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  1. #1
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    Default How much can you tell about a puppy at 12 weeks?

    I'm fostering one that I think is a keeper but concerned about how her personality might change. It's been more than 20 years since I raised a puppy to to adulthood and they all just fit in, one way or another. Never had a problem but we lived at the barn so there was enough to entertain them besides each other.

    My own dog is submissive but seems to be in charge right now only because of size and maturity. New pup will be considerably bigger. They take turns telling each other off when one plays too rough and it's usually respected. Sometimes puppy goes at her one more time but it never gets out of hand. My dog is very good about not engaging.

    Sooo... I want to be talked out of this, not into it but the puppy is perfect for us, except for being a puppy. If she fits in so well right now, what are the chances her personality will change so drastically that the two dogs don't get along as adults? We already have a perfect dog and I'm hesitant to rock the boat but she does seem to like having a friend.



  2. #2
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    I don't think you can predict how a puppy will grow up. What she turns into will depend on circumstances, experiences, training and environmental rewards (or lack of).

    One thing to keep in mind, Resident dog is soft (?) "
    My own dog is submissive but seems to be in charge right now
    ", or will not maintain her place, things can change when the puppy gets older and reaches sexual maturity.

    For myself, I would not hesitate if I really liked the puppy, but I have known people who ended up living in an armed camp situ with to bitches who disliked each other and some of them are damn good dog trainers.



  3. #3
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    that was a total non answer, wasn't it? What I was trying to say is that you cannot predict how a puppy will turn out, but that bitch/bitch hatred is a serious business and I've known some very good dog trainers that have had bitches kill each other, in spite of heavy management and/or training.


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  4. #4
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    the relationships between dogs usually change dramatically when the pup turns age 2 or so- before that, the puppy is treated as well, a puppy, by the adults.

    The best way to predict how a puppy will turn out is to observe adult relatives of the puppy.

    If you like the puppy for other reasons keep it; but if you only like the puppy because your other dog enjoys playing with the puppy I would re-think. Your other dog may just like playing with puppies, any puppy.

    Does your older dog get along well in general with most adult dogs? that should give you another hint as to what your household will be like in a couple of years when both dogs are adults.

    You have to discard the ideas you may have about "packs": Left to themselves, dogs don't seem to form packs. They live alone, or in breeding pairs (male: female), and form loose friendships with other dogs. It would be very unusual for two adult bitches to live together. If a bitch raised a litter of pups, at around age 2 they'd start conflicting with each other and the pups would disperse.
    Human selective breeding has made some breeds much more tolerant of living with other adult dogs than would normally be the case.



  5. #5
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    My dog goes with the flow. Right now that's letting the puppy annoy her until it gets out of control. She's been the same with the other 6 (?) fosters I've had so I trust her not to instigate. All adult females and one male puppy that was too much, for both her and the humans.

    I only take dogs I think we could keep as a friend for her and every other one has missed the mark for some reason or another. This one seems to be a younger version of her and the first I can see living here.



  6. #6
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    Dec. 18, 2006
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    In my personal experience - all three of my dogs' personality has never really changed, nor did their "pack" order/relationship.

    My first puppy was quiet & thoughtful and always looked a little sleepy. He was like that until the day he died at almost 14 and still unaltered. Puppy #2 was a little bastard and very annoying but Dog #1 was the gentle, but firm leader....for 11 years. Puppy #3 was a tasmanian devil but two older dogs tolerated him well with mild corrections if he got too crazy.

    Today: Dog #1 died 2 years ago, Dog #2 is 11 1/2, and Dog #3 is 2.5 and still intact. Personalities are pretty much the same as they always were (although the annoying puppy is an old dog now so he's pretty tolerable)...."pack order" is pretty much as it always was....youngest dog does what he pleases and older dog tolerates it until he's had enough. But none of them have never fought, not even once.

    I would say that if they are getting along now, they will probably continue to get along. It sounds like they work out their difficulties well, and I don't think there has to be a truly "dominant" acting dog in a "pack" for there to be a good relationship. My two are perfect examples - I honestly don't know which one is the leader (maybe neither is). But they are buddies and get along quite well.

    I don't know that you will ever be able to say anything "for sure" about animals. So if you like the puppy and your other dog tolerates it well, then I say go for it.



  7. #7
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    Wendy, I've put a little more thought into this than "Aww... cute puppy and my dog doesn't kill her".

    I have cats and kids and high expectations for any dog, which is why I've sent so many others to different homes.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by S1969 View Post
    In my personal experience - all three of my dogs' personality has never really changed, nor did their "pack" order/relationship.

    My first puppy was quiet & thoughtful and always looked a little sleepy.
    That's been my experience, too, but life is a lot different than the last time I kept a puppy.

    This is another thoughtful, sleepy puppy and that's my favorite kind. She wrestled on leash with another dog at an adoption event last weekend and then flopped down on her blanket the second he left. Does normal puppy things but never gets overstimulated and is happy to just watch the action when she can't participate.



  9. #9
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    I think the best way to approach a second dog is to think of the worse case scenario. "If my house turns into WW3 and these two dogs must be separated or heavily monitored at all times for the next x years would it still be worth it?"

    If the answer is yes and you make that mental commitment, then you can celebrate when things come out great but if conflict arises you won't be in the position of needing to rehome one of the dogs.

    My dogs at 14-18 weeks have been good indicators of future temperament. At 16 weeks our two Wheaten terriers who were litter mates did not show a clear dominant/submissive relationship and 7 years later they have an exceptionally egalitarian relationship, share resources equally, and never squabble. Dexter came home confident and at times overly bold. At 10 months he is the same and I have to watch him with smaller or timid dogs to make sure his play behavior isn't intimidating. Granted, this is a small sample size but just sharing my personal experience.



  10. #10
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    Wendy, I've put a little more thought into this than "Aww... cute puppy and my dog doesn't kill her".
    well, I hope so, but that's more thought than many people put into it and then when things go wrong later they wonder why...

    You say your current dog has always been fine with older females you've fostered- I think that is your best cue as to how it will turn out. Namely, fine.

    You don't say the breed(s). Some breeds I would be very hesitant to even try to keep two bitches together- terriers, akitas. Others, such as most hounds, or the retrievers, it would be unusual to have problems.



  11. #11
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    Oct. 19, 2006
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    Then you haven't met many Chesapeake females. We have an 8 year old and a 5 month old and Kona (the older one) is barely tolerant of Kali. Just as our old lady who died 2 years ago was hardly tolerant of Kona as a pup!

    Chessies are not Labs or Goldens, they are a whole different ball of wax!

    It is a struggle having 2 females, but we are vigilant and don't leave them unsupervised (once Kali is older we will, but not right now while she's a pup) and basically, just prefer female dogs. Although, if we were to get a 3rd dog, it would be a male. But that'll be a cold day in he!! before I tried to have 3, 2 is plenty.



  12. #12
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    I have a hound that can be a problem too. He's why I don't foster.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  13. #13
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    Is the pup dominant with other pups? Do you know if she was the first one out of the box, the first one down the hall etc? If she plays with other puppies is she always the one on top pushing the other puppies around? If yes, I would take it as a sign that dominance order is important to her and she may try to take over as she matures. If the older dog doesn't let her, you could be in trouble. If she's a middle of the road type pup where order isn't all that important to her, I'd say you should be fine. It's not that she'll change her personality, but the amount of effort she puts into being top dog may change as she matures. Good luck with your decision.



  14. #14
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    and i hve yet another mix that goes against common knowledge........
    2 female terriers (12 lbs), 1 male terrier(15lbs), 1 female collie(65lbs), 1 male anatolian shepherd(120lbs).........all are altered

    the female terriers are joined at the hip, and never met til each was well inot adulthood.....
    the female collie is constantly picking on the anatolian if she even THINKS he may be looking at her toy, walking past her bowl, looking at the counter when it might be near mealtime...yet she doesn't bother the other females, and one of them will wrestle/play with her,despite the 50lb difference........

    and the 15lb male terrier ONLY ever challenges the anatolian, who does NOTHING.......he just stands there, enduring the wee one snarling and snapping at his face and chest, usually blocking his access inot the house til wee one is good and ready to let him pass......NO one, male or female, challenges the mighty wee one.......yet he is SUCH a timid one with people...



  15. #15
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    Four of our six are females. 10+ years old, 5 years old, 3 years and 1.5 years. Have absolutely never had any issues between any of our dogs, female or male.

    We do have a female chow mix, 4 years, that we're fostering, who would be happier in a male only household. She and one of our females sometimes get into posturing moods, where they get tense and in a standoff mode. A snap of the fingers and a, "oh get over it" gets them out of that. I will say the chow mix is insecure, dominant towards females (lets several males get away with truly embarrassing acts), and not very trusting.

    I firmly believe that you take the majority of responsibility for how a dog turns out if you have them as young puppies. Sure, you're working with the dog's natural inclinations towards being shy/confident/bossy/meek/tolerant/brave, etc, but I haven't had any experience with a dog drastically changing personality/temperament *without* there being something the owner has failed to address (socialization, their own handling of the dog's reactions to scary/negative experiences, etc).
    MrB's attempt at talking like a horse person, "We'll be entering in the amateur hunter-gatherer division...."



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bits619 View Post

    I firmly believe that you take the majority of responsibility for how a dog turns out if you have them as young puppies. Sure, you're working with the dog's natural inclinations towards being shy/confident/bossy/meek/tolerant/brave, etc, but I haven't had any experience with a dog drastically changing personality/temperament *without* there being something the owner has failed to address (socialization, their own handling of the dog's reactions to scary/negative experiences, etc).
    ya know, that's a big sweeping generalization. One with which I strongly disagree. I have a little dog here, who was born to threaten, challenge and is stupid, she has been a difficult dog ever since. She is up all the time, and the only thing that prevents her target-of-choice from killing her outright, is me.



  17. #17
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    A puppies inate personality won't change much. It can be shaped, but the puppy that's the first one out of the box, the first one down the hall, always bouncing on her sisters etc. is not going to be an easy going dog in a multi-dog family unless she's the top dog. Believe me, I had one. At 4 weeks of age, my breeder told me that either I had to take Becky or she had to keep her because all the other homes lined up wouldn't be able to handle her. The puppy and our older dog (who was more middle of the road) got along fabulously until the puppy turned about 3 yrs. Then Becky decided, you know what, I don't feel like submitting anymore, and the fights broke out. Becky didn't change, she just matured into the personality that was there the day she was born. She was a well trained, well socialized dog who was wonderful to live with except that she wanted to be in charge and Leah wasn't going to give it up without a fight.

    On the other hand, I've had groups of females together that never had a problem with each other, but none of those dogs ever cared much about dominance order.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bits619 View Post
    Four of our six are females. 10+ years old, 5 years old, 3 years and 1.5 years. Have absolutely never had any issues between any of our dogs, female or male.

    We do have a female chow mix, 4 years, that we're fostering, who would be happier in a male only household. She and one of our females sometimes get into posturing moods, where they get tense and in a standoff mode. A snap of the fingers and a, "oh get over it" gets them out of that. I will say the chow mix is insecure, dominant towards females (lets several males get away with truly embarrassing acts), and not very trusting.

    I firmly believe that you take the majority of responsibility for how a dog turns out if you have them as young puppies. Sure, you're working with the dog's natural inclinations towards being shy/confident/bossy/meek/tolerant/brave, etc, but I haven't had any experience with a dog drastically changing personality/temperament *without* there being something the owner has failed to address (socialization, their own handling of the dog's reactions to scary/negative experiences, etc).
    You know, you are just lucky, as we were, having many dogs of all breeds, ages and sexes and never had any problems.
    I have known too many where as adults, especially puppies raised together, declare war to the death.
    Some were in clueless homes and one died.
    Some were in the hands of our top dog trainers and the humans spent years going to special seminars on managing aggression and keeping the dogs from killing each other.

    I think that if the puppy is fitting so well and you like it, why not take chances it will work out?
    If it starts not working, do count on rehoming one, sad as that is.
    Rehoming one will be less sad than two unhappy, stressed dogs or a dead one, at least that is my opinion, although not that of those that keep them both and more or less manage.

    You had several other dogs you fostered and didn't keep.
    You have experience with dogs, this is not the first dog you "just could not let go", even if you had second thoughts, trust your judgment to guide you, knowing that there is nothing sure in life.
    If this one looks like a good prospect, why not give it a try?



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by threedogpack View Post
    ya know, that's a big sweeping generalization. One with which I strongly disagree. I have a little dog here, who was born to threaten, challenge and is stupid, she has been a difficult dog ever since. She is up all the time, and the only thing that prevents her target-of-choice from killing her outright, is me.

    I don't know why you are saying you "disagree" when it seems like you and Bits agree. You have a little dog prone to being stupid and threatening towards other dogs (your words). Her behavior has changed very little over time. This is echoing what Bits said about being responsible for your dogs behavior and understanding that you are shaping innate temperament.


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  20. #20
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    Meh-I have five dogs and have had one changeover in the last year. I gave one dog to a different home b/c I thought she would do better with the small family and then I saved the neighbor's chi pup from going to a meth home. I have all stages, ages, sizes, and actually none of them are easy-one 2 year old male GP, an 8 year old work-bred Aussie, a 13 year old aussie/heeler/golden cross, and a 1.5 year old high strung BMC. I found a home for the 4 year old F BMC then ended up grabbing the baby chi/dach mix that was headed to a bad home. From 2 lbs to 120 lbs, mellow to freak.

    They have their issues and power struggles but they're nothing compared to my teenage children. A little consistancy and awareness and they're all fine, they mostly live with each other just fine, even the pup, and play together. They have had a few scuffles but no injuries and no grudges, just noise and usually over food when they aren't being fed in their zones.

    If I think back on all six of the dogs I've had recently-at 12 weeks I knew them all well. I got the GP at that exact age and he's the same dog at 120 lbs that he was at 10 lbs. The mutt was from the pound at the same age and just the same, sweet and unique. The Aussie-same sweet earnest dog all through. The older BMC, food obsessed and lazy the whole time. Younger BMC, freaky and high strung and a real talker, from day 1. The chi is only 9 weeks old but she's sweet and feisty and smart and I don't see that changing. We have definite pup situations here, having had several with these dogs, puppies are tolerated, spoiled and disciplined by the older dogs and they learn potty training and basic obedience from them as well. Win win.

    OP I don't know if you described a personality so much as a situation. My old dog used to run the roost; now she fosters and aligns herself with the pups. You know if your older dog will eventually be ok with being the older slower dog while the pup takes front seat on the activity front. From what you described I wouldn't hesitate, to be honest.



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