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How did you raise your Sheltie in an apartment? Regret starting to sink in.

Discussion in 'Sheltie Training' started by angelnov90gmail.com, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. angelnov90gmail.com

    angelnov90gmail.com Forums Regular

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    I did a lot of research including browsing these forums a lot even before I got my 5 month old. Despite being a herding dog, it seemed to be the most compatible out of my favorite breeds and I've wanted one ever since I worked at a dog hotel five years ago. After seeing online that people have been successful with them in apartments, I decided to take the plunge.

    I originally was only looking for an older Sheltie about 2-5 years old and was willing to wait for the right one. The rescues didn't have any and didn't consider apartment dwellers that seriously (I don't blame them!). I met a few different reputable breeders to network and to see if I matched well with their retiring show dogs who were about 8 years old. After questioning me, they each gave me their seal of approval and even said I would do well with a puppy as long as I exercised them. Not long after, I met my little one a couple of times. He lived with a lot of other Shelties and behaved better than almost all of them despite being younger. He was so calm, didn't chew on any wires or bark.

    I'm only starting my second week with my puppy but I feel regret. Part of it is probably the common puppy blues that many people get despite preparing a lot in advance. Another is that I feel that I overestimated how happy I could make him. I'm a single adult with a 8-5 job. I take him out on at least two walks a day plus during lunch since I work 8 minutes away. Two of the walks are usually 1-1.5 hours. He gets a little playtime in the living room when I can monitor him closely (his potty training regressed when he left his first home). He gets more exercise on the weekends.

    I don't feel like I'm doing enough. He's hard to tire out. He sleeps while I'm working so it's mismatch of energy when I come home. I still don't want to hire a dog walker but I haven't ruled them out. I realize now that he much prefers staying inside as he and his family were bred to be show dogs. He doesn't get excited for walks at all and has to be carried or coerced out. He LOVES running around my apartment and follows me everywhere. He's not shy and gets along with dogs but he appears to like people more. I had to work this Saturday and I checked the live stream of the daycare he was at and confirmed what the staff told me. He wasn't interested in other dogs that much. I saw him going up to the staff more, sitting and lying down next to them. His preference for staying indoors is also a potty training concern. He poops/pees on the grass fine, but right now I have to carry him out on a schedule otherwise he would use my floor as he did an hour ago.

    The biggest concern that I underestimated is his separation anxiety. He loves to sleep in his crate but hates when the door is closed, barking when he sees me. At his old home, he sometimes slept with the breeder's young assistant at night. I show him affection, but I don't coddle him so I don't worsen his separation anxiety when I'm away. I have to crate him otherwise he'll potty while I'm cooking or doing other chores. So without an extra set of eyes, I'm crating him more than I'd like to causing me guilt. I think I will take him to the daycare again this weekend to finally get my mounting chores done. They will stop taking him at 7 months unless he is neutered. Unfortunately, I don't plan on neutering him until he's at least one. But day care and dog walkers on a regular basis cost a pretty penny.

    We start obedience classes in a month. I'm wondering if I should wait a few more months after graduating before deciding that I should keep him. I'm already training him now. Raising him is a lot of work, but I expected this from my experience working with dogs. I think I might have picked the wrong breed despite researching them. If anyone has time, I'd appreciate some detailed advice, constructive criticism, stories..etc from owners who have Sheltie apartment experience. The posts I read here and Reddit were simply along the lines of "My Sheltie did fine in an apartment." Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  2. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    First, don't beat yourself up! You are doing all the right things, and from the sound of it, you're giving your boy plenty of exercise. Three walks and play time inside between are plenty. Puppies -- any puppy -- are a bundle of energy with two speeds: Play and Sleep. Don't let him guilt you when you put him in his crate. Give him a chew, or a kong filled with frozen yogurt to occupy him. The crate should be his "safe spot" or den and all he's telling you is that if he can see you, he wants to BE with you. He probably sleeps the entire time you're gone...most puppies do; hence, the unlimited energy when you get home. That's perfectly normal, whether you live on 10 acres or in an apartment. Puppies need routine and a schedule. They should be given regular nap times just like a child, so morning and afternoon while you're at work are perfect, plus sleeping through the night.

    Puppies are far more high energy than adult dogs, and your boy will outgrow this endless energy. If you're getting him out mid-day, he'll do fine while you're at work. Adding in some daycare is a great idea, but I second your plan not to neuter him until after he's one.

    Being bred to show has nothing to do with his wanting to be outside. Most show breeders' dogs get lots of outside time. He just needs to get used to going out, so keep taking him out. If you can, play with him a bit outside, on the leash if there isn't a fenced area where he can be loose. Be happy that he loves your apartment! It would be terrible if he wanted to be outside all the time and barked like crazy when he was inside!

    Raising any puppy is a LOT of work, as you've found. There is no easy-care breed. For all intents and purposes, you have a toddler in the house. It's great that he loves people, and not a bad thing if he isn't interested in other dogs since most of his interaction will be with people. Go ahead and do obedience training with him, it's great for him. But don't expect him to stop being a puppy until he's at least a year old. What you're experiencing is normal puppy behavior, but it sounds like he's a really good boy! Hang in there, and you'll have a great dog soon!
     
  3. angelnov90gmail.com

    angelnov90gmail.com Forums Regular

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    Thanks Ann!

    He's high maintenance, but not a menace compared to other puppy posts I have read. I do give him his favorite whimzie at night before bed, but he still doesn't sleep throughout the night. Luckily he's not barking, just playing with himself when he thinks I'm asleep. I give him the kong toy stuffed with treats during the day so it takes him a while to finish using it. Boy, I really underestimated them in an apartment. The one year mark is 7 months away and I've only had him for a week. It's really hard to endure his guilt-inducing barks when he's in his crate. Does ignoring it really teach them that it's useless? Right now I'm pretending not to hear him, so far it's not working. I underestimated their barking potential because I've been around ones that were senior, tired, shy or de-barked (which I will never do).

    Also, is 7 months a good age for me to stop waking up in the middle of the night to take him out? I'm seeing different opinions on this. He held it for 7 hours one time, but then wet his crate within 6 hours a couple nights later.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    Chris likes this.
  4. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

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    On my, I feel your pain!

    I have had older rescue shelties most of my life. When I got Liam at 10 weeks old I was so smitten and then reality set in and I had the exact same reaction you had!
    What have I done! Did I make the wrong decision? Was I really ready for the responsibility? Ann has given you wonderful advice and direction. You ARE doing a great job.
    I too have made the mistake of not making sure Liam understands the crate is the place where he should feel comfortable and safe. He is fine in it when I am at the house. But, the minute I leave throws a fit. He 1 year and 3 months so he is still a work in progress.

    I was lucky that he was housebroken in 4 months. I know many dogs have different schedules...

    All I can say is you are doing everything right. You are obviously bonding. You will have a wonderful dog to share your life with...
    Yes, the learning curve is steep and we wonder if we made the right decision. In the end, time is on your side and it does get easier.

    Hoping everything works out. Hang in there! We are here for you anytime you need advice... or, just to vent!
     
    Ann, Sandy in CT, KarenCurtis and 2 others like this.
  5. angelnov90gmail.com

    angelnov90gmail.com Forums Regular

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    Thank you Ghggp!

    Have you noticed that Liam has become more mature personality/energy wise? Or is he still extremely hyper? I read that this breed typically mellows down around age 3 or 4 but I didn’t think the energy would start out so high. Last time I had a puppy, it was over 14 years ago and it was team effort with my sister.

    What is Liam’s exact daily routine? Does he have the same sleep schedule as you? That’s where I’m having issues. I try to tire mine out when I come home but he still has a lot in the tank from his afternoon naps. I hear him playing in his crate in the middle of the night.
     
  6. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

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    Actually, he was described as:
    “This puppy is quiet and a gentle soul”.

    So, I wanted a puppy that was calm. He is just that. I do have two other dogs so I am lucky in that regard. Also, he slept through the night after the first month. I also work from home too so it makes so much easier.

    He has definitely mellowed significantly in the past 6 months.
    He is super shy and we are working through that.

    Sounds like doggie day care might help since you are working so much. He will certainly calm down over time. Can you tire him out with more training? Walks are great but the games you play with him can tire him out mentally.

    Like puzzles and games like finding treats in small boxes. Just a thought.
     
    Sandy in CT likes this.
  7. angelnov90gmail.com

    angelnov90gmail.com Forums Regular

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    I’ll work harder on the training. I would need to confine him because he usually loses interest fast and walks off. Ugh. Puppy school is a month away and watching training videos has mixed results.

    I forgot that Liam has other playmates. I don’t want to rely on day care too much because of budgeting but it honestly gives me a nice dose of sanity each time. If I still feel this way by the end of the year, I will really consider returning him. He is adorable, I’m sure he would be placed relatively fast. You’re in Texas too right? If you want another one someday, I might reach out to you. My breeder requires that her dogs are returned to her if it doesn’t work out. I think she would like you if she liked me.
     
  8. Shelby's mom

    Shelby's mom Forums Enthusiast

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    I know how you at feeling! But believe me it does get better. Shelby was such a crazy ball of endless energy, with a mind of her own. The complete opposite of our 1st Sheltie. She is 9 now, still very independent and still stubborn at times. But she has matured in to such an amazing, smart beautiful girl.

    Shelby’s problem is that she is so smart it would get her (and still does) in trouble. She too would bark and cry in her crate. Yes as our vet told us we hand to learn to just ignor her and never give her attention or let her out when she was carrying on (unless it is potty time). Like I said she is stubborn so it took weeks for her to finally give up.

    I did take her to training, got her CGC, did nursing home visits, and now I do nose work with her. I also fed her meals inside of toys that made her think & work for her food.

    She is 9 now and enjoys laying around and no longer has that crazy puppy energy. It is bitter sweet, I enjoy her being much more relaxed and calm, but I am sad missing the playfulness she once had.

    Mental stimulation is just as important as physical activity.
     
    Sandy in CT, Calliesmom and ghggp like this.
  9. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

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    Actually, all reputable and responsible breeders will allow a puppy to be returned. I hope it won’t come to that.

    Do you have any school aged children around you that would want to puppy sit! I found two lovely girls that come to play with Liam for $5 each for 1 hour.

    Yes, I know day care can be expensive! Actually, I live in Michigan and have three Shelties so I would go over the limit if I had four!

    Shelby’s mom gave great feedback too!
     
    Sandy in CT likes this.
  10. angelnov90gmail.com

    angelnov90gmail.com Forums Regular

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    Thanks. So you just ignored her and her barking finally faded? That's what I've been doing but I've been thinking: "Ok just ignore him. But wait, he's not an ordinary puppy. He's a Sheltie so he's sensitive and attached. Am I not considering his needs?" I am glad to hear that it did not go on for weeks for you.
     

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