don't "need" anything special.  Cheap rope toys etc.  Our dogs love cardboard boxes.  They also sleep on the ground...even after we've shown them a brand new $50 orthopedic foam mattress uber bed.

They DO need training, leadership, consistency etc.  I would not want to keep a dog in a crate while I was gone 8-10 hours a day.  But then, our dogs sleep most of the day anyway.

I've seen them out there, but would not take a dog mountaineering (using my definition of mountaineering).  Hiking/ backpacking... sure. But anything over a minor class 2 scramble would be too much risk for me to take a dog.

Do I think most of the problems you're experiencing will go away with time and/ or training?  Yes.

Do I think you sound like you can/ want to put the time, money and energy into what it might take?  No.

There is no way to tell whether or not she'll end up with a better family down the road (that's why so many are in shelters) so you can only consider your situation.

As to whether or not you should return the dog, as an outsider, who has no emotional attachment to that dog, I would say yes.  If it were my dog, it would be a MUCH harder decision.
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TwisterII
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TwisterII

Female Join date : 2013-06-14
Location : Missouri

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 11:48 am

It is normal to feel overwhelmed as a new dog owner to a dog that is unlike any other dog that is shown on tv or that you typically meet.

Here are some stickies that will give you a bit of an idea of the typical lifestyle need to survive life with a husky.

Secret to a well behaved husky

So you're thinking about getting a husky

the information in these threads aren't only important for you but for anyone you may potentially rehome her to and people should be screened for this knowledge by either you or the rescue before letting her go home with someone. What is the adoption criteria that the rescue goes through to place dogs? What kind of questions do they ask? What kind of education do they preach to potential adopters? If you feel they are doing the dogs a disservice with the way that they go about their adoptions then you could make a real difference in educating them. As for financials, if you are fostering a dog then the rescue that you foster the dog for should be covering at least some of the cost of the dog. Covering shots, spays, and some food cost should be their responsibility. Now, if you are technically own the dog then it does fall on you.

Questions to ask yourself

1. Do you have the time for this dog? How much exercise is she getting? Huskies are performance dogs. they need a lot of exercise or they will destroy everything as you are already experiencing. Young dogs especially need it. Miles of exercise a day, sometimes multiple times a day. Do you have time for that? If your travels are outdoor hiking adventures she would love to go with you on leash. As you have found, they aren't off-leash dogs. You can't turn them out and let them do their own thing while you wait for them to exercise themselves. they will take themselves for a walk, but they may never come back and oftentimes don't if turned loose in an unfenced area. The excitement of being loose in an fenced area will wear off as she gets used to the area and there isn't as many new smells to experience. It took a few days before I could get my male to come in when I wanted out of our fenced back yard. In general it takes a couple/few months before a new dog becomes somewhat comfortable with a new home and you really see how they are. Longer the more the dog has been jarred around.

2.Do you have the patience? They are stubborn. That is part of their charm for many of us. But they need training that is consistent. You have to draw your line in the sand on the house rules and stick to them. Everyone in the house needs to stick to them. Sometimes you just have to tough love the crate training. As long as she isn't a detriment to herself when left alone in the crate she will eventually get used to it. Especially if you have a routine. We have many members whose dogs spend 8+ hours at home alone in crates through the week while they are at work. If that is the situation then you have to make sure that when they aren't in the crate that they are getting a lot of exercise to make up for it. Just when you put her in the crate and leave just give her some sort of treat to work on.

3.Finances? You do not need to be rich to own a dog and give it a good life. They don't need a lot of the stuff that we get them. Proper medical care and a good food are your tops. My dogs really don't get that many treats and they don't go to doggy daycare because I exercise them myself. If it's interaction you are wanting for her out of daycare then you can also set up playdates with people you know who have dogs privately on your schedule. I have a lot of gear for my dogs in the way of harnesses and different kind of leashes but I could get away with my one wiess walkie leash and their collars if I needed to an never have anything else as long as I didn't let them be destroyed. You can spend as much or as little as you want almost on stuff for a dog that is largely unnecessary if you are filling their needs with exercise. You can make a lot of diy toys as well to save money.

4.Want and dedication? You've said you don't want to change your life and you don't really want a dog. If you don't want to do what it takes to have a husky then it's going to be an uphill battle to remain dedicated enough to do all that you will need to do. It sounds like you just want her to be loved, so rehoming is probably a good option. Just do your part to make sure she is rehomed properly and then when she is no longer with you at least you know you did what was best for her and can feel good that she is going to a place that won't view her like you and other fosters before you, have. You may even see if the current rescue she is part of would be willing to transfer her to a husky specific rescue that has the means to vet potential owners properly. In general rescues should be looking for people with husky experience, a fenced yard or at least the knowledge that they will need to be on leash when outside, active people with time or at least the dedication to make time to meet the dog's high exercise demands.

You could turn her into a great behaved dog, but you can only do it if you want to. And if you don't want to turn your life upside down and work through it, then you will continue on with what you are experiencing now. You will become attached to her and she will become attached to you, but neither of you may ever really be happy.

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Should I give her back to the rescue? Egwab0VShould I give her back to the rescue? Egwam5Should I give her back to the rescue? N37SqqdShould I give her back to the rescue? N37Sm5Should I give her back to the rescue? XcwxC0CShould I give her back to the rescue? Xcwxm5
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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 2:02 pm

Jenn, I could not have said it better.

To the OP, really does not sound like you want a dog. I would do as Jenn suggested and find a husky specific rescue.
If you are on FB, I suggest you join H2M2 national as well as California. Look for Frank Gonzalez.
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Cannuck
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2019-02-12

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 6:02 pm

@amymeme wrote:


To the OP, really does not sound like you want a dog.  


I don't agree with you. What I don't want is to give up my career in order to have a dog--which at the moment is what I am doing. I've literally spent every moment of the past two weeks attending on this dog's need instead of working from home.

What I want is to know if I need to choose, and how do you guys work through these issues--because frankly, not everyone on this board needs to give up their life for their dog. How do you pay for the dog if you don't earn an income?

You've all told me that I don't sound like a dog person--and that's fine--you're entitled to your opinion. I disagree. Most people put their best foot forward--I tend to put the my worst.

I think it's normal to feel this way. I think most people have had ambivalent feelings. I've lost 10 lbs in the 2+ weeks I've had this dog because I've put the dog's needs ahead of my own and I haven't been cooking meals and walking/training/looking for solutions re: the dog. I think it's perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed especially when one isn't eating as much as normal and is physically exhausted.

I also think that it's easy to forget just how difficult it was to adapt to one's first dog. It's like any skill, we look at people who don't have skills that we use everyday and we cannot understand why it is so difficult for them.

But frankly, you're wrong. I should have titled this post 'please help me figure out how to problem solve this situation I am in now because it breaks my heart to give my dog away and I am terrified that I will turn into a stay at home doggie mamma. The shelter doesn't believe in me, but I don't believe in the shelter, I just want someone to tell me that it will all be okay.'

But the responses I got, even if they didn't believe in me, they gave me the information I needed to see that I can make it work. And for that I am grateful.


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Cannuck
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Join date : 2019-02-12

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 6:13 pm

BTW. My post isn't "ra-ra, I want a dog more than anything in the world", because that was the post I would have made 4 weeks ago.

I don't know. There seems to be a lot of dogs in shelters, and a lot of dogs on death-row because they don't have a home. I'm far from perfect, and you won't find me cooking Kong recipes from Pinterest, but whatever home I would be able to provide is leaps and bounds better than the alternatives.

If I do end up deciding to rehome, I will look up Frank Gonzolas and give the agency the courtesy to approve the adoptee--but I'm not leaning towards that direction at all.
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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 7:38 pm

So. If you really DO want your dog, and I'll take you at your word, than it seemed to me you need to learn how to set some boundaries with pup.

When I got my behaviorally challenged foster, a former member here, now a Manhattan dog trainer, outlined a structure to organize pup's day. Having a structure gave him some predictability and routine. Routine IS YOUR FRIEND!!! Routine will allow you AND puppy to have reliable periods of sells time and dog time.

I will write more later. Our routine is now dinner time followed by a trip to the compost pile which is a favorite of the boys.
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Shepsky13
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Shepsky13

Male Join date : 2017-11-03
Location : North Carolina, USA

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 8:25 pm

Well, here is how I live with my dog (and keep my freelance design career going):

7-8 am Husband brings dog out for a long outing. He is athletic, and they jog/run together. Meanwhile I am making breakfast for my daughter, packing her lunch, sending her off to school.
8:15 Husband & dog get home, dog gets a dental chew, husband showers and heads off to work
9:00 I start work
12:00 quick lunch for dog and me (I don't feed him a full meal right after his morning walk, because they are very active and I don't want him to get bloat)
2:00-3:00  I go for MY long outing with the dog, 2-3 miles. It feels great to get out of the computer chair and get moving and go outside! Get those kinks out of my back and neck! If it's a nice day, I'll drive us to the trails, which are wonderfully empty at this time of day.
3:00-5:00 Finish up work stuff
5:00-6:30 I'm on the road with daughter (music lessons / sports pickup) and making dinner.
6:30 dinner for all
relax time, hang around in living room. I might brush Rumo for a bit if he is in the coat blow phase, I collect his fur and put it in a bag.
8:30  dog's last outing (backyard)
10:30-11pm  everybody to bed
On weekends we might have more time to go for a family hike, or play in the yard.

Notes:
When I work, I think Rumo naps? I don't know. He never bugs me.
Note that he is getting two hourlong active outings a day...and he is about 7 years old.
My family has commented that I have been more relaxed and happy...I spend less time complaining about clients and seem less stressed.

In defense of previous posters - I also got the impression that you were sick and tired of having a dog, and were looking for the O.K. to rehome her!  But yes, it does get easier with time and training. And yes - a husky is a tough breed to start with as your first dog, but if you are determined, it can be done. And don't get sucked into social media...a lot of dog owners just buy dog kibble and pour it in a bowl, our dogs are not perfectly trained, and we don't spend every minute interacting with our dogs. Very Happy

As far as problem solving, I guess the main issues you are dealing with are:
crate training
separation anxiety (destruction when left alone)
loose leash walking
These are all very common issues that a lot of dog owners have dealt with (including me!)...
overwhelming when all together, but definitely trainable...
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jbealer
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jbealer

Female Join date : 2009-05-29
Location : Denver, CO

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 8:32 pm

"Having a structure gave him some predictability and routine. Routine IS YOUR FRIEND!!! Routine will allow you AND puppy to have reliable periods of selfs time and dog time."
100%!!!!

When we got our first husky, my husband and i have had family dogs but never on our own, i looked up trainers and found one that worked with huskies, it was the best $ we has spent at the time. Please look into that.

We adopted a "7" month husky almost 2yrs ago, that dog tested me in ways the other 2 never did, but day by day we worked on it and as he is closer to 2 he is getting better all the time.

we have a routine for everything, feeding, walks, treats you name it and i have found it to work very well with them knowing what to expect. We both work full time out of the home and our puppy is crate trained, i think thats the one thing you really need to work on so you can leave. but i make sure he is tired before he goes in, 30min walk in the morning before we leave for work and some ball play in the back yard.
there are ways to make walking easier, pinch collars, easy walk harnesses and such.
you can feed the costco nature domain food you dont need to spend so much on what every special food you are feeding. there should also be special shot clinics around for the vaccination you need at the city shelters, we did that back in the day.
the destruction sounds like a not tired husky and one that does not like being left alone, things that can be worked on.
how does husband feel? is he helping at all with the dog?

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Should I give her back to the rescue? Iaht10
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dvflyer
Teenager
Teenager


Join date : 2018-04-07
Location : San Diego

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 10:03 pm

@Cannuck wrote:


How do you pay for the dog if you don't earn an income?

You don't.  If you don't earn an income, you don't have money for a dog (or anything else for that matter).

@Cannuck wrote:

I think it's normal to feel this way. I think most people have had ambivalent feelings. I've lost 10 lbs in the 2+ weeks I've had this dog because I've put the dog's needs ahead of my own and I haven't been cooking meals and walking/training/looking for solutions re: the dog. I think it's perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed especially when one isn't eating as much as normal and is physically exhausted.

I also think that it's easy to forget just how difficult it was to adapt to one's first dog. It's like any skill, we look at people who don't have skills that we use everyday and we cannot understand why it is so difficult for them.

Agreed.. and said as much.  As did other posters.

But your needs come first.  If your health, welfare etc suffers because of a decision you made, you need to accept it, fix it and learn from it. Making a bad decision does not make you a bad person, btw.

@Cannuck wrote:

I should have titled this post 'please help me figure out how to problem solve this situation I am in now because it breaks my heart to give my dog away

Agreed.

@Cannuck wrote:
I just want someone to tell me that it will all be okay.'  

We can't tell you it's going to be ok.  We can share our experience, but that's it.  I understand people need affirmation, a shoulder to cry on etc, but your OP really left me with the impression you were really asking someone to affirm what you already felt... the dog needs a new home.  Maybe I was wrong.
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Lostmaniac
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Lostmaniac

Female Join date : 2018-10-22
Location : Colorado

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyWed Feb 27, 2019 11:58 pm

So i am one of those " crazy " people whose life revolves arpund my dogs.. particularly spider and i totally feel for you woth not wanting to give your dog up. It will all be ok as long as you lower your initial ok standards. Your this dogs 3rd home so seperation anxiety is to be expected. 2 of my dogs can be left up to 2 days with ample food and water and puppy pads. Spider cant be home alone or really anywhere alone so anywhere she goes splinter goes and we have come to where if the weather is ok she can stay in the truck for awhile with splinter. Took a long time to get her there. Baby steps. Have ypu thought about an indoor leash instead of a crate so she is "contained" while you get things done.
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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyFri Mar 01, 2019 2:56 pm

Ok. I have some time, I have the computer with a real keyboard and...I can breathe, so here are some thoughts on integrating new dog into household.

This post will be about structure:

First, decide your non-negotiable work times. At those times, pup needs to be either tethered or crated until he learns to be quiet and leave you alone.

Next - she needs regular exercise periods that she can count on. And preferably just prior to a work period for you.

The schedule worked out for our Persnickety one was, first thing in the AM, out of crate short 15 minute potty break, back in crate for breakfast, then 30 minute structured walk. Back in crate until noon break than long 1 hours structured walk. Return to crate until dinner time. Short 15 minute potty break, dinner followed by 30 minute post dinner structured walk. Back to crate, out for potty break before bed with little snack before down for the night. During this time, ALL meals were hand fed. You may or may not want to do this - we were re-programming an aggressive dog and the feeding was through crate bars. But, the hand-feeding is a very nice bonding ritual (takes FOREVER but...works!)

I would amend the above schedule for you since you do not appear to have an aggression problem. Instead of all the crate time, you could choose to do a "sit on your dog" exercise to promote calm while you work. I would also build in crate time so as to acclimate her to the crate - you never know when you might NEED to crate, either medical, family emergency, whatever.

http://caninelifeskills.com/sit-on-the-dog-exercise/

Structured walks are really helpful for teaching manners, establishing hierarchy.

https://www.canineprofessionals.com/structured-walk

Tethering your dog in-house while you are not directly involved is a great tool for teaching/managing initial introduction to the household. You can use her leash attached to a heavy chair, your waist, a table leg - anything that can keep her in one place. This prevents damage to the household and maybe even vet visits for unexpected ingestions etc.

Ultimately, you want a well trained dog that responds to basic commands at the least (sit, stay, come, heel, place, maybe even out.) This is easiest accomplished in a new to dogs person by attending formal training classes. Either through a local obedience club, private trainer or a pet store, sometimes local shelters have classes. I prefer a balanced trainer, one who not only uses positive reinforcement to shape desired behaviors but also uses corrections to extinguish undesirable behavior. You will find that this is a major source of conflict within the dog world. There are many tools out there, clickers, prong collars, front clip harnesses, ecollars are some of them. I do not like the front clip harnesses as they can damage the tendon/ligaments in the shoulder. I have stopped using harnesses for walking as they give my dog the impetus to pull. I mean PULL. I use prong collars on both my guys and my son's boy.

If you can post specific questions as you go through your training, I, and I'm sure others, will be more than happy to give some suggestions. Good luck.
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amymeme
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amymeme

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Should I give her back to the rescue? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Should I give her back to the rescue?   Should I give her back to the rescue? EmptyFri Mar 01, 2019 3:16 pm

Part 2: Expense.

We are retired so I need to keep my doggie expenses affordable. First - food. Feed a good quality, not necessarily top of the line, food in appropriate quantities. Many member here have found Taste of the Wild, Tractor Supply 4Health, Costco to be reasonable priced when you take into account that higher quality foods can (should!) be fed in smaller amounts. Usually, your best bet is setting up an automatic shipment from someplace like Chewy.com or other online pet store. Even Amazon does automatic delivery of petfood for reduced price. I like Chewy but found my local garden store to be highly competitive and turned out to be cheaper and just as convenient for me.

I feed Victor Hi Pro plus, 40# for $40 from my local garden center. I'm not sure you can get that price anywhere else. Its a high calorie, nutrient dense food and my big guy (80 plus pounds, should be probably 75#) gets 2/3 Cup in the morning, 2/3 Cup at dinner and about a quarter hand fed before bed (bonding, a much anticipated ritual for just him and me and, if his stomach gets empty it gurgles, he eats grass, won't eat his breakfast and vomits a bit of clear frothy liquid.)

As for chewing the harnesses - I would go with a simple flat collar with a sturdy buckle. I would have suggested Dr. Fosters and Smith but I think they are no longer in business. Treats? You can use part of her daily kibble allowance. I buy a 3 pound bag of mozzarella sticks, Wegman's store brand, for 8.99, lasts 4-5 weeks (as long as son doesn't raid my stock!!!) I use 1 stick a day for both the dogs, cut it into 48 pea sized pieces and they share that as their major treat for the day.

Another good treat, especially if you can find a custom butcher, is scrap bones - we have a Mennonite butcher that does beef/pork/lamb by the side custom cut. I buy bags of frozen bones for $2. But - before you give bones, make sure your dog will handle them nicely - no going Cujo at you, no gulping and swallowing large pieces, no really hard aggressive biting that can break a tooth. I would recommend either going first time with one of those huge smoked femurs you can get in pet stores (a one time thing as to my mind, too expensive for regular consumption. I'm also not really keen on the smoked part, health wise.) Or - buy yourself a porterhouse steak, cut out the bone and give the rib portion to pup. (that would NOT work in my house - hubby is part wolf and full carnivore and any Porterhouse bone is his and his alone lol! ) You could also buy bone-in blade/chuck steaks/roasts and do the same thing.

The most important thing with bones is NOTHING cooked. Cooking makes the bone brittle and more likely to shatter, get stuck anywhere from mouth to...eh emmm.

Can't think of anything at the moment.

Oh - if you have questions re parasite control )fleas, ticks, worms etc) ask away - preferably in a new thread specific to that.
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