Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email

I can't cope with my new puppy

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 05 August 2016
Dear Patricia Marie,

A few weeks ago, after much work convincing my partner, I bought the sausage dog I have been craving for a very long time. At first it was so much fun, playing with him, making up his little bed, teaching him tricks and so on, but now I am finding I have changed my mind, as he also has chewed my slippers, my handbags, and my glasses, he wees on the floor in the house when he should ask to go outside, he barks constantly, and it's a nuisance if we want to go out for the day and can't take him.

I am worried what my friends and partner will think if I tell them I don't want him any more, as I was so very persistent that I knew what I was taking on.  

Patricia Marie says...

You are not alone in having underestimated the sheer time and commitment that raising a puppy demands. Owning a dog is a huge responsibility, and the novelty can easily wear off. It is imperative to put effort into his training, right from the outset. Like children, puppies need boundaries to create a sense of security, and instead of focussing on teaching him tricks, perhaps he should be learning at least the most basic lessons, such as sitting, staying and recall. Puppies thrive on stimulation and absorb training so easily in the first few months. They also pick up on your feelings, so try and remain both calm and confident at all times to earn his respect and trust.

Housetraining must be continuously taught, until your puppy has no more little accidents, as he will not know this automatically. Puppies need to chew to help with their teething, so provide him with rubber chew toys which can be stuffed with treats, and are therefore far more interesting and fun. If you are wishing to go out all day, you either need to invest in a dog walker or arrange daycare for him at home, as dogs are particularly sociable creatures, and can get separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. One of the symptoms of this can be excessive barking. Dogs bark for many reasons – attention, frustration, fear, protectiveness or over excitement, so try to establish the cause and then work on altering the situation so the barking is reduced.

Have you considered attending training classes with him? His current behaviour problems can be corrected with the help and understanding of professionals, but do not expect an immediate change, as it may take a while before you notice any improvement. This will also give you the chance to meet fellow dog owners, share your experiences with each other, and perhaps give you a further line of support.

Hopefully with the right help, and dedication from yourself, your dog could become your best furry friend. However, if you really feel you can't commit to him, then for the sake of his happiness, can you try to put your feelings of embarrassment aside and contact your local dog rescue organisation who could assist you in re- homing him with someone more equipped to deal with his needs.

I recommend: How to Understand and Train your Dachshund Puppy, by Vince Stead. This has everything you need to help you raise your dog to be happy, healthy, and obedient.
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