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There is no shame in changing your mind on the adoption. Maybe even negotiating with one of the other rescuers to trade dogs. You have to be realistic about what is best for you and the dog in the long run. One of the other rescuers might have accommodations at their home that might be better suited for this particular dog.

Well said! I totally agree.

That's a good idea. Also, don't hesitate to reach out to the rescue group in general for assistance. Asking for help doesn't make you inferior. I'm thinking that everyone connected with the rescue group wants all the rescues to be successfully rehabilitated. Some rescues may need to be a group effort.


I've read that with humans that it can even take up to 3 days to recover from a stressful event. I tend to suffer from Winter depression (SAD). I know that during the dark days of Winter and with weather challenges, anxiety and depression can even be an issue with people who aren't generally stressed or anxious.

This year, I inquired with my primary care doctor about using CBD oil for insomnia. My doctor thought it was a good idea and that his brother, as well as other patients are using it and getting a good result. I did some research on various products and started using it. It has helped with both insomnia and anxiety this Winter. I'd much rather use CBD oil than something like a prescription tranquilizer for me. If I ever have a need, I wouldn't hesitate to try a suitable version for my dog.

I have multiple types of leashes to use with my rowdy puppy. Sometimes, at home, when she tries to evade me putting a leash on her, I use a slip leash. It is kinda like using a lasso. Once the slip leash is on, it's easier to change out to a different leash.

You may need to lay down some potty pads for awhile. I know it may seem like a step backwards, but it could eliminate the need to go outside in the snow.
Slip lead might be a good idea---I used them all the time with my boarders. And I do ninja lasso maneuvers that *sometimes* the dog doesn't know what's going on till I've got them, especiallly if they have never seen a slip lead before. We only do this because sometimes boarders don't want playtime to be over and won't come in willingly.

But it's also my go-to for moving dogs we aren't sure if they will bite. I have even put on the slip lead using the butt of a whip or something in order to keep my hands out of the dogs' face. You can accomplish all of this without direct eye contact or threatening body posture to the dog to help them feel more comfortable
 

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Whether or not you choose to keep at this, while he is with you, he does need a potty schedule no matter how much of a melt down he has. This one necessity will probably be your first break through in teaching him that you are reliable and consistent even if he is scared out of his mind. Also since he was able to hold it for 48 hrs, he had to have been potty trained. I would think that there would be health issues sooner or later if he is allowed to self force hold due to his fears to ask to go.

I hope you were able to get him out before he soiled. I also hope that since the rescue is a no kill, they will take the dog back if this doesn't work out for you. Imho, they should and that the fact that they are no kill and that there is a person there who has felt close to him, should make it a bit more comforting for you if that is what you decide.

Since he isn't a fear biter, I think this boy is going to make it be it with you or someone else. I do know from personal experience that working though ones own issues/problems while trying to help a dog through theirs is not easy nor fun at times and sometimes no matter what we wish for and how hard we try to figure out a way, the fit just isn't there through no fault of anyone. I do think that the rescue should have been a bit more detailed about this dog though.
 

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It’s only been a few days, you had to know from his history that you wouldn’t get your perfect dog by now. He has known nothing but neglect his entire young life that has been turned upside down every which way, with no way to explain to him that he’s okay. Let him adjust on his own terms, to an extent. Be in the same vicinity but don’t pay direct attention to him, toss little treats here and there.. let him come to terms with his new and frightening surroundings and approach you when he wants to. You said you have a fence, are you worried about him climbing over it? Put a hot wire around the top like we do for horses and eliminate this extra stressor of having to leash up to take him outside. Otherwise make a slip lead out of a 30 ft line like they use for tracking. Also don’t feel like you need to make your house quiet as a mouse, or that you can’t go about your life. You know how if you fall asleep with tv blaring, lights on you’re fine but if you fall asleep in dark silence then someone turns on loud music you’re startled, awakened and upset? He must learn to adjust and that sounds/sights are part of his life and nothing to be scared of. He has to learn to cope and it will just take time. If he can be crated lock him up with a frozen peanut butter Kong and go take a breather, you can still live your life and you should. Maintain a schedule you plan on keeping his entire life, instead of devoting every second to him now then expecting him to be ok with less later. He has had zero consistency in his life and he needs it. If you have started colts you know the importance of this.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I wanted to thank everyone for their comments, help, concerns, advice and thoughts.

Haku is doing better today. Yesterday I asked the Shepherd handler that was working with him over at the rescue to stop by as he was still really scared to come out of his crate. Him and the dog have started a relationship so I was hoping he would get some comfort in that. At first he was still crazy scared, crawling, shaking, not seeing the handler at all. I was so embarrassed because it was an obvious 100 steps back from when I picked him up last Sunday, I swear he thought for a second I was beating the dog (I promise I'm not). We got him outside and he was still skittish but then the handler said he wanted to see if another dog would help. He fetched his own giant, playful shepherd and let him loose in my yard. Haku wagged his tail for the first time! We let them loose in the yard and it helped so much. After 15 minutes it was a completely different dog. Haku spent the rest of the day running up and down my indoor stairs about 50 times (he just loves them). It was so nice to see him relax. But at the same time I think I realized I cannot help this dog. Well, I know I CAN if I put in the time, effort etc. But just seeing the whole setup I had a sick feeling that he needs a different setup. That deep down, despite wishing differently, I am too anxious a person to take this on right now at this point in my life. I have actually just recently come back from over seas that turned out to be 2 of the most stressful years of my life. Anyway, I am trying to clearly separate my logical thought from my "puppy blues" and assess the situation. I have reached out to my family to help as they are involved in this too.

Watching him yesterday, Haku is going to be absolutely fine, especially with a person who expects nothing from him but what he can give. As sick as it makes me, I don't think I can do that, or I will, but somewhere inside I feel I might keep regretting, "what if...". What a terrible side of myself this has revealed.

I know it is too early to tell but my impressions so far is that he is super intense, very intelligent, extremely curious and just never wants to stop moving forward. In true Shepherd fashion, he is going to need a job to do. On a more practical level, I am concerned that I cannot keep up with him even if he does mellow out. But that is a separate issue.

If I do decide on returning him, I want everyone to know this is not a shelter drop off, but a completely legitimate rescue. He will not be put down, he will not be shuffled off to the first person who asks. They are a lovely group of people, require a house visit, check lease agreements etc. and even said they would help me look for a more balanced dog if I would like. The only thing that just tears me up inside is moving this poor boy again, especially back to the noisy run he was in. Although getting some peace and quiet, warm food and learning how awesome stairs and peanut butter are could not have been all that bad. But the handler will continue to work with him there and I know there were other people wanting to adopt him already. He is so freaking beautiful too which also helps.

I will keep everyone updated. Thank you.
 

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If you have untreated problems with anxiety, and the dog is becoming a focal point for mental health issues (like anxiety or depression), and you find yourself blaming the dog and its problems for making you miserable, then you cannot solve this dog's issues. I'm not saying this to criticize but to be real with you. This is one of the few obstacles that will block progress.

Dogs sense human anxiety with perfect precision. You can't hide it from them. If they are already anxious themselves, the human's own anxiety merely confirms to them that the world is a scary place. The owner and dog are then in a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

OTOH, if either the dog or the owner is solid, either one can learn to get the other out of panic attacks or moments of extreme anxiety. It's why good, clear-headed dogs are so excellent for veterans with PTSD--they quickly learn to recognize, respond to, and help their humans out of it. Similarly, patient, dedicated humans learn to solve this for anxious dogs they're rehabilitating. It only works if one or the other is working from a solid foundation.

From your second post, it sounds like maybe neither you nor the dog are in a position to help each other though. I really hope the guy this dog loved at the shelter is willing to take him on as a foster. If they already have trust, it is what this dog needs.
 

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If you have untreated problems with anxiety, and the dog is becoming a focal point for mental health issues (like anxiety or depression), and you find yourself blaming the dog and its problems for making you miserable, then you cannot solve this dog's issues. I'm not saying this to criticize but to be real with you. This is one of the few obstacles that will block progress.

Dogs sense human anxiety with perfect precision. You can't hide it from them. If they are already anxious themselves, the human's own anxiety merely confirms to them that the world is a scary place. The owner and dog are then in a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

OTOH, if either the dog or the owner is solid, either one can learn to get the other out of panic attacks or moments of extreme anxiety. It's why good, clear-headed dogs are so excellent for veterans with PTSD--they quickly learn to recognize, respond to, and help their humans out of it. Similarly, patient, dedicated humans learn to solve this for anxious dogs they're rehabilitating. It only works if one or the other is working from a solid foundation.

From your second post, it sounds like maybe neither you nor the dog are in a position to help each other though. I really hope the guy this dog loved at the shelter is willing to take him on as a foster. If they already have trust, it is what this dog needs.
@Magwart, The second to last paragraph hit home. big time. I don't want to derail the thread but wanted to second what you said. And I'm pretty sure the give and take of drawing from the strengths of each other once a bond is formed happens more often in less stressful circumstances than many realize. Relevant to the op's issues from what was posted I think he/she deserves a dog that can offer that kind of support. Perhaps this dog does have that ability that can be tapped into sometime down the road but we (general) can't see the future and can only make the best decisions base on our (general) past and what we know of the present.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
@Magwort. Thank you for being honest. What you have outlined is exactly what I am fearing and as much as it makes me realize something about myself that I wish I had not, I cannot let my guilt or ego affect this dog. I wish I was the confident person I was a few years ago but I guess who I want to be and who I currently am are very very different.
 

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Also the shelter needs to be more forth coming when their is an interest in one of their dogs. From your first post, it sounds like they downplayed the issues as in "The shelter seemed to play it really low key, saying he just needed love and time but I am starting to think I should have trusted my instincts better".
. You have learned a lot in a very short time. In dealing with shelters and rescues I have learned to read between the lines in dog descriptions.
You gave it your all and realized you reached your limits. That is only fair to yourself and the dog. Take a breather and let it go for a while. Choose a dog, that is interested in YOU, who freely approaches you out of interest and who doesn't need therapy. A tweak here and there is all you need.
 

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I "wish" you would at least at this time (and such a short time that it has been), would lean toward the idea of fostering Haku (as you had mentioned) rather then him going back to shelter.
Huge strides were made in such a short time...15 mins, by bringing the other dog in...I am late to the party, and was going to suggest this, so I am thrilled to read this now.
Imagine 15 mins and what change you have seen.
Also wanted to suggest a martingale with clip so you don't have to put on and off and adjust, as well a 20 ft to 30 ft drag lead...you stay at the threshold of door, sitting in a chair and let dog out to explore. He spooks, you still have him and he may just come right back to you.


You have a right to have a normal dog life. Doesn't mean you won't, but no guarantee either. Nor will it with the next. So many people here got the perfect puppy, so they thought. They had doubts, they reached out. Many still have that dog they wanted to rehome. Others rehomed.


I too have a scared rescue. She is cross. We have been together a yr and a half. She doesn't want anyone but me. No human, no dogs. It is hard, but I live a quiet life, not a lot of company and sometimes I regret it. But when she folds her body and wiggles and wags when I get home, it is just the best....before she would skulk and lift her back leg at me in a submissive way.
Walks...she would look at me like "whatever you want, don't hurt me". She was afraid on walks. She was afraid of the door. Afraid of the fridge door. Afraid of the TV. Afraid of her reflection in the stove. Afraid of me reaching to pet her. Afraid of the crate. She didn't know how to play with toys or chew a raw bone.
She wasn't afraid of food or counter surfing as she seemed to be starving (she was also very sick)


Now she has her spot on sofa, she hangs on back of it guarding/watching life go by. She is insane and climbs over my shoulder and does head stands on my hip as she play bites me for attention.
When we go for our walks she is wagging, at the door she used to be afraid of, anxious, runs out ahead of me, jumps up on deck rail "hurry up!" as I turn to lock door. Whips my make shift gate open with her muzzle....sigh. she still doesn't care for others on walks.
I open the fridge, she sticks her head in and sniffs all the condiments. She has learned to get vocal (never barked before), she makes what I refer to as baby seal noises, She freaked out just recently, barking and growling as I was in bed and someone or two had hopped the raining on the front deck outside my bedroom window. I think she thwarted a potential break in (I called 911).
She goes insane when "it's shower time" and has total bark/howl thing and pounces at me as I turn water on.
TV, no problem.
Toys...I wish she didn't learn how to play with them...It's costing me a fortune...LOL
I don't crate her anymore ( I will if HAVE to, if landlord had to come in when not home)
I play music, I dance with her, she goes through my legs as I give her a rub down to the beat of the song.


Anyway, that is just some stuff.
She can be a bit of a pill when I have company (which is rarely), and has attempted to bully or maybe even bite when the person moved too suddenly in my direction. But they were between Her and I.
Stuff to work on. But right now, she is a happy, fairly confident, playful clown
 

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Please let go of guilt regarding this dog. In a few days you've been able to clarify for the rescue organization what would be a good match for Haku. You've been able to pinpoint the character traits you need for a good dog match for you. Haku has been a mirror for you to see what you need to work in and out of your life. The experience has been enlightening for you.

Is there a Guide Dog organization near you that needs volunteers? Those dogs would have a complimentary character and temperament for your needs at the moment. Or what about the rescue/shelter Haku came from? Volunteering could be the first step you need before committing to full time dog ownership.
 

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I think you need to do what you need to do.

But I also think that shy people can be helped by shy dogs. I have seen it happen. I think that sometimes, we can have empathy for a critter when we understand the depth of a feeling.

I do think that anxious people are more likely to have reactive dogs. But depressed people can actually be helped quite a bit by dogs because they are pretty resilient and they tend to recognize feelings and are very good at responding to them.

That being said, yes, you can go and get a project dog to bond and grow with even if you are not 100 percent mentally/emotionally together (ask my dogs). Every milestone you reach with the dog, is a boost in self-confidence because of the achievement. On the other hand, if you need a dog to help with anxiety, panic attacks, and such, buy a dog that can do that. Buy a stable dog, out of proven lines. So I think it depends on the human end of the equation, how functional, whether the dog is there to bring you out of yourself, and the point is helping the dog for that sense of accomplishment, to give you a reason to get up and dressed and out for exercise/walk every day. Or is the dog there to function as a buffer to the rest of the world, if the dog is 100% necessary 24/7 service-type dog.

I know there are emotional support animals, and there are service animals and the rules are different for each.

Being honest about your needs and your level of commitment for whatever the possible outcomes, will help you make your decision. It does not make you a bad person to realize that you bit off more than you can chew, or more than you want to try and manage right now. All that is important is that you get this dog back into the right hands, if that is your choice.
 

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This is really a great reading thread. Lots of good advise and a lot of soul searching for the OP. I would love to hear the outcome. I personally think it could go either way. It sounds like a trust/ trust situation, for the dog to trust the human and the human to trust in themselves and the dog. Please let us know how it ends ups. I just feel like I read a heart moving story, without an ending.
 

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So for anyone who is interested I wanted to give an update. I ultimately decided to take him back to the rescue. It was a very hard day, with many many tears and I still feel guilty. But when I realized that I did not feel capable of keeping this dog safe, let alone having the right attitude and calm required to help him overcome his fears, I knew I had my answer. If I was out more rural perhaps I would not have had the same worry about keeping him more physically safe, but I live very central to all the hubbub.

This has been an incredibly humbling experience and has shown me that you may think you know what you want or can take on but sometimes what is in my mind and what is reality is a bit of a different picture. Did I take the easy way out? Yes I did. Do I regret it? I don't think I do but I do worry about him a lot. I have stayed in contact with the rescue group, gave my adoption fee as a donation and offered to cover his food or whatever they need. He is doing alright and I pray the right home comes along for him. Perhaps if I was not single and had someone closer to lean on it could have been different. Maybe if I did not work full time I could have found the strength. And sadly, maybe I will always be just a bit too anxious of a person.

In other areas, although I do feel a bit guilty, I eventually slowly started looking in again for another dog. The rescue lady saw my state when I returned him, they were so so lovely, what wonderful people, and she said I need a giant ball of loving, kisses of a dog. I think she was right. I have some deep personal scars I thought I had gotten over, but obviously they are still there. Animals sure make you honest. I just need some love right now really. Anyway, I have actually adopted another dog. I wanted to wait a bit longer but it caught me a bit by surprise when a dog showed up. He is a German Shepherd and time will tell if I completely messed up again. I was not lying about my dog experience, my rottweiler Shepherd cross was a total maniac! I was honestly looking for some shepherd or retriever mutt mix but this guy came along and he has been an absolute joy to me and my whole family. So far so good and I am sure you will see my other posts on here as I navigate this crazy puppy!

For anyone still reading, he is also a rescue, I believe an owner surrender, probably too much of a handful. He is 4 or 5 months old, has crazy puppy energy with zero boundaries or manners, but is all kisses and snuggles with a very sweet soul. He just needs some rules and consistency but the love is all there. What a joy. Instead of being too scared to take my dog outside, I open the back door and he bounds out so we can play a game of fetch, grabbing anything even remotely interesting (pine cone, my underwear from upstairs I didn't see him steal, a piece of my gutter! seriously!) in his mouth while on his way to fetch the ball. Instead of a dog too scared to come out of his crate I spend my days trying to teach the "wait" command to reduce the intensity of the crate-launch dog explosion. When I see how much my family already loves him, how my parents call him grand-puppy, how my 22 year old brother is pretty much ready to adopt him from me!, how when I turn around and he has his back against mine, paws in the air roaching I feel I made the right choice, that right now I am not strong enough for rejection, I need something a little different. I still feel like a failure, because every rescue deserves this kind of life, no matter how bad their situation, but am still glad I took an honest look at myself and what I could handle. I smile everyday now, even though his energy is driving me insane! I really wanted a 2-3 year old for good reason, but after what I did I guess I need to suffer :/

Thanks guys for all your help, what a fantastic forum and everything is much appreciated. Who knows, maybe someday in the future with a different set of circumstances I may be in a better place to help a dog that really needs it. I kept the name Haku for my new pup (I do feel a bit ashamed) but no one ever used it before, instead using the rescue name Scotty, often including myself for some weird reason. Here are some pics of my new pup and am glad at least I could still adopt a rescue.
 

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What a sweet puppy! He looks happy. I'm glad you are feeling better as well!

You made the best decision for both you and the dog you returned. I know it had to be a hard decision to make. Don't feel guilty about it.

I look forward to reading stories about the puppy.
 

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I see this as a really good update on several levels. Feel free to suffer the crazy puppy antics, misbehaviors etc. as we all have. But it isnt due to something you did wrong. If anything, perhaps seeing what you went through giving the other back was an eye opener for the rescue as well. Perhaps in their wanting so badly to place him, they lost sight of how a mismatch can so strongly have a negative impact on a caring adopter.

I am sure you are right. These dogs keep humans honest. At least the ones who care.

Congratulations on your new family member. He looks like a whole lot of loving fun.
 

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I think you're right that all pups deserve a loving home, regardless of the issues they've come to have because previous humans failed them. But taking the first one back does not negate the sincerity of your belief and your caring about him. Taking him back gives him a chance at having that kind of home. You did the right thing and I don't think you should feel any shame in that. Mistakes made with sincere and honorable intentions are not shameful!

And nothing wrong with keeping the same name, either. It's a great, strong name and your new dog is no less deserving of it. :) I hope you continue to share your progress and if you ever learn any followup on the first dog, I hope you'll share that, too.

Congrats on finding your way and on finding what seems like a very good fit for your family. He's a great looking boy!
 

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So glad you're doing ok, and congratulations on your new puppy! What have you named your new boy? You're not a failure, don't let disappointment cloud and affect your thinking to make you believe that. Given time, training and rehabilitation, your first rescue will also have his happily ever after.
 

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So nice that this little pup is bringing you joy! The way it oughta be.
He's a cutie! :)
An exuberant ball of energy!


And don't beat yourself up too much over former rescue!
He may do better in a different home - it sounds like he was in an environment where there were always other dogs around (hoarder! then, the rescue in an area with many other dogs?) and he may feel more comfortable/confident in a multi-dog home? Or he was deprived of a lot of life experiences growing up, and just needs somebody willing to do very slow gradual socialization...well, I am just wild-guessing - but anyway I hope he finds a great home of his own.
 
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