Here`s another great article:
I had a really intense bout of puppy blues back when I first got my ACD puppy when he was 8 weeks. Even though we had prepared, it just wasn't the same when he eventually got here and I definitely lost it a few times…crying, shutting down, not eating. It eventually got better once we set our routines and he learned to sleep in his crate to give us some down time but he is 5 months now and I think the puppy blues are back but in a different form.
Now I'm stressed, anxious, and depressed and he is all I can think about even when I do get some down time to myself. The rest doesn't feel like rest. I can't even relax because I'm just so stressed about him and how I've ruined him.
He attended his first puppy class today and it was just terrible. We had had a one on one session with a trainer two weeks before who essentially told us that he needed to work on his reactivity before attending classes, so because of that we missed out on the first week of puppy classes. When we got to the site, it was like a massive oval with SO many dogs everywhere and it was very evident that he was one of the most reactive puppies/dogs there. He was already lunging and barking and probably overstimulated and yet I still took him through that puppy class and at the end I was just so exhausted and overwhelmed because he would bark right through the trainer's instructions and then lunge and bark at the puppy next to us. We even stand so far back because any closer and the kid would start barking/lunging like crazy.
He is a lockdown puppy. Where I am, we only got out of really strict lockdown rules so puppy school only started up again for most businesses two weeks ago. I feel like I've let my boy down. I just feel so ill equipped to handle him and his reactivity. Everyone is giving me so many different instructions on how to deal with his reactivity, this trainer is telling me to only use a collar so I can 'pop' his collar when he is barking/lunging, and then someone else is telling me to use a harness as that is less stress on his neck, and then the trainer is telling me to lead him with treats and that it doesn't matter if he jumps up on walks, but then another trainer is telling me to just turn the other way if he pulls and I'm overwhelmed and confused. Trainers are saying no dog parks or playdates but then how do I socialise him properly? I feel like I'm not being consistent enough.
The trainer told me to my face that he will get aggressive if I don't do anything about it but he didn't even offer any advice and just walked away to talk to someone else. When we were walking to our car, another red heeler came over to say Hi and the kid sniffed him politely and then immediately went for his face. The parents of that heeler told me she was also a lockdown puppy and that she was 6 months and she was just doing so well, no reactivity and no lunging and just sitting politely waiting for her parents to tell her to go.
I don't know what I did wrong to have him react this way. I feel like I'm failing him so badly and I haven't even reached the adolescence stage yet. My friend who has a blue heeler told me that hers settled around 1 yr old but I can't even imagine another 7 months like this. I don't know what to do anymore,
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