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Still struggling….

1168 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Aly2015
Hi, I’ve posted here a lot over the past 6.5 months that we’ve had our puppy. She’s 8.5 months old now and hasn’t improved much in her behavior or training. We’ve been trying so hard to keep up with her training, exercise, ect…when do you know enough is enough? How do you know when another family is maybe a better fit?

Part of the problem is our other golden, she bothers him incessantly. We separate them, but the older dog whines to be with me and the puppy can’t be alone without someone watching her as she still eats everything. She has started to want to chew metal and will actually swallow anything she finds. She also wakes up at 4:30 everyday no matter what time she falls asleep…. I know that this is probably adolescence but she’s been this way since she was 8 weeks old! I just don’t know how how much more we can take but the thought of giving her back to the breeder makes me so sad.
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Hi, I’ve posted here a lot over the past 6.5 months that we’ve had our puppy. She’s 8.5 months old now and hasn’t improved much in her behavior or training. We’ve been trying so hard to keep up with her training, exercise, ect…when do you know enough is enough? How do you know when another family is maybe a better fit?

Part of the problem is our other golden, she bothers him incessantly. We separate them, but the older dog whines to be with me and the puppy can’t be alone without someone watching her as she still eats everything. She has started to want to chew metal and will actually swallow anything she finds. She also wakes up at 4:30 everyday no matter what time she falls asleep…. I know that this is probably adolescence but she’s been this way since she was 8 weeks old! I just don’t know how how much more we can take but the thought of giving her back to the breeder makes me so sad.
You've posted quite a lot about your pup's problems, and your problems with her. You know, being a two-dog family isn't for everyone. There's a myth that having two dogs is easier than having one because they will keep themselves entertained and you won't have to spend as much time exercising and the old dog will "train" the new one, and so on ... Well, none of that is true. Dog ownership is one of the situations in life where one plus one almost always equals more than two.

First, if you have two dogs, you need to be able to give time to both of them - the same amount of time you were giving to the first one, multiplied by two. And multiplied by even more during the puppy years (the first two years or so in the case of a golden retriever), when ongoing training is essential to develop the human-dog bond. So two dogs don't take less time than one, they take more.

Second, just because the two dogs are living in the same family doesn't necessarily mean they are going to get on well. You can tilt the scales in your favour by asking the breeder to choose a pup with a temperament that will complement your existing dog (e.g. an easy-going puppy if your existing dog is mellow and laid-back). If you don't do that, it's another matter. Sometimes you're lucky and the two dogs get on well. Other times, you're not quite so lucky and they need to be managed for their own welfare and your peace of mind. Sometimes you're not lucky at all and they can't stand one another. My guess is that you're in the middle "not quite so lucky" group. You're going to have to manage your dogs: not leaving them alone together in case your older dog loses patience with the younger one, etc. This might be a medium-term thing, or it might be a life-long thing. There's no way of telling at this point.

Third, the puppy might pick up good habits from the older dog, but only if the older dog likes puppies and has himself been well-trained. It's not an automatic thing. And fourth, there's the multiplier factor to consider. Twice the hair in the house, twice the expense, twice the training time, twice the effort when going on outings (it's easy for one person to manage one dog on leash, not so easy for one person to manage two). Things that were acceptable with just one dog (e.g. shedding) become more visible and less acceptable with two.

There is an added problem that many people encounter, and that is the fact that, if they rely on inter-dog play to exercise the younger dog, the younger dog is missing out on the one-on-one time that the older one got to enjoy with its humans, and this will definitely have an impact on its relationship with the human family and, more importantly, on its behaviour. When your younger dog is playing with the older dog, she's not learning how to behave in a human family. She's not learning to follow the rules of the human world. She's not bonding with you. One the contrary, she's bonding with the other dog and reinforcing many of the innate dog behaviours you're finding it hard to live with (mouthiness, inability to settle, dislike of being alone, etc.).

Another myth of dog ownership is that bad habits will magically go away over time without the need for training. Like all the other myths, this one is also not true. Maybe your younger dog will stop bothering your older one, or maybe she won't - at least, not for a couple of years. Maybe she'll settle down, or maybe she won't. Maybe she'll start waking up later, or maybe she won't. Respect for boundaries and the ability to settle are skills that have to be trained for some dogs - they don't automatically appear. No two dogs are alike. Just because your first dog was easy, it doesn't mean your second one will also be easy.

We have two dogs but we're not in the same situation as you. My hobby has always been dog agility, so I do a lot of training, exercise and competing with my dogs. It's the lifestyle I've chosen, and my dogs are well-trained as a result. My spouse isn't a dog person. He likes them and is happy to live with them, but only because of the enormous amount of time and effort I devote to training them. If they couldn't be trusted off-leash, or were constantly fighting, or broke things in the house, or woke him up at 4.30 every morning, he'd be a lot less enthusiastic ...! It can take a lot of effort to create a two-dog household that works. IMHO at least one of the humans needs to be willing to make that effort.

Anyway. All that to say: multiple dog ownership can be wonderful, but it can also be hard and time-consuming and overwhelming and it doesn't always go to plan. In a couple of your posts, including this one, you've raised the possibility of returning the younger dog to the breeder. Considering that possibility is nothing to be ashamed of and it doesn't mean you don't love your dog. On the contrary, if two-dog ownership isn't for you, the pup will be much better off with a family who can give her the attention she needs to function well. Sometimes reality doesn't live up to the hype, and I've always admired people who are able to acknowledge that and adjust accordingly.

I wish you the very best as you move forward, whatever you decide to do.
 
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