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Home > The Dog and I .... please help me to make the right choice.

The Dog and I .... please help me to make the right choice.

February 14th, 2008 at 08:52 am

In November my DH decided we needed a dog, he felt that I was spending too much time home alone and I needed a companion. I told my DH that I have never had a puppy and knew I was intimidated by large dogs. So my DH makes an appointment to look at german shepard puppies! There were nine of them and we go to look, I was very reluctant and knew that this would entail a lot of work for me, but really I didn't have a clue. He immediately spotted a female that he said was "the one". So he asked me what I thought, I could see he was totally smitten with her since he had had a german shepard in the past, I told him it was up to him and he decides to bring her home.

We set up a kennel in the living room by the back door so she could learn to go potty. She adapted well and within a week she was trained. My living room now looks like a zoo with a gated fence, so she can't get to the furniture, and doggie toys. I purchased a book on how to train your german shepard. Keep in mind I have never personally had a puppy or a large dog.

To make a long story short, the puppy is now about four and a half months old, training has been difficult and she weighs 40 lbs. My once quiet and clean, home has now become very active with the dog chasing my cats and treeing them on the shelves and table (I don't allow my pets on the shelves and table). I spend a great deal of my day going in and out with the dog, cleaning up messes the dog makes (tearing up paper or anything she can find), vacuuming up pet hair and I'm finding this to be a very stressful process. If I ever get back to work here, how will I deal with this high energy dog?

Last week she ate a hole in my recliner I purchased about two years ago; this is while I was talking on the phone in my office. This week she ate the molding off my french doors that cost me $2,400 when I put my addition on in 2004; again I had gone to my office to talk on the phone. My red oak floors are taking a beating from her claws which I trim every two weeks. Outside the house, when it was warmer out, she dug up the septic tank - big hole!! Came to the door covered in mud and looked very pleased with herself. She will love my flower beds in the spring!

Don't get me wrong, she is a beautiful dog and many days sits by me watchfully guarding, she is loyal and faithful and wants me with her all day long. With that being said, I have been in tears and am torn about raising this dog. She is like a small child and I have my children all but raised now, this is an enormous responsibility, very stressful and if I don't spend enough time with her she gets angry and chews something. I can't keep a mat in front of the door because she chews that up, the last one she chewed cost me $40.

I think my DH is very disappointed that I have become disenchanted with his act of kindness; wanting me to have a day companion. DH is gone 13 hours a day and I am it. DH says he can take her to work with him, but that doesn't train her to be a house dog and I think having free rein all day will cause her to be more disruptive in the house.

I have shared my feelings with my DH and he has said he has a single friend that would love the dog. He says he realizes I'm having a hard time here with all the other stresses in my life. Do you give your kids away if you can't deal with them? I have an emotional attachment to this dog, but I realize this is a long term relationship not just a walk in the park.

Any suggestions on what I should do?
I weigh 120 lbs, what will happen when she weighs as much as I do and I have to try to control her? What happens when mud season arrives? Should I just wait it out, will it get better? Will I have any furniture left? Will I be able to sell my house if I keep her and she keeps destroying things?

I really feel sad about all this and was reluctant to post ... but maybe others have experienced this and will know what is the RIGHT thing to do.

28 Responses to “The Dog and I .... please help me to make the right choice.”

  1. denisentexas Says:

    Years ago my first husband found an irish setter and brought her home to me. It was similar to what you're going through but I also had three young children at home to tend. She was just too much for me to handle and after about two weeks I found her another home.

    If the dog is too much for you to handle, she's too much. I love animals, especially dogs and cats but they aren't children. Giving away an animal that you can't deal with isn't the same as putting up a child for adoption. At least not in my opinion. However, we do have responsibility to care for our animals and provide for them and train them. If doing those things is a little too much for you, then finding a good home for her is a viable alternative. You aren't a bad person for doing that, I don't think.

    Just my two cents...

  2. toyguy1963 Says:

    I say definately you should give the dog away. Especially if that friend of your husband can take good care of her. She will probably be better off and you can save yourself some stress.
    On an un-related side note I have a cat sitting on my shoulder like a parrot as I'm typing this right now. :-)

  3. compulsive debtor Says:

    I say don't give her away just yet. Instead invest in some inexpensive puppy training classes (Petsmart offers them). And, also realize that at 4 months your puppy is just that -- a puppy. They can't touch or talk so they chew and dig. It's a phase and believe it or not they grow out of it. If you truly can't stand the dog, then give it away. But if you're just experiencing the equivalent of the puppy terrible twos, then get the dog and yourself around other dogs and dog owners and realize that your puppy will grow out of the chewing/digging/rambunctious stage.

  4. Ima saver Says:

    It depends on how attached you are to the dog. I wouldn't sell my dog for a million dollars. But bigger puppies are more destructive. I have alway had a little poodle. She was easy to train and too tiny to chew anything up except the few chew toys that I gave her. She is so much company to me!

  5. thriftorama Says:

    Usually dogs calm down when they get older. This one is the equivalent of having a toddler. With training, she'll grow out of it.

  6. JanH Says:

    I am taking care of three pets that originally were the responsibility of other family members who have left for college, etc. It is now all up to me and I'm not one who had indoor pets as a child. Fortunately, they've already been trained. Unfortunately, I am the one who feeds, bathes, takes them out, takes them for shots and checkups, buys the food and meds, deals with the accidents, deals with the damage to the furniture and floors, deals with all the responsibilities. It can sometimes overwhelm me even though I love the little critters. I've never considered them "mine" so I don't have quite the same attachment some people have to their pets. If I had a large pet like you have, I would probably have to find a good home for it. I only deal with scratches and tears and accidents, while you are dealing with larger issues. I don't think you should feel bad that he got you a pet that was just too large. A smaller, less active doggie might be better for you. One of ours is quite hyperactive, although smart enough to train. I think that if your DH found a lovely home, you shouldn't feel guilty. The puppy was just too big and active. I would have the same problem as you!
    P.S. You feel bad when you think of doing this and then the little sweetie cuddles up and you realize how wonderful pets are. But, you'll feel better when you realize that he is in another wonderful home and loved there, too.

  7. JanH Says:

    On another note, I think I'd always love to keep the kitty. She scratches the furniture some and sheds like crazy, but she is the sweetest thing! Maybe he can get you a sweet kitty cat.

  8. aevans1206 Says:

    Dog trainers are amazing people and are worth the money. Do it now while she's young! She's just a puppy and while she gets older, she will tame herself with proper training. It'll be the best money you've ever spent, especially if you get a good one. Inquire in your area (neighbors, etc.) about any trainers that can be recommended. She will become your best friend. Give her the structure she needs and TIME!

  9. miss busy body Says:

    She needs a lot of exercise. Have you been exercising her? I have a German Shepard of my own and once they are tired out, they won't destroy the things in your house. You should take her to a dog park where she can play with other dogs. Of course she is going to chew some because she is teething, but that will go away. Have her trained as well. Don't give the dog away without trying. It's not her fault.

  10. Caoineag Says:

    It sounds to me like a major lack of exercise. I have had big puppies (mine was a lab mutt that was extremely active) and they require you to wear them out AND to be properly trained. If you are willing to take her on lots of walks, play with her and have training sessions, keep her. If not, give her to someone who can.

  11. Carolina Bound Says:

    I have a husky-German Shepherd mix who was very active and very destructive as a pup. I considered giving him away, but I didn't have anyone to give him to! He grew out of it, and became the sweetest companion. Now I am facing the nearing end of his life, and it breaks my heart.

    Really, only you can decide if he is too much for you. I agree with the others that exercise and time will make him a better dog. AND if he potty-trained himself that easily, he'll be trainable in other ways, too. He wants to please, just has trouble with all that puppy energy!

  12. scfr Says:

    Okay --- I'm about to be very blunt, and I so I really hope you know that I have your's and the dog's best interest at heart. For someone who doesn't have the supreme confidence necessary to be the human equivalent of an alpha dog (the pack leader), a German Shepherd is not the right choice! If your husband is familiar with dogs and with the breed, frankly I am shocked at his choice! German Shepherds are strong, smart, and require a TREMENDOUS amount of exercise. I have seen overly rambunctious GS become fairly well-behaved house dogs, but it involves strict discipline and LOTS of exercise ... I'm talking about a couple long walks EVERY day (perhaps carrying a backpack weighted with something to increase the required exertion).

    Be warned - The dog may never outgrow the urge to chase the cats.

    If you don't think you are up to it, perhaps the best choice would be to let the dog go to another home (as sad as that may be).

    But if you do decide to keep the dog, obedience training is definitely in order. Whether you hire a dog trainer or use a book to train the dog, your entire family needs to be on the same page, using the same techniques and instructions.

    If you decide to find another home for the dog, please do not give up on dogs entirely. Based on what you said, I would recommend a lovely little dog like a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They are about the size of a large cat. They are happy, sweet little companions. Their only downside is that they require a fair amount of grooming.

  13. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    Only you know when it's too much! As others have said the dog will outgrow some of the behaviours but not likely all of them w/o training.

    I'd suggest a smaller dog as well too - I've loved all my little smooth-coated doxie doggies!! Small, loving, not much shedding, lap dogs, that will be protective if someone comes around that shouldn't.

    A German Shephard sounds like way too much dog for a new dog owner to me. I'd vote that you thank your husband for his thoughtfulness in trying to keep you company somehow and maybe try again later w/a smaller dog.

    Kudos to you for trying to make a thoughtful choice and giving it the old college try. There is no harm in backing up and saying - WOOOAH, this is too much for me.

  14. Lost in debt Says:

    Thank you all for your kind words and comments. It is with much sadness that I tell you my husband took the dog today and I will not see her again as he is taking her to a new home. Not only am I very petite, but I have had several operations throughout the years and one of the side effects has been anemia leaving me very fatigued some days. I have also lost an enormous amount of strength and not every day is a good day. In the four months I have had the dog, some days I could handle her and some days she was just too much and it was difficult for me to take her out for walks and etc. I do not feel we are physically compatible and I don't think I have the physical health to take care of her, but she is a beautiful dog and I will miss her.

  15. scfr Says:

    Sending you a big virtual hug!
    What a tough decision, but hopefully knowing you did the right thing will bring you some peace.

  16. Carolina Bound Says:

    Then you did the right thing. I'm sure she will adjust well to her new home, and life will be better for all of you.

  17. Broken Arrow Says:

    I'm glad the dog is gone, because it wasn't in your best interest to keep her around.

    I think that's what bothers me about this story. Although I think your husband the best of intentions, he didn't make a selection that was in your best interest, but rather, was sort of... thinking about himself and what his preferences are.

    I'm not there, but I think it could a forgiveable kind of mistake....

    Anyway, a pet may still not be a bad idea! However, I do think you should pick this time around. What about a cat?

  18. Lost in debt Says:

    Thank you Broken Arrow, I too thought that maybe DH was being a little selfish and maybe had forgotten how much work this would be for me with him working 13 hour days.

    I have two lovely cats and they are very happy today, they can peacefully walk through the house and no one is bothering them. My oldest cat is 13 or 14, not sure since I rescued her years ago, I feared for her; I was afraid she would have a heart attack or something with that dog after her. She would stand her ground though and snarl and curse at him. I just felt bad for her and now I know she will be happier.

    My daughter owns a pug she brings over to visit; my cat loves the little dog. After this experience, I've decided on "no dog", it's too much responsibility and can be very restrictive on your life. I hated to leave the house very long when I had the dog because I didn't want the dog in the kennel, I thought that was too restrictive, so I would always hurry home.

    Cats can take care of themselves and basically pretty good when left alone for long periods of time.

  19. toyguy1963 Says:

    I'm proud of you on your decision. I think it was in the best interest of you, the dog, and your cats. You will all be better off. I apologize if I sound rude but I agree what BA says about it being somewhat a selfish decision on your husbands part. But I don't think he meant it to be that way. I'm glad it all worked out good.

  20. reflectionite Says:

    my mum wanted a companion dog and my stepdad bought her a maltese. she is the ultimate companion dog, (lazy as hell, so you don't need to walk her a lot!) doesn't shed much, is happy to be by herself but also loves to sit on your lap. she has a lovely nature about her.
    a little while ago my stepdad bought himself a jack russell as well. it took the maltese a while to get used to her, (she even snobbed my stepdad for about a month, would not go NEAR him "how on earth could you bring another dog into this house?") and they don't play often, they merely exist together which is quite nice, there are no fights and they are happy to sleep next to each other but not annoy each other.

    i just wanted to mention this because maybe in the future if you were to have another go at a dog, maybe hearing someone's experiences with smaller dogs might help? i also wanted to tell you that for the most part, the maltese that my mum has behaves like a cat more than a dog, and usually gets on quite well with other cats (yes, strange). anyway best wishes.

  21. Nancy Says:

    Nothing wrong with being a "cat person"! Enjoy your cats and your orderly home. Sometimes it is best to cut our losses and carry on.

  22. Lost in debt Says:

    My DH checked on the dog, she is doing great with her new owner; he is a young single guy with his own business and he just built a new home ... seems very responsible. The guys father has a 9 month old german shepard and lives right next door so now she will have a friend to play with and she spends days with the retired Dad in "doggy daycare" while the young guy is at work; they live in a nice country setting. I feel good knowing she will have another dog to play with and she is with strong men that love big dogs; she will get lots of exercise and I know that will make a world of difference in her behavior because she was so intelligent in many ways.

  23. Nic Says:

    Having owned very large dogs in the past, an Akita and a Pit Bull, I know how much work is involved. I now have a small dog, a Shih-Tzu and though she doesn't require as much energy as my 2 previous boys, she can still be a handful.
    I work in one of the largest pet clinics in Utah and too often, we get animals in that are mis-matched w/their owners. You made the right decision for you and your dog.

  24. Thrifty Ray Says:

    It sure sounds like in the end the right decision was made. When you get a pet, it should feel much more 'right' than what you experienced. Luckily, you had someone who was ready willing and able to care for this pet...an you can enjoy knowing that the pup is happy in its new home.!!

  25. miclason Says:

    Congrats! You will be a lot more relaxed and I'm sure the dog will be much happier...as will the cats, I'm sure!...
    I'm not much of a dog person, but I, too, feel intimidated by big dogs (being 1.50m myself doesn't help!)...

  26. scfr Says:

    It sounds like the dog has a great new home! Smile

  27. boomeyers Says:

    You definatley made the right decision. After my kids were potty trained, we moved onto getting pets for the kids. I insisted that I was NEVER potty training anything again! We adopted dogs, both were about 2 when we got them. Soooo much easier and you know what size you are getting. We have beagles and they are the sweetest, genlest most laid back dogs ever! They love our cat and they all play together.
    I am glad you found such a great situation for your dog!

  28. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    Yeah for puppy - sounds like a much better deal for the doggie! And YOU and your kitties!! Sounds like a win/win all the way around.

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