I have owned a dog since I was in my early twenties. Not the same dog, actually, there have been many that have filled my home over the years. When our last dog passed away last year, my husband and I agreed we would take a long break from dog ownership. That break lasted exactly four months and I have questioned our sanity every day since.
We had it good. We had finally gotten our freedom back and what did we do…we got a puppy. Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE dogs and our dogs live a good life. They are allowed in the house and on the furniture. They have their pick of toys and their bellies full of treats. Our dogs are spoiled and loved. We have bawled like babies with the passing of each one so don’t think I’m someone who doesn’t like dogs. But dogs require work, especially puppies.
I had four good months of sleep until our little guy came home and required middle of the night bathroom breaks.
I had four months of leaving work and going wherever I wanted. Now I have to come home and let the dog out.
I had four good months of only vacuuming the house once a week. Now I get the pleasure of vacuuming 2-3 times a week to prevent dog hair from drifting across my hard wood floors like tumbleweeds in Arizona.
I had four good months of saving money. Now there are vet bills, dog food (at 8mo he eats 6 cups of food per day), and the worst expense yet…training! Our cute little puppy turned into a really large puppy that epitomizes the “bull in a china shop” phrase. At eight months old our puppy is 95 pounds! So training this guy was a must. If we didn’t, he would have quickly run us over…literally!
But I take full responsibility for our bad decision. I knew what I was getting us into and so did my husband. We were all stressed out last year due to Covid and the loss of our last dog had us experiencing a “dog free” home for the first time in 20yrs which threw us both off balance. And come on, you take a look at this picture and see if you could have resisted getting him.
I fell super hard in love with this guy, but what we never anticipated was that in addition to the normal work of owning a puppy, was that our guy would have issues with fear aggression. He is scared to death of everyone, even children. He barks and growls every time someone walks by and God forbid it’s a kid on a scooter or bicycle because our sweet little eight month old puppy turns into freaking Kujo. A puppy showing fear aggression is not as much of an issue if the puppy is a Beagle. But when the puppy is a 95lb Mastiff it’s a real problem. It’s really not fair. His size doesn’t allow him to get away with the normal puppy behavior that smaller dogs get away with.
We had hoped that training would alleviate some of the fear but so far we aren’t seeing any improvement outside the home when strangers are around. Inside the home he’s amazing. He’s such a good dog and he loves our daughter so much. But outside the home he’s a real problem. We got medication from the vet to see if this would help with his fear aggression and we are hoping that with age, and eventual neutering, he will simmer down a bit.
I do believe that he’s going to be a great addition to our family when his fear aggression gets under control. We did consider rehoming him but attempting to rehome a dog that doesn’t like people, other than us, is rather difficult. Our vet suggests that if the medicine doesn’t work we have two options, never let him leave the house or put him down. I can’t bare the thought of either.
You really don’t know how your puppy is going to turn out. ANY dog breed can demonstrate fear aggression and ANY dog breed is capable of biting. We are foolish if we think a Beagle is never a risk because they aren’t known for this type of behavior as a breed. I must admit that, as I had never experienced this type of behavior in the past, I assumed it was related to how the dog was treated by the owner. Past trauma is linked to fear aggression and can be anticipated from a shelter dog who has experienced abuse but our dog has experienced no such abuse. Our dog is just a big ole scaredy-cat.
As much as I love him I must admit that I regret getting him. He’s a lot more work than I anticipated because his size allows him to get into everything. He’s only eight months old and can eat food from the kitchen counters with all four paws on the ground, so just like a toddler, he requires constant supervision. Puppies create chaos, not simplicity. Regardless, he’s ours now and we will address these issues the best we can and make every attempt to help this guy get over his fears and become the best damn dog we’ve ever owned. Wish us luck!