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?!