When ADHD and Puppies Don’t Mix

Let’s see. ADD means you have some or all of these symptoms: distractibility, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, inattention…

You might also be impatient, get bored easily, have a hard time making decisions, anger quickly, get overwhelmed easily…and that’s just the beginning.

So why would anyone with ADHD in their right mind decide to get a puppy? A puppy requires patience, consistency, attention and calm. Hmmm. Those don’t seem to be traits that always come easy for those of us with ADHD.

Nearly three years ago, my beloved dog, Annie, passed away. Those of you who are dog lovers will know instantly the deep feelings of loss and pain one feels when losing a pet. Annie was my soul mate who followed me everywhere. I’d never known such loyalty and love from a dog before, though I’ve had dogs my entire life: Blitz, Nanny, Bridgette, Toby, Tina, Ruthie and Harper.

Not long after Annie’s death, we got a puppy, known as “the-puppy-from-hell”: Harper. Harper didn’t enter our lives in a calm, sweet way like most puppies. She charged into our home, nipping, destroying furniture and creating complete havoc. Knowing she’d eventually calm down as she matured, like her predecessor, we hung in there. Sure enough, when she hit the age of two, she became a calm and sweet dog. But I vowed I would never, ever get another puppy again.

So when Harper bonded with my husband, leaving me completely in the dust, my heart longed for a dog that would steal my heart and give me hers.

I began the quest– searching for a puppy. This time, I’d find a breed that was easier going than my last two. At first, I looked into Rescues, but struck out twice with that. Just the wrong mix for my complicated family. Then came toy poodles, then a host of other breeds, until I made the decision (finally) to find a Cockapoo. Cockapoos are a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. They have the intelligence of the poodle and the sweet nature of the Cocker. But most of all, they love their people and are known to be “Velcro” dogs. Just what my broken heart needed.

Here’s where my ADD worked FOR me.

Once I settled on a Cockapoo, I spent hours and hours each day, looking online for breeders. It became the hunt that so many of us love when we’re in that hyperfocus mode. Where others might have given up or just gone with the first breeder that they found, I scrutinized them, studied their websites; how they raised the dogs; the backgrounds of the dogs, references and more.

A professional ADD coach acquaintance, Rhonda Pawlan, saw my dog searching post on Facebook. She, too, was looking for a puppy and showed me a photo of a litter she had considered. I immediately fell in love with one little brown and white puppy. Within a week, he was mine.

Elliot O’Riley Matlen is 12 weeks old as of this writing and has been in our home for less than 2 weeks. To prepare for his homecoming, I ADD-ishly read and researched the best way to housetrain a puppy. I had no idea there would be so many options out there. I decided to go with the pee pad method, which a good friend of mine had used successfully with her dog years ago.

Shortly after initiating the pee pad plan, I began reading that this would only delay the dog from learning to “go” outside. Whether that’s true or not, I impulsively shifted gears and decided to crate train him. My feeble attempt at that ended quickly when both my daughter and I, who along with our ADD also have significant sensory issues, couldn’t tolerate the whining and screaming. Who knew a 4 lb puppy could have such lungs?

I returned to the pee pads but combined it with constant supervision so I could get Elliott outside before he’d hit the pad- a method I thought that combined the best options: pads for backup emergencies for when I couldn’t get him outside in time. And did I mention that the temperatures were in the teens when we brought him home? The coldest spring in years, of course, making the pads a wonderful option, especially at night.

Well, poor Elliott is just plain confused. Should he use the pad? Or go outside?

Hyperfocusing is fun if you’re playing video games or working on a project that excites you, but watching a puppy constantly and rushing outside every time he is in a semi-squat position wears thin after a few days.

Then there’s the middle of the night outings, since he’s still not quite able to get through without an accident. Thankfully, Elliott is happy in his bedtime crate, as long as he’s within 3 feet of me. But I am exhausted, even with my poor husband taking a nighttime shift.

Bottom line? (I’m sure you’ve been waiting):

If you have ADHD and find it hard to stick with routines, hate feeling tied down, need uninterrupted sleep, then perhaps getting a puppy is not the right move for you. But looking beyond the puppy scenario, perhaps there are other things you find yourself getting into that don’t speak to your strengths or challenges. Perhaps you can begin to think about what those things might be and either avoid them, or find supports to help you through them.

One thing that’s getting me through this insanity, is knowing that it’s all temporary and within a few months, I’ll have a wonderful pet. But until then, it has been very very difficult managing this full time job on top of everything else.

How about you? What decisions have you made that turned your life upside down, even temporarily? How did you get through it? What would you do differently the next time around?

Share your thoughts and tips in the Forums!

Double Duty: When You and Your Child Both have ADD /ADHD

Double Duty: When You and Your Child Both have ADD /ADHD

Instructor: Katherine Ellison

Date: Tuesday April 12, 2011

Time: 9:00 pm Eastern Time (New York Time)

Listen over the Telephone or Internet!

Have you, your child, or both of you recently been diagnosed with ADHD? Are you feeling alone, lost or simply trying to understand your role in the light of your child’s diagnosis with something you’ve struggled with all your life as well?

Join ADDClasses.com listen to award-winning journalist, Katherine Ellison as she talks about what to do and expect when you and your child share more than just a family bond. Katherine will discuss her own experiences with a dual diagnosis and help you get a sense of the range of treatments available for coping with your new family dynamic. You will laugh and feel less alone at the end of this hour long free teleseminar. Sign up HERE.

Kathy is the author of Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention. A Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and former foreign correspondent, Ellison describes life after she learns that her 12-year-old son, Buzz, suffers (ADHD), and that she’s got it, too.

Order your copy HERE

Enter my ADHD Contest! Yes- YOU! Win a Prize!

ADHD Contest!!!! Respond to my survey and win a prize: http://tinyurl.com/4s78onm

I would like to invite you to join me in a 5 minute creative brainstorming session that will improve the lives of many thousands of people throughout the world who have ADHD.

You see, I am in the process of totally re-vamping www.ADDconsults.com and www.MomsWithADD.com and could use some creative thinkers to help me come up with new services and fresh ideas that will help you manage your ADHD.

Those who respond to this short survey will be entered into a drawing to win a free autographed copy of my book, “Survival Tips for Women with ADHD.”

Get involved! Join the clan. Have a say in the matter…by filling out the short survey HERE.

Stop Staring at my Kid

Yes, that’s the lead article in my newsletter today. If you aren’t a subscriber, just fill in your email address on the homepage, on the right hand side. Yep- right there. If you’d like to read this newest issue, well, click HERE.adhd, procrastination

Fearing the Finish Line

If you missed my newsletter that was sent out today, you can still read my featured article about how finishing projects can cause terrible anxiety. No wonder we procrastinate! To read the newsletter archive, just go to http://tinyurl.com/4e9u6s5.

Better yet, sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss a single issue. It’s on the homepage, on the upper right.


Go buy “Buzz” — you’ll be glad you did! It is fantastic. The author just put out an appeal for everyone to buy now if they were considering it, as sales are low despite a warm reception and great appeals. This is a must-read for everyone here!
The publisher is not going to release the paperback as planned in May unless it gets a bump….

Terry’s Top 20 Gifts for Kids and Adults with ADHD

Hey! Sit back. Relax. Avoid the malls. I’ve done all the work for you- alll YOU need to do is click on the gifts that you’d like to give to your loved ones this holiday season, and they’ll be mailed to you or yours. No stress shopping!

Look what I’ve found! Check out my list HERE

Terry’s ADD Checklist

Hey! If you didn’t receive my latest newsletter (What? You can sign up for it here- on the right- on my homepage), you missed my humorous ADD Checklist. Got something you’d like to add? I’d love to hear what’s on your list.

Read mine HERE

Real Simple Magazine Special Sale

I LOVE this magazine and if you hurry, you can get a subscription at their special rate of only $10/year. Offer ends soon, so hurry! Order HERE.

New Book! Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention

This book is getting a lot of attention! It’s about a mom with ADHD surviving life with two sons (one with ADHD (and ODD). A memoir, the author Katherine Ellison (a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist) shares honest and often hilarious experiences when ADD is in the family mix. I just received my copy and can’t wait to read it.

The San Francisco Chronicle recently discussed the book at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/10/11/DDT41FKEFH.DTL

Get your copy of “Buzz” today HERE.

Free Teleseminar: Conquer Procrastination: Tonight (Tues Oct 12) 9pm EST

Conquering the Patterns of Procrastination to Create Progress and Possibilities

Join ADDClasses.com as they welcome David Giwerc, MCC – Founder and President of ADD Coach Academy. This free teleseminar will provide you with a greater understanding of your own sources of procrastination. He will also present successful coaching strategies that have empowered adults with ADHD to conquer their procrastination and create more consistent progress & success in their lives.

When: Tuesday, Oct 12 at 9pm EST
Sign up now at: ADD Classes

Have Gene Findings Taken the Stigma from ADHD?

For the first time, evidence has emerged of genetic mutations linked to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. But how strong is the link, and how far does the finding undermine claims that children with the condition are simply naughty kids, victims of bad parenting or driven to hyperactivity by dietary additives?

Read more HERE

The ADHD Effect on Marriage Free Teleseminar Tomorrow (Tues, Sept 28)

Special Alert: ADD Classes.com is offering a free Teleseminar at http://tinyurl.com/2ag58j5 !

What: The ADHD Effect on Marriage

Date: Tuesday – September 28, 2010

Time: 9:00 pm EDT (New York Time)*

Instructor: Melissa Orlov

Don’t worry if you can’t make the live Teleseminar!

*If you who register before the start of the Teleseminar you will be able to listen to the recording free for 1 week.

Space is limited!

Reserve your spot at http://tinyurl.com/2ag58j5

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