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I know people might hate me for this but I am at my wits end. Sorry for the long post.

For some context:
We (as in my wife and I) adopted a stray puppy a while back. It was in the street all alone and we just couldn't leave it there as there are no animal shelters where we live so the most likely outcome for it would be dying unfortunately. My wife is fairly scared of dogs(childhood trauma) but she decided we keep the dog. For the first maybe month or two the puppy was in a closed in space as to not leave the yard and get lost or anything bad happening. We took him to regular 3 week vet visits, got him his shots as well as cleaned him from parasites. It was energetic back then also, but a lot more manageable as it was way smaller. After that it was free to roam the yard, we even did some training with like sitting, fetching on command and such. We bought chew toys in hopes it would direct its energy but to no avail.


The bad part:
Now that it has grown a lot, this relentless energy is getting more and more destructive. It would rip apart anything we left outside. It won't stop jumping on people and most importantly on my wife. She has become really scared of our dog and it is starting to affect our daily life. To be honest it is definitely not aggressive. Also, it gets stupid amount of energy when we are around (We both work a 9 to 5). It will sometimes nip at our feet and then run away as in literally saying "come chase me" or "lets play" but the problem is that no matter how much attention we give it, the behavior never changes. Sometimes I feel like it never tires. My wife has grown increasingly more scared, so much so that she won't leave the house when I am not around. She insists that we get rid of it but I can't bare the thought of leaving him out in the streets or anything similar.

How do I remedy this behavior ??


The resolution:

Going to close this question as we've kind of resolved the issue. We have put up our puppy for adoption and a family adopted it. We just couldn't handle it with everything else going on. We didn't want to give it up for an animal shelter as they are known for their lack of finance and care and putting down animals. I know it is unfortunate but it is probably for the best.

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    Does this answer your question? How to calm an energetic dog
    – Allison C
    Nov 8, 2023 at 16:40
  • No, our dog is never calm
    – CodeJunkie
    Nov 8, 2023 at 17:50
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    Please go ahead and read the full linked question, it is not relating to a dog that is already calm. :) If the excellent answers given there do not address your issues, please then edit this question to specify exactly how your problem is different from the existing one, what you have tried from those answers, and what the results were.
    – Allison C
    Nov 8, 2023 at 19:01
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    @CodeJunkie This is additional only. You can not address the cause by handling only the symptomes... Nov 9, 2023 at 11:57
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    Can you clarify a few things, please: if you say “puppy”, do you mean an actual puppy in the sense of young dog (some people use the term for all kinds of dogs) and do you have an age estimate? Second, does the dog live just outside in your yard, or does it share your living space and has access to the outside? Third, do you or does your wife have experience with dogs, caring for them and training them? Finally, how much effort are you willing and able to put into improving the situation?
    – Stephie
    Nov 11, 2023 at 15:50

1 Answer 1

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You have 2 problems that needs separate solutions:

  1. Your wife is afraid of your dog
  2. You cannot fulfill your dogs needs

For the first problem I suggest that your wife does obedience training with your dog. Start with the standard "sit" and "down", but you can extend it and teach your dog some tricks, too. The main goal is that the dog learns to obey the commands of your wife reliably.

My personal trick is this: Whenever the dog jumps at your wife (for whatever reason), she immediately commands the dog to sit. After the dog sits down, it must get a reward like a short play session, otherwise it will stop following the command. But at the same time the dog learns that jumping won't lead to a reward, only being calm does. Ideally all members of the family should follow this rule - when the dog jumps at people, it has to sit down.

The second problem is harder to solve. You write that your dog destroys everything while you're away working. This could be a sign of boredom or separation anxiety or maybe something else entirely and it's impossible for me to diagnose it correctly. Given the special circumstances with your wife, I wouldn't dismiss the thought of giving the dog away to a family that can take better care of it and isn't afraid of it.

Apart from that, try playing games with your dog that tire it out more than you. We have a list of ideas here. The type of game that works best depends on the personality of your dog. Some dogs are so fixated on toys like a ball that they could chase one all day without rest. Others have more of a hunting drive. I found that catching frisbees works well with those. Others don't care for toys at all and only want your attention. Teaching them tricks or agility would probably work well.

Your dog might also benefit from interacting with other dogs as well. Try to find a dog park in your area or find people living nearby who also have dogs and are willing to let them play together.

There's also the option of "day care". You could hire a dog walker to come once during your work hours and walk with the dog. Maybe a neighbor is interested in having a dog but isn't allowed or cannot take proper care of one. They might want to spend some time with your dog while you're working.

I strongly advice against adopting a second dog as play mate for your first one. If your wife is already afraid of one dog, the chaos of two of them will not improve anything at all.

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    I'd also add the suggestion of actual doggy day care (where the dog is dropped off at a location where it can run and socialize/play with other dogs during the day), in addition to "day care" like dog walkers or neighbors.
    – Allison C
    Nov 10, 2023 at 15:01
  • @AllisonC it is a relatively small town and we do not have access to a dog daycare or training center
    – CodeJunkie
    Nov 13, 2023 at 6:51
  • @CodeJunkie please don't take this as criticism: My parents live outside an extremely small town (by definition, it's not even a "town") and have access to both of these things. Have you checked what's available near you, or just assumed that, because of the area, it doesn't exist?
    – Allison C
    Nov 13, 2023 at 14:48
  • I've lived here for the past 20 years :)
    – CodeJunkie
    Nov 13, 2023 at 19:06

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