Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

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Fundog
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Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by Fundog » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:29 am

Helping the “New Dog” to Get Along With the “First” Dog

Like any family, no matter the species, blending the various personalities and different dynamics can be challenging, to say the least. Sometimes family members form a very strong bond with each other, and some other members never really become friends. Sometimes the best we can hope for is to simply co-exist without killing each other.

In February, 2009, we decided to add a second dog to our family. It was not “love at first sight” between the two dogs, but they have since formed a very close bond with each other. This is their story:

We got Annie as a three month old puppy from the local animal shelter. She has grown into a lovely, sweet-tempered Springer Spaniel/retriever mix who has given us a great deal of joy. When Annie was five years old, we decided we were ready to add another dog to our family. We found Dottie, a young, 1-2 year old Llewellin English Setter rescue. The story was that she had been found abandoned, in a yard, on a chain, and starved nearly to death. The rescue claimed that Dottie had a kennel mate, and got along well with other dogs. This may have been true in that environment, but we soon discovered that Dottie was not as secure as she had led the rescue people to believe.

When we drove to the rescue to meet and take custody of Dottie, we took Annie with us. Right away, Dottie showed how insecure she was by attacking Annie. It didn’t matter what Annie did or did not do, or what we did; Dottie would attack Annie. However, Annie did not appear to take offense. She looked rather perplexed at Dottie’s behavior, but Annie tried to give Dottie plenty of space, bless her heart. Still, this did not deter us from bringing Dottie home. We had driven several hundred miles, and so we were committed to give this our best effort.

The rescue had told us that Dottie had some car-sickness, so we brought along a crate for her to travel in. Given the display of aggression and insecurity toward Annie, we were glad we had it. However, it turned out Dottie was not car-sick at all, and handled the trip very well—inside the crate.

When we got home, the weather had turned very unpleasant, and Dottie was prone to shiver in the colder temperatures. So we decided to skip the planned walk before entering the house together. Rather, we took the dogs through the garden, and let Annie give Dottie a “tour” of the backyard, showing her where to go potty and such before bringing them inside the house.

The first several days were rather stressful between the two dogs. Dottie was very insecure, and would attack Annie whenever food or affection were involved. If we were petting Dottie, and Annie just happened to walk past, Dottie would lunge out, teeth bared, and attack Annie. If we were petting Annie, Dottie would come leaping from across the room to attack Annie. And if food or treats were involved, oh, my!

So for meals, what we did was to assign each dog a separate area, as far apart from each other as our floor plan allowed. We kept Dottie’s crate up as a makeshift barrier between the two feeding areas, so the two dogs could not see each other. And one of us humans would remain in the kitchen during the feeding time, between the two dogs, to supervise and prevent “misunderstandings.”

If I gave the girls each a treat, I had to make sure that my body was between both dogs, especially blocking Dottie’s head from having access to any part of Annie’s body. The same with giving out loves and affection.

But there was one more thing I did that really made all the difference: Every day, I performed a little ritual. I would get a cupful of tasty tidbits (usually frozen peas—they love those!). I would sit at my desk, with my legs serving as a barrier. I had one dog sitting on each side of me (they could still see each other, but it would take some effort to reach each other), and I would just dole out the treats as fast as I could, “One for Annie, one for Dottie; one for Annie, one for Dottie…” over and over until they were all gone. The only thing the girls had to do to “earn” the treats was to just sit there and accept them without snarking at each other. Within five days of bringing Dottie home, they had become good friends. We were still cautious at mealtimes, and cautious with affection, but Dottie had relaxed immensely, and rather than lunging from across the room to attack Annie, was able to receive loving at the same time as Annie!

Another interesting little detail about this transitional period was that, in the first couple of days, even though we invited Dottie up on the furniture to be with us, Annie would not allow it. For example, if we invited Dottie onto the bed, Annie would lay at the end and physically block Dottie from having access. Annie was in no way aggressive or mean about it; she did not growl even once. She simply very calmly and quietly said, “no.” However, within 48 hours of bringing Dottie home, Annie had somehow determined that Dottie had passed “probation,” and declared Dottie a member of the family. When that happened, we took pictures of them sleeping together, even touching, on the bed and the sofa!

For the first several weeks, even though the girls were now forming a friendship and getting along the majority of the time, we did have to break up an occasional quarrel or two. During this time we kept Dottie’s crate up, and she would be taken to her crate for a little time out while everybody calmed down. During these “time outs,” one of us people would sit down on the floor next to the crate and soothe Dottie, as these quarrels were very distressing to her. She would start “huffing” and trembling and act really nervous. So we needed to reassure her. Dottie’s temperament is the type that required this type of handling. Soothing and reassuring did not re-enforce or “reward” her insecure behavior, as some might think. Rather, closing up the crate, and walking away would have done that, by making her re-live her fears of abandonment and being punished. During these times, Annie also had her feelings hurt, since she could not understand why Dottie was being so rude to her. So we made sure to give Annie some soothing too. Within a couple of hours, the two dogs would literally kiss and make up.

A year later, and Annie and Dottie are more than friends—they are “sisters,” and they truly care about each other. If Dottie takes off and gets herself “lost” on a hike, Annie insists that we change course to go look for her. If Annie is taken for a walk without Dottie, Dottie become anxious and starts pacing. Sometimes, Dottie tries to talk Annie into going outside to potty with her, just so she doesn’t have to go alone, lol! And recently, the guys went camping for the weekend. They took the girls with them. When the boys returned from a walk with just Dottie, they tried to feed Dottie, as she had missed dinner during her walk. However, she did not know that Annie had already eaten, and refused to eat even a bite until they gave Annie some table scraps. Then, seeing that Annie had food, Dottie ate her dinner as well. Yesterday morning, when I refilled their water bowls, they had a drink together, then I caught them kissing over the dishes, licking the drips off each other’s mouths. When we allow them to lick our plates or bowls after our own meals, they are able to share—both licking the same plate at the same time!

I can’t guarantee that introducing dogs into a “blended” household will always go as smoothly as it did for us, but it does happen in some cases, so don’t give up hope right away.
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

LorranC
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by LorranC » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:56 am

Fun dog, Thanks for the story. I do seem some similarities in your situation and how you handled it and ours. We have already implemented some of your suggestions. I guess right now the answer to ours dogs is patience and consitency in dealing with the fighting. If the fighting never stops inside, we will just have to keep the dogs apart inside and hope they continue to get along outside. We will never give up on either dog. They both have been through enough already in their short lives. One way or another, my husband and I will make this work. Thanks again for your help.

mselisabs
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by mselisabs » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:16 pm

I don't mean to bump an old post but I was doing a search as we're looking into bringing a second dog into the family in about a month. This has been very helpful! Thanks for sharing Fundog!

Fundog
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by Fundog » Sat May 01, 2010 10:42 am

Hey, I'm glad you found it helpful. :D And as for these articles, "bump" away-- the whole point of these is to be able to help people, so the more they are "bumped," the more likely they are to get rotated to where they will be found, thus helping someone else. 8)
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

Leigha
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by Leigha » Sat May 01, 2010 11:03 pm

mselisabs wrote:I don't mean to bump an old post but I was doing a search as we're looking into bringing a second dog into the family in about a month. This has been very helpful! Thanks for sharing Fundog!

I notice you're in NC... I have walkerhound puppies who need a home if you haven't already settled on a pup! I'm in Eastern NC. :)

trollmaster1952
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by trollmaster1952 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:36 pm

I have a similar problem with my two dachshunds bonnie and clyde who came from people who cared about them we adopted a rescue dachshund/mix ,as soon as i brought Aren home both bonnie and clyde started growling at Aren and went after him I think through jealosy. It firghtened Aren to death when this happened. Now they get along fairly well ,but there is still alot of jealosy between Aren and Clyde , both males they still will growl at times at each other they are kennel trained and when we put them to bed it is such a hassle Clyde will be on the couch and Aren next to the couch when Ray goes to put Aren to bed Clyde goes crazy barking and growling at Aren which makes Aren do the same thing , I think it comes from the jealosy between the two dogs can some one give me advice on how to stop this behavior between the two dogs I am afraid that one of them will bite raymond and he is fearful if they act aggressive in this manner. Your help would be appreciated.
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Mattie
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by Mattie » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:56 am

Bumping this up
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

jamisond
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by jamisond » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:09 am

I was looking for a post like this. While I don't have two dogs at my home, I do live very close to my father who still cares for the family dog, a 13 year old toy poodle. When I adopted Violet, my 9 month old Collie mix, I had hoped that the two would at least tolerate each other enough to be in the same room since we do family dinners frequently. Well, Violet loves Brandi (the poodle), but Brandi can't stand Violet. I took them both out into the yard, to see how they would interact together, and after some sniffing Violet went into the play pose. Brandi, being the old lady that she is, didn't want anything to do with that. Any more sniffing by Violet irritated Brandi to the point of barking and snapping, although she never actually bit her. It was more of a "Get away!" snap. Violet responded very well, and stayed out of Brandi's way for the most part.

I should also mention that Brandi has had her fair share of trauma throughout her life. She was initially my grandmother's dog, but when she proved to be too much work, my grandmother sent her back. Our family had become rather attached to her and my mother felt horribly guilty about the whole thing. A week later she called the breeder and picked Brandi up. A few years later, she was attacked by a lab in our backyard. We don't have a leash law in our neighborhood, so the owner had let his dog run free. He should have thought that one over, considering the lab had lived on a farm previously and enjoyed chasing and killing rabbits. Well, little white Brandi must have resembled a rabbit. He tore her back open, and my parents had to rush her to the vet. Thankfully, she had enough skin to be sewn back together. She's had anxiety since then, and some related back/leg problems. Poor pup.

I've said all that to say this: should I attempt to bring the dogs together in a mutual understanding, or should I let Brandi live the remainder of her life in peace (and away from my hyper pup)? If it's worth it, I would like to try the treat exercise, as both dogs are very food motivated.

A side note: The dogs would NEVER be left alone together or unsupervised. Violet is too large and clumsy at this stage in her life to safely maneuver around a ten pound poodle. The last thing a senior dog needs is a playful pup wanting to have a run around the house.
Violet Manilla -- 18 months

Fundog
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by Fundog » Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:39 pm

It certainly can't hurt to try the treat thing, if it will at least help Brandi to better cope with Violet's presence without too much stress and anxiety. But I don't think it would be wise to put too much effort into getting Brandi to play or be friends. Elderly dogs much prefer peace and quiet to romping with a young whippersnapper. Especially if they are in any kind of aches and pains related to age and having a hard life.
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

jamisond
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by jamisond » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:57 pm

Brandi is definitely not interested in play, and that's completely understandable. If Violet was much smaller, I don't think it would be as much of an issue. I had the both of them in my father's front yard a few days ago, to see how they would interact. Brandi's snapping made a lasting impression on Violet, as she now gets excited to see Brandi but keeps a safe distance. When the situation gets too stressful, or Violet decides she might want to try and play anyway, Brandi gets to go back into her house (I'm sure she believes she owns it) and relax. I try to keep the visits short, to not make either dog especially anxious. Hopefully the situation will work itself out. If not, Violet will have to stay home during those family outings.
Violet Manilla -- 18 months

missyfit13
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by missyfit13 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:43 pm

Wow, good posts! I have one posted but haven't had any replies and since my situation is very similar, I will try here. I have a 14 yr old maltese poodle that lost his buddy in May (male aussie with a brain tumor). The maltese was more dominant, but never agressive, just bossed the big one around. We just adopted two mini aussies, 4 and 5 yrs old. The 4 yr old is a male not neutered, but soon to be, and the female has had 3 litters and has been spayed.

Those two get along well, and amazingly, the unneutered male seems to get along with the 14 yr old maltese quite well, although doesn't really play with him. The female, however, is not liking the 14 yr old maltese. He sometimes growls at her, but she has gotten after him at least 5 times now and we have only had them 7 days. She hasn't hurt him, and he goes back at her sometimes, other times he backs off. I have intervened each time. The 14 year old has tried to enter into play, but the female gets after him. The little male just moves away from the scuffle.

Once, I'm ashamed to say, I popped her on the head. It was because they were both on my lap and the maltese tried to turn around and she went after him. It startled me so, I yelled and popped her head and she jumped down and cowered. I felt so bad. I'm trying so hard to do positive reinforcement. The other times I have told her NO, then taken her collar and moved her away and told her NO again. I don't know if that is the right thing to do. I've walked them twice together and they seem to do okay together but are not friendly, except they will both sniff the same thing and not bother each other. It's hard to walk three at once, so I walked the two new dogs together after walking the female and the 14 yr old. That was okay, but the little male cries and barks and throws a fit when the female is taken away out of the house without him. They are not littermates, but the female has been around since he was born.

I also have done the TREAT thing. I line up all three, making sure the female and the 14 yr old are not next to each other. Then I give a treat to each one (turkey dogs cut up) and say their name. They do well, sometimes trying to take the treat out of my hand when it goes to another dog. At that time I just push their nose softly away and say the dog's name that is to get the treat. I continue to do this and hopefully it will help

I want to solve this issue and I know it will take time, but the longer the female is in the house it seems to be getting more frequent. I think the problem is jealousy over me. This morning when I put the harness on the female, she sat quietly. Then I put the leash on the 14 yr old and and he gets a little playful when I do that. She didn't like it and went for him. I stopped her and told her NO and made her sit.

I try to pet all three when I pet one, and give praise equally.

If I could get some advice here and tell me if I am approaching this right or not, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks,
Patricia from California

Fundog
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by Fundog » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:35 pm

Funny thing about women-- dogs or human-- is they can be moody, temperamental, and unpredictable. :lol: Sadly for your 14 year old maltese, I'm afraid the new lady in your house has decided he isn't her type. Believe it or not, this does happen. Just like people, not all dogs take to each other right away, and they do not always become friends. That is kind of disappointing when you see your older dog wanting to play and be friends and being constantly rebuffed. I think the best thing to do at this point is to always supervise when the lady dog is anywhere near the old dog, and keep her from being able to reach him, should she get snarky with him. Meanwhile, keep up all the positive stuff, keep some distance between the old one and the lady, and just focus on getting her to tolerate him and be civil to him, rather than trying to get her to be his friend. Good luck, and don't give up yet! :)
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

missyfit13
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by missyfit13 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:26 pm

Thanks, Fundog. Today was a little better, I think. This evening all sat very well for their individual treats and never tried to horn in on the others treats. I attempted to walk all three and it went rather well. They all walked well together and sniffed together. The little new male is very submissive and is a bit frightened on the walk, but does pretty well. Hopefully, it will all work out well after a while. I will continue to supervise and if it gets rough, separate. It seems they must work it out, but I worry she will hurt him. She is small, but tough and he is old.

Patricia

whatktdid
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by whatktdid » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:00 am

This is a really helpful article. I have a strange situation: had my 'first' dog for 12 years, got my 'second' little dog 1 year ago (a rescue) but recently lost my 'first' dog :(

Now want to get a new dog, as a companion for my little rescue, who is doing okay but badly needs a friend again, he is quite shy of humans and very hand shy (he was beaten by some horrid individuals) and have identified a lovely sounding ***** needing a home. She has no emotional or abuse issues, the re home is purely circumstantial.

I plan to meet the 'new' dog with my little dog and see how they get along, to give him a chance to tell me no if he doesn't like her! We are meeting on neutral territory. He normally loves all dogs and I am told that the ***** is also very happy and friendly, so I don't anticipate a problem.

Fundog, I just wonder if you think that this is enough time for them to display negativity towards each other if that is what they feel? Am hoping that an hour gives them time to decide that they like or hate each other - what do you think?

Fundog
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Re: Helping the "New Dog" to Get Along With the "First" Dog

Post by Fundog » Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:16 pm

While it is hard to predict, I believe an hour is a good time frame for an initial "feeling out." Of course, like all honeymoon periods in various relationships, squabbles and disagreements are bound to happen, in the first few days, and later, even months or years down the road. Just remember that just because they might argue sometimes, is no indication that they "hate" each other! If they start out as friends to begin with, then they are more likely to sort their disagreements, kiss and make up in the future. Good luck with your prospective new family member, and I'm glad you found this article helpful! :D
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

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