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We Survived The First Night…Barely!!

We just got our first family pet!…A dog we named Fenna! (Check out the adoption video here & video of us choosing her name here.) Our first night was SUPER ROUGH and she’s been testing the limits in other ways too! Watch the video to hear how we are adjusting to the first few days with our new family member!

Have any tips or suggestions? Drop them in the comments!

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  1. Melissa

    Get a kennel cover (or a big blanket), it helps tremendously.

  2. fAWN

    What a beautiful fur baby. I about cried when I saw her get in her bed and start chewing on the bone. Rescue dogs have a huge place in my heart. You’re not going to make her sleep outside are you? Even when it’s nice? Fur babies need to be part of the family and sleep inside the house….Enjoy your new family member.

  3. Jenni

    Our vet advised getting a harness for our poodle’s leash. It won’t pull on her neck. You can get front attaching or back attaching, depending on how well your dog walks on the leash. That may be useful for taking Fenna on a run.

  4. Hannah

    Please get her a full sized crate. Cover it with a blanket so she feels secure, like a den. Put pillows or blankets inside so it’s comfortable. Teach her that crate time is quiet time. We give our dogs a bit of kibble when they go into their crates, and lots of words of affirmation. Sometimes our beagle won’t settle and whines in her crate. When she does that I briefly let her out, give her some cuddles and affection, then lead her back into the crate with the words “It’s night-night time.” Please don’t abandon Fenna in the yard. That must be horrific for her. Let her be in the house where she feels safe and warm. On occasion when my spouse is out of town I even let the dogs sleep in our bed with me. They are a part of the family and get security from being close to us.

    • April

      Check out Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution YouTube channel. He has a lot of great info and easy training videos. Best of luck on your new member of the family!

      • Derick & Jill


        • Mel

          WHY are you leaving her outside at night??? Dogs are NOT wild animals; they are domesticated pets and family members and should be kept inside! Someone is going to report you to Animal Control if she is kept outside all night and barking. This is cruel to keep her outside, no matter what temp it is. I hope you have a padlock on your gate. It’s only a matter of time before she hops the fence. Do not leave her outside alone!! Even to go to potty! If she needs “alone” time, put her in her crate! Also, the kennels you have are way too small. Consider a harness for walks.

      • Erin

        I love him

  5. Hannah

    …also, that igloo looks way too small for her. Looks like she could barely turn around in it. She needs space to breathe. The kennel you put her into in your house is a temporary travelling kennel for short journeys. It’s not appropriate to be making her sleep in that small, confined space for hours at night. You need a large wire crate.

  6. Jenni

    Dogs get ‘destructive’ when they’re bored. It seems like she is the type of dog who needs lots of stimulating toys. There are toys which you hide treats in and they need to find a way to get them out. Kong makes very strong chew toys. Apparently chewing is calming.

    I suppose another suggestion could be to divide your garden so she has somewhere she can be that doesn’t have anything she can destroy or hurt herself on. We did that for our poodle. We just used chicken wire and a couple of posts. We’ve only just taken that fence down now she’s 3 and we know she won’t try to escape and is past the chewing everything stage. Mind you I’m the sort of person who has my pets in the house unless they need to go out. We are in Australia so heat is definitely a deciding factor in whether the pets are inside or out. You may want to take advice from people who have inside/outside pets and live in a similar climate.

    • Derick & Jill

      Thanks so much!

  7. April

    Check out Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution YouTube page. He has a lot of great training videos that I have found helpful. Best of luck to yall with bgg your new member of the family.

    • Jennifer

      I agree with all of the replies. Glad your whole family is going to the training sessions.
      My dad used to tell us (when begging our parents to get a dog) that all dogs have “jobs”. What he meant was each breed has behaviors related to how their brains are wired. Your breed needs activity, things to stimulate the brain. A curious pup is what you have. I will give you a tip: stick to a schedule. Take pup out at the same day to potty. Feeding at the same time. Find key words for commands. Also schedule play time. I trained our dog using these tips and he obeys us 99% of the time. Repetition, attention, love, and teaching will make Fenna the happiest dog! Congratulations on the new addition!

  8. Lisa

    I agree with Hannah! Please get her a full-size (wire) crate. The travel crate is too small for her. Feed her some meals in the crate and let her have some crate time (with treats) during the day – she needs to feel like the crate is her space and something positive for her. I would not have a collar or harness on her in the crate (she can get hurt), and I would not do toys in there until she stops being destructive. Make sure she goes to the bathroom (watch her go) right before going to bed so she won’t wake you up because of that (she is big enough to make it through the night).
    Give her a few days to adjust! Everything is new to her (new house, new family etc.) and she will need some time to fully adjust. Praise her and reward for anything positive that she does (even just going to the bathroom outside).
    If you realize you really need help, please reach out to a local trainer (please use a positive reinforcement one and do not use a shock collar on her!). They can do wonders in just 2-3 sessions!!

    • Derick & Jill

      Thanks so much! Things are going a lot smoother now that we have had our first couple training classes together (we all go to the classes together which has been super helpful!). We’ve been able to get a lot of advice from our vet too. 🙂

  9. Emilie

    Poor Fenna is a pet, and she needs to be inside your home, not tied up and left outside at night. She’s part of your family. Her indoor crate is way too small, too. She needs space to stand, turn, and stretch. Imagine being stuck in one position for hours upon hours – your body wouldn’t feel very good. Her destructive behaviour is from boredom and not understanding her place in your pack hierarchy because you’re separating her and leaving her on her own way too much.
    New pets always come with an adjustment period. Please talk to your vet and trainer about the dangers and consequences of leaving your dog outside. Professionals who are invested in animal well-being should adamantly deter you from this practice. If they don’t, you should consider finding better ones.

    • Derick & Jill

      Thanks for the advice. Things have gotten way better now that we’re in our second week of training classes all together & we’ve been great advice from our vet too. 🙂

    • Mel

      Emilie is correct!!!

  10. Karen Echols

    First off, congratulations! She’s very lucky you came to the shelter and rescued her! You asked for feedback. I have some knowledge as I have rescued 9 puppies. It is NOT easy! Y’all are doing great in trying new things and asking for help and for hanging in with her. It WILL get better as she grows and learns. From my experience, here are a few things you might keep in mind. I am not a know-it-all so take my advice as you need it and leave the rest. You said they found her on the streets, so you have no idea of what her life was life pre-shelter. She could have had a normal life but for unknown reasons got out, or she could have been unwanted and been through neglect or sadly some abuse. You hope not. Unfortunately, you just don’t know. But know that whatever life she came from, she went to the shelter – a strange place with new routines and kinda scary being in a pen alone and not understanding. Then when you got her, she again came to a strange place with new people, surroundings, rules, routines, food, and obviously lots of love and being wanted which helps a lot! Those are just some things that might help keep things in perspective so you don’t drive yourself crazy wondering why she won’t sleep in her crate without crying, etc. It just takes time. She will learn how her new life is going to be, and from what I see, she seems pretty happy in it! In my opinion, your kids seem great with her, and do you and Derrick. She is a very lucky puppy! But she is just a puppy, and puppies, chew and dig and sadly, break trees! I had to chuckle when you held up her leash and it was torn in two. Sorry. I wish you could have seen how many leashes and collars my latest puppy chewed though. And, she would chase my older dog around and grab his collar and chew his up. I went through about 6 before I just took his off until she got a little older. Just keep loving her and give her the patience you did with your 2 boys when they were newborns. My hats off to you for taking her for walks and things like spending time with her outside. She may not be ready to be left alone outside for long periods. Just keep easing her into new things slowly and she will surprise you with how she can learn, especially now that you’re taking her to obedience school. This really isn’t much “advice” as it is things to think of. It’s a learning experience for you too! Unless you really have no other option, please don’t give up on her. That would make her next possible adoption even harder for her!!! She’s already been through so many changes! But in my humble opinion, y’all are doing a great job!!! Puppies are hard work, but I can promise you, they are worth what you put into them. the love and loyalty and fun you get in return is so incredibly amazing! My latest puppy was one of the most challenging and I too questioned whether I had done the right thing at times. But my “baby” turns 3 tomorrow and she is SO incredible. I truly cannot imagine life without her and she is worth everything I went through with her. Just keep up the good work!!! And tell Israel he is a great popper scooper!!! IF you need reminders of how well you truly ARE doing, feel free to e-mail me. I’m not an expert, merely the Mom of 9 gifts from God!!

    • Derick & Jill

      Thank you! It’s definitely gotten a LOT better! We are taking advice from our vet and have continued to learn from others too!

  11. jill g. cleaves

    She needs a large metal kennel. The one you have looks too small and is too enclosed. That kennel is a carrier to take her to the vet, not to sleep in every night.

  12. Stacy

    She needs more exercise, she is telling you that by her behavior. Jusy like a very busy child, you can’t leave them to their own devices…they need structure to thrive. Shes a very high energy breed and needs alot of exercise. Be consistent and keep her busy!

  13. Stacy

    I was also thinking that she really wants to be with you, by you and wants to be in the house which could be why she’s being naughty outside. My new dog is so different from others I’ve had, he is my shadow and has to be by me constantly…every dog is so different. Maybe just let her be by you until she gets used to everything and adjusts and wants to go outside, she’ll let you know if she does….putting her out when she doesn’t want out is causing the scratching on the screens etc, I know from experience, lol.

  14. Rebecca

    I think you are trying to give her too much freedom too soon. Too much freedom and not enough exercise and mental stimulation make for a puppy that gets into trouble. I really think you need to get her an ex-pen and closely manage her. Get her on a potty and walking schedule and if you are not training her, walking her, taking her out potty, or playing with her, then she needs to be in the ex-pen where she can’t get herself into trouble. Also, Fenna really seems to like being with you guys, I don’t think she is going to be a keep-in-the-backyard kind of dog. If you were having success with the kennel in the house, then let her sleep there at night.

  15. Julia

    Covering the crate with the blanket will help. It took our dogs (and cats) a few days to get used to their new place. I’m betting with a lot of love and consistent routines your new dog will fit right in to the family in no time. I think your kids are great ages for having a dog too, they will love it!

  16. Sandra

    She looks like a very sweet dog! We had 2 dogs and little things made it annoying and trying at times. We bought the Don Sullivan’s Perfect Dog training collar and DVD. WOW! You can train them in a few minutes and really have a perfect dog!! No shocking collar, but more of a natural way dogs are trained by their own moms. You can see many of his amazing videos on YouTube.

  17. LAURIE

    So happy you got a great dog. She will be a wonderful addition to your family. Please reconsider her crate and sleeping arrangements. All our dogs were crate trained-we kept them in the laundry room (had a tile floor so cool in summer, easy to clean if muddy). As a rescue-she is looking for her new pact-and all of you are it. You or Derrick will be her leader-whom she will look for reassurance from. Crate is happy quiet time. Keep kids away from her crate-it’s only hers. Inside she knows you haven’t left her or abandoned her. She will work hard to please you once she knows the rules. Lots of praise! Lots of exercise. Running in the backyard with the boys, chasing a ball, doesn’t have to be a walk. Training is hard work. Only practice her training in 5 minute increments (they lose the attention for it fast) but training her will tire her. Like children, a tired dog is a good dog. Key for us training is one word commands-and do not use the word for any other reason. Down for us is to lie down. Off is off the person, couch, etc. Come was overused, repeated so it lost it’s effectiveness. So we use Here. (come to me) We also use ‘with me’ when walking to keep them at our side. And both the crate you have and igloo are too small. I would recommend a larger wire crate (she will have better vision with it) When we had springer spaniels (who are hyper) and the kids were little-we would ‘kennel up’ the dogs for a quiet rest (for all of us) if it got crazy. All dogs will get the “zoomies” when crated too long, or left alone too long. It’s fine, they just run around crazy to expel their pent up energy. Remember she just got put into a new environment (and the shelter was scary too) so she needs time and patience (love, understanding) that this is her new home and she’s safe and loved. Give her time to adjust. Even puppies from breeders take time to settle in a new home. Best of luck!

  18. Heidi

    Your doggie is so cute! I know you are being flooded with tips, but here is one more. Not sure if you guys have a Kong toy yet, but they are amazing. You put a treat or peanut butter in them, and the pups have to work to get it out, which stimulates dopamine production and calms them down. To help her associate the crate with positive feelings, once during the day you can put a “treat loaded” kong toy in the crate and give her some time to calm and chomp down on the treat. You can do that at bed time as well. The key is to only give her the Kong toy when she is in the crate, for consistency. Hope that helps!

  19. Marcia

    High energy dogs will chew bc of the energy and the puppy teeth. Chuck It is a great durable brand and teaching her to play fetch is great. Running her is great way to get her to then listen and do well with obedience training. Get her leashed trained to take on runs. I trained my dog from videos from YouTube to catch a Frisbee at about 4months old. It is like his job to play and get tired. Then he is a better behaved dog. Good luck with burning her energy. That needs to be your #1 priority for a better behaved dog and for the training to sink in.

  20. Carolyn McDonald

    I think Fenna is really more of an inside dog as she wants to be with you all. Also, have you thought about how it may bother your neighbors with her barking at night? She seemed really good in the house, and didn’t go potty on the floor or try to chew things, other than her leash which was preventing her from getting to you. It’s really sad to see a dog just put outside and only played with briefly and then left with nothing else for her to fill her time with. Please, bring her in and let her be an inside dog,who is part of the family, and only has to go outside to play and potty.

    • Shelby

      I agree. She wants to be with her family and doesn’t want to be an outside dog. And I agree that her crate was way too small.

  21. MARY

    What a sweet new family member! I noticed you got her a chew bone made out of Rawhide. I know those are popular with dogs. But they are not recommended usually by many where can I buy trainers. The dog can not only choke on pieces we had one that did but they can swallow some of the pieces if they get too many and they cannot digest them. A Nylabone is excellent,

  22. MARY

    Oops, so my my mistake. I was my microphone and it tends to say what it wants. What I meant to say was many vets and trainers do not recommend the rawhides. Don’t give up on her it takes time for her to become apart of your family. The important thing is it you all really love her and care about her. It will get better. So glad you are going for training that makes a huge difference. Her life has been turned upside down even though it is for the better. Keep up the Great work!

  23. Michelle

    If you haven’t, please think about beginning using buttons to communicate with your pup. It seems wildly successful for Bunny the talking dog. I hope you’ll consider. ❤️

  24. Kyla

    Dearest Jill,

    I would first like to express how proud I am of you. Your progression through life has truly been inspiring to watch. I just know that there will be so many wonderful things in your future. That doesn’t express all that I wish to say, but it will have to do. 🙂

    I would also like to congratulate you on your decision to adopt a dog. It is not something many people consider (especially those with children) due to the fear of getting a dog “with baggage”. It doesn’t surprise me that someone as open-minded and kind as you would choose to adopt.

    Finally, I’d like to offer some advice on raising Fenna to be a well-behaved member of the Dillard family. One thing that’s important to note is that all dogs are different. What works for one may not work for another. Some dogs are bold and confident…others are shy. Some are active and some would rather snuggle up on the couch. So if something doesn’t seem to work with Fenna after you’ve given it your best shot, don’t be afraid to try something different! With that said, there are some things that remain true of all dogs. One thing that comes to mind is goals. Each dog’s goal is to please their family. Fenna’s family is, of course, you, Derick, and the boys! It’s important to keep her close while you’re home. That means keeping her in the same room…during the day and at night. She should not be banished to the backyard while you’re home. Because that’s exactly what it will feel like for her…banishment. Isolation. She will think she’s failed her goal of pleasing her family. At the same time, it is also important to allow her to get used to be alone. That way she won’t develop separation anxiety and destructive behaviour when you’re out of the house for an hour to get groceries. This should be done gently and gradually. Another thing is Fenna’s breed. She’s a working dog and may not be getting the stimulation she needs while on walks or runs with you. It’s worth considering paying for someone to take her for an hour or two a few times a week…to play with other dogs, train, run, hike, etc. This is not something everyone can do and perhaps it’s not something you can do, but it’s certainly helpful! Lastly, check out Rachel Fusaro’s videos on Youtube. She is a foster to rescue dogs/puppies and she knows her stuff! She has tons and tons of helpful tips that will make training Fenna so much easier. My parents recently adopted a large-breed 8-week-old puppy and Rachel’s videos have been a lifesaver! I hope this advice, in addition to the training you’re already getting for Fenna, will be helpful.

    Lots of love to you and your family!

  25. Tara

    How is it going? I really hope you guys don’t give up on her. Every kid deserves a dog! I’ve been thinking about you ever since you posted your last vlog. I know it has been days, but I’m dying to see how it’s going.

  26. Shelby

    I hope you guys are not gonna be the type of people who makes your dog sleep outside every night and never come in the house like if you keep her outside all the time that is one thing that will make her want to act out too so keep her inside and plus it’s better for her to know that she can go into the house whenever she wants so she feels safe and plus if she’s outside at night there are wild animals that could come through so be careful

    • Joy

      I have literally lost sleep more than one night since I saw the video about poor Fenna being made to sleep outside in the cold. To adopt a dog and bring it into your home for one night and then force her outside is not kind. Adopting an animal means you want to make it part of the family. She needs love and tons of reassurance and, above all, being indoors with you where it is safe and warm. Dogs are pack animals. They are not meant to live alone under any circumstances. Fenna is lonely and scared. Why adopt an animal To have it spend 80% of its life alone? Temperatures in the forties are not warm, especially a dog with short fur. She is extremely lonely and insecure, as was obvious by her 1st night in your home. There is No reason to adopt an animal you are going to force to spend most of her life alone. Please reconsider bringing her indoors and making her a real part of the family. Forcing her to get used to the outdoors when all she desires is your affection and protection is so unkind.

  27. Lindsey

    This is off topic but I thought I could get your attention this way. Could I possible challenge you to read a couple Jane Austen books if you haven’t already. I grew up with the impression that she is to be considered a basic example for Christian women (I have a book of prayers she wrote), or really women in general. I had also gotten the impression her books would not have been considered decent books by your parents. I can see them getting written off as bad because they get put under the Romance genre, which is why I was thinking you might not have read them.


  28. Katie

    Working dogs like Shepards thrive best on a set schedule each day that includes a long walk or hike of at least 45min- 1hour. Working dogs will make themselves a “job “if they are not tired out enough and that often looks like destructive behaviors, guarding behaviors etc.. structured exercise is everything to a working dog. I learned through our trainer that is cannot be ball or simply running around the backyard it must be going out for non stop structured exercise. Exercise, discipline, affection .. in that order.

  29. Gladys

    Instead of doing another Q&A video why don’t you do a video about Sam’s birth story? We didn’t get to see his birth like we did with Israel! <3

  30. Erin

    Malinois and GSD are working breeds. They need jobs to feel satisfied. She is destroying things because she is bored.
    She also needs to be inside with her pack. She is lonely and anxious that causes problems too.
    You could get her an agility course. Teach her to play Search and Rescue. Search and Rescue will come in handy if one of the kids gets lost


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