The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2009
    Posts
    937

    Default Thinking about a second dog

    I'm starting to toss around the idea of getting a second dog, but I'm really torn on if it's a good idea or not. So I thought I'd ask for the wisdom of COTH!

    This is kind of a long story, but I don't want to leave out important details!

    My current dog is a 6 year old yellow lab named Boomer. I got him from the pound when he was 1 1/2 and he's been a great dog. I bought him as an undergrad and shortly after getting him I had to move and so he went to live with my mom and her dog (an Australian Shepard). When we first got Boom we had *lots* of issues keeping him contained, he had some major separation anxiety and would go to great- and dangerous- lengths to free himself if he thought he'd been 'abandoned'.

    Once he realized he was home and we'd always come back to him, he was great about sticking around. The fence at my mom's is only about 3 1/2 feet high, and once it was his 'home' he stayed put. He bonded with the Aussie pretty quickly and as long as he had his 'brother' with him, Boom was happy staying at friends' homes/yards, kennels etc. This summer Boom and I were at my dad's house with his black lab, and it was the same deal Boom was totally happy as long as his 'sister' was there.

    I was hoping he'd just outgrown his anxiety phase, but I spent the week at an aunt and uncles and Boom clawed his way through a screen window that was 5' off the ground in their garage to escape. When I got back to the house, he was curled up under my car whimpering.

    This fall I moved to start grad school and it's just Boom and I. I was *very* careful about introducing him to the house. For the first couple weeks I left him in a crate when I went to school/work (he's crate trained) and gradually started leaving him in the yard. It took several months before I was comfortable leaving him in the yard for the day, but we never had any escape incidents.

    Over Christmas I was gone for a week and took Boom to a very nice kennel. He went on a hunger strike and got very sick- to the point he had to be hospitalized for 4 days when he came home. I'm totally convinced if he'd had his 'sibling' with him, he'd have been fine.

    Anyway, long story short, I think he might be happier if he had a sibling. But, he's also very attached to me and I'm worried he'd feel left out or be jealous with a new dog. There's also a big part of me that is very happy with just the two of us. And of course there is money to consider. I know a second dog won't cost that much more, but I'm a student trying to save up for a horse- every little bit counts!

    Thoughts? Is a second dog a good idea?
    Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2000
    Location
    California
    Posts
    8,021

    Default

    I'm always in favor of doggie company. Unless you have a job where you work from home or can take the dog to work with you or are lucky enough to not have to work, I think dogs are social creatures and it benefits them emotionally to have a companion. I've always had at least two and I think they are happier that way - if I'm not around they have a buddy and even if I am around they have a doggy friend to go romp around with. Besides, there are so many dogs out there right now who need a home - wouldn't you like to make another dog happy and save a life? (not that I'm enabling you or anything...)



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2009
    Location
    The Great Plains of Canada
    Posts
    3,062

    Default

    What Pocket Pony said, basically. You're the pack leader, so you can correct any "jealousy" issues that may arise and balance the pack. Also, just be careful to pick something with the right energy and dominance level and with sufficient emotional/mental balance and the second dog will fit right in.

    ETA: BOR has a point, a second dog will likely not actually help Boomer's anxiety problems, it will not solve the root cause or issue - that is something you need to address separately. You have to be careful that the second dog you pick is very balanced and calm so as to be unaffected by Boomer's behaviour; I wouldn't pick one with issues to rehab, at least. However I still like the idea of a second dog anyways, for the overall, general benefits it provides. You did mention too that it did help at least "bandaid" Boomer's anxiety issues, so that is a bonus too, either way.
    Last edited by naturalequus; Jan. 15, 2011 at 01:05 AM.
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2010
    Location
    in the woodwork....
    Posts
    1,650

    Default

    I am no dog expert- all my knowledge is based on my own dogs or that of my other family members. I think Boomer may like a buddy if the second dog has a calmer personality. But, in my experience, I've never seen a dog get over anxiety just because they have a buddy- the other dog just sort of goes about their business while the anxious one is freaking out. My calm female will watch my male have his little anxiety attacks and I can see her mentally roll her eyes at him like "sigh, here we go again".
    "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
    "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
    Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2009
    Posts
    937

    Default

    The interesting thing is, that both of Boom's 'siblings' are very neurotic/nervous dogs. It makes no sense at all why either of them would give him confidence in his life.

    If/when I get a second dog, it would be a pound dog. But, I know I'm not at a place right now to deal with major issues. More than likely I'd get an older adult type who's already pretty calm and mellow.

    Any thoughts on how to help relieve some of Boomer's anxiety? I agree that the buddy dog is more of a band-aid. I'm just not sure what to do to fix the problem?

    Thanks very much for reading my loooong post and giving me advice!
    Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2009
    Location
    The Great Plains of Canada
    Posts
    3,062

    Default

    Whenever I've dealt with anxiety I've done a number of things:

    1. No making a big deal of going away, the dog spent time in the kennel even while I was home. One of those kennel times just happened to be the one where I hopped off. I might be gone 5 minutes, or several hours, but optimally you increase the time gradually. When I return, I pretend the dog isn't there - no look, no touch, no talk. When they're quiet and calm, THEN I open the kennel and let them out, casually. Sometimes, I would take so long to wait for them to relax (lie down with a sigh, etc), that I'd forget about them, hehe. By then, they were REALLY relaxed

    2. General things, like teaching the dog confidence overall. This includes playing the role of an effective leader! Giving the dog a job to do (like hunting, agility, etc etc), small things like making sure I walk through the door first, walking in an effective manner (ie, dog heels politely, I say when the dog can run amok and sniff at things, then I say when playtime is finished), correcting any untoward behaviour, keeping a loose leash on walks, etc. Giving rules, boundaries, limitations - dogs feel safer when they do not have to take the lead and when they know and have boundaries they need to follow. Exercise, discipline (which is essentially just boundaries, etc), THEN affection.

    3. Leave the dog when they are calm (NEVER put them in their kennel when they are already anxious, and make sure the kennel is already a very happy place), and, preferably, busy. Kong, pig ear, etc. Give them something to do and even an outlet to relieve anxiety. Better yet, wear him out physically before putting him in the kennel and leaving (for increasingly longer periods of time).

    I recently did a little rehab work with a Greyhound and both my own recent dogs have been naturally (born that way) unconfident dogs that required work to ensure they did not take up behaviours such as separation anxiety. The Greyhound actually had quite severe separation anxiety but through the use of the above, he got over it (he was 8 or so I think? can't quite recall). It can take a ton of dedication and consistency though, and lots of patience! My own dogs have required careful raising due to their genetics but are only as good as they are because of all the hard work I've put into developing them to their potentials. I'm no pro though, by any means!!

    Dogs and animals and even people are attracted to others with similar energies, whether good or bad energies. I don't think the other dogs actually gave him confidence per se but they provided him some source of comfort, which gave him an insecure confidence. If that makes sense? I'm not sure quite how to explain it

    ETA: just to clarify, after reading one of the lower posts, when I say "kenneling" or "kennel", I am referring to putting a dog in an actual crate, not sending them away to a kennel for the day or whatnot (though I have nothing against doggie daycare with the right daycare that can continue to socialise and teach your dog while you're at work!)
    Last edited by naturalequus; Jan. 15, 2011 at 04:30 PM.
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 26, 2005
    Location
    Greytown, New Zealand (a blip on the landscape really :))
    Posts
    485

    Default

    We have three dogs in our flat now - one pound dog (lab/Greyhound got at 18 months - now 7 years old), one lab (purchased from breeder as a 8 week old puppy - now 5 years) and one border collie bitch (rehomed from a friend as a 12 week old puppy - now 3.5 years). They came in that order - with the last one replacing my last dog a BC/JR-Fox Terrier X. The lab/GH has some serious separation anxiety issues - which only worsened when my old dog was PTS! I was reading Patricia Furnell's book (in a bookshop - but I did buy it!) and realised exactly what his problem was - we dealt with as she suggested - when getting home, ignoring him and mucking around for a few minutes and then casually patting him and letting him know he was valued. We also would (pretend) to eat some of his dinner first and then, with a "naw, yours mate", gave it to him - it so mega-worked. However, this was supported by having to take on raising two young dogs as a "uncle" figure and "realising" (anthropomorhism, sorry) that he had two constant humans in his life - so he had plenty of company! Plenty of exercise and firm but loving care. Honestly, I think the other dogs were the making of him - and I recommend getting a second dog to keep him company - a labrador or a goldie would be best as they generally get along wth other dogs really quickly (as yours has shown). I recall when my little girl was just new into the group - the lab's job was to be the climbing buddy, chew toy and moronic companion - the lab/GH was to be the stern "Time to rest now" paw and foreleg over the young puppy. It is interesting that still now - even when my BC is the queen of the pack - her reactions are similar to the lab/GH when it comes to ball throws and water (LOOOOOVVVVEEE IT!!)and eating food (eats anything but there is no tail wag - food is just tooo important a subject - the lab/GH was a walking skeleton when the pound picked him up - a very delicate balancing act to get him to the 45 kilograms (around 100lbs) he is now. I probably would get a bitch as they tend to be more dominant once they have their feet - your dog sounds like he needs that.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 14, 2003
    Location
    Norwood, MA
    Posts
    3,498

    Default

    Get another dog but have a chat with your vet about the anxiety.

    I'm considering a 3rd dog.... that's a whole 'nother thread.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2004
    Location
    Yonder, USA
    Posts
    2,561

    Default

    My guy (3-4 yr old GSD I got from the pound/rescue around age 2) was SO much happier once I got him a friend. Actually, she was a 6+ mo old GSD mix puppy someone abandoned near my dad's farm.

    I think a lot of what made it work is that I made sure to enforce his place in our household when bringing her into it. The GSD was very needy and overly-attached, which could have led to some real issues with 'sharing' me. It helped that the girl was young enough not to get into any dominance struggles (great age--she chewed on her toys a bit, but figured out crate training and housebreaking in a couple days and was old enough to sleep through the night). I also made sure to greet him first, feed him first, and basically make a big deal about him so he wouldn't be jealous of her. he thought having a puppy of his very own was great.

    They were best buds right up through his death to old age this fall. Now the girl is training a puppy of her own...



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    2,732

    Default

    I would definitely get another dog. I think all animals do better with company.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2001
    Location
    up the hill from the little river (that floods alarmingly often)
    Posts
    3,607

    Default

    I think you'd also do well with another dog, but choose carefully. I would definitely pick something calmer and confident.

    If you're worried about how Boomer will get along with a newcomer, see about going through a rescue instead. Many of them will let you bring Boomer and find a friend he gets on with, and some (most?) will also have provisions in the adoption contract for what happens if they end up NOT getting along.

    Both of ours came from local animal control, and I think we were fortunate. Both dogs came to us without major issues, and while we did end up taking both to a training class that dealt specifically with walking politely on a leash around other people/dogs/bikers/joggers, etc., basic manners were accomplished at home pretty quickly, and they were sharing a bed and playing together within 12 hours of lab mix's arrival.

    The lab mix (second dog) has some separation anxiety. It's toned down enormously from when we first got him, but I do think it would have been worse had we not had the hound mix and had the two of them not gotten on extremely well (as I type this they're both curled up together in the bed sleeping).
    Full-time bargain hunter.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    11,372

    Default

    A couple of thoughts...

    1) I, like you, was worried about "2nd child syndrome". I shouldn't have. My lab is 7YO and he has always been great with other dogs and is great with our new pup (now 5mos).

    2) Regarding the separation anxiety, I do agree with others on some of the techniques. But I will also say that my friends got a pound puppy (same age as my dog, they were 4 at the time.) He had really bad separation anxiety. Like...if crated would bloody his paws and mouth getting out. And he did. He bent every crate we put him in. He would pee all over the house if left out and destroy things. We found that he was FINE though if he was with my dog! So for the better part of 3 years, any time they needed to leave him "alone" they'd just drop him off at my house to hang w/ my dog. And he was fine.

    3) Regarding kenneling: I know some dogs do well with this. And there are some very fine kennels out there. But having worked in a veterinary hospital where we did boarding, I will NEVER EVER board my dog. I will pay through the nose if need be to have someone stay at my house with my dog. And he has no issues. I just don't think that the kennel environment is a good fit for every dog. And I personally take issue with the idea of a "house pet" dog being asked to urinate and defecate in a run. We had so many house dogs come to our clinic for holiday boarding or what not and they would seriously hold their bladders til they about burst. It was hard on them. Many would go off their food and such. It was not good for them. If I can't take my dog with me or find someone to stay with him, I simply don't go. And again, my dog does not have your dog's issues.

    I could give you some more tips on the separation anxiety thing, but there are so many online resources that you can find most of them on your own.

    I just think that a pet for your pet might be a fine idea given that your dog does get along well with others.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    10,312

    Default

    When I got Puff, a COTH adoption, he'd been used to living with other dogs, and I did decide to get him a companion after he seemed much more relaxed when my parents' dog visited. He is much more relaxed if he's at home if the other dog is there (even though I think SHE would like to be an only dog!)

    Molly, my parents' dog and a adult 'pound puppy', on the other hand, did just need to 'grow out' of the separation anxiety (she had a horrible time, nad still howls when left home, even if it's at my house with two other dogs). Mostly, it was a matter of learning that yes, we are really coming back, and it took time.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2007
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,230

    Default

    My old dog did the same as yours. She wouldnt eat for days when we were gone. I didnt leave her at a kennel either. She stayed home and someone came to let her out a few times a day.

    I looked for 8 months for the right dog for her. She was 11 at the time and I wanted a young dog that would respect her and not jump on her. The "one" came into the rescue I volunteered at and we adopted him a few days later. She acted like she didnt care if he was around or not, but when we left, she was just fine when we got back. She passed away a year ago today and now the "new" dog is lonely.

    so, yes, I do think your guy will appreciate a companion. I know it helped my dog.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2007
    Location
    Jasper, GA
    Posts
    2,148

    Default

    not gonna write a whole bunch except to say that having lived through canine hell and then getting a second dog (when mine was age six), everything changed. Canines like company -particularly if their humans work for a living...

    A canine companion is much better than "doggy downers" (SNL) for canine happiness.
    Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IZPHDzgX3s



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    16,856

    Default

    When we still boarded our dogs (now have to have a farm sitter), our boarding kennel would walk them if you paid extra. We had them walked three times a day. Our two were kenneled together. The groomer worked out of the boarding kennel and our guys were sent to the groomer every 8 weeks, so it was a very familiar place.



Similar Threads

  1. Thinking outside the box
    By stolensilver in forum Sport Horse Breeding
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: Feb. 28, 2011, 02:47 PM
  2. Thinking of going on BC
    By Rescue_Rider9 in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 54
    Last Post: Feb. 5, 2011, 07:09 PM
  3. Wow, what were they thinking?!
    By Libera in forum Dressage
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: May. 12, 2010, 02:04 PM
  4. Thinking about WEG and PR...
    By canyonoak in forum Dressage
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Jan. 3, 2010, 01:49 AM
  5. What were they thinking?!
    By Cinnabon2004 in forum Off Course
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: Nov. 8, 2009, 06:01 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •