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I have a great dog...but he drives me NUTS

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I really need help.  Five years ago, we rescued a sweet puppy from a dumpster in January.  From the get-go, he was well-behaved and affectionate.  I never had a dog growing up, so I figured there would be a bit of time needed to get used to this new presence in our lives.  The problem is, I'm still not there.


You know that thing that dogs do when you get home from work, where they're thrilled to see you?  Yea, that drives me nuts.  I do NOT want to play or snuggle or hang out -- I want to take my shoes off and get dinner started and relax for five minutes.  


We bought a house with a huge fenced-in backyard so he could run around outside.  He goes out for three minutes and then stands by the back door barking until I let him in.  I hate walking him -- the constant tugging on the leash, even with a gentle leader and lots of positive reinforcement, is a nightmare.


While my husband is in Afghanistan, I took in two boarders with a lab puppy, hoping that the playmate would relieve some of my dog's obvious need for interaction.  No go.  They completely ignore each, and now I have TWO dogs tearing up my house. 


I hate the dog hair.  I hate the dog smell.  I hate the dog drool.  I don't want to cuddle with him and I don't want him on the furniture.  I make sure he gets regular baths and I use a waterless shampoo for touch-ups in between, but I still have no desire to get all snuggly with him.  And the poor thing, that's ALL he wants.  


My husband and I love music, and we have a piano.  If we play, the dog howls constantly.  This animal has ruined every relaxing activity I enjoy -- ambling strolls, playing piano, listening to any song with a brass instrument, having a clean house...


This dog is an emotional blackhole.  I have a dog walker come every day while I'm working and she gives him some cuddles, but other than that, he gets no interaction.   I've provided the dog with a ton of toys and kongs and puzzle games, and he just doesn't care about them.  All he does is sit on his doggy bed, in whatever room I'm in, and stare at me...for hours...  I find myself yelling at him for "looking at me," and I feel like a 5-year-old. 


Neighbors and friends love him -- he really is a sweetie.  He's a dream in crowds and with other dogs -- doesn't have a hint of aggression in him.  I feel terrible because I know all he needs is love, and I just can't give him the hands-on affection he deserves.  As a side note, I do have a cat, whom I adore, so I know it's not that I don't like animals.  But a cat takes care of herself, and most importantly, keeps herself clean.


Is there ANYTHING I can do that I haven't thought of?  We're just starting our family together, and I see myself having even less patience and time for the dog as we add to our family.  We made a commitment to take care of him when we took him in, and I just feel terrible that I'm not carrying my part of the bargain.  And honestly, my feelings toward him are making scared about becoming a mother -- what if this happens with my own kid?!

post #2 of 8

LOL I'll trade you for my dog! I actually got another dog because she wasn't giving me enough attention! ...when I come home I have to look for her in the house, she's usually stretching and just stares at me like "oh, you again." When we sit on the couch she just curls up on the floor. She doesn't even bark at the door. 

When I was pregnant I hated her SO bad, I couldn't exactly identify why, but I had the exact same fear as you, what if I hated my baby? What kind of person could hate a dog that's so cute? What the hell is wrong with me? Long story short, I love my baby very much, I haven't regretted having him for even a split second in my weakest moment... The dog however, is still a disappointment lol

Unfortunately I have nothing constructive or helpful to tell you... If your personalities don't jive, it's just not gonna happen. I've had my dog for 5 years, there hasn't been much of an improvement. My other dog however is like another child to me, so I believe whole-heartedly that it's the dog's fault, not mine wink1.gif

post #3 of 8

There is nothing you can do to make yourself like the dog. All that you are currently doing is what you would do to help an overactive dog. The dog isn't the "problem". The dog is who he is, you are just not that into him. 

Don't worry about this happening with your own kid. It sounds like you are just not a dog person. If you want kids you are a kid-person so you've already crossed that bridge.

Hopefully your husband is a dog person for the dog's sake. 

post #4 of 8
There's nothing wrong with trying to find another home for your dog. You obviously care about his well being. it can take some time to find a new family for a pet, but if you find that home, I think you might both be happier. You should be honest with people who are interested in your dog about your reasons for not fitting with the dog, he sounds like a great pup for a dog person.

And get rid of the borders! If you dont like dogs having two is only making it worse!
post #5 of 8

Out of curiosity, if you don't mind me asking, what breed of dog is it?

post #6 of 8

OP, I'm full of empathy for you. I have had a few dogs, one of which I placed with another family after almost a year.


I think that you should concientously place the dog in another home. It may take a few months until you find the right person to take the dog.


I also think that you shouldn't feel in the least bit bad about yourself for wanting to be rid of the dog. I know of several pet owners who deeply regretted having their pet, and they have either placed the pet elsewhere or bore the the burden for years and years. I know a woman who cared for her devoted dog for 21 years (!) despite regretting having adopting it early on; it was an unselfish dedication of kindness on her part. She was both grieved and relieved when it finally died. She promptly had her floors refinished and bought some new furniture :)


In terms of the comparison with being a mother: I think that your comparison is correct. As a mother of a grown child, and from what I have seen in life, your children will require parenting their entire lives to some extent. I have and I have known other women who have resented this. It is a life-changing experience. I personally never dreamed that I could be so giving or maintain such self-control as motherhood has required of me. "Sacrifice" is a good description. There are of course joys and rewards, but many women I've know, including myself, have regretted becoming a mother at times, maybe many times - not as a judgement on their children, but from purely personal reflection. I consider that this kind of regret is one of the challenges of being a parent.


My viewpoint is that because of the global population issue and also the lingering patriarchal structure of society, women should think very carefully about motherhood and not feel pressured or uneducated about what this will mean for them in terms of self-image, societal role, personal satisfaction, economic engagement, etc. At the least, the fewer children there are, the easier you may find parenting to be. I raised only one and never wanted more than one for this reason.


Best wishes to you


Edited by PumaBearclan - 3/11/13 at 12:42pm
post #7 of 8
That was a very thoughtful post, Puma. And I think it rings quite true.
post #8 of 8

Speaking from personal experience, you may just have gotten the wrong energy dog for you. Some dogs are much more independent, content to do their own thing, while some are like yours and want very much to be with their human at all times. I don't have any real advice for what to do with your dog, as neither of you can realistically change who you are. If you choose to get another dog in the future, an older puppy or adult would probably be best, and ask the people at the shelter to pair you with a more low-energy, independent dog. I'm sure you'll be a better match. Good luck.

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