After reading your posts you sound very frustrated. Have you had a dog or puppy previously or is this your first one?
When I got Chloe I was told by a few different people that I shouldn’t get a puppy (or a dog). I worked full time, I lived in a high-rise condo and I lived by myself.
I got Chloe as a puppy and I was a “single mommy”. I was fortunate to have my parents puppy sit for me when she was a 8 weeks to about 7 months old. Since Chloe was 7 months old she has been staying home all day with no accidents or problems. I am happy to say that it is possible to work and have a happy dog. However, it means that you have to sacrifice and dedicate a lot of time for the dog. In my opinion it is soooooo worth it!
When Chloe was younger (from 7 months until she was 2 years old) I was up at 5am during the week. Chloe got at least an hour walk and a 30 min off leash play session. I set up a camera during the day so I could spy on her and make sure she was ok. Since she had so much exercise in the morning she would sleep the day away. I never stayed late at work (which meant during busy days I worked through my lunch). After work I would walk her (20 mins) as soon as I got home, then dinner, training session, and at least an hour walk in the evening and most days she would play with a neighbourhood dog off leash for another 30mins to an hour. I would usually come home around 10pm with a happy and tired pooch. I would have an hour or so to myself to shower, clean and get ready for the next day. On weekends I would get up around 7am, take Chloe to the park in the morning (spending 2-3 hours there) or the beach if it was hot out. I would go out and do errands
Puppies and dogs require a lot of time, patience and love. In my opinion, its so worth it! My dog is a part of my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the whole world.
No, I don’t think you’re a bad owner. I think you and your family really need to sit down, think and discuss Fenway. I am sure you love him and want what is best for him. I would really encourage you to try and increase his exercise and set a routine so he knows when he can play and when its time for him to relax and rest (ie: when you are at work). Do you have family or friends that would be willing to take Fenway for an hour or two to break up his day? I believe you said your oldest was 12, could he walk Fenway after school or play with him in the backyard? Can you take Fenway to sport events and train with him? In my old condo building, there was a single mom (she had a 10 year old daughter), they had a few cats and just recently got a puppy the same time as I did. This was her first dog and she was overwhelmed with how much time and energy was required caring for a puppy. We often got together so our dogs could play and tire each other out, and we also got to socialize for a bit. Could you find a dog that Fenway gets along with and have doggie play dates a couple times a week to burn off some excess energy? I would also encourage you to work on training with Fenway. If you can’t afford a trainer at this time, there is plenty of great information on the internet that can help you. I would strongly recommend Victoria Stillwell (Victoria Stilwell Positively*|* It’s Me or the Dog
Sorry for the long post, I hope some of it helped!