Perfect Dog, Neurotic Dog Mom
August 2, 2009 5:57 AM Subscribe
How did you adjust to being a first-time dog owner?
posted by tuff to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My husband and I adopted an adorable adult boston terrier/american bulldog mix from petfinder.com 3 weeks ago. The dog is sweet, obedient, funny, and gentle. He doesn't bark at all - ok, he's barked twice in the past 3 weeks, each just a single gruff "woof" and that's all. He likes other dogs, and likes people even more, and is good with children as well. He doesn't have any behavior issues that I can see so far (other than waking us up at 5 am because he wants to cuddle - we have to find the snooze button on this dog). We plan to sign him up for obedience training soon, but we are still looking for the right class. He was underweight and had a dull coat when we got him, but he's coming along well now (with a few setbacks of diarrhea which had me worried sick).
We live in an urban area, and we don't have a yard, so we make sure he is walked three times a day (average: about 1 hr in the morning, 1/2 hr mid-day, and then 30-45 min in the evening). The rest of the time, he's inside the apartment. On days when we are away for 9 hours (3 days a week), a dog walker comes in in the middle of the day to walk him for a half hour. The other 4 days, one or both of us is home for at least half of the day. He seems to just sleep during the day, and the dog walker has even said that sometimes he is not too into his mid-day walks and it seems like he has been disturbed from his sleep when she comes in. We play with him after walks, and feed him twice a day.
So, what is the problem? I have just had a lot of anxiety and stress from adjusting to the responsibility of having a dog. I'm in my early 30s, and before getting this dog I guess I had too easy of a life! I am very responsible and hard-working within my career, but I have not had to face taking care of another living being before. I have previous problems with anxiety, and have a lot of difficulty adjusting to change. I am also having a hard time taking things one day at a time - while walking my dog in the lovely summer weather, I am thinking "Oh, I'm going to hate walking him in the winter in the morning," even though I have always gone walking in the cold weather in the past before having a dog, though not every day. When he was sick with diarrhea in the middle of the night, I was thinking, "Will it always be like this? Will I never sleep through the night again?" I also worry about the dog all of the time even though he has shown no signs of separation anxiety or boredom. I am not sure how to deal with this problem. I know I can't return the doggie just because I am neurotic! I want to adjust to this responsibility, because I know if I can't take care of this sweet, easy dog then I won't be able to handle children, which previously I thought I would want in about a year or so, but now I am not so sure. If you have gone through something similar, and can give any advice on how to adjust, and a success story or two, I would really appreciate it.