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toughbattler

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Reply with quote  #1 
My 19 year old son has accepted he needs some time at home to work on
His recovery and is keen on getting a puppy to be responsible for and as a companion. I feel a bit anxious that puppy training will Be another stress in an already anxious life. Any thoughts???
Kali

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi toughbattler,

Puppies are great! We have a dog and she has been a helpful and loving presence in our lives. No one loves you like your dog. Since your son is 19 it might be a happy distraction from the eating disorder. So I would say therapy. You could go over dog training books together and both learn about the best way to train a puppy. Being responsible for feeding another living being also reinforces the idea that we all need enough nourishment.

I see from your posts that your son has battled an exercise compulsion. So just make sure he isn't putting on his running shoes and going for long runs with the puppy! Our dog loves to smell every inch of the ground when out walking so isn't really a dog who loves running.

How is your sons eating and weight gain going?

I'm sure there are plenty of ATDT caregivers who can also give great advice about puppies!

Kali

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Reply with quote  #3 
My D was desperately mentally unwell when we go her a puppy six years ago. He has been the most amazing therapy for her. She has used the puppy as a motivation to move towards wellness and continues to do so. He has been a focus for quieter activities, dog training for example, as well as going for more gentle exercise such as walking when he was younger. A great companion that gives unconditional love. 
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D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
toothfairy

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Reply with quote  #4 
My S got a puppy . A maltese & he is such fun, my (just 16) Son adores him & has great fun training him...😄
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Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery, (Phase 3 ) and Living life to the full, like a "normal"[biggrin] teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine.
Sotired

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Reply with quote  #5 
We tried this.we got a kitten for our d-whilst she loved the kitten,it made no difference in her ability to recover.she still could not make the correlation that if the kitten needed to eat,so did she-that all living things need food.
We also tried adopting a puppy-we already had one dog,we figured that the puppy would be a support to our other children.but two days later I had to return that puppy yo the rescue as it just added immensely to the stress we were already under.cleaning up after the puppy was full on,the puppy was frightened of everything,yet had prey drive so scared our other pets.
We ended up adopting an older dog which suited our needs much better.
Some factors to consider-dogs live an average of 12-16 years.thats a long commitment.are you ok with having a dog that long?because odds are that that dog will end up your responsibility long term,not your sons.say he moved out in two years- it's unlikely he would find a place that takes dogs.if your son was 12 then he would have a much longer period of time home with the dog,but at 19 he won't.if recovery goes well then he might move out in 2-4 years.then you still have the dog.
So whilst it's a lovely thought,it is going to make extra work for you,both short and long term.if you go ahead with it,then research what kind of dog you want-a high energy or low energy dog.high energy sounds fun til you realise that they will most likely need a minimum of an hours exercise a day.anorexia will love that-but is your son at a point in his recovery where he can do that?
Like I said,we tried a puppy-for us an older dog who needed much less exercise,but a lot of love and attention after a lifetime of neglect was a much better call for us.
So please think hard about what you want from this dog and east commitment you are prepared to make, because your son,with the best will in the world has no idea how long the commitment is and what the puppy will need.its heartbreaking having to return a dog back to the rescue cause you got the wrong fit for your family too.been there.
Just some stuff to think about.we get a lot of joy out of our dogs,they spend a lot of time chilling with my daughter,but they are some work and have ongoing expenses as well (500 at the dentist recently).

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toughbattler

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thank you all for your comments, there's a lot of food for thought. It seems as though there are arguments for and against. I'm well aware of the long term commitment and don't take that lightly as I hope to have a bit more freedom once we get out of the recovery tunnel! We don't have young children or other pets to disrupt and I walk with a friend and her dog most days, so I hope we could cover that side of things. I don't expect my son to buy into the nourishment argument - he eats anyway just a limited range of foods and not always enough to fuel his exercise, but things are starting to move in a more positive direction. It's really the company, distraction and responsibility he's focussing on. Will
Keep you posted!
martican

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Reply with quote  #7 
Adding my experience, though my D was younger (12): we got a puppy. it was like having newborn in the house. My D took all the care but it affected all of us. The puppy needed constant supervision, we didn't sleep for about 3 weeks. We also got attached, and the puppy came to us, not only her - she didn't like it. Until 2 months later (luckily that soon), the puppy ended up on my shoulders plus my D's anxiety heightened. We found a good home for her, and visit her to this day. A year later, we agreed on a cat. Great companionship cat, though not a lap cat my D hoped for. It serves as a good distraction, calms her down but in a big scheme of her problems, I don't see much improvement (or maybe without it, it would have been worse [smile]). There are foster care programs for dogs, I believe you get to have them for 2 weeks in your house to try and see. Or if you are worried of the stress the puppy brings, there are companionship dogs out there - dogs that don't pass service dog training. They are trained, adult dogs, and they will match you with you need but I think there is a wait time, and they cost more money.  Let us know of your decision [smile] 
Torie

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Reply with quote  #8 
I LOVE puppies!!!  

As you noted, there are plusses and minuses.  I think it was mamabear who got a kitten for her d, and her d was not allowed to see the kitten until she had finished the meal.  Was great motivation for her d, but not sure that would be feasible with a puppy?  

If you get a young puppy, you have to watch them constantly - like a toddler - during the housebreaking period.  Not a good combo with refeeding, I wouldn't think.

If you do get a puppy, we can give you lots of tips.  xx

-Torie

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mjkz

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Reply with quote  #9 

I would think walking the dog would give him more reasons to exercise!!  We got cats and they have been cuddly and don't need exercise.  They also come house broken which is a great trait [biggrin]

kazi67

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hi toughbattler
We got a kitten for my d
He is an absolute blessing and we can't imagine life without him he picked her up (and us) made us all laugh/smile on some of the lowest of days when we thought we were never going to snap her out of "moods"
We unfortunately got a sick kitty though and it has been very hard as in between all my d appointments etc kitty at the vet every week cost us a fortune
So words of advice make sure you buy from a good breeder or vet, pet shop and not make the mistake we did
In having said that we wouldn't change a thing he has been recovering along side my d and we LOVE them both to the moon and back
Can't describe the joy he brings to us all!!
Hope you can find a fur baby to help you too
xx
deenl

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Reply with quote  #11 
We got dwarf rabbits and they were really great in the depths of depression and refeeding. They are still an affectionate, positive influence on the whole family. Never regretted getting them for a moment.

Warm wishes,

D

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2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, tons of variety in food, stepping back into social life. Sept 2017, back to school full time for the first time in 2 years. Happy and relaxed, just usual non ED hassles. 

  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal. (but don't give up on the plan too soon, maybe it just needs a tweak or a bit more time and determination [wink] )
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #12 
I have a bird who means the world to me.  He is such a cute little guy who greets me every morning with "I love you" and talks a mile a minute.  He was not super expensive but I would say the vet bills can be if you are able to find a vet who treats birds.  He has a 30 year life span (in the wild) and he is about 8 years old now.  My daughter adores him too.

I have had special needs cats-two in renal failure that I had to do fluid treatments on and my cat I wrote about losing due to cancer on the boards here (and received a ton of support-thanks everyone).  Any animal you get is going to cost in vet bills but what you get in return is priceless.
toughbattler

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Reply with quote  #13 
Well, rightly or wrongly we've taken a bit of a leap of faith and gone for the puppy! She arrived yesterday. I can't say my husband is too impressed, but she's very cute and the idea is that she's a purpose for my son outside food and exercise. We have very clear boundaries around the exercise part, of course. Any tips very gratefully received!
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #14 
Congrats on the new family member.  Great to have clear boundaries. I hope it works out well.
EC_Mom

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Reply with quote  #15 
What breed or mix of breeds?

A dog trainer I knew said the number one thing was that a puppy be exposed to many, many (like over 100) friendly people, so it learns to trust the world and people. He advised me to simply put the puppy into the welcoming lap of every visitor. And different sorts of people--tall, short, different colors of skin and hair, deep voices, high voices, wearing hats, caps, beards, noisy kids, skateboards, uniforms. 
Torie

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Reply with quote  #16 
As I said, I LOVE puppies.  

Are you keeping the puppy locked up when unsupervised?  I always hated the idea of a crate, but in the end I made a big "crate" of plywood and 2 x 4's, screened on the door end.  The puppy had to go in at night and at the odd times no one was home.  Really helps keep them from developing bad habits like eating furniture and going to the bathroom whenever / wherever the urge strikes.

Another tip I really appreciated is, well, a little graphic.  Let's say you're pretty sure the pup needs to poop, but doesn't produce when you take him out, and you don't have much time to wait.  If you take a paper match (the kind in a matchbook - not the wooden ones in a box) and insert the paper end like a suppository, bingo.  Speaking of housebreaking, every time the pup has an accident in the house (unavoidable), it makes it a tiny bit harder to housebreak them.  So keep a keen eye on your pup, and maybe even keep him by your side on a leash except for the times when he has just relieved himself.  They always need to go out after each meal.  If you see him walking in small circles with his nose to the ground, get him out fast!

Keep us posted!  xx

-Torie

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Kali

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Reply with quote  #17 
Hi...my dog training tip is this:

Have your son take the puppy out about 6 times a day and bring some treats out with him. Every time the puppy successfully "goes" while outside, try using positive reinforcement. Pet the puppy, say good dog, be happy, and give it a treat. And also to contrast, if the puppy has an accident in the house; negative reinforcement: shake your head, say no, bad dog, make a sour face. 

Alot of the communication is non-verbal. Start to watch and see if your puppy gives any sort of sign when he/she needs to go out. One dog we had would go over to the leash which we had hanging from a door knob for example. Another took some steps backwards. The dog will learn that he/she can ask for things and you can reinforce that by getting the dog what it needs when it asks. Once good communication is set up things will go very smoothly.

We crated the puppy for a few months when we went out, and at first, at night. I took our nice rugs upstairs in the attic so they wouldn't get ruined. The puppy might eat things which it should not, like a child, so take a look at what is around and move anything which might be dangerous if the puppy ingested.

Have fun!!!

Kali



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martican

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Reply with quote  #18 
Congratulations to your new family member! [smile] Puppies cannot do much walking anyway up until 9 months old as their hips and joints are still developing. Short walks (not even runs) around the block are enough for them at this stage. They do tend to pee also when they are too excited about something so be aware and ready to make a leap outside [smile] Whenever she chews on something you don't want her to, it's like with a toddler, give something else to shift her attention. With that said, my husband's running shoes became a permanent target (probably because of the smell, lol), they were old anyway so we just sacrificed them in the end, lol Keep us posted if you see any improvements on your son's moods and anxiety [smile] 
Foodsupport_AUS

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Reply with quote  #19 
Our experience with puppies is:
Yes regular toileting. Go out after every meal, straight away, and also when they have woken up from an nap. Take them to the same spot each time. Otherwise then every few hours during the day. Crating especially overnight can be helpful, but at least an enclosed area that is safe, and their place. Then praise when they go outside and lots of it.  We use Urine Off to clean up any accidents to help reduce the chance that urine scent sets off things happening inside. 

If they are chewing, jumping on you etc. a growl and no. If it won't be tolerated from an adult dog then they need to be discouraged as a puppy. Then praise when they start doing good behaviours. 

Socialise widely with people. Lots of them. Lots of different situations. The more the better. Also doggy socialisation is important too. 



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D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #20 
I just went through toilet training with a friend's mastiff. One thing the trainer told us was to startle the puppy when he/she is going to the bathroom inside.  Sounds weird but the mastiff was a very hard toilet training experience.  When he would start urinating inside, we would call his name loudly and sharply.  It would startle him and he would stop so we could let him out.  It worked pretty fast and where nothing else did.  We'd let the mastiff out and he would wander in the dog yard for an hour, then come in and pee on the floor.[frown]  After learning to startle him, he only had a handful of accidents inside after that and after about 2 weeks has never had an accident inside again.
toughbattler

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Reply with quote  #21 
It has been a crazy few days since our little cockapoo arrived so haven't logged in for a while. I'm overwhelmed by the amount of helpful hints from you all, thank you so much.
We are definitely concentrating on crate training and toilet training to start with and making reasonable progress with both so far, your tips coincide with what we've gleaned as we go along. It hasn't all been plain sailing as my DH not overly keen & thinks we went too soon, but my ED son is taking some responsibility for various tasks and is managing to speed up meals and adapt various other routines to accommodate the new arrival, so I hope she will be a force for the good. She's certainly proving a distraction so I hope we can work things out. She can't go on walks for a month until her vaccinations are done, but we have a big garden which she's loving exploring and I carry her around for socialising, which I'm doing as much of as possible. Torie, your tip is hilarious! Haven't dated try yet, just give it time.....
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